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Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on 20 February 2019.
I want to talk today about Lauren Phillips.
Lauren wasn’t always going to be doctor.
She was a talented violinist. She had been invited to join the Bristol Symphony Orchestra. She had huge talents and amazing opportunities. She had choices.
She also had a powerful vocation. She came from an NHS family. Her father is a doctor. Her uncle and aunt are doctors. Her mother works for the NHS.
Lauren’s father, Jonathan, said: “She chose medicine over music because she had a strong sense of social justice and felt she could help people and give something back to society.”
So that vocation, plus her remarkable talents, led her to becoming a doctor at Southmead Hospital in Bristol, a hospital that I know well.
But the job took its toll. The hours. The work-life balance. The pressures.
It wore her down. Gradually, Lauren became more withdrawn, and then one day she didn’t turn up for work.
Her car was found a 100 miles away on a beach in Devon. Her body has never been found.
Lauren’s father said:
During the short time she worked for it the NHS succeeded in sapping Lauren’s strength. Undermining her self-confidence. Attacking her professionalism. And devaluing her commitment.
It was not there to give her the help and support she needed to stay alive.
He’s right. And I want to apologise. As Secretary of State, and on behalf of the entire leadership of the NHS, I’m sorry.
I want to say sorry to Lauren’s parents, and the families of every other member of the NHS family, who we didn’t do enough to help when they needed us most.
We can never know all the reasons why someone decides to take their own life. But, hand on heart, it’s impossible to say we did enough to care for Lauren.
Across the NHS, we don’t do enough to care for our carers. And for that I am sorry.
Now, I don’t want anyone to point fingers and blame people.
That’s not what Lauren’s father wants either. He knows first-hand the unique difficulties of being on the NHS frontline. But he also believes, as I believe, that “you can’t look after your patients, unless you look after your own wellbeing”.
Instead, there is something else I want us to take from this tragedy. I want us to take resolve to make the changes needed so we can care for our carers, not just in pockets, but throughout the NHS.
So I welcome today’s report from Health Education England. And I look forward to working with the NHS to put the recommendations into practice.
There’s no silver bullet. But just because there’s no one solution, let’s not fall into thinking there’s no solution.
There are 3 things in particular from the report I want to draw out.
First, something that Lauren’s father said has really stuck in my head.
Jonathan believes just being able to play the violin with an orchestra would have made an enormous difference to her mental and emotional wellbeing. But Lauren couldn’t commit to a few hours a week for rehearsals because she never knew what hours she was going to be working.
I felt that was shocking, and desperately sad. Rota practices like these are antediluvian.
I have doctors in my family who sometimes can’t make an incredibly important event, not because they’re unexpectedly stuck caring for a patient whose life is on the line – that happens and is an important part of the job – but because the ‘rota says no’.
Now, we’ve changed the rules at a national level to allow for modern, smart rotas. Well-led trusts have embraced those changes, but they haven’t been rolled out everywhere. And that has got to change.
Second, the report makes it clear that we need to place as much importance on the care of the carers as the patients.
I firmly believe this is the right thing to do.
Adam Kay recently said that working in the NHS: “You’re forced to build an emotional forcefield because no one is caring for the carers.”
He’s right. I pay tribute to the work Adam has done to highlight some of these problems, using humour to make people listen. I was actually reading Adam’s book when I became Health Secretary, and it’s shaped how I think of things.
But I didn’t reach the last chapter until after I was in this job. And the anguish and the pain in that last chapter hit me like a kick in the stomach.
So thank you Adam. Keep fighting the good fight. Because no one should have to build an emotional forcefield around themselves. And no one can do their job properly if they do.
And the third thing I want to draw out is that, to recruit and retain more staff, we need to change the culture of the NHS.
Why is it that when 1.3 million people have devoted their lives to caring for others, the collective system is uncaring to some? We need to change a culture of carrying on regardless, not asking for help, not looking for signs of burn-out among our colleagues, thinking everything’s OK as long as someone turns up for work and does their job.
That isn’t good enough.
No one, no government, no party owns the NHS. We’re merely custodians, looking after it, to pass it on, fit for the future, to the next generation.
I feel that duty every morning when I awake. Because I care. I care deeply about the NHS.
It’s been there for me, and my children. It was there for my grandparents.
Staff at Southmead Hospital, where Lauren worked, saved the life of my sister.
The tragedy of what happened to Lauren has a personal poignancy for me, because Lauren could have been one of the A&E doctors when my sister was brought in with a serious head injury. And my whole family owe a huge debt of gratitude to Lauren’s colleagues.
It horrifies me that those brave doctors and nurses, who face trauma every day, could be going through what Lauren went through.
So, throughout the NHS we must act, and I promise you, I will do all I can to protect and pass on this great British institution to future generations in a better condition than I found it.
And the only way we can do that is by caring better for our carers.
By looking after the people who look after us.
By making sure that when somebody needs help, there’s someone they can turn to, someone they can talk to.
By valuing our NHS staff.
By building a just, caring culture.
Apologising when we get it wrong, and learning from our mistakes.
Because the NHS isn’t run by people, the NHS is people.
And I will do everything in my power to give you the support you deserve.
Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, in Berlin, Germany on 20 February 2019.
I’m delighted to have this opportunity to speak here at the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. There are moments in history that remind us that we are all part of something greater than ourselves.
As I landed at Tegel Airport this morning, I thought of one such moment.
Seventy years ago, the people of this city were engaged in a daily struggle to keep West Berlin alive through Stalin’s blockade.
The skies above Berlin were filled with British and American aircraft laden with fuel, food and medicine, landing or taking off every 45 seconds, day and night.
For 11 months, pilots who had previously dropped bombs on Berlin mounted the greatest humanitarian airlift in history, delivering 2.3 million tons of supplies.
At first, Berlin did not have enough runways to receive the inflow.
So the people of Berlin built Tegel Airport with their own hands, taking only 90 days to construct what was then the longest runway in Europe.
Our countries were just a few years away from a devastating war.
And yet we were united.
United by shared values.
And united in opposition to those who sought to destroy them.
The people of Berlin overcame their ordeal, transforming this city into what President Kennedy later called a “defended island of freedom”.
Then, thirty years ago this year, Berlin ceased to be an island when the Wall came down. As the crowds surged through Brandenburg Gate in 1989, Berlin and its people reminded us never to take liberty for granted.
Those events show that some values transcend individuals, nations or groups of nations.
And indeed transcend Brexit too – however absorbing or challenging that may seem.
Alliance of Values
For whatever treaties or organisations our two countries may join or leave, our friendship is based on something infinitely more important and durable.
Britain and Germany cherish the same freedoms, defend the same values, respect the same fundamental laws and face the same dangers.
We are bound together not simply by institutions, but by the beliefs that inspired the creation of those institutions: democracy, openness and equality before the law regardless of race, class, gender or sexuality.
Karl Popper, the Austrian-born philosopher, defined the distinctive quality of an open society in these words:
“We ought to be proud that we do not have one idea but many ideas, good ones and bad ones; that we do not have a single belief: not one religion but many, good ones and bad ones….It is not the unity of an idea but the diversity of our many ideas, of which the West may be proud: the pluralism of its ideas.”
More than anything else, Britain and Germany believe in pluralism as the best way of releasing the nobility of the human spirit.
There is nothing new about this.
We shared these ideals in 1972 before Britain joined the European Economic Community.
And we will continue to share them in 2019 when we leave the European Union.
Because as I said in my response to the wonderful letter written to The Times last month by Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Prof. Dr Norbert Lammert and other distinguished Germans, Britain is not going anywhere.
We are not relocating our island to the far side of the world.
Our two countries may no longer be bound by the structures of the European Union, but we will remain part of a wider alliance, an alliance of values.
Nations united not solely by institutions but by beliefs: in freedom, the rule of law and human rights.
An alliance that doesn’t just believe in those ideals but is willing to defend them, as demonstrated by my predecessor, Ernest Bevin, when he helped to establish NATO.
Success of the rules-based system
He was part of the generation of humane and far-sighted leaders, including Konrad Adenauer, who built an assembly of rules and institutions – including the United Nations, the World Bank and what became the World Trade Organisation – to create an era defined not by bloodshed but by peace and prosperity. The goals of the world order that emerged after 1945 were summarised by the former Mayor of Berlin and Chancellor of Germany, Willy Brandt, who said:
“I re-emphasise my faith in the universal principles of general international law….They found binding expression in the principles of the United Nations Charter: sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-violence, the right of self-determination.”
By any objective measure, that international order has been remarkably successful.
Despite the bloodshed in Syria and elsewhere, the number of conflict-related deaths as a proportion of the global population fell by an astonishing 80 percent between 1984 and 2016.
Relative peace has allowed millions to raise themselves from destitution.
When I was born, half of humanity lived in absolute poverty; today, it is less than 10%.
Life expectancy has shot up and since 2000 alone 1.1 billion people have been connected to electricity for the first time.
The rules-based system is not some cynical construct designed solely to protect the interests of the West. Nor will the biggest losers be in the West if it is allowed to crumble.
So when people ask what will Britain’s role in the world be after Brexit, I say this:
We will put to work the remarkable array of connections across the globe that history has given the United Kingdom.
Whether through our European friends, our Atlantic allies or the Commonwealth family, we will seek to bind the democracies of the world together.
Only if we are joined together by an invisible chain or thread of shared values will we be strong enough to withstand the challenges we face.
And strong enough to uphold an international order that has served humanity so well.
Threats to rules-based system
Right now it would be an enormous mistake if Europe were to allow Brexit and other internal challenges to make us introspective.
Because when we look inwards, our adversaries sense an opportunity.
Russia has broken the prohibition on acquiring territory by force by redrawing a European frontier and annexing 10,000 square miles of Ukraine.
Having taken Crimea, Russia then deployed troops and tanks in eastern Ukraine, igniting a conflict that has claimed nearly 11,000 lives and driven 2.3 million people from their homes.
At the same time the global ban on the use of chemical weapons, dating back almost a century to 1925, has been violated time and again in Syria – and even on the soil of my own country.
Meanwhile the onward march of democracy that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall has come to a halt and started to go into reverse.
In the 2 decades after 1989, there were 29 new democracies. This century it has been different: last week Freedom House reported that 2018 was the 13th successive year of decline for political rights and civil liberties around the world.
We must never assume that the arc of history will automatically bend towards democracy and liberalism.
Wise decisions made by a generation of leaders in the last century shaped the world as we know it. The question is whether this generation of leaders will do the same?
Hence the overriding importance of Britain and Germany working side-by-side.
There is much to celebrate.
Together we are preserving the Iran nuclear agreement, keeping Iran free of nuclear weapons and the world safer as a result;
together we are resisting the evil of chemical weapons, from Salisbury to Syria, ensuring the price is always too high for countries to use these terrible weapons;
together we are upholding the Paris Climate Change Treaty, ensuring future generations will not pay the price of our prosperity today;
together we are working for lasting peace in the Western Balkans; indeed on my first day as Foreign Secretary I met Chancellor Merkel at a summit in London to discuss that very issue. Chancellor Merkel approached me and said, “Congratulations, if that’s the right word”.
At the same time, our security services and police are cooperating silently and tirelessly to guard our citizens and our European friends from terrorism and organised crime.
Our diplomats are training side-by-side; only last week, 76 British and German diplomats were attending joint classes in the Foreign Office in London.
Our soldiers are serving together in Afghanistan, where yours are the second biggest contribution to the NATO mission.
Our soldiers are also protecting NATO’s Eastern borders, where UK troops comprise the single largest component of the “enhanced forward presence” in Poland and the Baltic states.
Some in Germany have seen our decision to leave the EU as a retreat: a retreat from the global stage and from common European security interests.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Britain remains the only European nation to meet the UN and NATO targets of spending 0.7 percent of national income on aid, 2 percent of GDP on defence and 20 percent of our defence budget on capital.
The Prime Minister has restated that Britain’s commitment to the defence of Europe is immovable and unconditional.
