Ken Livingstone – 1987 Maiden Speech in the House of Commons

Below is the text of the maiden speech made by Ken Livingstone in the House of Commons on 7 July 1987.

I shall start by praising my predecessor, Mr. Reg Freeson. There are some who may he surprised at that. Our differences were political and I do not think that anyone would suggest that he did not serve his constituency as well and as excellently as any other hon. Member. Therefore, I praise his record in this place, although I played some part in ending his presence here. Given how bad the post is currently, I cannot report that I have had a letter of congratulations from him yet. I shall notify the House when t do. I would not urge right hon. and hon. Members to hold their breath.

I want to thank all the officials of the House, including the police, for their assistance. I cannot recall anywhere that I have been where there is such a degree of helpfulness, general good humour and pleasantness. I am certain that other new Members think the same. I do not know why that should be. Perhaps close proximity to 649 fellow politicians induces this state of good humour, or perhaps there are those who have a private joke that they are not telling the rest of us.

I wish to start by making clear my position on violence. I condemn without equivocation all acts of violence, but I am not prepared to be uneven-handed. I do not believe that we should condemn the violence of the IRA and produce a less strident condemnation of the violence of other extra-legal organisations. Nor do I believe that we should be any the less outraged when those who operate on behalf of the British state and security forces go beyond the law or the conventions of decency, as has occasionally happened. Either we condemn all violence or we are not placed to condemn any of it.

Like many others, I do not believe that direct rule is a workable option for Ireland. I believe that nothing short of a united Ireland will bring about an end to the troubles that have assailed our involvement with that island over hundreds of years, with an especial viciousness over the past two decades. Throughout my parliamentary career I shall continue to press at every opportunity for a withdrawal of Britain from Ireland and the opening to a united Ireland in which the Irish people can decide how best to govern themselves.

There are many inevitable contradictions—I am sure that many right hon. and hon. Members will not share this view—in what I perceive as a colonial situation. As in the past, it is inevitable that problems will arise when one power occupies wholly or in part another nation with a separate culture and identity. With the best intentions in the world, the occupying power is led into abuse of its authority, and in so doing alienates key sections of the community.
I should imagine that much the most effective method of recruitment into the IRA has been the consistent abuse of power over decades by those who held the whip hand while Stormont existed through 50 years of misrule. The only thing that is remarkable is that it took 50 years before the present violence erupted. That suggests a degree of patience and tolerance on the part of the minority of Northern Ireland that I do not think many other peoples around the world would necessarily have been prepared to equal.

There have been many instances when the present Government’s policies and their agents have been ideal recruiting agents for the IRA. The attitude of the Government towards the hunger strike did more to boost support for those pursuing a violent solution for Northern Ireland than anything that they could have done themselves.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Royal Ulster Constabulary had a shoot-to-kill policy. That has been successfully covered up, but it came close to exposure when Mr. John Stalker was set to investigate it. When it became clear that he was not prepared to be corrupt and that he would not do a whitewash job to let the RUC off the hook, the British establishment, through all its usual means, ensured that he was removed from his task. I wish that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland would pursue the inquiry with the same vigour that he condemns the terrorists and ensure that the results of it are brought to the Floor of the House as rapidly as possible as a matter of public debate. As long as the minority in Northern Ireland believes that there is one law and one tone of condemnation of violence for one section of the community but not the other, we shall not be able to achieve any real progress towards peace.

Representatives of the unionist parties have talked about double standards, and these cannot be denied. We have heard since the Gracious Speech that the British Government intend to continue with the policies that they have been pursuing in the north and possibly to sharpen them to end discrimination against the minority in employment. I welcome that, but if it is good enough for Northern Ireland, why do the British Government do everything possible to prevent Labour councils in Britain that wish to adopt similar policies from ending discrimination against minorities in Britain? We shall not be able to unite the people of Northern Ireland while we have a policy stance for them that is different from that for the rest of the United Kingdom. That makes a mockery of the idea that this is a united kingdom.

One of the greatest problems to arise during the present troubles has been the backlash against the Irish community in Britain, which my constituents in Brent have suffered. Far too many innocent people are subject to harassment by the use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act. It has been used in a way which was never intended. Still today not 1 per cent. of those detained and harassed by the security forces—I am talking about individual ​ Irish women and men making their way backwards and forwards between the two countries—is ever convicted of any form of crime. The Prevention of Terrorism Act is being used by agents of the British state to harass those who actively campaign for a united Ireland. Every time they do it a nail is driven further into the concept of our remaining with any hold in Ireland.

As many other nations have found—for example, the French in Algeria—it is inevitable that if we set out to hold a nation against its will, however good our intentions, abuses of power will occur. I wish to draw attention to that by referring to one specific instance.

During my election campaign in Brent, East, there was an unusual public meeting. An individual was invited to it who has never been a Socialist, who will never be prepared to vote Labour and who thinks that the Tory party is the natural governing party of Britain. He was invited to share a platform with myself and some of the relatives of those who have been subject to miscarriages of justice by the British courts over issues of bombing here in Britain. We invited Mr. Fred Holroyd. For those who do not know, Mr. Holroyd served in Northern Ireland with distinction. As I said, he is no Socialist. He comes from a military family. He went to a Yorkshire grammar school. His whole objective in life was to serve in the British Army. He believed in it totally. He enlisted as a private in the gunners, and three years later he was commissioned into the Royal Corps of Transport. He volunteered for the Special Military Intelligence unit in Northern Ireland when the present troubles began, and he was trained at the Joint Services School of Intelligence. Once his training was finished, he was stationed in Portadown, where, for two and a half years, he ran a series of intelligence operations. I quote him so that there can be no suspicion that he might be a secret member of the Militant Tendency or a secret republican. At the public meeting, his words were that he believed that the Army officers and men with whom he worked were
“genuinely honest men trying to do the best job in the circumstances. They were in a no-win situation.”

When he was recruited as an M16 officer, he said of them that they were not disagreeable; their ethics were reasonable; they were seeking a political solution. His complaint, which eventually led to his removal from the Army and an attempt to discredit him, which has been largely successful, was made when the M16 operation was taken over by M15 in 1975—by many of the same people who are dealt with in Peter Wright’s book, and many of the same people who are alleged to have been practising treason against the elected Labour Government of the time. He said that once the M15 took over the reasonable ethics of M16 were pushed aside by operatives in the intelligence world who supported the views of Mr. Kitson and the policies and tactics of subverting the subverters. I recommend Brigadier Kitson’s words to those who are not aware of them. His attitude was to create a counter-terror group, to have agents provocateur, to infiltrate, and to run a dirty tricks campaign in an attempt to discredit the IRA.

Mr. Holroyd continued to believe that what he was doing was in the best interests of the British state until early in 1975, when Captain Robert Nairac, who, as many hon. Members will know, was later murdered by the IRA, went into his office, fresh from a cross-border operation ​ —something that of course is completely illegal—and showed him the colour photographs that had been taken by Captain Nairac’s team. Captain Nairac had crossed the border with some volunteers from the UDF. He had assassinated John Francis Green, an active member of the IRA who was living south of the border. As an agent of the British Government operating across the border as an assassin he had brought back photographs as proof of that operation. When Captain Nairac showed the photographs, Mr. Holroyd started to object, not because he objected to an active member of the IRA being assassinated in a highly illegal cross-border raid but because he realised that once the British state started to perpetrate such methods there was no way that eventually Britain would not alienate vast sections of the community and eventually lose the struggle for the hearts and minds of the Irish people.

Holroyd then started to object to the use of such illegal methods by M15 officers. He was immediately shuffled to one side by the expedient method of being taken to a mental hospital and being declared basically unfit for duty. During the month that he spent in the British mental hospital, the three tests that were administered to him were completely successfully passed. Certainly, over a decade later, having met him, I can see no evidence whatsoever that he was in some sense mentally unbalanced. He was a spy who realised that the operations of the British Government were counter-productive. He started to object, and was pushed to one side for his pains.

I raise the link with Captain Robert Nairac because, as I said, Fred Holroyd had qualms about this but was not particularly shocked; these things happen in a war. The matter needs to be investigated. I cannot prove the claims but allegations are being made extensively here in Britain, in republican circles and on Irish radio and television. A particularly horrifying incident that many hon. Members will remember was the murder of three members of the Miami showband—completely innocent musicians with no political affiliations whatsoever. It took place in the midst of the ceasefire that had been negotiated by the then Labour Government and the IRA. The right hon. Member for Morley and Leeds, South (Mr. Rees) pushed it through and sustained it, although there was considerable opposition from within the security services and within many political parties. The Labour Government did everything possible to make the ceasefire work, but it was not wholly accepted within the apparatus of M15—our operatives who allegedly were working on behalf of the British state in Northern Ireland.

What is particularly disturbing is that what looked at the time like a random act of maniacal violence and sectarian killing now begins to take on a much more sinister stance. It has begun to emerge that Captain Robert Nairac is quite likely to have been the person who organised the killing of the three Miami showband musicians. The evidence for that allegation is forensic and members of the UDF are prepared to say that they were aware of the dealings between members of the UDF gang who actually undertook the murder of the Miami showband musicians. The evidence is quite clear. The same gun that was used by Captain Nairac on his cross-border trip to assassinate John Francis Green was used in the Miami showband massacre.

Earlier this year, the radio and television service of southern Ireland, RTE, showed a documentary in which the makers—not myself; no one could accuse RTE of ​ being pro-IRA—that allege they have now had contacts with members of the UDF in that area who say that Captain Nairac passed the explosives and the guns to the UDF and set up the killing of the Miami showband musicians. If that is true, it needs to be investigated. The allegation was made on the broadcasting networks of southern Ireland. It is supported by men who served on behalf of Britain as spies in the area at the time. It needs to be investigated and disproved, or the people behind it rooted out. If one wanted to find a way of ending the ceasefire that had been negotiated between the Labour Government and the IRA, what better way to do so than to encourage random sectarian killings? I believe that that was happening.

It is likely that many of the officers mentioned in Peter Wright’s book who were practising treason against the British Government at home were also practising treason against the British Government in Ireland. If the allegations are true, they were prepared to murder innocent Catholics to start a wave of sectarian killing which would bring to an end the truce that the Labour Government had negotiated with the IRA. No democratic society can allow that sort of allegation to go uninvestigated. It is made by people who served on our behalf as intelligence officers in the area.

We saw in last Sunday’s edition of The Observer that another intelligence officer, Colin Wallace, who was closely linked with Fred Holroyd in a campaign to expose what was going on, has been dismissed as irrelevant by the British Government. We see now that The Observer, using forensic tests, has been able to demonstrate that the notes that he wrote were not written in the past couple of years by somebody who is embittered and is trying to cash in on what has started to come out. A clear analysis of the ink that was used in the notes shows that they were written in the early 1970s. Slowly, it all begins to pull together.

