Ben Bradshaw – 2010 Speech to Labour Party Conference

benbradshaw

Below is the text of the speech made by Ben Bradshaw, the then Shadow Culture Secretary, to the 2010 Labour Party conference.

Conference, we’ve just heard some inspiring examples of how the Labour Government left Britain a better place.

And we’ve just heard some stark warnings about the damage the new Government is already inflicting on our communities.

Our record

Last year I described how, under Labour, Britain had become number one in the world in the creative industries.

How, thanks to a decade of sustained investment and active support of the arts, culture and sport, Britain was enjoying more success around the world than any country relative to our size.

In spite of the global downturn, that success continued right up to the election, creating wealth and the jobs our young people need.

I also warned what would happen if the Tories got back into power.

I was accused of scaremongering by our political opponents. But, Conference, in these first few months, the Government has not only been worse than I predicted.

They’ve been worse than I thought they’d be if the Tories had won on their own.

Far from being a moderating force, the Liberal Democrats are complicit in the biggest assault on the arts, culture and sport this country will have ever seen.

– Labour’s free swimming for the under 16s and the over 60s – scrapped.

– The UK Film Council – whose support for British films helps generate millions for our country – abolished.

– Labour’s promise to use the Olympics to get 2 million more people physically active, to tackle obesity and save health costs – abandoned.

This is not sensible deficit reduction, Conference. These decisions will cost money. They are typical of this Government, unthinking, short-sighted and damaging to Britain.

Now, we expect this from the Conservatives.

They love cutting and have always undervalued the arts and sport in Government.

But the Liberal Democrats?

This is what their manifesto said : “The Liberal Democrats will maintain current levels of investment in the arts and creative industries”.

Well, there’s another one to add to a very long list of Liberal Democrat promises that has proved completely worthless.

A week ago, the Liberal Democrat MP, Simon Hughes, said David and Ed Miliband needed to grow up.

Well, up the road from me in Taunton, the constituency of Lib Dem Foreign Office Minister, Jeremy Browne, the Liberal Democrats are running a campaign to “save free swimming”.

They describe the Government’s decision to scrap free swimming as a “total disgrace”.

And they are urging local residents to sign a Liberal Democrat petition to stop the Tory cuts.

And Simon Hughes says Labour needs to grow up?!

We take no lessons in mature politics from people who are still trying to face it both ways, even in Government.

But we know why the Lib Dems are turning their fire on us.

Because we are trouncing them in the polls and in real elections all over the country.

We had local elections in Exeter this month.

You’ve already heard what happened but it merits repeating.

The Tories did badly, but the Lib Dems collapsed and Labour took control of the council.

Let’s go out and repeat this success in next May’s elections all around the country.

Public Service Broadcasting

Conference, when we met last year I warned of the dangers to Britain’s world renowned public service broadcasting from a Tory Government.

Here, too, it’s worse than I feared.

They have relentlessly attacked and undermined the BBC.

They have condemned ITV news in the regions of England and in Wales and Scotland to a slow death.

They have abandoned Labour’s plans to ensure the public can see our major sporting events – including test cricket free on TV.

And they have weakened Britain’s vital media regulator Ofcom.

And we all know why the Coalition Government is doing this don’t we? We know to whose tune they are dancing when it comes to media policy, don’t we?

Vince Cable made a lot last week of the dangers of monopoly capitalism and the importance of competition policy.

If Vince wants to be taken seriously, why hasn’t he referred the proposed 100% take-over of Sky by Murdoch’s News Corp to the competition authorities.

That takeover, if it goes ahead, will result in a concentration of media power in a single company – greater even than in Berlusconi’s Italy.

So come on Vince, what are you waiting for? Show us your halo, or have you undergone in a few short weeks a remarkable transformation from saint to stooge.

Conclusion

Conference it’s been a good week with a stunning debut from Ed yesterday.

We are united, disciplined and determined.

We are back level in the polls and have ensured this Government has had the shortest political honeymoon in history.

But we must not underestimate the challenge, Conference.

The next election will not fall into our lap.

I am one of only 10 Labour MPs left in southern England outside London – we were 45 before the election.

We can’t form a Government without winning back those seats.

We can do it, but to do so, we’ll need not only to be a strong Opposition, but also a credible alternative Government.

That means a responsible approach to tackling the deficit and some of the other tough choices Ed outlined yesterday.

Those people who have lost or are about to lose their jobs, or who are struggling on low incomes, or whose services are about to be destroyed by this Government’s policies – they need a Labour Government and it’s our – duty, all of us, to help make sure, they get one.

Thank you.

Ben Bradshaw – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference

benbradshaw

Below is the text of the speech made by Ben Bradshaw, the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, to the 2009 Labour Party conference on 29th September 2009.

Friends, that film was about our hopes to secure the football world cup in 2018.

If our bid is successful it would cap what is already one of the most remarkable periods in British sporting history.

The 20/20 cricket world cup earlier this year.

The Ryder cups in golf – next year in Wales, and then in Scotland.

The rugby league world Cup in 2013

The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.

The rugby Union world cup in 2015,

And, of course we are approaching the thousand day countdown to the start of the first British Olympics and Paralympics for over 60 years.

A golden decade of sport built on a golden decade of Labour investment in sport at every level.

A sporting record to be proud of.

Labour values driving change.

Labour delivering on its promises.

Remember what the Tories did to to Britain’s sports, culture and the arts.

They considered them luxuries to be paid for by those who can afford them. For us, they are a common good for all. Central to our sense of community and health and well being as a nation.

Ten years ago only one child in four did two hours of sport a week in school. Today, 90 per cent of children do. But we will go further and ensure, by the time of the Olympics, that every child can do five hours of high quality sport a week.

In just three months after we launched free swimming this spring people over 60 and youngsters 16 and under had enjoyed four and a half million extra swimming sessions. Rubbished  – like everything we do – by the Tories.

They believe something can only have value if you make people pay for it.

Free swimming has been championed by Labour councils and is already one of our great successes.

Just as Labour has delivered Britain a sporting renaissance, we’ve delivered a cultural and artistic renaissance too.

More than twice as many people have enjoyed our great museums and galleries since Labour made them free.

Since April this year young people under 26 have been able to get free tickets in many of our theatres. Tens of thousands of young people who would never have thought it possible to see the best of what British theatre has to offer, have taken up the chance. And as well as ensuring young people can enjoy 5 hours of quality sport every week,we will guarantee the same for cultural, music and artistic activity too.

British theatre, film, music and other creative industries are the best in the world. They are a major and growing part of our economy. And Labour is supporting them to grow even more in the future.

Anyone who has watched the news in America or continental Europe can only be extremely grateful for the BBC. Labour will always be committed to the BBC and the values of public service broadcasting. No, Mr Murdoch, we do not believe that profit is the only guarantee of independence. We will never sacrifice the BBC on the altar of free market dogma. But like all successful organisations the BBC must change to survive. It must be more sensitive to the views of the public who pay for it and to the impact its power and size on the rest of the media.

Good quality local news is vital for the health of our democracy. We face losing it completely from ITV unless something is done and many of our local newspapers are also struggling to survive.

Labour is the only party that will guarantee high quality news on ITV in the English regions, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and say how it’ll be paid for. Our solution and other measures we are taking will help local newspapers too.

Let Britain be in no doubt what the Tories would do to our culture, media and sport. Boris Johnson let one cat out of the bag last week when he advocated charging for museums.

And George Osborne says he wants to copy Tory councils.

Like Barnet in North London perhaps? They want to provide a quality service for those who can afford to pay but what they call a “ryanair” service for everyone else. This is also a council that has slashed support for the arts, culture and sport boasting:

“We don’t do culture in Barnet.”

Well, I guess that figures, from the local Conservative Party that selected Margaret  Thatcher.

Friends, we need to wake up and wake the British people up to what the Tories would do to our country if they won in a few months time.

Sport and culture decimated. The BBC fighting for its life.

The death of local and regional news.

Millions of people, particularly young people, whose lives are being transformed by culture and sport under Labour losing that chance.

One of my predecessors in this job, the great Jenny Lee – said our mission, Labour’s mission is to ensure the best for all.

That’s what Labour’s done.

That’s what we’re doing and that’s what we’ll continue to do.

The Tories never have; they never would.

We must ensure they never will.

Thank you.

Karen Bradley – 2014 Speech on Cyber Risk

karenbradley

Below is the text of the speech made by Karen Bradley, the Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime, at the BBA Conference on 10th June 2014.

Verizon reported last year that most cyber attacks on a system take a matter of hours. Many take minutes or even seconds. Taken alone, that is concerning. But consider then that the same report found that 2 out of 3 attackers stayed in the system for months before discovery, and it took weeks, even months for the victim to be able to get rid of the hacker.

That is absolutely staggering. Think of the damage that can be done by that attack, in that time. Think of the loss caused by that attack, and the potential impact on reputation and prosperity.

This is why cyber security, including cyber crime, is a top threat to UK national security. It is up there with international terrorism. Today, I will tell you about what this government is doing to counter these threats.

For those who don’t know me, I am Karen Bradley, the Minister responsible for Serious and Organised Crime, and my job is to oversee our national approach to the threat of the cyber crime.

Threat

Cyber crime is a global threat. Cyber criminals operate across international borders. The UK is threatened from many locations in many countries, which makes it extremely complicated to tackle.

And that is why you are all here today, to discuss the threat, to think about how best to protect yourselves against it, and take action against those who commit it. Throughout today you will hear many facts and figures on the cost of cyber crime to your industry. I’m not going to repeat them here. Not because I do not think they are important.

Of course you need to know what cyber crime costs you, and I hope you already do. And the figures are astonishingly large. But what I want to focus on is what cyber crime means for economic and social prosperity.

We know that cyber crime undermines confidence in our communications technology and online economy.

One report estimated that internet based companies are worth 7-8% of UK GDP. That means that cyber crime is affecting our economic prosperity. Cyber criminals are not only taking money from business through their attacks, but attacks have a terrible impact on consumer confidence in using internet businesses.

