The importance of our relationship with America cannot be understated. With Anglo-American capitalism increasingly under attack, those who believe in the power of free markets and enterprise to create wealth and social progress must stand up and be counted and champion our way of life. Because though the Left might not like it, Anglo-American free enterprise has been the single best generator of wealth and opportunity in history.
Britain and the US remain the Wild West for ideas, where pioneers push each other towards ever greater heights in the white heat of free enterprise. No one knows their place, no one fears failure and no one is ashamed of success. There’s a reason why world-changing technologies such as the smartphone come from countries which encourage freedom.
Since the Conservatives came to power we have given businesses the freedom they need to generate jobs
That’s why today, in Washington, I’ll address the Cato Institute, a free-market think tank, on how we win over a new generation.
I call it “markets for millennials”.
Opinion polls show that millennials are focused, aspirational and entrepreneurial. The young people I meet want more freedom – to start firms, keep more of what they earn, and move to areas with opportunities without paying a fortune. The freedom to succeed. For too long, however, radical Leftist economic agendas have filled the space on a pitch vacated by those who embrace freedom. They like to talk our countries down to undermine confidence in our system. But the truth is that we are succeeding. The US has seen the best growth figures in years. In the UK unemployment is at its lowest for 40 years with rising real wages.
Today, Britain and America are two of the most prosperous countries to live in: our economies have grown robustly since the 1980s, while unemployment is down to around 4 per cent. And with talk of future trade deals naturally high on the agenda, people perhaps forget how closely intertwined our economies already are. We are already the number one foreign investor in the US, comfortably outstripping our European rivals. We should be proud of this enviable record and the sphere of influence that British business continues to have around the world.
In Michigan and Ohio, where I will be this week, UK trade and investment alone supports nearly 100,000 jobs. I’m looking at what they’re doing to turbocharge their economy. In the Midwest, they’ve used some basic regulatory rollbacks. For example, in Cleveland, Ohio, I am meeting the Common Sense Initiative group who work with firms to amend or abolish regulations that can hold back growth. One drinks manufacturer has seen its business revived thanks to a new licence to sell its stock to wholesalers.
And we’re doing similar things in the UK. Since the Conservatives came to power we have given businesses the freedom they need to generate jobs. We have cut taxes and made it easier to take on staff, and have given real powers to local areas through a huge devolution drive. We’ve made it easier for anyone to start a business from their bedroom, get off the ground and make a success of themselves. As a result, our economy has grown every year and is nearly 11 per cent above its pre-financial crisis peak. This summer, real wages have returned to growth.
In order to retain our position as the dynamic duo of the world, it’s vital that in the UK and US we keep opportunities open for new people and new ideas
In order to retain our position as the dynamic duo of the world, it’s vital that in the UK and US we keep opportunities open for new people and new ideas. And we can never allow our economies to get furred up. This means resisting the likes of Jeremy Corbyn who want to shackle Britain with higher taxes and more regulation. Or the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan who wants to stop Uber.
And it means redoubling our efforts to free the economy, like making more land available for housing so that more people can move to opportunities, and keeping tax and regulation as low as possible to give people and places the freedom to reinvent themselves.
From Cleveland, Ohio, to Cleveland, Teesside, there is a positive future ahead. The Prime Minister’s Brexit proposals give us a huge opportunity to continue this momentum. We will unshackle entrepreneurs, build a more dynamic economy and strengthen our trade and investment relationship with America.