Liam Fox – 2018 Speech on Free Trade

Below is the text of the speech made by Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, on 25 July 2018.

Good afternoon. It is a pleasure to be back in Washington.

I would like to thank our hosts, the Heritage Foundation, for inviting me to address such a distinguished gathering, on a topic that is not only close to my heart professionally, but more politically relevant than at any time in the past thirty years.

In my first speech as Secretary of State for International Trade I set out the case for an open and liberal trading environment.

That speech was in Manchester in the North of England – home of the Industrial Revolution, and a city with iconic associations to free trade.

That was nearly was two years ago when trade barely registered on the radar for most of our media. How different things are today when trade is front and centre of the international political debate . The disputes between the US and China, around NAFTA, steel and aluminium tariffs, and the UK’s future trade agreement with the European Union are the most talked about issues of the day.

It is therefore a good time for us to examine both our attitudes to trade from first principles and to measure them against our domestic priorities and international obligations.

It was just over 240 years ago, on 9 March 1776 that Adam Smith published the Wealth of Nations.

It set out the principles for the emerging world of global commerce at the end of the eighteenth century with a vision of what trade could produce in terms of prosperity and opportunity.

He countered the dominant mercantilist viewpoint – revolutionary in its time – and the case he set out is just as relevant today.

Indeed, he reminds us still, that the essential element of a successful trading system is mutual benefit.

David Ricardo took these principles of free trade forward when, in 1817, he published the theory of comparative advantage.

Building on Smith a generation before, Ricardo described the economic reality of the gains from trade and demonstrated how free and open trade is profitable to all.

It is one of the most powerful concepts in economics, described by the economist Paul Samuelson as the only proposition in all the social sciences that is both true and non-trivial. It remains, to this day, the most fundamental justification of the power of free trade.

Now of course, since those days, since 1817, the world has changed beyond all recognition, yet the experiences of globalisation, and of technological advances unimaginable in Ricardo’s time, have only served to validate his theory.

The principles of free and open trade have underpinned the multilateral institutions, rules and alliances that helped rebuild post-war Europe and the world beyond.

They helped usher the fall of communism and the tearing down of the Iron Curtain; they facilitated 70 years of global prosperity, and they have raised the living standards of hundreds of millions of our fellow human beings across the world.

Indeed free trade has allowed us to take 1 billion of our fellow human beings out of abject poverty in just one generation – one of the great achievements in history.

Just as predicted in the early theorising by Smith, Ricardo and others, time and time again we find a strong positive correlation between economic openness and growth.

During the 1990’s, per capita income grew three times faster in the developing countries that lowered trade barriers than in those that did not.

That effect is not confined to the developing countries, either. The OECD Growth Project found that a 10 percentage-point increase in trade exposure was associated with a 4 per cent rise in income per capita. Free trade works.

Globally, as free trade has blossomed, poverty levels have fallen to their lowest in history: bringing industry, jobs and wealth where once there was only deprivation.

Trade liberalisation gives consumers greater choice, and the competition it unleashes brings higher quality and standards at lower prices for everything from food and drink to toys and cars. Free trade provides developing countries with the opportunity to embrace the international trading system, to integrate into global value chains, and ultimately to grow their economies.

But the effects of free and open trade go further than simple economics. This is particularly true in the era of globalisation and will become even more so in the future. I have already mentioned the fact that free trade has already allowed us to take 1 billion of our fellow human beings out of abject poverty.

But trade is not an end in itself. It is a means to spread prosperity. That prosperity underpins social cohesion. That social cohesion in turn underpins political stability, and that political stability is the building block of our collective security. It is a continuum that cannot be interrupted without consequence. If prosperity is denied to those who aspire to it – and free trade is a key enabler of this – we should not be surprised if the result is further mass migration across the globe or indeed political radicalisation.

Those of us, the world’s richest countries, who have done well from a global free trade system cannot simply say ‘we’ve done okay’ and pull the drawbridge up behind us without having to pay a price.

There are many arguments in the worlds of politics and economics that will never be settled – just as well for the politicians and journalists here today – and are as much a matter of interpretation as they are objective data.

But the effect of protectionism is as close to settled science as anything in economics will ever be: it means reduced productivity gains and lost economic growth. Long run historical trends suggest that a 20 per cent reduction in trade holds back productivity by around 5 per cent.

And worse, in a world of globalisation where interdependency is increasing and where disruptions in one part of the world can quickly ricochet around the rest, our ability to act unilaterally with impunity is diminishing by the day. The 2008 financial crisis was just the latest example of how economic earthquake in one part of the globe can soon be the financial tsunami for the rest.

We, today, are at an important juncture in the history of free and open trade, and of the established international order.

In many ways, the picture is actually a positive one. After several years of relative stagnation, the growth in global trade is once again outpacing the rise in global GDP with trade predicted to grow by 4.5 per cent this year with GDP growing by 3.8 per cent.

The global economy continues to rebound from the dark days of the financial crash and ensuing recession experienced by many large economies.

Yet it is also a reflection of how globalisation and new technology continue to facilitate trade, and the irrepressible growth of the digital and knowledge economies – sectors which hardly existed even two decades ago.

And this is perhaps the root of our current paradox which is this: we have seen the benefits of free trade at home and abroad. We are seeing a rise in living standards and a reduction in global poverty. We are witnessing our innovative industries achieve global dominance.

Who, 20 years ago, could ever have imagined the global impact of Google, of Facebook or of Amazon? Who would have believed how cheaply we could access the newest electronic gadgets from mobile phones with more computer capacity than the Apollo programme, or the latest high definition TVs at seemingly evermore affordable prices?

Yet, even with all this evidence of the success of our own economic beliefs, the public, especially in the world’s richest countries, are seemingly questioning the benefits of a free trading system with politicians seemingly caught in a crisis of self confidence in what was once an article of faith for many.

Perhaps at least part of the explanation lies in the rate of change and reorientation of our economies and the fear of actual and potential displacement felt by many workforces.

In Britain we have seen industries like coal mining all but disappear, but new service industries and modern manufacturing take their place, including the growth of renewable energy. In areas such as steel production we have seen new technologies enable us to produce the same output with far fewer employees.

It is, and will be, new technology that will be the major disruptive force in our economies. We will best serve both our economies and our workforce not by turning our back on free trade, but by ensuring that we can provide mitigation for those who bear the brunt of change by providing the necessary economic support, especially in re-skilling, retraining and education.

Change is coming and we must embrace it – for our global competitors certainly will – but we must also be willing to reach out that helping hand to the men and women in our countries who will most feel the winds of change and use our skills, our experience and our knowledge to maximise the benefits for the generations to come.

We can bring prosperity and revival to some of our challenged industrial communities as they transition to new patterns of work as they have always done. From the agricultural age to the industrial revolution, to the rise of the knowledge economy, change is forever with us. Rather than seeking to avoid the realities of the globalised economy, we should ensure that its rising tide lifts all boats.

To do so, we require a set of global rules that are transparent, robust and enforceable and institutions that are credible and accountable. Despite its flaws, trade specialisation and innovation, largely as a result of globalisation, has spawned a productivity revolution through increased competition, economies of scale and global value chains.

When this is combined with the effect of liberal values of meritocracy, democracy and the rule of law, it can create a tidal wave of innovation and creativity.

It is no coincidence that the United Kingdom and the United States are among the world’s most innovative economies, while those with more authoritarian regimes are only now beginning to catch up as centralised planning at least in some cases gives way to individual creativity.

In the twentieth century, one of the products of the influence of the US and the UK in particular was the creation of the WTO.

From the founding in the aftermath of the Secord World War of the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade, the WTO emerged as the home of the rules-based international trading system, and the repository of those free trading values that have underpinned global growth and facilitated more formal trading agreements.

It is worth remembering that these rules, and the WTO itself, are not an external imposition on our economies, but were largely shaped and codified by the work of successive US and British governments.

In 1948, our nations were founding members of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

In 1986 it was the US, under President Reagan, that launched the Uruguay Round of multilateral negotiations that led to the establishment of the World Trade Organisation.

The United States has been at the heart of the WTO since the very beginning.

Of course, the system that we established in 1995 is also in need of some refurbishment.

After all, the global economy is now driven by advances in technology that were embryonic in 1995.

Who could have foreseen, for example, the rise of the digital economy? Or how knowledge and data have become so valuable? Or the blurring between goods and services? Just imagine the concept of selling a digital code on the internet to build something on a 3D printer. It would have sounded like science fiction when the WTO began.

The structures of the international system may not have caught up with the modern world. But that is cause for reform and renewal, not rejection. The UK and US are ideally placed to work together to modernise, and make the international rules-based trading system work better, so the benefits of free trade can truly be felt by all.

Above all, the WTO remains the way to ensure that a level playing field is created and maintained between the major actors in international trade but its rules must be enforceable and the actions of its members fully transparent if confidence is to be maintained.

All of this is occurring in a period of rapid change in the patterns of global trade.

The thriving economies of South and East Asia and, increasingly, Africa, are, and will become, ever more important as their newfound prosperity drives demand for the goods and services from more advanced economies, like the UK and the US.

The sheer scale of the change that is underway is often difficult to grasp from here in the West, in countries which have long enjoyed economic and political dominance.

Twice this year I have been in the Chinese city of Shenzhen. When Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997 Shenzhen had a population of 5.2 million. Today it has a population of nearly 12.5 million.

By 2030 China is expected to have more than 220 cities with a population of more than a million. The whole of Europe has 35.

And on top of the vast Asia-Pacific growth it is predicted that there will be 1.1 billion middle class Africans by 2060. We are living through a period of profound and stunning change. Such a shift, not just in global demographics, but in the rise of the collective wealth of developing countries, will determine where the golden economic opportunities of the future will be – and where we must be too, if we are to provide jobs and prosperity for our peoples in the future.

If we are to navigate the changes that the next decade will bring, we have to fully accommodate these changes and recognise the emerging pattern of our own trade too. We cannot wish away change any more than we can ignore its effects. As I used to say to my patients when I still practised as a doctor ‘there’s no point in complaining about the air when there’s nothing else to breathe.’

Within a rapidly changing world, the trading relationship between the UK and the United States remains a consistent source of stability and prosperity. And it is our two nations that have the opportunity to negotiate a trailblazing, modern free trade agreement.

Because we both fundamentally believe in trading and commercial freedom, our interests are not in opposition to other countries – trade between us is not a zero-sum game.