Think about the recent attack on Ebay. We should applaud Ebay for putting information into the public domain, and managing the situation as they did. But I wonder how many users will have been concerned about using the site and other sites in the days after the attack?

We all rely on the internet. We are conducting an increasing amount of our professional and personal lives online whether its our supermarket shop, or ordering a last minute father’s day gift. We’re sending our personal data out into cyberspace all day every day, through emails, passwords and via our bank accounts. More and more people are using the internet.

In 2012, 33 million people in the UK accessed the internet every day. That is more than double the level six years before.

And the methods for access are also rapidly changing, with those using a mobile device to go online more than doubling over the two years from 2010 to 2012 [24% to 51%].

So we’re accessing the internet more and more, using a variety of different methods to do so. This provides new opportunities for cyber criminals, and a challenge as to how we protect ourselves from attack, and pursue those who commit the crime.

The internet is now an integral part of our lives, and I think most would feel lost without the benefits it affords. But we need to make every internet user aware of the need to be careful and intelligent about they way they act online.

What we need to do is to work together to make sure business online is safe and secure, and that people doing business online are protected.

National Cyber Security Programme

We know that government has a key role to play in tackling cyber crime, and improving cyber security.

The National Cyber Security Strategy was launched in 2011. And one of its four objectives is to make the UK one of the most secure places in the world to do business in cyberspace.

The National Cyber Security Programme underpins the strategy and delivers its objectives. We have dedicated £860 million over five years to deliver a real change in the UK’s cyber capabilities.

The Programme is in its fourth year and has made significant steps.

Notably, the creation of the National Cyber Crime Unit, (the NCCU) within the National Crime Agency; the launch of CERT-UK, the UK’s first single computer emergency response team for national cyber incident management; and, the launch of the Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership, the first secure government-industry forum for information sharing on key cyber threats.

Serious and Organised Crime Strategy

On 7 October last year we launched the new Serious and Organised Crime Strategy.

We have taken the framework of our Counter-Terrorism Strategy, CONTEST, and refined our approach to tackling serious and organised crime into four areas of focus: Pursue, Prevent, Protect and Prepare.

PURSUE – prosecuting and disrupting organised crime gangs. In others words, catching the bad guys.

PREVENT – stopping people from becoming involved in and remaining involved in, serious and organised crime. In other words, stopping the bad guys from being bad guys.

PROTECT – reducing our vulnerability to harm from these groups by strengthening our systems and processes and providing advice to the private sector and the public. In other words , helping you not to become a victim of the bad guys.

And PREPARE – reducing the impact of serious and organised crime when it happens. So, helping victims and wider communities to recover when the criminals strike.

I will focus today on the PURSUE and PROTECT areas of our work.

Pursue

We are changing the way we pursue cyber criminals. We know that law enforcement needs to have the right skills to respond to the changing ways in which crime is being committed.

To successfully tackle cybercrime, law enforcement needs to have the knowledge and skills that cyber criminals are equipped with.

The National Crime Agency leads the crime fighting response to the most serious incidents of cyber-dependant and cyber-enabled crime through its National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) and Commands including the Economic Crime Command.

The NCA is working with regional and local policing, in particular through the network of Regional Organised Crime Units , or ROCUs, which have been set up to work across local police force boundaries to provide new ways of working.

Through increased investment, dedicated cyber and fraud units are being developed within these regional teams. And through the College of Policing, we are also working to improve cyber knowledge in local police forces with a dedicated training programme.

There are real opportunities for industry and law enforcement to work together to build skills to tackle cyber crime, and to understand the changing threats. The ROCUs are establishing relationships with businesses in their regions, and the NCA’s NCCU is sharing information on cyber attacks with the private sector. But this is just a start.

In addition to increasing law enforcement capabilities, we want to make the legislative response stronger. We published the Serious Crime Bill last week. This contains amendments to existing legislation, which will mean that those who are found guilty of committing cyber attacks which cause serious damage, including to the economy, face lengthy prison sentences.

Pursue International

However, the UK cannot tackle cyber crime alone. We need to work with our international partners in order to find a global solution. That is why at the heart of NCA’s approach to cutting cyber crime is international collaboration, through its relationship with the European Cyber Crime Centre in Europol, and working closely with other international law enforcement agencies.

I hope you saw the NCA’s alert last week on the two week window to protect yourself and your business against two variants of malware, known as GameOverZeus and Cryptolocker. And I hope you protective yourself as a result of this alert, and encouraged your customers to do the same.

This NCA alert is part of one of the largest industry and law enforcement collaborations attempted to date. This is a fantastic example of how we work with our international partners to pursue cyber criminals across borders, and to protect the public and private sector from attacks.

You will hear much more about the NCA’s international work on cyber crime from Andy Archibald, head of the NCA’s NCCU, this afternoon.

Protect

I am sure you would agree that it is better to protect ourselves and our systems from an attack than wait until our data, finances and confidence is stolen and compromised. That is why Protect is a fundamental part of the government response to the threat of cyber crime.

GCHQ estimates that 80% or more of successful attacks could be defeated by implementing simple best practice cyber security standards. We all have a responsibility to ensure we understand what can be done to protect ourselves at an individual and company level.

And there is some good work taking place. This year PWCs Global State of Information Security Survey shows that the number of companies which have adopted an overall information security strategy has increased by 17.5%.

Almost 64% of security professionals in the UK report directly to the board or CEO, only 54% of European organisations do the same. This is great news, but there is clearly more to be done.

Last week we launched the Cyber Essentials Scheme, an industry-led organisational standard for cyber security, which gives a clear baseline to aim for in addressing cyber security risks to your companies. It is available on the Gov.UK website.

Cyber Essentials is relevant to all your organisations. It applies to all businesses of any size, and any sector. We want to see all organisations adopt the requirements to some degree. And this is not just for the private sector. It applies to academia, charities and the public sector.

Cyber Essentials sits alongside other existing products to help business build their protection against cyber crime. We have guidance for industry Chief Executives and board members, and last year we published tailored guidance for SMEs.

I encourage you all to use the guidance available. They are simple steps that can make a considerable reduction to your cyber vulnerability.

We are listening to what industry needs. We are helping industry to ensure that they have competent cyber security professionals, and that internal cyber security courses are consistent with government standards. GCHQ’s Communications-Electronics Security Group (or CESG) Certified Professional scheme is building a community of recognised cyber security professionals from both public and private sectors. Over 900 professionals have been certified so far, and we intend to develop the scheme further in line with industry requirements.

And the CESG certified training programme enables training providers to have their cyber security courses assessed against approved standards. This provides assurance to organisations and individuals that they have a quality course.

We are also supporting the growth of the UK cyber security industry, with an emphasis on increasing exports. We have set a target to increase cyber security exports to £2bn by 2016. We have a programme of initiatives to support this including help to overcome barriers for entry into key markets.

And work is also underway with industry to jointly develop a cyber security showcase, offering industry a Central London venue to demonstrate their products.

Awareness Raising

The public are the users of your products and services and their cyber security vulnerabilities can increase the threat to your business. And we all should take responsibility for reducing our personal cyber vulnerabilities.

We are helping to do this, by raising awareness of how to stay safe online.

Be Cyber Streetwise is the government’s first national cyber security awareness campaign, helping individuals and small business to understand what they should do to enhance their security online. We are continuing to promote this with a further phase of the campaign later this year to reach as many people and as many small businesses as possible. We want people to know the key things to do in order to act safely online, and to make it second nature to do these things.

Information Sharing

Protection is vital in the fight against cyber crime, but attacks will unfortunately still happen. So what can you do if you are attacked? We need you to share what you know.

The information about that attack is important. It could help to protect another company from suffering the same. Sharing that information will help law enforcement to understand the evolving threat picture, and take the appropriate action against the criminals.

The NCA has a dedicated intelligence capability, which produces threat assessment and targeted alerts and disseminates these to industry.

But the private sector holds a huge amount of information that will help to build a better threat picture. We need you to help.

We want companies to share information with each other. And we have developed a platform to do this.

The Cyber Security Information Sharing Platform (or CISP) provides a secure space for companies to share information on cyber threats, and to work together to protect their systems, which means business can take action to mitigate their vulnerability to attack.

CERT-UK, the UK’s national Computer Emergency Response Team, launched this year, and now houses CISP. This will further build on the success of CISP, and add in an international element for its information and analysis function.

And CERT-UK will be working collaboratively with industry, government and academia to enhance UK cyber resilience. It will be working closely with critical national infrastructure companies, providing guidance and advice as well as helping those companies to respond to cyber incidents.

Cyber criminals are organised, highly skilled and numerous. But look at the wealth of resources we have in front of us, in business, law enforcement and across government.

As a group we have incredible expertise, thousands of highly skilled individuals and a vast amount of information. We can get ahead of cyber criminals. We can stop them. We just need to work together to share what we have and what we know.

Conclusion

What I want you to take away from this is to know that we, the government, see tackling cyber crime as a top priority. We are committed to working closely with you to reduce the threats from cyber crime.

We will continue to build our law enforcement capabilities to pursue cyber criminals, and disrupt their activities. We will work with our international partners to tackle the global threat.

We will provide you with alerts and threat assessments. But we need your help. We need you to share what you can with each other so you can protect yourselves. And we need you to share it with us so we can understand the evolving problems and work with you on how to protect your business.

We need you to protect yourselves and your customers. Promote the guidance that is out there.

This event is a great opportunity to strengthen partnerships, and take stock of what more needs to be done. I hope you have a very productive day.

Thank you.

Karen Bradley – 2014 Speech on UK Cyber Security

karenbradley

Below is the text of the speech made by Karen Bradley, the Minister for Organised Crime and Modern Slavery, at the IA14 Conference on 16th June 2014.

Last year Verizon reported that most successful cyber attacks take a matter of hours to breach a system. Many take minutes or even just seconds.

The frightening fact for me, was that in some cases it is over a year until the compromise is discovered and in a large proportion of specific cases the victim discovers the compromise only through a third party for instance, the police, a security firm or even a competitor tells them.

