The United Kingdom's Future

October 21, 2022 • Volume 32, Issue 36
Can it overcome its political and economic challenges?
By Corine Hegland


After more than a decade of political turmoil and economic stagnation, the British economy contracted and probably fell into a recession this summer following energy price shocks earlier in the year. Steep inflation has created a massive cost-of-living crisis in the country. The National Health Service is in desperate need of funds, and fallout from the U.K.'s departure from the European Union continues to harm both the economy and key foreign relations. An unorthodox government plan to expand the economy through debt-financed tax cuts backfired in September when financial markets took fright and stampeded out of the pound. As a result, the U.K. now faces even higher inflation and interest rates. The British government needs to quickly make difficult decisions about cutting public spending and raising taxes, according to experts. Governments around the world are anxiously watching for signs that the U.K.'s woes may spill over into other economies.

Photo compilation of former Prime Ministers Cameron, May, Johnson and Truss. (Getty Images/Carl Court; AFP/Getty Images/Tolga Akmen; Getty Images/Anadolu Agency/Wiktor Szymanowicz; Getty Images/NurPhoto/Mateusz Wlodarczyk; Screenshot)
British leaders (left to right) David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss have navigated a tumultuous domestic landscape roiled by Brexit, rising prices, an unstable health care system and a stagnant economy. In September Truss became the fourth prime minister in six years; she resigned in October. (Getty Images/Carl Court; AFP/Getty Images/Tolga Akmen; Getty Images/Anadolu Agency/Wiktor Szymanowicz; Getty Images/NurPhoto/Mateusz Wlodarczyk; Screenshot)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
United Kingdom
Oct. 21, 2022  The United Kingdom's Future
Nov. 05, 2010  U.S.-British Relations
Jan. 30, 1998  U.S.-British Relations
Mar. 08, 1996  The British Monarchy
Sep. 15, 1995  Northern Ireland Cease-Fire
Nov. 17, 1978  New Prospects for Britain
Apr. 08, 1977  Britain: Debtor Nation
Sep. 26, 1975  Britain in Crisis
Jun. 10, 1970  British Election, 1970
Oct. 30, 1968  British Economy Since Devaluation
Sep. 27, 1967  Britain in the 1960s: Descent from Power
Sep. 10, 1964  British Election, 1964
Jun. 24, 1964  British Commonwealth in the Postwar World
Aug. 09, 1961  Socialized Medicine in Great Britain
Jul. 19, 1961  Britain, the United States and the Common Market
Sep. 16, 1959  British General Election
Mar. 13, 1957  American-British Relations
May 10, 1954  Political Trends in Britain
Sep. 13, 1951  British Social Services
May 24, 1950  Sterling Balances
Feb. 08, 1950  British Election, 1950
Jan. 12, 1949  British National Health Service
Mar. 28, 1946  Sterling Area and the British Loan
Jul. 14, 1945  British Export Trade
Jun. 22, 1945  British Election
Jan. 01, 1943  Food Rationing in Great Britain
Apr. 19, 1941  Convoys for Britain
Jan. 02, 1941  Financing Britain's War Requirements
Aug. 26, 1938  Anglo-American Relations
Apr. 28, 1938  Economic Recovery in Great Britain
May 12, 1937  Britain's Intra-Imperial Relations
Sep. 09, 1931  Unemployment Insurance in Great Britain
Aug. 09, 1930  The Protectionist Movement in Great Britain
Sep. 10, 1929  The British Task in Palestine
May 06, 1929  The British General Election of 1929
Jun. 12, 1926  The British Trade and Financial Situation
May 07, 1926  Background of the British Labor Crisis
Oct. 17, 1924  British Electoral System and Political Issues
Feb. 29, 1924  British and French Finances
Jan. 14, 1924  The British Labour Party
Bilateral and Regional Trade
Charities and Philanthropy
Conservatism and Liberalism
Consumer Behavior
Data and Statistics
Economic Analyses, Forecasts, and Statistics
Export Sanctions and Restrictions
Financial Institutions
General Employment and Labor
General International Relations
General Social Trends
International Economic Development
International Law and Agreements
Powers and History of the Presidency
Protest Movements
Unemployment and Employment Programs