And I’m delighted that Germany has been elected to serve on the Security Council; later today, Heiko Maas and I will discuss how our missions in New York can best cooperate on areas of common interest, including Libya and Darfur.
The UK-EU partnership
So at a time when the global balance of wealth and power is changing with remarkable speed – perhaps faster than ever before – we must not allow Brexit to be all-consuming.
That means an orderly departure from the EU is of paramount importance.
Of course when you leave a club you cannot enjoy all its benefits.
And nor will we: after Brexit, the UK will no longer be part of the councils of the EU. We will no longer have a say or vote in European directives or laws.
But nor – if we are to stand together against common threats – can Britain ever be just another “third country”.
The future partnership that Britain seeks to build with the EU starts with the belief that our security is indivisible.
The Political Declaration sets out a vision of the closest relationship in foreign policy the EU has ever had with another country, something that Chancellor Merkel herself has emphasised.
It states that where and when our interests converge – as they often will – Britain and the EU will “combine efforts” to the “greatest effect, including in times of crisis”.
We must also maintain the closest economic partnership, consistent with the spirit of the British referendum and the integrity of the single market.
The flow of trade between Britain and the EU amounts to one of the biggest economic relationships in the world.
In 2017, total trade between the UK and the other 27 members of the EU came to £615 billion [Euros 695 billion].
This is a colossal figure, about 8% bigger than the EU’s trade with China and 12 percent higher than trade between China and the United States.
Millions of jobs on both sides of the Channel depend on this flow of commerce so everyone has an interest in ensuring that it continues to flourish.
There are those who say that strategic and security partnerships can continue unaffected by economic relationships. We must remember the lesson of history: trading relations have always been the first link between countries, and they act as the foundation of all other relations.
So none of us should have any doubt that failing to secure a ratified Withdrawal Agreement between Britain and the EU would be deeply damaging, politically as well as economically.
In the vital weeks ahead, standing back and hoping that Brexit solves itself will not be enough.
The stakes are just too high: we must all do what we can to ensure such a deal is reached.
Last Saturday, Chancellor Merkel delivered a powerful defence of what she called the “classic” world order.
She urged all countries to “put yourself in the other’s shoes” and “see whether we can get win-win solutions together”.
I would urge our European friends to approach this crucial stage of the Brexit negotiations in that spirit.
Because in the future, we do not want historians to puzzle over our actions and ask themselves how it was that Europe failed to achieve an amicable change in its relationship with Britain – a friend and ally in every possible sense – and thereby inflicted grave and avoidable damage to our continent at exactly the moment when the world order was under threat from other directions.
Now is the hour for the generous and far-sighted leadership of which Chancellor Merkel spoke.
If we are to secure the future of a world order that has allowed our countries to enjoy the peace and prosperity that eluded our ancestors – if we are to avoid, in Chancellor Merkel’s phrase,falling “apart into pieces of a puzzle” – then achieving a smooth and orderly Brexit is profoundly necessary.
It would not be right to end this speech without an apposite quote from Konrad Adenauer, a towering figure in the history of the Federal Republic and the CDU, in whose honour this Foundation is named. He once said:
“Wenn die anderen glauben, man ist am Ende, so muss man erst richtig anfangen.” (“when others think we’ve reached the end, that’s when we’ve got to really begin”).
The UK’s departure from the EU is the end of one phase of our relationship. But it’s the beginning of another, and we are determined to remain the best of friends.
So let me finish by returning to that letter written by Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and other distinguished Germans to the Times.
The signatories were generous to Britain.
So let me say in response, Britain shares the same admiration and warmth for the people of Germany, for your moral courage, your tolerance and magnanimity, and for your towering achievement in building a nation that is, at once, a model democracy and the economic powerhouse of Europe.
When 2.1 million Berliners were blockaded and besieged 70 years ago, they could not be sure they would withstand the ordeal and eventually triumph.
They survived because of their courage and resilience, supported by the resolute action of friends who shared their ideals and were determined not to abandon this city.
Those friends did not come to Berlin’s support because of treaties or formal unions.
They acted because of something more powerful, though less tangible: the values that united them, just as values unite us today.
Those values remain constant whatever else changes. Let us remember that as we do our duty in the critical few weeks ahead.
Below is the text of the speech made by Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on 19 February 2019.
Thank you, for that introduction.
I am delighted to be here tonight, as you start a new chapter in the history of EEF. And it has been a fascinating history.
EEF as an organisation was founded in 1896, at a time when the second industrial revolution was just gathering pace; with new technologies being deployed across industry at breakneck pace.
That was the year the first wireless radio transmission was demonstrated right here in London. I haven’t heard the recording, but I’ve no doubt a then quite young John Humphrys did a good job of grilling some hapless politician.
As Judith also mentioned, 1896 was also the year the Daily Mail launched. What she was too diplomatic to mention was that the first ever edition carried an op-ed on the front page that confidently asserted that, and I quote: “the motor carriage will never displace the smart trotting pony or the high-stepping team”, and called for the restoration of a “two mile per hour speed limit”. Finger on the pulse – then as now!
Just in the interest of balance, when I proposed changing the speed limit it was supported by the Mail.
Today, we are more focused on when the motor carriage driver will be replaced by a computer. But we share with the turn of the 19th century a sense of living through a time of blistering change, as innovations in areas such as robotics, biotechnology, artificial intelligence and blockchain transform our economy – and nowhere is that truer than in the manufacturing and engineering sectors.
So it is entirely appropriate that you have chosen this moment to change from EEF to ‘Make UK’ – reflecting the diversity of the modern manufacturing sector. And I wish you every success in your new guise.
Let me first say a few words about last night’s news from Honda. As Greg Clark told the House this afternoon, this is clearly a bitter blow for the 3,500 skilled and dedicated workers at Honda in Swindon, and the many people whose lives will be affected – either because the companies they work for are part of the supply chain, or because they are part of the community around the plant.
Greg has spoken with the trades unions, the local MP, the Leader of Swindon Borough Council and the Chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership…
…and will shortly chair the first meeting, in Swindon, of a taskforce he’s put together to marshal government efforts to do everything we can to ensure that the much-valued workforce can find new opportunities to make use of their skills and experience.
The decision of Honda is, of course, a blow.
But despite the shock of this announcement, we must not lose sight of the fact that Britain remains a dynamic and open economy…
…that just this morning we saw record high employment numbers, and ten-year high real wage growth figures…
…and that we are an economy that has grown continuously for nine straight years…creating 3.4 million net new jobs in the process.
Our challenge is to maintain that performance, at a time of transformative change in our economy, with the technology revolution changing Britain’s economy, society and, indeed, politics in ways that we can barely predict.
But as Judith has said, the change uppermost in all our minds is, of course, our future relationship with the EU.
I understand that the ongoing uncertainty is a challenge for many of you in this room. And that the prospect – however small – of leaving without a deal is already too great, and is having very real consequences as you make difficult decisions about managing supply chains, about hiring people, about where and when to invest.
I understand the frustration in the business community about the pace and sometimes opacity of the democratic process.
I cannot make that frustration go away, but what I can attempt to do is to explain what we are doing to resolve this uncertainty.
Our priority remains avoiding a No Deal outcome, and that will be my unwavering focus. It is clear that leaving the EU without a deal would deliver a damaging short-term shock and would undermine our future prosperity and security – and in my view that would represent a betrayal of the promises about Brexit that were made during the referendum campaign.
So the solution lies in getting the PM’s deal through Parliament. That is the only way to both respect the referendum result and also supporting the economy, protecting jobs, and allowing us to leave, via an Implementation Period, in an orderly fashion, to a continued close trading partnership with our nearest neighbours.
Doing so means seeking a route to address the very specific objections that have been raised in the House of Commons. That’s our objective.
A legally binding change to the Withdrawal Agreement to ensure the backstop could not persist indefinitely would not satisfy all of my colleagues – but it would deliver the core of a majority for a deal in the House of Commons.
Such a change is not a straightforward task, and will require a spirit of compromise on both sides.
The so-called “Malthouse” initiative to explore possible alternative arrangements to the backstop, is a valuable effort in that direction.
It builds on an important concession we gained in the Withdrawal Agreement, in being able to propose alternative arrangements to the backstop – and it should be a major ongoing strand of our work, continuing at pace during the Implementation Period; one in which I hope and expect the EU will take an active part.
But, however promising as an alternative arrangement to avoid entering a backstop in the future, it is clear that the EU will not consider replacing the Backstop with such an alternative arrangement now, in order to address our immediate challenge.
The details of this initiative are still evolving, and would require significant changes to EU legislation and Customs practices that would need to be negotiated with the EU member states and others who will be affected by them.
So over the next few days, Members of Parliament need to think long and hard about the choice before them; Our partners in the EU need to be at their pragmatic best in helping to avoid the mutual calamity of no deal; and you – and we – need to carry on explaining the implications of a no deal exit, no matter who cries “Project Fear”: Because it’s our duty to communicate the reality of the situation, to the people we represent.
So our most urgent task is to secure a deal that will protect our future relationship with our closest neighbours and most important trading partners.
But however close that future relationship, it will not be as close as the one we have now. So there will be change ahead.
Our country has always seen itself as somewhat distinct from our European neighbours; somewhat more global in outlook.
Brexit will be our chance to show that we can combine a strong and continuing partnership with the EU, with a new focus on building on our historic overseas relationships, and forging new links with the fastest growing economies of the world.
Because that world is changing around us – a rapidly growing middle class, huge advances in innovation and technology, and a shift in the balance of wealth and power all mean the opportunities have never been so great.
But these emerging markets are a competitive place, and the key question for the UK will be: how do we establish our competitive advantage in this fast-changing, globalised world? How do we set out our stall in the bustling international marketplace of the 21st Century?
We have a choice:
Some people – on both the left and right – would have us fight again the economic battles of the past: at one extreme, an agenda of widespread nationalisation, penal taxation and heavy state regulation; at the other extreme, a slashing of tax rates and shredding of regulation.
Neither would deliver what is needed for our competitiveness as a 21st century mature economy with an ageing population.
So, I am clear that as Britain rethinks its competitive advantage in an ever more globalised world, we must factor in the changes happening around us and engage with the world as it is, not as it once was; we must find solutions rooted in the pragmatism for which this country is rightly famous, not in populist rhetoric
That means building on the distinctive strengths that we already have as a country. And my message to you tonight is that Britain’s modern manufacturing sector is and must remain one of those distinctive strengths and competitive advantages.
If we can get it right, your sector can prosper under our unavoidably more global outlook in the future – and be a core part of the high-tech, high-skill ecosystem that defines the future economy we want to build.
I want to say a few words about what we are doing – and what we need to do – to deliver on that ambition, in three specific areas – skills, innovation and infrastructure – and I hope in doing so, I may provide a worthy response to some of the challenges Judith posed in her opening remarks.
The first priority for any business these days, as all of you know, is skills; making sure you have the right people to make your business grow.
For too many years, our education system has been too focused on getting people into university, at the expense of other routes into work…
…focusing on the top level skills of the few, at the expense of the more practical capabilities of the many…
…and in doing so, we’ve hollowed out our manufacturing skills base…
…so that all too often the demographic profile of skilled workers inside companies looks even more daunting than the demographic profile of the country as a whole.
But we are changing that.
We know that the skillset we need for our advanced manufacturing industry requires us to focus, not just on degree level skills, but also on a wide range of specialist, technical skills.
That’s why we are reasserting the importance of technical education in our national life – so that we can more effectively train the next generation of engineers, to make sure that employers have the skills they need, and young people are match fit for the labour market of the future.
To do that, we have committed £500 million a year to introducing a new system of T-level vocational training…
…We’ve put the first £100 million into the new National Retraining Scheme, to make sure that British workers can face the challenge of technological change without fear…
…and through the Apprenticeship Levy we are delivering 3 million high quality apprenticeships in this Parliament.
But, of course, we want to work with industry as we deliver these reforms.
Judith – you challenged me on progress we’re making with the apprenticeship levy.