We rely on the internet. We all conduct an increasing amount of our professional and personal lives online. A survey last year found that the average family owns six devices that provide access to the internet. Smart phones, tablets, laptops and TVs.

We’re sending out personal data into cyberspace all day every day, through emails, passwords and via our bank accounts to name a few.

Combined with the fact that 72% of all adults in Great Britain bought goods or services online in 2013 , up from 53% in 2008, that presents the breadth of opportunity for cyber criminals.

This is why cyber crime, is a top threat to UK national security. It is up there with international terrorism.

This evening, I am delighted to be here today to talk to you about how the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy is prioritising work with our key partners to ensure that the UK is a safe place to do business online, and what more we can do together. For those who don’t know me, I am Karen Bradley, the Minister responsible for Serious and Organised Crime and I head the team that is responsible for our work on cyber security in the Home Office.

Threat

As you heard from the Ciaran Martin earlier, Cyber crime is a global threat, operating across international borders.

Cyber crime is beginning to transform criminality in almost every country. And worse, it enables organised criminals to operate on a scale and at a pace which has previously been unthinkable.

Elaborate online markets are used to exchange information and skills that were once niche are now being exploited in the real world.

For example, last year a drugs trafficking network hired cyber criminals to alter cargo manifests at Antwerp, in an attempt to smuggle their goods in containers to the UK. It was particularly brazen since when the initial breach was discovered and a firewall installed to prevent further attacks, hackers broke into the premises and fitted key-logging devices onto computers.

Ultimately cyber crime is crime like any other. It occurs in the virtual world rather than the physical world but still impacts us directly. So how do we stay one step ahead of the cyber criminals and protect ourselves from attack, and pursue those who commit the crime?

I want to set out for you the priorities in the new Serious and Organised Crime Strategy and how it underpins activity to protect ourselves from attack, and pursue those who commit cyber crime.

Serious and Organised Crime Strategy

In October last year we launched the National Crime Agency and published the new Serious and Organised Crime Strategy.

We have refined our approach to tackling serious and organised crime into four areas of focus: Pursue, Prevent, Protect and Prepare. This follows and reinforces the previous framework of our Counter-Terrorism Strategy, CONTEST.

PURSUE – prosecuting and disrupting organised crime groups. In other words, catching the bad guys.

PREVENT – stopping people from becoming involved in, and remaining involved in, serious and organised crime. In other words, stopping the bad guys from being bad guys.

PROTECT – reducing our vulnerability to harm from these groups by strengthening our systems and processes and providing advice to the private sector and the public. In other words, helping you and others to not become a victim of the bad guys.

And PREPARE – reducing the impact of serious and organised crime when it happens. So, helping victims and wider communities to recover when the criminals strike.

I will focus today on the PURSUE and PROTECT areas of our work.

Pursue

We are changing the way we pursue cyber criminals. Law enforcement needs to have the right skills to respond to the ever evolving ways in which crime is being committed.

But crime is still crime.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) leads the crime fighting response to the most serious incidents of cyber-dependant and cyber-enabled crime through its National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) and Commands including the Economic Crime Command. The NCA now works with regional and local policing.

Through increased investment, new dedicated cyber and fraud units are being developed in our network of Regional Organised Crime Units, or ROCUs. And the College of Policing, now has a dedicated training programme to drive up cyber skills in local police forces. We will see a significant increase in the numbers of police officers and staff who have been trained by 2015.

There are real opportunities for industry and law enforcement to work together to build skills to tackle cyber crime, and to understand the changing threats.

The ROCUs are establishing relationships with businesses in their region, and the NCA’s NCCU is sharing information on cyber attacks with the private sector. CERT UK is playing a vital role in sharing information through its CISP [Cyber-security Information Sharing Partnership] platform. But this is just a start.

In addition to increasing law enforcement capabilities, we want to make the legislative response stronger. We published the Serious Crime Bill this month. This amends existing legislation, which will mean that those who are found guilty of committing cyber attacks which cause serious damage, including to the economy, face lengthy prison sentences. The Serious Crime Bill currently before Parliament, amends the Computer Misuse Act 1990, including to create a new offence of unauthorised acts in relation to a computer that result, either directly or indirectly, in serious damage to the economy, the environment, national security or human welfare, or creates a significant risk of such damage.

The offence will carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for cyber attacks which result in loss of life, serious illness or injury or serious damage to national security and 14 years’ imprisonment for cyber attacks causing, or creating a significant risk of, severe economic or environmental damage or social disruption.

Although pursuing cyber criminals is important, we need to remember that behind statistics reporting billions of pounds lost from cyber attacks, are individual tragedies and victims. Whether it’s a single individual or a large corporation. A large company may be able to absorb a loss of a few thousand pounds from a cyber attack. But for an SME, that could be the difference between folding or surviving. And these businesses will form part of your supply chains, and are an integral part of the industries we all depend on.

Pursue International

The UK cannot tackle cyber crime alone.

We need to work with our international partners in order to pursue the criminals and prevent this crime. That is why at the heart of NCA’s approach to cutting cyber crime is international collaboration.

Through its relationship with the European Cyber Crime Centre in Europol, and working closely with other international law enforcement agencies.

You will have seen the NCA’s alert recently on the two week window to protect yourself and your business against two variants of malware, GameOverZeus and Cryptolocker.

This NCA alert is part of one of the largest industry and law enforcement collaborations attempted to date. This is a fantastic example of international collaboration to pursue cyber criminals across borders, and to protect the public and private sector from attacks.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of how we are strengthening our response to pursuing criminals who commit cyber crime. Working together with law enforcement is an important part of our work.

Protect

Although it is important to ensure we pursue criminals and their crimes, I am sure you would agree that it is better to protect ourselves and our systems from an attack than wait until our data, finances and confidence are stolen and compromised.

That is why Protect is a fundamental part of the Government response to the threat of cyber crime.

To quote from Sir Iain Lobban [Director of GCHQ] “about 80% of known attacks would be defeated by embedding basic information security practices for your people, processes and technology.”

Building on that message, this month, on 5th June we launched the Cyber Essentials Scheme, an industry-led organisational standard for cyber security, which gives a clear baseline to aim for in addressing cyber security risks to you and is designed to help combat cyber threats to SMEs in particular.

As Francis Maude has said, the Cyber Essentials scheme introduces good basic cyber security practices for businesses of any size, and in any sector. It applies to academia, charities, private and the public sector.

We want to see all organisations adopt the requirements. They are simple steps that can make a considerable and important reduction to cyber vulnerability.

Awareness Raising

Of course, no matter what you do, users of online products and services are exposed to risk and their cyber security vulnerabilities can increase the threat to your business. We are helping to reduce the vulnerabilities presented by individuals by raising awareness of how to stay safe online.

Cyber Streetwise, funded through the National Cyber Security Programme was launched earlier this year and is the government’s national cyber security awareness campaign. It is helping individuals and small business to understand what they should do to enhance their security online. We will continue to promote this with a further phase of the campaign later this year to reach as many people and as many small businesses as possible. We want people to know the key things to do in order to act safely online, and to make it second nature to do these things.

Strength in numbers

Cyber criminals are increasingly organised, highly skilled and numerous. But as I look around the room tonight I see the expertise, the commitment and the access to thousands of highly skilled individuals we need to outwit the criminal gangs and shut them down.

What I want you to take away from this is to know that we, the government, see tackling cyber crime as a top priority. We are committed in our Serious and Organised Crime Strategy to ensure that the UK is one of the most secure places in the world to do business in cyberspace. But we need your help.

We need you to share your knowledge and experience and encourage others to do the same. And we need you to share it with us so we can understand the evolving threats problems and work with you on how to protect your businesses.

We need you to protect yourselves and your customers. We need you to promote the guidance that is out there. This event is a great opportunity to build on existing partnerships, and take stock of what more needs to be done. I hope your time at this event today and tomorrow is worthwhile and productive.

Thank you.

Karen Bradley – 2014 Speech on Modern Slavery

karenbradley

Below is the text of the speech made by Karen Bradley, the Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime, at Regent’s Park College in Oxford on 1st May 2014.

I am delighted to be here to talk about an issue connected to this college and its historic links to abolitionist Baptists – fighting slavery.

That fight, is powerfully captured in your Slavery exhibition. It documents the horrors suffered by so many men and women, but also serves as an inspiration – telling the story of the individuals who fought so passionately against this evil.

Emma Walsh – the Chief Librarian of your Angus Library and Archive – and her team have done a remarkable job in putting together such an important collection of texts, manuscripts and artifacts. It is a fascinating reminder of the historical fight against slavery – a fight which we must continue today.

Because, as incredible as it seems in the 21st century – slavery does not just exist in the past.

Modern slavery and human trafficking are appalling crimes taking place today, around the world, and here in this country.

The victims are often not visible to others. The men, women and children, British and foreign nationals, who are trafficked, exploited and forced into servitude and abuse, often go unseen.

Many are trafficked from other countries to the UK, sometimes tricked into believing they are heading towards a better life. Others are vulnerable people who originate from this country who are exploited, abused, and find themselves trapped with no way out.

Some are forced into the sex industry or into a life of crime. Others endure backbreaking labour on farms, on fishing vessels, in nail bars and restaurants or any other number of areas where forced labour is present – even working as slaves in people’s homes.

Victims may endure inhumane treatment and appalling physical and sexual abuse.

It is a crime taking place in British towns and cities – exploitation like this can happen on our doorstep, as residents in Oxford are too aware.

In 2013, over 1700 individuals were referred to the UK’s National Referral Mechanism, which assesses trafficking cases and gives potential victims access to support services.

This represents a 47% increase on referrals since 2012, and numbers keep rising.

Greater awareness may account for some of this increase – but the true extent of this appalling crime is still emerging, and we also know that many more individuals remain hidden and enslaved.

Stamping out this abhorrent crime is a difficult and complex challenge.

But although the complexity and hidden nature of this crime means it is not an issue that can be solved overnight, it must never be an excuse to think nothing can be done.

