Gordon Brown – 2008 Speech to the Health Service Journal


I am honoured and delighted to be here this evening — to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the NHS with so many people who have done so much to make it what it is: Britain’s best-loved and most respected public service.

I was brought up to believe that the NHS reflected what Professor Richard Titmuss called the “gift relationship” — giving practical effect to people’s altruistic as well as self interested impulses. And for me, tonight is a welcome opportunity to do something we should do more often: to thank you and your many thousands of colleagues around the country for what you do for our nation:

The nurses and doctors who so often make the difference between life and death;

The clinical teams who work selflessly together for their patients – in surgery, intensive care and rehabilitation;

The staff the patients rarely see – working in laboratories, and in kitchens and offices – yet just as essential to the service and to patient care;

And of course the men and women on the boards and management teams that shape the NHS, lead it, hold it all together, all of whom are in public service because as they tell me they can make a difference.

And my own experiences have confirmed my instinct and belief that the uniqueness, indeed the greatness, of the NHS as a British institution is not just that it has cared for tens of millions of people and saved many hundreds of thousands of lives – and not only that it has been at the forefront of innovation, pioneering advances in medical treatment, in surgery and in imaging – but that with its unique guarantee of healthcare free for all at the point of need, it has liberated all of us from the fear of illness left untreated because the costs are beyond our means. A clear and enduring expression of the principle that healthcare is not a privilege to be purchased but a moral right secured for all.

There is scarcely a family in this country that does not owe either health or a life to the care of the NHS.

And I know I and my family owe it a great deal. When I was sixteen I was playing for my school rugby team against our former pupils; and sustained an injury that could have lead to blindness. Just as I was starting university, I spent many months in hospital as the NHS worked to save my sight. And it was the skills of a remarkable surgeon, the care of wonderful nurses, the attention and yes, the love and care of NHS staff that saved me from blindness. So when I say I am grateful to the NHS — for its existence, its principles, its staff, and the sometimes truly miraculous care it can deliver – I am speaking from the bottom of my heart.

And when I thank you and all your colleagues for what you do, I know I am speaking for millions of patients over the decades who are equally grateful for the care they have received.

Of course in its 60 years so far the NHS has had its ups and downs, but I like to think that – thanks largely to your efforts – the last decade has been one of the most lively, innovative and successful in its history.

And though as Chancellor for much of that time I had every confidence in you and in what you could deliver, it did occur to me that some extra funding might not go amiss.

So – as many of you will be aware – we managed to assist you in your endeavours. And together we have succeeded in reversing the effects of decades of underinvestment.

There are now 80,000 more nurses, 30,000 more hospital doctors, and 5,000 more GPs than in 1997.

Until 10 years ago the majority of NHS hospitals were built in pre NHS days. Now the NHS has 149 new hospitals and 90 new walk in centres either built or on the way.

The NHS now carries out a million more operations each year.

Its waiting lists are at their lowest level for a generation. Better NHS care for people with cancer and heart disease has saved 235,000 lives.

And just in the last year, we have increased GP opening times at weekends and in the evenings, put in place new measures to clean hospitals and tackle MRSA, moved the NHS from deficit to surplus and taken the first full steps towards a preventative health service with new rights to

And while a decade ago people wondered if the NHS at 50 had any future at all, it has not only survived; it has benefited enormously from a vivifying regime of more money, better management, and much patient-focused reform. And at 60 it is more firmly than ever part of the fabric of British national life.

But even as we celebrate, the challenges of the next decade are already upon us, and are utterly different from those the NHS faced 60 years ago.

In the early decades of the NHS people were just glad to have free health care when they needed it. Today, people want healthcare services which are tailored to their individual needs and their busy lifestyles.

Sixty years ago the main concerns were infectious diseases, acute medical and surgical illness, and the long struggle against cancer. Today, with the ageing population and a rise in so-called ‘lifestyle diseases’, the NHS finds itself having to support many more patients with long-term conditions – to provide the best of acute care when they need it and at the same time support their independence.

In the early decades, high-cost, high-technology interventions were rare or very rare. Today, costly but effective technology has opened up vast new areas of diagnosis and treatment: much of it – for example, heart transplantation – proven to be highly cost-effective. And new cutting edge science – from genetics to stem cell therapy – brings with it huge new potential for earlier diagnosis and dramatic new interventions.

