Theresa May – 2016 Speech to Launch Leadership Campaign

theresamay

Below is the text of the speech made by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, on 11 July 2016.

Two weeks ago, I launched my candidacy to become the Leader of the Conservative Party – and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

And last week, I won the overwhelming support of my colleagues in the House of Commons. Nearly two thirds of the Conservative Party in Parliament. Left and right. Leavers and remainers. MPs from the length and breadth of Britain. The result showed that, after the referendum, the Conservative Party can come together – and under my leadership it will.

I am here today – in the great city of Birmingham – to launch my national campaign, in which I will make my case to the Conservative Party membership – and the country as a whole.

That case comes down to three things.

First, our country needs strong, proven leadership – to steer us through this time of economic and political uncertainty, and to negotiate the best deal for Britain as we leave the EU and forge a new role for ourselves in the world. Because Brexit means Brexit and we’re going to make a success of it.

Second, we need to unite our Party and our country.

And third, we need a bold, new, positive vision for the future of our country – a vision of a country that works not for a privileged few but for every one of us.

My vision of a country that works for everyone

It is about that vision that I want to talk to you today. Because if we’re going to govern in the interests of the whole country, we cannot become defined exclusively by the process of our withdrawal from the EU. That is an important job and we’re going to get it done. But we also need a Government that will deliver serious social reform – and make ours a country that truly works for everyone.

Because right now, if you’re born poor, you will die on average nine years earlier than others. If you’re black, you’re treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you’re white. If you’re a white, working-class boy, you’re less likely than anybody else to go to university. If you’re at a state school, you’re less likely to reach the top professions than if you’re educated privately. If you’re a woman, you still earn less than a man. If you suffer from mental health problems, there’s too often not enough help to hand. If you’re young, you’ll find it harder than ever before to own your own home.

But, as I have said before, fighting these injustices is not enough. If you’re from an ordinary, working-class family, life is just much harder than many people in politics realise. You have a job, but you don’t always have job security. You have your own home, but you worry about mortgage rates going up. You can just about manage, but you worry about the cost of living and the quality of the local school, because there’s no other choice for you.

These are the reasons why, under my leadership, the Conservative Party will put itself – completely, absolutely, unequivocally – at the service of ordinary, working people. It is why we will make Britain a country that works for everyone:

An economy that works for everyone, so we don’t just maintain economic confidence and steer the country through challenging times – but we make sure that everyone can share in the country’s wealth.

A society that works for everyone, so we can bring people back together – rich and poor, north and south, urban and rural, young and old, male and female, black and white, sick and healthy, public sector, private sector, those with skills and those without.

A democracy that works for everyone, so we can restore trust and confidence in our most important institutions – and the political process itself.

And a party that works for everyone – because we can’t build a country that works for all unless we, the Conservatives, are truly a party that works for all.

An economy that works for everyone

In the coming weeks, I will set out my plans to take our economy through this period of uncertainty, to get the economy growing strongly across all parts of the country, to deal with Britain’s longstanding productivity problem, to create more well-paid jobs, to negotiate the best terms for Britain’s departure from the European Union – and to forge a new role for ourselves in the world.

But today, I want to talk about my plans to reform the economy so that it really does work for everyone. Because it is apparent to anybody who is in touch with the real world that people do not feel our economy works that way at all. Talk to almost any ordinary member of the public, and the frustration they feel about the loss of control over their day-to-day lives is obvious.

They are the ones who made real sacrifices after the financial crash in 2008. Some lost their jobs, some reduced their hours, others took a pay cut. Wages have grown, but only slowly. Taxes for the lowest paid went down, but other taxes, like VAT, went up. Fixed items of spending – like energy bills – have rocketed. Monetary policy – in the form of super-low interest rates and quantitative easing – has helped those on the property ladder at the expense of those who can’t afford to own their own home.

There isn’t much job security out there. Some find themselves exploited by unscrupulous bosses. And, yes, some have found themselves out of work or on lower wages because of low-skilled immigration. It’s harder than ever for young people to buy their first house. There is a growing divide between a more prosperous older generation and a struggling younger generation. And there is a gaping chasm between wealthy London and the rest of the country.

When you add all of these things up, the only surprise is that there is so much surprise in Westminster about the public’s appetite for change. And make no mistake, the referendum was a vote to leave the European Union, but it was also a vote for serious change.

Yet so many of our political and business leaders have responded by showing that they still don’t get it. There are politicians – democratically-elected politicians – who seriously suggest that the Government should find a way of ignoring the referendum result and keeping Britain inside the European Union. And there are business leaders whose response has not been to plan for Britain’s departure or to think of the opportunities withdrawal presents – but to complain about the result and criticise the electorate.

Well, I couldn’t be clearer. Brexit means Brexit. And we’re going to make a success of it. There will be no attempts to remain inside the EU, no attempts to rejoin it by the back door, and no second referendum. The country voted to leave the European Union, and as Prime Minister I will make sure that we leave the European Union.

And I am equally clear about the need for change. I am not going to ignore the public when they say they’re sick of politics as usual. I am going to make sure that the motives of the Government will never be in any doubt. We, the Conservatives, will put ourselves at the service of ordinary, working people and we will make Britain a country that works for everyone – whoever you are and wherever you’re from.

The Government has made great strides in the last six years, dealing with the debt crisis, reducing the deficit, and presiding over an economic recovery. But if we are going to make sure our economy truly works for everyone – if we are going to help people to take control of their lives – we need to take action in four different ways. We need to reform the economy to allow more people to share in the country’s prosperity. We need to put people back in control of their lives. We need to give more people more opportunity. And we need to get tough on irresponsible behaviour in big business.

Reforming the economy for greater shared prosperity

I will start with economic reform. Because for a Government that has overseen a lot of public service reforms in the last six years, it is striking that, by comparison, there has not been nearly as much deep economic reform. That needs to change for a simple reason. If we want to increase our overall prosperity, if we want more people to share in that prosperity, if we want bigger real wages for people, if we want more opportunities for young people to get on, we have to improve the productivity of our economy.

Yet we have long had a problem with productivity in Britain. So I want to make its improvement an important objective for the Treasury. I want to see an energy policy that emphasises the reliability of supply and lower costs for users. A better research and development policy that helps firms to make the right investment decisions. More Treasury-backed project bonds for new infrastructure projects. More house building. A proper industrial strategy to get the whole economy firing. And a plan to help not one or even two of our great regional cities but every single one of them.

Putting people back in control

If we are going to have an economy that works for everyone, we are going to need to give people more control of their lives. And that means cutting out all the political platitudes about “stakeholder societies” – and doing something radical.

Because as we saw when Cadbury’s – that great Birmingham company – was bought by Kraft, or when AstraZeneca was almost sold to Pfizer, transient shareholders – who are mostly companies investing other people’s money – are not the only people with an interest when firms are sold or close. Workers have a stake, local communities have a stake, and often the whole country has a stake. It is hard to think of an industry of greater strategic importance to Britain than its pharmaceutical industry, and AstraZeneca is one of the jewels in its crown. Yet two years ago the Government almost allowed AstraZeneca to be sold to Pfizer, the US company with a track record of asset stripping and whose self-confessed attraction to the deal was to avoid tax. A proper industrial strategy wouldn’t automatically stop the sale of British firms to foreign ones, but it should be capable of stepping in to defend a sector that is as important as pharmaceuticals is to Britain.

And I want to see changes in the way that big business is governed. The people who run big businesses are supposed to be accountable to outsiders, to non-executive directors, who are supposed to ask the difficult questions, think about the long-term and defend the interests of shareholders. In practice, they are drawn from the same, narrow social and professional circles as the executive team and – as we have seen time and time again – the scrutiny they provide is just not good enough. So if I’m Prime Minister, we’re going to change that system – and we’re going to have not just consumers represented on company boards, but employees as well.

There are other ways, too, in which we need to put people back in control. As the Government reforms public services, we should encourage public sector workers to set up mutuals. As we take infrastructure decisions – like with new housing, roads, or exploration for oil and gas – the benefits should be shared not just with local authorities but with local people themselves.

Giving people more opportunity

And this brings me on to the third way in which we need to make our economy work for everyone – which is by giving people more opportunity. This, to me, is what the Conservative Party is all about. In the name of equality, Labour end up holding people back – but we believe in setting people free to go as far as their talents will take them.

That is why school reform is such a passion for so many Conservatives – and I will be setting out my own plans for schools policy in the coming weeks. But it is also why housing matters so much, and why we need to do far more to get more houses built.

Because unless we deal with the housing deficit, we will see house prices keep on rising. Young people will find it even harder to afford their own home. The divide between those who inherit wealth and those who don’t will become more pronounced. And more and more of the country’s money will go into expensive housing instead of more productive investments that generate more economic growth.

Getting tough on corporate irresponsibility

The fourth way in which I want to make our economy work for everyone is by getting tough on irresponsible behaviour in big business. Because yes, we’re the Conservative Party, and yes we’re the party of enterprise, but that does not mean we should be prepared to accept that “anything goes”.

The FTSE, for example, is trading at about the same level as it was eighteen years ago and it is nearly ten per cent below its high peak. Yet in the same time period executive pay has more than trebled and there is an irrational, unhealthy and growing gap between what these companies pay their workers and what they pay their bosses.

So as part of the changes I want to make to corporate governance, I want to make shareholder votes on corporate pay not just advisory but binding. I want to see more transparency, including the full disclosure of bonus targets and the publication of “pay multiple” data: that is, the ratio between the CEO’s pay and the average company worker’s pay. And I want to simplify the way bonuses are paid so that the bosses’ incentives are better aligned with the long-term interests of the company and its shareholders.

I also want us to be prepared to use – and reform – competition law so that markets work better for people. If there is evidence that the big utility firms and the retail banks are abusing their roles in highly-consolidated markets, we shouldn’t just complain about it, we shouldn’t say it’s too difficult, we should do something about it.

And tax. We need to talk about tax. Because we’re Conservatives, and of course we believe in a low-tax economy, in which British businesses are more competitive and families get to keep more of what they earn – but we also understand that tax is the price we pay for living in a civilised society. No individual and no business, however rich, has succeeded all on their own. Their goods are transported by road, their workers are educated in schools, their customers are part of sophisticated networks taking in the private sector, the public sector and charities. It doesn’t matter to me whether you’re Amazon, Google or Starbucks, you have a duty to put something back, you have a debt to your fellow citizens, you have a responsibility to pay your taxes. So as Prime Minister, I will crack down on individual and corporate tax avoidance and evasion.