Both the Home Secretary and I – as the Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime – are personally committed to tackling this appalling crime.

Modern slavery vs historic slavery

Today, thanks to the dedication and self-sacrifice of the abolitionists, slavery is illegal across the world.

But while today the chains of modern slavery may not be visible, the suffering is very real.

So our focus must be on the relentless pursuit of the individuals and criminal gangs behind the majority of the modern slave trade.

We must target those criminals and their networks, prosecute and convict offenders, and ensure victims are released and receive the help they need so they can recover from their traumatic ordeal.

The Bill

This government is taking action on a number of fronts.

Last December, the Home Secretary published a draft Modern Slavery Bill.

The Bill – the first of its kind in Europe – would strengthen the punishment of offenders and the protection of victims. It would consolidate into a single act the offences used to prosecute slave drivers and traffickers, and would increase the maximum sentence available to life imprisonment for the worst offenders. It would also introduce Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Orders and Trafficking Risk Orders to restrict the activity of those who pose a risk and those convicted of slavery and trafficking offences so they cannot cause further harm.

It would also create an important new role – an Anti-Slavery Commissioner – who would hold law enforcement and other organisations to account.

The new strengthened law will not only act as a significant deterrent, but will help ensure more arrests, more prosecutions, and most importantly, more victims are released from slavery and more prevented from ever entering it in the first place.

Police / law enforcement

But legislation is only part of the picture.

Stepping up our law enforcement response must be fundamental to our efforts. That is why we have made tackling modern slavery and human trafficking a priority for the National Crime Agency.

The National Crime Agency – which was launched last October – has a strong mandate for combating serious and organised crime at all levels – nationally and internationally. It will use its enhanced intelligence capabilities to deter, disrupt and bring to justice those responsible for these despicable crimes.

Police, border officials and others on the frontline also have a critical role to play. Training is already mandatory for British Border Force officials and the UK’s College of Policing is developing training and guidance for police officers.

And at a number of ports on our borders, we have deployed specialist anti-slavery teams to help identify potential victims so that they can be helped and safeguarded.

Throughout our work, our main focus must be on protecting and supporting victims.

As part of this work, the UK spends around £4 million annually on specialist support for victims.

We are rightly proud of the work we have done so far protecting victims, but we are not complacent.

That is why we have launched a review of how victims are identified and supported through the UK’s National Referral Mechanism.

We also need to make sure that, when these individuals are ready to leave this specialist support, they can access the right help to recover and move on with their lives, whether they remain in the UK or return home.

Child Advocates

We also recognise that child victims need a tailored approach.

In January, the Home Secretary announced our intention to conduct trials of specialist independent advocates for victims of child trafficking. These advocates will support and guide the child through the immigration, criminal justice and care systems. They will ensure the child’s voice is heard and that they receive the support and protection they need and deserve.

What the public and business can do

But tackling modern slavery and human trafficking is not something the Government can address alone – society has a role to play on wider activity.

We need to work with communities, businesses, professionals and the voluntary sector to have a meaningful impact.

We need to ensure that professionals and the public are aware of the signs of trafficking and what to do if they suspect it.

The number of cases referred to the National Referral Mechanism is increasing, which is a promising sign in terms of people spotting the signs of trafficking, but there is still more to do.

That is why I am committed to improving training and raising awareness across the different sectors, of modern slavery and human trafficking.

We will also be asking the private sector to play its part. Companies must be confident that they do not conduct business with suppliers involved in trafficking.

The Home Office will work with businesses and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority to prevent the exploitation of workers.

And we will continue work with airline staff to raise awareness of the signs of a possible victim entering or leaving the UK.

I want the voluntary sector to play a full part too.

It is absolutely vital that we are all joined-up, that we make better use of expertise of NGOs, and that we empower them to better share intelligence with the police, for the sake of current victims, for the sake of future victims and for the sake of justice.

International

Ultimately it is by people and organisations coming together, not just in this country, but across the world, to tackle modern slavery that we will really make a difference.

So I am delighted religious leaders are also joining the call to action. His Holiness Pope Francis is demonstrating the real role churches and other faith groups have to play by highlighting the ever increasing global scale of the issue.

Earlier this month, the Home Secretary attended an international conference on slavery hosted by the Vatican. The two-day event focused on law enforcement and brought together police forces from over 20 countries.

The ‘Santa Marta Group’, an international group of senior law enforcement chiefs led by Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, was formally established at the conference. The group will meet again in London in November, and has pledged to work together to “eradicate the scourge of this serious criminal activity, which abuses vulnerable people.”

We will also work with foreign governments to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of modern slavery – and to try and stop potential victims in high risk countries from falling prey to traffickers in the first place.

And, we will be lobbying for changes in laws and practices of these countries and learn from them.

There is also much we can learn internationally, both on how to support our source countries better, and how to learn from destination countries’ responses.

That is why the Home Secretary appointed a Special Envoy on Modern Slavery, who has been exploring how other countries respond to this issue, in order to support the development of our work.

Conclusion

Two centuries ago, the abolitionists faced an immense challenge.

Their achievement in opening the eyes of many to the horrors of slavery and ensuring it was outlawed, is truly inspirational.

Today our task is very different.

But we are united by a common desire to stop the suffering of those who endure the misery of slavery.

It is a fight in which many have a role to play. And it is a fight which everyone in this room can help with – we can all take responsibility by raising awareness and demanding transparency about where our goods and services come from.

The more we can raise awareness of the fact this evil crime still exists in the 21st century, the more chance we have of consigning it to the history books where it belongs.

We are at the start of a journey. The road is long, but each step we take can make a difference. The challenge before us is not easy, but I am determined to work together to stamp out this evil and disgusting crime.

Karen Bradley – 2014 Speech on E-Crime

karenbradley

Below is the text of the speech made by Karen Bradley, the Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime, on e-Crime on 12th March 2014.

In 2011, CISCO estimated that the Internet connected over 10.3 billion processes, sources of data and ‘things’.

By 2020, CISCO stated that this has the potential to reach 50 billion.

As a maths graduate, I find that a staggering fact.

But today I’m banking on the fact that personal connections continue to make the biggest difference in our world.

My name is Karen Bradley, and I am the new minister with responsibility for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime in the Home Office.

I’m delighted to meet you all today.

I have only been in office for a few weeks, however in that short time I have been taken by the wide range of activity that is taking place with Industry partners to tackle the threat of cyber and cyber-dependant crime, such as fraud.

You heard yesterday from the head of the National Cyber Crime Unit, Andy Archibald, on how the National Crime Agency aims to develop this cooperation.

Today, I want to give you an overview of what we, in government, are doing to ensure that the UK derives as much value as possible from cyberspace, whilst tackling the threats within that environment.

I would like to set out the changes that are taking place to help us tackle these threats.

I would also like to talk to you about the partnership that I want to see develop between government, industry and our other partners, to bear down on cyber criminals and increase the cyber security of the UK.

The Cyber Threat

Cyber security, including cyber crime, remains a ‘tier one’ threat to national security.

It is costing the UK economy billions of pounds a year.

In 2013, Financial Fraud Action UK noted that cyber-enabled card-not-present fraud cost banks an estimated £140 million in 2012.

In the same year, cyber-enabled banking fraud was estimated at just under £40million .

We also know that our reliance on the internet is expanding at pace.

The Office of National Statistics reported that in 2012, approximately 85% of the UK population used the internet.

Of these, 33 million people accessed the internet every day, more than double the level six years before.

And the methods for access are also rapidly changing, with those using a mobile device to go online increasing by over 50% in two years from 2010 to 2012 [24% to 51%].

These evolutions create new challenges for investigation, as well opportunities for criminality.

The sheer scale and reach of the internet allows criminals to stretch their influence further than ever before – and to cover their tracks.

Today, one of the key threats we are facing is the ability of traditional crime groups to use the ‘as a service’ nature of the criminal marketplace to buy the skills needed to commit crimes that they had not been able to achieve.

We are concerned about the large scale harvesting of data to commit fraud against individuals and organisations.

And, we are concerned about the targeted compromise of UK networked systems to modify or steal data: to gain competitive advantage; gain control of infrastructure or, inflict reputational damage.

Law enforcement must develop and embed a new set of research, investigation and evidential skills, in order to respond.

National Cyber Security Programme

So, what is the government doing on cyber security, and where does industry fit in?

The National Cyber Security Strategy was launched in 2011.

Through the Programme, which underpins this strategy, we have dedicated £860 million over five years to deliver a step-change in the UK’s cyber capabilities.

The National Cyber Security Programme, about to move into its fourth year, has already delivered significant changes to the landscape on cyber.

Notably, the creation of the National Cyber Crime Unit within the National Crime Agency; the development of CERT UK to be launched in the coming weeks, the UK’s first single computer emergency response team for national cyber incident management; and, the launch of the Cyber Information Sharing Partnership, the first secure government-industry forum for information sharing on key cyber threats.

The national roll-out last year of Action Fraud also provided for the first time, a single reporting mechanism for cyber and fraud.

This has allowed us to improve significantly the number of reports of this type of crime, which we always believed were under-reported.

Between September 2012 and September 2013, the number of reports rose by over 30% from 150,000 to over 200,000.

It also makes links between different frauds, where people and businesses across the country are targeted by the same scams.

These changes, alongside the analytical capability of the NCA’s Intelligence Hub, greatly increase our understanding of the threats that we face.

Serious and Organised Crime Strategy

On 7 October last year we also launched the new Serious and Organised Crime Strategy.

Taking the framework of our Counter-Terrorism Strategy, Contest, our approach has 4 areas of focus: pursue, prevent, protect and prepare.

Pursue – prosecuting and disrupting serious and organised crime.

Prevent – stopping people from becoming involved in, and remaining involved in, serious and organised crime.

Protect – reducing our vulnerability by strengthening our systems and processes and providing advice to the private sector and the public.

Prepare – reducing the impact of serious and organised crime, ensuring major incidents are brought to effective resolution and supporting victims and witnesses.

