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Blair: Modern technology means there has never been a better time to govern

Sir Tony Blair is set to say that the modern technological revolution means “there has never been a better time to govern”.

During a speech at the Tony Blair Institute’s (TBI) Future of Britain conference in London on Tuesday, he will set out how a package of measures including private and public sector adoption of artificial intelligence, preventative healthcare, digital ID and embracing technology in education could boost growth and generate savings.

The former prime minister will say that Britain faces an “unenviable triple whammy” of high taxes, debt and poor outcomes, with the “worse to come” due to an ageing population, “deep structural health problems” and rising numbers of long-term sick.

He is set to warn that, unless the country improves growth and productivity and drive value and efficiency through public spending, it will become “much poorer”.

The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change’s Future of Britain Conference
Sir Tony Blair with Sir Keir Starmer (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

However, Sir Tony will add: “On the contrary I don’t think there has ever been a better time to govern.

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“A better time to effect change.

“A better basis for optimism and a surer reason for hope.

“But only if we understand how the world is changing and how we use that change to change our country.

“Stable Government and some clear early wins can definitely help.

“But there is only one gamechanger.

“Harnessing effectively the 21st century technological revolution.

“There is absolutely no doubt that this is an era of transformation.

“Things which were impossible will become possible; advances which would have taken decades, will happen in a few years or even months; the value we can add, the improvements in efficiency we can make, the radical benefits in outcomes we can secure, could be truly revolutionary.

“This is the answer to the perennial progressive dilemma whereby the sensible people appear not to be radical, and the radical people appear not to be sensible; and the answer to the unproductive, binary choice between state and market.”

The TBI’s policy experts believe the reforms he will touch on could create £12bn of extra fiscal space a year by the end of this parliamentary term and £40bn a year within a decade.

They say “rapid adoption” of AI in the private sector could boost tax revenue and double these gains.