Adam Afriyie – 2018 Speech on Lakeside Energy

Below is the text of the speech made by Adam Afriyie, the Conservative MP for Windsor, in the House of Commons on 17 May 2018.

We have just witnessed a wonderful debate on International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia that showed both passion and insight into the modern world. I am equally passionate about that subject, but this evening I wish to talk about the Lakeside Energy from Waste plant in my constituency. I am grateful for the opportunity to address the House on this important issue.

Lakeside Energy from Waste is not just a local energy provider in Windsor; it is an establishment of local, regional and national significance. I have concerns about the plant’s viability and longevity if the third runway should go ahead at Heathrow, or even if it is threatened that the third runway should go ahead at Heathrow, and I will explain why.

The Lakeside Energy from Waste facility is situated on the proposed site of the third runway at Heathrow. The plant is the largest facility of its kind in England and has been in operation for just six years. The cost of relocation is estimated at between £500 million and £700 million and, from what I can see, with all the potential delays and all the other issues surrounding it, the cost could well run to as much as £1 billion. Those are large sums of money.

The site is of local significance because of the number of people it employs—around 300, plus others—so it provides local jobs. Regionally, it deals with 450,000 tonnes of waste each year, which is more than the non-recyclable waste produced in a year by the people of Birmingham and Manchester combined. It is a major national plant.

Some 90,000 tonnes of waste come from west London, 45,000 tonnes of waste come from south London and 30,000 tonnes of waste come from Surrey. Lakeside’s impact is one of national significance because it deals with 40% of the country’s hazardous waste, much of it medical waste. Seventeen NHS trusts, 500 GP surgeries and other medical establishments rely on Lakeside Energy from Waste.

The plant also provides electricity to the grid, powering up to 50,000 homes in the area, and of course Slough Borough Council enjoys the fruits of its labours in providing services to Lakeside Energy from Waste. I will not name the exact figure for commercial reasons, but a very large sum of money is taken in business rates by Slough Borough Council.

The hon. Member for Slough (Mr Dhesi) was keen to be here for this debate, and he wants me to say that it is clear to him that the jobs and the economic and environmental benefits of Lakeside Energy from Waste are incredibly important to Slough Borough Council and the local area. He points out that 4% of UK waste is processed through the plant. Like me, he is concerned that there will be a detriment to the local area unless there is a clear and orderly plan, with clear responsibilities, for a replacement plant if the third runway goes ahead. My right hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Justine Greening), who spoke so passionately in the previous debate, has been consistent and clear in asking the ​Government about who is responsible for ensuring the continuity of service if the third runway goes ahead and if the deadline for replacing the plant is missed.

My first concern is that, if the facility is demolished and not replaced—if there is a gap in service—the effects locally, regionally and nationally will be enormously harmful due to the inability to process the levels of waste that it is contracted to process. The second problem lies in the timeline for Heathrow’s decisions about the third runway, because a replacement plant must be in place before the current plant is decommissioned to avoid a break in operations. Relocating the plant will take a minimum of five years, including one year alone for planning permission, three years for construction and another year for decommissioning the current plant. We can see how tight the timeline is, and the consequences will be enormous for waste processing if there is any gap in operations.

All that makes Heathrow’s target of having a new runway operational by 2023 pretty much unachievable as things stand, and that assumes there will be no objections to people having an incinerator and a waste processing plant located near their homes. As Members of Parliament, we know that there is always an enormous number of objections from local residents whenever a new operation of this nature is promised. As far as I can see, no sites for new incinerator and waste processing plant have been identified, so it is hardly surprising that I am concerned that a site may not be available.

The delays and uncertainty are undermining the fantastic business that Lakeside Energy from Waste represents. How will it be possible for people to sign long-term contracts with the plant if there is uncertainty about its future? I am sure that that is having enormous consequences for its operations. Given that the relocation costs are perhaps likely to be in the region of £1 billion—the current estimate is £500 million to £700 million, but it could run towards £1 billion—that is an enormous amount in the context of the overall cost of developing a third runway.

Where is the money coming from? Airline charges are currently £22.53 per passenger, and rather than Heathrow Airport Ltd conjuring up the money to relocate the plant, passengers will bear the risk of the debt repayments on any secured loans and of ensuring a return on shareholder equity. Having the customers pay the enormous costs of something that does not necessarily benefit them directly does not seem like a good way to proceed with a national project of this nature. If Heathrow Airport Ltd raises the landing fee per passenger, it will probably have to go up to around £30 or £31, making Heathrow the most expensive airport in the world at which to land. If we are looking to become a more competitive nation, particularly as we head towards Brexit, it does not seem a good idea to proceed with a project that causes enormous challenges for waste recycling and processing and creates a white elephant when it comes to the price.

When considering the plant’s relocation, Heathrow’s financial viability is also called into question. As I said, the cost of relocation looks like it will be about 5% of the cost of the entire project. Looking at the gearing ratio of assets against borrowing, Heathrow is in a parlous position, so I worry that it will not be able to afford to proceed in the first place. We have become ​incredibly concerned because Thames Water’s gearing ratio is 81%, and it has been told that it must be reduced.

In 2012, the Civil Aviation Authority said that the National Air Traffic Services gearing ratio should be restricted to just 65%, yet Heathrow’s gearing ratio is already at 87%, before it has even begun the third runway project. If it goes ahead, Heathrow’s gearing ratio will end up somewhere around 91%. This is very worrying. Were I an investor, I would be worried, but as a Government I would be even more worried. As a user of the services of Lakeside Energy from Waste, I would be exceptionally worried that this would create enormous troubles for me, with a lack of continuity in waste processing.

Overall, my main concern is that there could well be a lack of continuity of service for waste disposal. I am also concerned that Heathrow’s viability in coming up with the money to finance the relocation of the operation, particularly without a site having already been identified, is in question.

I have two core questions for the Minister; he will have heard them before, but I want to reiterate them. First, will the Government confirm that they unconditionally accept the Transport Committee’s recommendation that

“a condition of approval”—

for the third runway—

“be specified in an updated”

national policy statement

“that provides the Lakeside Energy from Waste plant with equivalent recognition as the Immigration Removal Centres and that the replacement of its facilities be accounted for”

in the development consent order process?

Secondly, is there a way in which the Government can guarantee that there will be no break in service? If they maintain that

“the planning and costs of moving the Energy from Waste Plant would be a matter for the airport to take forward with the owners of the site”,

I fear that that responsibility may well be placed on a private limited company, when we are talking about a waste processing plant that is an asset of national significance. Although I hope this will not be the case, let us say that it turns out that Heathrow Airport Ltd is responsible for relocating the plant; who then is going to pay for the necessary local infrastructure—the roads and perhaps even some rail—for the heavy goods vehicles that will need access to the plant?

In summary, I have huge concerns. It is no great secret that I think the third runway is a bit of a mistake. I hope the decision will be changed at some point. In the meantime, I simply emphasise this: if we are going to have one more runway, would it not be far simpler, greener, less costly and, more importantly, quicker to proceed with the runway at Gatwick, which would not encounter these problems? Even the Government’s updated figures show that Gatwick gives a better net present value than Heathrow. A third runway at Heathrow would affect 2.2 million people more than they are affected today, and perhaps 300,000 people would begin to experience significant noise.

The Government have an opportunity to change their mind. When it comes to Lakeside Energy from Waste operations in Colnbrook, I urge the Government and the Minister to think carefully about continuity ​and who is responsible for this national asset, which provides such good services to the NHS, local authorities and others.

David Lidington – 2018 Speech to CBI Scotland

Below is the text of the speech made by David Lidington, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, to CBI Scotland on 11 May 2018.

Thank you Paul for that kind introduction – and thank you everyone for that very generous welcome.

Before I start, and on behalf of everyone here, can I pay tribute to Paul, your tenure with the CBI, and for everything you have done on behalf of the thousands of businesses across the UK.

Leading this organisation through two general elections and a referendum on our membership of the European Union would be a tall ask for anyone, but you have kept the CBI at the forefront of our national debate – and it is fair to say you have kept the UK Government permanently on our toes.

And so for that I thank you, and wish you all the success in the future.

It is a pleasure to be with you today, and to have the great privilege of addressing CBI Scotland. And it is also a pleasure to be back here in Edinburgh.

Whenever I visit this great city, I am constantly reminded of the weight of history that is all around us.

Edinburgh isn’t simply a thriving, modern capital within our United Kingdom.

It is the cradle of so much that our country, and indeed Europe, can celebrate in terms of philosophy, literature, architecture, poetry and political thought.

It is the birthplace of the Scottish Enlightenment, a period in our history when pragmatism, reason and freedom of thought rose to the fore.

And so it is the proud home of many of our finest intellectual figures, such as Adam Smith, whose statue stands proudly just a few streets away from here, and whose legacy continues to remind us of that virtue of choice that is so integral to our economic way of life and wellbeing.

That is what I want to touch on very briefly with you this lunchtime: the importance of making choices – not just in the economic sense, but in the political sphere too.

The choice to leave the EU

Because politics is ultimately about having preferences and making choices.

Left or right; conservative or socialist; liberal or protectionist; Unionist or Nationalist; I guess Hearts or Hibs; even Celtic or Rangers – it is the virtue of having different choices which makes democracy something we must always cherish and respect.

I am sure there are many of you here who voted to Remain in the European Union nearly two years ago. As many of you will know, I also fought hard for such an outcome.

But on June 23rd 2016, the British people made a clear choice to leave the European Union and forge a new and different path for ourselves in the world.