The interesting thing about the Peter Wright case is that in his defence in court he said that he was a loyal servant of Britain, and that he sought only to expose corruption and spies in Britain and an establishment that covered them up. One of the arguments by which he demonstrated his loyalty to Britain was when he said in his book that he did not deal with what he knew about operations in Ireland because that could still be damaging to the British Government.

One needs to take together the accusations of Wallace and Holroyd and link them clearly to what is being said by Peter Wright. There was not just treason by some M15 officers in Britain. Treason was also taking place in Ireland. Those employed by the British state are alleged to have been responsible for killing innocent civilians in order to end a ceasefire with which they disagreed because their political objectives were different from those of the Labour Government of the day. That is a most horrifying crime.

Wallace and Holroyd are making these quite specific allegations. They are now drafting a book that will expose much more, and we need to ask why the British Government take no action to stop them or to silence them. They pursue Peter Wright, but they are terrified that if they take Wallace and Holroyd to court they will expose in court things that will shake the Government to its foundations.

A stupid thing happened when the British Army decided to get Holroyd out and discredit him. The officer put in as his replacement, and who was unaware of what had been going on, arrived in the office and assembled all ​ of Holroyd’s papers into a large container and dispatched them to his home. Before the British Government start rubbishing Holroyd too flamboyantly, they should be warned that he retains almost all the case papers that were in his control. They deal with his operations and his work and they are safely out of this country and beyond the reach of the Government.

We must have a full investigation. Before I could happily vote for this extension of direct rule, I want to see some evidence that the Government are prepared to ensure that these abuses are exposed. I want them to guarantee that similar abuses are not continuing. The whole series of events about which I have spoken must be investigated. Very soon we must have the full evidence about the shoot-to-kill policy of the RUC because I have no doubt that that is being covered up. It would have been most useful if John Stalker had been able to conclude his inquiry after the attempt to discredit him had been exposed and overturned by the local police authority.

We have to examine other allegations made on RTE that M15 officers were engaged in undermining the power sharing Executive set up by the Government of the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Mr. Heath). We have to look again at the allegations by Colin Wallace about the Kincora boys’ home scandal. It has been suggested that young boys in a home effectively controlled by M15 were buggered so that Protestant politicians could be blackmailed and silenced by M15. ‘That allegation cannot continue to drift around. It must be investigated and the truth exposed. The longer the British Government cover up and deny all this and refuse to investigate, the more the impression will be created that they know full well what has been going on and that far too many members of the Government are the beneficiaries of these acts of treason by M15 officers in Britain and abroad.
I do not believe for a minute that these things could have been going on without members of the Conservative party being kept informed in the generality if not in specific details. It looks increasingly likely that Mr. Airey Neave was in touch with some of these officers, and it is certainly the case that Airey Neave delivered a speech that had been——

Mr. Gow On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. It is with very great reluctance that I intervene during the maiden speech of the hon. Member for Brent, East (Mr. Livingstone), but will you please make it clear to him, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that references to Airey Neave of the kind that we have heard are deeply offensive?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Harold Walker) Order. Hon. Members making their first speech in the House are usually heard without interruption. So far I have heard nothing in the speech of the hon. Member for Brent, East (Mr. Livingstone) that is out of order.

Mr. Livingstone May I make it clear to the House that I am reporting allegations that hon. Members have read in newspapers and that are reported on radio and television both here and abroad. They are made by intelligence officers who served at the time in Ireland on behalf of the British Government. It may well be that the allegations are all a tissue of lies, but can we imagine any other Western Government who would allow such damaging allegations to circulate month after month and year after year and not move to lance the boil? They would either deal with the allegations or demonstrate that they ​ were untrue. The Prime Minister’s day-by-day refusal to investigate what was happening in M15 at that time can only lead a large number of reasonable people both here and abroad to believe that there is some element of truth in the allegations now circulating.

If Conservative Members are shocked that allegations are made about Airey Neave, they should join me in demanding a full investigation so that Airey Neave’s name can be cleared. Why just Airey Neave? The allegations that I have outlined to the House about Captain Robert Nairac should also be investigated, as should the allegations about the Kincora boys’ home. They should be investigated by a Committee of the House so that we can know the truth. As long as the Prime Minister continues to resist this, and as long as it is quite obvious that she was the main beneficiary of the work of these traitorous officers in M15, many reasonable people cannot avoid the conclusion that she was kept informed to some degree via Airey Neave who had close links with the intelligence services. He made a speech for which false information was provided by Colin Wallace, and Colin Wallace now admits that.

There is something rotten at the heart of the British security services, and we will not have a safe democracy until it is exposed in its entirety and dealt with.

John Major – 1989 Autumn Statement

Below is the text of Mr Major’s Autumn Statement, given in the House of Commons on 15th November 1989.


The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. John Major) : With permission, Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a statement. Cabinet agreed the Government’s expenditure plans this morning. I am now able to inform the House of the public expenditure outturn for this year; the plans for the next three years; proposals for national insurance contributions in 1990-91; and the forecast of economic prospects for 1990 required by the Industry Act 1975. The main public expenditure figures, together with the full text of the economic forecast, will be available from the Vote Office as soon as I sit down. The printed Autumn Statement will be published next Wednesday.

Tight control of public expenditure remains a central element of the Government’s economic strategy. In the past seven years this has led to a sharp fall in the ratio of public spending, excluding privatisation proceeds, to national income. This fall has made it possible to improve dramatically the Government’s finances while still making substantial reductions in tax rates. The ratio of public spending to gross domestic product was nearly 47 per cent. in 1982-83. In the current year, it is likely to be 38.75 per cent., significantly below the level expected at the time of the last Autumn Statement. For the next two years the plans I am announcing today show ratios of 39 and 38.75 per cent. Those are unchanged from the ratios published in last year’s Autumn Statement, and permit a cash increase in general Government expenditure in 1990-91 of around £5.5 billion. By 1992-93 the ratio is expected to fall further to its lowest level since the mid-1960s.

For the current year, the outturn of expenditure is expected to be about £168 billion–£1 billion higher than the original planning total. This partly reflects a lower level of privatisation proceeds, but its principal cause is massive overspending by local authorities on both current and capital account. As the House knows, new arrangements for the finance and control of local authority expenditure in England and Wales are being introduced on 1 April 1990. This year’s outturn shows how necessary those new measures are. Central Government spending remains firmly under control. The plans for the next three years have been set on the new definition of the planning total which the Government announced in July last year and which was welcomed by the Treasury and Civil Service Select Committee.

This includes central Government support for local authorities, but excludes their self-financed expenditure. The composition of general Government expenditure remains unchanged. For 1990-91, the new planning total has been set at £179 billion and, in the following two years, at £192 billion and £203 billion respectively. Within that, the estimates of privatisation proceeds are unchanged, at £5 billion a year. There are also substantial reserves, rising from £3 billion in 1990-91 to £6 billion and £9 billion in the following two years.

The new plans also show continued real growth in spending on the Government’s priorities. Thus, between this year and next, spending on the National Health Service in the United Kingdom will rise by £2, 400 million. Taking account of income generation and cost savings, that is equivalent to a £2,600 million increase in resources, or 5.5 per cent. in real terms. These plans will finance the improvements in the management of the service outlined in the National Health Service review. They provide more than £200 million extra for hospital building and other capital expenditure next year ; and they will finance continuing growth in services for patients. They are the clearest possible evidence of the Government’s practical commitment to improving the care available in the National Health Service.

There will be substantial increases also for investment in transport. Spending on national roads is planned to double between 1988-89 and 1992-93. Extra financing of £400 million to £500 million a year is being made available for the railways and London Regional Transport, including upgrading the services on Network SouthEast and the London Underground, to relieve congestion and improve safety, and for rail services for the Channel tunnel. In total we have added £1.8 billion to the planned spending on transport in the next two years. The plans provide an extra £250 million over the next two years for a new initiative to tackle homelessness, to be announced today by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment. Central Government support for the provision of new homes by housing associations will more than double from £800 million in 1989-90 to £1,700 million in 1992-93.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security has already announced real increases in benefits which will help 1.5 million families and 500,000 long-term sick and disabled people. There will be a further increase of over £500 million in the total resources available for higher education in 1990-91 compared with this year. It will provide for the continuing growth in the number of students, which has risen by 30 per cent. since 1979, and is now at a record level and it will cover the cost of the Government’s proposals on top-up loans. There is provision for more environmental research, including the new climate change centre and the doubling of our contribution to the United Nations environmental programme. About £1.5 billion has been added to planned capital spending by central Government and public corporations in 1990-91. That represents a real increase of around 10 per cent. compared with 1989-90.

Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton) : On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I have been a Member for a long time, but I wish to know whether I am allowed to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer a question. He is making a long statement. Am I allowed to ask a question and, if not, when can I ask him a question?

Mr. Speaker : Surely the hon. Member does not need to pose that question. If I call him later, he can ask the Chancellor a question then.

Mr. Major : The new plans include the money central Government provide to support local authority spending. The Government’s proposals for aggregate external finance in 1990-91 were announced to the House in July. Measures have also been announced which will ease the transition from rates to community charge. The cost to the taxpayer of these measures will be nearly £700 million in 1990-91, with further substantial sums in each of the following two years.

Capital grants and credit approvals will provide central Government support for local authority capital expenditure under the new arrangements. The new plans provide support for a sustained programme of school and college building and modernisation, for local authorities to contribute to the homelessness package, for transport projects, as well as capital spending on other local services, including local roads and environmental improvement. As in the past, these improvements have been possible only through a rigorous selection of priorities, substantial gains in value for money, and a very welcome reduction in the burden of debt interest. They have been found within an affordable level of total public spending. Overall public spending excluding privatisation proceeds is expected to grow on average by 1.75 per cent. a year in real terms throughout the period between 1988-89 and 1992-93. This was the rate of growth projected in last year’s Autumn Statement and we have stuck to it. Over the 1970s, a decade of high borrowing and high inflation, as well as high public spending, it grew not by 1.75 per cent. a year but by 3 per cent. a year.

The Government’s new plans demonstrate their continuing commitment to two vital principles : first, to maintain firm control over total spending; and secondly, to increase efficiency in order to provide more resources where they are most needed. I should like to congratulate my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary on his skilful and successful conduct of the public spending round.