The UK is the largest source of Foreign Direct Investment into the USA, with around $560bn of holdings here – more than France and Germany combined and 30 per cent more than Japan.

Our investment is also twenty times the investment from China, and thirty times that of Mexico.

British companies employ over a million workers across every state in the Union, from Ohio and Pennsylvania to Florida to California.

I don’t know if we have any Texans here today, but more than 107,000 people in the Lone Star State are employed by UK firms and I wonder how many of them understand that.

Likewise, American firms employee huge numbers of British people. We have more than a trillion dollars invested in one another’s economies – probably the most interdependent investment relationship on our planet today.

Yet we are also on the threshold of a renewed trading relationship that will further enrich both our nations.

For the first time in more than four decades, the United Kingdom will have an independent trade policy required to forge closer ties to our closest economic partner, through an ambitious free trade agreement.

It is an unprecedented opportunity for an ambitious and future-proof framework for our bilateral trade. We must not let it pass us by.

Likewise we must not fail to take the opportunity for global leadership in the areas where we already excel, particularly in trade in services and especially financial services. The UK and the US host the two leading global financial centres and are at the forefront of innovation. Our deep and broad relationship on financial services is a cornerstone of the modern global economy. We should make it even easier in the future for businesses to operate across the Atlantic through frictionless trade.

Fundamentally, our close economic ties are underpinned by the strong personal links that tie our two peoples. We share a common language, mostly, but also the ties of history, and even more importantly of values. We must also be linked by our shared ambition to shape the global economy in ways that match our shared interests.

It is not just in our economic interests but in our strategic interests for the long term.

For the past century our two nations have stood shoulder to shoulder against mankind’s gravest security threats. We have saved Europe in the 20th century from the twin scourges of Communism and Fascism.

We must have the optimism and self confidence now to shape it for the future: free markets, through free trade, for the benefit of free people.

I will leave you today with the words of President Reagan:

“The freer the flow of world trade, the stronger the tides of human progress and peace among nations”

There is no greater prize than that.

Thank you.

David Lidington – 2018 Statement on the Infected Blood Inquiry

Below is the text of the statement made by David Lidington, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, in the House of Commons on 2 July 2018.

On 8 February 2018, I announced the appointment of Sir Brian Langstaff to chair the infected blood inquiry. From the outset, Sir Brian has been clear that he is determined to put people at the heart of the inquiry and to ensure an inclusive and transparent process.

Sir Brian and his team conducted a public consultation on the proposed terms of reference for the inquiry, which ran from 2 March to 26 April. They invited contributions via an online questionnaire, email, written correspondence and telephone. The inquiry team also held 15 meetings with groups and individuals across the UK, and Sir Brian is keen for the inquiry to continue to do that as it moves forward.

The inquiry received almost 700 responses to its consultation and Sir Brian, having reflected on those consultation responses, wrote to me on 7 June to advise me of the outcome and of his recommendations for the terms of reference. The terms of reference are comprehensive and reflect the key points made during the consultation.

The geographical scope of the inquiry is UK-wide. The inquiry will look at issues relating to the whole of the UK, as well as regionally. Sir Brian expects the inquiry team to hold regular meetings across the UK. I have therefore consulted, as I am required to do under the Inquiries Act 2005, with the devolved Administrations of Scotland and Wales and, in the absence of a Northern Ireland Executive, with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who, in turn, consulted the permanent secretary of the Northern Ireland Department of Health. The Governments of Scotland and Wales, and my right hon. Friend, were content with Sir Brian’s recommendations, and I am happy to accept his recommendations without amendment. I have written to Sir Brian to confirm this.

The terms of reference have been published and deposited in the Libraries of both Houses today. The inquiry can now formally begin its work; it will start today—2 July 2018. Sir Brian proposes to use groups of experts to assist the inquiry. Those groups would cover all the material fields relevant to the inquiry. Their evidence would be public, transparent and subject to scrutiny. People affected, and other participants to the inquiry, will be able to propose experts and put forward questions to the expert groups.

During the inquiry’s public consultation, views were expressed both for and against the appointment of additional panel members. Some, noting the complex and difficult issues to be examined by the inquiry, wanted a panel of many experts to assist the chair. It is Sir Brian’s view that his proposal for expert groups will achieve the objectives of those who have been in favour of panel members by providing legitimacy and transparency, a diverse range of expertise and, importantly, speed. Sir Brian’s view is that experts will be able to progress work in parallel in a way that co-determining panel members could not and that, very importantly, everything the expert groups will do will be public. Sir Brian plans now to discuss this proposed approach with those who will most centrally participate in the inquiry, particularly survivors and the groups representing them, and to ask ​them whether, in the light of the proposed approach, there remains any significant wish for him to be joined by a decision-making panel. Sir Brian has asked me to defer a decision on panel members until core participants have been appointed and have had the opportunity to consider the proposed approach.

I am aware that when my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Damian Green) met people affected before Christmas last year, many supported the idea of the chair sitting alongside other panel members. I have not lost sight of that, but I think it is only right that I allow Sir Brian time to consult core participants. I therefore do not propose to appoint other panel members at this time, but I will consider the issue once core participants have had an opportunity to look at Sir Brian’s proposed approach. Of course, section 7 of the 2005 Act allows me to make further appointments to the inquiry panel during the course of the inquiry, with the consent of the chair. Speed is of the essence, and I have asked Sir Brian to report back to me as quickly as possible; I will then make my decision on panel members.

Many thousands of people from across the United Kingdom have been affected by this terrible tragedy. Sadly, a number of those affected have died since the inquiry was announced. One of the clearest messages from the inquiry’s consultation was the need for speed. In his letter to me, Sir Brian noted that one respondent to the consultation had said:

“I really hope this Inquiry does not drag on as I would like to live long enough to see the result”.

It is extremely important that the infected blood inquiry can complete its work as quickly as a thorough examination of the facts allows, and this is something that Sir Brian and his team are very aware of.

This inquiry is a priority for the Government, and I have assured Sir Brian that the Cabinet Office will provide all the resources and support that the inquiry needs to meet the demanding timescales that are essential in order to meet the expectations of people affected by this tragedy, who have already waited so long for answers. The inquiry will have much to do over the coming months, and I am sure it will waste no time in getting started. The first stages of the inquiry will be critical for obtaining evidence, including witness statements from people who have been infected and affected. The inquiry will use this evidence to help to uncover what happened and why. It will hold its preliminary hearings in September at Church House, London, where core participants will be able to set out their priorities for the inquiry. My exchange of correspondence with Sir Brian and the full terms of reference have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses, and I commend this statement to the House.

Lilian Greenwood – 2018 Speech on Rough Sleeping in Nottingham

Below is the text of the speech made by Lilian Greenwood, the Labour MP for Nottingham South, in the House of Commons on 2 July 2018.

May I begin by sending my best wishes to the Under-Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the hon. Member for South Derbyshire (Mrs Wheeler), and her husband? I know that the Under-Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the hon. Member for Selby and Ainsty (Nigel Adams), is supporting her at present, and I am sure that he will share the information from this debate with her when she returns.

According to homelessness charity St Mungo’s, the average age of death for a man who dies while homeless is 47; for a woman it is just 43. Rough sleeping is the most dangerous form of homelessness. It can be lonely, frightening and violent. For some, it is quite literally a death sentence. Holly Dagnall, Nottingham Community Housing Association’s director of homes and wellbeing, describes homelessness as a human emergency and who could disagree?

Until 2015, the snapshot figure of people sleeping rough in Nottingham was almost never in double figures, but the latest official estimate, in November last year, was of 43 rough sleepers. Six months on, that figure has not fallen. Nottingham is not an exception; the city ranks 56th of all local authorities for the rate of rough sleeping. Official figures recording a 169% rise in rough sleeping in England since 2010 will surprise no one. We have all seen the evidence of the growing crisis with our own eyes on the streets of Westminster and in many of our constituencies every night.

Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP) The hon. Lady is absolutely right that we have homelessness across the whole of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Does she agree that perhaps it is time for a dual strategy that addresses not only homelessness, but the issue of helping people to get employment? We have to give them vision, we have to give them hope and we have to give them a future. The Government need to look at both things together.

Lilian Greenwood The hon. Gentleman is quite right that this is about providing people with not just a home, but the means by which they can sustain themselves in a home.

The reasons for the increased numbers are far from a mystery. Crisis cites the impact of welfare reform, rising rents and the housing crisis. People become homeless and sleep rough for many reasons, but the single biggest cause of statutory homelessness is now the end of an assured shorthold tenancy. The cost of private rented accommodation has risen three times faster than earnings in England since 2010, and real earnings are still lagging behind 2008 levels a decade on.​

Although I firmly believe that the Government bear a great deal of responsibility for the rise in homelessness and fear that their target of halving rough sleeping over the course of the Parliament and eliminating it altogether by 2027 lacks the urgency that the situation demands, I do very much welcome the Homelessness Reduction Act 2018 and the Government’s decision to develop the national rough sleeping strategy. My reason for seeking tonight’s debate is to address the content of that strategy.

Concern about rising levels of rough sleeping in Nottingham was one of the drivers behind a new investigation commissioned jointly by Framework Housing Association and Opportunity Nottingham, the Big Lottery-funded programme supporting people with multiple needs. “No Way Out: A Study of Persistent Rough Sleeping in Nottingham” was produced by Dr Graham Bowpitt from Nottingham Trent University and Karan Kaur from Opportunity Nottingham, with help from Nottingham’s street outreach team.

The study sought to discover how far the recent increase in rough sleeping might have arisen

“not just from more people coming on to the streets, but also from people remaining there longer or repeatedly”.

It sought to identify

“the characteristics that distinguish persistent rough sleepers from the wider street homeless population, and any common features in their circumstances that might help to explain persistence.”

In the remainder of my speech, I will focus on the study’s key findings before commenting on wider issues in Nottingham and at a national level.

For the purposes of the report, and therefore this debate, the definition of persistent rough sleeper is

“someone who was recorded sleeping rough on at least 10% of nights between 1st April 2016 and 31st March 2017, i.e. 36 nights (the ‘sustained’), or who has been seen sleeping rough in at least three out of the six years between 2012 and 2017 (the ‘recurrent’).”

The report says:

“There were 72 persistent rough sleepers who met the above definition…7 who were both sustained and recurrent, 33 who were sustained and 32 who were recurrent. Of these…10 were women…and 62 men…58 were recorded as of White British ethnicity…most of the others being White (Other)…13 were recorded as having a disability (18%).”