Now it is incumbent all of us, both individuals and governments, not just to accept that choice as democrats – and not merely to understand why the British people made that choice – but to minimise the risks and seize the opportunities that this choice presents.

Now there will be those here in this room who, for perfectly understandable reasons, have concerns about the challenges we face – and want nothing more than certainty and clarity as negotiations proceed.

But you should be in no doubt of the resolve of the UK Government to respond to those concerns and deliver a Brexit that prioritises certainty and clarity for businesses and consumers in all four parts of our union.

Update on negotiations

And as negotiations proceed, that is precisely what we are doing.

We have already agreed a fair deal on citizens’ rights, ensuring that EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals can get on with their lives broadly as they are now.

We’ve agreed a good financial settlement for British taxpayers, made in the spirit of our future partnership with the EU.

We’ve agreed a Joint Declaration with the EU that makes clear our mutual determination to preserve the Common Travel Area, avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and uphold the totality of relationships embodied in the Belfast Agreement, both East-West and North-South.

And we’ve reached agreement with the EU on an implementation period, providing that certainty and clarity for people and businesses so they will only see one change when we enter into a new relationship with the EU in the future.

So while these are real achievements we have made in the interests of businesses and individuals across our country, we must now look to build our future economic partnership with the European Union.

In her speech at Mansion House in March this year, the Prime Minister set out her aim for a deep and comprehensive partnership in which:

trade between the UK and the EU would be as frictionless as possible

UK regulatory standards remain at least as high as the EU’s

and in which there is no hard border on the island of Ireland

She also made clear that one important objective in building that partnership would be to seek a new customs arrangement with the European Union.

At Lancaster House in 2017, the Prime Minister said that we will be leaving the EU’s customs union, its Common Commercial Policy, and the Common External Tariff.

But she also said that we do want to have a customs agreement with the EU. As she said, we have an open mind on how: it is not the means that matter, but the ends.

And that is why last year, we set out two potential options for what this new customs arrangement might be.

Option one was a customs partnership between the UK and the EU, in which the UK would mirror the EU’s requirements for imports from the rest of the world, applying the same tariffs and the same rules of origin as the EU for those goods arriving in the UK and intended for the EU.

The other option was a highly streamlined customs arrangement, in which we would jointly agree to implement a range of measures to minimise frictions to trade.

This would include waivers for goods moving between the UK and the EU, “trusted trader” schemes, specific exemptions for small businesses, and online systems – such as for customs declarations to be made far from the border, as is already the case with VAT declarations when VAT regimes between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are different.

But whatever option we are discussing, our objectives remain the same:

for trade at the UK-EU border to be as frictionless as possible

with no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland

and for us to conduct our own trade policy and sign free trade agreements that will benefit businesses and consumers here in Scotland, as well as those in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland too

And I am pleased to say that, despite what you may have read, this work is now nearing completion.

So as negotiations continue, these are choices that will have the best interests of Scottish businesses and consumers at their heart, and the need to provide clarity and certainty as soon as possible for you all.

Importance of the UK common market

Because this is a long road that has many different twists and turns, as we together journey out of the European Union.

But as negotiations continue on that future deep and special partnership we all want to see, we must not forget the need for certainty and clarity here at home as well.

It is why the UK has a responsibility, through our modern industrial strategy, to improve living standards, spread prosperity and promote growth around all parts of our country, and ensure we are match fit for the next wave of technological change that is fast approaching.

For example, our Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is providing £795 million for potential innovators, and we are working to ensure as many Scottish bidders as possible are successful.

And we are investing in new City Deals – which have been committed to or agreed for all seven of Scotland’s cities – as well as a Borderlands Growth Deal to help secure prosperity in southern Scotland. We have also opened formal negotiations for the Ayrshire Growth Deal.

But it is also why the UK has a deep-seated responsibility to maintain the integrity of our union.

When I spoke in North Wales earlier this year about the value of our union, I emphasised the importance the UK Government places on preserving the common market of the United Kingdom – what many of you may refer to as the “internal market” or the “UK single market” that comprises Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

I also emphasised why it is so crucial that our businesses and consumers face no new internal barriers to conducting their business on the day of our exit in March next year.

For it is only by maintaining the coherence of that common market – and keeping barriers to trade within it to an absolute minimum – that businesses and consumers in all parts of our union can continue to benefit.

Preserving that common market is exactly what the EU Withdrawal Bill, currently making its way through Parliament, will do.

It will make sure that, as we carry out the delicate process of transferring European Union law back onto the UK statute book, we do so as smoothly as possible…

The current regulatory and legal framework will remain in place, but on a UK rather than an EU legal footing.

If and when we wish to move away in future from the current rules, we can do so in a considered and deliberate fashion, taking account of consultation with business.

So it will make sure that when we leave the European Union in March next year, we do so in a way that avoids a damaging cliff-edge for businesses, firms; factories, industries and consumers alike – so that businesses have certainty from day one of our exit.

And on devolution, the Bill will make sure that, as this process is carried out, we retain the ability to keep common and temporary UK frameworks where necessary, while we work on the long term solution – such as one set of package labelling and hygiene rules, instead of four different ones.

The Bill respects the devolution settlement – but stops short of giving any part of the UK a veto over that temporary mechanism.

This has always been a red line for us.

For if one part of the UK has a veto over the ability to establish a common framework across the rest of the UK, it could be used to undermine this common market we all, everyone in this room, prospers from.

And the message we have from business is that the UK common market is vital to their growth and prosperity.

For Scottish businesses trade four times as much with the rest of the UK as they do with the EU.

And as businessmen and women you want to be sure that your factories in Paisley and farms in Perthshire will be able to continue selling their goods freely to customers in Preston and Swansea and Londonderry.

And not only will the temporary preservation of common frameworks guarantee certainty for businesses trading within the United Kingdom – it will mean that, with a clear set of commonly-recognised standards, we can agree those new trade deals with the global growth markets of tomorrow as well.

Indeed, when I visited China just last month, I saw first-hand how hard our network of embassies around the world work to promote both UK and Scottish exports, such as the finest Scotch Whisky, of which 61 per cent of exports go to countries outside the EU.

I even had the pleasure of seeing the First Minister during my visit to China, who was also using the network of UK embassies to promote Scottish goods overseas.

And just this morning I was visiting Diageo here in Edinburgh hearing about the breadth of ambition the industry has to reach new and emerging markets and build on the strength of the internationally renowned quality of Scottish food and drink.

And during my last visit to Scotland in January, I also visited a Marine Harvest factory in Rosyth, specialising in salmon sales and learned that not only do they sell to every part of the UK, but export the fish heads to China and the skins to Thailand, where they are made into crisps.

That is why having a successful domestic market and competitive global markets are complementary to one another, and why the UK Government is committed to delivering directly for Scottish businesses and consumers.

Put simply, respecting and preserving the United Kingdom common market is to uphold one of the fundamental expressions of the constitutional integrity that underpins our existence as a union.

But put even more simply, any attempt to undermine that common market would represent a self-inflicted blow to the thousands of firms who owe their prosperity to its success.

Clause 11 negotiations

Now I am well aware from the conversations I have had with Scottish and Welsh businesses that what they care about is what all this means for business – and whether it provides the certainty they need.

That is why all of us – Westminster, Cardiff and Holyrood – have worked hard to identify only those absolutely essential areas where we agree that UK-wide frameworks are needed.

And of course it is worth underlining that we already have UK-wide frameworks in all these areas right now.

Our approach as we leave the EU however, is to see the vast majority of powers returning from Brussels bypass Westminster entirely.

Indeed, we have moved a considerable distance in the spirit of compromise and collaboration so as to ensure we reach a deal with the Scottish and Welsh Governments that not merely respects the devolution settlements and improves upon them, but also upholds the Sewel Convention and provides the certainty that businesses require.

That is why I was pleased that the Welsh Government, in this spirit of pragmatism, recently agreed to our approach, and to recommend the Welsh Assembly give legislative consent to the Withdrawal Bill.

As the Welsh CBI, the Federation of Small Business in Wales, and the Farmers Union of Wales have all made clear, this deal is very good not only for the Welsh economy and its people, but for the whole of the UK too.

And as the First Minister for Wales himself said this week: “the nature of an agreement is that you come to ground that you believe to be common ground”.

I am glad that thanks to the joint work of the three governments there is now far more common ground between all.

The door is still open

But it is also why it is disappointing that the Scottish Government still does not feel able to sign up to our proposals and deliver that certainty for businesses.

Of course, it is now for the Scottish Parliament to decide what view it wants to take on the compromise we have reached, and that we have now agreed with the Welsh Government.

So that is why I say to the Scottish Government – and to the Scottish Parliament – the door is still open.

At a stroke, they can join the Welsh Government – who have also put so much into getting us to this stage – and recommend to the Parliament here in Holyrood that we should end any lingering question of legal uncertainty for businesses in all parts of the UK.

Indeed, just a couple of weeks ago, the Food and Drink Federation Scotland, Scottish Bakers, and the Scottish Retail Consortium all emphasised the importance of the UK common market.

How it benefits Scotland’s businesses enormously by lowering costs and increasing efficiency and how it also benefits Scotland’s consumers by providing more choice and keeping prices down.

And as the Scottish Government themselves have agreed, it makes sense for there to be frameworks applying across the UK in some areas.

But no matter what the Scottish Government decides, I want to reiterate that the UK Government is committed to acting in accordance with the Intergovernmental Agreement that – even now at this late stage – is open to the Scottish Government to sign up to.

Scottish businesses can see this in black and white: our Intergovernmental Agreement is public for all to see.