I will focus today on the pursue and protect areas of our work.

Pursue

With the launch of the National Crime Agency, and by increasing law enforcement capability at regional and local force level, we are changing the way that we pursue cyber criminals.

Through its new National Cyber Crime Unit and the Economic Crime Command, the National Crime Agency unifies the national crime-fighting response to the most serious, organised and complex cyber and cyber-enabled crime.

The NCA is also forging strong, direct relationships with industry. It will support both proactive investigations and a fast-time response to the most serious incidents.

The NCA will reach through to regional and local policing, in particular through the network of Regional Organised Crime Units – set up to work across local police force boundaries.

Following increased investment this year, dedicated cyber and fraud units are now being developed in each of these regional teams.

Through the College of Policing, we are also working to drive up cyber skills at the local level with a dedicated training programme. We expect 5,000 officers and staff to be trained by 2015.

This is part of a wider programme of work to support the increased capability and capacity of forces to investigate the online elements of crime.

As Andy mentioned yesterday, there are real opportunities for cooperation between law enforcement and Industry on skills.

We all need to keep pace with the technical changes that evolve and ensure all our organisations have the right skills to respond.

I think there is much that we can do together in this respect.

International

But the UK clearly can’t tackle this global threat alone.

Cyber criminals pay scant attention to international borders and can threaten the UK from locations across the globe.

As Andy noted yesterday, international collaboration is therefore at the centre of the NCA’s approach to cutting cyber crime, such as through its relationship with the European Cyber Crime Centre in Europol. We are also working closely with partner Governments worldwide.

The UK government also continues to play a leading role in shaping emerging EU thinking on cyber, including on the proposed EU Directive on Network Information Security.

I know you discussed this yesterday.

We in government, strongly support the commission’s aim to raise the level of network and information security across the EU.

But, we need to make sure that this complements the good progress we have made on this issue in the UK, and that it does not discourage business from seeking help or introduce unnecessary burdens.

Protect

As you have already been considering at this congress, protection is another fundamental part of our response.

Corporate governance is key to this.

It is endlessly frustrating to hear IT security professionals complain that they are treated as being outside the core business of their organisation.

They should be at the heart of it, with the risk of cyber threat being properly managed at board-level.

I know that this will continue to form part of the discussions that you will have at the congress today.

To encourage this, the government has now launched guidance to organisations to adopt simple measures to enhance cyber security, including for SMEs and large businesses.

The 10 Steps to Cyber Security is available on the GOV.UK website.

We have also recently launched specific cyber security guidance which companies can use during financial transactions such as mergers and acquisitions.

I strongly encourage you all to read this guidance, use it and implement it in your businesses.

Following these simple steps will protect firms against the majority of cyber threats.

To complement this, we have been working with industry to develop a basic cyber hygiene standard, due for release shortly.

This will enable businesses to demonstrate that they have put a basic level of cyber security in place.

This supports work being undertaken to certify commercially-available cyber security products for use in public and private sectors.

We also want to support the growth of the UK cyber security industry, with an emphasis on increasing exports.

Government has now set a target for future export growth of £2 billion worth of annual sales by 2016.

With these initiatives, we want to make it easier for companies to negotiate the crowded market and to promote our quality exports, which I know there is a great appetite for.

Awareness raising and protecting customers

But Protect is not just about hardening our physical protective security.

We also need to increase the public’s awareness of how to stay safe online.

As the end user of many of your products and services, their cyber security vulnerabilities can all too easily become your cyber security vulnerabilities.

You’ll hopefully now all be aware of the government’s first national cyber security awareness campaign, Be Cyber Streetwise.

The campaign was launched in January to help individuals and small businesses to understand the steps that they should take to enhance their security online.

I see this as a key aspect of our work into the next year and encourage you to consider how you can also support it, if you are not already involved.

Intelligence Sharing

The final aspect of Protect that I would like to mention is intelligence-sharing.

We must do this more effectively, in order to be able to keep pace with the swiftly evolving threat, to protect ourselves and target our disruptive activity.

The National Crime Agency has new dedicated capability to increase intelligence sharing to and from the private sector.

It produces threat assessments and targeted alerts on emerging threats so risks and vulnerabilities can be reduced.

But, we know that the vast majority of intelligence on the threats that we face lies within the private sector.

I hope that companies will agree to share the information that they hold on threats, and support each other to protect their systems.

The Cyber Information Sharing Partnership (or CISP), provides an important platform for this activity, providing a secure space to share threat information and mitigation advice in real-time.

Following an initial focus on companies that support our Critical National Infrastructure, membership of CISP has now been extended, including to legal firms, academia and SMEs, with over 300 companies having joined.

I strongly encourage you to consider how it might support your organisations also.

CERT-UK, which will house CISP, will also have a crucial role to play following its launch later this year.

Once in place, CERT-UK will work closely with the companies that own and manage the Critical National Infrastructure to help them respond to cyber incidents.

It will also help to promote a greater understanding of the threats faced by wider industry, academia and the public sector.

Summary

So what is the message that I want you to go away with today?

I want you to know that we are committed to working closely with you to reduce the threats from cyber crime.

We will bring all our law enforcement capabilities to bear to pursue cyber criminals relentlessly.

And we will provide as much information and support as we can in helping you to protect your systems and customers.

In return, we need you to share information, within the proper legal boundaries, on what you are seeing – both with each other and with us.

You’re on the frontline. You see it every day and we need you to provide your skills and support in the fight to pursue cyber criminals.

And we need you to prioritise the protection of your systems and customers.

I was at the Security and Policing Exhibition in Farnborough yesterday and I saw many good examples of what we have to offer on cyber crime.

I know what we have in this country and that we are flourishing in cyber security. We want to help you get that to customers.

This event is an excellent opportunity to take stock of how this partnership can work.

Thank you.

Karen Bradley – 2014 Speech on UK-Spain Asset Recovery

karenbradley

Below is the text of the speech made by Karen Bradley on 25th February 2014.

I am delighted to open this Asset Recovery Forum here today.

It is a fantastic opportunity for Spain and the UK to work together to get better at confiscating ill-gotten gains from criminals.

I am very pleased to see so many representatives from law enforcement agencies, prosecution agencies and the judiciary. I know you are keen to find new ways and more effective ways of working together.

Serious and Organised Crime – The Threat

Whilst recorded crime in the UK is down by more than 10%, the threat from serious and organised crime remains very real. It costs the UK more than £24 billion every year and is now recognised as a national security risk.

It creates misery for victims and has a corrosive impact on our communities. The sight of criminals enjoying lavish lifestyles funded by the proceeds of crime encourages others to get involved in criminality.

Financial gain is often the motive for serious and organised crime. In many cases we have found criminals fight harder to protect their assets from confiscation than they do to avoid the prison sentence imposed for the crime. And the proceeds of crime are used to fund further criminality.

For too long many serious and organised criminals have been able to stay one step ahead, out of the reach of law enforcement agencies and enjoying the proceeds of their criminality, whether at home or abroad.

Our Response – the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy

The UK Government launched the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy in October 2013, detailing how the Government will reduce substantially the level of serious and organised crime. We will do so by tackling both the threats and the vulnerabilities that enable serious and organised crime.

There are four aspects to the Strategy: Pursue, Prevent, Protect and Prepare.

The first part – Pursue- is about relentlessly disrupting serious and organised criminals. Central to that is our ambition to attack criminal finances by making it harder to move, hide and use the proceeds of crime, which impacts serious and organised crime. We are also building new capabilities and introducing new legislation.

The second element of our strategy is about Prevention, stopping people from getting drawn into serious and organised crime to begin with. Tackling criminal finances makes crime less lucrative and less attractive to those at risk of offending.

Thirdly, we will find new ways to make it harder for criminals to launder the proceeds of their crimes as part of our approach to Protecting government and the private sector from serious and organised criminals.

Finally, using the recovered proceeds of crime to help local communities contributes to our Prepare focus on contingency planning and supporting victims, witnesses and communities.

The National Crime Agency

The National Crime Agency, a new law enforcement organisation to coordinate work against serious and organised crime in the UK and overseas, was launched at the same time as the Strategy. The NCA also brings together intelligence on all types of serious and organised crime, and prioritises crime groups for law enforcement action according to the threat they present.

Partnerships and International Asset Recovery

Criminals are known to move their assets overseas, out of the reach of law enforcement agencies, and our strategy commits us to doing more on international asset recovery.

Partnerships are at the heart of our new strategy and we want to establish strong, effective relationships with our international partners to drive up the amount of assets we confiscate. Our relationship with Spain on this agenda is an immediate priority.

Working together to enforce overseas confiscation orders is good for everyone:

For victims and communities, because justice is done when the criminal is deprived of their proceeds;

For the requesting country, because it prevents criminals escaping the reach of its courts; and

For the enforcing country, which keeps all or some of the assets confiscated, and because no country wants to be a safe haven for criminals and the proceeds of their crimes.

Working Together

I would like to thank the Spanish authorities for their willingness to assist us in the complex task of enforcing UK confiscation orders.

I want to make very clear that, in return, we will make every effort to assist them in returning to Spain criminal assets found in the UK. Let us know which cases you want us to pursue, and we will work with you to ensure that Spanish criminals cannot hide their ill-gotten gains in the UK.

A powerful indication of our commitment to this agenda is the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision to post an asset recovery specialist here to Madrid to facilitate this enforcement work. I greatly welcome that decision and I hope this can serve as a model that can be replicated elsewhere.

Spain and the UK have already achieved fantastic results working together. A great example of this is the excellent Operation Captura campaign run by Crimestoppers. Since its launch in 2006, information provided to Crimestoppers by the public has helped capture 58 UK criminals hiding in Spain out of the 78 subjects circulated.

The most recent was David Mather, a convicted heroin smuggler arrested in La Linea by the Spanish authorities, following information given to Crimestoppers by the public, with support and cooperation from the National Crime Agency. A fantastic example of the close cooperation between UK and Spanish Authorities for which I am very grateful.