But far from these challenges meaning we should abandon a universal health service free at the point of need, the NHS is today even more relevant. Because when the cost of some of the more effective health interventions is now far beyond ordinary family resources – and when there is a risk that genetic conditions will lead to people being excluded from private insurance – families more than ever need a system of funding like the NHS that insures everyone as comprehensively as possible against the risks of huge medical bills and ensures that the cost of that care will be absorbed not by us as individuals but by all of us together – pooling and sharing the risk in a comprehensive healthcare system publicly funded by taxation. The modern rational choice for healthcare: what I call the best insurance policy in the world.

But it is also right to acknowledge that for too long the NHS has been able to do too little about prevention; and has sometimes offered services that have been criticised as suiting the providers of care better than they suit the patients.

Now, the record levels of investment over its sixth decade have opened up the potential for us both to provide an excellent hospital and GP service and to fund new preventative programmes and care far better tailored to individual need.

In future, the NHS will identify your clinical needs earlier; the better targeted to keeping you healthy and fit, and will give you far more control of your own health and your own life.

And just as the formation of the NHS in 1948 was seen as a bold and daring leap forward, so the move to the preventative NHS will be another bold and daring leap forward.

It was to map out the next steps towards that vision of a personal, preventative health service that, almost a year ago this week, the Health Secretary Alan Johnson and I asked a clinician not a politician – Professor Ara Darzi – to carry out a fundamental review of the NHS. And let me thank him for his work which has involved engaging 2000 clinicians.

His vision is of an NHS of quality and excellence:

  • a world-class NHS with world-class services and worldclass care;
  • an NHS that provides personalized services that help people lead healthy and active lives;
  • an NHS where patients can take greater control over their own health and where professionals are empowered to become advocates for this new ‘patient

So building on our plans for check ups for over 40s and new rights to screening – for example for colon cancer and for breast cancer – and to preventive vaccines, our priority now is to develop much more comprehensive wellbeing services and to give patients much more control over the treatment and care they receive.

Everyone with a long-term condition will have their own personalised care plan; millions will be able to make the choice to become part of active patient programmes; all patients will now be guaranteed access to the most clinically and cost effective drugs and treatments – removing the last vestiges of the postcode lottery in the prescription of medicines in the NHS; and just as people can now choose which hospital they go to for their operation, so they will now have a right to choose which GP they register with for their day to day care.

And because we know that first class quality of care cannot be mandated from the centre but requires us instead to give NHS staff the opportunity to lead change themselves, Ara Darzi has also made recommendations for how we can empower and set free NHS staff.

Clinical advisory groups will be set up at every level of the NHS, and there will be new incentives to encourage and reward innovation at the front-line, greater freedoms for high performing GP practices and hospitals to develop new services for their patients, and a commitment from government that wherever staff and clinicians can show that changes will improve services for patients we will back you to the hilt. And all this will be supported by an NHS constitution setting out – for the first time – the rights and responsibilities of both patients and staff.

So if in the last generation progress in health care was seen simply in terms of the doctor administering antibiotics, in the coming generation it will be patients, doctors and NHS staff working together to improve health and manage conditions.

  • the doctor not just physician but adviser;
  • the nurse not just carer but trainer;
  • patients more than consumers — partners.

And I believe that the NHS is almost uniquely well placed to deliver this transformation: one of the most trusted organisations in British society, its doctors, nurses and staff recognised by everyone as a force for good in our country.

It is these strengths that we will build on for the future.

Our goal: to create for the next decade an NHS that is:

  • here for all of us but personal to each of us;
  • focused on prevention as much as cure;
  • fully prepared for the challenges of caring for an ageing population;
  • and strong and confident enough to put real control into the hands of individuals and their clinicians.

So with reform, modernisation and investment, our aim over the next six decades is to make the NHS not just the best insurance policy in the world but the best health service in the world.

This is a worthy mission for an institution as great and as significant in our lives as the National Health Service — and it is a transformation I ask you all to be a part of.

Gordon Brown – 2008 Speech to CBI Scotland


This speech was made in Glasgow by Gordon Brown to the CBI Scotland Conference.

Let me say first what a pleasure and a privilege it is to be with you this evening.

