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Future of Conservatism Debate: Crushed by China and America? Britain’s response to the global subsidy race

On Monday 17th April, Onward will be hosting the first of its debates on the Future of Conservatism. This event will be hosted by Nick Timothy, who will be joined by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, The Times’ Juliet Samuel, Executive Chair of WMG University of Warwick Margot James, and Professor Richard Jones Chair of Material Physics and Innovation Policy at the University of Manchester to discuss how Britain should respond to the global subsidy race

There is little dispute that the UK economy is in poor shape. While it remains the sixth largest economy in the world, GDP has fallen by 0.8% compared to pre-pandemic levels. Per capita growth has been almost non-existent for many years, with average real wages no higher than before the 2008 Great Recession. Britain has stagnant productivity and seems unable to capitalise on the quality of its R&D. Its trade deficit is enormous, exposing it to hostile trade partners and insecure supply chains.

We are entering an era of global economic fragmentation. While British industry struggles with record energy prices and soaring inflation, the great economies of the US and China are pursuing ever more aggressive strategies to shore up national capacity and protect industrial output. President Biden’s IRA heralds a new era of American protectionism while China pours subsidies into tech, electric vehicles and microchips. In an era where free-market ideology is increasingly challenged by neo-mercantilism and the strategic state, how should Britain best protect its interests and kick-start growth?

We do hope you can join us for what will be a fascinating discussion. 

This event is now live, watch here.




April 17, 2023


UnHerd Club, 6 Old Queen Street, London, SW1H 9HP