The UK government has put a plan into action to stimulate the economy following the Covid-19 pandemic and its associated economic effects. Boris Jonson’s Built Back Better plans to do this by focusing on a set of key themes. Build Back Better has a clear background that some leaders are considering for the post-Covid era, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Biden of the United States. Boris Johnson has plans for the Build Back Better, some of which seem to align with the motto of changing England or a New England, but Boris Johnson’s plan runs counter to his policies.
What Is Build Back Better
The term build Back Better (BBB) was officially coined six years ago at the Sendai Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction – a holistic notion of resilience through well-balanced disaster risk-reduction measures, from rebuilding infrastructure to revitalising livelihoods, and from kick-starting growth to restoring local culture and environment.
Building Back Better is an approach to post-disaster recovery that reduces vulnerability to future disasters and builds community resilience to address physical, social, environmental, and economic vulnerabilities and shocks. Recovery within a BBB framework gives impacted communities the chance to reduce risk not only from the immediate hazard, but also from threatening hazards and conditions. Risk reduction now permeates development activities. Yet BBB, distinct from development, does not focus on rectifying a country’s development deficits but on ensuring the result of recovery is sustainable safety for more resilient communities.
Boris Johnson’s catchy ‘Build Back Better’ motto has been taken up by politicians across the border, with US President Joe Biden branding his $3.5 trillion spending spree with the same name and his northern neighbour, Justin Trudeau, using it as an election campaign slogan.
Build Back Better Feather
BBB applies to all sectors and different aspects of post-disaster recovery. BBB concertedly supports communications, education, energy, health, housing, transport, and water and sanitation in infrastructure reconstruction. Now, BBB has come to mean the pursuit of a greener, more inclusive and resilient recovery from the Covid–19 crisis. These related elements are essential for countries to progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a world where shocks occur more frequently with cascading impacts, making resilience and inclusion critical to withstand them.
According to Boris Jonson’s Build Back Better plans, the UK has historically underinvested in infrastructure. But this is being fixed, starting with £100 billion of capital investment in 2021-22.
It is believed that the best way to improve people’s lives is to give them the skills to succeed. The UK has a strong foundation of advanced skills, but lags behind international comparators on technical and basic adult skills. The government is transforming further education, encouraging lifelong learning with the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, and building an apprenticeship revolution. Innovation drives economic growth and creates jobs. The UK has a world-leading research base, which will be boosted by the government’s significant uplift in R&D investment and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency to fund high-risk, high-reward research. However, too few businesses can access the tools to translate new ideas into new products and services and challenge established businesses. Boris Johnson will make the UK the best ecosystem in the world for starting and growing a business. That means having the best access to capital, skills and ideas, as well as a smart and stable regulatory framework. In pursuing economic growth, this government will do things differently. Their most important mission is to unite and level up the country: tackling geographic disparities, supporting struggling towns to regenerate, ensuring every region and nation of the UK has at least one globally competitive city, and above all, strengthening the union.
But while these headlines appear to show widespread, unified support for the catchy slogan, examining the views of particular population groups tells a different story.
Boris Johnson’s Build Better Back Results
Last September, the prime minister loudly pledged £1.5bn to improve their capacity. But the Treasury is now clawing back millions from colleges that could not run full courses during the lockdown. The Association of Colleges says 45% were already in financial trouble pre-pandemic, and will now be crippled, just as T-levels, the new technical equivalents to A-levels, are starting to be rolled out. The government hails apprenticeships, yet in the two years before the pandemic, more than 150,000 places were lost. The shadow education secretary, Kate Green, points to the £330m the Treasury seized from the apprenticeship levy instead of creating more places. With another £80m taken away from Help to Retrain, which was wound up early, this £95m over two years does not look “new”.
Meanwhile, the government’s Kick-start scheme promises just 250,000 placements for the 600,000 young unemployed people, of which fewer than 5,000 have yet been created.
The UK government’s as yet formless promise to “Build Back Better” and “level up” the country faces the inconvenient truth that everything difficult pre-Covid — raising productivity, turning economic growth into wellbeing, protecting the planet’s resources, transitioning to renewables — has not suddenly become easier. The question for the purveyors of “Build Back Better” is whether they can define it with more than targets for transport infrastructure, house building and job creation. The road to prosperity has too often been paved with targets whose success is measured in gross domestic product growth, but which have had limited real-life effects on improving living standards for individuals, households and communities.
A poll on Boris Johnson’s Build Back Better shows that 65% of black, Asian and minority ethnic women aged 65 and over said they were “not very confident” that Build Back Better can be achieved, compared to 21% of those aged 18-24. This suggests that Boris Johnson’s plan is not very reliable; it is also inconsistent with his policies.
To whip up . As this hardline nationalism tightens its grip, there is much worse to come: Johnson joining Nigel Farage in insisting that a no-deal Brexit on 31 October is the only true expression of patriotism; trade wars putting English and Scottish businesses and jobs in jeopardy; Scottish separatists not just threatening to leave every institution in the UK but planning for a no-deal exit too; a rerun of the old pressures for an Irish unification poll; and England being pushed towards self-regarding xenophobia.
Right-wing populism, counter-terrorism policy, and the media, construct an anti-Muslim narrative which fosters discrimination and, ultimately, lead to the social exclusion of Muslim suspect communities, a known cause of radicalisation.
The Building Back Better plans for Covid-19 are totally different from those for natural disasters, and people worldwide are still dealing with the pandemic. Some of the social, political, cultural, etc, harms have not been fully identified yet and more time is needed to recognise them. The disease also led to many of the actions that Britain wanted to take – with minimal protest. This is a social and health plan, but it is completely different from Boris Johnson’s policy. The United Kingdom has minorities and other ethnic groups, but has not taken action to reduce tensions and promote them socially. And in the polls, minorities are disappointed with the plan.