Roberta Blackman-Woods – 2019 Speech on Town and Country Planning

Below is the text of the speech made by Roberta Blackman-Woods, the Labour MP for the City of Durham, in the House of Commons on 15 July 2019.

I thank the Minister for his outline of this statutory instrument. The important first part of the SI ensures that the fee regime set out in the 2012 regulations is able to continue. Secondly, and perhaps more controversially, the SI amends regulation 14 of the 2012 regulations to include a £96 fee for an application for prior approval to build a larger rear extension to a dwelling house without the need for a full planning application to be made.

The Opposition do not seek to prevent the 2012 regulations from continuing, but we point the Government to their own consultation on devolving fee setting to local authorities. It would be good to have an explanation as to why the Government have failed to act on the outcome of their planning consultation, particularly on full cost recovery. As the Minister will know, the consultation found that there were substantial cross-party concerns that local authority planning departments do not have sufficient resources to provide an effective and wide-ranging service. The majority of respondents from all sectors supported increasing planning fees beyond the 20% increase already given by Government, often citing concerns about the low level of resourcing in local authority planning departments.

There are issues with local fee setting, as it may help resource planning departments better in areas of high growth but does little for those where development is more difficult to achieve. Nevertheless, the issue of getting more money to planning needs to be resolved urgently. Labour’s planning commission has found that poor resourcing of planning departments is the most significant issue raised by communities, planners and developers alike. The Government need to set out clearly what they are going to do to ensure that all planning departments are properly funded.

Total expenditure on planning has fallen by almost 20% since 2010. That fall would be far higher were it not for the fact that spending has been propped up by a 50% rise in planning income. If we remove income from the equation, total net expenditure on planning has fallen by 42% on average, and by up to 60% in some regions, and that of course has led to a huge reduction in the number of public sector planners. In a recent report, the Royal Town Planning Institute showed that when a high number of applications are permitted, with fewer resources committed to each, the main loser may be local communities. Another crucial issue is that planning officers may, as a consequence, have less time truly to engage communities. The impact of austerity on planning is felt keenly by planning officers, who have to operate with fewer resources and to deal with the public dissatisfaction that can arise from that. It would be useful to hear how the Minister intends to address that issue.​

The second part of the SI causes significant problems for us and, we think, for the country at large. Since 2013 Labour has been consistently against the ever increasing moves by the Government to replace proper planning permission with permitted development. The fee proposed here, £96 for prior approval for a large extension, is derisory. Large extensions, as the Minister should know from his mailbag, often cause considerable problems for neighbours and the issues involved can be complex, necessitating a great deal of work by local planning officers which will not be covered by the £96 fee by any stretch of the imagination. Large extensions should have to obtain planning permission, and bypassing communities with greater use of permitted development is just wrong.

A recent report from Shelter has made clear the enormous damage the ever increasing use of permitted development has had on the quality of our built environment, highlighting that local authorities can turn down PDR developments only in very limited circumstances, and cannot require social housing contributions or enforce space standards covering minimum sizes, leading to the delivery of rabbit-hutch homes. PDR allows developers to build the slums of the future.

An open letter from the Local Government Association in January 2019 made clear the extensive problems caused by permitted development, as did the large number of people who responded to the Government’s consultation on the extension to permitted development rights just recently. That includes the loss of more than 10,000 affordable homes in the last three years.

We think that the time is long overdue for the Government to get rid of permitted development and ensure proper planning and decent quality homes through the planning determination system and enabling local authorities to charge on a cost-recovery basis. Planners do a difficult and at times a controversial job, and it is time for the Government to resource the system properly.

Kit Malthouse – 2019 Statement on Town and Country Planning

Below is the text of the speech made by Kit Malthouse, the Minister for Housing, in the House of Commons on 15 July 2019.

I beg to move,

That the draft Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications, Deemed Applications, Requests and Site Visits) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2019, which were laid before this House on 10 June, be approved.

The regulations were laid before the House on 10 June 2019. If approved and made, they will remove a sunset clause in the existing 2012 fees regulations, thereby ensuring that local planning authorities can continue to charge fees for planning applications. Planning fees are an important source of income, supporting local authorities to have the resources and capacity to make effective planning decisions. It is therefore vital that the fees regulations remain in force. The regulations introduce a fee of £96 for prior approval applications for a larger single-storey rear extension to a house. If approved by this House, this new charge will come into effect 28 days after the regulations are made.

Planning application fees are crucial for a well-resourced, effective and efficient planning system. They provide local planning authorities with much-needed income to consider planning applications, which in turn provide new homes and deliver economic growth for our country. In January 2018 we raised planning application fees by 20%—the first uplift since 2012. This has increased income for the planning system and has enabled local planning authorities to improve their performance. We estimate that in England the total income raised through planning applications fees is £450 million. If there was no application fee, this cost would have to be funded by the council taxpayer.

I turn to the details of the regulations. First, the regulations propose to remove the sunset clause of 21 November 2019 contained in the existing 2012 fees regulations, the Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications, Deemed Applications, Requests and Site Visits) (England) Regulations 2012. By removing the sunset clause, local authorities will be able to continue to charge planning application fees, in accordance with the 2012 fees regulations, beyond that date. If the sunset clause were not removed, the fees regulations would cease to have effect after 21 November. This would mean that local planning authorities would no longer be able to charge fees for planning applications.

The 2012 regulations provided that there should be a review of their operation within five years, to ensure that they continued to achieve their objectives. The accompanying sunset clause meant that no action would be required if it was decided that the regulations were no longer necessary. I am pleased to confirm that the review was undertaken in 2017 and the outcome report ​laid before Parliament in December 2017. The review concluded that the 2012 fees regulations had achieved their objective. It confirmed that they ensured an effective planning application fee regime, which benefited both applicants and local planning authorities in providing for the proper consideration of planning applications. It is therefore appropriate that I bring these regulations before the House, to ensure that the planning application fees regime continues. The regulations will also ensure that those wishing to take forward development pay a fair fee and that local planning authorities have the resource and capacity they need to make high-quality and timely decisions.

Secondly, the regulations introduce a £96 fee for applications for prior approval for existing permitted development rights for a larger single-storey rear extension to a house. The prior approval process means that a developer has to seek approval from the local planning authority that specified elements of the development are acceptable before work can proceed. The matters for prior approval vary depending on the type of development, and those are set out in the relevant part of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015. A local authority cannot consider any other matters when determining a prior approval application.

The permitted development right for a larger single-storey rear extension to a house was made permanent by way of amendments to the general permitted development order on 25 May, but currently the associated application for prior approval required to exercise this permitted development right attracts no fee. Now that the right is permanent, it is appropriate that we should enable local planning authorities to charge and receive a fee for the work they undertake to process and determine the applications they receive.

Other comparable applications for prior approval have a £96 fee, and we consider that that would also be an appropriate fee for a larger single-storey rear extension to a house, as the cost to the local planning authority of handling these is similar. Although a fee of £96 is an additional cost on homeowners wanting to extend their homes, it is not considered fair that the cost of the applications should continue to be subsidised by all taxpayers. The fee is modest, at less than half of the £206 fee that would be required for a planning application to carry out works to a house were it not for the permitted development rights. It will provide local planning authorities with resources that may otherwise have been diverted from other planning applications.

