'We need a renewed social contract between the government and the people,' writes Daniel Kawczynski MP

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Daniel Kawczynski MP has suggested a detailed response to public discontent

Daniel Kawczynski Mp

By Daniel Kawczynski Mp

Published: 26/05/2024

- 05:00

Daniel Kawczynski is the Conservative MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham

As I am extremely well aware from my frequent conversations with my constituents, public discontent with political processes and economic realities is a well-documented phenomenon in the UK, even though their faith in British politics has not completely dissipated.

My response that follows explores the current disgruntlement, delving beyond surface-level frustrations to analyse underlying anxieties and propose solutions for improved political engagement.

Recent increases in corporation and personal taxes have undeniably impacted businesses and households, particularly small enterprises.

This has strained household budgets and dampened economic optimism (e.g., Institute for Fiscal Studies, 2024).

Rising interest rates and inflation pose significant challenges for the economy and individual budgets.

The government must find a balance between mitigating these effects and maintaining long-term fiscal stability.

While public service workers understandably advocate for increased resources for their respective sectors, responsible allocation necessitates a comprehensive public finance framework that prioritizes needs based on long-term national economic and social objectives, as evidenced in HM Treasury’s Spending Review 2024.

There appears to be a potential gap in public understanding of public finance complexities.

This can be addressed through improved government transparency initiatives alongside educational programs aimed at enhancing financial literacy.

The Thatcher government's emphasis on fiscal responsibility remains a relevant reference point.

In my view, highlighting past successes in balancing the budget should inspire confidence in the current administration's economic stewardship.

However, simply reminding the public of past achievements is insufficient. Clear and consistent communication that links fiscal responsibility to improved public services and long-term economic health is crucial.

Acknowledging the challenging fiscal state inherited from the previous administration can provide context for the current government's fiscal consolidation effort, but this narrative should not be overemphasized to avoid deflecting responsibility for current policy choices.

Our UN Security Council membership, overseas aid budget, and nuclear deterrence have financial implications.

The government can address concerns by demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of these commitments and highlighting their contribution to national security and global leadership, as mentioned in the Department for International Development’s 2024 Aid Impact Report.

The unprecedented economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated substantial borrowing.

The government's current focus on reducing the deficit acknowledges the need for fiscal consolidation while navigating ongoing economic challenges, and I believe that it should maintain that commitment.

While negative narratives about Brexit exist, the government can highlight positive outcomes such as new trade deals and membership in the CPTPP to demonstrate a proactive approach to fostering new economic partnerships.

The government's commitment to lower taxation as a means to stimulate economic growth and competitiveness aligns with some public sentiments. However, as the Institute for Fiscal Studies’ 2024 report on the impact of tax cuts attests, the long-term sustainability of such policies must be carefully considered alongside potential consequences for public services.

Continued efforts to improve communication and transparency can rebuild public trust and encourage a more constructive dialogue with the electorate. Our focus should be on explaining policy rationales within a broader economic and social context, moving beyond simplistic narratives.

Public discontent is, of course, not necessarily synonymous with apathy.

However, it highlights the need for a renewed social contract between the government and the people.

By fostering a more informed public discourse, demonstrating responsible economic stewardship, and prioritizing long-term national well-being, the government can rebuild trust and re-engage the electorate in the political process.

Elevated levels of national debt pose a significant challenge to long-term fiscal sustainability.

Debt servicing consumes resources that could otherwise be invested in public services or national resilience.


This raises concerns about intergenerational equity, as future generations will bear the burden of current debt levels.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine conflict highlight the cyclical nature of economic crises.

Maintaining low debt levels allows governments to respond more effectively to future economic shocks by employing countercyclical fiscal policy.

The long-term economic impact of Brexit remains a subject of ongoing debate. While the government highlights new trade deals and membership in the CPTPP as positive outcomes, the potential for increased trade barriers and regulatory divergence with the EU requires ongoing evaluation: a 2024 report by the Centre for Economic Policy Research on the trade and economic consequences of Brexit stresses this point.

Attributing the decline of the EU's relative economic share solely to high regulation and taxation is, in my view, an oversimplification: a more nuanced analysis that considers factors like demographics and global economic trends is necessary.

Balancing the need for fiscal responsibility with the demands of responding to immediate crises and long-term economic uncertainties is a complex challenge.

While the government emphasizes positive Brexit outcomes and the importance of lower taxation, a more comprehensive approach that considers potential trade-offs and long-term economic impacts is crucial. That approach must lie within a framework that promotes long-term fiscal responsibility and fosters a more informed public discourse.

By enhancing communication and demonstrating a commitment to responsible economic stewardship, the government can rebuild trust and re-engage the electorate.

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