I turn next to national insurance contributions. As the House knows, we have now implemented the reform of employee contributions announced by my right hon. Friend the member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson) in the Budget. From last month, two of the three step increases in contribution rates have been abolished. This means that employees who get pay increases taking them just above these steps can no longer lose more in higher contributions than they gain in extra pay. And the initial step at earnings of £43 a week, where people first enter the contribution system, has been more than halved. These measures have reduced contributions by up to £3 a week for nearly 19 million employees and are of particular help to many employees on modest incomes ; they have also removed some important disincentives. The usual autumn review of contributions has been conducted in the light of advice from the Government Actuary on the prospective income and expenditure of the national insurance fund, and taking account of the statement on benefits made in October by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security.

Next year, the initial class 1 contribution rate payable on earnings up to the lower earnings limit will remain at only 2 per cent. This means that a payment of only 92p a week will buy entitlement to the basic pension and other contributory benefits for those who earn just enough to pay contributions. On additional earnings, up to the upper earnings limit, the rate will remain unchanged at 9 per cent. For employers, the main rate will also be unchanged at 10.45 per cent.

The lower earnings limit will be increased to £46 a week, in line with the single person’s pension, and the upper earnings limit will be raised to £350 a week. For employers, the upper limits for the three reduced bands will be increased broadly in line with prices. I am also publishing today the economic forecast required by the Industry Act 1975.

It is clear beyond doubt that the economy has greatly strengthened over the last decade. We have experienced eight years of strong and sustained growth with inflation at moderate levels. This has brought an increase in employment of about 2.75 million since March 1983 and a sustained rise in living standards. However, it is also clear that in the last two years, 1987 and 1988, demand, and with it output, rose at a rate which exceeded expectations and could not be sustained. That became apparent in increased inflationary pressures and the growth of the current account deficit.

These pressures had to be reduced and monetary policy was tightened accordingly. The effects of this tightening are already apparent in recent retail sales figures, and the turnaround in the housing market. The Government’s fiscal position is also very strong. I now expect this year’s fiscal surplus to be about £12.5 billion, equivalent to 2.5 per cent. of GDP. That represents a very tight fiscal stance by any standards. Both tax yield and expenditure are higher than forecast at Budget time, but lower proceeds from privatisation and the very high take-up of personal pensions mean that the public sector debt repayment will be slightly below the Budget projections.

Looking at the wider economy, as always, a great deal inevitably depends on the actions of companies and individuals. So there is bound to be uncertainty about the speed with which the economy will adjust to the present tight stance of policy. Our forecast is that growth in domestic demand will be a little over 3.5 per cent. in the current year–a sharp, but inevitable, slowdown from over 7 per cent. recorded in 1988.

Non-oil GDP is expected to grow by 3 per cent. this year. GDP growth as a whole for the current year looks like turning out at 2 per cent., a little below the forecast published at Budget time. This results from lower than expected North sea oil production, which is taking longer than expected to recover from the several serious accidents of the past two years.

Business investment is likely to increase by 9.25 per cent. this year, giving a total of over 40 per cent. in the three years to 1989. This is the largest-ever rise in business investment over a three-year period and is two and a half times as fast as the growth of personal consumption over the same period. This has inevitably contributed to strong import growth and a higher current account deficit in the short run. Notwithstanding this unwelcome effect, the resulting increase in productive capacity will help to sustain the growth of output and in due course bring the deficit down. Looking ahead to 1990, our tight fiscal and monetary policy will have an increasing impact both on household spending and on company spending, which typically reacts later than the personal sector. Investment should continue to grow, but it will do so more slowly. The slowdown in the economy means that GDP is forecast to increase by only 1.25 per cent. in 1990. This will bring the average growth in the four years to 1990 to 3 per cent. a year.

As domestic demand slows, import growth should moderate. At the same time, the strong rise in exports, which has been one of the most welcome developments in 1989, is forecast to continue. Non-oil visible exports are expected to rise by over 11 per cent. this year, the highest rate since 1973, and we expect a further substantial increase next year. As a result, we now forecast that the current account deficit will fall from some £20 billion in the current year to about £15 billion in 1990.

We will also see a further reduction in inflation. The headline measure of retail price inflation has already peaked at over 8 per cent. in May and June this year, and has since come down a little. Following the recent rise in mortgage rates, it will remain high for some months, but our forecast is for it to fall to 5.75 per cent. by the fourth quarter of 1990, and I expect to see it fall still further after that.

Our main priority must be to bring inflation decisively down, and keep it down. To achieve this, the economy must slow down for a while. This does mean that 1990 may not be an easy year, but the economy enters the 1990s in incomparably better shape than it entered the 1980s. The supply side reforms of the last decade have left business and industry better able to handle both the short-term difficulties before us and the longer-term opportunities to come. I have no doubt that we must stick to the policies that have turned the economy around, and that we are determined to do.

Mark Field – 2018 Speech in the Philippines

Below is the text of the speech made by Mark Field, the Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, in the Philippines on 17 August 2018.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining me on my first visit to the Philippines as UK Minister for Asia.

More than 70 years after the bombs, artillery and guns of World War II fell silent, academics and historians continue to debate the number of people killed.

Some put the number of deaths worldwide at 45 million. Others believe the number of Chinese casualties alone may have exceeded that number. The people of the Philippines undoubtedly paid a very dear price, with up to one million Filipinos killed – around 1 in every 16 people – considerably more than the losses we suffered in the UK.

In the aftermath of such a devastating conflict, the instinctive response across much of the globe was to set about building a new set of rules and cooperative institutions, to reduce the risk of such large scale slaughter happening again.

The United Nations was the clearest demonstration of the global will to do things differently – not only between states themselves, but also between states and their people.

The Holocaust had made an absolutely compelling case for the need to strengthen the rights of individuals.

But it was also understood that the vicious brutality meted out by the occupying forces in Europe and Asia was in part a consequence of regimes with unchecked power at home.

It was understood that if a state did not respect the diversity of its people and their thoughts, beliefs and wishes, it was likely to be more unpredictable and dangerous beyond its borders.

So countries came together at the United Nations not only to draw up the rules, and the checks and balances of international peace and security, but also the rights and freedoms of all people, and each state’s responsibility to guarantee those rights.

Over the last 70 years that international rule book has been strengthened and broadened within the UN, and through an increasing range of multilateral and regional organisations.

The global rule book now deals with so much more than the weapons we have and what happens when we misuse them.

It deals with how we trade together, and what happens if we renege on those terms. It helps protect the assets that our countries share – our air, our water, our oceans. It helps protect our wildlife, and our national heritage – things that make our countries unique.

This rules-based system would have been unimaginable just one hundred years ago, when war and forceful occupation were still considered a legitimate approach to foreign policy.

Among other things, it has led to a reduction in the proportion of people living in poverty around the world from over 50% in the 1940s, to less than 10% today.

It is a rule book that has protected the sovereignty of the Philippines after centuries of occupation and enabled you to grow as an independent country.

Taken together, this Rules Based International System has had a hugely positive impact on global security and prosperity, protecting people and countries, and helping them to achieve their potential.

This is why the United Kingdom is working so hard with its international partners to cherish and protect these rules. And this is why we regret that the Philippines has decided to leave the International Criminal Court – an institution that we consider to be a cornerstone of the Rules-Based International System, because it makes all people safer. We believe that it needs the support of the whole international community and we are sure that the Philippines could make a great contribution.

Defending the Rules Based International System

And it is why we want to work with countries to tackle global challenges and build a more prosperous and stable future for us all.

Supporting and strengthening the Rules Based International System, so that countries and individuals have the freedom, security and mechanisms to prosper, is what drives our foreign policy.

That is why we are the only one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council that spends both 2% of our GDP on defence and 0.7% of GNI on development.

We take the responsibility of permanent membership incredibly seriously. That means being active across a huge range of issues.

We have played a prominent role – through the UN and EU – in strengthening and enforcing sanctions against North Korea to stop its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

We work to address crises, by providing humanitarian support for those caught up in them and by supporting efforts to end conflicts; we work with partners across the globe to tackle issues as diverse as violent extremism, sexual violence in conflict, human trafficking and modern slavery, and the illegal wildlife trade; and we campaign to promote girls’ education.

In the past five years alone, UK aid has protected over 67 million children against a range of preventable diseases.

If you look at the current humanitarian disasters – in Syria, South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Northeast Nigeria – you will find that the three biggest donors are the US, the UK, and the EU.

We have led financial contributions to address the crisis facing the Rohingya people of Burma, with £129 million of aid given to date. I saw the real difference this is making on the ground when I visited Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh a few weeks ago.

And you may not know that after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in 2013, the UK government’s £77 million contribution to the humanitarian support effort was greater than any other government in the world – representing 14% of global contributions.

Perhaps more remarkably, that figure was topped by donations from the British public of nearly £100 million.

Global Britain strengthening the Rules Based International System
Despite this track record, some commentators have chosen to interpret the decision of the British people to leave the European Union as a sign of our retreat from our global role.

This could not be further from the truth – being more internationalist is at the core of our vision for a post-Brexit Global Britain, and freeing ourselves of certain shackles that came with EU membership will enable us to realise our vision. Nowhere more so than in our approach to international trade.

Increasing trade, economic activity and employment is the best way to improve the lives of the world’s poorest; just look how more that 500 million people have been lifted out of extreme poverty in China since the 1980s.

No region is more exciting in terms of the potential to increase trade than here in the Indo-Pacific; you have a third of the global economy, and around two thirds of the global population.

The Philippines is a good case-in-point, with 6.7% GDP growth last year, and the potential for more to come. That is why we are busily working to be more present, more active, and more engaged in this region.

I have visited around twenty countries across the region in my first year as Minister. In each one I have made the case for closer links between our governments, our businesses, and our people. We want to be a partner and friend with good relations with all the countries of this region – not choosing between them.

Our relationship with China is crucial now and it will be in the future. As will our deep and long-standing partnerships with Japan and India. And of course, those with Australia and New Zealand. But we need to do more.

So I can say this morning that after leaving the EU, we will be seeking to strengthen our relationship with ASEAN as an institution, and we will endeavour to further strengthen our relationship with the Philippines, building on longstanding relations which date back to Sir Francis Drake’s landing in Mindanao in 1579.

We want to work in partnership to uphold and strengthen the Rules-Based International System in Asia, as elsewhere.

That is why we have stood shoulder to shoulder with Japan, South Korea and other countries in denouncing nuclear adventurism by North Korea. It is why we stand up for the rights of the people of Hong Kong and for the principle of – “One country, two systems”.

And it is why in the South China Sea we urge all parties to respect freedom of navigation and international law, including the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

It is critical for regional stability, and for the integrity of the Rules-Based International System, that disputes in the region are resolved, not through force, militarisation or coercion, but through dialogue and in accordance with international law.