According to the report, Opportunity Nottingham’s beneficiaries are recruited to the programme because they are assessed as having

“at least three of the four prescribed complex needs: homelessness, substance misuse, mental ill-health and offending.”

Of the 72 persistent rough sleepers, 67—that is 93%—had problems with substance misuse. Some 49 were offenders or at risk of offending, and more than half had mental health problems.

Mr Chris Leslie (Nottingham East) (Lab/Co-op) I commend my hon. Friend for securing the debate, and Opportunity Nottingham and NTU for producing the report. My hon. Friend mentioned that over half of those persistent rough sleepers had a mental health issue. Is it not hardly startling that there is a correlation with the reduction in the number of overnight mental health beds—not just nationwide, but specifically in Nottinghamshire? We have lost 176 mental health overnight beds since 2010, and that is one of the core drivers putting people back on to the streets.​

Lilian Greenwood My hon. Friend is quite right to highlight the way in which cuts to our health service and other services are having an impact on the prevalence of rough sleeping.

Of the 38 Opportunity Nottingham beneficiaries, 32% had spent at least two weeks in prison since engaging with Opportunity Nottingham, 42% had experienced at least one eviction from accommodation, 42% had been excluded from a service because of unacceptable behaviour, and 24% reported begging as a source of income. In each case, those proportions are much higher than among the whole beneficiary cohort.

The study also identified common themes in the narratives provided by the street outreach team and Opportunity Nottingham personal development co-ordinators in relation to those persistently sleeping rough, stating:

“rough sleepers…and those who work with them are encountering a diminishing range of options when seeking to leave the streets, arising from cuts in public funding and adverse changes in the housing market. Hostels have closed, Housing Benefit availability is more restricted, affordable tenancies are more limited in terms of quantity and quality, and the supply of tenancy support has all but dried up.”

Alex Norris (Nottingham North) (Lab/Co-op) I congratulate my hon. Friend on the powerful case that she is making on behalf of our city. I served on the council in our city at a time when we virtually eradicated rough sleeping, and now we are back to where we are today. Does my hon. Friend agree that this situation has been caused by a toxic combination of under-employment, poor housing supply, cuts to drug and alcohol services, inadequate mental health services and other eminently tackleable issues?

Lilian Greenwood My hon. Friend is absolutely right. These issues were preventable and they are preventable. The last Labour Government did a great deal to tackle rough sleeping and it is very disappointing that we find ourselves where we are today.

Financial issues obviously loom large in the lives of many rough sleepers. This was found to be particularly true of migrants with no recourse to public funds, but many local rough sleepers also encountered restricted access to welfare benefits. The system can simply be too hard to negotiate, resulting in a preference for begging. Of course, that is an unreliable source of income, and it puts accommodation at risk, which is particularly relevant to the recurrent group.

The high proportion of persistent rough sleepers who have been in prison find that a lack of support on discharge frequently precipitates a return to a previous chaotic lifestyle. The operation of homelessness legislation itself can act as a barrier in some cases. For instance, rough sleepers fleeing from another locality, perhaps because of domestic violence, can be interpreted as having no local connection to Nottingham, while others vacating accommodation because of intimidation may be viewed as having become intentionally homeless.

The level of complex need generates particular problems, with many specialist facilities having been lost, as we have heard. As a result, many rough sleepers carry the baggage of past evictions and negative risk assessments, leaving them barred from many facilities and making them harder to accommodate. They often miss out on mental health or other assessments that might otherwise have opened up access to specialised support.​

Ambivalent relationships with hostel accommodation are frequently mentioned, with stories of evictions for rent arrears or inappropriate behaviour, perhaps because of a lack of support. There are also stories of intimidation or financial exploitation by other residents, resulting in many refusing offers out of fear or trying to avoid being lured into a lifestyle they wish to escape. Personal relationships may have a toxic effect on the lives of persistent rough sleepers. Women, in particular, can be trapped in exploitative and abusive relationships that impede solutions to their housing problems.

When those factors are combined, it can often create disillusionment with what is perceived as a hostile system, making the option to live on the streets attractive. Experiences of repeated failure, the sense of there being no alternative, and the effect of growing numbers of rough sleepers in generating a mutually supporting community create an inertia in engaging rough sleepers to pursue better options.

While this was a limited study of rough sleeping in one locality, I hope that it will prompt the Minister to consider initiatives that are worthy of further research and experimentation. The report recognises how an ambivalent relationship with hostels can leave rough sleepers stranded, calling on the city council and other social housing providers to adopt schemes such as Housing First that bypass hostels and accommodate rough sleepers straight from the streets with appropriate support. Housing First is being piloted in Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool—places with a devolution deal. What resources exist to develop Housing First as part of the solution in areas with high levels of persistent rough sleeping where there is not a directly elected mayor?

The complexities of human relationships should be acknowledged when drawing up personalised housing plans. For example, requirements such as a local connection and intentionality rules should not be applied too harshly to people who have a genuine need to escape a damaging relationship. Couples in a valued relationship should be able to be accommodated together.

As has been said, mental health problems have been shown to feature prominently among Nottingham’s homeless population. The Care Act 2014 was introduced to make social care assessments more readily available, but there is evidence to suggest that homeless people struggle to access this provision. Some councils have taken the view that rough sleepers with poor mental health or alcohol and substance-related problems have no entitlement to a needs assessment under the Care Act because, it is said, their need for care or support is caused by “other circumstantial factors” such as homelessness or rough sleeping rather than an underlying health condition. Can the Minister confirm that that interpretation of the Act, which has the effect of excluding rough sleepers from an entitlement that exists for the rest of the population, is incorrect? Will the Government issue guidance to clarify that people sleeping rough are entitled to a needs assessment under the Care Act on the same basis as everyone else? Does the Minister agree that when an individual who appears to have support or care needs presents to a local authority for assistance under the Homelessness Reduction Act, a referral should be made to the appropriate authority for a care needs ​assessment, with the outcome of that assessment taken into account when developing any personalised housing plan?

The correlation between persistent rough sleeping and recent spells in prison reflects a failure in offender rehabilitation. That was supposed to have been remedied by the Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014, but there is evidence that despite the passing of this Act, short-term prisoners are still being discharged to no fixed abode. What measures will the Government take to ensure its more effective implementation?

I first started applying for my Adjournment debate on this subject many weeks ago but, as so often happens in this place, the timing of today’s debate has proved incredibly fortuitous, because earlier today St Mungo’s launched a new report here in Parliament entitled “On my own two feet”. That peer research, which I am sure the Minister is aware of, examines why some people return to rough sleeping after time off the streets. It identifies a range of factors that can push people away from housing or services, and also pull factors that can draw people back on to the streets. When push and pull factors work together, they can lead someone to choose to return to rough sleeping or to see no alternative when a crisis comes along. The research also considered how holes in someone’s personal safety net can put them at greater risk. I hope the Government will look carefully at the recommendations in the St Mungo’s report before publishing their rough sleeping strategy next month.

I do not have time to talk at length about the excellent work being undertaken in Nottingham to tackle homelessness over decades. Since 2010, the Framework street outreach team has been identifying rough sleepers and linking them into assessment, support and accommodation. In 2016, Nottingham was successful in bidding for the Government’s £40 million homelessness prevention programme, and it used that to extend the reach of the outreach team across the rest of the county for two years.

Nottingham City Council and Framework have continued to resource and implement a “No second night out” policy after Government funding ended. Since 2016 the city council has committed more than £240,000 in additional funding to enhance its winter measures and ensure sufficient provision to meet the council’s pledge that no one needs to sleep rough in Nottingham. Their co-ordinated approach has formed part of the sound basis for their bid for the new £30 million rough sleeping fund announced by the Department in March 2018 for enhanced year-round support. I hope that the Minister can clarify whether the £30 million announced can only fund emergency measures, or if it can be used to support long-term resettlement for persistent rough sleepers. Is the fund a one-off measure to produce a short-term temporary outcome, or will there be further allocations for future years?

In the 2016 Budget, the Chancellor announced £100 million of capital funding to assist with the cost of developing Housing First and move-on units for people who have been sleeping rough. Some £50 million of that was allocated to the London Mayor, who now has the programme up and running. The other £50 million was for the rest of the country, where rough sleeping has risen more quickly than in the capital. When will it be ​possible for providers outside London to bid for some of the remaining £50 million, and what is the process for them to do so?

Alongside the city council and housing associations, including Framework and NCHA, there are many voluntary organisations and faith groups that make a huge contribution to supporting fellow citizens in Nottingham via food banks, day centres, night shelters and many other support services. We would not be without them. For some rough sleepers, particularly those with few options, they are a lifeline. What advice does the Minister have for local authorities dealing with long-term rough sleepers who have no recourse to public funds? What accommodation and support options are available to them, and how can they be funded?

Homelessness is a human emergency, but ending it is not an impossible task. The Government say they have a target to reduce rough sleeping by half by 2022, and to eliminate it entirely by 2027. If they are not to fail, Ministers must ensure that their strategy addresses the needs of all rough sleepers, including those who are hardest to identify, reach, support and sustain.

James Brokenshire – 2018 Statement on Housing Policy

Below is the text of the statement made by James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in the House of Commons on 2 July 2018.

Since we published our Housing White Paper last year, we have been making significant progress in fixing the broken housing market, reforming our planning system and increasing housing ​supply to start to improve affordability, as well as taking steps to ensure that communities have the safe and high-quality homes they need to thrive.

Our new national planning policy framework—coming into force this summer following our consultation—will transform the planning system, and at of autumn Budget we set out £15 billion the new financial support for housing, taking our total investment to £44 billion over the next five years. Since 2010 we have delivered over a million new homes, and in 2016-17 we saw 217,350 new homes delivered—the highest number in all but one of the last 30 years.

Our new national housing agency, Homes England, is taking a more assertive approach to getting homes built. This has already started—for example in Burgess Hill, a site that is desperately needed for affordable housing but which sat undeveloped. Homes England has now stepped in, bought the land and is delivering the infrastructure. Today I am announcing a plan to build over 3,000 homes on the site.

But we need to go further, and in particular we recognise the housing market needs an injection of innovation and competition. Getting new players into the market and embracing modern methods of construction will allow us to build faster and drive up choice and quality for consumers.

To help do this, today I am announcing that the local authority accelerated construction programme is moving into its delivery phase. Through this fund, we are releasing £450 million to speed up delivery of homes on surplus local authority land and encouraging the use of modern methods of construction and SME builders. Homes England has started the process of funding negotiations with a number of local authorities to ensure their sites can deliver greater pace and innovation in house building.