We have heard your concerns loud and clear – and taken action:
halving the co-investment rate from 10 to 5%
increased the amount you can transfer to your supply chain to 25%
we’ve put millions into the Institute for Apprenticeships
and we’re committed to consulting on how the levy operates in the future through an engagement process, which has already begun
We’ve conducted a series of regional roundtables with 59 employers attending to date – including an EEF policy advisor – and it’s only the 19th of February.
And may I also say in response to your plea for a nationwide rollout of the North West pilot of “Made Smarter”, that I am delighted by your enthusiasm for this ground-breaking programme. But it was only launched in November, and the point of piloting is to learn what works and what doesn’t. But I can absolutely promise you that what works will be rolled out in due course.
As well as making sure that British workers have the skills they need to thrive and prosper, we must also invest in the technologies of the future.
Our history is one of innovation – we are the nation of Stephenson, Faraday and Whittle. And today, Britain can lead the world again as we exploit a new wave of scientific and technological discovery pouring out of our world class Universities and our industrial research centres.
I do not need to tell the people in this room about the impact of this technological progress on the economy – just think of the changes you have seen over the last twenty years in automation, materials and manufacturing techniques. And everyone is familiar with the stats that point to Britain’s leading role in scientific research: With just 4 percent of the world’s researchers, but 15 percent of the world’s most highly cited articles.
But the leap from research lab to commercial product does not happen by accident.
And for too long, while we’ve been brilliant at invention and discovery, we have been near the bottom of the class in exploiting that home-grown genius to drive our own industry. But I’m glad to say that is changing.
And the manufacturing sector is at the forefront: you constitute 10% of the UK economy, but provide 66% of all business expenditure on research and development.
Since 2016 we have committed an additional £7 billion to science and innovation. This 20% increase is the sharpest and most sustained rise in public R&D investment since records began – clear progress towards our ambition for a government-industry partnership to lift economy-wide R&D spending to reach 2.4% of GDP by 2027.
But although government intervention is important, we understand that private enterprise is the real engine of innovation. So we are also making sure that the conditions are right for you as leaders and entrepreneurs to be able to invest in growing your businesses.
Support for businesses through R&D tax reliefs has tripled since 2010.
One of the areas EEF have been rightly challenging us on is capital investment incentives – and we have acted.
At Budget 2018 I increased the Annual Investment Allowance from £200,000 to £1 million for two years, providing hundreds of millions of pounds more tax relief
…and I also introduced a new, permanent ‘Structures and Buildings Allowance’, providing billions of pounds of new tax relief for firms investing in new non-residential buildings and structures – delivering a long-standing demand from industry.
And what is good for individual businesses is also good for the economy and for households – increasing productivity is the only sustainable way to boost real wages – and rising real wages are the sure-fire way to sustain a contented and stable workforce – and a satisfied electorate. A coincidence of objective that business people and politicians can celebrate together.
Today’s real wage growth figures are good news – but only sustainable if backed by productivity growth. And boosting our productivity also means investing in infrastructure, because even with the best staff and the most high-tech equipment in the world, your businesses won’t succeed without roads to transport your goods, railways to transport your staff, or fast broadband to deliver the digital lifeblood that sustains all modern businesses.
The cornerstone of our plan to boost productivity is the National Productivity Investment Fund, £37 billion of funding through to 2023-24 on top of the core investment in roads, rail, R&D, housing, and social infrastructure – specifically targeted at raising Britain’s productivity.
Together, these programmes are modernising our strategic roads network – which carries two-thirds of all freight
…delivering the biggest rail programme since Victorian times…
…and bringing our digital infrastructure up to date, with a strategy for delivering a nationwide full fibre network by 2033.
And we are supporting industry to make the transition to a low-carbon economy, with £315 million for a new Industrial Energy Transformation Fund, which will help businesses with high energy use – like those in your sector – to cut their bills and reduce their emissions…
…all of which together means over the next five years, total public investment will grow by 30%, to its highest sustained level in 40 years.
Judith, to return to your challenges, I hope I have shown this evening how government understands its role in supporting UK industry through the coming tech revolution, and in driving up productivity for the benefit of our businesses and our citizens – delivering our vision of a high-wage, high-skill economy.
The Modern Industrial Strategy encapsulates our clear commitment to play that role.
And sets out our plan to do it:
By putting technical skills back at the heart of our education system…
…investing in new technologies and innovation…
…modernising our roads and railways…
…cutting taxes for workers and for the businesses that employ them…
…reducing your energy costs – and your carbon footprint…
…doing everything we can, in other words, to make sure that Britain is known around the world as a great place to be a maker.
And I hope I have convinced you that I understand all too well the scale of the challenge that Brexit uncertainty represents for many of you…
…and that I am committed, and the whole government is committed, to doing everything we can to dispel that uncertainty as quickly as we possibly can…
…and that the approach I have set out tonight is the right one for Britain’s economy, regardless of Brexit.
Laying the foundations for our future prosperity in a world that is going to look and feel very different – for many different reasons beyond Brexit.
And in 100 years’ time, when my successor as Chancellor of the Exchequer gives a keynote speech to MakeUK’s annual conference, they won’t be talking about Brexit – or, at least, I hope they won’t!
They’ll be talking about the astonishing transformation of our economy that occurred through the tech revolution of the second quarter of the 21st century…
…about the remarkable achievement of a small, damp island, off the north west coast of Europe…
…still, in 2119, a world leader in high tech manufacturing and sophisticated services…
…a watchword for agile, flexible regulation…
…a European beacon in an Asian-dominated global economy.
I know we can do it.
And I look forward to working with you all, and with MakeUK, to make it happen.
Below is the text of the speech made by Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, at the EEF Manufacturing Conference on 19 February 2019.
Thank you Steph for that introduction – it’s always a pleasure to be introduced by a fellow Teessider!
Before I go any further, I just want to comment on the announcement made by Honda this morning that their Swindon plant will close in 2021.
I am not going to pretend that this is anything other than a bitter blow.
My thoughts this morning are with the 3,500 skilled and dedicated Honda workers and their families; and the suppliers of what has been a phenomenally successful business and has done so much for UK manufacturing during its time here.
And with the town of Swindon, whose proud manufacturing tradition, as everyone knows, dates way back to Brunel and the days of the GWR, and which has been home to one of the best car factories in the world during Honda’s time there.
And so our message to everyone affected by Honda’s closure is that we value intensely your skills; we completely understand the challenges that you face; and we will do everything that we possibly can to support every single person in the community, in the workforce, in the supply chain, to make sure that their skills and their ingenuity will find expression and application in the years ahead.
Now of course this news comes on top of months of uncertainty that you, as manufacturers, have had to endure about Brexit and about our future relationship with the EU.
And just spotting in the audience so many people that Richard and I meet during the course of our work – I know how important it is to you that we should find an early resolution of what our relationship with the rest of the European Union is going to be.
Because you know that every decision that you make – on prices, on cash flow, on logistics and investment – has real consequences for the hundreds of thousands, indeed millions of people that you employ.
And I’ve been always been quite clear that a situation in which our manufacturers don’t have the certainty that they need about the terms under which over two-thirds of our trade will be conducted in less than 40 days’ time is unacceptable.
It needs to be brought to a conclusion, and without further delay.
I am immensely grateful to Stephen Phipson and the EEF, now Make UK, for the advice and the support they have given on your behalf.
This is a membership organisation, and I want you to know that the views you express to the headquarters are deployed forensically and consistently by Stephen on your behalf.
Richard and I meet with Stephen every Wednesday morning for a full hour’s discussion of what he’s found from his interactions with you during the previous week.
And it really makes a difference. I can’t understate the importance of the evidence and intelligence that you supply through Stephen to us in our roles.
And it’s with the help of the EEF that we made, first of all – and won – the argument for a significant transition period, recognising that you need time to adjust to a new regime, whatever it is. A period during which your ability to trade with the EU remains as now time to adjust to new arrangements.
It was also based on the evidence. I think there’s been a national education in the realities of just-in-time production and integrated supply chains that the whole country has learned, but very much pioneered through the evidence that you’ve supplied to Stephen and has been deployed through the EEF.
That shaped the crucial objective of maintaining frictionless trade and that remains front and centre in our aims for the future economic partnership with the EU.
Richard and I will continue to work with you and to listen to you – the manufacturers and the employers – to make sure that your voice is decisive in this crucial debate.
And yet – as important as this all is, I can’t stand here today and claim to you that all of your requirements have been resolved.
To do that we need to have a deal. Because leaving the EU without one would, in my view, be a disaster for the whole country.
In the survey that EEF – Make UK – published just last week two-thirds of manufacturing employers said that ‘no deal’ would result immediately in price increases on products.
Whilst almost one-third of manufacturers said that ‘no deal’ has implications for jobs.
Now some people, when you voice these concerns, describe this as ‘Project Fear. But for me – knowing the familiarity that you have with the reality of running manufacturing operations and employing millions of people around the UK – I think it is better described as ‘Project Reality’.
Your evidence needs to be acted upon. And I know – from talking to many of you of the consequences from the logistical problems caused by new customs checks. To potential limitations on sending skilled workers to the UK to install, to maintain and service your products.
There is, I think, a lack of adequate understanding, historically, in this country, as to how intrinsic manufacturing is to the success of our service economy.
Many of your products, many of your revenues, I know, derive from the service contracts that you have in support of the manufacturing operations that you have in this country.
And I also know and entirely understand the importance of having this resolved much more quickly than I think has been in prospect.
The reality is that yesterday the first freighter that will arrive after the 29 March 2019 set off from Felixstowe bound for Japan with no clarity on the terms under which its cargo will be admitted when it reaches its destination.
That is, I know, unacceptable to you. And it’s unacceptable to me.
For me this shows how absolutely essential it is to conclude the arrangements with a deal in the weeks ahead.
And not on the last minute on the 28 March, but as soon as possible.
Because no one should regard waiting to the last moment, when you are making decisions now that have consequences for many weeks and months ahead, as acceptable.
I’ve always thought, and my colleagues in government have, that an orderly Brexit – one that implements the outcome of the referendum but in a way that protects prosperity, growth and jobs is what we should insist on.
No one wants to be poorer at a time when the opportunities that we have in manufacturing specifically are greater than ever before.
So, we will go on making sure that the argument that manufacturers put for a deal to be concluded swiftly is something that is heard loud and clear.
The deal that has been proposed is by no means perfect, but it does meet, in the view of many of you here, the needs that you’ve expressed. And in particular, provides more certainty in a time of great uncertainty.
But of course, decisions like Honda’s this morning demonstrate starkly how much is at stake.
Honda’s announcement they have described as not being related to Brexit, but to the changes that are taking place in the automotive sector.
And there are many people in this room that are aware of that and participate in that.
And that’s why this is such an important time to build on the foundations that we have in our economy to make sure that we profit from the opportunities in areas in which the UK has a stunning reputation.
A few months after the EU referendum I had a conversation with someone known to everyone in this room – the Siemens UK CEO Juergen Maier – which gave birth to the idea behind Made Smarter.
Making sure that smaller firms have the ability to access the cutting-edge of new technologies that sometimes are taken for granted by the larger OEMs and some of our research institutions – encouraging and helping smaller firms to adopt new technologies that can help them become competitive in this time of global change, and to create more jobs.
The idea struck a chord and many people in this room are involved with the Made Smarter Commission that resulted from that.
And based on Jurgen’s work and supported by you we have had a huge response right across the UK from the manufacturing community from companies big and small in every nation of the United Kingdom.
We’ve made substantial progress already.
In September, I chaired the first meeting of the Made Smarter Commission attended by many companies in the room today.
The very next month, in October we announced 120 million pounds to make sure that this diffusion of the technologies that we have in this country to supply chains in every part of industry should be able to be supported.
And at the heart of Made Smarter will be what I know is manufacturers’ No. 1 priority – skills.
There are so many lingering misconceptions that I’m sure you as I are frustrated about, that people have the wrong view of manufacturing.
The EEF under Stephen asked the British public to guess how UK manufacturing ranked globally the average guess was 56th.