In line with existing fees for planning applications to alter or extend a home, the draft regulations provide that the fee will not apply where the application is for development designed to provide means of access for a disabled person or facilities designed to secure that person’s greater safety, health or comfort. That will mitigate the potential direct impact of the new fee on disabled persons, who might be considered more likely to make use of the permitted development right for larger home extensions.

We continue to keep the resourcing of local authority planning departments and where fees can be charged under review. We announced in the spring statement ​that the accelerated planning Green Paper, to be published later this year, will look at new approaches for local authorities to meeting the costs of their planning service and delivering improved performance. In the meantime, the draft regulations will ensure that local authorities can continue to charge planning fees after 21 November, including the new prior approval fee, thus providing them with the important resources they need to consider such applications. I commend the regulations to the House.

David Lidington – 2019 Statement on Detainee Mistreatment

Below is the text of the speech made by David Lidington, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, in the House of Commons on 15 July 2019.

As my right hon. and learned Friend indicates, this issue has a lengthy history. It was in July 2010 that Prime Minister Cameron announced Sir Peter Gibson’s inquiry into allegations that the United Kingdom had been implicated in the improper treatment of detainees held by other countries in the aftermath of 9/11.

In December 2013, the Government published Sir Peter’s preparatory work and asked the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament to follow up on the themes and issues which that work had identified, to take further evidence and to make a report. At the same time, the Government said that they would:

“take a final view as to whether a further judicial inquiry still remains necessary to add any further information of value to future policy making and the national interest.”—[Official Report, 19 December 2013; Vol. 572, c. 916.]

In June last year, the Intelligence and Security Committee, its work having been interrupted by two general elections and the task of reconstituting the Committee after those elections, published two reports: “Detainee Mistreatment and Rendition: 2001-2010” and “Detainee Mistreatment and Rendition: Current Issues”.

In response to an urgent question from my right hon. and learned Friend on 2 July last year, the Minister for Europe and the Americas, my right hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Sir Alan Duncan), said that, in responding to the ISC reports, the Government would:

“give careful consideration to the calls for another judge-led inquiry and will update the House”.—[Official Report, 2 July 2018; Vol. 644, c. 26.]

The Government responded formally to the ISC on 22 November last year, and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, in a written statement, said:

“The Government continues to give serious consideration to the examination of detainee issues and whether any more lessons can be learned and, if so, how.”

That serious consideration has included the question of a further judge-led inquiry.

As the House will understand, this has been complex work, which has involved some of the most sensitive security issues. I confirm to the House today that the Government will make a definitive statement setting out their decision about a judge-led inquiry later this week and, at the same time, we will announce to the House our response to Sir Adrian Fulford’s recommendations on the consolidated guidance.

Theresa May – 2019 Speech at England Cricket Team Reception

Below is the text of the speech made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, in Downing Street, London on 15 July 2019.

The final was not just cricket at its best but sport at its best – courage, character, sportsmanship, drama, incredible skill and even the odd slice of luck…

All combining to create a real thriller, one of the great sporting spectacles of our time.

It was a fitting end to what has been a great tournament – and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in once again making our country a sporting showcase for the world.

The players and coaching staff.

The organisers and volunteers.

The incredible spectators from 10 nations who brought such colour and passion to England and Wales this summer.

The runners-up yesterday, New Zealand.

Real champions show their true character not just in victory but also in defeat, and I am sure everyone here agrees that their response on the field yesterday shows what Black Caps are made of, what New Zealanders are made of.

They are a credit to their team, a credit to their sport and a credit to their nation.

Then of course, there is England.

Or “World Cup-winning England”, as we can get used to saying.

You are a team that represents modern Britain – and that plays like no other side in the world.

In the group stage you responded to setbacks not by giving in but by coming back stronger than ever.

And, when the odds were against you in the biggest game of your lives, you simply and stubbornly refused to lose.

It is that determination, that character, that has made you world champions.

But more than that you have made history.

You have helped the nation fall in love with cricket once again.

And, perhaps most important of all, as we saw across the country last night and at the Oval this morning, you have inspired countless future Morgans, Rashids and Archers.

This was a record-breaking World Cup.

Yesterday we saw a final for the ages.

And here today we have a team that will be spoken of in awe for generations to come.

Thank you all once again.

On behalf of the whole country congratulations to – and I just want to say this one more time – England’s World Cup winners.

Theresa May – 2019 Speech at Positive Opportunities Reception

Below is the text of the speech made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, at a Positive Opportunities Reception on 15 July 2019.

Good afternoon everyone, and a very warm welcome to Downing Street.

A little while ago I received a letter from a young girl named Zahra, who lives in East London.

Zahra – who I am very pleased to say is with us here today – is still at primary school.

But in her letter she told me she is concerned about starting secondary school later this year because knife crime in her local area means she does not always feel safe when she is out and about.

And she is also worried about her teenage brother.

“I don’t want him to be another statistic,” she wrote; “I want him to feel safe”.

As you can imagine, we get quite a lot of letters here at No 10.

But it is absolutely heart-breaking to read one like that.

The most important job of any government is to make sure everyone in this country is safe and feels safe.

And if there is such violence on our streets that an 11-year-old girl is scared of going to school, or worried about her brother being in the wrong place at the wrong time – that tells me we have to do better.

So we are making more than a billion pounds of extra funding available for the police, have tightened up the law on offensive weapons, and have set up a cross-government task force dedicated to tackling serious violence – I have just come here straight from its latest meeting this afternoon.

But by the time a crime has been committed, by the time a young life has already been taken, it is already too late.

If we are going to make our streets safer, if children like Zahra are going to feel happy going to school, then we have to steer people away from gangs and violence in the first place.

Every young person – regardless of where they live or what community they come from – needs somewhere to go, something to do and good people around them.

And that is why I am delighted to be hosting you all here today.

It has been a pleasure to hear first-hand about some of the great work being done by the coaches, artists, teachers, business leaders and role models, all of you, in this room.

And, at a time when the headlines about young people are all too often bleak, it has been simply inspiring to talk to those of you who have benefited from that work.

Because what this event proves more than anything is that nothing is set in stone.

Nobody should assume that their future leads only one way, nobody should be written off as a hopeless case.

If, like John McAvoy, you can go from serving a life sentence for armed robbery to becoming one our leading Ironman triathletes…

If, like Jamal Edwards, you can shatter the expectations of your teachers, your friends, even your family by creating a multi-million pound business…

If, like the people helped by Centrepoint who are helping out today, you can go from sleeping on the streets to working at Downing Street…

…then anything is possible.

And that is not only a powerful message for young people in communities struggling with gangs and violence – it is also a reminder for everyone in politics of the difference we can make if we support those people who are offering positive activities and alternatives.

That’s why the government is putting almost £300 million into our Youth Endowment Fund and Youth Futures Foundation, making sure the money is there for groups and projects that can make a difference.

Because I do want this to be a country that works for everyone, where all of our young people – all of you – can grow up optimistic about their futures.

Where people are not held back by expectations – either their own or society’s – about what can and cannot be achieved in life.

Every child is born with potential – we just have to make sure it’s unlocked and allowed to flourish.

People here today are working hard to do just that.

So, on behalf of the whole country, I want to say thank you to all of you.

Thank you for making a difference.

Thank you for setting an example.

And thank you for making the UK a better, safer, stronger place not just for the young people here today, but for girls like Zahra, and her brother, and millions more like them right across the country.

Thank you once again for coming, thank you for everything you are doing, and enjoy the rest of the day.

