Ahead of the 28th Climate Summit (CoP-28) at Dubai, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) released a report entitled ~ the Emissions Gap Report 2023: Broken Record ~ Temperatures hit new highs, yet world fails to cut emissions (again).
Demographic trends highlight the changing composition of British society due to factors such as its ageing population and immigration. The birth rate among immigrants is on a high while it is declining for the land’s original inhabitants. These trends can have significant social, cultural, and economic implications for the future and have already become a burning political issue. Studies point out that original Britons could become a minority if current immigration rates continue. Ageing societies often face challenges in maintaining economic growth due to a declining workforce and increased dependence on social services.
While immigration can help address these issues by bringing in a younger workforce, it is not the only solution. Countries can also focus on improving labour productivity, encouraging older individuals to stay in the workforce and investing in technology and innovation to drive economic growth. Immigration can be a part of the solution, but a comprehensive approach is needed to address the complex economic challenges posed by ageing populations. While some argue that older individuals might experience a decline in productivity as they age, it is not a universal rule. Many factors influence productivity in older workers, including the type of work, health, skills, and motivation. Some older individuals continue to contribute significantly to the workforce and possess valuable experience that can benefit businesses. Delaying retirement doesn’t necessarily guarantee increased productivity but policies that support retraining, flexible work arrangements and utilising the strengths of older workers can contribute to maintaining their productivity levels. Besides, redesigning roles to align with older employees’ strengths and preferences can also lead to increased job satisfaction and productivity among those who delay retirement. Investing in technology and innovation can play a crucial role in sustaining economic growth. New technologies can streamline processes, automate repetitive tasks and improve overall operational efficiency, leading to cost savings and increased productivity. Innovation can lead to the creation of entirely new markets and industries, generating new sources of revenue and employment opportunities. To achieve economic growth without relying solely on increased immigration, the UK needs new strategies. Implementing them can help preserve its existing demography too. Key among them is enhancing the quality of education and training programmes to help create a highly skilled workforce that meets the demands of emerging industries.
Focusing on expanding exports by identifying and entering new markets for British products and services is essential as is embracing digitisation and automation to improve efficiency and competitiveness across sectors. Implementing policies that attract domestic and foreign investments in key sectors will drive economic activity. Britain also needs to streamline regulations and reduce bureaucratic barriers to facilitate business operations and stimulate growth. Until these issues are considered, and resolved, immigration will remain a point of cleavage in British society, as became clear from the Brexit vote where those who voted to remain and those who asked to leave had conflicting views on the subject.