Actually, we’re 9th in the world, and can rise more strongly. Kazakhstan is 56th.
But the perception needs to be countered, which is one of the big purposes of Made Smarter. EEF’s Chair Judith Hackitt, who I know is here today, is a formidable leader of that initiative to change perceptions of what manufacturing and engineering are about, to show the reality of modern manufacturing as one of the most exciting vocations that exist in Britain today.
We should be proud of the world-class manufacturing talent that we produce in this country, and we need to produce more.
And whenever I meet apprentices – whether it’s at the MTC, the Manufacturing Technology Centre just outside Coventry, the AMRC in Sheffield, or Make UK’s own apprentices in Aston, I’m blown away by the sense of privilege that people have, that have managed to discover what a fantastic career is in prospect if they get into manufacturing and engineering.
While companies like Lander Automotive – whose Managing Director Peter Tack is with us here today are creating new apprentices – 15 apprentices being recruited every 8 weeks to be embarked on a career that will take them around the world with excitement and discovery every year of it.
And as more companies embrace new technologies it won’t be about people or technology, but people and technology.
I was struck at the Manufacturing and Technology Centre looking at the latest application of robots.
The big question is: are these robots going to replace people?
Quite the reverse. All of the skills there – and you know it in this room – are about making sure that we learn to work effectively with automation: people working alongside robots, or deciding what to do with data analysis.
But as new technologies require new skills we must make sure that these opportunities are available to all.
Through our Industrial Strategy, our new National Retraining Scheme, which is designed to help people learn new skills as the economy changes, including as a result of automation.
We are also putting significant investment to help SMEs their leadership and management skills that again are often available more easily to larger companies, but to reap the opportunities that we have in the world we want to make sure that the best skills are available to leaders of some of our smaller businesses.
With a management training programme which could help 10,000 people a year over the next few years.
And just as no-one should be left behind by the new technologies sweeping this industry, no place should be left behind either.
I hope that Made Smarter will support small businesses, and small manufacturers right across the UK.
In pursuance of that goal the first wave is in the North West, working with the towns and cities of the North West – Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Lancashire, Liverpool and Manchester – to make sure that small businesses there are first to benefit to really reinforce what is already a strong cluster of manufacturing excellence.
We need to make sure the opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution are available to every single firm in the economy.
But in helping firms understand their data and, where suitable to automate production, we can make a real impact.
And there’s been a huge response in the North West, with 140 businesses signed up already to learn from the best in the country as to how they can spread industrial digitalisation.
As well as in automotive – we have a firm looking to use robotic equipment on the production line. We want the applications to be in, for example, food manufacturing – our most important manufacturing business line at the moment.
We want this pilot to become a beacon for schemes in regions right across the country.
So, ladies and gentlemen.
In the coming days and weeks we are very conscious that your future prosperity in a world of change and opportunity must be at the forefront of our attention in all of the policy decisions that we take.
Our test of a successful Brexit is that it should work for manufacturing industry at this time of such great opportunity, and through that, the millions of people who depend on you.
Just as we stand on the cusp of amazing new opportunities for manufacturers, we must retain and create the future possibilities for everyone in this room.
And we’re conscious that every hour, every pound spent being devoted to Brexit preparations is necessary – I understand. But actually it is not the main focus of your work, which is to create the products, processes and customers that will sustain the UK for many years to come.
So I look forward to continuing the very effective work that we do with the EEF – and now I hope with Make UK. That we can in a short space of time now agree a deal that brings the certainty that you’ve communicated so clearly that you want.
And we can make the UK as synonymous with the fourth industrial revolution as we are, through our history books, with the first.
Thank you very much.
Below is the text of the resignation letter sent to Theresa May, the Prime Minister, by Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston on 20 February 2019.
Dear Prime Minster
It is with regret that we are writing to resign the Conservative whip and our membership of the Party.
We voted for you as Leader and Prime Minister because we believed you were committed to a moderate, open-hearted Conservative Party in the One Nation tradition. A party of economic competence, representing the best of British business, delivering good jobs, opportunity and prosperity for all, funding world class public services and tackling inequalities. We had hoped you would also continue to modernise our party so that it could reach out and broaden its appeal to younger voters and to embrace and reflect the diversity of the communities we seek to represent.
Sadly, the Conservative Party has increasingly abandoned these principles and values with a shift to the right of British Politics. We no longer feel we can remain in the Party of a Government whose policies and priorities are so firmly in the grip of the ERG and DUP.
Brexit has re-defined the Conservative Party – undoing all the efforts to modernise it. There has been a dismal failure to stand up to the hard line ERG which operates openly as a party within a party, with its own leader, whip and policy.
This shift to the right has been exacerbated by blatant entryism. Not only has this been tolerated, it has been actively welcomed in some quarters. A purple momentum is subsuming the Conservative Party, much as the hard left has been allowed to consume and terminally undermine the Labour Party.
We have tried consistently and for some time to keep the Party close to the centre ground of British Politics. You assured us when you first sought the leadership that this was your intention. We haven’t changed, the Conservative Party has and it no longer reflects the values and beliefs we share with millions of people throughout the United Kingdom.
The final straw for us has been this Government’s disastrous handling of Brexit.
Following the EU referendum of 2016, no genuine effort was made to build a cross party, let alone a national consensus to deliver Brexit. Instead of seeking to heal the divisions or to tackle the underlying causes of Brexit, the priority was to draw up “red lines”. The 48% were not only sidelined, they were alienated.
We find it unconscionable that a Party once trusted on the economy, more than any other, is now recklessly marching the country to the cliff edge of no deal. No responsible government should knowingly and deliberately inflict the dire consequences of such a destructive exit on individuals, communities and businesses and put at risk the prospect of ending austerity.
We also reject the false binary choice that you have presented to Parliament between a bad deal and no deal. Running down the clock to March 20 amounts to a policy of no deal and we are not prepared to wait until our toes are at the edge of the cliff.
We can no longer act as bystanders.
We intend to sit as independents alongside The Independent Group of MPs in the centre ground of British politics. There will be times when we will support the Government, for example, on measures to strengthen our economy, security and improve our public services. But we now feel honour bound to put our constituents’ and country’s interests first.
We would like to thank all those who have supported us and worked alongside us within our constituencies over many years. We genuinely wish our many friends and colleagues within the Party well, indeed we know many of them share our concerns.
We will continue to work constructively, locally and nationally, on behalf of our constituents.
However, the country deserves better. We believe there is a failure of politics in general, not just in the Conservative Party but in both main parties as they
move to the fringes, leaving millions of people with no representation. Our politics needs urgent and radical reform and we are determined to play our part.
Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston
Below is the text of the statement made by Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to the House of Commons on 19 February 2019.
With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on Honda. This morning, Honda announced that future models of its Civic car, which are currently made in Swindon, will after 2021 be made in Japan. The Civic is the only vehicle made by Honda in Swindon, so the result of the decision is that the company’s manufacturing plant will close in 2021.
I am not going to understate what a bitter blow this is to the 3,500 skilled and dedicated workers at Honda in Swindon and their families, to the many more people and businesses who supply the plant, and to the town of Swindon, which has been proud to be home for 34 years to one of the best car factories in the world. It is a blow to the whole British economy.
The reason that Honda has given is its decision to accelerate the move to electric propulsion and to consolidate investment in its facilities in Japan. Following the entry into force of the EU-Japan free trade agreement earlier this month, tariffs for cars exported from Japan to the EU will drop from the current 10% to zero by 1 January 2026. Honda will then export from Japan, rather than from Britain, to Europe and the rest of the world. The company has stated that Bracknell will be retained as its European headquarters, that it will continue to base its Formula 1 operation from Britain, and that its research and development centre for electrification and connected and autonomous technologies will continue at Swindon.
Honda has announced an immediate consultation on the plan with the trade unions and suppliers. I have spoken with the trade unions, the local Members of Parliament, the leader of Swindon Borough Council and the chair of the local enterprise partnership. I will shortly chair, in Swindon, the first meeting of a taskforce, comprising those people and others, to do everything we can to ensure that the much valued Honda workforce in Swindon find new opportunities that make use of their skills and experience. We will work with the local community to ensure that Swindon’s justified reputation as a place of industrial excellence in manufacturing, technology and services is maintained and expanded.
In our automotive sector, we will work in close partnership with an industry that is going through a period of technological change and adjustment across the world that is greater than at any time in its history—a period of change that is disruptive and even painful for many, but in which Britain’s industry can emerge as a global leader if we back innovation in new sources of power and navigation. That is one of the four grand challenges of our industrial strategy, and the focus of our automotive sector deal.
I and many other colleagues in the House, of all parties, have worked hard over the past three years to make the case for investing in Britain, to investors in this country and around the world, despite the uncertainty that Brexit has put into the assessments of investors in Japan and around the world. We have secured investments during this time, from Nissan, Toyota, Geely, BMW, PSA, Aston Martin, Williams and many smaller firms. We have an international reputation for being a place to do business, with skilled, motivated staff, with access to innovation, especially in automotive, which is the best on the planet, and with a determination to make those strengths even greater in the years ahead.
This is a devastating decision that has been made today, and one that requires us to do whatever it takes to ensure that in the years to come Honda will once again, building on its continued presence here, recognise Britain as the best place in the world to build some of the best vehicles in the world.
Below is the text of the speech made by Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on 19 February 2019.
Friends, it’s a pleasure to be here and a particular pleasure to follow Minette’s brilliant speech. It’s particularly reassuring, Minette, to know that at the end of what’s been a highly successful year of your presidency that the NFU meets in good order under your leadership. And, of course, we meet at a time when the world is facing change.
Our world is at inflection point. Political, technological, social and environmental forces are reshaping the globe more powerfully than ever before, and at an accelerating pace. If we are together to meet, and master, those forces it will require of us – all – adaptability, imagination and clarity of vision.
A Union That Wins
And when it comes to adaptability, imagination and clarity of vision this union is fortunate. Your President, Minette, is one of the most impressive leaders in British public life today. In her first year in office, and it has been a busy first year in office, she has already achieved a huge amount – and I know that she will succeed in achieving even more for you in the months and years ahead.
In the last year, thanks to Minette’s leadership, and the combined efforts of her superb team – Terry Jones, Nick von Westenholz, Guy Smith, Stuart Roberts, John Davis from NFU Cymru among others – the NFU’s voice has been heard at the heart of Government and the changes that you have asked for have, in many cases, been secured.
Alone among sectors, farming has quite rightly secured special treatment in future migration policy with the establishment of a new pilot seasonal workers scheme which has the potential to expand as the market requires in the future.
Again, thanks to NFU advocacy, changes were made this summer to rules on abstraction and grazing to help farmers through a particularly challenging time.
The NFU’s careful deployment of arguments not only shaped our initial Agriculture Bill – the first for a generation – but amendments that your union have been instrumental in designing look set to strengthen it yet further.
Already, the Bill creates new powers to improve the functioning of the supply chain, to support farmers through extreme market disturbance, to safeguard producer organisations and provide new sources of income for farming business. And we are in new discussion about how to go further to support the sustainability of food production and to protect our high standards that Minette rightly underlined were so important in a competitive trading environment
We have been clear – across Government, from the Prime Minister down – that we will not lower our standards in pursuit of trade deals, and that we will use all the tools at our disposal to make sure the standards are protected and you are not left at a competitive disadvantage.
That is why today I welcome Minette’s call to establish a Commission bringing together expertise from across the country and across sectors to ensure that we can maintain the world-class standards which give British food producers their well-deserved global reputation.
It’s not just on maintaining standards that your voice has been heard. You have won guarantees on future funding too.
NFU advocacy has helped guarantee consistent levels of cash support for farming until 2022 – a more durable guarantee than any other EU nation currently enjoys.
And as we, like other nations, move to new methods of support, the NFU’s arguments for a suitable transition period, and appropriate support for productivity investment during that period, have been heard, adopted and will be implemented.
Minette’s own championing of a new Livestock Information Programme to strengthen animal health protections and give food producers a world-leading platform to compete on provenance and quality has also changed policy decisively and it has resulted in additional Government investment.