Liam Fox – 2019 Speech on India Day

Below is the text of the speech made by Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, on 16 July 2019.

1. Introduction

Thank you – and in particular my thanks to the Indian business leaders and of course Piyush Goyal, [Minister of Railways of India] who have flown a long way to attend today – and to the City of London co-hosting this event.

Just two months ago, India was the home of the greatest democratic exercise in the history of mankind: a truly extraordinary beacon to the world of India’s freedom, democratic values and independence.

And I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to Piyush Goyal, [Minister of Railways of India] and the Indian Government for their fresh mandate and, in particular to welcome the programme of economic reform and development. There is a clear momentum emerging.

I also welcome the announcements in India’s Budget last week of plans for further liberalisation of foreign direct investment and financial markets.

This is a moment of great opportunity for both UK and Indian companies, and we must seize it together.

2. The strength of UK-India relations

India is due to become the world’s third largest economy by the end of the next decade and is currently the fastest growing G20 economy.

As two modern, diverse democracies, the UK and India are natural partners, working together to help drive this transformation: promoting our people’s prosperity, improving global security and tackling our common challenges.

The total number of people employed by British companies in India currently stands at 788,000 – 50,000 of which were jobs created within the last 2 years.

But there are also 800 Indian companies employing nearly 105,000 people in the UK.

And Indian inward investment to the UK has brought more than just capital. It has also brought skills, exports, good corporate citizenship, and entrepreneurialism.

UK subsidiaries of Indian parent firms represent some of the UK’s largest tech companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and exporters, such as JLR.

And the latest figures show UK-India overall bilateral trade increased by 14% last year to £20.5 billion. And since 2010, the UK and India are among the top five investors in each other’s economies.

3. The strength of UK financial services

So we have a remarkable record on which to build.

And as we look to the future, I believe the United Kingdom has complementary strengths to propel India’s economic growth and transition towards a more services orientated economy: not just as a partner of choice, but the partner of choice.

We meet today at the historic centre of the world’s greatest and most international financial hub: the City of London.

And please don’t be fooled by the historic grandeur of our venue. Behind it lies a very modern, innovative and unique ecosystem: with a deep and liquid global capital pool, pioneering regulatory framework, and world-class advisory, legal and related professional services.

London alone hosts over 250 foreign banks, more than New York, Paris or Frankfurt.

The UK is the world’s largest centre for cross-border banking.

We account for fully 37% of global foreign exchange trading, well ahead of other international centres. Twice as many dollars are traded in the UK as in the US, and twice as many euros are traded in the UK as in the Eurozone.

London continues to be a major global centre for the issuance and trading of bonds, with around 39% of global secondary market turnover in 2017.

And of course, as we have just heard, the United Kingdom is the home of the FinTech revolution, making sweeping changes, delivering more control, access and increased competition.

It has been estimated that we have more software developers here in London than Berlin, Dublin and Stockholm all combined.

And we have a unique chance to build on these strengths in partnership with India. This includes access to the Adhaar personal biometric ID card platform: the greatest in the world, giving UK FinTech firms the opportunity to globalise their product and bring credit to people who have not had access before.

The UK also ranks number 1 in Europe and first among non-Muslim-majority nations for Islamic finance.

And in Green Finance the UK is uniquely well placed to provide the complex solutions required to assist the transition to a low-carbon economy and boost clean growth investment.

4. The City’s offer to India

So we already have a strong record on which to build with India in particular.

UK financial markets have helped support the development of whole new product classes, helping Indian firms prosper, grow and go global.

For example, the internationalisation of the rupee will be a crucial issue in ensuring the Indian economy plays its full role in international trade in the years to come.

And I was delighted to learn in last week’s Budget that India is considering issuing sovereign bonds abroad. And as I said this morning when I opened the exchange, I hope you will consider issuing on the London Stock Exchange.

There are over 400 sovereign bonds listed on the exchange, and we are able to offer a low cost, efficient listing process, with access to one of the deepest financial markets in the world.

The London Stock Exchange is already the world’s largest rupee denominated Masala bond centre: most recently, it hosted an issue by the state of Kerala. It sells more than half of all the rupee denominated bonds issued to overseas buyers globally.

That’s more than Singapore, more than New York, more than Hong Kong, and more than Frankfurt, all put together.

I think this demonstrates the scale of what the UK can do for India’s economic transformation: and the potential of what we can achieve together in the future.

5. DIT/HMG’s offer to India

Now, the Department for International Trade is here to take these links further: with the sector expertise, financial support and networks in both countries to unleash the vast potential in the strong ties between India and the United Kingdom.

That is why we have a network of advisers in locations across India, helping to reduce barriers to market access, helping connect UK and Indian firms and sharing advice on local regulations, business practices and consumer tastes.

That is why last year we appointed Crispin Simon who is with us here today, as Her Majesty’s first ever Trade Commissioner for South Asia, based in Mumbai, and why UK Export Finance, our world-leading export credit agency, can now provide up to £4 billion for British companies doing business in India –available in Rupee’s, so that Indian firms can ‘buy British, pay Indian’.

It is also why the UK Government has its Ease of Doing Business in India programme, centred on the sharing of UK practical expertise with Indian Central and State Governments, removing barriers to economic growth and supporting India’s meteoric rise up the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings.

6. Conclusion

All these efforts stem from a simple premise: the strength of the India-UK relationship and the complementarity of our economies’ strengths, opportunities and potential for the future. But what are these strengths?

As I have mentioned: Britain’s position as a world-leading finance hub.

India’s ambitious growth and reform plans – and aspirations to develop its financial infrastructure and tap into global sources of capital.

The UK’s government vision to build a Global Britain – with stronger links with the world beyond Europe after we leave the European Union.

And together, these realities are an unrivalled opportunity for our mutual prosperity.

Tagore once spoke of a world where ‘mind is without fear and the head is held high’.

And I am confident that with India and the United Kingdom, we can move forward in partnership together, doing just that. Thank you.

Theresa May – 2019 Speech on India Day

Below is the text of the speech made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, on 16 July 2019.

Good afternoon everyone and thank you all for joining us today, in particular to Minister Goyal – it is a real pleasure to have you here and to have been able to speak with you.

Mansion House is an historic venue.

But from where I stand today I see the very modern face of UK-India relations.

World-leading businesses.

Cutting-edge technology.

The innovators and entrepreneurs, the thinkers and the do-ers, who are working hand-in-hand with colleagues and counterparts on the other side of the world to grow our economies and, in doing so, help all our people grow too.

Our nations are many thousands of miles apart, our cultures in many ways very different.

But for all that diversity, the UK and India have much in common.

Our countries are twin pillars of the Commonwealth.

Each is built on shared values of democracy and the rule of law.

We are equally committed to open markets, to free trade and the international order.

Both governments are dedicated to tackling the global challenges – from security to climate change – that no one nation can defeat alone.

And, of course, we both share an extraordinary love of cricket.

After what happened at Lord’s on Sunday I’d be quite happy to give you an entire speech about cricket.

But given that India’s tournament ended a little earlier than hoped for, I am sure that half the room would rather I didn’t say anything too much about the World Cup too so I’ll move on.

But those shared values, that shared outlook, make possible a strong and lasting bond between our nations.

That is why in 2019 the story of the UK and India is not a story of our complex and intertwined history, but of the flows of capital, technology and business.

Of the “living bridge” of people and ideas that make us, in the words of Prime Minister Modi, an “unbeatable combination” – both today and for the future.

