Can the UK afford global Britain?

Does the UK’s economic position match its foreign policy ambitions?

Members event, Panel Recording
8 June 2023 — 6:00PM TO 7:00PM
Chatham House and Online

Can the UK afford global Britain?

— Does the UK’s economic position match its foreign policy ambitions?

The UK has ambitious plans for its role on the world stage. Following the Integrated Review in March 2023, UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said: ‘As the global context evolves further […] we must make sure that this remains the case by taking a lead where we can make the most difference and finding new ways to cooperate with others to maximize our collective impact.’ 

The review came as the UK continues to find its post-Brexit feet and tries to undo the damage to its credibility after years of turbulence and chaos at home. 

The UK is gradually building prominence in the life science and technology sectors globally which are key industries for the future. It continues to maintain a strong global position in financial markets and the UK government has managed to become one of Ukraine’s biggest supporters both financially and with material aid since Russia’s invasion.

However, its economy is struggling. While many European countries have suffered from higher prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK has also had to deal with the effects of Brexit, and a longer-running stagnation in productivity, which dates back to the financial crisis.

This means the dominating issue for the current government, and for the next election, is the UK’s role in the world and also the state of the economy. 

The UK government must decide whether to prioritize spending at home or abroad or find ways that foreign policy can boost its economic standing.

This expert panel discusses key questions including:

  • After Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, what state is the UK economy currently in?
  • How will the ‘Indo-Pacific tilt’ be supported financially?
  • What can new trade agreements, such as the CPTPP, bring?
  • What effect does the cutting of soft power levers such as the BBC and overseas aid mean for the country’s position abroad?
  • To what extent can the UK afford to increase its military spending to match future threats?
  • How will domestic factors hold back any ability to support the UK’s foreign policy ambitions?

As with all member events, questions from the audience drive the conversation.

Become an individual member

Individual membership provides you with the complete Chatham House experience, connecting you with a unique global policy community.

Find out more Auto insert on member events