Alongside those changes, the NFU has also been central to establishing a new Food and Drink Sector Council, laying the groundwork for a new Food and Drink Sector Deal and initiating a new National Food Strategy – again the first for a generation.
We have also listened to the concerns expressed by people in this hall, and articulated so powerfully this morning by Minette, about the need to maintain focus and energy in the fight against Bovine TB. The independent Godfray report confirmed that targeted culling will continue to have an important part to play in tackling this dreadful disease – alongside work to further improve biosecurity – and Minette’s support for the deployment of every tool at our collective disposal to tackle this scourge has been critical.
There’s another scourge farmers have had to endure where more needs to be done – and that is the environmentally damaging and economically costly practice of fly-tipping. The concerns Minette has articulated on your behalf led to the launch of a waste crime review and new policies to tackle this criminality in our waste and resources strategy. The Environment Agency, the police and magistrates all now know that they need to do more and the powers are there. Fly tippers now face the prospect of unlimited fines for their crimes. And let’s be clear- they should pay the price for their behaviour – not innocent farmers.
And when it comes to preparing for every Brexit eventuality, Minette’s arguments for special protection for agriculture and food production in every scenario, with particularly robust protections in the event of no deal, have been heard loud and clear within Government.
So on labour, fairness in the supply chain, support for POs, guarantees on future income, investment in productivity, investment in animal health, support for livestock farmers, support for all farmers facing climate stress, a greater emphasis than ever before in Government policy on food, action to tackle bovine TB, tougher penalties for waste criminals, sensible tariffs, defence of standards.
Minette has been winning battles for everyone in this hall. She is your champion and there could be none better.
Whatever the weaknesses in policy or delivery Government is responsible for, and I will turn to some of them in a moment, Minette and the NFU have been dedicated, indefatigable and successful, again and again, in getting things right for Britain’s farmers.
And one of the critical reasons for that is that Minette, and your leadership team, understand that the future for farming, and food production, requires us all to lean in, to be change-makers rather than reactive or passive in the face of the forces re-shaping our world.
A World Of Change
And we should not underestimate – and I know we don’t – the scale of change we all face. It’s not just Brexit, although I shall say much more about our departure from the EU in a moment.
There are huge demographic changes coming. Our population is increasing, across the globe cities are growing and rural areas are depopulating, the numbers leading increasingly prosperous and middle class lives are mushrooming and all these changes are driving increased demand for food and especially high quality protein, cereals, fruit and vegetables.
At the same time, global warming and other environmental changes are rendering once fertile parts of the globe increasingly inhospitable for agriculture. The nations of the global north – Canada, the US, Europe and, pre-eminently, the United Kingdom will, inevitably, become more and more important in meeting the needs of a hotter and hungrier world.
There are huge opportunities for British agriculture to meet this growing demand and provide a growing share of the world’s food supply.
But in doing so we must lean in to another profound set of changes. Technology is remaking our world and every aspect of our economy. There are – of course – some skills which no technological innovation can ever supersede. The hard-won knowledge of the Lake District shepherd hefting sheep as generations before him or her have done, the careful husbandry of other livestock, the delicate judgements growers make reflecting an understanding of their specific landscapes, they’re are all part of what makes farming such a unique profession.
But while farming depends on special skills, it is also being transformed by the technologies changing all our lives. AI and machine learning, big data and genomics, drones and robotics, decarbonisation of energy generation and advances in battery technology, biotech and life science breakthroughs, electronic monitoring and smart sensors and so much more are re-making the organisation and economics of food production.
Which is why we are investing more in R&D, making support available for investment in the technology which will make individual farm businesses more productive and encouraging collaboration and co-operation in the adoption of new technologies.
Many of these breakthroughs not only increase productivity, they also help us safeguard and improve the natural environment on which not just our future prosperity, but our survival, depends.
Precision application of pesticides and fungicides, drones rather than ground vehicles, gene-edited crops which require no additional chemical protection, data analytics which can refine and target necessary interventions, sensors which can alert us to animal disease and maximise dairy yields, all of these and more can both make food production more efficient and lighten our environmental foot print.
Which is all the more necessary given the scale of environmental pressure we are all facing. Last summer, as Minette reminded us, powerfully underlined the impact of climate change on food production. And as the world warms so the impacts, and volatility of those impacts, will only grow.
As the planet heats up, as oceans acidify, as our rivers and seas become clogged and polluted, as our pollinators become threatened, as the organic content of soil becomes depleted and biodiversity diminishes, the ability of our earth to remain fertile and fecund, to sustain plant, animal and human live, comes under greater and greater stress.
That is why concern for our environment, and careful steps to steward our natural capital, are not diversions from the business of food production, but as everyone in this hall knows they are – central to the future of our food economy. And no-one has been clearer in the need for food production and environmental enhancement to be twin goals of land use than Minette.
Her commitment in pledging that we should aim for a net zero target for carbon emissions from farming is precisely the sort of leadership on the environment the world needs to see. And I am delighted today to applaud her for her vision.
Our changing environment is not the only challenge to which we must rise in preparing our food economy for the future. We need to ensure that we adapt to the growing awareness, and concern, about public health.
With obesity and related conditions – such as diabetes and heart disease – on the rise we need to think more about how we develop a truly healthy food economy. And here I believe that British farming has a leadership role to play second to none.
Every critical component of a healthy diet is produced by British farmers – better than anyone in the world. Cereals and pulses, salads and other vegetables, soft fruit and juices, milk, yoghurt and cheese, poultry and red meat – all the essential elements of a balanced and nutritious diet are produced in abundance and to the highest standards by the people in this hall.
I welcome the increasing public attention paid to the circumstances in which food is produced and the need to make healthy choices in our daily diet. This scrutiny only strengthens the hand of British farmers. A demand for higher standards, for more sustainable production, for high standards in animal welfare and more nutritious choices can only mean a demand for more high quality British produce rather than the alternative.
But while I welcome, as we all should, a more demanding approach from consumers, because British farmers are best placed to meet that demand, we should not shirk, and I will not shy from, defending every sector of British farming. British livestock and British dairy farmers produce the meat, milk and cheese which provide us with the protein, calcium, vitamins and other minerals which contribute to greater choice for all in meeting our need for high quality food.
Dairy farmers deserve protection from activists who would undermine their work, they – our dairy farmers, alongside sheep and beef farmers play a critical role in keeping pastures and other vital landscapes resilient and strengthening rural economies and rural society. That’s why I am an enthusiastic supporter of initiatives such as Febru-dairy which remind us how much we owe our dairy farmers and why, at the end of a hard day at Defra, I am always happy to raise a pint – of full cream milk – to thank them for what they do.
And I am particularly conscious that it is dairy – and even more so livestock – farmers – who face the biggest challenges if we fail, as a government, to secure a good Brexit deal.
Securing The Best Brexit
A majority of farmers voted for Brexit – as did I – and I can understand all too well why farmers did.
The inflexible operation of the Common Agricultural Policy – the three crop rule, the requirement to apply for support by fixed dates after wrestling with the most convoluted bureaucracy, the requirement for mapping and re-mapping which treats honest farmers with grotesque insensitivity, the rigidity with which rules on field margins and hedge cutting have been applied – all these and so much more need to be reformed fundamentally.
Life outside the EU and the CAP will allow us to apply necessary rules with greater proportionality and flexibility. The work of Dame Glenys Stacey in her outstanding report on farm inspection and regulation shows us how to reduce the regulatory and inspection burden and showcase higher standards.
That is not the only gain which life outside the EU can secure for British farming. We can re-make the nature of farm support, directing money to the most deserving.
We can target support for small farmers, upland farmers and innovative active farmers for the goods they generate which are not rewarded in the market.
We can reward better those who are doing all the right things environmentally. And we can support others to make changes they hanker after but whose upfront costs have so far been a deterrent.
And we can forge the right sort of new trade deals. We can secure better access to international markets where demand for lamb is rising even as it falls in Europe.
We can ensure those cuts which UK consumers don’t favour find a bigger share of the market in the areas like the Far East and beyond, allowing better carcass balance and thus equipping domestic producers to meet more of the home demand in areas such as pork and bacon where domestic producers can replace Danish and Dutch production.
All these gains – and more – are open to us as we take back control of food and farming policy and instead of submitting to an out of date and out of touch one size fits all EU policy we can tailor future policy to our needs.
But all these potential gains are potentially compromised, indeed put at severe risk, if we don’t secure a deal with the EU.
The deal the Prime Minister has secured already holds out the prospect of tariff and quota-free access to the European market, with the minimum of friction and the flexibility to operate wholly outside the CAP.
Parliament has asked the Government to improve that deal – specifically by seeking changes to the Northern Ireland backstop and alternative arrangements to the customs approach envisaged in the backstop. The PM and others are negotiating hard in Brussels this week to secure those changes and I am optimistic we will see progress. And I am also optimistic Parliament will back an improved deal.
Because if we leave without a deal then there will be significant costs to our economy – and in particular to farming and food production.
As things stand, just six weeks before we are due to leave, the EU still have not listed the UK as a full third country in the event of no deal being concluded. That means as I speak that there is no absolute guarantee that we would be able to continue to export food to the EU. I am confident we will secure that listing, but in the event of no deal the EU have also said they will impose strict conditions on our export trade.
If we leave without a deal the EU has been clear that they will levy the full external tariff on all food. That means an increase of at least 40% on sheep meat and beef, rising to well above 100% for some cuts. The impact on upland farmers and the carousel trade in beef would be significant and damaging.
The vast majority of our sheep meat exports – 90%- go to the EU, France in particular. Tariffs at that level would increase prices dramatically. We know that other nations are hungry for that trade. Other EU nations – from Spain to Romania – would seek to supply French markets. And nations like New Zealand and Australia would still have tariff-free trade for a specified quota of sheep meat to the EU while we would have no such access in the event of no deal.
Of course, our exports are in demand because of the high quality of our fresh produce – second to none in the world. But if European buyers do switch contracts because tariffs make our exports significantly more expensive it will be difficult to re-establish our market access even if those tariffs come down in the future.
Tariffs are not the only problem we would face. All products of animal origin entering the EU would face SPS checks. The EU’s current position is that 100% of imports would need to be checked. And, in order to be checked every import would need to go through a border inspection post.
A huge proportion of our food exports to the EU currently go through Calais. As I speak there are no Border Inspection Posts at Calais. None. The French authorities promise to invest in BIP capacity but with just six weeks to go we face considerable uncertainty over future arrangements.
The requirement for checks will inevitably slow the processing of exports, and for every lorry that is delayed at Calais there is a knock-on effect for other haulage and the rapid turn-around of roll-on roll-off ferries.
We can expect, at least in the short term, that those delays in Calais will impede the loading of ferries, constricting supply routes back into Britain and furring up the arteries of commerce on which we all rely. That will only serve to increase transport costs for British exporters.
In addition, UK exporters will also need to comply with new customs paperwork, we’ll need to work with HMRC for new registrations and we’ll need to supply Export Health Certificates where none have been required before.
New labelling will be required for UK products of animal origin exported to the EU and some sectors, such as organic food producers, may not have their products recognised as distinct until some time after we leave.
The combination of tariffs, in some cases doubling or more the price of exports, new checks which will be time-consuming and costly, increased transport frictions and cost, new labelling, customs and SPS requirements will all create significant difficulties for food exporters – small businesses and in particular small livestock farmers would be the worst hit.
The Government is, of course, doing everything it can not just to secure a deal but also to mitigate the impact of leaving without deal. The NFU and others have made strong arguments about the need to ensure stronger tariff protection for British farming, in particular stronger protection for British farming than any other sector of the economy.
In particular, you have argued that we need tariffs on sheepmeat, beef, poultry, dairy, both milk and cheese; and pig meat in order to safeguard our valuable domestic production. Your concerns have been absolutely heard and announcement on new UK tariffs in a no deal scenario – with specific and robust protections for farming – will be made shortly.