The UK is backing the Rules Based International System in Asia through our security cooperation as well as our humanitarian support and diplomacy. As one of the few countries able to deploy air power 7,000 miles from our shores, we recently sent our Typhoon fighter jets to train with Japan, South Korea, and Malaysia for the first time.

We have also deployed two Royal Navy ships to the region – HMS Sutherland and Albion, and soon also HMS Argyll – meaning we will have an almost unbroken naval presence in the strategically critical Asia-Pacific this year.

One of the first missions of our two vast new aircraft carriers will be to sail through the Straits of Malacca, the route that currently accommodates a quarter of global trade. Not because we have enemies in this region – but because we believe in upholding the rule of law.

Challenges to the Rules based International System

There are unfortunately some leaders who are intent on flouting and undermining the Rules Based International System.

In recent years many countries have fallen victim to Russian state aggression, destabilisation or interference.

There is no plausible alternative explanation than that the Russian state was responsible for the chemical attack against a former Russian spy in the English town of Salisbury in March, using Soviet-developed Novichok. It was the first time since the Second World War that a nerve agent had been deployed in continental Europe.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons agreed a UK proposal last month, which should strengthen the ban on chemical weapons and prevent impunity for their use.

We were grateful to the 82 countries that supported the measures to reinforce a key plank of the Rules Based International System. We were disappointed that the Philippines, and 23 other countries, were not among them.


That brings me to my final point. The Rules Based International System is a network of agreements and institutions that requires our support if it is to continue to protect us and make us more prosperous.

If we stand back – perhaps in the hope of some possible short term gain – we will all be worse off in the long run.

The System is not the property of any one country or alliance of countries – but something that belongs to all of us. It has been built with the shared wisdom gleaned from our shared history.

That history has taught us that too often people have been held back by repression, corruption or authoritarianism. They have not had the opportunities, freedoms and protections to make the most of their talents and hard work.

In the future, as technology increasingly spreads opportunity, the societies that succeed will be the ones that enable all their citizens to fulfil their potential.

The Rules Based International System is the best friend for any person or country with unfulfilled potential. It is the duty of all of us to defend it. It is what I will work for. It is what the UK will work for. We hope you will too.

Theresa May – 2018 Statement at London Western Balkans Summit

Below is the text of the speech made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, on 10 July 2018.

Four years ago Chancellor Merkel established the Berlin Process, convening like-minded countries with the singular aim of advancing the prosperity of the Western Balkans.

I want to extend particular thanks to the Chancellor for this initiative.

For the welfare of the Western Balkans should be a high priority for all of us in Europe. And through working together under the Berlin Process, we have already achieved so much.

We’ve helped build up energy and transport links, enhanced economic integration and developed links between civil society and young people – ensuring the contemporary voice of the region is heard.

And today we’ve made further progress, establishing agreements that will help contribute to a more peaceful, prosperous and democratic Western Balkans – anchored to European values and integrated in the Euro Atlantic family.

We have agreed initiatives to expand connections between people, organisations and businesses, and improve access to finance for start-ups and small firms.

However, as we all know, long-term prosperity is intrinsically linked with security. And we need to work together to tackle the common challenges, such as corruption, organised crime and terrorism, that deter investment and undermine confidence in the region.

That is why I welcome the commitments made by the Western Balkan leaders today to ensure their countries work more closely together to tackle corruption and organised crime, and control the misuse and trafficking of small arms and weapons.

I also welcome the continued commitment to resolve outstanding bilateral disputes. I want to extend a special welcome to Prime Minister Tsipras from Greece, and pay tribute to him and Prime Minister Zaev for reaching an agreement on the Name Issue – showing that progress is possible.

History has shown us that a stable and secure Western Balkans region means a more stable and secure Europe.

That’s why today I have announced an ambitious package of measures to help the region improve its collective security, stability and its capability to tackle threats in the future.

Alongside this, I have also announced that the UK is increasing our financial support to the region by over 95% to £80 million in 2020-21 which will go to fund projects that make a real difference such as:

strengthening public administration in the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia and Montenegro
promoting judicial reform in Kosovo and Albania
nurturing the business environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia
equipping up to a million primary school children across the region with the digital skills to help realise their potential in the modern world
and strengthening democracy and the rule of law across the entire Western Balkans

The UK has always had a strong commitment to the region – from our role in the peace agreements that followed the conflicts of the nineties, through the post-conflict transition.

I know that some have seen our decision to leave the European Union as a sign that we are retreating from this role.

This is absolutely not the case.

Today I hosted this Summit to bring together leaders from across the Western Balkans and Europe to discuss our shared objective of ensuring our continent remains safe, stable, prosperous and free.

And let me be completely clear – when we are outside the European Union, the UK will be just as committed to supporting the Western Balkans.

Thank you.

Humphrey Atkins – 1983 Speech at Election of the Speaker

Below is the text of the speech made by Humphrey Atkins, the Conservative MP for Spelthorne, in the House of Commons on 15 June 1983. He was speaking in support of Bernard Weatherill becoming the Speaker of the House of Commons.

First, Mr. Callaghan, I welcome you to your new role as Father of the House. A great many Members have held it before you, Mr. Callaghan but, while it is not unprecedented, it is rare that anyone comes to it with such a distinguished record of public service in so many of the highest offices of State. As one who arrived both in the world and in the House 10 years after you, Mr. Callaghan, I congratulate you.

As we have just heard, it is always the first duty of a new House of Commons to elect a Speaker, and I beg to move, That the right hon. Bernard Weatherill do take the Chair of this House as Speaker. I could easily list all the qualities that we require of our Speaker, but I do not intend to do so. It would take too long and, in any event, hon. Members are as well aware of them as I am. However, I shall refer briefly to three of the Aides and one of the burdens that we place upon our Speaker.

First and foremost, the Speaker is the sole guardian of that most precious of rights that each of us has the moment we are elected to this place—the right to state our point of view and to have it heard. It does not matter whether that view is generally acceptable or whether we are in a minority, even a minority, of one.

If we are in that position, only the Speaker will help us. We have been fortunate in the House of Commons for far more years than any of us here can remember in having a succession of Speakers who have upheld that right and made this Chamber the envy of the world. That right must never be allowed to disappear.

Secondly, the Speaker has to be at one and the same time both our servant and our master. We and our predecessors have laid down a long series of rules for the orderly conduct of our affairs. The Speaker cannot change them by so much as a comma. He is entirely bound by them, but he has to be ready at a moment’s notice to interpret them, sometimes in the face of the most 3 ingenious arguments, and, having interpreted them, to enforce them. Only someone who has the respect and good will of the House as a whole can possibly hope to do that.

The third duty is one that I think is new to the third quarter of the 20th century. Now that some of our proceedings are broadcast on the radio, far more people than ever before have the opportunity of hearing our debates. As everyone knows, the public reaction is not as favourable as we should all like. That is not altogether surprising, for we have always been an unruly lot when our passions are high. However, the one person who more than any of the rest of us in the House affects the world outside is our Speaker. If he is calm, courteous and firm, the good name and dignity of Parliament are restored, and each of us is the beneficiary of that.

The worst of the burdens that we place upon the Speaker is that of loneliness. He is one of us and yet he is not. The Speaker is always someone who has spent years in this place doing what we all do—making friends with our colleagues, talking informally with them in the Tea Room or in the Corridor, eating together and sometimes, possibly, even drinking together. It must be a great trial for someone who has been accustomed to all this to cut himself off to a great extent, as Mr. Speaker must necessarily do. We must be grateful to anyone who is prepared to do it, and we have such a one.

Perhaps I can claim to know my right hon. Friend—I expect that this is the last time that I can call him that here—as well as any right hon. or hon. Member. Those who were in this place before 1979 will know that he and I worked together for nearly 12 years. For the last five of those years we worked together especially closely. Certainly, we were working on the business of only one party in the House, our own party, but I can truthfully say how often I was amazed at the time by the trouble and the care that my colleague took to help members of our party, especially those who felt that they were being neglected or that the Government were not listening properly to their ideas. He could be firm, too, as Deputy Chief Whips sometimes have to be. I can tell the House that never in all that time did I hear him get angry, lose his temper, or even raise his voice, even though sometimes the provocation was great.

During that time the right hon. Member served the House, too, most notably on one of the Committees that was responsible to the then Speaker and whose main interest was the safety, comfort and convenience of all right hon. and hon. Members.

Some might think that a long period of such service to one party is not the ideal background to serving as Mr. Speaker, but every Speaker in one way or another has had that background. Furthermore, as everyone who was a Member of this place during the last Parliament will know, the right hon. Member has already proved by four years’ service as Chairman of Ways and Means that a long period of service is not a bar. I believe that he has shown all the qualities that we want in our Speaker—knowledge of our procedures, recognition of the need to protect the rights of minorities, firmness where necessary, fairness, and always courtesy. To those who know the right hon. Member that is no surprise, for if he has one quality that stands above all others it is his readiness to serve our 4 parliamentary democracy, to serve it in whatever capacity is asked of him. I believe that he will serve us well as our Speaker.

I hope that the House will approve my motion with as much enthusiasm as I have in moving it.

Ann Clwyd – 2018 Speech on the NHS Complaints System

Below is the text of the speech made by Ann Clwyd in the House of Commons on 4 July 2018.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to talk about something that has been on my mind for a long time.

It is nearly six years since the death of my husband. Some Members will know that he spent his last two weeks on the respiratory ward at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. He was admitted on Tuesday 9 October 2012 to what should have been a caring and safe place. Instead, what we found was the opposite. I left Owen in what I thought was a place of safety, thinking that the hospital could care for him better than we could at home. How wrong I was. Owen went into the hospital mobile, yet spent two weeks crammed in a bed, on a cold, uncaring ward.

Despite the poor care that Owen received, his condition initially settled. In fact, there were provisional plans for him to come home towards the middle of the second week. Sadly, his condition took a turn for the worse. In the early hours of Monday 22 October, I was advised that there was no reasonable chance of his surviving. He lost his final battle the next day. It was then that my battle began: the battle to find out what had happened to him and why.

Many Members will have heard of my concerns regarding the 27 hours he spent on a trolley in the A&E department. A later inquiry identified a number of nursing deficiencies. Sadly, my efforts to obtain information regarding his medical care have been met with considerable obstruction from the board of UHW.

Some time ago, I received help from an experienced NHS consultant, someone who has prepared numerous cases over a period of 30 years when there are allegations relating to clinical negligence. He said—we normally converse in Welsh:

“Ann, roedd gofal Owen yn esgeulus. Hyd yn oed pe fyddai wedi goroesi ei salwch y tro hwn, byddem yn dal I deimlo fod ei ofal yn esgeulus. Yn esgeulus nid yn unig yn ôl safon 2012 ond yn ôl safon 1948, amser dechrau’r Gwasanaeth lechyd.”