And what a combination it is.

In 2018, the combined turnover of Indian companies in the UK reached almost £50 billion, more than trebling in just five years.

Indian FDI in the UK is growing faster than that from any other country, soaring by an incredible 321 per cent in just 12 months.

Bilateral trade rose by 14 per cent last year.

The British Development Finance bank, CDC Group, invests more in India than anywhere else in the world – more than 300 investments totalling over £1.3 billion and directly supporting around 350,000 jobs.

And, with the support of the UK-India Financial Partnership, our world-leading financial sectors continually exchange capital and expertise.

Venture capital firms like Pontaq and Blume are seeking out innovative start-ups in both nations.

Joint ventures such as HDFC Life and ICICI Prudential are India’s leading private sector insurers.

London-based companies like Greensill are expanding their financing platforms in India.

And, in the past three years, Indian issuers have raised over £7.5 billion of bonds on the London Stock Exchange.

It is a story of incredible success for both our nations – and both our nations are committed to ensuring that it continues.

Over the past three years I have worked closely with Prime Minister Modi to make that happen.

Together, we’ve developed an ambitious UK-India Tech Partnership, which is already creating new jobs and supporting thousands more across the UK.

Together, we’ve launched a programme of collaboration on financial services, marrying the best of British expertise with India’s global leadership in technology.

Together – just last week, in fact – we have opened a £40 million Fast-Track Start-Up Fund, supported by both the UK and Indian governments, to invest in Indian start-ups focussed on emerging technology.

And together, we’ve launched a Green Growth Equity Fund – co-investing £240 million of anchor capital to invest in green and renewable energy.

That fund is particularly important and symbolic.

Because India and the UK do not only share values – we also, as I said at this month’s G20 meeting, share a responsibility to our planet.

Last month, the British Parliament passed a law requiring us to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – the first major economy to make such a commitment.

Making a great step forward in renewable energy is the key to doing so, which is why we are proud to be joining the India-led International Solar Alliance…

Why the joint UK-India Clean Energy Centre is addressing the challenge of integrating intermittent renewable energy sources with energy storage…

And why the UK Government’s ground-breaking joint venture, UK Climate Investments, has so far made three investments in India, including £30 million for the country’s largest commercial rooftop solar developer.

There is no false choice to be made between cutting carbon emissions and raising living standards.

No contradiction in doing what is right for business and what is right for the environment.

Clean growth and economic growth can go hand-in-hand, as you can see right here in the Square Mile, where London’s unrivalled financial markets are raising huge sums to invest in a cleaner greener future for both our countries.

Over the past three years, Indian companies have raised £2 billion through green bonds listed on the LSE.

We are in the midst of an immensely productive period of economic relations between India and the UK.

And I am immensely proud of the work I have done with Prime Minister Modi over the past three years both to strengthen the ties between our nations, and to make sure that very special relationship works for all our people.

But I am nonetheless confident that the business links between our nations will continue to grow stronger and deeper, drawing us together and creating jobs and prosperity from Manipur to Manchester.

When the Indian government raises its first ever international sovereign bond later this year I hope they do so in the City of London – whose capital markets, with their unrivalled depth and liquidity, are the best in the world.

Yesterday saw the latest edition of the highly successful JETCO trade dialogue, at which representatives from both our nations discussed our approach to the removal of trade barriers in the years ahead.

And once we leave the EU, our new immigration rules will see an individual’s right to work in the UK determined not by where they were born, but by what they can bring to our nation – a boost for Indian employers who want to do business in the UK.

Such steps, along with the hard work and commitment of the people in this room, will ensure that the economic ties between our nations continue to thrive.

For many decades, the UK and India have been old friends.

Today, as we see here at Mansion house, we are increasingly working together as new partners.

So, while the months and years ahead will bring much change and many challenges, let us continue to build that relationship.

Let us support one another, bringing together people, capital and ideas to benefit the UK and India alike.

And let us turn the shared values that make our nations great into shared prosperity for all of our people.

Thank you.

Nigel Dakin – 2019 Inaugural Speech

Below is the text of the speech made by Nigel Dakin, the Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands, on 15 July 2019.

His Honour the Speaker, Your Ladyship the Chief Justice, the Honourable Premier, the Honourable Leader of the Opposition, Her Excellency the Deputy Governor, the Honourable Attorney General, Honourable Ministers, Honourable Members of this Honourable House, the Commissioner of Police, Ladies and Gentlemen, Family.

And, through your various representational roles, my greetings to the people of these islands, a community I hope I will soon be able to call ‘friends’.

Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity of addressing this House a thank you I extend to the Honourable Premier, and to the Honourable Leader of the Opposition, for their welcome, not only to myself but also my family.

As experienced leaders you will have chosen your words with care and I look forward to weighing those words accordingly.

To reply today to the important points you make would suggest I have arrived with an agenda prepared in London; you will all be relieved to hear that I don’t. My views can wait until I am better informed, through detailed conversations with you.

In truth, I come with only one idea: ‘To preserve and to improve’. I’ll explain this in a moment.

Let me first though properly introduce you to my family, supporting me here today. Mandy my extraordinary wife, who you will find ready to contribute a great deal to these islands. Charlie – our daughter – an ‘International Relations’ graduate now deeply engaged on environmental issues and Fraser – our son – an Undergraduate studying Engineering.

You, I know, understand the importance of family in the way I’ve just described a family. You also use the imagery of family – rather beautifully I think – to describe the wider islands that I’m now Governor of: “the family islands”. I look forward to getting to know this new family.

A word about first impressions.

This is not our first time in these islands; our family have previously arrived in a particularly important capacity. We arrived as tourists; the economic engine of this country and on which so much of these islands future depends.

We expected the beauty – we’d of course seen the pictures. We anticipated the weather – we’d consulted the forecast. What we didn’t expect was the genuine warmth of the people we met. If it’s the beaches that bought us here it’s the people that would bring us back.

Every person: the immigration officer; the representative of the car hire firm in Provo; the taxi driver in Grand Turk; the waitress; the bartender; the police officer that helped us at the fish fry; the owner of the accommodation we stayed at; the power boat skipper who took us down the islands; all were outstanding Ambassadors for this country. All four of us are delighted to be back.

To substance. The greatest courtesy I can now pay you is to be both brief (I will take little more than 5 minutes) – and to be clear – (I will make just 6 points). Four words that you may choose to hold me to account to, one thought about the Constitution and I’ll end talking about my priorities.

The first word is ‘Care’. I may be a True Brit, but I’m a Brit who cares deeply about the UK’s relationship with the Caribbean, and the Caribbean’s relationship with the UK. With a Bajan wife, whose family has lived on that island for centuries, and children who enjoy joint Bajan / British nationality how could I be anything, but.

I’ve been in the Caribbean every year for the last 35 years and visited many of the islands in this region. Nearly 33 years ago I married Mandy in St Georges Church, Barbados. One of our children was christened in St Ambrose Church, St Michael, Barbados.

I therefore promise to ‘care’ about the people and the future of these islands, an easy promise to make, and an easy promise to keep, because both myself and my family have cared about the future of this region for a very long time.

You will find I will take my responsibility to represent the interests of the Turks and Caicos Islands seriously and diligently.

The second word is ‘Listen’. Long standing connections to this region ensure that I at least know how much I don’t know. I have some insight to island life. I know how hard I will have to work to understand a rich and complex society that few – who have not lived in the Caribbean – can properly understand.