And, of course, we also have the power to intervene to provide direct cash support to the most vulnerable sectors and I will not hesitate to provide the support required.
But while I can and will energetically and determinedly try to deal with the consequences of no deal let no one be in any doubt how difficult and damaging it would be for British farming.
Of course, Britain is a great and resourceful country and no sector of our economy is harder-working and more resourceful than our farmers and food producers. Over time we would get through.
But I emphatically do not want to run the risks that leaving without a deal would involve.
It is critically important that every decision-maker in London, every parliamentarian who will vote in coming weeks, understands what no deal would involve for British farmers and food producers. No one can be blithe or blasé about the consequences.
Which is why I hope you will make your voices heard, as you have already, in asking our MPs not to undermine or put at risk the potential gains of Brexit by voting for us to leave without a deal.
Of course, there are many other areas where your voice must also be heard by decision makers in the weeks and months ahead – and other areas where Government can and must do better.
Reform Starts At Home
We have to do better in the delivery of countryside and environmental stewardship payments. They are still in a mess, the consequence partly of historic IT procurement decisions and the split responsibility for scheme administration between Natural England and the RPA, which led to inefficiency and confusion.
Yes, it is the case that the rigidities of EU rule-making made delivery more difficult. But we must take responsibility in Defra for our share of the errors and I do. Which is why we have put in place a new management structure and delivery mechanism for all farm payments.
We have seen an improvement this year in BPS delivery and we will be making further changes to secure full payment for those whom have waited far too long.
We have also committed to making payments to 95% of CS 2018 customers by March 31, and to meet this target I can announce today that we will introduce bridging payments of between £24 and 28 million in early April. So no eligible recipient will wait beyond early April to receive the payment that they deserve.
We also expect to pay 95% of CS final payments by the end of July 2019. And in order to bring down processing times, and speed up completion claims by a month, we will move to making full CS payments straight away.
On ES, there is still more we want and need to do, and our focus is firmly on making operational improvements. We expect to complete 95% of ES 2017 final payments by the end of July.
Since the beginning of October, the remaining 18,000 ES agreements have been handled by the RPA; that number will fall to around 13,000 next year as some people are moved over into CS when their HLS agreements run out. The process should become more efficient now that it is being handled by a single body with a clear line of command. And Paul Caldwell and the team at RPA are already beginning to deliver the changes that we all need to see.
And, of course, as I already mentioned, on BPS claims, 97.4% have been completed this year, with a total value of £1.68 billion. This is the best performance by the RPA since the scheme began in 2015, but any farmers still waiting at the end of March will be automatically offered a 75% bridging payment in early April, in order to secure their future.
I hope these steps will underline how committed we are to improving the payment system. But I know there is more to do.
As there is with our Agriculture Bill. You are right, Minette, to demand that the Bill be properly scrutinised, that thoughtful amendments be considered fairly and more changes made. The Agriculture Bill is not the last word in our plans to support British farming – far from it.
There is much more that we can do to ensure that in procurement policy, trade policy and research investment we strengthen the position of domestic food producers. But we must also use this Bill to create the best possible framework for the future and listen to you as we do so.
I began by outlining the scale of change we all face – in Government, in industry, in society and in farming and food production especially. My ambition is to manage and channel that change to strengthen British farming and the British countryside.
I love the United Kingdom and its countryside in all its diversity and beauty. I was brought up in Aberdeen in a family that has been in the food business for generations. My dad ran a small business providing high quality food to consumers across the UK and my first job after school was working in a farming co-operative, so I want to do everything I can to support our food producers and farmers to lead and prosper in the future.
I believe together we can, if we make change our ally, that if we meet the challenge of improving our environment we can demonstrate global leadership in strengthening our rural economy, if we recognise that economic change provides us with an opportunity to feed more of the world more healthily than ever, we can strengthen rural society and our rural economy. I believe that political change enables us to design policies that suit all of the nations in the UK and all of our rural communities more smartly and sensitively than ever before and I believe technological change allows us to lead the world, as we have in the past, in pioneering a new agricultural revolution that plays to our country’s immense strengths.
I know we can meet, and master, these challenges of the future and I know we will do so if we stay true to the best traditions of British framing exemplified by all those of you in this hall today.
Below is the text of the speech made by David Gauke, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, on 18 February 2019.
Since the early 1990s, we’ve seen the prison population almost double, from about 45,000 in 1993 to just over 83,000 in 2008. Since then, it has been broadly stable and currently stands at a little below 83,000.
This is the highest rate of imprisonment almost anywhere in western Europe.
For every 100,000 people…
… in the Netherlands 61 are behind bars
… in Denmark 63
…in Germany it’s 76
…in Italy it’s 99
…in France it’s 104.
In England and Wales our incarceration rate is 139 people per 100,000.
Why do we have such high rates of imprisonment – both by international standards and our own historic standards?
Part of this is about our society and government rightly recognising and responding to the rise in certain types of crime.
More offenders are being jailed for violent crime for example. And last year, over a third of people sentenced for crimes involving knives or other weapons were given immediate custodial sentences. That’s up from 23% in 2009.
And the length of sentences is increasing – sentences for sexual offences for example have gone up from 43 months in 2007 to just under 61 months in 2018.
It’s also about changing expectations about the kinds of crimes for which we expect perpetrators to be more severely punished.
Look at sexual offences where we’ve seen more victims feel able to come forward, more people brought to justice, and with many more convictions and much longer sentences than a decade ago.
But it’s not just about violent or sexual offences. Prison sentences, in general, have been getting longer.
Even for offences which aren’t violent or sexual, the average sentence length overall has increased. Take fraud: the average custodial sentence for that has gone up from just under a year in 2007 to over 18 months in 2017.
Now, whatever your own views on what should happen, as a matter of fact it is clearly not true that sentences overall are getting shorter or justice is somehow getting softer – as some argue.
When it comes to the length of prison sentences we are now taking a more punitive approach than at any point during Mrs Thatcher’s premiership.
Let me be clear…
…I do not want to reverse the tougher sentencing approach for serious offences. But equally, we should be extremely cautious about continuing to increase sentences as a routine response to concerns over crime. We have to recognise that such an approach would lead us to becoming even more of an international and historical outlier in terms of our prison population.
Instead, we need to take a step back and to ask ourselves 3 questions:
…Is our approach to sentencing actually reducing crime – when reoffending remains stubbornly high, creating more victims and putting the public at risk?
…Are we running our prisons in a way which maximises offenders’ chances of turning their lives around, of going on to gainful employment and re-joining society as a responsible citizen?
…And should we be seeking opportunities in the coming years to find better and alternative ways of punishing as well as rehabilitating offenders?
It is these questions – how we punish people for their crimes – which I’d like to talk about today.
I think now is the time for us as a society, as a country, to start a fresh conversation, a national debate about what justice, including punishment, should look like for our modern times.
Because as I see it, there is a false choice between the narrow and often polarising discussion about ‘soft’ justice versus ‘hard’ justice.
In my view, we should be talking about ‘smart’ justice.
Justice that works.
Now, for most of us in society, the very idea of going to prison for even a short amount of time, and the loss of liberty that entails, is a real deterrent.
But that thinking fails to get into the mindset of many of today’s criminals –who are either reckless, or who don’t fear prison because they have friends and family who have all done time. Perhaps their lives are so chaotic that prison, in the scheme of things, might not seem so bad.
That is true of no group more than those serving the shortest sentences.
In the last five years, just over a quarter of a million custodial sentences have been given to offenders for six months or less; over 300,000 sentences were for 12 months or less.
But nearly two thirds of those offenders go on to commit a further crime within a year of being released.
27% of all reoffending is committed by people who have served short sentences of 12 months or less.
For the offenders completing these short sentences whose lives are destabilised, and for society which incurs a heavy financial and social cost, prison simply isn’t working.
The most common offence for which offenders are sentenced to less 6 months – some 11,500 offenders – is shoplifting.
We know that offenders who commit this kind of crime often have drug or alcohol problems, and many are women. Almost half of women sentenced to a short custodial sentence are there for shop theft.
The impact of short custodial sentences on women generally is particularly significant. Many are victims, as well as offenders, with almost 60% reporting experience of domestic abuse and many have mental health issues.
For women, going into custody often causes huge disruption to the lives of their families, especially dependent children, increasing the risk they will also fall into offending.
And for many offenders, both men and women, who may not have a stable job or home, and who are likely to have alcohol or drug problems, a short stay in prison can result in them losing access to benefits and drug or alcohol support services and treatment. Coming out of prison, they find themselves back at the start of the process and feeling like they have even less to lose.
That’s why there is a very strong case to abolish sentences of six months or less altogether, with some closely defined exceptions, and put in their place, a robust community order regime.
Let’s be honest. The public will always want to prioritise schools or hospitals over the criminal justice system when it comes to public spending. But where we do spend on the criminal justice system, we must spend on what works.
Why would we spend taxpayers’ money doing what we know doesn’t work, and indeed, that makes us less safe?
The reception of a new offender into custody – that first night inside – is one of the most resource heavy moments in an offender’s journey through the system.
Every offender must have their property logged. They must be issued with their prison essentials – toothbrushes; clothing; bedding. They must be risk assessed for self-harm risks and the risks they pose to other offenders. There are full security procedures including a strip search for many.
And then once these offenders are set up inside, there’s no time for the prison service to do any meaningful rehabilitative work with them.
In 2017, almost 50,000 offenders were sentenced to immediate custody for 6 months or less. By abolishing these sentences we’d expect also to reduce the number of receptions carried out.
Just think how much better we could use the prison officers’ time and resources, whether focusing on security, whether looking after those at risk of self harm, or whether spending more time on running regimes which really will make a difference – those built around temporary release for work, education, and tackling drug addiction.
And offenders are less likely to reoffend if they are given a community order, which are much more effective at tackling the root causes behind criminality.
Now, I do not want community orders which are in any sense a ‘soft option’. I want a regime that can impose greater restrictions on people’s movements and lifestyle and stricter requirements in terms of accessing treatment and support.
And critically, these sentences must be enforced.
That’s why on Saturday I announced the rollout of our new GPS tagging programme which will allow offenders’ movements to be more effectively monitored.
Working with our justice partners, I hope that GPS tags will be available across the country by April.
It will be an important new tool in controlling and restricting the movement and certain activities of offenders.
It will also help manage offenders safely in the community and strengthen the protection available for victims by monitoring exclusion zones.
Other new technology and innovations are opening up the possibility of even more options for the future too.
For example, technology can monitor whether an offender has consumed alcohol, and enables us to be able to better restrict and monitor alcohol consumption where it drives offending behaviour.
We are testing the value of alcohol abstinence monitoring requirements for offenders on licence, building on earlier testing of its value as part of a community order.
Underpinned by evidence of what works to reduce reoffending, we are also increasing the treatment requirements of community orders.
Our research shows that nearly 60% of recent offenders who engaged with a community-based alcohol programme did not go on to reoffend in the two years following treatment. Offenders given a community sentence including mental health treatment have also shown to be significantly less likely to reoffend.
That’s why we have worked with the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and Public Health England to develop a Treatment Requirement Programme which aims to increase the number of community sentences with mental health, drug and alcohol treatment requirements.
The programme is currently being tested in courts across five areas in England –Milton Keynes, Northampton, Birmingham, Plymouth and Sefton.
It dictates a new minimum standard of service, with additional training for staff to improve collaboration between the agencies involved – all of which is increasing confidence among sentencers to use them.
I look forward to seeing the outcomes of those trials shortly.
Many offenders in prison have mental health problems, but often struggle to engage with treatment on the same terms as they could in the community. That is why the Health Secretary and I want to explore how innovative digital technologies can be put to use to serve the mental health needs of our prisoners.
We also know stable accommodation is a key factor in reoffending. As part of the Government’s Rough Sleeping agenda, we are investing up to £6.4 million in a pilot scheme to help individuals released from three prisons – Bristol, Leeds and Pentonville – who have been identified as being at risk of homelessness into settled accommodation, while providing them with wrap around support for up to two years.