It is not anti-business to suggest that big business needs to change. Better governance will help these companies to take better decisions, for their own long-term benefit and that of the economy overall. Under my leadership the Conservative Party will resolutely remain the party of enterprise and we will help British businesses to stay competitive and create more well-paid jobs.

This is a moment of great national change – and we must rise to the occasion

This is a different kind of Conservatism, I know. It marks a break with the past. But it is in fact completely consistent with Conservative principles. Because we don’t just believe in markets, but in communities. We don’t just believe in individualism, but in society. We don’t hate the state, we value the role that only the state can play. We believe everybody – not just the privileged few – has a right to take ownership of what matters in their lives. We believe that each generation – of politicians, of business leaders, of us all – are custodians with a responsibility to pass on something better to the next generation. Above all, we believe in Britain – and in the British people.

From Robert Peel to Lady Thatcher, from Joseph Chamberlain to Winston Churchill, throughout history it has been the Conservative Party’s role to rise to the occasion and to take on the vested interests before us, to break up power when it is concentrated among the few, to lead on behalf of the people. It has been our strength as a Party that at moments of great national change, we have understood what needed to be done. And believe me, nobody should doubt that this is another of those moments of great national change.

We must leave the European Union – and forge a new role for ourselves in the world.

And we must make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few but for every single one of us.

To do those things we need to come together – as a Party and as a country – under strong and proven leadership.

And then together, we will build a better Britain.

David Cameron – 2016 Speech at NATO Summit

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Below is the text of the speech made by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, in Warsaw, Poland on 9 July 2016.

Britain’s membership of NATO is vital for our country because it helps to keep our nation secure and our people safe.

It is vital for NATO too because for 65 years the United Kingdom has played a leading role at the heart of this successful alliance, deploying British troops alongside our Allies around the world, from Afghanistan to the Aegean to the Baltics.

We have played a key role in making sure that together we stand up to aggression, we face up to new threats, and we invest in the latest capabilities.

Wales 2014 was an absolutely key moment in NATO’s development – pledges there included the defence investment pledge, which set the ambition for all Allies to increase defence spending to meet our level of ambition.

And it was at Wales where we agreed a vital package of reassurance measures to deter Russian aggression.

Here at Warsaw, we have reaffirmed Britain’s commitment to this Alliance with concrete action to tackle the threats we face from Russia, from terrorism and from illegal migration.

Let me say a few words on each.

Russia

First, Russia. Two years on from Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine, our message to Russia has not changed. Such action is indefensible and wrong. And we will always stand up for the sovereign right of countries to make their own decisions.

But we are not seeking confrontation with Russia. Indeed, we are working to prevent it. So we will continue to pursue a twin track approach of deterrence and dialogue.

The multi-national spearhead force that we agreed at the Wales Summit is now operational. It’s capable of deploying anywhere on Alliance territory in just a few days – so it sends a strong, clear message to Russia that NATO stands ready to respond quickly to threats.

And Britain will lead the land force next year, providing 3000 troops along with tanks and Warrior armoured fighting vehicles.

We have also agreed to further reassure our Allies by increasing the number of NATO troops present along our eastern flank. And once again, the UK will play its part. On land with the deployment of 500 soldiers to Estonia early next year as well as an infantry company to be based here in Poland, and in the air by taking part in next year’s air policing mission.

But we must also engage in a hard-headed dialogue with Russia to avoid misunderstanding or miscalculation. And that’s why we have agreed that the first meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in many months will take place next week.

Terrorism

Turning to terrorism, NATO has an important role to play beyond its borders helping to prevent countries becoming a safe haven for terrorists who can threaten us here at home.

That is what we did in Afghanistan and today we have reaffirmed our collective commitment to support a more secure and stable future for that country.

The Alliance has agreed to maintain funding for the Afghan security forces through to 2020 and to keep a significant NATO troop presence into the next fighting season.

As part of this, the UK will do more to train Afghan officers. We will keep 450 troops there into 2017 and we will deploy a further 50 personnel to provide additional mentoring, particularly for the Afghan air force. We will also step up NATO’s efforts to help the Iraqi government tackle Islamist extremism.

Two years ago at the Wales summit, we agreed to offer a NATO training mission once an Iraqi government was in place.

That mission, training Iraqi forces inside Jordan, has been such a success that today we have agreed to provide counter-IED, medical and security training within Iraq.

And Britain will provide £1 million in funding to help get this up and running.

It is vital that as we work to defeat violent extremism around the world, we equip other countries to deal with these threats too.

Migration

Finally, we have discussed how NATO can work alongside other organisations like the EU to tackle different challenges such as illegal migration.

Such co-operation has proved effective in the Aegean where the NATO naval operation has helped to reduce the number of people embarking on these perilous journeys from a peak at one stage of 2700 people moving every day from Turkey to Greece to around 70 today. It has been a very strong success.

The United Kingdom was one of the first countries to contribute a ship to that mission and today I can announce that we will maintain our role with the deployment of HMS Mersey later this month to take over from RFA Cardigan Bay.

Nuclear deterrent

So here at this summit the UK has underlined the importance of the contribution we make to this Alliance – with further deployments on land, in the air and at sea.

Of course, this is only possible because we have stood by our commitment to spend 2% of our GDP on defence. Indeed our defence spending is one quarter of the European total. We have the largest defence budget in Europe, the second largest in NATO and we are maximising our investment in the front line.

We will spend £178 billion over the next decade on equipment and equipment support. A lot of people talk about the 2% commitment, rightly, but there is also a commitment to spend 20% of your defence budget on equipment programme, again a pledge that Britain more than meets.

And we must invest in the ultimate insurance policy of all – our nuclear deterrent.

So today I can announce that we will hold a Parliamentary vote on 18 July to confirm MPs support for the renewal of a full fleet of four nuclear submarines capable of providing around-the-clock cover.

The nuclear deterrent remains essential in my view – not just to Britain’s security but – as our allies have acknowledged here today – to the overall security of the Alliance.

Conclusion

To conclude, I think this summit has underlined one very important message – that while Britain may be leaving the European Union, we are not withdrawing from the world, nor are we turning our back on Europe or on European security.

We will continue to be an outward-looking nation that stands up for our values around the world – the only major country in the world to spend 2% of our GDP on defence, as promised, and 0.7% of our GDP on overseas aid, as promised. Only Britain, amongst the major countries, has kept those 2 vital pledges. And they massively enhance our standing and our ability to get things done in the world and our ability to keep people safe at home.

We are a country that is willing to deploy its troops to reassure our Eastern partners or to help countries further away defeat terrorists.

A country with the ultimate deterrent. And above all, a proud, strong United Kingdom that will keep working with our allies to advance the security of our nation and people for generations to come.

Rory Stewart – 2016 Statement on June Environment Council

Below is the text of the statement made by Rory Stewart, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on 7 July 2016.

I attended the EU Environment Council in Luxembourg on 20 June along with my noble friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Lord Bourne). Roseanna Cunningham MSP also attended.

I wish to update the House on the matters discussed.

EU emissions trading system (ETS)

The presidency introduced its progress report on negotiations to reform the EU ETS, framed in the context of the Paris climate agreement. The Commission saw carbon leakage rules as a priority and cautioned against over-burdening national authorities and industry. The Commission called for more ideas from industry on how best to use the innovation and modernisation funds, and supported a focus on addressing the surplus of allowances in the system rather than direct price regulation.

In the ensuing policy debate, all Ministers supported the presidency’s progress report and proposals for next steps. The UK focused on the need to balance the reducing number of free allowances with appropriate carbon leakage support, protection of the market stability reserve, strengthening of the carbon price, and reaching agreement on ETS alongside the effort share decision.
Paris ratification: presentation from the Commission and Council statement

The Commission briefly presented its proposal for a Council decision on EU ratification of the Paris agreement, published on 10 June. The presidency then invited Ministers to endorse a Council statement calling for ratification of the Paris agreement by the EU and its member states as soon as possible.

Following proposals from other member states, the presidency presented a compromise statement which included references to climate finance, and which the Council agreed by consensus.

National emissions ceilings directive: state of play

The presidency set out the state of play of the negotiations. The presidency was disappointed agreement had not yet been reached, but noted good progress was made in the four trilogue meetings which had taken place. On the key issues of 2030 limits, flexibilities and the nature of 2025 ceilings, the institutions were still some way apart. Despite this, the presidency believed a deal was close and had been in contact with the European Parliament with a view to arranging a fifth trilogue meeting. The Commission fully supported the presidency’s efforts.

The UK along with other member states encouraged the presidency to make another attempt at a first reading agreement by the end of June. However there was some difference in focus between member states in terms of ambition and the need for realistic and attainable targets. A significant number of member states expressed a clear preference for an agreement built on the most recent presidency mandate.

AOB: NOx emissions by diesel

The presidency reported on recent discussion at Transport Council. The Commission reiterated its view that the main issue was member state implementation of the Euro 5/6 regulations. It noted the progress made on the adoption of the real driving emissions (RDE) and worldwide harmonised light vehicles test procedure (WLTP) proposals. The Commission called on member states to accelerate negotiations on the type approval regulations. The Commission said it intended to provide further guidance on the implementation of the Euro 5/6 regulations by the end of the year, but added this had to be based on a transparent exchange of information gathered during national studies.

The UK underlined the urgent need to resolve the issue to ensure health benefits and for member states to fulfil their legal obligations.

AOB: endocrine disruptors

The Commission presented its recently adopted package on endocrine disruptors consisting of a communication and draft Commission acts setting out scientific criteria in the context of EU legislation on plant protection products and biocidal products.

Council conclusions on Closing the Loop: Circular Economy

The Council adopted by consensus conclusions which responded to the Commission communication on an EU action plan for the circular economy. The UK welcomed the conclusions and, in particular, the call for EU action on microbeads which was supported by several other member states.

Council conclusions on illegal wildlife trafficking

Council adopted by consensus conclusions which responded to the Commission communication on an EU action plan against wildlife trafficking. The UK intervened in support of the conclusions and called for a robust EU commitment on trophy hunting at the convention on international trade in endangered species conference of the parties in September. The UK also called for action in working towards the closure of the Chinese domestic market for ivory.