But this is not just about the number of homes, it is also about ensuring we deliver the right homes in the right places, and building communities that people are happy to call home.

Today I am announcing that we have launched a new Homes England programme to deliver the community housing fund. Community groups and local authorities in all parts of England outside London are now able to apply for capital and revenue funding to bring community-led housing schemes forward. Homes England has published a prospectus on its website at: www.gov.uk/topic/housing/funding-programmes.

Through this fund, housing will be delivered where the mainstream market is unable to deliver. The housing it helps provide will be tailored to meet specific local needs and will remain locally affordable in perpetuity. It will help sustain local communities and local economies and help raise the bar in design and construction standards. Now that it is launched, it will unlock a pipeline of thousands of new homes and help this innovative sector grow to make a substantial additional contribution to housing supply. A similar programme is being developed for London—delivered by the GLA—and an announcement on that will be made shortly.

We also want to protect the rights of tenants in the private rented sector and give them more security. That is why I am publishing today an eight-week consultation on overcoming the barriers to landlords offering longer tenancies to tenants in the private rented sector.​
Longer tenancies will help tenants, particularly those with children, who are currently on short-term contracts and who are unable to plan for the future. Longer tenancies can benefit landlords too by helping to avoid the costs of finding new tenants. The aim is to collect views on what could be done to provide tenants with greater security while providing flexibility for landlords to regain their properties if their circumstances change. In the consultation, we propose a new model tenancy agreement of three years with a six-month break clause and options on how to implement the model which include legislation, financial incentives for landlords, and voluntary measures to encourage its use. Copies of the consultation will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and are available online.

Finally, for too long, the leasehold market has been left to evolve without much attention to who actually benefits. We are determined to reform the leasehold market to make it work for consumers. We have announced a programme of leasehold reform including a ban on new leasehold houses, restricting ground rents to a peppercorn and making enfranchisement easier, quicker and cheaper. We will bring forward legislation at the earliest opportunity, but we want the industry to change in advance of legislation and have written to developers setting out our expectations.

Today I can also confirm that Government funding schemes for housing supply will no longer support the unjustified use of leasehold for new houses, wherever possible, and that we will hardwire this as a condition into any new schemes. In future, ground rents on new long leases in flats will be limited to a peppercorn.

Nadhim Zahawi – 2018 Statement on Childcare

Below is the text of the statement made by Nadhim Zahawi, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education, in the House of Commons on 2 July 2018.

I wish to update the House on two important changes the Government are making to childcare.

I have today laid a new statutory instrument, the Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations and Childcare (Early Years Provision Free of Charge) (Extended Entitlement) (Amendment) Regulations 2018. This SI, which will come into force on 31 August 2018, makes important changes to improve the fairness of the childcare disqualification arrangements and extend 30 hours free childcare to children in foster care.

The childcare disqualification arrangements are an important part of the strong set of safeguards we have in place to ensure the safety and welfare of our children and young people. These arrangements apply exclusively to individuals working in childcare in schools and the private and voluntary sectors, up to and including reception classes, and in wraparound care for children up to the age of eight. These arrangements build on the safeguards provided by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) regime, which all schools and early years childcare providers must operate.

Under the arrangements, any individual who has committed an offence, or who is in breach of other criteria set out in legislation, is prohibited from working in these settings. The arrangements also include provision that disqualifies an individual from working in childcare because of an offence committed by someone who lives or works in their household, known as disqualification by association. This means that a member of staff is unable to work in childcare even though they themselves have not committed a relevant offence.

Disqualified individuals can obtain a waiver from Ofsted against their disqualification. Employers must suspend or redeploy the individual until a waiver is granted, as individuals who are disqualified cannot work in childcare without an Ofsted waiver. This provision has unfortunately been widely misunderstood and a number of individuals have been redeployed or suspended unnecessarily. Consequently, the disqualification by association provision is having a detrimental impact on employers and employees, as well as family life. It is also having a negative impact on the rehabilitation of offenders.

In response to widespread concerns about the disqualification by association provision, the Department for Education undertook a public consultation on options ​for its reform. We were most grateful for the near 450 responses received. The responses to the consultation largely reiterated the earlier concerns. The consultation strongly favoured reform, and the majority of respondents advocated the removal of disqualification by association in non-domestic settings.

Making new regulations enables us to address these concerns, by removing the disqualification by association where childcare is provided in non-domestic settings, where other safeguarding measures are well observed and followed. The disqualification by association provision will however continue to apply where childcare is provided in domestic settings, where it provides an important safeguard.

We are supporting the changes we are making with new statutory guidance. This will reinforce existing messages about the importance of employers undertaking safer recruitment checks and provide them with advice on how they can manage their workforce in the absence of the disqualification by association component of the arrangements. The Department for Education will also continue to provide a helpline and mailbox to employers and employees to help them with the arrangements.

The Government are also extending 30 hours free childcare for three and four-year-olds to children in foster care. This is a key Government early years policy, and foster families should have access to the same support and opportunities that all families have.

This Government’s ambitions for children during and after being looked after are the same as for any other child: that they have access to good health and wellbeing, fulfil their educational potential, build and maintain lasting relationships and participate positively in society. The role of the foster parent is central to achieving those high ambitions for the children in their care. Fostering provides stability, a home and an alternative family. Children in foster care want to feel part of a family and have a normal family life. We need to support foster parents and local authorities in a way that achieves that. That includes foster parents being able to work outside their caring responsibilities, where it is right for the child.

The SI I have laid today enables us to realise those ambitions, by allowing children in foster care to receive 30 hours free childcare where the following criteria are met:

That accessing the extended hours is consistent with the child’s care plan, placing the child at the centre of the process and decision making, and

that, in single parent families, the foster parent holds additional employment outside of their role as a foster parent; or

that in two parent families, both parents hold additional employment outside of their role as a foster parent.

The SI makes it clear that the eligibility of children in foster care will be determined by the responsible local authority.

We are supporting the changes with new statutory guidance and operational guidance. These will provide local authorities with detailed guidance on how they can discharge their duty to secure 30 hours free childcare for children in foster care, and ensure that the additional eligibility criteria are met.

Copies of the SI, our statutory and operational guidance documents, and the Government’s response to the consultation on changes to the childcare disqualification arrangements will be placed in the House Library.

John Glen – 2018 Statement on Justice and Home Affairs Opt-in Decision

Below is the text of the statement made by John Glen, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, in the House of Commons on 2 July 2018.

The proposed EU directive on credit purchasers, credit servicers and the recovery of collateral contains, among other things, provisions on a new EU mechanism for out-of-court collateral enforcement. The directive is part of a broader package of EU measures designed to reduce the levels of non-performing loans (NPLs) in the EU, as NPLs decrease profitability of banks, often leaving them in a weak position from which to provide finance to the wider economy in support of growth and jobs.

The Government have decided that it is in the UK’s interest not to opt in to the Justice and Home Affairs obligations within this directive as the provisions introduce an unnecessary level of administration to the UK’s existing collateral enforcement mechanisms, which are sufficiently robust and fit for purpose.

The directive states that where member states establish collateral enforcement mechanisms “by means of appropriation”, the rights of creditors “shall be governed by the applicable laws in each member state”. The Government’s view is that this provision addresses situations in which conflicts of laws points arise, in which case it is an applicable law provision and therefore includes JHA content.

The directive similarly governs applicable law if a borrower and lender from two different EU member states cannot agree on the appointment of a valuer—with the appointment of the valuer falling on the court within one of those member states.

The Government remain supportive of the European Commission’s broader efforts to reduce levels of NPLs in the EU, supporting solutions that are proportionate and targeted.

Theresa May – 2018 Speech at Chequers with Donald Trump

Below is the text of the speech made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, at Chequers on 13 July 2018.

I am pleased to welcome the President of the United States to Chequers today on his first official visit to the United Kingdom.

No two countries do more together than ours to keep their peoples safe and prosperous.

And we want to deepen that co-operation even further to meet the shared challenges we face, now and in the years ahead.

This morning President Trump and I visited Sandhurst, where we saw a demonstration of joint-working between British and American Special Forces – just one example of what is today the broadest, deepest and most advanced security co-operation of any two countries in the world.

Whether it is our pilots deterring the use of chemical weapons in Syria or defeating Daesh, our soldiers at the forefront of NATO’s presence in Eastern Europe, our navies in the Pacific enforcing sanctions on North Korea, or our unparalleled intelligence-sharing partnership thwarting attacks – our security co-operation is saving lives here in Britain, in America and right across the world.

That partnership is set to grow, with our armies integrating to a level unmatched anywhere, and the UK set to spend £24 billion on US equipment and support over the next decade.

Today we have also discussed how we can deepen our work together to respond to malign state activity, terrorism and serious crime.

In particular, on Russia, I thanked President Trump for his support in responding to the appalling use of a nerve agent in Salisbury, after which he expelled 60 Russian intelligence officers.

And I welcomed his meeting with President Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

We agreed that it is important to engage Russia from a position of strength and unity – and that we should continue to deter and counter all efforts to undermine our democracies.

Turning to our economic co-operation, with mutual investment between us already over $1 trillion, we want to go further.

We agreed today, that as the UK leaves the European Union, we will pursue an ambitious US-UK Free Trade Agreement.

The Chequers agreement reached last week provides the platform for Donald and me to agree an ambitious deal that works for both countries right across our economies.

A deal that builds on the UK’s independent trade policy; reducing tariffs, delivering a gold-standard in financial services co-operation, and – as two of the world’s most advanced economies – seizing the opportunity of new technology.

All of this will further enhance our economic co-operation, creating new jobs and prosperity for our peoples for generations to come.

The UK-US relationship is also defined by the role we play on the world stage.

Doing this means making tough calls and sometimes being prepared to say things that others might rather not hear.

From the outset President Trump has been clear about how he sees the challenges we face.

And on many, we agree.

For example, the need to deal with the long-standing nuclear threat of DPRK, where the agreement in Singapore has set in train the prospect of denuclearisation, to which the UK is proud to be contributing expertise.

Or the need to address the destabilising influence of Iran in the Middle East, where today we have discussed what more we can do to push back on Iran in Yemen and reduce humanitarian suffering.

Or the need for NATO allies to increase their defence spending and capability, on which we saw significant increases at yesterday’s summit. This includes Afghanistan, where this week I announced a further uplift of 440 UK troops – an ongoing commitment to a mission that began as NATO’s only use of Article 5, acting in support of the US.