As a result you will find me inquisitive, I aspire to be one of the most informed people on these islands. Whoever you are, you will find that I will ask a lot of questions. You all, I think, have a right to be heard – and I have a duty to listen.

So I promise to seek to understand the collective wisdom of these islands by listening to as many people as I can – from as many different walks of life as I can; I promise to ‘listen’.

The third word is ‘Service’. I was introduced to public service in 1982 when I joined the British Army. Six months later, at the age of 19, I was leading thirty soldiers on operations. That was 37 years ago and this word ‘service’ has been tested every day since then.

The cap badge at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst – where I started my first career aged 18 – does not read “Lead to Serve”. You do not ‘serve’ through your ‘leadership’ – quite the opposite. The cap badge at Sandhurst reads: “Serve to Lead”.

The truth is that the quality of a person’s leadership is based only on the quality of their service, and the quality of their service boils down to putting others first. So I promise, as your Governor, that I will not only be Her Majesty’s servant in these islands, but I will also be your servant.

Being clear and straight: This final word, and we need not dwell on this because you will – in the end – judge me as you see it – is that you will find me ‘clear’ and by being clear you fill find me ‘straight’.

To ‘care’, to ‘listen’ to ‘serve’ and to be ‘straight’ seem to me four good words, four good anchors, to be held accountable to.

I promised a word about the constitution. I am the 15th Governor of these Islands. Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, has appointed all 15. She had been crowned twenty years before the first Governor – Alexander Mitchell – was appointed by her. All fifteen Governors received their commission from her, to be her representative as Head of State.

I am genuinely touched by the spotlight you place on me today, but in truth whoever the individual Governor is, is not the issue. It is instead what the office of Governor represents: continuity, the link to the Crown and to Britain, and the Governor’s application of the constitution that is important.

It is important because it ensures everyone in these islands, and anyone wishing to travel to her, or invest in her, understands that through the Constitution it is the rule of law that prevails here and all are equal here before the law.

An investment here is safe, because the law keeps it safe. A persons human rights are in the end guaranteed here because the law demands those rights be protected.

Conversations about the constitution become immediately complex but let me – for the moment – keep things simple. The key test is that a Constitution has to be good enough to weather the bad times as well as the good. To take in its stride not just the sort of outstanding leaders who spoke before me today, the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition, but those whose intentions, perhaps long in the future, may be less selfless than the standard that all of us in this room aspire to now.

It’s why the oath I swore at the start of these proceedings is taken by all of you so seriously and why it is – to me – the islands sword and shield; something I must steward diligently.

I am acutely aware that as Head of State I am appointed rather than elected. I have the greatest respect for those politicians amongst you, who face an electorate. As a result you – as well as Her Majesty who appointed me as her representative – have every right to demand, in your Head of State, Statesman like qualities. Today is my first step on a journey to earn the right to be judged in that way.

In the 18th Century the political philosopher Burke offered advice. His definition of a statesman was: “A disposition to preserve and an ability to improve”. That seems to me to remain a good aiming mark in the 21st Century Turks and Caicos Islands. To preserve and improve. You will find that I’m interested in making a practical, positive, difference.

So I’m interested in supporting all those helping educate, protect, develop and care for all that call these islands home, including the most vulnerable. I’m equally interested in supporting those who are focused on business, tourism and diversifying the economy. We all rely on wealth creators.

We can all learn from the next generation – I have – and there will be a particular place, in my heart, for those who understand that the stewardship of our environment offers not just benefits here, but also the opportunity for the Turks and Caicos Islands to have a genuine global voice.

That’s a global voice in what will be one of the predictable themes of this century, something critical we must steward for those that come behind us. Fortunately it’s a fast developing UK priority. On the environment we – the Turks and Caicos Islands, Britain and all the Overseas Territories – are more influential and stronger together than we can ever be apart.

In starting a new role though it’s critical to have early focus – my early focus will be on properly understanding issues relating to crime, illegal immigration and hurricane preparedness. My programme has been prepared with that in mind.

That’s enough talk. I start my agenda – such as it is – to work with you all to ‘preserve and to improve’. In the end this is going to be a Governorship based on values. Whether I ‘care’, ‘listen’, ‘serve’ and whether I’m ‘straight’ will best be judged by my actions rather than my words. I’m now keen to get to work.

And may God bless the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Matt Hancock – 2019 Speech on Social Media, Young People and Mental Health

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on 15 July 2019.

An Irishman, a Barbadian and a Kiwi…

Sorry, there’s no punchline – I just wanted to talk about our England cricket team, who I met on the way over here at Downing Street.

And our brilliant England captain, star bowler and star batsman, and this entire generation of England cricketers, who come from so many different backgrounds to play for our country.

Because these guys – like the England Women’s World Cup team – are role models to so many boys and girls in this country.

And it’s a sign of how far we’ve come since Norman Tebbit’s infamous ‘cricket test’ that nobody cares where you come from, only where you want to call home. And I hope that we call it a new cricket test that we are a meritocracy as a country wherever you come from.

I thought it was worth starting with the England cricket team, not only to cheer everybody up but also because we have to make sure that we remember what the recent past was like when we decide on the future.

Our sporting role models now reflect what our country looks like – and this itself is a huge sign of progress. I think we can take that analysis into the space we’re talking about tonight.

Because things weren’t always better for children and teenagers before smartphones and social media. We often discuss the impact of social media and the challenges it brings but as mentioned in the introduction we must also remember the great advances it brings.

By most metrics it’s never been better: smoking is down, alcohol misuse is down, drug abuse is down. More young people are staying in school and going to university than ever before.

You see the thing is, no matter how much we care about improving our country, we’ve always got to base those improvements on an honest assessment of where we are. An honest assessment means also reflecting that each age brings new challenges and our task is to rise to those new challenges and harness those for the benefit of our society.

This afternoon some of the biggest social media companies in the world – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google, YouTube, Tumblr and Snapchat – all came together at the Department for Health and Social Care…

…the Matt Hancock app was also represented.

And what we discussed is exactly what we’re talking about tonight – young people, social media and the impact on mental health. And the word that kept coming up in the meeting – and not just from me – was responsibility.

It was clear: the penny has now dropped – social media companies get that they have a social responsibility, and that we all have a shared responsibility for the health and wellbeing of our children.

This was the third social media summit I’ve called this year, and so far we’ve managed to get the big tech firms – which includes Twitter – to agree to remove suicide and self-harm content, and start addressing the spread of anti-vax misinformation, Instagram have introduced a new anti-bullying tool, and they’ve all repeated to me that they recognise they have a duty of care to their users, particularly children and young people.

The next step from the work we’ve been doing is research. Today, we agreed that we must build a scientifically-rigorous evidence base so we can better understand the health impact of social media, and so we can better identify what more we need to do to keep our children safe online.

We will use the data that social media companies hold for social good. Because, while we’ve made significant progress in these past few months, there is still much more to do.

And ultimately we need to ensure we allow those who express themselves on social media as a cry for help to make that cry while not subjecting others to the damaging impact of viewing material that promotes self-harm or suicide.

And I have made it crystal-clear that if they don’t collaborate, we will legislate.

So today, we agreed to start a new strategic partnership between the Samaritans and ‘the big 6’: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google, YouTube and Twitter.