AOBs

The Council noted updates from the Commission on: negotiations on aviation emissions in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the outcome of which would have implications for the EU’s aviation emission trading system; the outcomes of the eighth Environment for Europe ministerial conference; and the UN Environment Assembly.

The Council noted presidency updates on: April’s “Make It Work” conference, an initiative which aims to improve EU regulation; April’s informal Council of Environment and Transport Ministers; and the recent “REACH Forward” conference on chemicals legislation.

The Council noted information provided by: the Commission regarding environmental implementation review; the German and Belgian delegations regarding the Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (BSal) virus affecting salamander and newt populations; and the incoming Slovakian presidency, who informed member states of the key environment priorities for its presidency—climate change, biodiversity, waste and water.

Jim Shannon – 2016 Speech on Blood Cancers

Below is the text of the speech made by Jim Shannon, the DUP MP for Strangford, in Westminster Hall on 7 July 2016.

I beg to move,

That this House has considered blood cancers and the Cancer Drugs Fund.

It is always a pleasure to come to this Chamber and have the opportunity to expound on the subjects that we bring here for consideration. I am pleased that so many hon. Members have made the effort to attend on a Thursday afternoon—often referred to as the graveyard shift. I am not sure that is entirely accurate or fair, but we thank very much those who have made the effort to be here. It is also a pleasure to see in her place the shadow Minister, the hon. Member for Hackney North and Stoke Newington (Ms Abbott), and I look forward to hearing the Minister. He and I always seem to be in these debates—if he is here I am here, and if I am here so is he—but it is always a pleasure to see him. We look forward to his response to the points that we make during the debate.

Cancer is a massive issue. It will affect one in every two people we meet, and many of us here have a personal interest in the subject. More and more people are surviving cancer because of the incredible work that has been done by the pharmaceutical industry and private enterprise, and also because of the work done in partnership with universities. Queen’s University Belfast is involved in finding new drugs and working with private enterprise, the Government and the education system to find ways of doing more.

The fact that more people are surviving and living longer is to be celebrated, but unfortunately not everyone is living well, which is what this debate is about. That is especially true for people with blood cancers, many of whom will live with the disease and the consequences of its treatment for many years. Some of them are fortunate to do so, but for many that will be time limited. About one in four people living with or beyond cancer face disability or poor health following their treatment. Evidence from Macmillan shows that by 2020 nearly one in every two people will receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. Just look round this Chamber: half the people here today will receive a cancer diagnosis at some time during their life; or, if they are not affected directly, their families certainly will be.

I place on the record my thanks to the cancer charities, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Macmillan Cancer Support and the many others, which do such marvellous work with those who have cancer. Right now, routine follow-up care for people with cancer costs about £250 million a year. It is usually delivered via a one-size-fits-all medical model that is based on repeat out-patient consultations despite a lack of evidence to show that that is effective, so we must also look at that.

I was therefore pleased to see the commissioning guidance released recently to promote the roll-out of a recovery package for everyone with a cancer diagnosis. The recovery package will be especially important for patients with blood cancers, because it will mean that they get the physical, emotional and social support they need to lead as healthy and active a life as possible for as long as possible. Every one of us in this Chamber would wish that to happen. Many people with blood cancers live for a number of years with the consequences of their disease and treatment, so there needs to be a commitment from the Department of Health that everyone with a blood cancer will be offered tailored support.

Let me talk from a personal point of view. My father had cancer on three occasions. He passed away last year. He did not die because of cancer, but he was diagnosed 39 years ago—38 years before he passed away—and my mother was told to go home and prepare and get the estate sorted out. In other words, there was next to no hope, but my dad survived, and he survived for three reasons. He survived, first, because of his faith and the prayers of God’s people; secondly, because of the skill of the surgeon’s knife; and thirdly, because of the care of the nurses. Those three things are vital for all of us. That is an example of how far we have come in those 39 years.

Patients with blood cancers can face significant problems in accessing vital treatment because of the difficulties and complexities of appraising medicines in this area. I thank the charities and others who have given us background information. I will not do this of course, but I could probably speak for three hours on this subject. I am sure that people are thinking, “Well, I hope he doesn’t.” I am not going to, because clearly I want to give everyone an opportunity to participate in the debate.

The appraisal system used by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is not suitable for assessing medicines that treat conditions with small patient populations—in other words, cancers that affect a small number of people. Perhaps in the greater scheme of things, they are numerically small, but it is vital that the drugs are available and in place.

At this point, I pay special tribute to the hon. Member for Crawley (Henry Smith), the chair of the newly brought together all-party group. I thank him for going with me to the Backbench Business Committee to ask for this debate. We are both pleased to be able to have the debate so early after the launch of the APPG. The hon. Gentleman will speak himself, but it is a pleasure to work alongside him.

Nic Dakin (Scunthorpe) (Lab)

I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on securing this very important debate. The issue of small populations and finding the right treatments is crucial as the cancer drugs fund goes forward within the NICE context. That is an opportunity as well as a threat. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will reflect that in the rest of his speech.

Jim Shannon

It is always a pleasure to have the hon. Gentleman come along to a debate in support. He always does so, and his valuable contributions are always appreciated by us all. I wholeheartedly agree with him.
The way the system fails blood cancer patients can be illustrated via the case of ponatinib, a drug designed to treat chronic myeloid leukaemia patients who are resistant to or intolerant of other treatments. I will elaborate on this point later, for it is very important. I think that the hon. Gentleman has grasped that it is a vital issue as well. The drug is fully available to all CML patients in Scotland and Wales, but in the remainder of the United Kingdom it is provided on the NHS only to a small subset of patients who can benefit from it after NICE refused to appraise it because of the small patient population. One of the questions that we would like answered in this debate if possible—I am not sure whether the Minister is the right person to answer it, but I know that if he is not, he will certainly direct it to the right Department—is how we ensure that there is not a postcode lottery when it comes to the allocation and availability of cancer drugs.

Peter Dowd (Bootle) (Lab)

I thank the hon. Gentleman for securing the debate. Does he agree that parents—in my case, the parents of nine-year-old Charlie Fearns—are confused, distressed and dismayed that they are not provided with the medical intervention that they need to treat their child’s illness? Charlie needs chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, but Mr and Mrs Fearns are having to find as much as £150,000-plus to fund the therapy themselves. Does the hon. Gentleman agree with me that that extra burden, in their circumstances, is far too onerous?

Jim Shannon

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention and for that personal story. I think that that situation is a disgrace. Any of us in the House would wholeheartedly agree with him. There has to be a system that enables all the people of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to partake of, use and have accessible these drugs. The example he gives shows just where the current system falls short. This debate gives us an opportunity to highlight that and to seek the solutions that he and his constituents want.

The situation with ponatinib has resulted in the equivalent of a postcode lottery in patient access across the UK, with some patients having to move to Scotland or Wales to undergo treatment. Why should they have to move? It is not fair that they should. It seems grossly unfair that they should have to either move or travel to the hospital. For these patients, the drug could be an alternative treatment to a stem cell transplant, and a last chance of survival.

The systems of appraisal used to assess blood cancer medicines need to be able to take into account the small patient numbers and the issues that that raises about the amount and maturity of data available, to ensure that all patients who need access to medicines do not miss out because of where they live.

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia is the most common type of leukaemia, a cancer of the white blood cells. In leukaemia stem cells start to overproduce white blood cells that are not fully developed; in CLL, these are called lymphocytes. Figures from Macmillan and NICE estimate that some 2,700 to 3,200 people in the UK are diagnosed with CLL each year, with most cases occurring in people over 60 and very few in people under 40. Around two thirds of the diagnoses are made by chance through a routine blood test with doctors; people do not know they have it and all of a sudden they find out they do. The other third of diagnoses are made following visits to the doctor for CLL-related symptoms: enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver or spleen, anaemia, bruising or fever, drenching night sweats and/or weight loss of greater than 10%. Someone with any of those symptoms should see their doctor, and do so soon.

CLL is more prevalent in men, with recent studies showing that some of the risk of developing it is inherited from parents. One in 20 CLL patients has a relative with CLL or a very similar condition; however, CLL can and does affect anyone.

Mr Nigel Dodds (Belfast North) (DUP)

I commend my hon. Friend for raising this issue today. In Northern Ireland three people every day are diagnosed with blood cancer. I am sure he would agree with commending the work of Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI, the only charity in Northern Ireland dedicated to dealing with this, and the great support it gives to the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s University, which he has already mentioned. Without the dedicated work of people in charities like that across the country, raising money for absolutely vital research, we would be in a much poorer place indeed.

Jim Shannon

I am indebted to my right hon. Friend and colleague for that intervention. We have done, and we continue to do, many great things in Northern Ireland in medical research, charitable giving and charitable operations. He has rightly highlighted an organisation in Northern Ireland that does just that. It is worrying that we have so many people with blood cancer. When we take that as a proportion of a nation of 1.8 million, it gives an idea of just how important it is.

CLL tends to develop very slowly with many people not requiring treatment for months or even years, although others need it straight away. For all stages of CLL, more than 40%, of men and more than 50% of women will survive for five years or more after being diagnosed. At stage A, which is the earliest, people survive on average for 10 years or more after diagnosis, those at stage B for five to eight years, and those diagnosed at stage C live for up to three years. From those figures, life expectancy is very clear: people have a diminished lifespan.

Doctors often recommend against immediate treatment for CLL if it is diagnosed at an early stage and opt to watch and wait. I am concerned that sometimes they need to be more proactive and receptive to what the issues are at the time. “Watch and wait” can be stressful for those diagnosed and their families, but early treatment can lead to exposure to the side effects of drugs without achieving significant benefits, as well as to increased life insurance premiums. Sometimes we have to look at the other things that affect us when our health declines, such as work and financial obligations, or how to feed our family. That adds to the stress.

Patients whose CLL relapses early have a more aggressive form of the disease and it is essential that clinicians have a range of treatment options available to suit individual patient need. That is due to factors such as the variable course and nature of the disease, the toxicity profile of the therapies and the comorbidities, which are more prevalent in this situation. There is a general poor understanding of the need for a variety of treatment options. Again, knowledge of the blood cancers among GPs, the NHS, consultants—those who should know—perhaps needs to be improved as well.

Stakeholders including the CLL Support Association, which has done great work collecting much of this information, have two key areas in which they have workable recommendations to make a difference. For post-diagnosis support the CLLSA believes that because CLL behaves in such a diverse way, it is important that patients and their families are provided with accurate information from trusted sources. Each hospital should have a CLL nurse who can provide patients with useful written information that contains links to websites for those who wish to know more.