You can have that certainty and clarity that we will work to agree the approach needed to protect our vital common market, and that we will respect – in full – the devolution settlements as we do so.

Conclusion

So as we all face choices, the Scottish Government also faces a choice.

But I am confident that, if we work together, we can and will forge a path that fully respects the democratic choice the United Kingdom made two years ago while maximising clarity and certainty wherever we can for our families and businesses not just here in Scotland, but across our whole country.

For our union is strongest when each of its constituent parts is strong and working together.

As I have said before, the unity that exists between our four nations gives us a scale of ambition that none of us could possess alone.

But this ambition can only be realised if we do work together, and make those choices that are truly in the national interest.

For together, we are a union that is greater than the sum of its parts.

A country that can remain a strong, global leader.

A United Kingdom at home.

And an active, force for good in the world.

Thank you very much.

Liz Truss – 2018 Speech at Spectator Housing Summit

Liz Truss

Below is the text of the speech made by Liz Truss, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, to the Spectator Housing Summit on 17 May 2018.

For me, it’s personal.

As Virginia Woolf said: A woman must have money and a room of her own.

What she was talking about was having the power to shape her own life.

So, as a 21-year-old graduate from Leeds, I followed that advice.

I headed for the bright lights, big city for my first job as an accountant.

We want the next generation to have the chance to better themselves, to be able to move where there are the best jobs and the best opportunities.

Young people are at the forefront of a huge shake up of the economy.

They are the freest generation ever: the Uber-riding, Deliveroo-eating freedom fighters.

They’re not just hungry for pizza, they’re hungry for success.

They have the desire to shape their own future.

But at the moment they’re spending too much time as frustrated flat hunters.

According to the CPS, the cost of living and housing are the most important issues.

Renters face high housing costs, with nearly half of income going on rents in London on average.

The average London house price is 12 times higher than the average London wage – when you can only get a mortgage at four or five times your salary.
To paraphrase Norman Tebbit, the new generation want to get on their bikes, hit the road, and find the best jobs in the best cities.

But even though this generation are keen cyclists, they’re not getting in the saddle.

Because it’s no use getting on your bike to find a job, if you end up with nowhere to lock it up.

It doesn’t matter where you want to go – Norwich, York or London, if you want to go there and get the best job, you should be able to.

I want everyone to be able to move house to get a better job, so they can get on in life.

And accepting the status quo is bitterly unfair.

We also need to make sure that the record number of new businesses we have in the UK get access to the best talent.

For the sake of society, we need to make sure our villages are viable – that they have the houses, schools and shops to thrive.

And for the sake of our economy, we need to let our most successful, towns and cities expand.

In Medieval times, Norwich was the second-largest city in England, agriculture’s answer to Silicon Valley.

Then, during the industrial revolution, the country marched to the beat of the North, and workers flocked upcountry.

It was not so much a gold-rush as a cold-rush.

The point is that when towns have their moment, people move to the places where the wages are highest. That’s resulted in Britain’s economy growing faster.

Today, London is as productive as Germany, while cities like Oxford, Cambridge and York are bursting with potential.

These are towns calling out to workers everywhere, desperate for more hands to the pump.

But according to the Resolution Foundation, the share of working age people moving for jobs has gone down by 25 per cent since 2001, with the most significant decline among young graduates.

What’s more, the typical person would have been £2000 better off getting on their bike.

So we need to need to let these towns off the leash, because we all stand to benefit, in our wages and in our quality of life.

A recent study in America by Hsieh and Moretti showed that freeing up housing regulations in New York, San Jose and San Francisco to median levels could increase the US’s GDP by 3.7 per cent, which would mean an extra $3,500 in wages for all workers.

But the most productive cities are being held back by zoning requirements.

And it’s much the same story in the UK – restrictions on building are holding cities up.

Analysis shows that opening up planning is one of the fastest things we could do to boost our country’s productivity.

This is why reform is so urgent.

It’s restrictions that are causing problems, but there are some out there who say that the solution is more restrictions, more control, more state interference.

This is the opposite of what we need.

Others are calling for a £10,000 bung to 25-year-olds – which they’ll all end up paying back in higher taxes.

I think it’s a myth that young people want free things. The fact is they want free-dom – to work and live where they choose, and that will take radical action.

Because all of these are attempts to cure symptoms.

None aim to tackle the underlying issue, which is supply.

The answer is not top-down meddling, but encouraging disruption.

We need to open up more land to build on.That means challenging the vested interests.

We need to challenge the NIMBYs, comfortable in their big houses in suburbia.

The fact is that flats and houses need to be built where they are needed.

We all want somewhere for our children to live – not least because that means they don’t have to live with us until they are 30!

We need to make better use of the land that we have.

We are introducing minimum densities for housing development in city centres, and have extended freedoms to convert certain types of property into housing.

We also need to encourage more creative tools that give more power and freedom to the individual.

We modernised outdated estate agent legislation in 2013, making it easier for excellent websites such as Zoopla to provide the information that renters and house buyers need when deciding where they want to move – including whether their garden is south facing.

Meanwhile Airbnb and Spareroom have helped people find – like Harry Potter and his friends – a room of requirement.

We need to liberate business planning in high-growth, free enterprise areas.

I would like to see more of the development model used to build Canary Wharf – A Canary North!

And we also need to look at those councils around the country who are not delivering.

Last November, we singled out 15 other councils that are holding back people who want to develop land and create new opportunities, and the government has started intervening in 3 of these cases.

I’m pleased to say, though, that this government allowed local people to make their own neighbourhood plans, so that they can do what’s best for their villages.

That’s why our reforms, put forward by Sajid Javid, and taken forward by James Brokenshire, are so important.

We’ve removed stamp duty for first-time buyers purchasing a house under £300,000 – that’s 4 out of 5 cases. This will save people £1,700 on average, and help over a million first time buyers getting onto the housing ladder over the next five years

And we’re streamlining the Byzantine planning system, to make it easier for the small firms to compete, to disrupt the market and, through fierce competition, build the houses and offices and factories that will make Britain successful.

In the 1930s, before planning system was introduced, there were ~265k houses built by the private sector a year – which goes to show we can do this!

We’re cutting through bureaucracy and, since overhaul of planning act in 2012, we’ve gone from 200k to 350k planning permissions per year.

And last year, there were 217,000 net additional new homes in Britain, which shows massive progress.

We are also making plans for the future, including the corridor between the bright lights of Oxford and Cambridge – we have concluded a deal targeting 100,000 new homes by 2031.

This goes alongside our investment in infrastructure – a 40-year-high – which will connect all these new homes with the modern roads and railways people need to get around.

Britain should be an opportunity nation where you can get on your bike and find a job where you want.

This is what I mean by freedom of movement.

It’s part and parcel of a free enterprise economy, which is what drives growth and prosperity.

Our job in government is to help achieve that.

With better and more affordable housing, we can improve social mobility, address wealth inequality, and make sure our country’s opportunities are open to everyone – big or small, north or south, man or woman.

Theresa May – 2018 Speech in Macedonia

Below is the text of the speech made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, in Macedonia on 17 May 2018.

Thank you, Prime Minister, thank you for the warm welcome.

I’m delighted to be here in Skopje as we mark the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Macedonia and the UK.

I’m proud to be the first British Prime Minister in almost 20 years to visit this beautiful country.

As Prime Minister Zaev has just mentioned, today we both attended the first EU Summit with the Western Balkans since 2003.

Here leaders from across Europe and the region were working together to discuss the next steps we could take to help deliver stability, security and prosperity for the Western Balkans.

I know that the conflicts of the past can sometimes seem almost impossible to overcome.

Many difficult questions remain unresolved, including internal conflicts in the region, serious and organised crime, illegal migration and extremism.

We must be alive to the challenges of the past, yet remain ambitious in securing the peaceful, prosperous and democratic future that your citizens and communities deserve.

With the right political will, progress can be rapid and far-reaching – just look at what has happened here in Macedonia.

Just 18 months after Parliamentary elections, we’re already seeing significant changes and a government that is working hard to uphold the rule of law, reach out to its neighbours and make progress in negotiations on the Name Issue.

I know that both Macedonia and Greece are working closely to find a solution and this requires political courage and a willingness to make difficult decisions. Resolution will bring clear benefits to both countries and also to the region as a whole. And you can rely on the UK’s full support in this.

We want to see Macedonia continue on this positive path. That’s why the UK has quadrupled the support we give to Macedonia to contribute towards this government’s reform programme.

It’s why we are sharing our military expertise and are assisting Macedonia’s Strategic Defence Review, as you aim to adapt the Macedonian Army to NATO standards.

And it’s why we took the decision to host the next Western Balkans Summit in London in July – as part of the Berlin process.

Here we will look to strengthen regional security cooperation in the Western Balkans, improve economic stability, and foster greater political cooperation and overcome legacy issues stemming from the struggles of the past thirty years.

Prime Minister Zaev, your country is an integral part of Europe. And we know that a strong, stable and prosperous Western Balkans region benefits all European countries.

Our friendship, our relationship will continue to deepen, even as the UK embarks on a future outside of the European Union.

We are all Europeans. And as Macedonia’s response to the Salisbury attack shows, we share the same values and we face the same challenges that are better tackled when we work together.

So, today after 25 years, we’ve never been closer.

And, Prime Minister Zaev, I look forward to welcoming you to London in July to continue this important discussion.

Thank you.

Matt Hancock – 2018 Speech at Launch of Tech Nation

Matt Hancock

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on 17 May 2018.