Finally, let me say this about the wider transatlantic relationship.

It is all of our responsibility to ensure that transatlantic unity endures. For it has been fundamental to the protection and projection of our interests and values for generations.

With US leadership at its foundation, its beating heart remains our democratic values and our commitment to justice.

Those values are something that we in the UK will always cherish – as I know the US will too.

It is the strength of these values, and the common interests they create, that we see across the breadth of our societies in North America and Europe.

And that is why I am confident that this transatlantic alliance will continue to be the bedrock of our shared security and prosperity for years to come.

John Glen – 2018 Speech at Green Finance Summit

Below is the text of the speech made by John Glen, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, at the Green Finance Summit on 17 July 2018.

I’m delighted to address you all this morning for the second annual Green Finance Summit.

Ladies and gentleman – no one doubts the strength of the public will to fight climate change.

In such a time of friction and division, it comforts me to know this cause unifies our country across party political lines…

…as it continues to stand as one of the greatest challenges of our age.

How we manage our relationship with our oldest partner – the natural world – will be the test of our times.

As we know, up until recently, government and philanthropy have driven the debate and funded the growth of green finance.

But there is only so far that this approach can take us….

We have witnessed over the past 25 years a deeper – and genuine – engagement by the private sector in green finance…

…through the development of sophisticated financial instruments…

…and innovations to mobilise green capital.

All of this has helped propel the UK to the forefront of the global green finance market…

…with almost $25 billion of green bonds listed in London in seven currencies…

During my tenure as Economic Secretary to the Treasury, I am determined to push this agenda…

…for responsible capitalism…

…and for leveraging market forces to tackle the challenges we face as a collective.

Today I want to speak to you about three things.

Firstly – to take stock of how we arrived at the status quo.

Secondly – my vision for the future of green finance – one that is sustainable, mainstream, and culturally embedded.

Finally – how the work of the recently announced Green Finance Institute will be crucial in achieving this vision.

While I understand that there may be an increased number of political cynics in the room – which is not necessarily surprising given current events…

…I want to reassure you that this government’s commitment to stimulating a robust environment for green finance…

…is not mere political pageantry or a passing fad.

I am proud that the UK was at the forefront of setting a legislative mandate for combatting this challenge through the 2008 Climate Act.

But for too long, tackling climate change has been left to government, with the private sector largely left by the wayside…

…and as a believer in the sanctity of the free market…

…I am glad to see it taking a long-awaited place at the table…

…rising to meet the burgeoning appetite of markets and investors…

…to embrace green finance and responsible investing.

But green finance has yet to reach its full potential…

…as I believe it is largely untapped.

The conversation has been dominated by a few specific areas, such as green bonds.

And whilst there will always be a place for them, more lies further afield…

…in the breadth, and depth of global capital markets.

New instruments are gaining traction.

Take green loans, now accessible to a greater range of entities, and the emerging green mortgage market.

And the capacity for green securitisation is enormous.

It unlocks institutional investor capital to smaller projects that otherwise would be excluded from accessing capital.

Green funds are emerging from the fray with retail funds in particular becoming more engaged.

And of course this is being led, as ever, by a growing investor and consumer appetite.

A recent survey by Eon found 54% of UK consumers would definitely consider taking out a green loan to fund home energy efficiency improvements, with nearly a fifth citing energy efficiency as the most important factor when choosing a property.

A 2017 survey by Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing found that 86% of millennials are interested in sustainable investing.

Such demand will no doubt see an increasing number of asset managers and lenders broadening their offer on green products.

The figures will speak for themselves: at the end of 2017, only 17% of Europe’s sustainable investment funds were categorised with an environmental focus.

By the end of this year, we expect this number to have risen substantially, along with increased allocations of investments dedicated to fighting climate change.

As the needle shifts from fringe to mainstream, from curiosity to permanent action…

…I think we will continue to see a growth in product offering.

We may have solved the financing needs of the Paris agreement, but we are not here to discuss this today.

We are here to discuss how much further we need to go.

My vision for the next twelve months and beyond is an explosion of the momentum …

… to the point where ‘green finance’ becomes simply – ‘finance’.

We are seeing this happen.

For example, most of the top European insurers are committed to divesting from coal – pulling out a staggering USD 20 billion of investment.

Long-term climate change risks have been pushing pension funds to take action on their investment choices.

And the global green bond market continues to exceed expectations – the market is up 78% on 2016 to reach $155 billion of issuances.

Just yesterday I celebrated the largest green bond listing on the London Stock Exchange, of $1.58 billion, by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world’s largest bank.

While green and sustainable equity capital raised at the London Stock Exchange rose at a rate of 197% year-on-year.

And the Green Finance Taskforce, members of whom I welcome today, published a landmark report in March to help set the trajectory for UK green finance policy.

I want to quote a line from the report which I think cuts to the nub of the issue:

“the sheer scale of capital required dictates that this cannot be driven through either public or private sectors working alone…we need an international alignment of interests, incentives and policies”.

The momentous challenge facing us all requires a fundamental change of thinking…

…keep our ambitions limited to short-termism…

…or seek to hit targets or arbitrary timelines.

It is incumbent that whilst aiming for tangible results…

…we support an organic shift in the rationale of the market.

It is not enough that markets simply react to investor appetites.

A sustainable and long-term shift in mindset needs to happen…

…and the market needs to realise green finance is critical for long-term strategies.

This cultural pivot must happen at an institutional level – and it is already in train.

Because there is no doubting that the social impetus to transition to a low-carbon economy is there.

The whole market must now be brought along in parallel.

This calls for collaborative action…

…between governments, between public and private, and between sectors of our economy.

We have already seen so many successful advancements in this regard…

…from Barclay’s new green mortgage, offering consumers finance that aligns with their values…

… to international central banks forming a network to “green” the global financial system.

Executed well, green finance will not only help achieve our climate targets…

…but support long term economic resilience…

…and ensure the continued vitality and relevance of financial services.

Which is why the Chancellor’s announcement last month of the new Green Finance Institute is so important.

As he set out at Mansion House, we are working with the City of London to fund a permanent centre to champion green and sustainable finance.

The Institute will capitalise on the UK’s inherent strength: a magnet for capital and expertise.

My goal for this new venture is fourfold:

One – to provide strengthened purpose and branding to UK green finance.

The Institute will stand as a quality mark, a sign of the UK’s green finance expertise under one unified brand.

Two – to demonstrate our international leadership.

We already lead the world in this market, from attracting over $24 billion in international green bonds, to ensuring we remain partner of choice on green finance for some of the world’s biggest economies.

Three – driving innovation

As I set out earlier, it is not enough to live on the successes of the past…

… in order to ensure this market continues to grow, we must keep innovating.

Building on such strengths as FinTech and local currency finance.

And finally – setting the future agenda

The Institute will be a focal point for government-industry collaboration, working together to open up to new markets and drive forward future policy.

That’s why this morning I’m delighted to announce the City of London are establishing an Advisory Board to set out the shape and strategy of the Institute…

…which will be chaired by, Sir Roger Gifford…

…who brings his extensive experience in green finance to the role.

Members of the Board will be drawn from our domestic firms, as well as international financial leaders..

Because it’s not enough for the UK to lead…

… we need to make sure we’re taking everyone along with us…

…as we explore the opportunities this country voted to explore as Global Britain.

To conclude this morning., I want to share a quote with you:

“The…benefit of knowledge obliges you to act ethically. Complacency is not illegal, though it may be equally disastrous”.

Here was Churchill – speaking of the threats faced by Britain and the world in 1940 by a different kind of enemy.

From his immortal oratory, I couldn’t help but draw an analogy with the threat we now face.

We all know too much about what faces us – and responsibility is the natural corollary.

I am reassured by the ambition…

…of government – as a steward of the environment…

…and of a body politic – committed to the climate.

But it is by reaching for the invisible hand of the market…

…that green finance can endure…

…and sustain itself for the benefit of the collective good.

Thank you very much indeed.

Liam Fox – 2018 Speech on Global Trade

Below is the text of the speech made by Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, on 18 July 2018.

Good morning everyone and thanks to the Federation of Small Businesses for the opportunity to hold this gathering this morning.

In my first speech as Secretary of State for International Trade I set out the case for an open and liberal trading environment.

In that speech, in Manchester, with its iconic associations to free trade, I referenced Adam Smith, one of my political heroes – and not just because he was also Scottish and went to Glasgow university.

It was just over 240 years ago, on 9 March 1776 that he published the Wealth of Nations.

It set out the principles for the emerging world of global commerce at the end of the eighteenth century with a vision of what trade could produce in terms of prosperity and opportunity.

He countered the dominant mercantilist viewpoint – revolutionary in its time – and the case he set out is just as relevant today.

Indeed, he reminds us still, that the essential element of a successful trading system is mutual benefit.

David Ricardo took these principles of free trade forward when, in 1817, he published the theory of comparative advantage.

Building on Smith a generation before, Ricardo described the economic reality of the gains from trade and demonstrated how free and open trade is profitable to all.

When countries trade with each other, both sides benefit – even if one side is better at everything. It’s counter-intuitive but it is true nonetheless.

Ricardo talked of wine from Portugal and wool from England. Now Americans can buy iPhones built in China but designed in America – or the British can invest our pensions in a fund that trades stocks in London but has a back office in India. Everyone benefits.

Yet, although the principles of free trade are the same today as set out by Smith and Ricardo, the way we trade has changed beyond recognition.

Today, we stand on the verge of an unprecedented ability to liberate global trade to the benefit of all our citizens, with technological advances and burgeoning innovation dissolving away the barriers.

And Smith, nearly a quarter of a millennium later, is repeatedly vindicated. Time and again we find a strong positive correlation between economic openness and growth.

During the 1990s, per capita income grew 3 times faster in the developing countries that lowered trade barriers than in those that did not.

That effect is not confined to the developing world, either. The OECD Growth Project found that a 10 percentage-point increase in trade exposure was associated with a 4% rise in income per capita. So free trade works.

Trade, specialisation and innovation, largely as a result of globalisation, has been of huge and sustainable benefit to the world economy. This in turn has spawned a productivity revolution through increased competition, economies of scale and global value chains.

When this is combined with the effect of liberal values of meritocracy, democracy and the rule of law, it can create a tidal wave of innovation and creativity.

It is no coincidence that the United Kingdom and the United States are among the most innovative economies, while those with more authoritarian regimes are only now beginning to catch up as centralised planning gives way to individual creativity.