We want the social media companies to contribute at least £1 million to get this partnership off the ground. The government is playing a leading role in bringing this partnership together, and has also contributing funding.

Our mission will be to follow the evidence: develop a scientifically based understanding of what the challenge is, and what resources, support and guidelines we need to establish and better protect children and young people online.

And the key will be to ensure we have a clinically credible analysis of what should and shouldn’t be online and ensure when social media companies want to take down content that is harmful, or are required to take down content that is harmful, the boundary of what should and shouldn’t be online is defined by clinical standards. There’s a clear need for a partnership here to make sure we get that line right.

Ultimately technology isn’t the problem: cars don’t kill people because of a design flaw. People die in car crashes, most of the time, due to human error.

The challenge with social media is also a human challenge.

I’m well known for caring about driving technological upgrades through the NHS and before that across the economy as culture secretary. The reason I care about technology is because I care about people.

Ultimately, harnessing people to harness technology – that is the challenge that we face. The challenge we face online is to ask the question: are humans going to do the right thing?

Are social media companies going to play their part by making their services safer?

Are governments going to hold these companies to account?

And how are we going to support parents and carers to keep their children safe and healthy online?

Essentially, how are we all going to live up to our responsibilities?

And I believe we will. For 2 reasons.

First: history shows us that new technologies sometimes develop faster than our ability to fully understand their impact, but when we do catch up, we act successfully.

It took a century of speed limits, vehicle inspections, traffic lights, drink-driving laws, seatbelt legislation, to make driving as safe as it is now. And now, per mile driven, cars have never been safer.

And we’re still not done, because driver-less cars will be the next step – proof that progress is driven both by advances in understanding and improvements in the technology itself.

And of course that progress, itself, is never complete.

I take inspiration from the first modern labour law in this country, introduced by a Conservative: Robert Peel, father to Sir Robert Peel, one of our greatest prime ministers.

The 1802 Health and Morals of Apprentices Act recognised that cotton mill owners needed to better protect the children working with this new-fangled machinery.

Now, it took a few more decades, and a few more factory acts, before child labour was outlawed altogether, but that first Factory Act, introduced by a Conservative mill owner, started the course of gradual improvements to make the world of work safer for children, women and men.

This task of harnessing new technology for the benefit of society does not take one act of parliament – it is a constant effort to make sure our rulebook is up to date, to allow for the great innovations of our age but to also ensure the benefit of that innovation is brought to the whole of society.

The history of technology, the history of humanity itself, is one of constant and gradual improvements. Now, gradual does not mean slow – that’s not to say we need to wait decades for change to happen.

The pace of technological transformation is faster now than at any point in history so we must pick up the pace of progress to make this technology safer, sooner.

Look at it this way: Facebook is 15 years old now, which in tech years is about… 46. They’ve even appointed Nick Clegg – and you don’t get more of a grown-up than Sir Nick.

So this technology is maturing, there’s more middle-aged people now using Facebook than teenagers, and through improving our understanding and improving the technology, we can make it safer for everyone. That’s the first reason I have confidence that we will get this right, but it requires constant effort to upgrade the laws by which we live.

Second: Mental health, thanks to the actions of this Prime Minister, and her predecessor, is finally being talked about, and taken as seriously as physical health.

We’ve started a fundamental shift in how we think about mental health in this country, and the approach the NHS is taking to preventing, treating and supporting good mental health in the future.

This fundamental shift is important but it is by no means complete. We’ve put a record amount of funding into mental health services but there is so much more to do.

And I think it’s very important that we talk about the impact of social media, and the wellbeing of young people, in this wider context of good mental health: how do we promote and encourage good mental health?

So the third, and final thing, I’d like to touch on tonight is resilience, which is really another way of saying prevention: the guiding principle of the NHS over the next decade.

How can we help people, particularly children and young people, to become more resilient in the first place?

This isn’t about telling people to toughen up – it’s about teaching people the cognitive and emotional skills they need to deal with adversity.

It’s about promoting positive mental health and preventing problems from causing illness.

Because life will throw at you challenges, times of stress and adversity – losing a job, divorce, bereavement. It’s how we respond, how resilient we are, that ultimately determines the impact on our mental health.

The child development expert, Professor Ann Masten, puts it brilliantly:

Resilience does not come from rare and special qualities, but from the everyday magic of ordinary, normative human resources in the minds, brains, and bodies of children.

Everyday magic, but it is not automatic. Resilience isn’t a fixed attribute. It’s something we can teach. It’s something that can be learned, it’s something that must be nurtured.

It’s an essential life skill that we should equip every child and young person with, so they can meet challenges head-on, face adversity, learn and grow, and improve as a person.

I’m delighted we’re working with our colleagues at the Department for Education to equip and empower children, from a young age, with this essential life skill.

Teaching resilience, along with self-respect and self-worth, learning about the importance of honesty, courage, kindness, generosity, trustworthiness and justice.

Values to live by, and vital to our mental health.

We’re also teaching children about the dangers of fake news and why truth matters – whether it’s falsehoods about vaccines or falsehoods about people.

As a parent, I want to protect my children from the dangers in this world, but I know I can’t be with them every minute of the day – I don’t think they’d like it very much if I tried.

But I hope that what I’ve taught them will help prepare them for the challenges they will face in the future.

As parents, as a society, we can’t remove every challenge, but we can teach young people how to overcome them, how to cope with adversity, and how to become more resilient.

So it comes down to this:

Responsibility: everybody playing their part – social media companies, government, parents and carers.

Research: building the evidence base to improve our understanding, and improve the new technology.

Resilience: teaching the right way to respond to challenges.

That’s how we protect our children. And that’s how we build a safer, healthier world for them to grow up in.

And it is an area in which we can succeed – we are leading the world and we must not fail if we’re going to ensure the next generation grows up to live the happy and fulfilling lives that we all want to see.

Chris Skidmore – 2019 Speech on Embracing the Space Age

Below is the text of the speech made by Chris Skidmore, the Science Minister, at the Policy Exchange on 16 July 2019.

Good afternoon everyone. It’s a pleasure to be here at Policy Exchange.

I’ve always been delighted to come to events here, they’ve certainly inspired me in my career over the past 15 years.

I simply couldn’t have imagined back in the early 2000s that one day I’d be standing at Policy Exchange addressing this august institution as the Space minister, or as my 4-year-old daughter calls me, Minister for the Universe!

It’s personally really satisfying to see Policy Exchange make that decision to gear up towards looking at space policy through the establishment of its space policy unit and indeed to launch its own space manifesto.

And of course, the date today is a very important date in any space fan’s calendar. For today marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Apollo 11 mission.

It was at about this time 50 years ago, at T-minus 20 minutes before lift-off, that Jack King, the ‘voice of Apollo’, reported that 2 faults had been detected during countdown.

The first, was to do with communications equipment, which easily fixed.

The second was more serious, a leaky valve on the fuel line providing hydrogen to the Saturn V rocket. And a small team of technicians had been sent urgently to find a solution.

So just imagine the scenario. Twenty minutes before you start a 4-day, 250,000 mile trip into the void of space – propelled by human ingenuity and around 7.6 million pounds of thrust – a man with a wrench walks by and tells you don’t worry, he’s just got to do a quick repair to the rocket, and if there’s a problem move on to Plan B.

Or, alternatively, imagine being that technician. Years of planning and training, trials and tests; millions of dollars if not billions spent; the expectations of a nation and the attention of a global audience, all waiting to see what happens. The pressure would have been incredible.