Good morning.

It’s a great pleasure to be here and it’s a very exciting day to mark Tech City UK and Tech North evolving into Tech Nation and the launch of this fourth Tech Nation report .

The name says a lot. This rebranding shows Tech Nation’s commitment to being the sort of dynamic organisation that we’ve got used to round here in east London, but also spreading the benefits right across the country as a whole.

I warmly welcome this move and the progress you have been making in recent years.

Today’s milestone is a great opportunity to step back and think about what we’re doing, and to keep up this momentum for the UK as a place to start and grow a tech business.

Because it is as vital now as it’s ever been. The impact over the last decade has been huge.

The tech sector has been growing over two-and-a-half times faster than the rest of the economy; but there is much more to do. There are challenges we must face and people snapping at our heels.

And along with Tech Nation, we are working regionally, nationally and globally so the UK is ready for these challenges that lie ahead.

Regional

Tech Nation and its predecessors, have been championing regional tech clusters since 2014.

And I am thrilled with the ambitious plans to help 40,000 entrepreneurs and 4,000 start-ups to scale and to deliver this support directly into a dozen key cities around the UK.

And the crucial Government aim, stated clearly in our Digital Strategy, is making sure that the benefits of growth and the tech sector work for everyone in our country.

We are committed to encouraging investment and developing tech clusters right across the UK.

It is easy, especially here in the centre of London, to focus on the prosperity that we see here in London, and of course this is mission critical. Nobody gains by doing down our world beating capital.

But we need to have a full-spectrum approach, so everybody can participate and get the benefits. And so far, there have been some brilliant results.

London is a fantastic haven for European tech investment. But did you know this? Nearly 70 per cent of investment into the UK tech sector last year was in regional clusters beyond the capital.

The benefits of digital for local economies are incredibly clear – 16 towns now show a higher proportion of digital tech employment than the UK average.

And over 1.5 million people across the country belong to more than 3,000 informal tech meetup groups.

That’s people up and down this country working together to develop their businesses, and as they do so, powering their local economies.

So I’m really encouraged that Tech Nation is going to take this work to the next level and provide some of that entrepreneurial juice to expand their programmes even further, to truly connect right across the cities of the UK.

National

As a nation, our digital tech sector is in great shape, supported by the fantastic work Tech Nation has done and the engagement with all of you here.

But to attract more investment and support, we need to fly even higher in the future, and we need to shout loud about this success.

After all, the tech sector nationally is booming and the numbers speak for themselves.

Over £100 billion added to the UK economy in 2016 and real opportunities for investment. After Silicon Valley, London ranks as the second most connected place for tech in the whole world.

And you can rest assured we are firmly committed to maintaining this thriving tech sector and this energy.

Because we want the UK to be the location of choice for tech innovation and investment – so we can build our world-leading digital economy.

Our Digital Strategy, launched about 15 months ago, sets out the key pillars of how we are putting that into practice.

It’s about making sure that nationally there’s great infrastructure. This means rolling out the existing infrastructure, but also unlocking the potential of full fibre and 5G.

Second, making sure the skills needed are there to fully engage with the digital world.

A full spectrum approach, from people getting on the internet for the first time, which now includes over 90% of the population, all the way through to the highest end skills and capabilities and beyond.

From making coding in the curriculum compulsory at school age, through to supporting a more flexible labour market and expanding digital training for adults, so we have a far-reaching programme to support digital skills.

Third, making sure the UK is the safest place to live and work online. Not least through the National Cyber Security Programme and it is great to see people from the upcoming London Cyber Innovation Centre here.

All of these things mark us out as an incredible destination for tech.

Part of our task is to pull off the tricky balance between ensuring we make the UK a safe place to be online, whilst also being unambiguous about our enthusiasm and support for innovation.

And for making sure that we use the freedoms that this amazing technology brings.

And I want Tech Nation to be both conveners and cheerleaders – encouraging investment and also telling the world what our tech sector can do.

I want everybody here to talk to the Government about what more we can do to make the UK a great place to grow a digital business.

As someone who started in a tech company, I know that answers to this questions are not only to be found in Whitehall but are to be found in conversations with you as you grow your businesses.

Asking the questions. What can we do to make your lives easier? And how can we help you to expand?

Global

The Tech Nation report has quickly been established as an invaluable industry resource.

And this year’s report confirms we are well placed to achieve our goal of making the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business.

It has also been helpful in identifying where our strengths lie.

One of those important strengths is in Fintech and AI. We and Tech Nation are doing a huge amount to cultivate AI.

And travelling to America and India in the last couple of weeks, people have already noticed the effort and cold hard cash we have put into driving its development.

The nature of tech is collaborative. But having said all that I still want the UK to be the leader…

So we’ll work with you and Tech Nation to make sure this happens.

I’m sure you all know that research already ranks the UK as the most AI ready country in the world.

That’s to say we’re the best prepared to seize and exploit the amazing potential of this transformative technology.

But we are a medium sized country and the US, China, India and other larger countries are working hard to make sure they too are leading.

This is not an opportunity we are prepared to let slip. The investment from Government is deadly serious and crucially it can only be done in partnership, with you, in the private sector.

You may have seen last month brought the fantastic news that the British cybersecurity company, Darktrace, whose “immune system” is powered by AI, have become the latest unicorn, when they hit a valuation of over a billion dollars.

We should all take confidence from Darktrace and its success.

And we are seeing this dominance in FinTech too. There are now more people working in UK Fintech than in New York – or in Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia combined.

We have real strengths in bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and in crowdfunding.

And this spirit of innovation and enterprise is exactly what we need. To work with other nations at a time when agreements and frameworks on new technologies will become more important than ever.

And especially as we leave the EU, we are determined to seize many opportunities around the world, as part of becoming a truly Global Britain.

Open and outward looking. Engaging with the world and gregarious.

And to do that, we need the best tech talent from home and abroad. Making sure that we train people here at home, but also attracting the brightest and best.

We have doubled the number of exceptional talent visas. We have met with technology experts to make sure the processes are as efficient as possible.

While we are updating immigration rules so that world-leading scientists and researchers endorsed as ‘exceptional talent’ can apply for settlement after three years in this country.

The countries and economies that succeed in this digital world are those that are outward-looking and forward-looking and that is the approach we will take as we leave the EU.

Conclusion

I am determined that the UK will be the best place in the world to become a digital citizen.

Because tech is a real force for good.

It makes our services better and our products faster.

It creates wider benefits for communities across the UK.

We can’t do this alone in Government, just as private companies can’t do it alone either.

The answer lies in working together to create the conditions for success and that’s why Tech Nation is such an asset.

You’ve been driving the creation of jobs. The development of skills and improvement of productivity.

It’s great for our economy and it is great for our society too.

And every single person in this room has their part to play.

You’re part of a Great British renaissance and it’s a joy and honour to be part of it too.

Thank you very much.

Harriet Baldwin – 2018 Speech on International Law

Below is the text of the speech made by Harriet Baldwin, the Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Minister of State for International Development, on 17 May 2018.

Thank you very much Mr President, and your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the United Kingdom, I also would like to thank the Polish Presidency for arranging today’s important discussion and also add my thanks to our distinguished briefers this morning.

Mr President, there are few values more important to the United Kingdom than upholding international law. It is the very foundation of peace and security.

Today, conflicts and tragedies in Syria, Burma, Ukraine and elsewhere have shown us the importance of this commitment and the consequences of the failure to do so. In Syria, appalling violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law by the regime and its backers continue. Russia’s veto in this Council, which stopped the work of the Joint Investigative Mechanism, means that there is currently no means available to properly investigate the use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians. In Burma, the authorities have yet to begin a credible domestic investigation into the clear violations of human rights law in Rakhine State. Yet it is imperative that there is a route to hold the perpetrators of these crimes to account. And in Ukraine, the illegal annexation of Crimea four years ago represents an egregious assault on international law. The enduring conflict in eastern Ukraine continues to destroy lives.

Mr President, when armed conflicts break out, it is vital that all parties respect international humanitarian law and act in accordance with their obligations under it. As members of the international community, and members of the Security Council, we are all responsible for upholding international rules and norms. Today we must ask ourselves how we discharge that responsibility. The ‘Strengthening Respect for International Humanitarian Law’ initiative facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss government has the significant potential to aid this effort. It is a valuable first step and I encourage all states to engage with that process – but this alone is not sufficient.

Enabling the meaningful participation of women in decision-making is also key to upholding the rule of law. We know inclusive decision-making processes are critical in preventing the escalation of conflict and in maintaining and supporting peace in post-conflict societies. I call on states to act upon the commitments agreed in Security Council resolutions on Women, Peace and Security and recognise these to be an integral part of our effort to maintain peace and security.

Mr President, there will, sadly, be times when violations of international humanitarian law or international human rights law do occur. There must be no impunity in such instances. It is, of course, states themselves that have the primary responsibility to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice. But we, as the international community, also have a role in helping states meet their responsibilities.

A year ago, this Council voted unanimously to adopt Resolution 2379 (2017) setting up an investigative team to assist efforts to hold Daesh accountable for crimes committed in Iraq. That team will collect, preserve and analyse evidence of Daesh’s heinous crimes and will work closely with the Government of Iraq and organisations already collecting such evidence. We hope that all states will support this important mechanism by contributing to the UN Trust Fund.

Mr President, the UK has strongly supported resolutions at the Human Rights Council aimed at increasing accountability. We welcome the efforts of the Secretary General and UN Secretariat to mainstream the promotion and protection of human rights in all United Nations activities. The UN’s human rights tools such as monitoring, reporting and analysis, can provide key early warning systems, and help to identify and address the root causes of conflict, as a means of prompting an effective and early United Nations response.