In the twentieth century, one of the products of the influence of the UK, US and others was the creation of the WTO.

From the founding in the aftermath of the Secord World War of the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade, the WTO emerged as the home of the rules-based international trading system, and the repository of those free trading values that have underpinned global growth and facilitated more formal trade agreements.

And as we have heard when such agreements are reached, the positive effect on businesses, industries and economies can be remarkable.

Let me give you just one example.

The EU-Korea free trade agreement came into effect in July 2011. In the year before the deal was agreed, the UK beer and cider industry – commodities close to my heart in the West Country – sold almost nothing to Korea. Exports were under £2 million.

By 2016, however, sales to South Korea have exploded to over £65 million, and companies from large multinationals to SMEs we are able to embrace the opportunities that it bestowed. That is the scale of what can happen and that can happen multiplied many times over.

Making the moral and political case for free trade

Globally, as free trade has blossomed, poverty levels have fallen to their lowest in history: bringing industry, jobs and wealth where once there was only deprivation.

Trade liberalisation gives consumers greater choice, and the competition it unleashes brings higher quality and standards at lower prices for everything from food and drink to toys and cars. Free trade provides developing countries at the same time the opportunity to embrace the international trading system, to integrate into global value chains, and ultimately to grow their economies.

But, as Smith found, it would be a major mistake to assume that the case for free trade is so self-evident that it does not require steadfast champions.

We have seen the way in which trade agreements such as TTIP produced significant anti-trade protest across Europe, including in pro- free trade countries such as Germany.

Protestors successfully exploited public anxiety, based largely on lack of information and perceived, not actual, risks.

So, we must be willing to confront the myths and distortions that are often perpetuated by those opposed to the principles of free trade.

At the same time, we must ensure the right mitigations are in place – in reskilling and training – for those displaced by unavoidable technological change.

To make the case for free trade relevant, we need a narrative that transcends the whole political spectrum.

We can begin by pointing out that global free trade has enabled us to take 1 billion of our fellow human beings out of poverty in just one generation. It is one of the greatest achievements in the whole of human history.

And it is hard to imagine an international aid programme that would or could ever have been so effective.

History of protectionism

Yet, the benefits of free trade have not always been well understood.

And – perhaps more damaging – the perils of adopting a protectionist course have not always been apparent.

We saw this in the trade wars of the late nineteenth century. The ‘Long Depression’ of the 1870s onwards saw country after country trying, and failing, to protect themselves from global competition through tariff barriers and closing off their markets.

And we saw the same story again during the Great Depression.

Whether in Germany through draconian exchange controls, in America with Smoot-Hawley tariffs or in Britain and the Commonwealth with the Ottawa Agreements, we saw history repeat itself.

Again, countries reacted to domestic economic problems by attempting to cut their markets off from international competition.

So let’s be clear. Protectionism saps trade, disrupts supply chains and raises import costs. It creates uncertainty for businesses and consumers, and sows the seeds of hostility and mistrust between nations. It is not a history we need to repeat.

Bank of England statistics

On the other hand, it is a testament to our ability to learn from our history – and the robustness of our international cooperation – that we did not repeat these mistakes during the most recent economic crisis.

Even at the height of the global problems in November 2008, the G20 reaffirmed its commitment to ‘a shared belief that market principles, open trade and investment regimes, and effectively regulated financial markets foster the dynamism, innovation and entrepreneurship that are essential for economic growth, employment and poverty reduction.’

Unlike the Great Depression – where trade in global goods remained 20% less than its peak for most of the following decade – global output recovered in just two years.

Now we all know there are a number of long-standing jokes about the indecisiveness of economists.

There’s no such thing as a one-handed economist: it’s always on the one hand this, on the other hand that. Or if you laid all the economists in the world end to end, they still wouldn’t reach a conclusion.

But the effect of protectionism is as close to settled science as anything in economics will ever be: it means reduced productivity gains and lost economic growth. Long run historical trends suggest that a 20% reduction in trade holds back productivity by around 5%.

Yet now, despite all our collective experience, it seems we may be moving in the wrong direction. As the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney said in a speech earlier this month, trade tariffs recently announced between the US, its NAFTA partners, China and the EU have the potential to double bilateral tariff rates – and may already be having a dampening effect on global export orders and manufacturing output. A prolonged trade war would cause lost growth and higher inflation.

As I have said repeatedly in a trade war there are no winners there are only causalities for now. The social, political and security implications are impossible to predict.

How the world of trade is changing. Global trade – a snapshot

We are at an important juncture in the history of free and open trade, and of the established international order.

In many ways, the picture is a positive one. After several years of relative stagnation, the growth in global trade is once again outpacing the rise in global GDP.

This growth has been driven by those economies that will shape the future of trade, and continues to mirror the rebalancing of global commercial activity: Asia made the biggest contribution to trade growth of any region in 2017, accounting for 51% of the increase in merchandise exports, and 60% of the increase in merchandise imports.

Now this growth is partly cyclical, as the global economy continues its rebound from the dark days of the financial crash and ensuing recession experienced by many large economies.

Yet it is also a reflection of how globalisation and new technology continue to facilitate trade, and the irrepressible growth of the digital and knowledge economies – sectors which hardly existed even two decades ago.

But even as we gather under London’s blue skies, there are trade clouds gathering on the horizon.

The 19th Report on G20 Trade Measures, prepared jointly by the WTO, OECD and UNCTAD, warned explicitly of ‘a worrying trend of an increase in trade-restrictive measures’.

Its research showed that the pace at which trade restrictive measures were being implemented across G20 countries in the seven months to May this year had doubled in comparison to the six months before that, with 39 new measures being recorded.

These measures now cover one and half times the value of trade in comparison to restrictions enacted over a similar period in 2016/17.

It would be easy to for us to say that this is just a blip, brought about by the recent US and Chinese measures.

But when we also see that the average number of trade remedy investigations instigated per month is at levels only last recorded in 2013, the trend becomes clear.

One conclusion is that, since 2008, the world’s largest and most advanced economies, constituting the G20, have been falling prey quietly to the siren call of protectionism.

Morally, as well as economically, we cannot allow that to happen.

Those nations that have benefitted the most from free and open international trade – not only in terms of economic growth, but in the living standards of their citizens – should not pull up the drawbridge behind them and deny those same rewards to more recently developing nations.

Why this matters

And why do we think this matters? Why should a UK consumer, small business, or even an exporter, concern themselves with the rise in protectionism and trade restrictive measures in other parts of the world?

Part of the reason is that no company, however small, can rely solely upon the products of one nation.

Global value chains have been the secret behind the consumer revolution of recent decades – they are the reason that we can today buy a flat-screen television for a fraction of the cost of a decade ago, or that we can get fresh fruit and vegetables in our supermarkets of all types year-round.

They have also meant that production costs at every stage, from coordination and logistics to assembly and packaging, have fallen, making it easier and cheaper to divide up the entire process.

On the whole, firms no longer specialise even in a single product. Instead they often specialise in tasks – from assembly, shipping or retail, for example.

At its heart, this is the natural conclusion of Ricardo’s comparative advantage.

Most trade, at some estimates as high as 70%, is now in ‘intermediates’ – services, components and materials that make up final products for consumption.

To complicate the picture still further, the UK is the centre of robust intra-industry trade. This means that we import and export the same products, to account for varying tastes in consumer preferences between different countries.

Think BMWs and Citroens being bought here, while similar cars from the Sunderland plants are exported across Europe.

Put simply, this country’s exports and our ability to satisfy consumer demands are reliant upon free and open access to imported goods.

Evidence of this can be found if we examine the UK’s Trade in Value Added – a relatively new trade statistic jointly developed by the OECD and the WTO that attempts to measure these cross-border trade flows more accurately than traditional measurements have.

The analysis is experimental, yet it has clearly shown that more than a fifth of the content of UK exports are themselves imports, in one form or another.

And this suggests that, as a nation, we are well integrated into global supply chains. Moreover, it shows that the UK’s broader economic health, from our domestic markets to our world-class exports, is largely predicated upon free and open access to the global economy.

In such an environment, where the components of a single consumer item may come from several countries, and cross and re-cross international borders before they are assembled, it is easy to see how small tariffs can quickly add up.

This brings us back to our original problem.

Globalisation affects the lives of every single person in Britain today, and the commercial viability of every business. If a trade war really does break out, the subsequent hike in tariffs, even between just a few large economies, could have catastrophic consequences for global trade.

And the impact of this, let’s be clear, would be felt by every single British citizen, and billions of others across the world.

Changing patterns of global trade

In the future, these consumers will be most prevalent in those hugely growing markets that are radically redefining the patterns of global trade.

I often repeat the fact that the IMF estimates that, in the next 10 to 15 years, 90% of global economic growth will originate from outside the European Union.

The thriving economies of South and East Asia and, increasingly, Africa, are, and will become, ever more important as their newfound prosperity drives demand for the more goods and services.

The sheer scale of the change that is underway is often difficult to grasp from here in Europe, a region which has long enjoyed economic and political dominance.

So twice this year I have been in the Chinese city of Shenzhen. When Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997, not exactly a lifetime ago, Shenzhen had a population of 5.2 million. Today it has a population of over 12.5 million.

By 2030 China is expected to have 220 cities with more than 1 million inhabitants, 220. The whole of Europe will have 35.

And on top of the vast Asia-Pacific growth it is predicted that there will be 1.1 billion middle class African consumers by 2060. The world is seeing a stunning and profound change.

Such a shift, not just in global demographics, but in the rise of the collective wealth of developing countries, will determine where the golden economic opportunities of the future will be – and where we must be too, if we are to provide jobs and prosperity of the future.

If we are to navigate the changes that the next decade will bring, we will have to fully accommodate these changes and recognise the emerging pattern of our own trade too.

56% of Britain’s exports now go outside the EU, compared with only 46% in 2006. What is more, while our EU exports are still dominated by goods, our non-EU exports are evenly split between goods and services. Yet it’s services that present the greatest opportunity to expand Britain’s trade.

We, as a nation, must re-orientate ourselves to where we can prosper in a rapidly changing global environment.

Engagement model

Our decision to leave the European Union is a decision to embrace this new world – not retreat from it. To be more open to free trade – not less. To fight protectionism – not to put up new barriers that would stifle our prosperity.

It was agreed at the European Council meeting in March that the UK could formally begin negotiating new trade agreements from April 2019.

For the first time in over 40 years we will be able to determine who we trade with, and on what terms.