That is, in his opinion, Owen’s care during his hospital stay was negligent. In fact, he said that even if Owen had survived his in-patient stay, his level of care would be considered unacceptable, not only by the standards in place in 2012 but by the standards in place at the inception of the NHS in 1948.

My medical friend has pointed out his concerns. He was astonished to find that no doctor saw Owen on either weekend, no consultant saw him, and no junior doctor saw him. I should point out that he was on a respiratory ward in Wales’s flagship teaching hospital. He was not in a convalescent ward; he was not “recuperating” from an acute illness. My late husband was an unwell man with MS, whose long-term disabilities had been made worse by what turned out to be pneumonia that he acquired at that hospital.

Most concerning, according to my medical friend, was the failure of the medical department to have any kind of effective handover arrangement, whereby the doctor going off duty would hand over all the clinical information to the doctor coming on duty. Formal handovers are far more important these days, as the ​shift systems of junior doctors means reduced hours. This means that over a weekend a patient may be seen by half a dozen different doctors, all working for the same firm.

Since continuing my inquiries about Owen’s care, I have learned a number of medical terms. I now know about a “low grade temperature” and that this may indicate that there is an infection somewhere, without the doctors being able to find out exactly where. I have also become familiar with the term “inflammatory markers”. Inflammatory markers are blood tests that indicate the presence of infection. When the clinical markers change, and in particular when they increase, it suggests that there is an infection somewhere that is not under control. I will refer to just two.

One is known as the CRP—the C-reactive protein. The normal CRP is less than 10; Owen’s CRP was 22 on admission. Now, 22 is not particularly high, but it suggests that there may be an infection somewhere. Eight days later Owen’s CRP had crept up to 41. The fact that it was increasing—“going the wrong way” as the medics would put it—indicated that he could have an infection that could be going out of control. Owen’s neutrophil count—the type of white blood cell that increases during an infection—was also “going the wrong way”. The normal is less than six. It was 8.7 on his admission—[Interruption.] Excuse me, Mr Speaker; I am sorry, but that is my phone.

Mr Speaker That is an extraordinary musical intervention on the right hon. Lady, but I am not sure it is up to her high intellectual standards—but the hon. Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon) has come to the rescue, being a selfless public servant as he is.

Ann Clwyd The normal is less than six; it was 8.7 on his admission, and eight days later it was 10.6.

Doctors will tell us that they do not just look at the results of blood tests; they also look at the patient. In Owen’s case, they failed to look at the blood tests and they failed to look at the patient. Members will no doubt be surprised to hear that although Owen’s inflammatory markers had increased during his second week in hospital, this was not recorded in his clinical notes. The tests that noted the increase in CRP and the neutrophil count were done on the Friday. That was four days before his death from hospital-acquired pneumonia. No one saw the results. No one saw Owen. No doctor saw him on Saturday. No doctor saw him on Sunday. By Monday it was too late. I think it is reasonable to assume that if Owen had received effective antibiotics when his inflammatory markers were increasing, he would have stood a fighting chance and would have survived that infection.

I continue to be shocked by the way the hospital board has dealt with my concerns. Members might have heard of so-called independent reports. There was nothing independent about this particular report. All the members were employees of the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. The chair was the deputy nursing director, Mandy Rayani. The board’s investigation failed to comment on the medical deficiencies that I have mentioned, but it very quickly acknowledged my “adverse perception” of what happened.

Most of my claims of poor care were denied. Of the 31 concerns that I raised, 21 were rejected. This was despite the fact that a few weeks after my husband’s ​death, Health Inspectorate Wales, the body that inspects Welsh hospitals, visited the ward where my husband had been a patient. While they were inspecting the ward, they noticed that senior nurses went off for their lunch leaving patients who needed assistance to eat without any help, that some patients were found without buzzers to call for assistance, and that individual care plans were not in place for the patients, yet my concerns were dismissed as my “adverse perception” by the deputy director of nursing, Mandy Rayani, in UHW’s so-called independent report.

I remain unhappy with the attitude of the health board. When Owen died, the chief executive was Adam Cairns. He has now left the country and is working in the middle east. When he left, I took my complaint up with other executives and I have found—as I did when I was writing my report for the Government on hospital complaints—that the culture of deny, delay and defend has continued.

I wrote to Maria Battle, the chair of the health board. I wanted to know why no one had spotted the abnormal blood results. I wanted to know why Owen’s low grade temperature did not appear to be of concern to anyone. The first meeting was postponed. We eventually met on 2 August last year. Despite my PA telephoning the board to ask for a copy of its response a week earlier, my medical colleague and I were not allowed to see the report until we arrived in the building for our meeting. I was astonished to hear Ruth Walker, the senior nurse, saying that she had taken it upon herself not to release the report prior to the meeting. I would have expected such a decision to be made by Maria Battle as chair of the board, by Dr Graham Shortland, the medical director, given that the matters mainly related to medical care, or by Dr Sharon Hopkins, who at that time was the acting chief executive.

I believe that the decision of the board to refuse to release this document beforehand reflects its dismissive, insulting and gratuitous attitude to members of the public and to the families of loved ones. It reflects the overall cover-up mentality that is all-pervasive in this health board.

Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP) I congratulate the right hon. Lady on securing this debate and on the very personal and poignant way in which she has told the story of her husband’s last few days in hospital. Has she at any stage considered referred this matter to the medical ombudsperson and asking them to investigate her complaint? Hopefully they would come up with an answer that would satisfy her and perhaps give the Minister a way of taking this forward.

Ann Clwyd I am grateful for that kind intervention, and I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I have been down all the official routes.

At the meeting, I soon discovered that it was impossible to get straight answers to my straightforward questions. Ruth Walker, for example, said that the problems of Owen’s care have been addressed by the introduction of the EWS—early warning signs— system. When my medical colleague pointed out to her that all the nursing notes were entered in the EWS format, she could not come up with an explanation. I was also astonished that Dr Shortland was unable to give a straight answer when ​asked about the arrangements for weekend medical cover. The board members were prepared to hide behind another independent report, but the report was incomplete, failing to comment on Owen’s continuing low grade fever, the rise in his white blood cells, the rise in his C-reactive protein count, the failure of an effective handover process between medical staff, and why no doctor saw Owen during his two weekends in hospital.

I have always been a strong supporter of our national health service. I can be proud of representing Cynon Valley, a constituency which is both geographically and philosophically close to the community that bred Aneurin Bevan. It was the community that formed Bevans’ views on the need for an effective health service that is free at the point of need and where the quality of care is not influenced by one’s ability to pay.

Long before becoming a politician, I was on the Welsh Hospital Board from 1970 to 1974 with people such as Arianwen Bevan-Norris, who was Aneurin Bevan’s sister, and Archie Lush, his agent, and I know what they would be saying to me today: “Carry on. Keep on going.” They would not have accepted these kinds of answers. I was also the only Welsh member of the royal commission on the national health service, which met for three years from 1976 to 1979. We made many recommendations at the time, but they were unfortunately not acted upon. If they had been, I am sure that some of today’s problems would have been avoided.

The House will understand my sorrow at the loss of Owen. It is heartbreaking to find that the people whom we appoint to safeguard our services, and who benefit from a significant income and a highly respected position in our society, are unable to address the failings of their organisation, engaging instead in obfuscation and half-truths. The cover-up mentality has to stop. We all make mistakes, but we should be ready to admit them.

My case is not unusual. I have previously told the House of the thousands of letters I received from people from all over the country when I was producing a report for the Government on complaints in England. I knew that the NHS did not treat its complainants well, but I did not expect to be here still looking for answers nearly six years later. In the past, Mr Speaker has allowed me to read out letters that I have received, and more than 4,500 people have written to me about NHS complaints, 500 of which related to the University Hospital of Wales. I am sorry to say that two of my close friends have since died at the same hospital, and complaints have been made about their treatment as well.

In the introduction to the shocking report on Gosport War Memorial Hospital, which was published a few weeks ago, Bishop James Jones of Liverpool said that

“what has to be recognised by those who head up our public institutions is how difficult it is for ordinary people to challenge the closing of ranks of those who hold power. It is a lonely place, seeking answers to questions that others wish you were not asking.”

I will continue to ask those questions on behalf of my family and of the many others who are grieving and who have not had answers.

Theresa May – 2018 Statement on the Department for Exiting the European Union

Below is the text of the statement made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, in the House of Commons on 24 July 2018.

I am making this statement to bring to the attention of the House a machinery of government change.

It is essential that in navigating the UK’s exit from the European Union, the Government are organised in the most effective way. To that end I am making some changes to the division of functions between the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) and the Cabinet Office.

DExEU will continue to lead on all of the Government’s preparations for Brexit: domestic preparations in both a deal and a no deal scenario, all of the necessary legislation, and preparations for the negotiations to implement the detail of the future framework. To support this, DExEU will recruit some new staff, and a number of Cabinet Office officials co-ordinating work on preparedness will move to DExEU while maintaining close ties with both Departments.

I will lead the negotiations with the European Union, with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union deputising on my behalf. Both of us will be supported by the Cabinet Office Europe Unit and with this in mind the Europe Unit will have overall responsibility for the preparation and conduct of the negotiations, drawing upon support from DExEU and other Departments as required. A number of staff will transfer from DExEU to the Cabinet Office to deliver that.

There will be no net reduction in staff numbers at DExEU given the recruitment exercise described above.

Theresa May – 2018 Speech at Farnborough Air Show

Below is the text of the speech made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, at Farnborough Air Show on 16 July 2018.

I am delighted to be here today. First of all, I want to congratulate Farnborough on this brand new exhibition hall. This is an outstanding building – and it is befitting for a world-leading air-show. A world-leading industry. And world-leading innovation, talent and skills.

Every day – in every part of the world – people are flying in planes powered by British built engines. They take off and land in planes with wings built in Wales and Northern Ireland. And our military is supported by some of the most advanced British built unmanned vehicles.

Our capability in some of the most complex parts of aircraft – including wings, engines and advanced systems – is first rate. Outside of the US, Rolls-Royce is the only company with real capability to design and build large civil aerospace engines.

This expertise is nothing new. It is built on a proud tradition of innovative aerospace technology – from Farnborough, Brooklands, Bristol, Broughton, Derby, Belfast, Southampton, Yeovil, Prestwick – to name but a few. Nowhere do we recognise that terrific history more this year than in our celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the RAF.

We can all feel incredibly proud of our position as a leading aerospace nation. By working closely together, government and industry have ensured we remain at the forefront of civil aviation and that our air power is second to none. Today I want us to build on that, and ensure not only that we retain our prominence, but that in an increasingly competitive industry we make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead.

