Beyond the next Parliament: The case for long-term policymaking
28 September 2023
Events of the last five to 10 years have inhibited the British state’s ability to plan for and deliver ‘good’ long-term policy. From the UK’s departure from the European Union to COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine, the UK government’s capacity to think beyond a typical parliamentary term has been severely hampered. This isn’t a party-political criticism, nor a slight on our dedicated civil servants. It is an assessment of the various structural and behavioural barriers that prevent longer term thinking in our politics.
We’re seeing the impact of short-term thinking across several areas of actuarial expertise, from the prolonged strain on the adult social care system to underinvestment in key infrastructure projects. Without a strategic re-focusing on the big picture challenges that society faces, we risk sleepwalking into further danger.
As experts in long-term risk management, the actuarial profession is advocating a return to long-term thinking as we approach the next UK general election. As a result, our policy prospectus Beyond the next Parliament, suggests ways in which government and others can take an alternative approach to ensure a longer time horizon is considered in the policymaking process.
We believe there is a golden opportunity to reset the policy agenda, with a focus on the long term, no matter who gains the keys to 10 Downing Street. The IFoA looks forward to engaging across the political spectrum, as we highlight the ways our sector’s skills, knowledge, and expertise can help to achieve this goal.
“We want to encourage politicians and policymakers to focus on the long term, not just the next parliamentary term. We acknowledge that there are big political, economic and structural barriers to doing so. But the prize for overcoming them is greater and future generations will thank us for our foresight.”
– Kalpana Shah, President of the IFoA