The International Criminal Court also has a key role to play restoring peace and security. It ensures accountability, acts as a deterrent, supports victims, and helps to establish an historical narrative of accountability. However, for it to succeed, the Court requires the full cooperation of states. Its inability to act directly against those it seeks to arrest, makes it entirely reliant on states to execute the arrest warrants it issues, but for too long and too frequently those indicted by the Court have been able to travel freely, without fear of arrest and prosecution. We therefore urge all states to honour UNSCRs 1970 and 1593 by cooperating fully with the Court and its Prosecutor.

The ad hoc international tribunals set up by the Security Council were crucial in bringing to justice those most responsible for the terrible crimes committed in Rwanda and the Balkans during the 1990s. We are so grateful to President Meron and his colleagues for taking forward this important work in the Residual Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals. We hope that states will continue to ensure that the Mechanism has sufficient resources to fulfil its mandate. We note also the important role played, over many years, by the International Court of Justice in ensuring the maintenance of international peace and security.

In summary, the UK believes we must continue to work together to deliver accountability, justice, and reaffirm our commitment to the core tenets of international law.

Thank you.

Jonathan Ashworth – 2018 Speech to Hospital Caterers Association

Below is the text of the speech made by Jonathan Ashworth, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health, at the Hospital Caterers Association on 12 April 2018.

Can I begin by saying what a pleasure it is to be here, in the 70th anniversary of our National Health Service, but a very special pleasure to be here to congratulate you on your 70th anniversary as the Hospital Caterers Association.

And as we look back over the last 70 years of the NHS and pay tribute to the millions who have cared for the sick, thank those who have helped bring babies into the world and pay tribute to those who attend to us in our final moments, we are reminded that it is the care, dedication and compassion of our NHS staff that always has done and still does make the NHS the pride of Britain.

I was so keen to be here in your 70th anniversary year because I know, just as you do, that quality care is about so much more than medicines, bandages, dressings, treatments and surgical procedures, extraordinary as they all are.

Quality care is dependent upon good nutrition and hydration.

So today let me thank hospital caterers for your service to the NHS, for your care, compassion and dedication and for your work as part of the healthcare team in caring for the sick, injured and elderly.

Just like all members of the NHS staff, you have played your part in every illness defeated, in every bout of suffering relieved and in every life saved so today I not only thank you but join with you in readily endorsing your mantra that food is indeed the best form of medicine.

I’ve witnessed this myself when earlier this week I spent time with catering staff working out of the in-house central production unit at the Nottingham City Hospital part of University of Nottingham’s Hospital Trust. Chris and his team working closely with Nicola the Chief Dietetic Technician produce 8,000 meals a day cooked on site with food sourced from local farms and suppliers.

Here the catering team work with nursing staff, dieticians, speech and language therapists to put together nutritional fare that helps and supports the recovery of patients.

This is a very real implementation of the Power of Three initiative that the HCA has championed in recent years emphasising that quality healthcare delivery isn’t about fragmentation and silos but about seamless collaboration where catering staff work alongside nursing staff and dietician staff.

But Nottingham has gone even further too in developing a new memory menu following consultation with the local community offering patients the healthy nutritional meals they want.

And because the catering team at Nottingham recognise that the NHS’s responsibility for the health and wellbeing of patients doesn’t simply end when the patient walks out the door, so they ensure the most vulnerable patients leaving to go home are offered a discharge parcel of food basics – bread, a pint of milk, tea, coffee, tinned soup – to help them in the first few days out of hospital.

This is exactly the sort of in-house, high quality service offering nutritional meals to a high standard that I believe is integral to the future of the NHS and one I want to see developed across the service as Labour’s shadow Health Secretary.

I opened my remarks by reminding you this is both the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service and the 70th anniversary of the Association.

In 1948 the overriding endeavour of a National Health Service universal in scope was both to relieve the suffering of those who otherwise would have to pay for a surgeon to come to their bedside but also to wage war on the great infectious diseases that stalked the land and took far too many so early in life such as polio and diphtheria.

70 years later the world is very different and so the challenges facing our National Health Service have changed fundamentally too.

In 1948, life expectancy for men was 66 and for women it was 71.

Today it is 79 and 82 respectively and over the coming years is expected to become 83 and 86 respectively by 2041.

By 2024 the number of over 75s will have increased by around two million compared to 2014.

So today our first big challenge is how the NHS supports those who live longer. And if we are all living longer our second challenge is how the NHS supports living with complex needs, as well as those across all ages living with chronic conditions whether from diabetes, to arthritis to heart conditions.

I think we have a further challenge too.

Health inequalities are widening not narrowing. Sir Michael Marmot, the world-recognised authority on public health, has warned that this country has, since 2010, stalled in the task of improving the life expectancy of our population.

Added to this, he also points out that differences in life expectancy between the poorest areas in the country and the English average has started to widen again.

Just look at what that means for someone born today in the poorest areas. They are likely to live for fewer years than someone born in wealthier areas. Ill health is more likely to blight their childhood. And a child born into poorer areas is more likely to leave school obese than a child growing up in the most affluent area.

Across the population we face an obesity crisis with hospital admissions where obesity is a factor more than doubling in England during the last four years. The UK is spending about £6 billion a year on the medical costs of conditions related to being overweight or obese and a further £10 billion on diabetes. That means British taxpayers are spending more on treating obesity-related conditions than on the police or the fire service

But as just as we face an obesity crisis in society we are on the verge of a malnutrition crisis too.

Child poverty is increasing, with an extra million children predicted to be pushed into poverty by 2022. Across our communities more and more charities and faith groups are forced to open food banks and The Trussell Trust report in the last year they have handed out over 1 million three-day emergency food parcels.

A recent All Party Parliamentary Group Report into Hunger estimated there around 1.3 million elderly people suffering from or at risk from malnutrition in society.

We have seen a 122 per cent rise in admissions to hospital for malnutrition since 2010. There has been a 20 per cent increase in the number of pregnant women admitted to hospital with primary or secondary cases of Vitamin D deficiency over the past year

Not only should it offend our sense of decency, indeed I would even go further because I believe these rates of malnutrition shame us a society for a nation that is the sixth biggest economy in the world.

And it makes no economic sense either. Rising malnutrition is predicted to cost our health and social care services £13 billion by 2020. For example an increase in malnutrition amongst the elderly means an increase in hospital admissions, longer recovery times with longer hospital stays.

So the reason I highlight all of this is because my burning ambition as hopefully the next Labour Health Secretary is to lead an all-out assault on unacceptable heath inequalities in society by beginning to tackle some of these wider determinants of ill health.

That means a strong commitment to investment in public health provision in the wider community; it means investment in social care provision with an extra £8 billion across a Parliament, as well as supporting elderly people to live independently in their communities.

It means prioritising child health and focusing support to improve the health and wellbeing of every child.

It means improving the quality of air that we breathe, the fabric of the housing we live in and the economic conditions in which our society is ordered, to encourage the eating of a healthy diet.

Because we know a healthy diet means healthy body weight and reduces the risk of developing major health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and osteoporosis.

And we also know eating a healthy diet positively impacts our mental health. Following a healthy balanced diet reduces the risk of developing specific mental illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

So yes we must take much bolder action to fight obesity.

So while we welcome the sugar tax we would want to see it extended to milk based sweet drinks, we want to end the advertising of junk food on family TV viewing and we would ban the sale of high energy drinks to under 18s.

And so when we focus on improving the quality of care across our NHS we must also focus relentlessly on improving the quality of food we offer patients, visitors and staff as well.

Because what sense does it make to offer patients the very best medicines, treatments by the very best clinicians and surgeons, to offer patients access to some of the very best cutting edge technology and yet deny them the best quality nutritional food that will help them make a full recovery.

And when we know that poor diet is a major driver of ill health across the nation then surely it should be our obligation to support patients with their diet when in hospital.

Indeed all of us who are passionate about securing the future sustainability of the NHS have a responsibility to ensure the NHS promotes healthy eating in order to reduce the chronic conditions that poor diet is contributing to in wider society which in turn are increasing the pressures on the NHS.

In the last year across the NHS in England 144 million inpatient meals were made at a cost of £560 million.

Some hospital trusts according to the Estates Return Information Collection – and I appreciate not everyone accepts this data, believing it puts a rosier tint on the reality on the ground, but nonetheless it is the only official data set we have – suggests that some hospitals are spending as little as around £3 per meal per patient.

Of course cost does not necessarily equate to quality but I was shocked to learn from Jeremy Hunt’s own data that nearly half of hospitals failed to meet the food expectations as outlined in the NHS Standard Contract.

Nearly half of hospitals did not meet dietician guidelines outlined by the British Dietetic Association. And despite one third of people aged 65 years or over being at risk of malnutrition on admission to hospital, yet only half of hospitals screened every patient for signs that they were struggling to get enough to eat.

It is quite simply unacceptable that the standards in the contract are not enforced and I believe this fails patients and NHS staff alike.

Given we all accept that good food is important to our health, it’s time to apply the very highest standards to hospital food across the board.

So today I can announce that the next Labour Government will put hospital meals on the same legal basis as school food standards, and ensure hospitals mandatorily meet minimum standards for the food served to patients, staff and visitors.

We will be setting new, higher quality standards for hospital food so it is nutritious and made with care by highly trained staff using the best sustainable ingredients

I can also confirm these standards will be independently monitored and enforced.