Let us be honest: people who get this diagnosis want to know as much about the disease and the problems that they have right away; they want to have that knowledge and information right there. As the hon. Member for Bootle (Peter Dowd) said, citing the personal experience of his constituents, they want to know what it means, how to react, what the survival chances are and how long. All those things play upon the mind; they are very important issues.

When it comes to access to new treatments, a second preliminary decision from NICE in June 2016 has provisionally rejected ibrutinib for NICE guidance to treat relapsed refractory and 17p deletion or TP53 mutated CLL. That group of patients have a poor prognosis and very few options available to them. The manufacturer has been requested to submit a proposal for consideration of CDF listing for access to treat adults for the 17p deletion or TP53 mutation only. Again, that is something that perhaps the Minister can reply to. When people see that they can access new treatments, which really could be life-saving, they want to have them right away and want to try them. In many cases, people probably would not mind piloting those things, just to make sure that they can have life expectancy on the timescale they have been given.

The CLLSA feels that ibrutinib should be made available to both groups because both populations share a number of similarities in patient need, including a significant symptom burden, limited alternative treatment options, and subsequently poor survival prospects. As both groups have a similar symptom burden, it is unfair that they will be unable to benefit from access to this treatment. There are also the quality of life benefits. CLLSA argues that the quality of life benefits reported by patients have not been adequately considered by NICE. As such, the cost-effectiveness of ibrutinib is likely to have been underestimated. Many of us believe—in the background information—that it certainly is a drug that could do more if there was the opportunity. We need to make sure that it can be made available and accessible.

Furthermore it should be noted that CLL is a heterogeneous disease, so there is a need for multiple options in every situation. I know that each person’s individual circumstances are different and the GP and consultant who look at that will decide the way forward. Some patients may not respond to, be unable to tolerate or be otherwise unsuitable for alternative treatments such as idelalisib. As such, there is a clear need for access to ibrutinib to enable patient and clinician choice, so that treatment can be tailored to patients’ individual clinical needs. Ultimately the decision will remain a matter for NICE, but this is what the key stakeholder in CLL believes to be the way forward. That is an organisation that has been run by trustees who are all volunteers and either suffer from CLL, are clinicians or are relatives of those with CLL. They do their research, not for glory or riches, but for what is best for those affected.

Some of the background information we had relates to brentuximab—I hope my pronunciation is right. That is hailed as one of the most effective single agents for relapsed anaplastic lymphoma—or Hodgkin’s lymphoma as it is better known. It was delisted after two of its indicators were removed, making it harder for some patients to receive the medicine they need. In November 2015, the Blood Cancers Alliance met the Secretary of State for Health and in a letter to the Prime Minister expressed its concern over the delisting of life-saving drugs from the CDF. There is a drug that was delisted and that seemed to be doing the job; it is concerning that it has been removed when it quite clearly could have made a difference.

It was greatly encouraging to have so many stakeholders engage on this issue and time will not permit me to pay tribute to all of them. Another organization working in the field is Celgene, which has provided some further information that will add to the debate. Five conditions account for almost 70% of the total lives lost to blood cancer: myeloma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, acute myeloid leukaemia, myelodysplastic syndromes and the aforementioned chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. New treatments have transformed survival rates for multiple myeloma since the 1970s and there have been great steps forward. I know that when the Minister responds he will tell us some of the good things that have happened, but average life expectancy for a patient diagnosed with multiple myeloma is still only five years. This debate gives us the chance to discuss the issue and get some direction and focus from the Minister on how we move forward and achieve a better, longer life for those with blood cancers.

Continued progress is only possible with continued research and investment. That is critical to achieving progress in the treatment of blood cancers. We have had many debates in Westminster Hall on rare diseases because we acknowledge the need to focus on rare diseases, and today’s debate is an example of that. The numbers of people who fall into the category of having rare diseases are small, but we must not ignore the burden of their despair and what that means.

Many of the molecules in other companies’ pipelines are being studied in combination with Celgene’s treatments. Ceasing access to those treatments will seriously hinder progress in increasing survival rates and limit future innovation. I know that the Minister, like everyone in this Chamber today, is totally committed to finding new drugs that can cure these life-threatening diseases, as I am sure he will make clear in his response. The point is that a balance needs to be struck between regulation protecting people and allowing innovation.

In conclusion, I am pleased to have the opportunity to express in this Chamber my concern on behalf of those with blood cancers. I thank all hon. Members who have come to participate. Our responsibility as elected representatives is to put the case on behalf of our constituents. I believe we have the opportunity to make a difference for those who many years ago would not have a long life, but who today could have a longer life if they had access to the cancer drugs fund. What we have in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is people with fantastic brains who have the ability to come up with new medications and who can make these things happen. I look forward very much to the Minister’s response.

John McDonnell – 2016 Speech to the Local Government Association

John McDonnell GB Labour MP Hayes and Harlington

Below is the text of the speech made by John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, in Bournemouth on 8 July 2016.

We are meeting at a time of enormous uncertainty, following the result of the EU referendum just two weeks ago.

There is the wider political uncertainty about Britain’s role in the world.

And there is the economic uncertainty introduced by the shock of the Leave vote itself.

Longstanding trading and financial relationships are at risk of being torn up.

Perhaps the clearest message from the vote to Leave is that business as usual is no longer an option.

The shock of the Leave vote has been worsened by the shaky foundations of our economy.

Productivity growth has stalled since 2007, an unprecedented occurrence in modern peacetime history.

Partly as a result of low productivity, wage growth remains low and any inflation arising from the falling value of the pound is liable to eat into real earnings.

The current account deficit remains at near-record levels, whilst borrowing by government and households is also rising.

The economy is, if anything, more unbalanced than it was before the crash of 2008.

We argued that George Osborne’s fiscal rule, introduced last autumn, had no sound basis in economics.

The Chancellor has failed to hit his debt target at this year’s Budget.

The shock of the Leave vote, and the absence of a plan to deal with that shock, has now forced him to abandon his fiscal surplus target.

This is absolutely the right course of action, as was abandoning the threatened “Brexit Budget” of swingeing cuts and tax rises.

Further austerity would be absolutely the wrong course of action to take in an economy buffeted by a shock like Brexit.

Let me make it clear – Local Government have been bearing much of the brunt of austerity. Councils cannot and should not be the target once again.

Labour will continue to press for proper funding and resources for our local authorities.

But we need to also recognise that our economic policy now must be about more than just accepting the status quo.

We have to do more than try and patch up the damage.

The Leave vote showed just how decades of underinvestment had left too many people here feeling abandoned by what they, quite understandably, view as a distant Westminster elite.

We need a break with the old way of doing things.

I believe that it is local councils that have started to show how a new path for the economy can be created.

But it has to be matched up by action from central government.

The challenges are substantial.

Regional inequality

Britain today has the worst regional inequality in Europe.

The gap between our richest regions and our poorest is wider even than that between North and South Italy, or between East and West Germany.

In London we see the richest places in the whole of the EU, nearly 80% of UK regions earn less than the EU average.

These are the places that tended towards voting Leave.

We should not allow a situation to persist where the majority of investment, from both public and private sectors, is concentrated in a few areas, and great swathes of the country are left behind.

It was important to see the government begin to lay out its vision of the British economy after the Leave vote.

George Osborne’s commitment, made in the Financial Times earlier this week, that he was seeking to boost the funding made available to regions in the North of England is to be welcomed.

We have asked him to set out a timetable for delivering this, and some details of the projects to be brought forward.

Local Government should be vitally important partners in designing and delivering this programme.

We’re concerned that after the Leave vote, vital EU regional funding that comes to over £10bn a year will be simply lost.

This has provided a lifeline of funding for some of the poorest regions in the country and is now at risk.

So we’ll be pressing the Government to address this question urgently. The Government must guarantee this funding is protected.

Austerity

The Government’s austerity policies have reinforced the UK’s regional bias.

It is local authorities that have borne the brunt of the cuts.

But it is then the local authorities in some of the poorest places that have been hardest hit.

Overall, local authorities have seen their spending fall by 23% since 2010, allowing for inflation.

These are huge cuts for local authorities to bear.

Action by local authorities

But across the country, councils have responded with determination to their deteriorating circumstances forced on them by austerity.

Oldham council has looked to develop its own responses to the crisis, working with Oldham Credit Union to reduce the burden of problem debt locally. Its Fair Employment Charter rewards local employers and looks to use local authority procurement to improve working conditions.

Enfield council in London has developed innovative contracting models with major local employers to support good jobs.

And Preston, inspired by the example of Cleveland, Ohio, has developed an extensive programme of work. Preston was one of the councils facing the very sharpest cuts to its funding out of any in the country. But they are responding creatively.

They have got major local employers and buyers – so-called anchor institutions, like the University of Central Lancashire – to drive through a local programme of economic transformation. By changing their procurement policies, these anchor institutions were able to drive up spending locally.

They’re looking to shift a proportion of the joint council’s £5.5bn pension fund to focus on local businesses, keeping the money circulating in Preston.

And the council is actively seeking opportunities to create local co-operatives as a part of local business succession, working with the local Chamber of Commerce. The aim is to sustain high quality local employment, by giving the chance for workers to keep a business in local hands.

These are just a few of the ways in which imaginative local authorities are starting to show a new path for the economy.

We need to scale up and spread initiatives like these.

And we have to make devolution a reality where it has not already been achieved.

That doesn’t mean passing down responsibility for administering cuts to local and regional authorities, particularly in England.

It means ending the concentration of power and wealth in just a few hands in our capital city, and giving the powers back to those local areas and places that have been excluded for too long.

We need a government that trusts local authorities to find their own economic solutions for their own areas.

Labour already has an agreement with our new Mayors to set up a Mayoral Economic Forum, helping to bring together best practices and ideas

Looking ahead, we need to bring other local authorities on board.

I think we can develop a consensus on the approach now to be taken, based on the foundation

Next steps

Most immediately, there is an urgent need for some clarity and certainty from government.

The lack of planning for the Leave vote has already been damaging to our economy.

Economic policy has been pulled together on an ad hoc basis.

The centerpiece of the Government’s macroeconomic policy, the fiscal surplus target, has been ditched.

And the Chancellor has now floated the prospect of exceptionally low Corporation Taxes as a solution to low and falling rates of business investment in the UK.