Opportunities that arise not only from the measures I have set out in our comprehensive and ambitious proposal for our future relationship with the EU – but in our plans for an open, outward facing Britain that acts as a global champion for free trade.

On Thursday, the government published its White Paper detailing our plans for an economic and security partnership with the EU.

Our proposal sets out the right deal for the UK – honouring the democratic decision of the British people, protecting the integrity of our precious union, supporting growth, maintaining security and safeguarding British jobs.

We will take back control of our borders, our laws and our money. But we will do so in a way that is good for business and good for our future prosperity.

We know from our discussions with you, and other industries, how friction at the border would not just jeopardise the uniquely integrated supply chains and just-in-time processes on which millions of jobs and livelihoods depend – but how divergence in regulations could result in complex and expensive multiple tests for different markets.

Companies such as Rolls Royce export 80% of their products. Parts for other products – such as Airbus wings – can have multiple journeys before finally being assembled and sold around the world.

We know too just how vital precision engineering is in aerospace – where the “error” rate for parts and their performance must be practically zero – and that it is the harmonisation of regulatory standards that has been such an important factor in air safety and the astonishing reduction of deaths on commercial flights.

The frictionless free trade of goods, an independent trade policy, the avoidance of a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland and between Northern Ireland and Great Britain – these are conditions we seek. To do anything else risks the integrity of the United Kingdom, reneges on the Belfast Agreement and simply will not deliver for Britain as a global trading nation.

So at the heart of our proposal is the creation of UK-EU free trade area for goods, supported by an up-front commitment to ongoing harmonisation with EU rules on goods and agricultural products.

A new business friendly customs model – a facilitated customs arrangement – which would operate as if we were a combined customs territory, removing the need for customs checks and controls between the UK and the EU, while at the same time allowing us to set our own tariffs for other countries outside of the EU.

The partnership would be underpinned by reciprocal commitments to ensure open and fair trade and a joint institutional framework to ensure consistent interpretation of the agreement and the resolution of disputes.

And we will also, as I set out in my Mansion House speech, explore with the EU on what terms the UK could remain part of EU agencies such as those that are critical for the aerospace chemicals and medicines industries: the European Aviation Safety Agency, the European Chemicals Agency, and the European Medicines Agency.

Because the UK has been a key contributor of expertise to these agencies – and it is our manufactured products circulating throughout Europe and around the world keeping people safe, flying safely, providing essential medicines, enabling everyday activities.

What we are proposing is a solution that respects the referendum result and puts forward what is best for British industry in line with our modern industrial strategy, and what is best for our global trading ambitions.

We are leaving the European Union, and forging a new future for our country. And as we do so, I want to ensure that the UK remains one of the best places in the world for aerospace companies to do business.

To continue as world leaders in innovation. To make the most of the huge opportunities that exist.

Because this is an incredibly exciting time for aerospace. Not only is there huge growth potential, but many of the developments taking place have the potential to transform the way we fly.

Other countries around the world are racing to develop their industries – and respond to the demand for cleaner, greener aircraft and technological advances such as automation, and unmanned air systems.

The UK already has a leading edge. We are home to some of the biggest names in the industry – and our small and medium sized companies demonstrate phenomenal skill, energy and innovation.

Many of those companies are here at Farnborough.

Poeton, who apply ceramic and metallic coatings to aerospace components to protect them from melting, corroding or wearing.

Produmax, whose critical parts can be found in aeroplanes such as Boeing’s Dreamliner – where they play an essential role moving wing flaps. And Aeromet, whose highly complex alloy castings are used in the structural components and casings in aircraft.

But I want us to do more. Already we are backing industry through our £1.9 billion investment for aerospace research, the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and our commitment to a third runway at Heathrow. We are also today revealing the UK’s first spaceport – in Sutherland Scotland – which will see vertically launched space rockets and satellites take off from the site.

But today I want to announce a series of further measures to boost British aerospace companies – large and small, up and down the country – and ensure that Britain remains at the cutting edge of the industry.

Along with industry we are jointly providing £343 million pounds of investment for research and development projects and to boost productivity. From developing the most technologically advanced aircraft, creating newer more efficient engines, to the manufacture of cleaner, quieter aircraft that will help cut emissions – this funding will support some of the most innovative projects being advanced today.

This includes £255 million of joint investment research and development projects supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute and UKRI. This will fund 18 projects, involving 20 companies, including 13 small and medium sized businesses, and 12 research organisations and universities spread across the breadth of the UK.

It includes £68.2 million of joint funding with industry for R&D, specifically targeting small and medium sized businesses to help them increase their competitiveness. And a further £20 million of Government and industry match funding will go towards a productivity improvement programme.

Some of the projects this money will support are exploring truly exciting aviation developments, such as the electrification of flight, which could lead towards the cleaner, greener air power of the future. I want Britain to be at the forefront of such innovation.

Building on this, we will start working with industry on a potential Aerospace Sector Deal – capitalising on our work together to tackle barriers to growth, increase productivity and competitiveness. In this, we will look to you to demonstrate how the aerospace sector can further support the industrial strategy’s Grand Challenges, regional prosperity and the delivery of the government’s skills priorities. We will also seek to embed a Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter, to build a more balanced and fair industry for women.

Finally, today, I want to announce the publication of the UK’s Combat Air Strategy – which confirms our commitment to maintaining our world-class air power capabilities, and will boost an industry which generates billions in revenue for our economy and supports thousands of jobs in every part of the UK.

We will invest in new technologies, support cutting edge innovation, collaborate internationally and initiate the programme which will deliver the next generation capability. And crucially, we will work in partnership with industry to achieve this. So today I can announce that the government will join with BAE Systems, Leonardo, MBDA and Rolls Royce to fund the next phase of the Future Combat Air System Technology Initiative through a ground-breaking partnership known as ‘Team Tempest.’

This will deliver over £2 billion pounds of investment up to 2025, and help secure the long-term future of our Combat Air industry as we lay the groundwork for the Typhoon successor programme.

Taken together, these measures amount to a significant boost for industry, promoting jobs, innovation and skills.

Elsewhere we have seen just what can be achieved when government and industry work together. The successful collaboration between Bombardier and Airbus on the A220 was originally supported by over £100 million pounds of investment from the UK. This will sustain jobs in Northern Ireland well into the future, and I was pleased to hear that JetBlue will be acquiring at least 60 of the aircraft, which could deliver billions to the UK economy.

So just as government will back you, I want you to work with us – particularly through organisations such as the Aerospace Growth Partnership.

Let us work together to build a leading aerospace nation.

A nation where, post Brexit, we are considered the best place in the world for the aerospace industry to base its business.

A nation more innovative than anywhere else in the world, where we nurture the next generation of designers, innovators and engineers.

Last week we saw the spectacular RAF flypast over Buckingham Palace – a demonstration of our impressive historic RAF planes – alongside those that use some of the most advanced technology in the world.

It is a history of aviation we can all be proud of. Together, along with this proud history, I want to ensure that we can have a bright and proud future.

Esther McVey – 2018 Speech on the Personalisation of Benefits

Below is the text of the speech made by Esther McVey, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, on 19 July 2018.

Thank you very much indeed Andrew.

And it really is great to be here today to talk about my vision for the welfare revolution and the changing world of work.

And it’s terrific to be on a Reform platform.

Because Reform is a fierce advocate for public services in this new age of technology.

Interestingly, I’m the only minister I believe who has spent their whole ministerial career in one department – Work and Pensions – moving from Parliamentary Private Secretary into a Junior Minister role to a Minister of State to now Secretary of State – even with a spell of unemployment in the middle!

And don’t think that irony wasn’t lost on me – when, standing on stage at 5am in a May morning in 2015, surrounded by cameras, lights, people, and hearing the election result that I’d lost.

One moment Minister of State for Employment the next moment unemployed!

But my journey of what life is about without a job started way before that. Growing up in Liverpool in the 1980s – seeing its impact on people and its impact on local communities. Waking up with nowhere to go, time spent wondering what you’re going to do. Some memories actually never leave you.

And it is those images, those deep-seated memories that spur me on. That made me want to come back into politics and also made me want to come back to this department.

And how can we make a system relevant for today’s world of work – and use technology to assist us to do that? How do we make a system that works for millions of people relevant to the individual?

The Department for Work and Pensions is absolutely massive. Its spend is comparable to a country the size of Portugal, or Greece, spending £180 billion of taxpayer money each year – with a day to day operation on which 22 million people depend.

Each week DWP makes 12 million separate payments to a combined value of approximately £3 billion.

Every day we see 80,000 people face to face in a jobcentre.

Each week we take about 1 million phone calls.

We directly deliver most of this through over 75,000 colleagues who operate from over 600 jobcentres and another 100 back offices.

But, despite this scale, it needs to work for people. And people come in many shapes and sizes, with many issues and concerns and – do you know what – with almost unlimited potential.

And it is that potential that our department needs to focus on.

I know some work coaches are here today that work in our jobcentres, and I want to say thank you personally for the work that you are doing. The changes that you have lived through and the transformation that you are making to people’s lives.

And I want to tell you that I am committed to bringing you the tools that you will need to empower people to get a job.

So why are we changing the system? Well there’s quite a few reasons!

The old system stifled opportunities – removing incentives to work more than 16 hours in many cases, and creating an effective tax rate of almost 90% of income for some people.

Known to many of us as the ‘16hr rule’.

Then came the creation of tax credits by the previous government, done so hastily that it undermined its own purpose.

And overpayments, as a result of it being delivered with the flick of a switch in April 2003, meant that if claimants miscalculated what they should be entitled to, they would be hit with a massive bill at the end of the year.

That year, government overpaid tax credits by £2.2 billion, requiring it to claw back money from some of the poorest people in the country.

And the IT system of benefits – well, we depend upon an old one, one that’s out of date – designed and created in the 1980s – quite literally of another age.

Think how technology and IT has changed since then. Our legacy system is pre-Google, pre-mass communication and connectivity.

So the old system – the one being phased out – is an outdated, complicated, disincentivising web of overlapping benefits!

The truth is that people’s life chances were severely held back by the old system of benefits.

And let’s be frank: there is nothing reasonable about expecting people to claim several different benefits from separate local and national organisations.

There is nothing fair about ‘rewarding’ a claimant’s successful search for work and cutting off benefits as soon as they gained a reasonable amount of hours.

There was nothing personal about a complex, indiscriminate ‘one-size fits all’ system – which, I think it is fair to say, embedded low expectations on both sides of the claim desk.

So change has to come – and change that also reflects the rapidly changing world of work in which we live.

Lots of work is changing – it is now online, tasks are being automated, and new industries are being created.