We believe over time this will increase the numbers of freshly cooked meals served, reduce the amount of hospital food uneaten and wasted and most fundamentally of all help us start the addressing malnutrition in our hospitals helping staff nurse patients to recovery quicker.

And because the NHS is and must continue to be the trusted authority on health and well-being, I strongly believe all food served on NHS premises should be healthy food.

As far as I am concerned hospital is no place for junk food, super-sized confectionery and sugary drinks. So I praise those hospitals like Tameside and Glossop Care Trust who have taken all sugary drinks and fizzy drinks off their menus in Tameside General.

But when we have junk food burger bars in the forecourts of Addenbrooke’s Hospital I believe we still have a long way to go. So if trusts don’t move speedily in implementing national guidelines then the next Labour government will look at mandatory legal requirements on the sales of junk food and supersized confectionery products as well.

But of course I don’t want to be a Health Secretary who keeps expecting those who work across the service to deliver more and more on less and less.

I’m not going to place upon our NHS staff unrealistic demands while refusing the NHS the investment it needs.

We are now in the eighth year of severe underfunding alongside deep cuts to social care budgets in England.

Today the impact of this sustained underfunding has been revealed. Across England we’ve seen the worst A&E figures for March on record and the impact of a blanket cancellation of elective operations has seen waiting list rise by nearly 5 per cent compared to last year.

With more patients turning to private sector provision through ‘self-pay’ arrangements, the old fears of a middle class flight of people who can no longer tolerate waits for treatments from the NHS is returning, leaving a two tier service for the rest of us.

It’s now clearer than ever that we face a year-round crisis in our NHS, which places the very future of our NHS at risk and requires a sustainable long term investment plan.

At the last General Election my party offered the country a new approach.

We said we were prepared to increase taxation for the wealthiest in society, the top five per cent and allocate the yield from that tax change to the NHS.

It would have meant this year spending an extra £5 billion on the NHS itself plus around an extra £1 billion to invest in staffing such as bringing back the training bursary and an extra £1 billion as the first stage of our plans to stabilise social care.

And because too many of our hospitals are crumbling, because too often our IT systems are slow and vulnerable and in too many places equipment is out dated we would allocate an extra £10 billion across a Parliament for infrastructure investment too.

This is the sort of financial package our NHS in its 70th year needs and the challenge for Theresa May as we approach the NHS’s July birthday is as to whether she will offer the NHS this level of support.

But we know a funding package is desperately needed. The ongoing underfunding has in many areas forced trusts to outsource in the belief a better deal can be found by not delivering in-house. It’s often a false economy.

I can tell you we are opposed as a Party to the current moves towards wholly owned subsidiaries which many trusts are currently pursuing in order to gain a VAT advantage.

We fear this will create a two-tier workforce amongst facilities management staff and we are calling on the government to close down this loophole and block this practise.

And I was struck by the quality offered when I visited Nottingham this week. That’s a service that has been brought back in-house when previously Carillion ran the contract. I’m told since coming back in-house staff morale as improved.

The current Government has too often left valuable public services like hospital catering exposed to the risk of failing companies like Carillion.

The Labour Party has said it will introduce a new presumption that public sector contracts will come back in house across the public sector. So today I want to begin a dialogue with you about what that means for your sector and how a Labour government could meet its ambitions on out-sourcing.

Where catering managers and hospital management want to bring services back in house because it serves the best interests of patients and taxpayers then a Labour Government will want to give them the support and the resources to do so.

So in closing let me reiterate under a Labour Government high quality hospital catering will be at the heart of our vision for the NHS with legally enforced standards for hospitals meals, fully resourced and given the support from government to be delivered in-house.

And as we celebrate 70 years of the NHS this July and as you celebrate 70 years as an Association you can be proud of all you have achieved and you have my commitment to working together in the coming years to improve and support the high quality care every patient deserves.

Thank you.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2018 Speech to Scottish Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, at the Scottish Labour Party Conference on 9 March 2018.

Thank You Conference.

Thank you Ann. What a great comrade Ann has been in our Party and in our movement and so many congratulations to her on becoming only the second female Rector of Edinburgh University.

It’s great to be here in Dundee, a city whose history of struggle and trade unionism epitomises the best of our movement.

Indeed, proportionally speaking, more people from this city volunteered for the International Brigades to fight fascism in the Spanish Civil War than from any other city in the UK.

19 Dundonians sacrificed themselves to defend democracy in that bloody war and remain in Spain forever.

This morning I visited the grave of Caroline Martyn, an absolutely tireless socialist campaigner whose early death before the turn of the century was the direct result of her unfailing campaign for workers’ rights and a more equal society.

When she died in 1896, the Labour Leader publication published a poem by J. Connell containing the brilliant line:

“Where strong men faltered with courage gone, our sister comrade marched on and on.”

Thank you to Dundee Trades Council for erecting that lovely memorial.

Being here, just a day after International Women’s Day, it’s important for us to remember the leading role, which is often overlooked that women played in the founding of the British labour movement.

When we think about those women trade unionists working in the Jute industry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries we realise that we really are standing on the shoulders of giants.

It reminds us of the historic role of our Party – standing up for everybody in the quest for the better society that is possible.

And this conference really confirms that renewed sense of purpose and optimism which now characterises our Party and the wider movement.

Conference it has been quite a year.

This time last year, there were more than a few people in the media who had written the Labour Party off.

In Scotland, we were told that Labour was dying. We were told by the commentariat and self-appointed experts that Labour could not and would not recover.

Comrades, I think they got that one wrong.

The truth is that we very much are alive and kicking.

Labour in Scotland is back.

Led by Richard Leonard who has already proven to be an excellent leader of Scottish Labour, making Labour’s voice heard for a radically fairer society.

And as we all know, we won six new seats for Scottish Labour at the last General Election and we came close to winning around twenty more.

Thank you to everybody for what you did in the General Election. My campaigning in the election started in the snowy heights of Aviemore and finished in Glasgow on the last day of campaigning.

And led by Lesley Laird, our new Scottish MPs are all doing an exceptional job of standing up for socialism and standing up for Scotland.

But it is not just Labour in Scotland that some wrote off.

When Theresa May went walking last year and had her masterstroke to call an election, again those sages in the traditional media wrote us off.

We were heading for wipeout, they said.

But that’s not how it turned out, with our popular and fully costed manifesto we offered the chance of transformation and hope and confounded those so-called experts.

Of course I know that we didn’t quite win. But conference, we are no longer just an Opposition, we are a party preparing to go into government.

We are ready to put into practice our common sense policies to end austerity, invest in people’s futures and radically transform our society so that it works for the many, not the few.

What resonated and enthused people in June was our vision for a country that doesn’t need to be this way. We offered a real alternative and a set of policies that command majority support, but which mainstream politicians have long refused to endorse, to demonstrate the kind of society we want to see:

A society that builds houses and council houses and ends homelessness

A society that fairly rewards people for the hard work that they do.

A society that ends the scam of privateers sucking profit from our public services.

A society that ends the utter scandal of food banks.

A society that cares for our public NHS, offering healthcare as a human right to all.

This is the vision that is attracting people back to our Party. The vision that means Labour can win in Scotland again.

And it is needed more than ever. There are currently 260,000 children in Scotland living in poverty. There are now 430,000 Scots earning less than the living wage.

I am confident conference, just as I am sure you are, that under the progressive and principled leadership of Richard Leonard we can and we will build on our progress here and deliver our radical programme for change.

But we are also living in tumultuous political times.

The Tories’ Brexit plans are in chaos.

At one of the most important times for our country in its history we have a divided Government that has no clear idea of what it’s doing what it wants or where it’s going.

And as Theresa May has now admitted, under her plans for a reckless Tory Brexit the UK risks losing access to European markets. Make no mistake about it, reduced access to European markets means fewer economic opportunities for people in the UK.

This is why we need a Labour government to take the reins from the free market ideologues who want to use Brexit to sign a race-to-the-bottom trade deal with Trump’s America and turn the UK into a deregulated offshore tax haven.

And instead take the new common sense into the heart of government and help bring about a society that truly does work for all.

Labour is the only party focusing on the issues that matter to people in their everyday lives, and the only party committed to putting power back into every community in the UK.

When it comes to Brexit Labour’s priorities have been clear from the outset. We will fight for a deal that puts jobs and living standards first.

Because the priority for people in Scotland and across the UK is access to high wage secure employment that will enable them to live the healthy prosperous and well-rounded lives that they deserve.

That means that we will not accept an off the peg model for our future relationship with the European Union, the Norwegian model may work for Norway, but we need to find our own model that works for everybody in the UK.

That is why we would seek to negotiate a new customs union with the EU after Brexit to ensure that there are no tariffs with Europe and help avoid any need for a hard border in Northern Ireland.

But we are also clear that the option of a new UK customs union with the EU would need to ensure the UK has a say in future trade deals.

Labour would not countenance a deal that left Britain as a passive recipient of rules decided elsewhere by others.

A comprehensive new customs union would cement our close trading relationship with our European partners.

That relationship is vital to our interests vital to jobs across Scotland and the UK.

Take the food and drink sector which is worth around £14 billion in Scotland alone with ambitions to grow to around £30 billion by 2030.

With complex food supply chains ingredients and products have to cross many borders.

Adding to that complexity with considerable delays for checks at ports and airports would cause real difficulties and cost for perishable goods such as seafood.

That is why retaining the benefits of the customs union and the single market is vital to future Labour governments in both Holyrood and Westminster if we are to fully implement our socialist programme for change in our society.