It goes to show that strong bilateral relationships achieve results.

I want us to build on the success of Operation Captura by ensuring that we confiscate the assets of those that we bring to justice.

What should our enhanced cooperation look like?

I would like us to agree some practical steps to help each other.

Firstly, starting today, to get to know each other better, and to understand each other’s legal systems. That is the way for us to understand what the procedural blockages are that prevent us from working together more effectively.

Secondly, to agree with each other a list of priority confiscation cases that we will both pursue. We want to ensure that both of our countries are a hostile environment for serious and organised criminals. We do that through joined-up law enforcement action.

Asset Sharing

Thirdly, to ensure we have a shared commitment to seeing the United Kingdom implement European Union measures on the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders. We intend to implement those measures in the UK on 1 December 2014.

In the meantime, I hope we can explore opportunities to agree an interim Memorandum of Understanding to allow us to share confiscated assets, using the formula established in the EU measures, to ensure that crime does not pay.

Conclusion

So, I call on everybody here today to make the most of this unique opportunity to work together to share innovative ideas and success stories; gain a better understanding of each other’s constraints; and, most importantly, to reach solutions together. It is through the combined efforts of you, the practitioners, that we will tackle serious and organised criminals and ensure that neither Spain nor the UK is a haven for ill-gotten gains.

Thank you.

Thomas Boardman – 1967 Maiden Speech to the House of Commons

Below is the text of the maiden speech made by Thomas Boardman in the House of Commons on 20th December 1967.

I understand that there is a happy custom in this House which enables a new Member making his maiden speech to refer to his predecessor, and this I am pleased to do. Mr. Herbert Bowden, as he then was, sat for my constituency for 22 years, did much work for all sections of the constituency and was held in high regard by his constituents. I know also that he was much respected by right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House and I am sure that they will join me in wishing him well in another place and in his new job.

I understand that I am also enabled to make reference to my constituency and this I am both pleased and proud to do. It is the south-west part of that great Midlands industrial city of Leicester. The city was reputed to be one of the most prosperous in Europe—a prosperity which I fear has somewhat faded in recent years. But it still compares favourably with most parts of the country.

Its prosperity is founded on a diversity of industries—engineering, footwear, textiles, hosiery, plastics and the like. I believe that its source was the traditional ability of the people of Leicester for hard work, high skills, enterprise, inventiveness and thrift. These are all qualities which I am sure hon. Members on both sides will recognise as virtues. Whether we would agree on how those virtues should be rewarded I will not venture to raise today.

It is because of this diversity of industries in Leicester that the cost of transport is of vital importance today. I want to refer only to that part of the Bill concerning the carriage of freight and to apply it to a commercial test—the test of whether the Bill will add to the competitiveness and efficiency of British industry, which, after all, must be our prime economic aim. Before applying that test, perhaps I should say something about my qualifications for doing so, so that the House can weigh how much or how little to attach to my words.

I say at once that I do not claim to write for the Economist—or so far I have not been asked to do so—so perhaps the right hon. Lady will be disappointed in that. It is perhaps important to refer to my experience in that Lord Robens commented the other day on the lack of experience of hon. Members in making commercial decisions.

I have the ultimate responsibility for the commercial decisions of a group of companies which cover 14 factories in the Midlands and the North. These factories supply components of many types to much of the footwear, motor car and clothing trades throughout the United Kingdom and many other parts of the world. To us, the organisation of transport is one of our key rôles. It is the conveyor belt of our industry and if it breaks down, or something goes wrong with it, not only do our own factories suffer or cease to function but we can cause chaos and hold up production in hundreds of factories throughout the country. So it is from the background of my personal experience that I approach this part of the Bill.

I ask myself what industry needs in transport. On both sides we welcome methods to improve safety for the operator or safety for the public. There are at present countless regulations providing for safety in transport. I shall not take up time in questioning whether these are fully effective or even whether the Bill is necessary in whole or in part to fill in any requirements still wanting.

I turn to what I consider to be the three commercial requirements of transport. One must be flexibility because, however carefully one plans one’s transport to carry one’s goods up and down the country and to the ports, the pattern of trade and demand will change daily and hourly and we must have, for industry, a flexible system which allows us, for example, to divert a lorry load bound for London to Bristol or Birmingham at short notice. The need for flexibility was never better illustrated by the recent dock strikes, when we had to divert lorries from port to port in order to catch shipping space.

This means two things. We have to have the choice, which we now have, to use our own transport, or to use private carriers or British Road Services or container services and the like. They all have an important part to play. Industry and commerce must have choice. We must have the ability to choose the right transport for the occasion. I believe that the third thing we need is competition, because it is only our freedom to switch from one carrier to another or to use our own lorries that enables us to get the keenest price and the good service we demand. I believe that these are the requirements we must have.

How does the Bill measure up to this? I believe that it fails on all these points. The right hon. Lady says that she intends to coerce people into using British Railways and gave as her reasons that only by making us use the railways will we realise how good the new services are and, secondly, that we do not know the true economic costs of our own transport. I think that the right hon. Lady is presuming to know more about how to run our businesses than we do. It is a dangerous assumption that either the lady or the gentleman in Whitehall necessarily knows best.

The right hon. Lady also said that the private sector would not be eliminated. I believe that the private sector will survive but I query how it can survive in any competitive form on the crumbs which fall from British Railways’ table, or how it can survive when its only job will be to plug holes left by the National Freight Corporation. I wonder whether it can be competitive and prosper—or, if it does prosper, whether it will not commit the Socialist crime of prosperity, which would bring upon it the penalty of integration, rationalisation or co-ordination into the public sector.

I believe that the consequences of the Bill on industry—and I believe this out of my own experience, as I am trying to avoid political controversy—could be grave increases in costs due to the direct costs in the Bill, to the costs to people in building up stocks along the pipeline because they cannot be sure of deliveries they now know are certain, and to the costs of the administrative form filling and the bureaucracy that goes with it. These costs will be heavy on industry.

At this time, when industry has been reeling under blow after blow and when it should be straining every nerve and sinew to get on with the job of production, I query whether it is right to introduce this Measure. By the Bill the Minister intends to carry out a major surgical operation on the jugular vein of our industrial and commercial life, and if she has miscalculated—and can she be sure that she has not?—she could put in jeopardy the jobs of millions and the chances of our economic recovery.

David Blunkett – 2005 Speech at National Association of Pension Funds Conference

davidblunkett

Below is the text of the speech made by David Blunkett, the then Work and Pensions Secretary, to the National Association of Pension Funds conference on 12th May 2005.

Well firstly my thanks for the invitation, and particularly for returning, having had your AGM and the exhibition. I count it as a deep honour that you have bothered to come back afterwards at this time of the day when you could be enjoying the sunshine. I was very worried for a moment, Christine. I thought you were going to say that I had the hide of Churchill and the nose of a rhinoceros, but maybe I will have after perhaps more than 14 months in the job.

I mean let’s not beat about the bush. All of you in this room know more about income in retirement and the issues around pensions than I do, so we might as well start off as I mean to go on – which is that I have got some overview thoughts and I am very happy at the end of them to take questions and comment, but above all, I am prepared to work with you, those who are members of the NAPF, and those associated and working in the industry more broadly, to actually listen and learn and to work with you alongside the Commission, chaired by Adair Turner, to be able to come up with a lasting solution which will take us through the decades ahead and will give certainty and stability on which you can build, and on which the British people can invest their hard earned resources in ensuring that they have a happy and fruitful retirement.

I always find myself, not so much lying, as rushing along with a bed of nails pursuing me. Each job I take on seems to be the unsolvable issue of the moment, and it is just as true in terms of not just the challenge on income in retirement, but also the revisions of the welfare state.

Because the settlement at the time of the post-war era was very much in a different economic, social and cultural environment – and it was presumed that if women did go to work they would work part-time – people were encouraged therefore, if they were female, to opt out of the full national insurance system.

If you go back to the beginning of the pensions system, and you know that better than I do, there were 10 people in work for every 1 in retirement. Now we are down to 4 in 1, and within the next 50 years we will be down to 2 to 1 if we don’t actually change the nature of the working life, the presumptions that people make about that, and the way in which we deal with it.

It is not simply, incidentally, the challenges that Adair laid down with his four pillars, or principles, but actually also whether we are prepared to consider other aspects as well, like the issue – dare I say it after the general election plumbed the depths on this question – of encouraging managed legal immigration into our country, to fill vacancies, to be able to ensure productivity, but also to contribute to the wider delivery of services and the build-up of capital for the generation that will be retiring.

It is also about the issue of ensuring that we get more people into work who are of working age – the 80% aim that we have set ourselves, having reached just a month ago the 75% of the working age population in work. This was something that I laid down when I was last Employment Secretary, because on this bit I have been recycled, it helps to know a bit of the brief anyway when you come into it, and I had 4 years as Employment Secretary, so I was aware of the challenge.

But of course that takes us into other aspects of the reform of the welfare state, such as the way in which we need to get those who have considered themselves to be likely to be unemployable, into employment, and that includes people with disabilities, and that is why the reform of Incapacity Benefit is important, and also getting housing benefit reform right so that it isn’t a discouragement to people taking a job.

Gordon Brown has done an enormous amount in terms of making work pay and taking on the challenge of overcoming poverty, including poverty in retirement. We now have almost 2 million people who would have been considered to be in poverty in retirement who have been aided by the programmes that have been brought in. 2.7 million households, of course, have become entitled to the Pension Credit, and just over 2 million – 2.1 million – to the income guarantee, raising the basic income they were receiving from £69 to just over £109 for a single person.

It is an unsung achievement, although I did meet one or two people in retirement who had the decency during the General Election to shake my hand and say that they were better off than they had ever been.

Of course where they are receiving free accommodation through housing as well, that actually adds to their well-being, but it is often not counted as part of the income, when of course it is. And I think we need to look at – not just now, but in terms of finding solutions for the future – the total income coming into a household where both people are retired, or where there is a single retired person.