But the prize was worth it. The moon landings have inspired generation after generation – after all, what child doesn’t want to be an astronaut? But the spin-off benefits from the research needed to explore space have also been undeniable – ranging from laser eye surgery to landmine removal, to portable X-ray machines and even baby formula.

So, it is not surprising that 50 years on, we still talk about the moon landing with admiration and reverence. And while I was born too late to see Apollo 11 touchdown in the Sea of Tranquillity, although I was watching on catch-up over the weekend the remarkable Moon landings live programme, I have always found space generally to be utterly fascinating, not least because of Apollo 11. We all know the names of the first men on the moon. When we think of space, we often think of NASA and the Kennedy Space Centre. And we all remember the immortal words spoken by Neil Armstrong as he stepped onto the moon’s surface for the first time.

But this is where I want to make an intervention. Because, I think, for many people, that’s sort of been the end of it – the big challenge was walking on the moon, and once Armstrong and Aldrin had done it, we started to think that space had somehow been ticked off. After all, only 10 other people have boldly gone where those 2 did, and nobody has set foot on the moon since 1972.

But, unless you’re an Olympic long-jumper, one giant leap is never the end of the story. And since 1969, we’ve come on in leaps and bounds in our knowledge of space, but also in our use of space.

Just look at Tim Peake – our very own British astronaut. Children today have been just as inspired by Tim Peake, and his return mission to the International Space Station, as kids were by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969.
It was a real honour to speak alongside Tim on the return of the Soyuz space capsule which is now on display in the Science Museum. If you haven’t seen it please do go and see it. It’s remarkable.

And as Space Minister I’ve been quickly aware of the strength of our own remarkable space industry. Just looking at our history, the UK was the third country after USA and USSR to have a satellite of our own in space – Ariel 1. And our early lead spurred the growth of key British companies like Inmarsat and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, as well as big companies active here from Airbus to Lockheed Martin.

And this strength absolutely continues today: our space industry has tripled in size since 2000, becoming one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK economy. It employs close to 42,000 people throughout the UK, has an income of almost £15 billion, and, through the use of our satellite services, supports an estimated further £300 billion of economic activity.

I want the UK’s efforts in space to continue to grow, and for us to play our fullest role in exploring the solar system and understanding the universe. But this isn’t just about looking outwards at the universe, by going to Mars or hosting the headquarters of the Square Kilometer Array right here in Britain at Jodrell Bank, which I was delighted to see had the announcement on the UNESCO World Heritage Site last week.

Most pressingly, I believe that our efforts in space will help to preserve life right here on Earth. Through measuring the temperature of oceans, to monitoring changes to biodiversity and the extent of deforestation, satellite technology today is enabling us to observe the very real-time changes happening right here on Planet Earth.

And the UK has significant capabilities in satellite Earth Observation, including through our membership of Copernicus, which I want to see continue. These capabilities range from radar remote-sensing through to ultraviolet analysis of the physical, chemical and biological systems here and also to observe how these are changing.

These capabilities are pushing the frontiers of environmental science. For instance, the amazing work being done by the British Antarctic Survey to measure sea-ice dynamics or predict the future of the polar ice sheets.

As humanity’s impact on the world becomes ever more dramatic, gathering evidence from space becomes an increasingly pressing challenge.

Earth Observation, I believe, is therefore an essential green technology, vital for monitoring our changing planet and informing the decisive action we need to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. And this is a phenomenal economic opportunity for the UK also – the earth observation sector is growing rapidly, currently supporting around £92 billion of economic activity. I want to see this progress continue as we continue to work to tackle climate change and deliver green growth.

And this work really shows that UK must continue to be one of the leaders of this new space age – a space age that isn’t rooted in Cold War rivalry, but in communication, in collaboration and in commercialisation; a space age which recognises the pivotal role that space will have in delivering life-enhancing and sustainable benefits right here on earth.

A very significant step, which I’m also pleased that Policy Exchange has supported in its Space Manifesto, is the creation of a National Space Council, which we announced just last month, and which will coordinate the Government’s space strategy and capabilities. This coordination will also be driven by a new National Space Framework, which will be owned and operated by the Council.

This will have implications throughout our society, because space affects policy in a wide range of government departments. Most obviously the Ministry of Defence for security and defence – indeed, my colleague Penny Mordaunt will be speaking at the Air and Space Power Conference later this week. But also the Cabinet Office for civil contingencies, Defra for earth observation, BEIS for industry and climate change, DCMS for communications, and across many other departments in terms of the enabling technologies that space and satellite technology can provide.

The National Space Framework therefore recognises three top-level national priorities aligned with the Cabinet Office-led Fusion Doctrine: those of Prosperity and Knowledge, Security and Protection, and thirdly Global Influence.

Through these, the Council will improve its understanding of future UK requirements, deliver the practical joint working across all government departments to improve policy coherence and, importantly, working with the sector, to achieve our ambitious growth targets. Last year the Space Growth Partnership published ‘Prosperity from Space’ – a blueprint to build on our success to date, to enable the UK to access over £70 billion worth of new opportunities by 2030. And we set out a national ambition of accelerating growth to secure 10% of global market share in commercial space activity by this date.

The structure of the National Space Council is still to be agreed with the Cabinet Office, but we expect it to have a permanent full-time secretariat and formal supporting structures from across government, industry and academia.

As we saw from President Macron’s recent announcement of a new space defence command in France, governments all over the world are recognising the strategic value of space. And for the UK, the new Space Council will provide renewed focus and ambition, to accelerate the excellent progress that we’ve already made to date.

We’ve also reaffirmed our commitment to the European Space Agency, or ESA – an organisation which we helped to found, and that we are absolutely proud to be a part of. We’re contributing around £300 million to ESA each year, and I believe that is money entirely well spent. After all, for every £1 we invest with ESA, we see an average return of £10.

While 50 years ago we were embarking on the mission to the moon, the next big space mission will be to Mars.

So I was delighted to see that the new Exo Mars rover will bear the name of a British woman and one of our great scientists, Rosalind Franklin.

The Rosalind Franklin rover will search for evidence of life on Mars, and it is packed full of British tools like the PanCam, a camera developed at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Lab which can record the landscape in 3D.

But our commitment to ESA is also more than just about financial investment, it’s also about investment in people, for space literally knows no borders. So, as part of our ESA membership, I’m delighted to announce we’ve made certain that British ESA staff working in Europe, and also European ESA staff working in the UK, will enjoy the same rights as one another as a result of the ESA Host Agreement: access to healthcare, pensions and benefits – and, most importantly – the right to have families of ESA staff living, working and learning in whichever ESA country they call home.

We’re committed to continuing collaboration with member states in ESA on research and on development – particularly in such an important year for ESA, with the Council of Ministers in November, where member states will agree ESA’s future programmes of work.

It’s fantastic to see that already preparations for that are also building up to an ambitious programme based on global collaboration, excellent science as well as commercial programmes that will support our Industrial Strategy.

You’ve probably heard enough from me about my road to 2.4% speech series I’ve been making as Research and Innovation Minister, but the government’s commitment to raise research and development spending to 2.4% of GDP offers a considerable opportunity to space and other technology-based sectors. The space sector is 6 times more R&D intensive than the UK average, and we will continue to work closely with ESA in order to develop programme proposals that benefit R&D as well as boosting our national capabilities.