As democratic socialists we respect the result of the referendum, but Labour has its own common sense approach in stark contrast to the Tories’ extreme and reckless plans for Brexit.

We would aim to negotiate a new and strong relationship with the single market and a floor under existing rights, standards and protections for workers, consumers and the environment.

That new relationship would need to ensure we can deliver our ambitious economic plans take the essential steps to intervene, upgrade and transform our economy and build an economy for the 21st century that works for the many, not the few.

That’s why we would want to negotiate protections or exemptions where necessary from current rules and directives that push privatisation and public service competition or restrict our ability to intervene to support domestic and local industry and business or undermine attempts to protect rights at work.

We cannot be held back inside or outside the EU from taking the steps we need to develop and invest in cutting edge industries and local business stop the tide of privatisation and outsourcing, or from preventing employers being able to import cheap agency labour to undercut existing pay and conditions in the name of free market orthodoxy.

It’s striking that Theresa May’s only clear priority when she laid out her new Brexit negotiating position last week seemed to be to tie the UK permanently to EU rules, which are used to drive privatisation and block support for British industry.

The European Union is set to make changes of its own in the coming period especially in relation to the rules governing Eurozone economies and the rights of temporary migrant workers.

It would therefore be wrong to sign up to a single market deal without agreement that our final relationship with the EU would be fully compatible with our radical plans to change Britain’s economy.

We are determined to negotiate a deal that gives us full tariff-free access to the single market.

But if we are genuinely going to have a jobs first Brexit that deal must be compatible with our plans to bring the railways and postal service into full public ownership transform energy markets and end the privatisation of our public services.

And we also need to be clear we could not accept a situation where we were subject to all EU rules and EU law, yet had no say in making those laws That would leave us as mere rule-takers and isn’t a tenable position for a democracy.

As the party of devolution the Party that oversaw the creation of all three devolved administrations in the UK we have consistently argued that powers being returned from Brussels should go directly to devolved administrations.

The Tories have played right into the SNP’s hands in hoarding power for themselves in the back corridors of Westminster.

The fact that the Scottish and UK governments are unable to reach agreement on the 24 areas of dispute that were revealed this morning highlights the utter chaos and mismanagement that is defining this Tory Brexit.

Added to the prospects of both economic and constitutional crises the government’s dangerous risking of peace in Northern Ireland offering no clear alternative to a hard border on the island as it refuses to consider the option of a customs union shows why a Labour government is needed so badly to steer the negotiations in a sensible direction.

Because as well as being a democratic socialist Party Labour is also an internationalist Party.

We realise that the great problems of our age: fighting for people’s rights and living standards against the power of international capital; ending the incessant destruction of our climate and our natural world; clamping down on rich tax dodgers who hide their excessive wealth and refuse to pay their way; and defending international human rights that have been fought for and defended by people on the ground for generations.

These are problems which individual nations cannot deal with alone.

We cannot give in to Tory demands to cut Britain off or SNP demands to cut Scotland off from the rest of the world.

We recognise the need to have a strong voice in combating human rights abuses across the globe and are absolutely committed to retaining the UK’s place in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Having that strong voice means standing up for what we believe in.

That’s why we have demanded Theresa May’s government uses the visit this week of Saudi Arabia’s ruler Muhammad bin Salman to halt British arms sales to Saudi Arabia while its devastating bombing of Yemen continues and demand an immediate ceasefire.

A humanitarian disaster is now taking place in Yemen as a direct result of the Saudi-led bombing and blockade. Millions face starvation and hundreds of thousands of children have cholera while thousands of civilians have been killed.

UK arms supplies to Saudi Arabia have increased sharply since the war began and British military advisers are directly involved in the prosecution of the Saudi bombing campaign which has repeatedly targeted civilian infrastructure, including schools and hospitals.

It cannot be right, as I told the Prime Minister on Wednesday that her government is colluding in what the UN and others say is evidence of war crimes. Germany has suspended arms supplies to Saudi Arabia, and so must the British government. This outrage must end.

Nor is it true, as the Prime Minister claimed, that the Saudi-led war in Yemen has been authorised by the United Nations Security Council.

What’s needed now is both a ceasefire and a concerted international effort to achieve a negotiated political settlement.

I also want to pay tribute to Richard Leonard for the work he has done preparing a movement to oppose any visit by US President Donald Trump to Scotland.

While the SNP wooed Trump to build his golf course in Aberdeenshire, and

Theresa May appeases him as she bets the UK economy on a race-to-the-bottom trade deal with the US.

Richard has shown Labour is standing up to oppose the racism, misogyny and dangerous belligerence coming from the US administration.

A Labour government will ensure that our international relations are not dictated by the global dominance of multinational corporations, but are governed by the values of socialism and international solidarity, and shared progress in the interests of working people across the globe both inside and outside of Europe.

They’re values which are encapsulated in part of a poem by Liz Lochhead the previous Makar.

She wrote in her poem, Connecting Cultures:

Remembering how hard fellow feeling is to summon
When Wealth is what we do not have in Common,
May every individual
And all the peoples in each nation
Work and hope and
Strive for true communication —
Only by a shift and sharing is there any chance
For the Welfare of all our people and Good Governance.

Such words can sound like flagged-up slogans, true.
What we merely say says nothing —
All that matters is what we do.

I think you’ll agree conference that sums up the central philosophy of what our internationalist outlook should be.

The outlook that must define our international policy as we work to ensure that our voice in the world is a wholly positive one encouraging peace prosperity.

Conference, the Labour Party has a vision a vision for a society where everybody cares for everybody else we call it socialism.

And when we do get into government:

We will go further than any government has ever gone before.

We will go further in tackling inequality.

We will go further in ending poverty.

We will go further in bringing power closer to people.

Further in transforming our economy to work for the many and not the few.

Further in bringing about a common sense revolution that puts public service above private profit.

And we know the further we go in reflecting people’s priorities the more support we will get.

That is why we are building a genuine mass movement of people.

One that is capable of organising in every city, town and village in Scotland, and across this island.

A movement that can propel Labour into government in both Holyrood and in Westminster, so that we can bring real change and create a society that truly is for the many and not the few.

Sam Gyimah – 2018 Speech on UK-Ireland Education Partnership

Below is the text of the speech made by Sam Gyimah, the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, on 10 May 2018.

It’s an honour to be here today with such a distinguished group of researchers, teachers and innovators from our two countries. And a pleasure to speak alongside my esteemed counterpart John Halligan.

Today is a good opportunity to celebrate the special relationship between our two countries – and also to deepen it, building on our relationships in the fields of research, innovation, and higher education.

As the Prime Minister said in her Mansion House speech, the UK is committed to establishing a far-reaching science and innovation pact with the EU. It is our aim that Britain remains at the forefront of collective endeavours to better understand, and make better, the world in which we live. The exchange of ideas and of researchers is essential to this.

UK-Ireland collaboration on research

The UK and Ireland collaborate through a number of EU multilateral forums, not least Horizon 2020. We are working together on a dizzying range of cutting edge projects. We’re collaborating to find new ways to unlock the energy potential of our oceans through the Marinet project. We are deepening our understanding of serious illnesses, through the Joint Programming Initiative for Neurodegenerative Disease Research. We are working out how best to deploy Ebola vaccine through the EBODAC project. These are just a few of the inspiring examples of joint projects our 2 countries are involved in. Indeed, we are Ireland’s second most frequent collaborator in Horizon 2020 projects.

We are also proud of our bilateral work together, like the BBSRC’s lead agency agreement with Science Foundation Ireland, which to date has funded 14 applications, totalling nearly £8 million.

In the last five years, the UK’s Research Council funded 119 projects involving partners based in Ireland, representing a total value of £146 million.

When it comes to innovation, I believe the UK has much to gain from working with Ireland.

I’m excited by projects like the new partnership between the cities of Belfast and Dublin to develop new, clean solutions to deliver goods within cities. Cracking the problem of ‘last mile’ distribution could mean cheaper goods, more reliable deliveries, and cleaner air – 3 big prizes.

Ireland has over the last 30 years built a powerful and dynamic knowledge economy, attracting investment from abroad and encouraging entrepreneurship at home. As the UK pushes ahead with our Industrial Strategy, increasing our investment in R&D and creating the opportunity for high-growth businesses to thrive, we have much to learn from Ireland’s successes.

Higher education

Our long history of partnership carries over into the other half of my brief: higher education. Of 15,000 Irish students studying abroad, two-thirds of them are in the UK. And Ireland is the fifth most popular country for UK students studying abroad.

We are keen to maintain our partnership with Ireland as the UK leaves the EU. Indeed, we want it not just to continue, but to get stronger. We welcome Irish students to the UK. And we have no intention to cut or cap international student numbers.

Students from Ireland bring greater diversity to our campuses, an international dimension to the experience of everyone at our universities. They stimulate demand for courses, and add to the UK’s impressive research capacity.

In the short term they bring welcome income to UK universities, and to the economies of our towns and cities. In the longer term, they offer something even more valuable: the prospect of ongoing business, political, cultural and research links between our two countries. Long may this continue.

That is why we have made a commitment to maintaining rights of Irish nationals to access higher and further education courses on equal terms to UK nationals, on a reciprocal basis. This includes rights to qualify for student loans and support under applicable schemes and subject to relevant eligibility conditions.

We are working towards agreeing the high-level principles with Ireland, and considering the exact details of future eligibility criteria for student loans and support in England following the end of the Implementation Period in December 2020, including ways to ensure that Irish students continue to have access to student finance support.