By one estimate, 65% of children starting in school today will do a job that doesn’t currently exist.

We are already seeing seismic shifts, as we enter what is known as the fourth industrial revolution.

The gig economy matches people and tasks more dynamically than ever before – creating new opportunity.

Flexible working is no longer an exception, and we are seeing an increasingly inclusive workforce, where work fits around personal circumstances and caring responsibilities.

Gone is the job for life.

And our welfare system should reflect that. It should be nimble and adaptive – reflecting changing working patterns in this fast-paced moving world.

Our vision is one of a personalised benefit system, a digitised system.

We’ve simplified the system, so it is easier to navigate, by creating an easy point of contact – both online and through the system, but also by introducing dedicated one-to-one work coaches.

We’re rolling 6 benefits into one, that means that people now have a better oversight of their income and can spend accordingly.

The taper rate means that it will always pay to work. ‘Cliff edges’ inherent in the old system – where benefits first dropped-off at 16 hours, and then at 30 hours of work per week – have now gone.

Flexible payments help people take on small amounts of hours, even at short notice, thereby supporting people to work in the gig economy. Through integration with HMRC’s Real Time Information, this means that their benefit payment is adjusted automatically.

This digital system personalises Universal Credit. And we are constantly updating it.

This is not just IT: it is using next-generation technology, design thinking and data to support work coaches.

So when someone calls the full service telephone line, we use technology to automatically route them to their case manager or team – using tech to bring to you a familiar voice.

This technology is currently in 90% of teams in service centres and is now being rolled out further.

When you apply online, the experience is tailored to individual circumstances to allow us to develop the most efficient and effective service. And machine-learning will deliver and be applied to analyse data. The insight is then used by work coaches, who use their expertise to help claimants.

In short, we are developing a system that doesn’t just meet users’ needs, but the specifics of individual’s needs – combining technology and work coaches’ expertise.

This personal support is critical – but is on online and it is in person – as dedicated work coaches help claimants overcome a lack of confidence, a lack of role models or a range of circumstances in someone’s lives.

Mindful always of the claimant’s situation – and track their support and signpost them to places for help.

We are developing a personalised system that gives a 360 degree view of an individual’s needs to provide bespoke tailor-made support.

Even to providing budgeting and IT support, using £200 million of funding to do so.

And this really is about helping people.

And don’t just take my word for it. Consider these examples.

An ex-offender told us that his work coach had been “fantastic”, giving him confidence and time to adjust to life outside prison.

A claimant from Yorkshire, who had mental health difficulties, told us that her work coach “helped me turn my life around. Tailored support – I have now found my dream job.”

Another claimant, with a similar condition, acknowledged the time the new system allowed her to discuss her situation and the way she could move forward: “I have had many appointments with [my work coach] and she has been my lifeline with regards to work and her amazing empathy.”

This is all about personalisation. The personalisation of benefits and digitisation of the benefits system, providing tailored support for the individual. The ability to adapt is key, reflecting the increased pace of life and technological advancements. We’re building an agile system for an agile future.

But we are not complacent that all is working like clockwork.

And where we need to put our hands up, admit things might not be going right, we will do so. We will be a culture of mea culpa, hands up and then we need to change. For just as we are adopting agile technology in this fast-paced world, ministers have to be agile too.

That is why, since January, we have implemented a £1.5 billion package of change that was announced in the Autumn Budget 2017.

So we have made advance payments from day one of the application process, for up to 100% of a person’s total claim, to be paid over 12 months, instead of 6.

That is why we put in place a 2-week Housing Benefit run-on, to give people moving from the legacy system a blanket of support to help them. And that is why we have also removed waiting days.

And since I became Secretary of State in January, I have reviewed legal cases reversing past positions and not appealing court decisions allowing the department to:

– reinstate housing benefit for 18 to 21 year olds
– exempt kinship carers from changes to Child Tax Credit element of Universal Credit
– and further, announce measures to protect severely disabled people when they naturally migrate to Universal Credit

We know that these changes have and will continue to help people. It is crucial that we get Universal Credit rolled out right – right for the 8 million who will go on to use it – and right for the taxpayer.

This is a total test and learn approach – critical to delivering Universal Credit that works for claimants.

We need to reach out too – learn from organisations such as yourselves – and yes, that includes the National Audit Office – about how to design and implement Universal Credit to support claimants, help them into employment, and improve their life chances.

And we realise that there is more to learn, and we want to work with you to understand where we can improve on this important reform.

And there are changes which are still needed, which I am working on. That is debt repayments, support for the self-employed, payment cycles for those in work and an extension of outreach work and an extension of flexible support for claimants.

But be in no doubt – because of the steps that we have introduced to deliver Universal Credit – such as the Claimant Commitment and enhanced training – we are helping to shape a new direction for so many people here in the UK. We are seeing people as individuals, not numbers, and not as a group known as unemployed – but as simply and clearly as individuals.

Since 2010, there has been a jobs revolution here at home.

Just this week we announced a record 32.4 million people in work, an increase of over 3.3 million since 2010.

That’s 1,000 people on average each and every day that have moved into work since we came into government.

That’s 1,000 more people each and every day in charge of their destiny providing support for their family members.

And this jobs revolution has been felt right across the board, with record female employment, record BAME employment and as of mid-2017 there are nearly 600,000 more disabled people in work than 4 years earlier. This personalised system is clearly helping people into work – people who previously didn’t have the opportunities that their talents deserved.

And this jobs revolution has been felt right across the country too.

Employment in the North East has risen by 60,000 since 2010, to 1.2 million.

Employment in the North West has risen by 256,000 since 2010, to 3.44 million.

Employment in the East Midlands has risen by 186,000 since 2010, to 2.28 million.

We’ve seen youth unemployment fall by almost 45% since 2010.

And this does make us the envy of Europe, with youth unemployment at 11.5%, compared with Spain’s 33.8% and Italy at 31.9%.

So much for the wonders of remaining in the European Union.

It means we are building an economy that is fit for the future.

And that future promises to be bright with the right relationship between government and business. Because we are not heavy handed interventionists.

We will focus on how to connect people to work, rather than shoving them into jobs that don’t suit.

Disability Confident – which I set up back in 2013 when Minister for Disabled People – is continuing to spread the message of the untapped pool of talent that disabled people can bring to our workforce – ensuring employers can benefit from that talent.

Find a Job – launched in May this year – provides a 24/7 online job search platform. There have already been 24 million searches on that website, with over 177,000 live job adverts today.

We will continue to support people through the Flexible Support Fund to enable people to spend money on things that make it easier for them to get into work – whether training programmes, travel to an interview, clothing or equipment to start employment.

We want to develop our Universal Support offer to ensure it supports people through the welfare system – to develop their digital skills so important in our digital economy. And we will be looking at how we can improve Universal Support further.

We will explore how we can further join the links between jobcentres and schools to continue to prepare children for a life fulfilling with work – ensuring they go into the careers that they want.

We will continue to use sector-based work academies to help young people develop their skills and links in to business up and down the country.

And we are using apprenticeships and skills programmes to enable people to retrain where they see an opportunity.

And we will ensure that older workers get fuller working lives by helping them back into work, extending working lives through tailored support for upskilling, managing health conditions and working with business to share the benefits that older workers can bring to them.

Our links to people on Universal Credit in work provide us with opportunities to provide support for people to fulfil their potential too.

Personal advancement is key to social mobility and ensuring people reach their potential.

And it is by empowering people, giving them choice and flexibility to carve their own path, that everyone is able to reach this potential.

We are working hard to make Universal Credit work for all. And we want to work with you all to achieve that.

We are both a pragmatic and a visionary government, listening to business, listening to charities, listening to people on the frontline and putting in place the right support to help people taking back control of their lives. And most importantly, always listening to the claimant.

Thank you.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2018 Speech on Build it in Britain

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, in Birmingham on 24 July 2018.

Thank you all for coming here today. This is the launch of our ‘Build it in Britain’ campaign, Labour’s campaign to ensure a stronger future for industry with better jobs and opportunities here in Birmingham and in every part of Britain.

While the finance sector has continued to grow, a decade after the bankers’ crash and the super-rich have grown still richer. For too long, many of our communities have lost out in the global economy free-for-all. The few have succeeded, but at the expense of the many.

I want to thank John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, for all the work that he has done over the last three years to change the economic debate in this country, away from the dogma of austerity and cuts without end, and winning the argument to focus instead on the need for investment if we are to succeed in the future.

I would also like to thank Rebecca Long-Bailey, our Shadow Business Secretary, for developing Labour’s plans for a real industrial strategy that will transform the shape of our economy and ensure prosperity is shared by every region and nation of the UK.

Because while the Conservatives are continuing as they always have done – kowtowing and skewing policy to the narrowest interests in the City of London while ignoring the needs of the vast majority in their bungled Brexit negotiations – Labour is setting out a genuinely new economic direction for our country.

With Theresa May lurching from one government U-turn and ministerial resignation to the next her long-heralded Brexit White Paper was in shreds within a week, as the hard-right of the Conservative Party push us ever closer towards a disastrous ‘No Deal’ Brexit that will send us crashing out of the EU and risks deepening our economic problems.

No amount of desperate attempts to cosy up to President Trump would compensate for the damage done by getting this wrong. Now is the time to put people’s jobs and living standards first.

So that is why Labour is launching this campaign today, because we want to see well-paid jobs in the industries of the future, fuelling the tax revenues that fund our public services and the NHS, rebuilding communities and increasing living standards for all.

For too many of our people today the spread of insecure work, low pay and zero hours or temporary contracts is causing stress, debt and despondency.

It could not be clearer that change is needed, we must aim for something better.

Our new economic approach is necessary because for the last forty years a kind of magical thinking has dominated the way Britain is run.

We’ve been told that it’s good, even advanced, for our country to manufacture less and less and to rely instead on cheap labour abroad to produce imports while we focus on the City of London and the financial sector.

While many economics professionals, politicians and City types insisted this was all a strength the banking crash confirmed it was in fact a profound weakness.

A lack of support for manufacturing is sucking the dynamism out of our economy, pay from the pockets of our workers and any hope of secure well-paid jobs from a generation of our young people.

That is why Labour is committed to turning things around.

It must be our job in government to reprogramme our economy so that it stops working for the few and begins working for the many.

That is why we will build things here again that for too long have been built abroad because we have failed to invest.

Doing this will allow us to have greater control over the economy, giving us the chance to boost people’s pay and to limit the power of the unearned wealth of the super-rich in our society.

Because Labour is committed to supporting our manufacturing industries and the skills of workers in this country we want to make sure the government uses more of its own money to buy here in Britain.