This is not a view I share. Previous cuts to corporation tax have not resulted in increasing investment, as the Office for Budget Responsibility has found.

And by whittling away at the tax base, cuts to corporation tax put more of the burden on households and small businesses, whilst increasing the pressure for cuts to local authority spending.

So we are adamantly opposed to further cuts in the headline rate of corporation tax that threaten to turn this country into little more than a tax haven.

We need, instead, some clear parameters for the ongoing discussions with the EU and other international partners about Britain’s future role in the world.

Local Government must be represented in the negotiations and decision making as we remake our relationship with Europe.

Another red line is preserving free trade. There is no economic case for reimposing tariff barriers with Europe and depriving British businesses of access to the world’s largest single market.

And we cannot accept any restrictions on the rights of those who work here.

That includes those from other EU countries who presently live and work in the UK.

We will not be willing to support any EU deal that reduces the rights available to working people in this country.

The way forward

The Brexit vote should act as a wake-up call for all of us.

It will force major challenges on local and national leaders alike over the coming years.

Labour wants to work in partnership with local authorities as we begin to put together a new political economy for the country.

We will seek to ensure Local Government’s voice is heard and listened to in this challenging period ahead.

Greg Clark – 2016 Speech on Devolution and the Northern Powerhouse

gregclark

Below is the text of the speech made by Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, in Salford on 8 July 2016.

Thank you, it’s a great honour to address this conference in this place.

The re-empowerment of the North requires both thought and action – and we owe a debt of thanks to ResPublica and to Greater Manchester for breaking new ground.

It is, of course, impossible for me to give this speech without addressing the events of the last fortnight.

So let me begin by saying two things:

The first is that our priority as a government is to safeguard jobs and investment – here in the North and across the United Kingdom.

The decision of the British electorate is a momentous one – and there’s no mistaking the significance of it.

But, equally, there should be no doubt about the resolve of this Government to act in the national interest.

This is a time for cool heads and mutual respect, both at home and as we negotiate a new relationship with our European neighbours.

In fact, the kind of mutual respect that has characterised the negotiation of Devolution Deals back home.

In sitting down with city leaders, I can honestly say that our party political differences have never come between us.

There was some hard bargaining, of course, but on behalf of their communities.

The Government has put in place special arrangements for the EU negotiations – arrangements which include every part of the United Kingdom.

I argued strongly – and successfully – for a place at the table for local government leaders in England.

The interests of every part of this nation: North, East, West and South will be represented.

I also believe it is important that European structural fund allocations – including those benefiting the North – are honoured in full.

The second thing I want to say is that devolution is now more important than ever.

I think that the referendum did not so much create divisions in our country as expose ones that were already there.

London voting to remain, most of the rest of England for out.

Some metropolitan cities voting marginally to stay in; smaller industrial towns voting heavily to leave.

There was a critique that was made of the European Union (whether we think it was accurate or not):

Too remote. Too unaccountable. Too bureaucratic. Too much uniformity. Run by people that don’t know what it’s like for me, where I am.

Travelling around, talking to people during the campaign, I sensed that some of those charges were levelled at the way the country is run too.

So among the answers to the challenge of the referendum result has to be a much bigger role for local leadership in our national life.

Local leadership that is rooted in communities; that is practical and pragmatic not doctrinaire; that understands the neighbourhoods that comprise an area – and the differences from one place to another.

We will not be One Nation until every part of the nation regains a sense of empowerment.

That’s why devolution needs to go deeper – wider too – but especially deeper.

The process is well underway.

Since the first City Deals we’ve seen further waves of City Deals, Growth Deals and Devolution Deals.

Only four years ago when people referred to devolution they invariably meant the transfer of power to Scotland or Wales.

But now the policy very much includes the whole country – with the North of England having an especially high profile.

And quite right too – because many of the most important and exciting developments in devolution are taking place here in the North.

No one should be surprised.

This is where the modern world was brought into being.

A well-spring of innovation that changed the course of history.

Which not even a century of centralisation was enough to exhaust.

We should also mention the geography of the North.

Where once it helped create the conditions for the industrial revolution, it is today helping to drive progress on devolution.

Every part of the country has the potential to benefit from the decentralisation of power, but for cities it is a no-brainer.

A city and its surrounding communities constitute an organic whole, a natural focus from which to join-up services and allocate investment.

Though also blessed with beautiful countryside, the North is the most urban part of the country outside London – home to five of England’s eight core cities and to many of its key cities.

And while these great population centres are close to one another physically, there is more variety in a hundred miles of the North than certain other places manage over the span of a continent.

The city-regions of the North thus provide fertile ground for devolution.

A series of connected-but-distinctive, large-but-local economies – with both the ambition and the opportunity to lead the way.

Many of the most important initiatives on devolution are now coming from local communities themselves.

The more that power is devolved to them, the more they see what they can do with it.

The process of devolution is therefore acquiring its own momentum.

However, momentum needn’t imply a single trajectory or speed of change.

The diversity of the North is a strength not a weakness – and that includes a variety of approaches to devolution itself.

With different geographies and different priorities, each area has moved at its own pace and in its own way.

To those of an excessively tidy frame of mind, this is quite unbearable.

It’s not that they oppose devolution, it’s just that they want it implement in a uniform, one-speed manner from the top-down.

To me, that is to miss the point completely.

Clearly, there are common principles that must be respected – such as democratic accountability and co-operation across local boundaries – but beyond that, I believe that the flexible approach to devolution has been vindicated.

Certainly, cities like Manchester and Liverpool wouldn’t have been able to blaze their trails without it.

A uniform process of devolution would mean devolution at the pace of the slowest, most reluctant participant.

And that would benefit no one.

The most ambitious communities would be held back and the more cautious communities would have no models to follow or adapt.

A healthy sense of rivalry has always sharpened the will to succeed in these parts – and not just on the football field or the cricket ground.

At the same time, however, there’s no denying the common identity and common interests of the North.

Therefore, I’m thrilled to see devolution taking shape not just within each city-region, but between them.

A prime example is the formation of Transport for the North – a major step towards the achievement a pan-regional road and rail network fit for the 21st century.

This, surely, is the way forward: communities choosing to join forces where and when the opportunity arises, in place of the rigid regionalism of the pre-devolution era.

It’s also great to see co-operation between the North of England and its neighbouring communities.

For instance, with North Wales whose close links with Cheshire, Merseyside, Manchester and Lancashire can be strengthened to mutual advantage.

And also with the north Midlands, where Cheshire, Warrington, Stoke and Staffordshire have been working collaboratively over the past year to maximise the growth benefits of HS2.

At a time when other cross-border institutions aren’t faring so well, it’s encouraging that everybody wants to join the Northern Powerhouse.

It is two years since the words “Northern Powerhouse” first appeared in a ministerial speech.

However, that’s not where you left them.

It’s no longer a phrase just used to label government policy – it’s an identity you’ve made your own and, in fact, always was your own.

Indeed, it’s a rebuke to those who talk the North down – who emphasise the failures of the 20th century (most often failures of central government) rather than the potential of the 21st.

A potential that is already being fulfilled.

In the last two years, foreign direct investment in the Northern Powerhouse has increased by 126%.

Since 2010, the long-standing north-south gap in private sector job creation has almost disappeared.

Indeed, we see cities in the North and Midlands at the top of the job creation league.

The entrepreneurial energies of the region have been released and deserve to be celebrated.

Recent research by the London Stock Exchange found that almost 80% of the fastest growing stock listed companies in the UK were headquartered outside of London – with Manchester and Leeds among the locations.

Now more than ever, it is essential that this progress continues.

For local government leaders, Local Enterprise Partnerships and other stakeholders represented here today that means maintaining the momentum of devolution and the local growth agenda.

To support and incentivise locally-led investment in transport, housing, skills and other priorities, the next round of Growth Deals will make £4.3 billion of funding available from the Local Growth Fund.

This money will go to the best schemes, introducing a deliberate element of competition.

I have always been clear that each deal and each piece of decentralising legislation represents a fresh point of departure not a final destination.

To change metaphors, the tide of decentralisation has advanced by waves, each building on its predecessor.

This model of reform has been vital to getting to where we are now, but I believe we are now moving to a new phase:

To one of continuous devolution, in which the transfer of power isn’t negotiated on a central government timetable or according to a set menu of options, but à la carte and as-and-when communities identify new opportunities.

If you lift the lid on Whitehall, what you see is an ongoing negotiation between different departments and ministers, an open process of give-and-take, proposal and counter-proposal.

This is how things work within central government, and I see no reason why it shouldn’t be the same between central government and local government:

Each with its own role and mandate, but equal partners in the governance of the nation.

We’re not quite there yet, but, underpinned by the Cities and Devolution Act, the enabling mechanisms are coming together:

Firstly, combined authorities to provide the heft and coordination that communities need to deal directly with

Whitehall and take control of major investment decisions.

Secondly, elected mayors to provide combined authorities with democratic accountability and high profile leadership.

In May next year we will see metropolitan mayors elected in at least nine parts of the country.

The third enabling mechanism is fiscal devolution – the financial independence, stability and incentives that communities need to push for local economic growth.

The shift to 100% local retention of business rates will be a massive step in that direction – and I’m delighted that Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region will be the first places to implement full business rate retention.

Whether on fiscal devolution, metropolitan mayors or combined authorities, Devo North is leading the way.

Before concluding, I’d like to mention a fourth foundation for successful devolution.

And that is data devolution.

To make the best investments for local growth… to fully understand the skills and infrastructure requirements of local businesses… to provide public services that respond to local needs… local decision-makers need up-to-date, accurate and meaningful information.

In an over-centralised country, information is sucked upwards, away from the frontline, and into separate top-down bureaucracies.

The only place where data can join up again is in distant centres of control – if indeed it joins up at all.

Furthermore, in such bureaucracies, information is homogenised and aggregated, erasing the fine detail on which the local picture depends.

But when communities take control of service delivery and investment for growth, then data can be joined-up locally – providing the intelligence that enables effective local decision making.

At the leading edge, data devolution is about smart communities – the use of advanced technology to gather and process information in real time.

This is exciting stuff, but perhaps more important is something that relies more on people than machines – and that is the willingness to learn from experience.

Devolution means different things being tried in different places – and so a concerted effort to share the lessons is immensely worthwhile.

These should be communicated between communities, not filtered through central government.

There’s an obvious role here for combined authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships, but also for independent institutions.