A pleasure to be back in Scotland, and to join you for dinner here in Glasgow

A privilege to be here as your guest; and I’m grateful to Iain McMillan and David Thorburn for this opportunity to thank you for your tremendous contribution to the Scottish economy and that of Great Britain

As CBI Scotland you represent more than 26 thousand businesses and a combined workforce of some two-thirds of a million people. Businesses proud to be based in Scotland – and prouder still to be doing business in every part of Britain, and throughout Europe, and all across the world.

And as the voice of those businesses the CBI continues to be an invaluable partner to Government. An honest partner – not afraid to tell us what we need to hear; and a trusted partner too – genuinely working with us to ensure the continued competitiveness of British business.

The breadth of the businesses you represent here tonight highlight the nature of the global economy in which we now operate. Your firms are active in:

  • oil and gas exploration in South Asia
  • data and intelligence management to fight crime and promote security in the USA and elsewhere
  • world-leading pensions and financial services provision
  • and large-scale naval construction here in Scotland

Firms all responding to the same challenges of globalisation, the changing demands of consumers, emerging technologies, and the greening of industry – establishing themselves as leading businesses in this, our now global economy.

And it is what you do, the challenges you face, and the current concerns we all share about world economic conditions that will be the focus of my remarks this evening.

As we all know, we face challenging times in the global economy. The first great financial crisis of the global age with a global credit crunch and global rises in commodity prices.

This unique set of events is affecting every major advanced economy. With growth in the euro area – our largest export market – falling by 0.2 per cent; by 0.5 per cent in Germany, 0.3 per cent in France and 0.3 per cent in Italy. Japan contracted by 0.6 per cent and the US and Canada both saw falling GDP in the course of last year.

But the trebling of oil prices and the credit crunch reflect deeper forces at work – the pressure on resources as four billion people enter the global economy; the rise of Asia as a manufacturing and services power, the restructuring of jobs, the scale, scope and speed of technological change and then the pressures on the living standards and expectations of communities and families as a result.

Britain cannot insulate itself from these unprecedented shocks because we are part of the global world – but just as surely we can benefit from the huge opportunities globalisation brings.

Undoubtedly we face a challenging period in the British economy – particularly given our position at the heart of the world’s financial markets – and both the Chancellor and I understand the difficulties you face.

But while never complacent about our economic prospects, I am also cautiously optimistic about the long-term resilience and underlying strengths of the British economy.

Because at root our economy today is better placed to weather any global economic storm than it was in the 1970s, 80s or early 90s.

First, Bank of England independence has given us low interest rates founded on sound macroeconomic management and so despite increases in the prices of food and fuel – and I understand the impact this is having on families and businesses – the sound framework for monetary policy which we have established means inflation remains far below the double-digit levels we saw in the earlier decades. And this will help ensure that interest rates remain similarly low by historical standards.

Second, the most flexible labour market in Europe means that even though unemployment has risen in recent months, employment remains close to record highs – and wage pressures are subdued, led by our own responsible decisions on public sector pay. And with the investment in the New Deal and our latest welfare reforms there is more support than ever before to help people back into work and to fill the 600,000 vacancies still in our economy. And a balanced approach to migration allows businesses to benefit from the specific skills that economic migrants can bring to our country and improves the responsiveness of our labour market to fluctuating demand.

Third – the underlying financial strength of British business reflects its improved efficiency – driven by your hard work in achieving the fastest growth in average productivity in the past decade across the whole of the G7. Britain remains a magnet for overseas investment and our export performance is improving, with our manufacturing productivity growth strong.

Fourth, low debt. The significant debt repayments we made since 1997 mean we have cut public debt as a share of national income from 43 per cent in 1997 to today’s 37.3 per cent. This means that, unlike in earlier economic slowdowns, we can sustain our ongoing commitment to investment in fixed capital infrastructure – up 58 per cent in real terms in the last decade. In 1997 we invested £144.5 billion. Today it is £229 billion. Even after inflation a 58 per cent rise.

And – while no government can hope to protect people from the full impact of the global credit crunch or the worldwide spike in commodity prices – I am determined that we should do what we reasonably can to help families and businesses through this difficult period of adjustment. So we will back up our investment commitments with careful interventions designed to provide targeted support for hard-pressed families – such as this week’s home-owners’ support package and the £120 a year tax cut for basic rate taxpayers that will start to feed into paypackets later this month.