The state spends over £200 billion per year in the private sector.

That spending power alone gives us levers to stimulate industry, to encourage business to act in people’s interests by encouraging genuine enterprise, fairness, cutting edge investment, high-quality service and doing right by communities.

But to ensure prosperity here we must be supporting our industries, making sure that where possible the government is backing our industries and not merely overseeing their decline.

Take the example of the three new Fleet Solid Support Ships for the Royal Fleet Auxillary.

Why is the Government sending a £1 billion contract and all the skilled jobs, tax revenues and work in the supply chain to build those three ships overseas when we have the shipyards to build them here?

There are workers in Liverpool, Belfast, Rosyth and Plymouth who are keen to do that work but when I visited some of those shipyards I learned something else too – there are not enough workers being trained here in the UK to meet the potential demand.

On Brexit, Theresa May is very fond of saying “we will take back control of our laws, our money and our borders”. At the moment her first priority should be taking back control of her Cabinet.

But if she’s so serious about taking back control why has her Government offshored the production of our new British passports to France? Workers in Gateshead were making them and that work has been taken away from that community.

Unsurprisingly the French aren’t queuing up to have their French passports made in Britain.

We have plenty of capacity to build train carriages in the UK and yet repeatedly over recent years these contracts have been farmed out abroad, costing our economy crucial investment, jobs for workers and tax revenues.

Carrying on like this is simply not sustainable.

If we want to reprogramme our economy so that it works for everybody, we must use powers we have to back good jobs and industry here.

Between 2014 and 2017 Network Rail awarded contracts worth tens of millions of pounds to companies outside of the UK while the NHS awarded contracts worth over a billion.

In the same period the Ministry of Defence awarded contracts elsewhere worth over £1.5 billion pounds even though we are under no obligation under either European or international law to open up defence contracts to overseas bidders.

Labour is determined to see public contracts provide public benefit using our money to nurture and grow our industries and to expand our tax base.

The next Labour government will bring contracts back in-house, ending the racket of outsourcing that has turned our public services into a cash cow for the few.

And we will use the huge weight of the government’s purchasing power to support our workers and industries.

This will be done using a three-pronged approach:

Changing how we buy things with new procurement rules so that government supports jobs and industry.

Investing in infrastructure to support companies here in Britain to keep goods flowing efficiently and costs low.

And increasing investment in education, skills and lifelong learning through the National Education Service that we will create – and I want to pay tribute to the work done by Angela Rayner in this regard.

We must also be doing much more to support our small and medium sized enterprises.

That is why Labour will look at how to further support SMEs to participate in the tendering process instead of them being dominated by faceless multinationals.

Too often, we have been told by Conservatives who are ideologically opposed to supporting our industries that EU rules prevent us from supporting our own economy.

But if you go to Germany you’ll struggle to find a train that wasn’t built there, even though they’re currently governed by the same rules as us.

When the steel crisis hit in 2016 Italy, Germany and France all intervened legally under existing state aid rules but our government sat back and did nothing.

We have made clear we would seek exemptions or clarifications from EU state aid and procurement rules where necessary as part of the Brexit negotiations to take further steps to support cutting edge industries and local businesses.

But whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, we will use the powers we have to the full. Where there is a will there is a way and if we need to support our manufacturing sector we will find a way to do it.

What’s more we will include public interest into these big public contracts, as was done with the contract to build the High Speed 2 railway.

When there are billions of pounds of public money and thousands of skilled jobs at stake we cannot just focus on saving a quick buck when awarding these contracts. It is a totally false economy.

Instead by considering public interest such as job creation and the supply chains, we can grow our economy in a way that works for everybody.

Just today a cross-party committee of MPs has said that the stated reasons for contracting out services to save taxpayers money and to encourage innovation in delivery are too often simply not being met.

In the words of the Public Accounts Committee “there has emerged a small group of large companies which are expert at winning contracts but do not always deliver a good service”.

Nobody knows for sure when the next election will be or where we will be with Brexit when it comes, but one thing is certain the next Labour government is committed to creating high quality jobs in every region and nation of the UK, to develop new industries and support good domestic businesses – large and small.

We should also look at extending the rights of local authorities in parts of the country worst hit by forty years of industrial decline to be exempt from some World Trade Organisation rules, as some US states are, and therefore be able to require provision for local suppliers and jobs in public contracts.

This would help the regeneration of areas long forgotten by those in Whitehall or Westminster who claim to know what’s best.

The next Labour government will not just sit back and manage the ongoing decline of swathes of our economy. We can and must make a difference.

That’s why we will use the state to actively intervene in the economy, to create as much wealth as possible and, crucially, to ensure that wealth is shared fairly between everybody in our society.

Experts call this an industrial strategy.

It means we will have a joined up plan to keep our industries, old and new, humming with activity.

It stands in stark contrast to what this Government has done. Take just one example of this, the solar industry.

Once innovators, we are now falling back as the industry takes off across Europe. And why?

British solar firms were hit by cuts to subsidies in 2015 and 2016 and changes to business rates for buildings with rooftop panels.

Why did the government do this? To save a few pounds in the short term, yet it has cost us jobs and innovation.

As a result between now and 2022 France is forecast to add five times as much solar capacity as the UK, Germany ten times.

Our strategy will help us upgrade industry to secure good jobs, win public contracts and compete on the international stage.

It will help us build a clean, green 21st century economy, right here in the UK, building solar, wind farms and tidal lagoons to help us tackle climate change.

It will focus on creating clusters to boost domestic supply chains to develop the virtuous cycle, where the success of one industry or company helps others.

We’ll give support to the sectors that we need to deliver the public contracts, to radically upgrade our creaking infrastructure, a core part of our industrial strategy.

But our investment plans aren’t just for infrastructure and industry, they are for our people too, equipping them with the skills we need to thrive. It is why we are committed to a National Education Service which will provide both academic and vocational education on an equal footing to anybody that wants it, from cradle to grave.

We cannot continue to see education as a commodity to be bought and sold, it must be there to give people the skills they need to flourish throughout their lives.

This is all part of Labour’s plan to reprogramme our economy, so that it works for every town, city and village in the country.

It must be said however that wanting to build it in Britain is not turning away from the world, nor some return to protectionism or Trump-style trade wars.

It is about changing course so that people feel real control over their local economy and have good jobs that produce a consistent rise in pay and living standards, in every part of the UK.

That’s why we are so determined to help companies in the UK that export their goods.

And unlike the Conservatives, we know that after Brexit the single biggest assistance we can give our exporters is securing full, tariff free access to our biggest export market, the European Union.

It’s so important that we seek to negotiate a new, comprehensive UK-EU customs union, with a British say in all future trade deal and arrangements.

By now, the message should be clear – but the Conservative Government refuses to listen.

BMW, Airbus, and companies after company has warned of the real and damaging effects of Conservative customs chaos.

Theresa May and her warring cabinet should think again, even at this late stage and reconsider the option of negotiating a brand new customs union.

This decision needn’t be a matter of ideology, or divisions in the Tory Party.

It’s a matter of practical common sense.

It’s not often that the Labour Party and the Institute of Directors, the CBI and the TUC agree, we need to negotiate a new customs union.

What will help our manufacturing industries? The companies themselves are giving us a clear answer. The government should listen to it.

But the Prime Minister seems more willing to listen to Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson.

Never before has a Prime Minister discarded the interests of the country so recklessly in favour of the interests of their own party or their own self-preservation.

If our businesses are supported to sell abroad they’ll also be stronger to sell here and build here at home.

A botched Tory Brexit will sell our manufacturers short with the fantasy of a free trading buccaneering future which in reality would be a nightmare of our public services sold to multinational companies and our country in hock to Donald Trump whilst we all eat chlorinated chicken.

It is why we are offering a real alternative to this dangerous Tory Brexit.

A Labour Brexit could provide real opportunities as well as protections for our exporters.

It’s not just that our new customs union would provide the same benefits that we currently enjoy in the EU’s customs union but our exporters should be able to take proper advantage of the one benefit to them that Brexit has already brought – a more competitive pound.

After the EU referendum result the pound became more competitive and that should have helped our exporters.

But they are being sold out by a lack of a Conservative Government industrial plan which has left our economy far too reliant on imports.

The rise of finance is linked to the demise of industry.

Between 1970 and 2007 finance sector output grew from 5 per cent to 15 per cent of total economic output.

Manufacturing meanwhile decreased from 32 per cent to 12 per cent.

The next Labour government will rebalance our economy so that there is prosperity in every region and nation.

We will do this by setting up a national investment bank and a network of regional development banks to provide capital to the productive, real economy that secures good skilled jobs.

We will focus relentlessly on ending the housing crisis caused by the Conservatives and their uncompromising commitment to the free market.

We will build homes for the many not investment opportunities for the few and with them will come a new generation of zero carbon homes, creating new training opportunities and skilled jobs.

And we will chase dodgy money out of the financial system so corrupt oligarchs find it harder to rip-off their own people and skew our economic priorities at the same time.

Getting the dirty money out of the City of London won’t just help the people of the countries it has been stolen from.

It won’t just help those struggling to afford a place to live with over inflated asset prices helping fuel a housing crisis. There’s nothing productive about more and more of people’s incomes going to landlords as rent or to banks as mortgage payments.

It will also help rebalance our economy, stabilising our currency and our house prices.

And we will shift taxation to disincentivise financial speculation, for example with our financial transaction tax.

All of this will help us, help you, build it in Britain again.

In line with our values so that we all share in the wealth we all create.

We want an economy with high wages, high levels of trade union representation for workers and high levels of educational opportunities for everybody.

That’s why we’re offering a new deal for businesses that want to get on.

The very richest companies must pay a bit more tax and pay their workers better and in return we will train our people to have the skills our economy needs, upgrade our creaking infrastructure and provide the planning and support to help industry compete on the world stage.

And those companies that we do business with as the government will have to be at the forefront of best practice to create social as well as economic value.

Firms our government does business with will have to: properly pay their taxes, respect workers rights, provide equal opportunities, protect the environment, train their workers, pay their suppliers on time and end boardroom excess by moving to a 20-1 limit on the gap between the lowest and highest paid.

That is the deal that we want to make with businesses, it’s one that will benefit our whole economy.

We can get rid of the magical thinking of the free market that has led to a minority becoming extremely rich at the expense of everybody else.

And we will replace it with a new economy, transformed so that it’s run for and by the many, not the few.

And we will forge a new relationship between workers, manufacturers, communities and the government to end the unregulated bankers’ rip off which has dehumanised our values and our economy while allowing a few to profit at the expense of the many.

Labour will reprogramme our economy so that it works for the people of Britain and not against them.

And we will build this economy, this future fair for all, right here in Britain.