The flourishing of so many think tanks and research institutions in this area of policy is a real encouragement – not least the very welcome debut of ResPublica North.

As the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government I want to boost the prospects of every part of the country.

And indeed I can point to exciting developments in devolution from one end of England to the other – and elsewhere in Britain too.

Nevertheless, there can be no denying the particular achievements of this part of the world.

The Northern Powerhouse is setting the pace and Devo North is breaking new ground.

Speaking personally, it is a great honour to be working with so many impressive leaders from different communities, different sectors and different political parties.

At a time when we as a country must overcome our divisions, the willingness of so many different people to work together towards the common good is an inspiration.

This is a time of great change for our country.

Not least changes of leadership.

I would urge of all of you to make your voices heard.

To not only ask, but to insist, that those chosen to lead work for, and not against, your empowerment.

You have already demonstrated your ability to take responsibility, show leadership and take control.

There is no doubt of your capacity to make your own decisions, so don’t settle for anything else.

In the end, Finding True North means setting your own direction.

Thank you.

Lord Price – 2016 Speech on Chinese Investors

lordprice

Below is the text of the speech made by Lord Price, the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, in Shanghai, China on 8 July 2016.

I’m delighted to be here in Shanghai where I’ve come to meet businesses and investors, in the run up to the G20 trade ministers’ meeting.

This lunch is about me hearing your views, as business representatives, on the business environment in China and the UK and what the UK government can do to help. I do want to talk about this but I think it’s best if I first put this in the context of the Referendum.

Referendum

I want to reassure businesses and investors that there will be no immediate change. For now, the UK is still a full member of the EU, and goods and services will still trade freely across borders.

Our economy has strong foundations. Over the past 6 years, we’ve worked hard to make Britain one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business.

The UK is and wants to be the most business friendly, open, dynamic and innovative economy in the world. That remains unchanged.

I’d like to talk to you about investment, and the positive messages I’ve been receiving from investors across Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai. And then I’d like to tell you about why I think, through the new trade deals we now have the power to strike across the globe, the UK has the ability to create a second Elizabethan Golden Age of trade and investment.

Investment

But let me focus on investment first and foremost.

During this visit I’ve met with close to 100 Chinese investors – private and state owned – and the repeated message I’ve heard is one of commitment, enthusiasm and opportunity.

Forgive the long list, but to demonstrate the strength of continuing Chinese investor support for the UK I’d like to share some of the reassuring messages I’ve been hearing from investors I’ve met with over the past 4 days.

Fosun, China’s largest conglomerate have told me they are seeing opportunities to increase their investments in UK infrastructure and energy, following the referendum outcome.

Bailian, China’s largest retail group, is seeking to bring more British brands to China.

JD.com, one of the largest online shopping platforms in China and the world, is continuing to look at options for investing in China-UK e-commerce.

The Wanda Group, one of the biggest and most successful companies in China, told me they are now looking for further UK land and property investments.

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission want to work with us to invest in the UK and help UK insurers gain access to the Chinese market.

The China National Nuclear Corporation remain fully committed to their reinvestment in UK nuclear new build programmes.

Bank of China remain enthusiastic about current and new UK investment.

In addition, Huawei have assured government that they will go ahead with their planned £1.3 billion UK investment, and before coming out to China I had a very positive meeting with the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, who remain committed to continuing offshore oil investment in the UK.

And it’s easy to see why these investors are still bullish.

Our corporation tax is one of the lowest in the G20 – set to get even lower – and we can boast capability and expertise right across the UK, not just in London.

We are the number one destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Europe and according to EY, London is the European city most likely to create the next tech giant.

The current value of sterling not only will give our exporters a helping hand but will attract more investment to the UK.

We are also, in essence, starting from a blank piece of paper. Freed from Brussels’ more bureaucratic tendencies we will be able to tackle excessive red tape that hinders businesses.

We can look to make our tax system even more competitive, making us even more attractive to overseas investors.

In 2014, USD 5.1 billion of Chinese investment, nearly 30% of Europe’s total, came to the UK. Last year Chinese investment created almost 5,000 new jobs.

I want to keep this momentum going and want your views on how we negotiate the best deal post Brexit so the UK can continue to attract Chinese investment.

Trade

Turning to trade, I believe we need, above all, a calm and collaborative approach. The imperative now is to ensure we have a collective and unified view of the Britain we want in the future.

Firstly we will need to negotiate a new deal with the EU. I want us to maintain as close a relationship as possible on trade with our European partners. We will also look to secure free trade agreements (FTAs) with countries around the world.

We have and will continue to engage businesses and investors to help draw up the blueprints for what the UK’s future relationship with the EU and the rest of the world looks like. I am eager to hear your views and work together so we can get the best possible deals for the UK.

We need to avoid knee-jerk reactions. Trade deals aren’t agreed overnight. For some, we will be able to build on existing frameworks; others will have to be negotiated from scratch.

These negotiations will cover all areas of policy – including sector requirements from agriculture to financial services as well as regulatory issues such as customs, competition, and procurement.

Some sectors will slot into new deals relatively straightforwardly and others will be more complicated. We will therefore bring together policy experts from across government to ensure that we know what the UK needs.

Our UK trade team will also need to be resourced appropriately.

As no negotiations can take place before a new PM is in post and a new Cabinet formed, my job over the next few months is to lay out a set of options for the new PM.

However, the key thing for all of us here today is to see the opportunity this provides.

A fresh start gives a unique opportunity to shape a bright future for the UK as a global trading nation and open economy.

And I will use this week’s G20 trade ministers’ meeting in Shanghai to start building these important relationships with counterparts ahead of our negotiations.

The key message here is that we have a strong economy: we remain a fantastic place to invest, and have plenty of innovative, successful businesses. I have every confidence we will make this work.

Government support

Government is helping. For the first time, we are prioritising around 200 high value export campaigns, which could be worth up to £70 billion a year by 2020.

In China, for example, we have identified big ticket opportunities in around 17 sectors including in aerospace, healthcare and financial services.

We will bring together the whole of government, industry and our extensive overseas network to help UK businesses win these deals.

Conclusion

I’m optimistic about the future: and I believe we have all the tools now at our disposal to create a second Elizabethan Golden Age. The first Golden Age was based on peace, prosperity, new trading markets and a flourishing of the arts.

The prize that now awaits us is a continued close trading relationship with Europe, which is based on millennia of trading history – from Neolithic times right up to the modern day integration of our aerospace and automotive sectors. The UK remains a very important destination for European goods.

There’s also a prospect for striking new deals with Canada, New Zealand, Australia and other nations – forming the beginning of a new commonwealth trading pact.

Turning to the West, we want to reinforce our historic relationships with both North and South America, which stretch back many centuries.

And to the opportunities in the East, where for centuries British merchants have traded with China for tea and porcelain – so called ‘white gold’ – as well as with Japan, South Korea and other Asian nations.

In fact, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce was quoted earlier this week in the China Daily newspaper saying they wanted to do a free trade deal with the UK.

The exciting prospect of continuing trading relations with Europe and enhancing trading relationships East and West provides the UK with an opportunity to be a super connected trading hub.

Reinforcing democracy, British rule of law, and tolerance through these enhanced business connections is how we will build trust which in turn leads to peace and prosperity.

I am optimistic that we can seize this opportunity to create a second Elizabethan Golden Age.

Matt Hancock – 2016 Speech at the Public Sector Mutuals Conference

Matt Hancock
Matt Hancock

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Cabinet Office Minister, in Smith Square, London on 6 July 2016.

Everyone in this room is a reformer.

You’ve dared to do things differently for one reason above all: because you want to be the best at what you do.

And my message to you today is simple: this government is on your side.

We’re on your side because we believe in giving public servants the freedom to deliver their services in the way that they know best.

Because it’s better to give people a stake in their own success than a top-down target from on high.

And because we know you can have public service values and financial discipline: an entrepreneurial drive that’s driven by mission more than money.

Thanks to your work over the last 6 years, your approach is now grounded in clear evidence.

Let’s take the first: that if you trust people to innovate then that’s exactly what they do.

Look at Six Degrees, a Salford-based social enterprise that spun out from the NHS in 2011.

The team specialise in providing talking therapies for people suffering from depression or anxiety.

Since spinning out they’ve pioneered a new single point of access service, starting small then winning a commission to expand the service more widely.

They’ve teamed up with Salford University to develop new ways of improving communication skills for those who care for people with dementia.

And a senior staff member won the prestigious Mary Seacole Award for her work on improving access to mental health services within BME communities.

Or look at Realise Futures, a chain of 6 social enterprises, offering employment opportunities to disabled and disadvantaged adults in Suffolk.

Staff at all levels are encouraged to submit ideas at senior operational meetings.

One idea that came out of this process was to expand their veg box delivery business. In turn, this has led to more orders and more jobs.

From school support to adult social care, leisure centres to libraries, behavioural insights to building management, public service mutuals are rewarding innovators and changing lives.

Let’s take the second point: that the mutual model often means a happier, more engaged workforce.

We already know that, on average, absenteeism falls by a fifth and staff turnover by 16% following a public sector spin-out.

Survey data from across the sector show that staff become more likely to recommend their service to friends or family, feel more trusted to do their job, and more likely to feel like they can do their job to the standard they see fit.

And staff that feel in control in their own destiny are better placed to deliver for the public.

Take Achieving for Children, a jointly-owned social enterprise run by the Boroughs of Richmond and Kingston.

The team deliver integrated children’s services across both local authorities, from early years help to fostering to special educational needs.

Ofsted took the unusual step of moving the service up two grades, from ‘inadequate’ to ‘good’. They say that, since their last inspection, local children’s services have been ‘transformed’ .

The third advantage of mutuals is that it allows us to combine the best of public and private sectors: hard-hitting social impact and a healthy bottom line.

RippleZ is a social enterprise providing NHS services to vulnerable teenage parents in Derby.

Since spinning out they’ve won three NHS contracts, increasing their turnover by £1 million and growing from just 11 staff to 48 in the last 5 years.

Or look at Community Dental Services, which we expect to grow from £7 to 12 and a half million following recent NHS contract wins.

It’s very likely to hit £20 million by the next financial year.

So not only are public service enterprises free to innovate, they’re also free to grow: reinvesting their profits, doubling down on their success, scaling up as far as their ambitions can take them.

Many of these organisations began life with support from the Cabinet Office Mutuals Support programme, or the NHS Right to Request.