And that will in the future mean taking a look at the assets that those people have in other directions, not just other forms of saving, but actually also the passing on from one older generation to a slightly less, but elder generation – the income from ownership of homes where the parent, or the aunt and uncle, in their late 80s or 90s die and pass on to those in their 60s or early 70s a substantial asset, like winning the lottery or the pools. We need to take those into account because otherwise we will delude ourselves. We will become more pessimistic to begin with, but we will also discount what is a substantial additional income for those individuals and we need to bear that in mind.

But take it for granted – and you know this as well as we do – that we have the largest home ownership in Europe, certainly in the developed world, other than North America, and the consequence of that is that we need to take into account what that means vis-a-vis pension requirements across the continent.

You may have noticed that I am desperately trying not to use the term “pensioner”. I have never been politically correct in my life, In fact I have often run into trouble by refusing to be, so this is a kind of reverse political correctness on my part. What really gets me is when people come into my advice surgery and they say: “You see, Mr Blunkett, I am a pensioner”, and they define themselves by the nature of their income.

Well I won’t ask you to put your hands up if you would really like to be defined when you have retired as a pensioner, because I will be able to count the results, even if you get it wrong, not like our postal vote system, but a bit more like Robert Mugabe’s system.

We know that what we have got to do is to stop defining people by their income in retirement and we have got to break down the barriers between our working time and our retirement time, so that with employers we can start developing schemes that allow people to retire and come back.

I think Gordon Brown, and Alan Johnson, and Andrew Smith before him, did a really good job in encouraging people to be prepared to stay on – to stay on full or part-time – and to be able to defer taking their basic pension, and therefore get an incentive and a reward for it. I mean after 5 years of deferral, to be able to get between £20,000 and £30,000 in my view is a real promise.

The idea of people being able to take their occupational pension and continue working seems to me to be common sense, and we need to examine how we provide incentives to people who are not in those positions, but want to do a little part-time job when they have retired, and how we can make sure that there is not a disincentive.

I will share something with you, because I think this is really important to see where I am coming from. When my father was killed in a works accident, when I was 12, my mother received part of his superannuation – his deferred gratification, his deferred earnings – but it was just enough to push her at that time into having to pay some income tax, and just enough to push her out of being entitled to other related passport benefits.

She was a generous woman and would have given her last crust – and sometimes we were on our last crust – to anyone else, but she really resented that trap. And if, after whatever time I get in the job, I have been able to work with Gordon Brown in finding a way to increase the tapers and to encourage, not just savings, but the ability to take advantage of them so that we incentivise other people to want to save, to want to be self-reliant, to want to be part of the solution themselves, then I will have been very proud to have been the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

This is crucial, alongside elevating people out of poverty in retirement, which Gordon has said is an absolutely key parameter and has done so much to achieve with the Pension Credit, with the winter fuel allowance, which of course has the advantage that my mother would have welcomed, as not disqualifying you from other benefits and not being taxed, with the TV licence for the over-75s, with the help we gave for this year’s council tax – all of those things are helping.

In the end we have got to ensure that people know that this isn’t an issue for government or for the industry, this is an issue for every single one of us.

So I don’t want, whether it is in reforming the welfare state more broadly, or in reforming pensions and retirement income, I don’t want a safety net any longer, I want an escalator, or even a trampoline where people can jump out of the situation of dependence. I want to feel that people know that yes we will support, facilitate with you in the industry, we will help people be able to gain confidence, that there will be support and assistance in getting it right, but that they are also crucially the solution.

So that from the moment that someone takes on a job, they start thinking about their lifetime income, just as they think about their lifetime aspiration for promotion, for re-skilling, for taking on a global economy where we will change jobs again and again in our lifetime. I mean I have had three in government alone, and look how old I am. Well I didn’t used to look old, but one or two things have sort of greyed my beard, not least being the Home Secretary, which is why most people in Cabinet shave their beards off, by the way, it sort of avoids them being labelled as ageing. But when you have a grey beard, the Prime Minister is inclined to think that your mind will be concentrated on your pension. So here I am.

I think that we have a number of challenges. If we are to develop certainty and security, then we need to welcome what the NAPF and the ABI have been doing in social responsibility in investment, and that means government, so that we do not have in the future the need for the FAS to actually dig people out of a situation where they have been so badly and scurrilously let down. We don’t want in future the need to have the fall-back of the PPF, but we have got it for the time being, and we will make it work, in order to ensure that we can provide for the future. But what we do want is the kind of work you have been doing on ensuring that people can have confidence.

But we also need to reach out to people and give them, as Adair Turner’s Commission is doing, a very clear picture of what has happened. Not just as I described, the change in the ratio of the working to the non-working, but also the great gains of longevity, of actually being able to enjoy our life for longer and in a better condition for longer. Actually challenge people to say but you can’t have the same results without facing the challenges in circumstances where over the last 50 years life expectancy when we have left work has risen from 10 to 20 years, and is rising exponentially all the time.

We can’t have circumstances where people wanted to retire early, or in the case of incentives to get out of a job at times of very high unemployment – and that was the case in the ‘80s, people found themselves on incapacity benefit or on very attractive early retirement packages – and therefore create an environment where people thought they were going to retire earlier, they were going to live longer, and someone else would provide them with an income. And all those challenges across the country, we are all involved in.

I am going to take the Ministerial team, and senior officials, out across the country, into the regions and to the localities. Not just because we learnt, if we didn’t know it before, during the general election, that we needed to listen, to be close to people, to actually share the challenges with people of the future – but because actually I want to hear what those in the industry, those with expertise, those who think they have got an answer, can offer us.

I also want to hear from the public what they really think in terms of their understanding of their responsibilities. In other words, the new welfare state is about responsibilities and not just rights, it is about creating a sense of independence, but underpinned by mutuality and the recognition that we are in this together. It is about, in other words, a different sort of view of the relationship between government and people, between the industry and government, and between the big blocs of the CBI and the TUC and the solutions we can come to.

And so I have spoken personally, as well as on the radio, to Malcolm Rifkind today, and I will speak to whoever might be reshuffled – I haven’t heard the news tonight – in Steve Webb’s job in the Liberal Democrats. I want a consensus with my colleagues in Parliament. I want a consensus with the industry, trade unions and business; I want a consensus across the country; but I want a consensus with the major political parties, because if we are going to have that security and stability and we are going to address the issues of the future openly, as long term questions, not short term fixes, then we will need the political parties to come together.

OK, we will knock bells out of each other about what happened in the past, as we get near to a general election they will be flaking off at the edges, but we do have a couple of years now, with a secure majority, to actually be able to challenge all those involved in wanting to be part of the solution, in having to own being part of the solution, to come up with answers that will be lasting. And I am prepared to do that, if my political opponents are prepared to do it as well.

And not all of us will be satisfied with the outcome. But in June we will hold a joint seminar with Adair Turner’s Commission and Ministers, opening that up so that we can present by the end of June, at least a sense of the direction in which we are going; so that when Adair’s final Commission Report comes out in the late autumn, there will be at least some feel of what the issues have been about, and people can have responded to it already and give us a bit of a steer as to what is acceptable. I think that will help Adair Turner in being able to come out with something that at least has the momentum behind it; the tide running for it.

Because what we don’t want in the late autumn is something coming out of the blue, and then everybody sniping because they haven’t got everything they want, picking pieces out of it, without having had to be made to think before it emerges, what their reaction will be. And then we can challenge people, not to be against, but to work out which bit they can be in favour of, how they can come together to create that sense of momentum. And if we can get it right, then it will be possible, despite differences (of course there will be) to actually face the challenge of the future together.

The facts will speak for themselves, the demographics, the change in health and longevity, the challenge of people who want a better life when they are retired, who want to do more and want to go on the world tours that only the very rich went on in the 19th Century. They will want to be able to drink a decent glass of burgundy – at least I will, I will need to by then – they will want to be able also to pass on to their sons and daughters and their grandchildren something that they have been able to save, rather than having to dispose of it all. But in the end it will be down to them, and not just to all of us in this room tonight to determine whether that is possible.

So the challenge of an enjoyable retirement, of an ever ageing, lengthening population, of a challenge of a nation that will want to believe the quality of life is something for all of us to aspire to, will also have to face the question, and it is a very simple one really: Who pays, and how, on the one side; And at what point are you eligible on the other? If we get that right, which encapsulates the questions that Adair Turner laid down, and the principles that Alan Johnson set out in February in the document, then we can do it together.

I haven’t got the answers yet, but at some point while I am the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, I am going to have to espouse one, and I hope that that answer will gain sufficient consensus to be lasting for the next 100 years. If we can manage it together, you will have something to be proud of because you will have been part of it, and I will be able to drink my burgundy with at least some sense of satisfaction that, although I won’t have actually come out of this with halos round my head – there isn’t a newspaper in Britain that at one point or another hasn’t really enjoyed chipping blocks off me – At least in my heart of hearts, I will have known that I did my best.

Thank you for inviting me.

David Blunkett – 2005 Speech at Remploy Conference

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Below is the text of the speech made by David Blunkett, the then Work and Pensions Secretary, at the Remploy Conference on 14th June 2005.

Thank you Peter, and thank you to all of you for being here, and for Remploy and Radar for organising today’s sessions which I hope will be both useful to you, and will actually be very informative and helpful to us as we develop what in effect will be, over the next couple of years, the reform of the welfare state for the 21st century. Bearing in mind that most of what we now take for granted has been kind of added to and cobbled together over the last 60 years, it is appropriate to be celebrating the 60th anniversary of Remploy because of course it does mirror the beginning of the post-war settlement. It is that that we are addressing, and you are addressing, and that I will need to get a grip of in the months and years ahead.

A very warm welcome to training providers, to those employers who are attending, and the organisations with, for and on behalf of disabled people. Together with fellow Ministers – and we are all new to the department as it stands at the moment – I think my task will be to listen, to reach out, to hear what people are saying, and to make sure that where we don’t agree, people understand why and that they have been heard.