This is part of a cross-government action necessary to cutting reoffending and tackle the root causes of criminality.
But if we want to successfully make a shift from prison to community sentences it is critical that we have a probation system that commands the confidence of the courts and the public.
I will return to the subject of probation in much greater depth later this year. But, in thinking strategically about the future of our justice system I believe in the end there is a strong case for switching resource away from ineffective prison sentences and into probation. This is more likely to reduce reoffending and, ultimately, reduce pressures on our criminal justice system.
I am determined to strengthen the confidence courts have in probation to ensure we can make this shift away from short custodial sentences towards more punitive and effective sanctions and support in the community.
However, as I mentioned earlier, prison will continue to be right for some.
My second question was about what sort of prison regime we want.
For those who are serving longer sentences, we need to ensure that prisons are humane, safe and secure. Much good work has been done over the past year, led by the excellent Prisons Minister Rory Stewart.
But in prison, to reduce the chances of reoffending on release, there needs to be a positive outlook for the future and a sense that there is light at the end of the tunnel so long as an offender wants to turn their back on crime.
That’s why I have spoken before and we have consulted on a new approach to incentives and privileges that better incentivises prisoners to abide by the rules and engage in education, work and substance misuse interventions, whilst ensuring poor behaviour can still be tackled through the loss of privileges.
It means maintaining a link to the outside world – for example with work and family – so that prisoners don’t get institutionalised and lose hope.
If, at the end of a prison term, our objective is to release into the community a responsible citizen, we must first ensure that we have a responsible prisoner.
An important way we can do this for some prisoners is release on temporary license – or ROTL.
Research last year shows the more ROTL a prisoner gets, the less chance there is of them reoffending.
It provides purposeful activity and experience while in prison so that they have the right attitude for work, can get a job when they’re released, prepare for re-joining their families and society and turn their back on crime for good.
We are currently consulting on loosening some of the barriers to using ROTL for some prisoners. Our plans will encourage using ROTL more often to get prisoners off the wings and into the workplace by removing blanket restrictions on when governors can consider ROTL, particularly those who have progressed to open conditions.
Rather than blanket bans, the focus will rightly be instead on how safe it is for a prisoner to be released on ROTL, enabling them to go out to work sooner, and helping them to prepare for eventual release.
I am pleased to say that three prisons, HMPs Drake Hall, Ford and Kirkham, are currently testing out new arrangements for ROTL, giving their Governors more discretion over temporary release for men and women. This will be a great opportunity to learn from their experience, and explore the best ways to safely and more quickly get prisoners out for work.
Our other reforms will also make reoffending less likely on release. Whether that’s our £7 million investment for new in-cell telephones to maintain family links or looking at how we categorise the risk prisoners pose so they are put in the right type of category prison.
This brings me to my third fundamental question. Is it time to begin to think again about how we punish offenders in future.
Historically, for many offenders our earliest prisons were little more than holding pens ahead of transportation or indeed capital punishment. Of course, those sanctions are no longer available to us. And, for the avoidance of doubt, I am not advocating their return.
But for the past couple of centuries, we have – almost by default – come to accept the view that punishment essentially means prison.
Looking at reforming short sentences by providing a robust community orders regime is a near term initiative that will help us tackle the problem of reoffending.
But thinking about effective punishment for different crimes isn’t limited to those that currently get short sentences.
I believe we are nearing a time when a combination of technology and radical thinking will make it possible for much more intensive and restrictive conditions to be applied in more creative and fundamental ways outside of prison.
I think for some offenders we need to revisit what effective punishment really means.
Home curfew, driving bans, alcohol bans and foreign travel bans are just some of the options that already exist and which might play a bigger role.
I believe the biggest potential comes from being able to better target someone who makes large profits from committing a financial crime like fraud. Or the kingpin drug baron who makes his money one step removed from the violence and misery this illicit trade creates.
Fraud, for example, is a serious offence. It is far from victimless and the consequences for innocent people can be devastating. So, it needs a serious punishment.
And the criminals who commit these offences are calculating. They are premeditated. And they are motivated by greed.
In recent years, the custody rate has increased from 14.5% in 2007 to over 20%, and the average custodial sentence going up from under a year to over 18 months. But once fraudsters have sat out their sentence, they may be able to return to their comfortable lifestyle as soon as they get out.
Indeed, serving a 2 year prison sentence but knowing your illicit cash is still hidden from the authorities, is not an effective punishment.
I can see us being able to take a different approach. For example, this kind of fraudster or kingpin would still need to spend time in prison. And we will continue to pursue relentlessly to confiscate the proceeds of crime.
But we could go further. I want to look at what happens after prison – whether our more effective punishment and deterrent for these criminals might involve jail time and more lasting and punitive community interventions.
After serving part of their sentence behind bars, we could, for example, continue to restrict an offender’s movement, their activities and their lifestyle beyond prison in a much more intensive way.
And that could also mean a real shift in the standard of living a wealthy criminal can expect after prison.
I want to look at how, once a jail term has been served, we can continue to restrict their expenditure and monitor their earnings, using new technology to enable proper enforcement.
They would be in no uncertainty that, once sentenced, they wouldn’t be able to reap any lifestyle benefits from their crimes and would need to make full reparation to the community as part of the sentence.
I’m keen to get industry working with us to develop the necessary technology. Our banks are looking more and more at their social responsibilities, and they could look at what part they can play in investing to help us to deliver this vision.
Community sanctions like this won’t be soft options, but they will be smart ones.
They will enable us to impose an unprecedented level of punitive sanctions outside of a prison, with punishment hitting closer to home and hitting criminals where it always hurts – the pocket.
It will allow us not only, as the old adage goes, to ‘let the punishment fit the crime’, but to let the punishment properly hit the criminal in a more tailored and targeted way outside of prison.
Prison will always play a part in serving as punishment for serious crimes and in rehabilitation, and our reforms will deliver that. But we need to think more imaginatively about different and more modern forms of punishment in the community. Punishments that are punitive, for a purpose.
As with our approach to short sentences, ultimately, it’s about doing what works to reduce reoffending and make us all safer and less likely to be a future victim of crime.
In that sense, I believe the choice – and the debate – isn’t one of soft justice or hard justice. It’s a choice between effective justice or ineffective justice.
I know that there will be some who argue that the only problem with our criminal justice system is that it isn’t tough enough, that the answer to short sentences is longer sentences, that the best way of stopping recently released prisoners from reoffending is not to release them. And that the endless ratchet effect of higher sentences is giving the public what it wants.
But I believe that those in positions of responsibility have a duty to show leadership. To confront difficult issues, be led by the evidence and pursue policies that are most likely to deliver for the public.
That, I hope, is the approach I have set out today – thank you.
Below is the text of the speech made by Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Defence, to the Munich Security Conference on 15 February 2019.
It’s a huge privilege to attend my first Munich Security Conference.
While you have heard this message before many times, we will continue to repeat.
Whilst the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union, I want to start by saying our commitment to European security remains steadfast.
We have delivered European security long before the creation of either the European Union or NATO and we will continue to deliver it when we leave the EU. Britain will remain an outward looking nation. We will look for new opportunities, enhance our bilateral relationships and take Brexit as an opportunity to do more on a global stage. Delivering the leadership that the world turns to Great Britain to actually provide.
For me, one of those key bilateral relationships is with Germany.
GERMANY AND THE UK PARTNERSHIP
We are proud, very proud, of our deep friendship with Germany.
260 years ago we fought side-by-side at the battle of Minden. Since then, it is fair to say, our partnership has greatly evolved. The odd ups and downs. Today, we are both defending the borders of Eastern Europe as part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence. We are taking on Daesh in the Middle East. And, we are working together in Afghanistan, Lithuania and Mali.
With the signing of the UK-Germany Joint Vision Statement (JVS) last October it is obvious to both that there is much more to achieve as two nations.
The fact both our nations are increasing their defence budgets reflects the growing threats we are facing. And, we must not forget what can be achieved by working together.
As the world becomes darker and more dangerous, allies must stand together.
RECOGNISING THE IMPORTANCE OF THE EU
And, I know this is something Ursula very clearly recognises. She has spoken of her determination to take forward greater EU defence co-operation. This is something we welcome, European countries combining to develop capabilities that are available to the Alliance.
The EU’s role in stabilisation and capacity building is also important for the future.
But it is important that an EU which shuts out non-EU NATO allies from capability development will only weaken its own industry base and capabilities it wishes to develop.
AND NATO MUST STEP UP TOO
NATO must remain the bedrock of our security in Europe. Since 1949 it has stood the test of time. It is combat proven. It deters the most serious threats.
So, let’s support the world’s most successful military Alliance. Let’s deal with Russia’s breach of the INF Treaty and the threat of new Russian missiles.
Let’s be ready to handle their provocations.
Russian adventurism must have a cost.
The US has been stepping up its commitment to NATO. But, as Ursula and I agreed with Pat Shanahan when we met at NATO earlier this week, Europeans should not be spending two per cent of GDP on defence for America. We should be spending it for ourselves and our security. And, I applaud Ursula’s personal efforts to drive investment in German defence.
It is a genuine and real privilege to be able to work side-by-side with a colleague who is not only so personally inspiring but a lady of deep compassion and a real sense of duty, not just to her nation, but to her friends and allies as well.
And, it is that sense of duty which means all European nations must take responsibility for the security of our continent.
THE UK WILL CONTINUE LEADING IN NATO
This is something the UK is continuing to do, as we step-up our efforts in NATO.
In NATO, we are ready to defend what’s right. Ready to fight what’s wrong. And, ready to lead.
At the recent Defence Ministers meeting, I announced the increased commitment to Alliance readiness in Estonia, adding to our presence with Apache attack and Wildcat reconnaissance helicopters.
In NATO’s 70th anniversary year, we are also hosting a NATO Heads of State Meeting at the end of December.
Significantly, in the next few months our UK-led nine-nation Joint Expeditionary Force…will conduct its first deployment in the Baltic Sea…delivering reassurance to our allies and deterrence to those who wish to do us harm.
And, we continue to increase our defence budget, creating a new Transformation Fund to boost our nation’s global presence, and the armed forces’ mass and lethality.
NATO matters more than ever because an old adversary is back in the game. 30 years since the Berlin Wall fell and five years since the illegal annexation of Crimea – Russia remains a threat to our security.
Russia’s illegal activity continues unabated on land in the Donbas, and, at sea with the seizure of Ukrainian naval ships and the imprisonment of their sailors.
We’ve seen Russian recklessness and disregard for life on the streets of Britain. With Russia degrading its reputation with such blatant disregard of international borders and sovereignty.
Meanwhile Russia, despite its denials, has clearly breached the INF treaty. It has made clear it is developing more missiles and nuclear-capable weapons that break this agreement. Trying to goad the West into a new arms race it simply is not interested in and does not want. Making the world a less safe place. They claim they want greater security on the one hand. While undermining trust on the other.
The Kremlin is also taking the fight into the ‘grey zone’. Operating without rules using espionage, military, political, cyber, economic and even criminal tools to undermine its competitors. Russian Governmental subversion of Western elections through disinformation, online trolling and persistent cyber-attacks has become its new norm.
Their clandestine use of proxies…mercenary armies… like the infamous and unaccountable Wagner Group…allows the Kremlin to get away with murder while denying the blood on their hands.
But, as a nation who hold dear the values of democracy, tolerance and justice we must not be cowed or intimidated.
That’s why our military continues asserting its legitimate freedom of access and action across the globe…deploying our forces in a measured and resolute way.
And, we all continue to work together to lift the veil on this behaviour and always deliver a clear response – for actions must have consequences.
THE UK WILL ALSO CONTINUE TO LEAD OUTSIDE NATO
And, we will not abandon countries Russia seeks to undermine, like Ukraine and those in the Western Balkans. In the Cold War those behind the iron curtain saw us as a beacon of liberty. Now they have achieved their freedom the UK will continue to help them defend their right to choose their own destiny.
But, let me be clear this is not the relationship with Russia that we want.