To ensure we make the most of this unique opportunity, it makes sense to start thinking about our negotiating priorities for the future, and thinking about them now.

In the House of Commons on Monday, I set out how Parliament, the Devolved Administrations, the public, businesses and civil society will be able to engage in a trade policy that benefits the whole of the UK and ensure that we meet our commitments to an inclusive and transparent trade policy.

We committed to working closely with the Devolved Administrations on an ongoing basis to deliver an approach that works for the whole of out United Kingdom.

Because everyone, from every part of the UK, must have the opportunity to engage and consult.

Scrutiny of our future trade arrangements is vitally important as we take powers back from the EU into UK law, and begin negotiating our own new free trade agreements.

With other nations

That is why today I am announcing four public consultations on our post-Brexit trade negotiations.

Our intention is to seek free trade agreements with the United States, Australia and New Zealand. These are crucial strategic and economic relationships that must continue on a sound footing after Brexit.

UK exports to Australia and New Zealand are growing at 14.8% and 16.8% respectively, a faster pace than our global average, and far outstripping export growth to the EU.

The United States is the UK’s single largest trading partner and foreign investor, accounting for over £100 billion worth of UK annual exports. As we saw during President Trump’s visit, the UK is very keen to further our already excellent trade and investment relationship, and I look forward to continuing these discussions during my visit to Washington next week.

While there are many other markets the UK will look to for new agreements in the future, our shared values and strength of trade with the US, Australia and New Zealand make them the right places to focus our initial attention.

However, we must go further. The government is determined not only to seek deals with key bilateral partners, but to break new ground: putting the UK at the heart of the world’s fastest growing regions.

That is why I am also announcing a fourth consultation on potentially seeking accession to CPTPP – the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

This covers markets across the world – from Canada to Chile, Mexico to Vietnam. It reduces 95% of tariffs, along with other barriers to trade.

The eleven members of CPTPP accounted for £82.5 billion of UK trade in 2016, more than the Netherlands, France or China. It covers a diverse range of economies, many of which have been – and are projected to continue to be – a major source of global economic growth.

These consultations are about how we position ourselves as Global Britain. To build the export markets, investment opportunities and trading relationships of the future.

Trade affects us all – whether it is through the prices and availability of product on our supermarket shelves, to the resources available for our public services, to the jobs and investment on which we all rely.

So, I believe it is vital that everyone has their say to ensure these deals work for the whole of the UK – and I strongly urge anyone and all organisations with an interest to take part in these consultations.

Opportunities for the UK

Because our trading future, as our United Kingdom, is bright.

We require an economic outlook that allows us to take advantage of the substantial opportunities that Europe will continue to bring, but without limiting our ability to adapt to a changing and growing world beyond the European continent – as the Prime Minister has repeatedly made clear.

And when we leave the European Union, we will be able to do just that. We will be able to enter into meaningful trade agreements with partners across the world, leading the charge towards greater liberalisation where we can play to our strengths – in financial services, digital and investment.

We will have the freedom to negotiate in areas such as services, tariffs, quotas, and conformity assessments.

We will take up our independent seat at the WTO and continue to champion the rules-based international trading system.

We have a once in a generation opportunity to set our own course.

It is where the world is growing fastest that demand for British services and goods will offer the most potential growth for our exporters and investors.

Since the Department for International Trade was created, my ministers and I have undertaken 188 visits overseas. No matter where we have travelled, we have found the same phenomenon.

For UK export goods – from top end fashion, to high-quality cars, to our luxury food and drink produce, to high-end manufacturing – the demand is growing.

For professional services too, from accountancy to law or education or life sciences or financial services, the growing demand in places like Asia and Latin America will need more of the skills where we are already world class.

In the knowledge economy, we already have what others want and need.

The demand is out there for what Britain is able to sell. And we must play our comparative advantage.

We must set our sights on this brighter future.

We are at a historic crossroads. Britain has decided to leave a European orbit to embrace a global one, retaining our close links with our European partners while understanding our global potential.

It is an exciting time that we should approach with confidence and optimism, secure in the knowledge that our own belief in free trade and the benefits it has brought are not our history but our road map to the future.

Theresa May – 2018 Speech in Belfast

Below is the text of the speech made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, in Belfast on 20 July 2018.

When I became Prime Minister just over 2 years ago I spoke of the precious bond between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A union not just of nations, but of peoples bound by a common purpose, whoever we are and wherever we are from.

I also reminded people that the full name of my political party is the Conservative and Unionist Party.

And that name carries a profound significance for me.

The party I lead has a belief in the Union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as a central tenet of our political philosophy.

And as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, it is my duty to serve the whole UK and to govern in the interests of every part of it.

And that defines the approach I have taken in government over the past 2 years.

And, as we leave the European Union, I have made protecting and strengthening our own precious Union, by making sure the deal we strike works for every part of the UK, an absolute priority.

Northern Ireland in the UK

My belief in our Union of nations is rooted not just in history, but in our collective achievements.

Time and again we have stood together as one to overcome challenges and do great things.

This year, when we commemorate the centenary of the Armistice, we will remember the sacrifice of brave people from here and indeed the whole island of Ireland.

And at the end of the Second World War, Churchill famously said that without Northern Ireland ‘the light which now shines so strongly throughout the world would have been quenched’.

After that war, a great national institution – our National Health Service – was established across the United Kingdom, a symbol of solidarity in our Union.

Today our NHS stands alongside other pillars of our national life.

Our parliamentary democracy and our commitment to the rule of law have been admired and imitated around the world.

These are the results of our common endeavour as a Union.

They are the signs which signify its depth and fundamental strengths.

Right across the UK, far more unites than divides us.

Our sense of community and shared values. Our diversity and tolerance.

And perhaps the greatest strength of our Union is its potential for the future.

What together we can achieve in the years ahead as an outward looking United Kingdom.

As we pursue our Modern Industrial Strategy, government working with business and academia to boost productivity, invest in science and research, and create more good jobs in every community, making the most of rapidly changing technology.

As we leave the European Union, and go out to strike new trade deals around the world, open up new markets for the great products and services of our innovators and entrepreneurs.

As we face the challenges of the future together and draw on the talents and resources of every part of our United Kingdom to overcome them.

And that of course includes Northern Ireland.

Its cultural landscape is dynamic, vibrant and wholly original.

Northern Ireland is a TV and cinema powerhouse, supported by UK government tax policies to support the film industry.

Over 2 million visitors come to Northern Ireland each year as tourists – to experience its vibrancy and beauty.

It is home to great universities, great small businesses, a burgeoning cybersecurity sector.

Northern Ireland makes a major contribution to our Union, and it also derives great benefits from being an integral part of the UK.

Every family and every business benefits from the strength and security that comes from being part of the world’s fifth largest economy.

The rest of the UK is by far Northern Ireland’s biggest market, accounting for over half of its sales.

Today, unemployment is half the level it was in 2010 and employment is at a near-record high.

The prosperity generated by a country with global interests, and the principle of pooling and sharing our resources that defines the UK, supports public services that people in Northern Ireland rely on.

I believe in the partnership of our four great nations in one proud Union and I want it to endure for generations to come.

So a government I lead will never be neutral in our support for the Union.

We will always make the case for it.

I believe a clear majority of the people of Northern Ireland will continue to have confidence in a future for them and their families that lies within a strong United Kingdom.

But I also respect the fact that a substantial section of the population here identify as Irish and aspire to a future within a united Ireland.

I will always govern in the interests of the whole community in Northern Ireland and not just one part of it.

We are absolutely committed to parity of esteem, and just and equal treatment irrespective of aspiration or identity.

We want to work with all parties, and right across society to build a stronger, more inclusive and more prosperous Northern Ireland that truly works for everyone.

That is why I have met all the main parties on this visit, and why I keep up a regular dialogue with them.

The bright future I want to help build for Northern Ireland is one in which everyone, regardless of their community background or political aspirations, is able to live happy and fulfilling lives and to go as far as their talents and hard work will take them.

I want to say, too, that I share your concern about the episodes of serious disorder in Belfast and Derry/Londonderry last week.

This government – like the communities here – has been absolutely clear in condemning this activity, which is a matter of deep concern for everyone who wants to see a peaceful and prosperous Northern Ireland.

This violence is not representative of the wider community and I pay tribute to the brave officers in the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the emergency services and others in the community who worked tirelessly to keep people safe.

We are all committed to making sure that Northern Ireland continues to move forward.

Belfast Agreement

The principles that define Northern Ireland’s place as an integral part of the United Kingdom, along with its unique relationship with Ireland, are of course enshrined in the Belfast Agreement and its successors.

The Belfast Agreement, reached 20 years ago, is a landmark in the history of our islands.

It was overwhelmingly endorsed by referendums here in Northern Ireland and in Ireland.

Successive UK and Irish governments, together with all the parties in Northern Ireland, have worked tirelessly to bring about the historic achievement of peace.

Leaders like David Trimble and John Hume, Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness, have made history.

And my predecessors as Prime Minister have played their part.

Sir John Major helped to start the peace process.

Tony Blair helped bring it to fruition, making power-sharing – which for so long had seemed a prize beyond reach – a reality at last.

Gordon Brown oversaw the devolution of policing and justice powers.

And I saw first-hand as a member of his cabinet how hard David Cameron worked on the Stormont House and Fresh Start Agreements.

I think everyone who has the honour and responsibility of holding the office of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom feels a special responsibility to the people of Northern Ireland.

The historic achievement that the Belfast Agreement and its successors represent is something we should all be proud of.

I am determined to protect it and to uphold the rights it enshrines.

The fact that the current Deputy Chief Constable of the PSNI, Drew Harris, will shortly become Commissioner in An Garda Siochana is an amazing symbol of the progress made over the last twenty years.

And we will continue to work with our friends in the Irish Government, who have been our close partners in that progress including at next week’s British and Irish inter-governmental conference.

Power-sharing devolution

The UK government’s support for the constitutional principles set out in those agreements, and for the full range of political institutions they established, is steadfast.

So it is a matter of frustration and regret that after enjoying the longest period of unbroken devolved government since the 1960s, Northern Ireland has now been without a fully-functioning Executive for over 18 months.

I commend the Northern Ireland Civil Service for the work they are doing to deliver public services in Northern Ireland in the absence of an Executive.

And I want to see the Assembly and Executive back up and running, taking decisions on behalf of all the people of Northern Ireland. They deserve no less.