The future

At today’s conference we’ll be discussing a wide range of areas for future collaboration. They range from life science to agri-food to space and satellite technologies, and from pure research to innovation projects taking place within businesses.

Wider EU relationship

I would also like to say a few words about the UK’s wider science and research plans as we prepare to leave the European Union. The UK is an active and valued participant in European research and innovation programmes.

The UK and EU Joint Report, published in December, sets out that UK entities’ right to participate in EU programmes, including Horizon 2020, will be unaffected by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. In the areas of citizens’ rights and the financial settlement, we have translated all of the commitments we made in December, delivering on our promise to reflect the Joint Report in the Withdrawal Agreement.

The Joint Report envisages that existing projects will continue to receive uninterrupted funding for the lifetime of the project.

We want to assure the EU of our commitment to ongoing collaboration in Science and Innovation; we want to work together on a mutually beneficial outcome. This potentially includes continuing to take part in those programmes that are greatly to the UK’s and the EU’s joint advantage, such as those that promote science, education and culture.

To that end, we would like to ensure that the new FP9 remains open to our association. We recognise that such an association would necessarily involve an appropriate financial contribution in line with other associates, and would like to discuss the details. In turn, our priorities are that FP9 remains focused on excellence, EU-added value, and openness to the world, as we outlined in our position paper, and that the programme allows associated countries a suitable degree of influence, in recognition of the benefits they bring to it and in line with their financial contributions. To this end, we intend to engage fully and constructively in the design of FP9.

We hope that our future participation in FP9 will provide us with a further opportunity to collaborate with Ireland, alongside our bilateral partnerships.

Conclusion

Our relationship with Ireland in the fields of research, innovation and higher education is of the utmost importance to us. Together, we can do better research, promote our mutual prosperity, and build on the deep cultural links between our countries.

I am delighted to share a platform today with John Halligan, and with so many distinguished innovators from our 2 nations, as we seek to deepen our partnership.

Nick Gibb – 2018 Speech at Launch of Midland Knowledge Hub

Below is the text of the speech made by Nick Gibb, the Minister of State for School Standards, on 10 May 2018.

It is a pleasure to be at the launch of the Midland Knowledge Hub. Today marks another milestone in the movement to ensure that all children benefit from a knowledge-rich curriculum.

This movement is driven by a desire to ensure all children – wherever they live and whatever their background – receive their entitlement: an education in the best that has been thought and said. In the words of E. D. Hirsch:

We will be able to achieve a just and prosperous society only when our schools ensure that everyone commands enough shared background knowledge to be able to communicate effectively with everyone else.

This is why the importance of assumed knowledge is vital.

Writing for Parents and Teachers for Excellence and ASCL’s ‘The Question of Knowledge’, Leora Cruddas summed up the roots of this movement, and what we hope to achieve:

The influence of E D Hirsch on educational thinking has been profound. At its heart is the idea that returning to a traditional, academic curriculum built on shared knowledge is the best way to achieve social justice in society. His work has also encouraged schools to focus on the concept of building cultural capital as a way to close the attainment gap.

Parents and Teachers for Excellence, as we’ve heard, is at the forefront of this movement. It started – in the words of The West Wing’s President Bartlett – by a small group of thoughtful and committed teachers and headteachers, and this movement is changing education in England.

Teachers from all across the country have been inspired to put knowledge at the heart of their curriculum, which explains the popularity of the Midland Knowledge Hub’s ‘What does a knowledge-rich school look like’ event, taking place this weekend. There are 180 people coming to that inaugural conference.

Writing in anticipation of the event, Chris Martin, headteacher of St Thomas Aquinas, described how his thinking has changed in recent times. Having grown frustrated with the endless additional sessions for Year 11 pupils before and after school, which added, of course, significantly to teacher workload, he realised that there must be a better approach. Writing in a recent blog, he described how he was influenced by what other schools have achieved. And I quote from his blog:

After visiting Michaela School, St Martin’s, Mossbourne Academy, Dixons Trinity Academy and sending colleagues to Bedford Free School and others, and attending numerous ResearchED Conferences, I soon began to realise that there was an alternative approach out there.

He is now working to transform the curriculum at his inner-city Birmingham comprehensive. In conclusion to his blog, Chris Martin reflects that he is increasingly convinced that these changes will transform the life chances of his pupils, particularly disadvantaged pupils. To quote again:

Once you go down the journey of a knowledge-rich school, I have found that you become more and more convinced it will transform the lives of disadvantaged students. Quite simply, they will get better GCSE grades as a result. More importantly, they will stand on the shoulders of giants they wouldn’t have known existed.

So ensuring that every child – particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds – is endowed with the cultural capital they need for success is at the heart of the movement. A desire for social justice and equality of opportunity is why we want a knowledge-rich curriculum for all pupils. All pupils deserve a broad and balanced curriculum that introduces them to the wonders of physics, the majesty of music and the great works of literature.

And Clare Sealy, a primary headteacher working in Bethnal Green, made clear the link between the curriculum and children’s cultural entitlement in a blog late last year, writing, and I quote:

The curriculum is the means by which we ensure that all our children get their fair share of the rich cultural inheritance our world affords.

And in schools across England, a desire to ensure that all pupils benefit from a knowledge-rich curriculum is driving headteachers to consider how school culture best allows pupils to thrive. Whether in rural Leicestershire or inner-city Birmingham, headteachers must set and help maintain a school culture in which teachers can teach and pupils can learn. And in the words of Clive Wright:

We are not facilitators at Saint Martin’s, we teach, we are experts whose job it is to convey our expertise to pupils and enable pupils to remember.

So providing children with an introduction to the canon requires teachers to deliver their expert subject knowledge, without fear that their careful sequencing of the material will be interrupted by low-level disruption.

Creating and a culture where all pupils can thrive allows teachers to focus on developing their teaching, reading research and refining their curriculum. Reflecting on what had already begun to change in his school, Chris Martin wrote the following:

Since January, with the improvement in behaviour, our conversations with staff have turned back to what is being taught. If we are serious about raising achievement of our disadvantaged students, we are serious about them studying challenging texts right from their first day in Year 7. We have talked about pedagogy, but in a way I have never talked about before in my teaching career. We are talking about direct instruction and modelling and giving staff permission to teach their subject rather than entertain. We discuss distributed practice and interleaving key content to ensure our kids can recall key knowledge months after they are first taught it. Although very early days, our staff feel affirmed because they have permission to be experts.

A school culture that minimises disruption and reduces unnecessary teacher workload frees teachers to develop and hone their craft. The question is no longer ‘How am I going to teach Year 9 today?’ Instead, by providing teachers with a coherent curriculum programme, teachers can focus on more important questions:

How should I build on prior knowledge?

What is the best way to sequence the new material?

How will I ensure pupils retain what is taught?’

The search for expertise in teaching lies at the heart of these questions, amongst others. As Clare Sealy puts it when considering just one of these questions:

If children don’t remember what we have taught them, then even the richest curriculum is pointless. Knowledge can’t empower if it is forgotten. So as well as thinking about what is the richest, best material to put into our curriculum, we also have to structure our curriculum in a way that make remembering almost inevitable.

So consideration of how pupils learn is at the heart of teacher expertise. When writing ‘What Is Expert Teaching’ for the Institute for Teaching, Peps McCrea looked at what expert teachers know. And amongst the defining characteristics of expert teachers is a knowledge of how children learn and how to use what we know from cognitive and behavioural science.

Describing his own early experience of the classroom, Nick Rose, who is the Curriculum Director at the Institute for Teaching, reflected on the importance of teachers having an understanding of how memory works, and he wrote:

I gained great satisfaction from pupils achieving ‘lightbulb’ moments in lessons where they appear to ‘get’ a new idea, but this was often countered by bitter disappointment when I came to assess learning at a later date and often discovered that such breakthroughs were ephemeral.

Expert teachers draw on their extensive knowledge – from knowledge of their pupils, to an understanding of cognitive science and their subject and curriculum knowledge – to inform the innumerable decisions they make each and every day in the classroom. As with other top professionals, this knowledge is critical to their professional identity. Expertise in these areas distinguishes teachers at the top of their profession.

Which is why it is crucial that schools set the culture, provide a well-resourced, high-quality curriculum and support teachers to develop their expertise. By providing this framework of support to teachers, schools and – most importantly – pupils will benefit.

Andrew Percival – head of curriculum in a primary school in the North West – described how his school is embracing a knowledge-rich curriculum in a widely shared blog. Like Chris Martin, he is seeing several benefits from taking a knowledge-rich approach to designing curriculum. In his conclusion he lists some of them:

We will know exactly what is taught across school in every subject in every year group. There will be clarity in definitions and terminology to reduce variation from year group to year group.

We will have a much clearer sense of the progression in each subject from Reception to Year 6.

We will know exactly which resources are needed throughout the year so can ensure these are purchased well in advance.

We can ensure that threads are woven carefully through the curriculum e.g. the concepts of ‘parliament’ and ‘civilisation’ will exist in multiple History units in different year groups to ensure they are remembered for the long term.

We can ensure greater consistency in the curriculum across school from one year to the next.

We can be more confident that our children make good progress in foundation subjects developing robust knowledge and vocabulary.

Across the country, teachers are adopting a knowledge-rich approach to curriculum. Driven by social justice and a desire to ensure that all children are taught the best that has been thought and said, a grassroots movement of teacher innovation has resulted.

So thank you to everyone that has been part of this movement. The movement is growing, and it’s growing to the benefit of teachers, pupils and our country.

Thank you so much for what you are doing.