We remain open to a different kind of relationship and options of dialogue remains on the table. It is vital that we always work to avoid escalation and avert risks of miscalculation.
And, we encourage Russia to start acting within the rules-based international order. Step back from the path it has been taking and look to a new and different way.
This very conference has long honoured those with the vision and courage to bring an end to the Cold War – inspirational people such as, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, George Bush, Helmut Kohl and, of course, Mikhail Gorbachev.
These were patriots. Figures who understood strength. Leaders who fought for their country’s interests. And, they understood the value of being open to different kinds of relationships. As we are today. We hope Russia chooses a different way. Being inspired, not by those who wish to bring fear and hate, but, be inspired by those who wish to bring hope and peace.
But, as we continue to face threats in an increasingly dangerous world we know that NATO is the best guardian of our security.
So, for the sake of our values, allies and friends we will continue to lead in NATO.
We will continue to build our alliances with close friends like Germany.
We will continue to deliver European security.
We will continue to step out into the world protecting our friends, defending our interests and standing-up for our values.
And, let us never forget that the reason that we will invest in our defence is to deliver a more peaceful, a more prosperous, and more just world.
Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, to Make UK on 19 February 2019.
It’s a pleasure to be speaking again to the artists formerly known as the EEF, or Make UK as you have now become.
Hailing from a family of engineers, I always look forward to coming here and meeting many of you.
I take a very close interest in manufacturing. It’s the beating heart of our economy.
For those employed in the sector, manufacturing doesn’t just offer a good job that pays well, it offers creative and satisfying work.
But manufacturing needs the right environment to flourish: high quality infrastructure, a skilled workforce, and open and stable trading relationships.
I’m going to talk about each of these in turn because it’s clear that something is going badly wrong.
Last week’s GDP figures confirmed that our manufacturing sector is mired in recession.
Output has fallen for six consecutive months – the worst run since the depths of the financial crisis in 2008-9.
No doubt the uncertainty generated by the government’s shambolic handling of Brexit has had an impact, as has weaker global demand.
But it’s too convenient for the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, to brandish these as excuses for the Tories’ woeful economic record.
The truth is, the prolonged slump in manufacturing is part of a broader story: a weak economy limping through the most feeble and protracted recovery in British history.
And the blame for that lies squarely with the government.
Nine years of unnecessary austerity have caused untold damage to our economy and strangled investment, leaving us with crumbling infrastructure, a productivity crisis, and anaemic growth.
This is all the more painful because there is another way.
A government prepared to invest in our economy and pursue an active industrial strategy could bring about a renaissance in manufacturing.
And that is what the next Labour government will do.
It starts with infrastructure. Our dilapidated transport, communications, and energy infrastructure is desperately in need of an upgrade.
Labour will unleash a massive programme of investment with a National Transformation Fund delivering £250 billion of direct capital expenditure on infrastructure and R&D.
We will ensure this investment benefits every region and nation of our country, not just London and the South East.
And we will establish a National Investment Bank to make available a further £250 billion over 10 years in the form of patient capital lent to small and medium-sized enterprises in line with the priorities of our industrial strategy, providing funding for green industries and the technologies of the future.
The current government’s failure to invest has left us poorly equipped to deal with the profound changes that are already upon us.
Where is the industrial strategy to prepare our economy for life outside the EU?
What’s being done to harness the benefits of automation without threatening the livelihoods of millions?
How can we mobilise industry to help avert the destruction of our climate?
The government has no answers to any of these questions.
Let me give you an example of the change we need.
To avoid climate catastrophe we have to reduce our net emissions to zero by 2050 at the latest.
That’s not going to happen by itself.
It requires large-scale public investment into renewable energy and home insulation, which will in turn create new opportunities for private enterprise.
This is not a burden. It’s an opportunity to kick-start a Green Jobs Revolution.
Labour’s plans will create at least 400,000 skilled, unionised jobs and bring about a seven-fold increase in offshore wind, double onshore wind, and triple solar power.
And these new manufacturing and engineering jobs will bring skills and opportunity to parts of the country that have been held back by decades of neglect.
As our Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey has said, this is about the jobs at the end of your road, from the Clyde to the Humber to the Mersey.
Technology and manufacturing don’t have to be a threat to the environment. Our responsibility is to develop the next generation of technology that will help us preserve our natural world.
Labour is committed to investing on a scale that will transform our economy. Those policies won huge public support at the general election 18 months ago. I’m disappointed that a small number of MPs yesterday decided to take a different path.
But this is an agenda which unites half a million Labour party members inside and outside parliament, along with millions of people across the country.
And we’ve been up front in saying that in return for that investment we will ask the largest businesses that can afford it to pay a bit more towards the common good.
Because the government’s corporation tax cuts haven’t increased investment and growth.
Indeed, the Conservatives have had nine years to fix the fundamentals of our economy, but have left it weak and unprepared for the future.
And just as they have failed to invest in infrastructure, so too have they failed to invest in skills.
I travel around the country all the time and I visit many manufacturers and other employers.
I’ve been struck by how often they tell me about the difficulty of recruiting skilled labour.
Of course, there are organisations and companies doing good work. Make UK’s own training and apprenticeship programmes are excellent.
I’ve visited Make UK’s training centre in Aston twice and I’ve been extremely impressed at the way young people are helped to get the best start to their working lives.
But as a country we are moving in the wrong direction. University fees, the scrapping of grants, and cuts to training have made education less accessible just when we need a highly skilled workforce more than ever.
So a great legacy of the next Labour government will be to reverse this trend with the creation of a National Education Service that makes education freely available to everyone whatever their age, from cradle to grave, just like the NHS is there for all of us.
I pay tribute to our Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner, for the work she’s doing to drive this forward.
My great friend Tony Benn used to say that education should be like an escalator going alongside you throughout life that you can get on and off whenever you want.
What a wonderful way of putting it.
So today I am proud to announce the appointment of our Commission on Lifelong Learning to help make the principle of lifelong learning a reality.
The Commission will bring together 14 experts from across education – top names in their fields – including Make UK’s very own Chief Economist Seamus Nevin.
It is co-chaired by the former Education Secretary, Estelle Morris, and the General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union, Dave Ward.
And I want to thank Gordon Marsden, Shadow Minister for Higher Education, Further Education and Skills, whose passion for lifelong learning has been crucial to bringing this together.
The Commission’s task is to devise an inclusive system of adult education to be implemented by the next Labour government that will transform the lives of millions and reskill our economy.
Lifelong learning will be available to everyone no matter their background, employment status, or previous education.
The Commission will make detailed proposals on how to integrate qualifications, introduce a credits system to make qualifications transferable, and make it as easy as possible for people to pick up or pause their studies at times that work for them.
It will break down barriers between different types of education.
The opportunity to retrain at any point in life will help close the gap between the skills people have and the skills our economy needs.
We know that new industries evolve and old industries collapse, technological advance can create great anxiety for people.
So for me, the National Education Service and its commitment to lifelong learning is a form of social security.
Under a Labour government workers will never again be left feeling discarded because there will be an industrial strategy creating good, well-paid jobs and training to help workers learn new skills.
It makes no sense for people to only be educated for the first quarter of their life and then work for the rest of their days with outdated or insufficient qualifications.
It’s a waste of talent and a waste of potential. Let’s give people the skills to flourish.
And I strongly believe there should be genuine parity between vocational education and academic education. We have to end the outdated grammar school mentality of looking down on someone who does a vocational course and looking up to someone who does an academic course. I see the skills of electrical work of computer work of design work learned through vocational courses as just as valuable as academic courses taken at university.
We need all of those skills in our society.
I remember from my own school days, being told by my art teacher who didn’t appreciate some of my more abstract painting “You’re no good at art, you can do woodwork instead”, as if woodwork was inferior. In Germany, where they really value engineering, they say: “You’re a clever kid – get down the metal workshop.’’ So education must be designed to get the best out of everybody and available to all, delivered through colleges, universities, trade unions and directly via employers.
If a Labour government is going to make this big investment in skills that will have benefits for business, then we do ask something in return: that as employers you step up to invest in your workforce too.
Last week I visited the gear manufacturer Beard and Fitch in Harlow, and met Carol, a supervisor who is partially sighted. She was doing the final checking and polishing of the gears, and she had been provided with big screens to help her do her work. That’s a sensible employer who has made an investment in someone who was very good at her job. And it was paying off.
I said earlier that as well as a skilled workforce and high-quality infrastructure, manufacturing needs a stable trading relationship to thrive.
Which brings us on to Brexit.
Earlier this month I wrote to the Prime Minister laying out Labour’s alternative plan based around a permanent customs union with a British say in future trade deals, a strong relationship with the single market and full guarantees on workers’ rights, consumer standards and environmental protections.
Later this week I will travel to Brussels to discuss it with Michel Barnier and others.
It’s a plan we are convinced could win the support of parliament, be negotiated with the EU and help bring the country together. It has been widely welcomed as a way of breaking the impasse. So I call on the government and MPs across parliament to end the Brexit uncertainty and back Labour’s credible alternative plan.
It’s regrettable that so far the Prime Minister has instead chosen to stick with an approach that has already been rejected, refusing to move from her divisive and damaging red lines. Business investment is falling and confidence is evaporating due to the uncertainty she has created.
And let’s have no pretence that if the Prime Minister could only get her deal through parliament then certainty would be restored. The Political Declaration she negotiated talks of, and I quote, “a spectrum of different outcomes for administrative processes as well as checks and controls.”
“A spectrum of different outcomes.” What use is that when making investment decisions?
If the Prime Minister is unable to adopt a sensible deal because it would split the Tories, then there needs to be a general election. Without it we will keep all options on the table, including the option of a public vote.
The country cannot be taken over the cliff edge for the sake of Tory party unity. The government is running down the clock in an attempt to blackmail MPs with the threat of crashing out without a deal. This is extraordinarily reckless. It puts our manufacturing sector your industries at risk.
Labour has consistently advocated a comprehensive UK-EU customs union to deliver frictionless trade and protect supply chains that stretch across the continent. Disrupting those supply chains would threaten good businesses and skilled jobs that we can’t afford to lose.
Just take the car industry.
The decision by Nissan to pull investment from its Sunderland plant was just the thin end of the wedge. Jaguar Land-Rover is said to be stockpiling parts in preparation for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, but can only prepare for days, not weeks of disruption because the company uses 25 million separate parts a day. Ford has reportedly warned the Prime Minister that it could cease production in the UK, entirely threatening 13,000 jobs, and has said that ‘no deal’ would be, quote, “catastrophic for the UK’s auto industry.”
And although not directly linked to Brexit today we learn that Honda is planning to close its plant in Swindon at the cost of 3,500 jobs. That is devastating news for those workers, their families and for the local economy. It’s bad news too for all the small and medium sized businesses in the supply chain. And while the Government is boasting it has secured a trade deal with the Faroe Islands, it is doing nothing to protect skilled jobs and industry here in Britain.
Of course concerns about a ‘no deal’ crash go well beyond the car industry. Take food and drink, which is actually the UK’s largest manufacturing sector. It needs frictionless trade for perishable goods, where time is of the essence. Or steel. Half the steel we produce is exported most of it to the EU. A disastrous ‘no deal’ Brexit would mean trade restrictions on virtually all steel companies’ export markets.
And while the big household names get all the media attention, it’s the small and medium-sized manufacturers who will find it most burdensome to adjust to new customs arrangements.
Brexit has crystallised a choice about the kind of economy we want. On the one hand, the harsh economic environment fostered by the Conservatives: low investment, low productivity, low growth and a damaging trade deal with Donald Trump. On the other, Labour’s investment-led approach, underpinned by a close relationship with our European neighbours, in a rebalanced economy that no longer privileges those who lend and speculate over those who make things.
These are anxious times for manufacturers. But the future doesn’t have to be one of decline. With a government that believes in and supports industry, manufacturing will be the engine of innovation in the green economy of the future.
Infrastructure skills certainty. That’s what manufacturing needs. That’s what only Labour will deliver.