This complementary approach offers significant opportunities to maximise the commercial and scientific impact of space, but also to maximise its role in tackling problems like climate change I discussed earlier. I look forward to continuing this strong and vitally important partnership, and to seeing many more fantastic achievements from ESA, for many years to come.

But our vision must also be international, and for some immediate evidence of our determination to work with all countries across the globe, I’m excited to say that on Thursday I’ll be signing a new memorandum of understanding between the UK and Portugal, alongside Portuguese Space Minister Manuel Heitor.

And beyond Europe, we’re also excited to host several international space agencies at the UK Space Conference in September, which will be the most important space-related event in the UK this year. We expect to see a host of international space agencies attending, supported by trade delegations.

Space is a truly global endeavour that benefits everyone, but we can only achieve these benefits if we have a safe and secure space environment. The UK is leading international discussions to determine practical ways both governments and industry can ensure Space will be available for future generations.

Building on our work with ESA, and the increased global appetite for international space agencies to work together, the UK Space Agency is now looking to enhance our level of international engagement and cooperation through a series of bilateral programmes.

The intent is to provide a real opportunity for the UK space sector, industry and academia, to strengthen its international relationships while also continuing to collaborate with our close partners across Europe.

That’s a key theme which runs right through the engagement I’ve taken forwards, also with our publication of our International Research and Innovation Strategy.

I’m delighted that space continues to form part of a wider strategy we have across government.

But that’s also why I can announce today that NASA and the UK Space Agency have today signed a letter recognising our joint interest in accessing the Moon for science, and in using private sector capabilities to support this endeavour. They have also agreed to set up a working group to coordinate joint scientific research and also to identify for the future collaborative opportunities, including the possibility of using a proposed UK commercial communication service at the Moon.

Our two countries have a fantastic history together, and space exploration has been a part of it for quite a while. Back in the 70s, Richard Nixon gifted pieces of moon rock gathered by Apollo 11 and Apollo 15 to some of America’s allies, including the UK.

If any of you went to a reception in Downing Street tucked away in a corner by the Prime Minister’s office you were able to see this piece of wood encapsulating the Moon rock. I understand you can now see them in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

It’s so important that today on this 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, we’re able to make this continued joint commitment for the future.

But if these mentions of NASA start making you think that maybe it is all about the USA after all, I’d like to set the record straight.

We as the UK have that fantastic story to tell. We are, for example, a satellite telecoms powerhouse; one in four telecoms satellites contains parts made in the UK. In fact, when I visited the Space Park at the University of Leicester in March, I was fascinated to hear about the instruments built at the University since 1967.

The University is obviously looking to maintain its track record, and I was very pleased last week to announce almost £14 million of funding to the University’s METEOR centre, which will be a hub for innovation in satellite design and operation, for revolutionising how we use the data that our satellites gather.

And also, exciting new businesses like OneWeb, which aims to provide high-speed broadband to the world through a constellation of 650 satellites, to have chosen the UK as their Headquarters.

I’ve met a host of companies on my tours across the UK and I have to say the enthusiasm and the drive of those leadership teams of these companies to do more if they have the chance and to provide that supporting role where we can as government, and will continue to do.

To continue this progress, I’m delighted to announce today a £2 million investment in ten new projects to develop innovative new instruments, which will put UK industry and universities in pole position for new commercial and scientific missions.

During the Farnborough International Airshow back in 2018, the UK Space Agency announced more than £30 million of funding for Sutherland in Scotland – helping Highlands and Islands Enterprise to develop a vertical launch spaceport; giving Orbex the means to build a new launch vehicle; and helping Lockheed Martin to establish launch operations and an innovative new satellite deployment system, known as the Orbital Manoeuvring Vehicle, boosting Scotland’s reputation as a go-to destination for vertical satellite launches.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the country, last month we’ve now joined up with Cornwall Council to invest a total of £20 million into the Newquay Spaceport, which is developing horizontal launch operations with Virgin Orbit.

The Space Industry Act 2018 is a major step forwards in establishing a safe and supportive regulatory framework to enable launches to take place from the early 2020s, and we’re working across government to develop the detailed regulations to implement the Act with industry and other interested parties.

We are also working with international partners to put in place the necessary agreements for companies from around the world to be able to come here to the UK, while investing in related facilities and technology, including almost £100 million for a new National Satellite Test Facility in Harwell, and £60 million for Reaction Engines to develop their revolutionary air-breathing rocket technology, which can be thought of as a cross between a jet and a rocket engine.

This is an exciting project that builds on Britain’s aerospace heritage; an amazing feat of engineering with a wide range of potential applications, and it’s now seen investment from BAE Systems, Boeing and Rolls-Royce. I’m pleased to see the engine’s current tests in Colorado going so well, and I’ll be following the progress of the UK tests next year.

It is absolutely vital that these projects and investments continue, because the UK simply cannot afford to opt out of space. As I said I am not old enough to remember the moon landings but I do remember Project Juno. My father even worked on developing a Doppler ultrasound system, or the ‘Juno Dop’, for the mission. But in the end, the Juno mission failed to take off and Helen Sharman had to hitch a ride on a Soyuz. Because the rest of the world simply doesn’t wait, we had to run to catch up.

We cannot make that same mistake twice. We need to build on our strengths and to make space a major priority for the UK’s future. This means continuing to be a major investor in ESA, to put forward our best and most talented minds, and to invest in our satellite applications cluster from Glasgow to Goonhilly. We cannot afford to be left behind again.

So, let me round off this speech where I started – with the hydrogen valve on Saturn V, a few minutes before the launch of Apollo 11. In the event, the problem with the valve was a minor one. The team poured on cold water to freeze the valve, tightened some bolts and bypassed the valve all together. The countdown proceeded as planned, and everything was in place for ignition, just a few minutes from now at what would be 2:32pm, GMT.

It was the start of an amazing journey. One that has inspired all of us for half a century. The Arts and Humanities Research Council together with the UK Space Agency have been compiling stories from those who watched in real-time the moon landing, and I think it’s fair that we give the last words to some of them.

There are many great tales emerging out of this new research, but I want to focus on just 2 stories of scientific inspiration.

Nigel Shadbolt, Principal of Jesus College, Oxford, said:

I was 13, a young boy in a small village in the Peak District. I remember the exhilaration of the moment… an exhilaration shared with bleary eyed friends later that morning in School Assembly. The night’s events instilled in me a passion for science. A passion that led me into a 40 year career in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science.

And the account of Lance Thompson says it all:

I would not choose to have been born at any other time: my 62-years have been so influenced by the ‘Space Race’ it is difficult to imagine any other life for myself. The passion I had for the whole adventure resulted in me following a career in engineering, specifically in remote sensing. For a young lad from Newcastle, this was not the usual prospect. Had I not popped into the world at just the right time I would not have been inspired by mankind’s greatest undertaking.

For these 2 young boys, the moon landings were a moment of magic that helped shape the course of their entire lives. And for all of us, young or old, space continues to inspire and amaze. It brings the visceral excitement of embarking on voyages of discovery. It sparks major scientific advances in our understanding of the universe. And it creates opportunities, opportunities for businesses to deliver great new products and services to consumers. These are the reasons, among many, that we continue to persist and invest in space.

So, as we celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission this week, I want us to remember that the small step that Armstrong took was just the first in an amazing, inspiring and essential journey. And that journey is one that I’m proud that the UK will be continuing on for many decades to come.

Thank you.