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On 24th July, an ebullient Boris Johnson stepped up to the podium outside 10 Downing Street to deliver his first speech as Prime Minister. Brexit was – and is – the word on everyone’s lips, and as expected it featured extensively in Johnson’s address. 

But Johnson also used the occasion to set out his stall as an energetic, reforming Prime Minister. From putting more police on the streets to delivering hospital upgrades to closing the opportunity gap between different parts of the UK, Johnson was at pains to emphasise his commitment to dealing with issues beyond Brexit. 

Recently, the government laid out its commitment to reducing Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions to a target of net zero by 2050. An exceptionally ambitious yet welcome move by the government, newly minted Prime Minister Johnson now faces the challenge of turning this target into a reality. 

Poor productivity levels continue to plague Britain. Since the 2008 financial crisis, labour productivity levels have been growing at a sluggish rate. As a driver of wage growth and better living standards, Johnson’s government must solve Britain’s ‘productivity puzzle’ and reverse the trend of poor productivity growth that Britain has succumbed to over the last 11 years.

Home ownership for many young people is a distant reality, with a clear majority of people believing that making the cost of housing more affordable would be the most effective policy towards helping young people. Whilst charting new economic waters, the government must also tackle the issue of housing affordability, particularly for younger generations. 

These are just some of the policy challenges that Johnson and his government face in the coming months. Beyond this, welfare reform, national unity, quality and accessibility of education, Britain’s energy future, and transport policy are further areas that the Prime Minister will have to address during his tenure at Number 10.  

With Britain divided and facing a host of challenges old and new, the need for ambitious reform is more acute than ever. But to make these changes a reality, the Prime Minister needs a clear idea of what issues need to be addressed and how reforms can be achieved. To answer those questions, this series of Centre Write blogs will ask what policy problems the new Prime Minister should focus on, and generate ideas from the liberal conservative community on how to tackle them. 

Sam Robinson and Patrick Hall are researchers at Bright Blue. Image licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.