I am a retread, as you probably know – not a rubber tyre, but a genuine retread – because between 1997 and 2001 I was – as well as being Education – the Employment Minister and I was the Secretary of State with overall responsibility for equality issues in relation to disability, and as it happens the EOC as well. And as Home Secretary I had responsibility for the CRE, so I have covered the field really over the last 8 years. And as a retread I am amazed at some of the things that have moved on over the last four years, and I am also amazed at some of the things that haven’t. So it is interesting coming back into a department and finding what has happened in those particular areas and what hasn’t.

Of course I was the Secretary of State when we established the Disability Rights Commission, when we extended the original Disability Discrimination Act, when we put in place the New Deal for Disabled People, when we extended substantially access to work provision, and when we worked with Remploy and those employed through Remploy on trying to reshape the direction that Peter has already referred to.

And it is interesting again to see how further additions have been made over the last four years. I was looking, as part of coming here today, at the further spread of the obligations under the DDA for smaller employers, the access duties that came into force last October, and incidentally the recognition of sign languages.

And of course the way in which all of you have been involved in trying to make sure that what in theory actually is put in place, happens in practice. And I just want to say this morning that I think one of the big challenges that we have as a society in changing attitudes and culture is still the issue around mental health. Nearly 40% of those who are on incapacity benefit have some form of mental health challenge. Sometimes it is depression, sometimes it is for clinical illness, but the challenge is not simply about how we work to get people off incapacity benefit – which I will come back to in a moment – the issue is how we stop people falling out of work in the first place because of the stresses and strains and because of mental health issues that can sometimes arise out of the conditions of the workplace and the pressures, and sometimes arise when people are worried in relation to the changes that are taking place around them.

And I intend, with Ministers, over the next few months to take a long hard look at occupational health for the nation as a whole, because we now have in the department responsibility for the Health and Safety Commission, but I want us to work much more closely with employers, with the TUC, with the CBI, on the whole issue of how we deal with preventing people becoming ill, preventing people dropping out of work, as well as the broader issues of how we get people back into work.

The Strategy Unit report, the vision for the next 20 years, touched on something that is very close to my heart, and that is about the transitions that we have to face in different parts of our life. It seems to me – and Peter and I went through it and many of you who have been through specialist schooling or training will know – that some of the transitions can be extremely painful. So, if we could, as part of the support that Peter has mentioned, actually help people through those occasions in life, we can make a big difference. It is usually – and this is true of changes of schooling, of change from school through adolescence into training, or the attempt to get work, or changes in employment, or retirement – it is at those critical moments that things go badly wrong and people’s confidence is knocked, and people’s ability to be able to cope is challenged. So I think we ought to be looking very clearly at those points of change and helping people through them.

I think that means that we have got to work, not just with employers, not just with supporting services, but actually also look at the broader community and the strengths that exist in the community – including not for profit organisations and of course those who are campaigning groups as well – to look at how we can work on this.

And I wanted to just say this morning that if we want real equality of opportunity, if we want some meaningful choice, we have got to start examining where we are coming from, obviously in a practical way, but from the point of view of the individual, rather than from the point of view of the provider or even, dare I say it, of a government department. And instead take a look at what people expect for themselves, what they would logically and rationally expect other people to be able to do to support them domestically, socially and in living independently, and why we are not at the moment meeting those expectations. And if we can coalesce around that so that we look not just at what is, but what might be, and how we could put together better the things that exist, then we might get somewhere.

I mean for every single person I have come across and talked to, not just now but over the many years that I have been involved in public life, I have not met anyone who doesn’t agree that actually people being independent, earning their living, being able to fend for themselves is a positively good thing. For some people who have a very severe disability or long term illness, it is not possible for them to actually take up full time work. And I want to just refute something I read in a Guardian article a week ago, which is the idea that I am going to say to people that because I can do something, I expect them to. Peter was quite right, we are all individuals. I am never ever going to say that to people, other than I have said it to my own sons because they needed a kick up the rump! They are not disabled and they don’t have long term sickness – thank God – but when they were teenagers they had what I called sleeping sickness, which is not getting up in the morning and not getting on with it. Well they have got over that very strongly now and I am very proud of them, but the point I am making is that we are individuals and therefore we should tailor what we do to meet the requirements and the point in time that individuals find themselves in.

Pathways to Work has been successful primarily because it has addressed the particular needs of individuals, it is built on the progress we made in developing the New Deal by having the special advisor service, it is built on the idea of a broker who can not only provide that personal advice, but actually broker the delivery of services that make it possible to progress. It is also about working closely with employers and ensuring that people know what can be expected, what the challenges are as well as the possibilities.

I mean nothing in life is entirely rosy and it will take time, too long very often, to sort out support mechanisms, including access to work. I also want to just put on record this morning that we won’t be reducing the budget of access to work, because there were some rumours when I came in that we might be doing that, and there is no way I am going to cut back on access to work – I just want it to work more effectively and efficiently and I would like it to be much more tailored to what is useful for the individual, including how you can passport what individuals have been provided with from one circumstance to another, which I think would be quite a helpful development given that new technology has changed the kind of help that people wanted. I still use a Perkins brailer because I am a luddite, but I have been encouraged over the last weeks and months to use much more up to date equipment, not least when I didn’t have the kind of support services that you have when you are a Cabinet Minister.

So we need to do that, but also – and I want to make a big feature of this in the months ahead – we need to work with the Department of Health. It is absolutely clear to Patricia Hewitt and myself – and I have talked to Patricia about this – that unless we change the speed, the relevance, the actual provision that is available for people, we can’t expect to bridge the gap when people find themselves in a situation where they need immediate help, but more importantly, we can’t expect people to have the confidence to go forward if the people who are advising them don’t understand the potential and the possibilities, and don’t understand the dangers of what they say.

Let me be blunt. Too many GPs actually tell people that they will never work again. Too many GPs write prescriptions which are effectively please go home and atrophy, rather than please can we help you to get into meaningful activity, whether it is volunteering, or whether it is living skills, and subsequently work. And the best prescription you can give anybody would actually be to be able to write: I believe this individual, with the right kind of support, can do a really good job of work, even if it is only part-time, and please will you find them a job, rather than simply saying take these pills and please go away.

So Patricia Hewitt and I are going to work with the Royal College of General Practitioners, with the BMA and others to actually see if we can change the barriers that exist to returning to work, and the barriers to preventing people falling out of work, whether it is from an occupational health policy or whether it is the response you get when you approach a professional. And as a fellow MP was saying to me earlier this morning, it is amazing how people believe professionals, how they presume that people know what they are talking about, when they may have received an hour’s training on the particular issue a very long time ago.

So change is necessary and change will have to come, but it must come with the interests of the individual at heart. So let me just say one quick word about this welfare reform agenda. It is a promise, not a threat. It is really saying to people if you don’t write yourself off, we as a society won’t write you off, and if we as a society don’t write you off, don’t allow anyone else around you to do so either. And if we can provide a virtuous circle where reform isn’t seen as a threat but as a promise, where individuals who have already benefited from improvements can speak out for themselves, can be the evangelist, the advocates for further change; if people who have had bad experiences can be encouraged not simply to say how bad they were, but to help us shape the systems around us to work better, to be tailored better to their needs; if we can get into rehabilitation as well as medical treatment, if we can actually ensure that the benefits system is joined up so that one form of benefit actually encourages you, rather than discourages you from being able to move forward; if we can build on the ideas that Andrew Smith and I put together when I was last in Employment, and which Andrew then was involved in implementing, that actually allowed people to retain benefits rather than immediately lose them, to give people the opportunity of avoiding fear when they take up challenges, when they take the next step, but actually being able to know that things will still be there if everything goes wrong; if we can actually listen to and respond to what people need themselves, we can get it right. So it is a much broader inclusive agenda of ensuring that we can get it right for the future.

Peter has referred to the joint survey that was published yesterday. People do want choice, but they want a choice that allows them at different stages of their life to be able to move from one opportunity to another. None of us any more, disabled or not, will ever have a particular job for life, or even for more than 5 or 10 years. The world has changed from one job for life, to 5,6, 7, 10 jobs in life. Most people don’t want to be on the job that they started with in their 20s, they want to develop in the job, they want to use lifelong learning, they want to retrain, they want to have new opportunities as their own skills and confidence develops. Many people want a different kind of job to the one that their parents had. So welfare reform isn’t simply about the benefits system, in fact it isn’t about the benefits system, it is about avoiding the benefits system being a safety net and creating it as a ladder of opportunity, and giving people the common sense approach to being able to do what is right for themselves at a particular moment in time. It is right for all of us, because we need for people in work to pay for people in retirement; we need people in work to be able to pay for the development of the services; we need a thriving economy which builds on productivity and on growth by having more people of working age in work than ever before – 75% at the moment, with an aim of 80%, which is the highest in the whole of the developed world. But we have a long way to go before we really have an inclusive open society in this country, when so many disabled people are excluded from the same opportunity and choice that other people take for granted. And that is the agenda, it is not one of punishment or of looking at ways of cutting budgets, it is one of liberating people to be able to have the same life chances that other people literally believe is their birthright.

And with Remploy – and we will maintain Remploy’s budget over the next three years – I want to see even more movement into open employment. The agreements we will be reaching will again be based on people’s individual opportunity, on training, on rehabilitation and on supporting them, Peter, when they are actually in work. And it is that latter part that I want to see emphasis on as well, because there is no point in people moving into open employment, no point in persuading employers, unless we support both the individual and the employer through the transition periods through the way in which the uncertainties can be overcome and fears can be reduced.

So if there are apprehensions about where we are going, I would like to allay them, I would like to indicate that we want to try and get this right and we want to do so by working with the grain of what people know is already working. And if we can achieve that, then instead of people constantly hearing what is on offer and immediately thinking what must be wrong with it, let’s try and think together about how we can get it right so that in 5, 10, 15 years time we can look back and see that the reform agenda really did make a difference on the ground, not in theory but in the lives of every single individual. And that is why this morning I came to make quite a low key speech, to say we are in it together and if anybody has got some really bright ideas, I am up for them.

Thank you very much.