Prime Minister: “Our international ambitions must start at home”

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Landmark foreign policy and national security review will set out the PM’s vision for a stronger, more secure, prosperous and resilient UK in 2030.

The Integrated Review of security, defence, development and foreign policy, published tomorrow, will make the case for a UK international policy that rests on strong domestic foundations – in particular our security, resilience and a robust economy at home.

At the heart of our ability to be a strong international player is shoring up those foundations and the Integrated Review will make a case for more investment in national infrastructure, innovation and skills to ensure the UK can compete on a global level.

In November the Prime Minister announced the first conclusion of the Integrated Review: a £24bn programme of investment in defence. This will allow the government to invest in cutting-edge technology while creating 40,000 British jobs over the next four years.

Further commitments will be made to strengthening the UK’s core industrial base in the Integrated Review, from building ships in Scotland and armoured vehicles in Wales, to lithium mining in Cornwall and manufacturing satellites in Northern Ireland.

These investments will create jobs for the future and maximise our advantage in science and technology while diversifying the UK’s supply in goods critical for our defence and economy.

The Prime Minister said:

The foundation of our foreign policy is who we are as a country: our values, our strengths and – most importantly – our people. So I am determined to ensure we have a foreign policy that delivers for those people.

Our international ambitions must start at home, and through the Integrated Review we will drive investment back into our communities, ensuring the UK is on the cutting-edge of innovation and creating an entire country that is match-fit for a more competitive world.

The review also recognises the greatest source of strength – at home and abroad – is the Union between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. By combining the resources of our Union and pooling the expertise of our citizens in areas such as science and health we have been able to respond to global challenges and project our influence overseas.

We will therefore ensure our international policy thinking is driven by the whole UK. The Integrated Review will announce that the number of staff at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office hub in East Kilbride will increase by 500, taking the total number of jobs now based in Scotland to 1,500. Further jobs will also be created outside of London by the establishment of the new National Cyber Security Force HQ in the North of England and trade hubs in Wales and Northern Ireland. The new trade hubs will work on the same model as the one established in Edinburgh last year.

The UK is a country with uniquely global interests. While our success internationally is built on domestic foundations, our prosperity is inextricably linked to our integration into the global economic and financial system.

With less than 1% of the global population we were the world’s 5th biggest exporter in 2019. We sold £690 billion of goods and services to the rest of the world, sustaining millions of jobs – of which three quarters were outside London. The government will therefore prioritise the creation of an open international order where free trade thrives.

We will expand our trading relationships, champion free trade and reinvigorate the World Trade Organisation. The UK is currently negotiating Free Trade Agreements with the US, Australia and New Zealand, and we are applying for accession to the CPTPP. These negotiations and others will help realise the government’s manifesto commitment to agree trade agreements with countries covering 80% of UK trade by the end of 2022.

Photo licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.

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