But this is no longer just a series of programmes, it’s fast becoming a national movement.

In 2010 the UK was home to just 9 public service mutuals. Six years on it’s 115, employing 35,000 staff, delivering around £1.5 billion in public services.

And now we want to go further.

Large parts of the public sector are open to this model, but there are still too many public servants who want to spin out but don’t feel like they can.

We understand, we are on their side, and we will back their ambitions every step of the way.

Our manifesto included a ‘right to mutualise’ and we want to work with you on delivering that commitment.

We’ve backed this up with £4 million in support at the Cabinet Office.

We’re looking to publish our new mutuals strategy in the Autumn, and we’ll be talking to you over the summer, to get your ideas about what you think should be in it.

I know you’re clear-eyed about the challenges ahead, about the barriers we need to unblock before we can take this revolution to the next level: sceptical service commissioners who prefer the tried and tested; sceptical lenders, put off by your lack of credit history; and the need for more commercial and technical skills.

But let’s be clear too about the huge advantages we have too: as a world-leader in the field of social investment, as a pioneer in payment by results, and with a state that has consistently shown itself ready and willing to reinvent itself to better serve the public.

So in our strategy we expect to look at issues like raising awareness of the opportunity, strengthening the evidence base still further, improving access to finance, and creating a more supportive commissioning environment.

I’m looking forward to working with you on setting out these vital next steps.

Of course this agenda is not a silver bullet, and no-one here would claim otherwise.

Digital transformation, data-driven improvement, user-centric service design. inspiring leadership: these all matter as much as the delivery model.

But our principle is clear, if public servants believe they can deliver a service better by taking control of that service, we have a duty to let them try.

This is life-changing work, and I pay tribute to everyone in this room who’s advanced the cause of public service reform.

Now we must aim higher, innovate faster, and not be afraid to fail first time.

That’s the means; the end is to help all our fellow citizens succeed.

That’s our mission.

You have my support.

Let’s go out and make it happen.

Michael Fallon – 2016 Speech to RUSI Airpower Conference

michaelfallon

Below is the text of the speech made by Michael Fallon, the Secretary of State for Defence, in London on 7 July 2016.

I’d like to begin by paying tribute to CAS since this is his last conference in post.

I know he’d rather I kept quiet but I want to put on record my appreciation for his immense leadership over the past three years.

He led the RAF into Shader only 2 years ago – he led calmly, without fuss.

I want to thank him for his leadership to the Force and service to the State.

He leaves a proud legacy.

A RAF stronger, more ready to face the challenges to come.

THE SOMME

Last week we commemorated the Somme.

Besides the contribution of our troops in the trenches, that long drawn out conflict witnessed a revolution in air power, from intelligence gathering to control of the air.

Back then, the perils of aviation were almost unimaginable.

Your forebears fought in canvas and wood, carried no parachutes, and had minimal training.

By contrast, you enjoy the sort of precision, speed and reach they could only dream of.

Yet you too continue to run risks to protect our freedom.

SHADER

And nowhere is this truer than in our fight against Daesh.

Two years on from Parliament’s vote to authorise airstrikes in Iraq, seven months since the extension of that authorisation to Syria, we now have over 600 air and ground crews in RAF Akrotiri.

It’s been humbling to meet those men and women on the frontline and to see how effectively they’re getting the job done.

GETTING THE JOB DONE

Our aircrew have flown more than 2800 missions in Iraq and Syria.

They’ve conducted 865 airstrikes in Iraq and, since December, 50 in Syria – more than any other nation except the United States.

Since December’s vote, the RAF has more than doubled its effort against Daesh.

Last month saw the greatest number of bombs dropped and missiles fired since January.

Meanwhile, RAF E-3D Sentry aircraft are co-ordinating Coalition aircraft over the whole operational area.

Our Voyager tankers are extending our reach and endurance.

Our intelligence gathering aircraft – such as Airseeker – are providing a significant amount of the Coalition’s ISR.

Together they’re ensuring our Tornados, Typhoons and Reapers can clear a path for brave Iraqi troops.

And our planes are making a decisive difference in support of local ground forces.

Daesh is on the back foot. It is a failing organisation.

In Iraq it has lost around 40% of the territory it once held.

Last week saw a significant milestone– the liberation of Fallujah.

Once more the RAF’s efforts highlight the precision nature of our operation.

Our fast jets struck more than 100 targets as Iraqi ground forces fought their way into the city.

It was our jets that destroyed bunkers housing anti-tank guns, weapons factories, ammunition dumps, and artillery.

They also provided crucial intelligence to identify potential threats even in the demanding circumstances of street-fighting in an urban environment.

Our efforts, alongside our Coalition partners, helped liberate Fallujah while limiting the long-term damage to the city and saving many brave Iraqi lives.

The symbolism of this latest success is inescapable since Fallujah was the first city seized by Daesh in Iraq in January 2014.

The focus is now on stabilisation so people feel safe to return home.

Meanwhile, in Syria the RAF is making inroads into Daesh’s command, control and targeting their oil infrastructure, a major source of revenue.

The RAF has not operated at this sustained operational tempo in a single theatre of conflict for a quarter of a century.

And this tempo and commitment – our precision targeting, our ISR, and our overall support for the coalition – shows no sign of abating.

GLOBAL REACH

Operation Shader might be our biggest operational focus but it’s only part of the RAF’s global activity.

Last year our pilots and aircrew deployed to more than 60 countries.

They’re in Eastern Europe for the third year running a protecting our NATO allies against Russian aggression.

Since April 29 they’ve been scrambled on 15 occasions to intercept 32 aircraft.

Besides targeting Daesh, our people are flying in Afghanistan as part of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission.

It remains a difficult and dangerous job.

And I’d like to pay tribute in to the personnel, especially the 2 RAF Puma crewmembers, who tragically lost their lives in Afghanistan in October last year.

Besides the RAF’s work overseas you continue to be a constant presence in UK as well as the Falklands skies providing Quick Reaction Alert to protect our security.

Whether at home or abroad, you continue to pull out all the stops.

The nation is proud of your service.

Thank you.

MAINTAINING A HIGH TEMPO

In the coming year I expect our RAF to continue, as you might say ‘kicking the tyres and lighting the fires’.

The result of the referendum will not change our global outlook.

Nor the shared threats we face.

To counter those international challenges…we must work even harder with our allies and partners, becoming, in the words of our SDSR, international-by-design.

And while we’ve opted out of one particular union, we take our global responsibilities seriously, as members of NATO, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Northern Group of European nations, the Five Power Defence Arrangements in the Far East and permanent members of the UN Security Council.

But the RAF needs no reminding of its global obligations.

You’ve always been an instinctively international entity.

SDSR GOOD NEWS

But your challenge is to stay ahead of the curve.

Our competitors are striving to close the capability gap.

Russia is exploiting forward-swept wing technology, North Korea “miniaturising” nuclear weapons, others are making the most of cyber and fifth generation technology.

In response, our SDSR gives us a RAF that packs a more powerful punch, increasing its capital investment programme to more than £6Bn, so it can spend on our future air fleet.

For a sign of what’s to come look no further than our fifth generation F-35, which crossed the Atlantic last week, in time for RIAT and Farnborough.

The F-35 both land and sea-based will be the fulcrum of a new air fleet, including, 2 additional Typhoon squadrons, 9 Maritime Patrol Aircraft, 14 Voyager air-to-air refuelling aircraft by end of year, upgraded helicopter fleets, more than double the number of drones and investments in innovations like the solar-powered Zephyr.

We’re not just investing in the platforms but the weapons themselves.

Today I can announce a contract worth approximately £28 million to maintain our state-of-the-art Storm Shadow missile for the next five years.

This long-range high performance cruise missile is already in service with our Tornados and is being integrated with our Typhoons.

Last week it was deployed for the first time in western Iraq…destroying Daesh ammunition dumps in a large concrete bunker.

Collectively, these assets make our future air fleet among the most adaptable and agile in the world.

Yet, if we’re to seize the opportunities opened up by this new capability, the RAF must adapt in three ways.

1. INFORMATION

First, by responding to the growing information challenge.

What distinguishes the air technology we’re developing today is an increasing ability to absorb information.

From the images captured by the Tornado’s Raptor pods, to our AWACS, fusing and disseminating data.

From the continuous surveillance of Reaper, to our F-35.

Let’s consider F-35 for a moment.

The most powerful and comprehensive integrated sensor package of any fighter aircraft in history, a core processor that can perform more than 400 billion operations per second and 360-degree access to “real-time” battlefield information.

It immeasurably improves our situational awareness.

But to get to grips with all the data it provides our people must learn to sift it, understand it, and exploit it, to deliver a faster truth to the public, and a knock-out blow to our adversaries.

2. PEOPLE

This brings me to point two.

Our people must be able to keep up with the sophistication of our systems.

That means training our crews to make judgements about the intelligence in front of them.

It means making our organisation as a whole, more streamlined and more responsive, so that data distilled on the battlefield is interpreted by the analysts back home, all in real time.

That’s why we’ve brought components of Defence Intelligence community together at Joint Forces Intelligence Group Headquarters alongside the imagery intelligence capability of the Defence Geospatial Intelligence Fusion Centre.

But we don’t just need to improve our information handling skills.

As we develop our disruptive capability, whether in artificial intelligence, miniaturisation, or big data, the RAF will require an even more diverse palette of skills.

Yet today the nation is facing a skills deficit.

To bridge that gap we’re backing apprenticeships

The RAF currently has 2700 apprentices on its books – over half in aircraft engineering.

We’re also collaborating with Primes to create engineering pathways between public and private sector.

We’ve appointed a Defence Engineering Champion, Air -Marshal Julian Young to develop talent across the Single Services and the Civil Service.

And we’re opening up a new Air & Defence Career College in Lincoln, so budding engineers or computer scientists can have unrivalled access to the RAF and Air Defence industry.

3. PUBLIC AWARENESS

My third point is we have to help the public as well as our people adjust to this new phase in air power.

With more coverage on our use of UAVs like Reaper and our plans for Protector, with systems such as Zephyr and Taranis in development, there is concern about the level of automation.

So we must explain clearly the benefits of the capability we’re investing in and the safeguards in place.

We don’t wish to remove humans from the process but using unmanned systems minimises the danger to operators and aircrew in high threat environments.

Ultimately, we want to put more power into the hands of our people by giving them better information to make more informed decisions.