So, in full accordance with the three stranded approach, we continue to do all we can to see the re-establishment of devolution and all the institutions of the Belfast Agreement.

But an agreement cannot be imposed.

That needs to come from within Northern Ireland.

A first step has to be the resumption of political dialogue aimed at finding a solution.

And that should begin as soon as possible.

Until then, the UK government will of course fulfil our responsibility to ensure good governance and stability in Northern Ireland.

But interventions from Westminster are no substitute for decisions taken here.

Effective and enduring devolved government is the right thing for Northern Ireland and it is best for the Union.

Principles of the Belfast Agreement

The Belfast Agreement did not just establish a set of institutions, it also defined the principles that underpin their legitimacy for people across the community.

The principle that it is the ‘birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both, as they may so choose.’

And the consent principle, that it will always be for the people of Northern Ireland to decide ‘without external impediment’ what their constitutional future should be…

…with the UK government always giving effect to the democratic choice of the people of Northern Ireland, ‘freely and legitimately given’.

These principles are the bedrock of peace and stability in Northern Ireland and it is the duty of the UK government always to respect and uphold them.

Doing so is not just the guiding force behind our approach to government in Northern Ireland, it is also at the heart of our approach to Brexit as well.

In leaving the European Union, as we are doing, we have a duty to ensure that the outcome we achieve works for the whole UK, including Northern Ireland.

For all of us who care about our country, for all of us who want this Union of nations to thrive, that duty goes to the heart of what it means to be a United Kingdom and what it means to be a government.

Our job is not to deal with Brexit in theory, but to make a success of it in practice for all of our people.

And nowhere is the need for practical solutions more vital than here in Northern Ireland, the only place where the United Kingdom shares a land border with an EU Member State that is also a co signatory to the Belfast Agreement.

No hard border

I have said consistently that there can never be a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

I said it in my letter triggering Article 50, in my speech at Mansion House and many times besides.

During the referendum, both campaigns agreed that the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland must remain ‘absolutely unchanged’.

Indeed you only have to speak to businesses near the border, as I did yesterday, to see that the notion of a hard border is almost inconceivable.

Thousands of people who cross and re-cross between the UK and Ireland in the normal course of their daily lives cannot be subject to a hard border as they go to work, visit a neighbour, or go to the supermarket.

Neither would it be feasible for firms whose supply and distribution chains span the border.

Many people in communities like Fermanagh and Newry remember the customs border posts, approved roads and security installations of the not-too distant past.

They recall the administrative burdens on business, the disruption caused to lives and livelihoods.

In the Northern Ireland of today, where a seamless border enables unprecedented levels of trade and cooperation north and south, any form of infrastructure at the border is an alien concept.

The practical consequences for people’s day to day lives are only part of the story.

Because the seamless border is a foundation stone on which the Belfast Agreement rests, allowing for the ‘just and equal treatment for the identity, ethos and aspirations of both communities’.

Anything that undermines that is a breach of the spirit of the Belfast Agreement.

An agreement which we have committed to protect in all its parts and the EU says it will respect.

Both sides in the negotiation understand that and share a determination never to see a hard border in Northern Ireland.

And no technology solution to address these issues has been designed yet, or implemented anywhere in the world, let alone in such a unique and highly sensitive context as the Northern Ireland border.

Some argue that the right approach is for the UK to declare that we will not impose any checks at the border after we have left.

If the EU required the Irish Government to introduce checks, the blame would lie with them.

As I said at Mansion House, this is wrong on two levels.

First, this issue arises because of a decision we have taken.

We can’t solve it on our own, but nor can we wash our hands of any responsibility for it.

So we must work together to solve it. Second, like any country sharing a land border with another nation, we have a duty to seek customs and regulatory relationships with each other to ensure borders work smoothly.

And in Northern Ireland, that presents a particular challenge.

The protection of the peace process and upholding our binding commitments in the Belfast Agreement are grave responsibilities.

Not to seek a solution would be to resume our career as an independent sovereign trading nation by betraying commitments to part of our nation and to our nearest neighbour.

No new border within the UK

The reality is that any agreement we reach with the EU will have to provide for the frictionless movement of goods across the Northern Ireland border.

Equally clear is that as a United Kingdom government we could never accept that the way to prevent a hard border with Ireland is to create a new border within the United Kingdom.

To do so would also be a breach of the spirit of the Belfast Agreement, and for exactly the same reason that a hard border would be.

It would not be showing ‘parity of esteem’ and ‘just and equal treatment for the identity, ethos and aspirations’ of the Unionist community in Northern Ireland to cut their part of the United Kingdom off from the rest of the UK.

I do not think any member state would be willing to accept that, in order to leave the EU, a nation must accept such a threat to its constitutional integrity.

We made the choice to join as nation states.

We must be free as nation states to make the choice to leave.

The Joint Report that we agreed in December was very clear on this.

We were both explicit that Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom, consistent with the principle of consent in the Belfast Agreement.

And the report is also clear about the need to preserve the integrity of the UK’s internal market, which is vital to businesses the length and breadth of our country – not least here in Northern Ireland.

Yet the Commission’s proposed ‘backstop’ text does not deliver this.

Under their proposal, Northern Ireland would be represented in trade negotiations and in the World Trade Organisation on tariffs by the European Commission, not its own national government.

The economic and constitutional dislocation of a formal ‘third country’ customs border within our own country is something I will never accept and I believe no British Prime Minister could ever accept.

And as MPs made clear this week, it is not something the House of Commons will accept either.

We remain absolutely committed to including a legally operative backstop in the Withdrawal Agreement.

But it must be one that delivers on all the commitments made in the December Joint Report.

Our White Paper

Those 2 imperatives, to see no hard border between the UK and Ireland, and no new border that cuts Northern Ireland off from the rest of the UK, are realities we have to contend with as we find a way forward.

Doing so means we must rule out the free trade deal on offer from the EU that excludes Northern Ireland, and creates a border within the UK.

The other alternative, membership of the Customs Union plus an extended version of the EEA, would mean continued free movement, ongoing vast annual payments and total alignment with EU rules across the whole of our economy, and no control of our trade policy.

That would not be consistent with the referendum result.

In order to move the negotiations on our future relationship forward we needed to put a credible third option on the table.

To work for the UK, it needs to honour the Belfast Agreement, deliver on the referendum result and be good for our economy.

And for the EU to consider it, it needs to be a proposal that they can see works for them as well as us.

I believe that the White Paper we published last week, following the agreement reached at Chequers, is that proposal.

It is firmly rooted in the vision for our future relationship that I set out in my speeches at Lancaster House, Florence, Munich and Mansion House.

But it also addresses the questions that the EU has raised in the intervening months and explains how the new relationship would work.

It is a principled and practical Brexit that respects both the constitutional and economic integrity of the UK and the autonomy of the EU.

It also comprehensively addresses our shared commitments to Northern Ireland and Ireland.

It is the right Brexit deal for the United Kingdom.

It delivers on the referendum result.

It takes back control of our borders, with an end to free movement.

It takes back control of our money, with no more vast annual sums paid to the EU.

It takes back control of our laws, ending the jurisdiction of the ECJ in the United Kingdom.

It promotes jobs and prosperity.

The whole of the UK will be outside the Customs Union and Single Market, free to sign trade deals with countries around the world.

We will have regulatory freedom over our services sector, which accounts for 80% of the UK economy.

And we will leave the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy, gaining the freedom to design new policies that work for our rural and coastal communities.

It will also protect and strengthen our Union by ensuring there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland and no border in the UK.

It does that by proposing a free trade area in goods and agricultural products between the UK and the EU.

Our previous proposal that we could achieve frictionless trade by maintaining ‘substantially similar’ regulatory standards did not prove to be a negotiable position.

The EU would not accept such an unprecedented solution to break down all barriers without having shared rules.

So we needed to make a stronger commitment.

That is why we have put the new offer of a common rulebook in goods and agricultural products on the table.

Some people are concerned about us maintaining common standards with the EU even in this limited area.

I understand that concern, but I think it is in the national interest in a way that it wouldn’t be for say financial services.

Let me explain.

First, the rules that cover goods have been relatively stable over the last 30 years.

Second, many of the relevant standards are set by international bodies which we will remain a member of after we leave the EU.

Third, the many UK businesses that trade with the single market will continue to meet these rules anyway whether or not the government makes a promise to.

Making a formal commitment allows us to establish a free trade area that will be good for our whole economy.

It will deliver friction-free trade in goods with our nearest trading partners in the EU.

Businesses will be able to import and export goods across the EU frontier without impediment.

The just-in-time supply chains that underpin high skilled manufacturing jobs across the country will be able to continue without disruption.

And it will ensure we remain one United Kingdom, with a UK internal market, on good terms with our nearest neighbour.

The Belfast Agreement will be protected in full.

Not just by avoiding a hard border but by a legal guarantee that there will be no diminution of the rights for citizens set out in the Agreement.

By upholding the Common Travel Area and associated rights, so there is no question of any new restrictions on movement between the UK and Ireland or access to public services.

And by guaranteeing the protection in full of the range of North-South and East-West co-operation provided for in Strands 2 and 3 of the Agreement.

This is the right deal for the United Kingdom and I believe it is the basis for a new deep and strong relationship with the EU.

The White Paper represents a significant development of our position.

It is a coherent package.

Early in this process, both sides agreed a clear desire to find solutions to the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland through a close future relationship.

We have now developed our proposals and put an approach on the table which does precisely that.

It is now for the EU to respond.

Not simply to fall back onto previous positions which have already been proven unworkable.

But to evolve their position in kind.

And, on that basis, I look forward to resuming constructive discussions.

Conclusion

I firmly believe that we can complete what we have started.

We can negotiate a new relationship with the EU that works in our mutual interest.

One that honours the referendum result, gives us control of our money, our borders, and our laws.

One that sets us on course for a prosperous future, protecting jobs and boosting prosperity.

One that safeguards our Union and allows the whole UK to thrive in the years ahead.

A brighter future for Northern Ireland – where we restore devolution and come together again as a community to serve the interests of the people.

And a brighter future for us all, where we put aside past divisions and work as one to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities that lie ahead.

I am passionate about that brighter future and the possibilities that are within our grasp.

As I said on the day I launched my campaign to become leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party:

‘the process of withdrawal will be complex, and it will require hard work, serious work, and detailed work.’

The government has done that work.

The White Paper is our plan for the future.

It is the way to the stronger and brighter tomorrow that I know awaits the whole United Kingdom.

Now we must have the courage and the determination to seize it.