Human beings might lack the computational power of a machine, but they are better than machines at understanding human motivation in all its chaotic and complex unpredictability.

Our people will always be our greatest disruptive capability.

And that’s why we have a clear UK policy on automation of weapons systems: the operation of weapons systems will always be under human control.

We are committed to using remotely piloted systems as an absolute guarantee of oversight and authority for weapons release.

And our Science and Technology Programme does not fund research into fully autonomous weapon systems.

Although humans will remain in control of our future weapons systems, new technology is increasing the physical distance between man and machine.

Take our pilots controlling their RPAS remotely thousands of miles away.

Yet they remain subject to the moral and psychological burden of combat as well as Rules of Engagement and the Laws of Armed Conflict.

That means we have to ensure training, tactics, and doctrine meet the needs of the 21st century pilot.

CONCLUSION

So we’re preparing our people and the public to face the new dawn of airpower.

For the next generation, this will be a new age of opportunity.

Yet to make the most of it, we must make sure future talent keeps coming through the door.

In a sense. it’s the same appeal as Trenchard once made: “We want the mathematic genius – there is work for him. We want the scientific brain – there is more than enough work for him. We want the man of brains and we want the man of common sense. We want the man of initiative and the man of action”.

But that was in 1925 in the infancy of air power.

You can now look back on a century of extraordinary achievement and innovation.

From the tactical ingenuity on the Somme, to the feats of daring in the Battle of Britain.

From the breakthrough of the jet engine, to the development of an air-breathing rocket propulsion system that can enter earth’s orbit.

From the fifth-generation F-35, to the solar power zephyr that can loiter in the upper atmosphere.

Our people have helped to change this country. They’ve helped keep the world safe too.

So as we tell this story, as we appeal, let’s take to heart the theme of this conference and inspire the next generation.

They will be the ones to write the next chapter in the glorious history of our nation.

A history in which we’ll fly further and higher and longer than ever before, as they protect our country and keep our people safe.

Nicky Morgan – 2016 Speech to the Education Britain Summit

nickymorgan

Below is the text of the speech made by Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education, at the Emmanuel Centre, Westminster in London on 6 July 2016.

It’s a pleasure to be here at the Education Britain Summit today. Thank you to the Education Foundation for organising the summit with its positive focus on ‘celebration, ambition and inspiration’. These are, without doubt, challenging times but in a time of uncertainty the positive ‘can do’ approach of the Education Foundation is exactly what we all need.

When I accepted the invitation to speak at this event I knew that I’d be standing before you in a post-referendum world. The result is not the one I wanted or campaigned for and we are now living in uncertain times. I know, for many young people, recent events have been unsettling. We all – teachers, leaders, schools and parents – have an important role to play in providing reassurance and support to young people. I want to send a clear message today that:

– no child should live in fear of racism or bullying

– we will not stand for intolerance

– hate crimes of any kind must be stamped out

Long before this result, the government gave clear direction to schools to teach children and young people about the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.

This is part of our drive to foster better social cohesion and encourage all young people to celebrate their differences alongside their unifying sense of Britishness.

Although the referendum result has changed so much about the world we are living in, my ambition remains resolute: to extend opportunity and deliver real social justice for all. Brexit doesn’t change that. We will continue with the ambitious pace of reform that we have begun. Now, more than ever, we owe it to the next generation to equip them with the skills, knowledge and confidence to take on the challenges they will face.

Celebration

Having spoken to the team behind today’s summit, I’m struck by their desire to build an ‘Education Nation’ – reforming of our system to meet the challenges of the future, but never forgetting to celebrate the things that are already being done well – rediscovering ‘national education treasures’.

So in that spirit I’d like to ‘celebrate’ the efforts of everyone here today. Your desire for a conversation and to work together is why I’m here and I’m really looking forward to you sharing your insights and expertise with me.

And as we approach the end of another school year we should also celebrate the efforts of teachers and leaders in schools throughout the country. Their hard work, commitment and exceptional ability to bring about excellent educational outcomes for young people represent our ‘educational treasures’. It’s thanks to their collective efforts that 1.4 million more children and young people are being taught in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools since 2010.

Ambition

I am ambitious for the education system, and that ambition is clear: educational excellence everywhere. Our white paper builds on the reforms that started in 2010 which focused on making sure that every child gets the best start in life.

Yesterday, schools received the first set of key stage 2 results, following the introduction of a far more rigorous curriculum in 2014. As a government we made the decision to raise the bar on literacy and numeracy. Because while the old arrangements allowed politicians to celebrate ever improving results, the truth is, expectations were too low.

We had to bring our primary school curriculum in line with the best in the world, because nothing is more important than ensuring that young people master the basics of reading, writing and mathematics early on.

If they don’t, they’ll be left playing catch up for the rest of their lives. That’s why as part of this government’s commitment to delivering real social justice, started by Michael Gove my predecessor, we have raised the bar on what counts as a good enough standard in the 3Rs by the end of primary school.

Nicky Morgan at Education Britain Summit

Nicky Morgan presents the keynote at the Education Britain Summit
I want to thank all those involved in the tests this year, including teachers and parents, for supporting pupils through the transition to a more rigorous system. It’s important that all involved see these results for what they are – a reflection of how well children this year have performed against a new curriculum.

Whilst it is right that we should celebrate success and achievement, there is more we have to do. It cannot be right that in 2016 children’s educational outcomes are, in part, determined by where they live.

That’s why as a society we must share a common goal: to ensure that all children have an excellent education. We all have a part to play in achieving that goal. Everyone has a role to play. Central to that ambition are schools, their leaders and teachers, and that’s why the white paper has such a strong emphasis on ‘great teachers’ and ‘great leaders’.

There can be no doubt that high-quality teaching is essential to improving pupil outcomes. Excellent leadership is also key. Ofsted evidence has shown that the overall performance of a school rarely exceeds the quality of its leadership and management. That’s why getting great teachers and leaders where they are most needed is my absolute priority.

These are challenging times for some schools to get the teachers and leaders they need in order to drive up standards. I recognise that schools find it frustrating if they can’t secure the talent they rightly expect, and we are responding. An economy in growth presents challenges – in a competitive graduate market, the best graduates are in high demand.

I’m very clear about the role the government has to play, to create an environment in which schools can be ambitious. We’re tackling workload, encouraging recruitment to teaching and promoting higher standards.

And we’re making progress.

I’m delighted with the latest recruitment figures to teaching – we’re seeing growth in the number of people training to be teachers across a range of secondary subjects.

I can also confirm that our reform of QTS will be implemented no earlier than September 2018 – with a formal consultation about our proposals in due course.

We’re tackling workload so teachers and school leaders will have time to focus on what really matters – focusing on high-quality teaching and delivering excellent educational outcomes.

We recently published the reports of 3 independent review groups looking at tackling workload related to marking, planning and data management. These reports are a great example of the profession taking charge of their own development and they include clear messages that can empower teachers and school leaders. We urge everybody in education to consider and engage with the messages and recommendations in the reports.

We’re also focusing on reforms that support children to reach their full potential, like character education and mental health reforms. Equipping schools with the tools to make a real difference to the future success of their students.

As I said in my opening remarks, in a time of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever that we equip the next generation with the confidence to succeed. Character plays a huge role in that, as I have been told time and time again by experts in character education like Carol Dweck and Angela Drummond, who say that children need and deserve opportunities to learn:

– how to persevere and respect each other

– how to bounce back when faced with failure

– how to collaborate and build strong relationships at work and in their private lives

That’s why we are investing £6 million to test approaches to character education. We’re also delivering Character Awards to highlight the excellent practice that already exists at schools like Archibald Primary, where character education is at the heart of the school’s ethos and embedded across the curriculum. The school’s motto is “Believe and achieve” and the staff place great emphasis on instilling a belief in pupils that, whatever challenges they face, they can achieve their full potential.

And the Chancellor has announced that we will invest over £500 million so up to 25% of secondary schools can extend their school day to provide a wider range of activities, including those associated with building character.

These broader qualities are sought by parents, educators and employers alike.

Last year I supported the creation of the Careers & Enterprise Company – so that young people and employers can connect much earlier and start having the right conversations about career options and expectations – letting them know which skills and qualifications they need in order to advance their careers. The Careers & Enterprise Company is already doing great things under a fantastic CEO, Claudia Harris, and I know it will go from strength to strength. I would encourage anyone in business, with the capacity to get involved, to do so and start inspiring young people to succeed.

Employers want young people to have access to the right routes through education, to complement their individual strengths, and so that the economy gains the types of skills it really needs. That’s why the government is publishing its Skills Plan later this week – a strategy to lift the status of the technical route and put employers in the driving seat as the people best placed to know what skills our country needs.

Inspiration

The truth is that the government cannot and should not do it alone. We have a role to play but we need to be clear about the roles we need others to play. I hope that if we approach it as conversation rather than confrontation we’ll make the progress we need.

Many of our key policy interventions have been based on advice from leading heads and teachers, and we welcome their input and wise counsel. We will continue with that approach so that reforms are owned by the educators. But we should be clear that schools and their leaders must step up and play their part.

We’ve been very clear about the role schools need to play in identifying and developing talented teachers:

– getting involved in ITT

– creating a working environment that provides opportunities and reward for teachers and leaders

– developing and training the next generation of leaders

The government has created opportunities – schools need to make the most of them. Many already are.

That’s why I want to inspire, empower and extend the reach of our best leaders, putting them at the heart of the education system where they can drive change and take ownership of the system. If we are to achieve our ambition for educational excellence everywhere, then a supply of high-quality leaders is needed at all levels, from middle and senior leaders to headteachers and system leaders and increasingly at MAT CEOs level.

We believe that schools are best placed to recognise teachers with the talent, ambition and commitment to become leaders. To support this, we want to ensure schools and prospective leaders themselves can identify and choose to access high-quality leadership development opportunities.

And I’m very proud of the creation of a ‘Women in Education’ network to further support women’s career progression. We’ll be working with organisations such as ASCL and #WomenEd and with schools to ensure that this provision does not duplicate existing support. We are creating the “leadership coaching pledge”. Our ambition is to have 1,000 pledges so that 1,000 women are supported through coaching by system leaders by March 2017.

Thank you

I’m clear that society as a whole – not just government and schools – has a shared responsibility to celebrate the dedication of everyone involved in education, and to recognise the essential contribution they make.

Thank you for all your hard work in pursuing educational excellence everywhere and the collaborative approach you are taking to achieving it.