Fifth – we are making all the long term decisions, difficult as they are, to boost our competitiveness; on energy, planning, transport, housing, digital technology, science and skills. And the 2002 Enterprise Act has given us one of the most robust, independent competition regimes anywhere in the world. The support for British enterprise – strengthened over the last decade with the launch of Enterprise Capital Funds, the Small Firms Loan Guarantee and administrative burden reduction targets. Britain today has four and a half million businesses – more than ever before. And the OECD says Britain has the lowest barriers to entrepreneurship of any OECD country.

Underpinned by the strength of these five fundamentals I believe we can help British families and businesses weather this global downturn and seize every opportunity for future economic success in the upturn. Because it is the actions that governments take and the policies they pursue in periods of economic slowdown that can determine their comparative success and competitiveness in the upswings.

Once we are through this global crisis, we will continue to enjoy the opportunities that the global economy offers to us. But that means making sure we are in a position to benefit fully, for example by reaping the rewards of the huge investment in Britain’s science base that the Government has undertaken, in our schools and universities and their partnership with the business sector.

These actions and other investment by the Government are precisely what have stood us in good stead for the long term. And they are what can give us confidence amid the inevitable anxieties people have in the current period.

So the challenge now is to share both the risks and riches of the new economy in a fair way.

Because the prize is the opportunity to benefit from a rapidly expanding world economy.

Whatever we choose to do in Britain, we know that in the coming decades the world economy is going to double in size and wealth. Companies will be able to compete for twice as much business as today. And there could be as many as a billion new skilled jobs.

So the choice for us is not whether we believe there will be opportunities in the new economy – but how we, the British, choose to seize them.

As a government we are enthusiasts for globalisation – because we are optimists about what British firms, British workers and British entrepreneurs will be able to achieve. But at the same time we recognise that rising oil, food and commodity prices represent the greatest threat to higher standards of living for British families today.

So some argue for an outdated protectionism – as though we could just pull up the drawbridge and turn back the clock. But we argue that it is precisely by maintaining our open, flexible and dynamic economy that we can best secure people’s jobs, homes, and standards of living in a global age.

But we are equally clear that this is not a time for government to adopt a laissez-faire, sink-or-swim, you’re on your own approach.

So we will respond with vision, courage and steadfastness to address the new insecurities that hard-pressed, hard-working British families face. Because while the changes happening all around us are complex, the feelings they evoke are not. In tough times, people are understandably anxious. And they want to know that they will have a fair chance to cope.

They know that no national government alone can intervene to put everything right that is creating hardship, but they do look to us to us to take action to help them.

And we will not let them down. We will do what it takes to bring security to families on modest and middle incomes. And we will ensure that no-one who is prepared to work hard and adapt to change will lose out as a result of global forces. We will act responsibly to prepare people for the inescapable challenges ahead – in the short, medium and long term.

That is why we introduced the housing measures this week – and why we are currently working up proposals with the utility companies to address the problems caused by the impact of world oil prices on gas and electricity bills.

Not short-term gimmicks or giveaways – but firm steps towards making every home in Britain more energy efficient, thus reducing bills not just temporarily, but permanently.

Because you cannot address a long term problem – the supply and demand for oil- with a short term gimmick like a fuel stabiliser.

As you know in your businesses real leadership is about addressing, explaining and tackling the realities we face – not the realities we would prefer to face.

The oil and food price shocks have revealed that a growing scramble for resources is underway. We need a new kind of response – with better ways to co-ordinate globally the supply and demand for these vital resources.

At the heart of our approach must be a revolution in the way we think about and use resources; reducing our dependence on oil and by creating a low carbon economy achieving both greater security of energy supply and greater efficiency of energy use.

Oil has powered phenomenal economic growth over the last century – and North Sea oil in particular has offered Scotland thousands of jobs and contributed billions to our economy. And it will continue to play a vital role for decades to come.

But at its peak in 1999 the North Sea produced 2.9 million barrels a day. This year 1.5 million barrels a day – the largest reduction of any oil producing nation – making Britain a net importer of oil.

And five years ago oil was less than 40 dollars a barrel – in July it was 147 dollars a barrel and today 107.

It is our exposure to such volatility in the price of a commodity so vital to our economy that is the essence of what has been called the dictatorship of oil.

But it is important that we recognise and value the historical contribution of countries that have provided the oil and gas that has fuelled the rise in living standards we have all enjoyed. And equally to applaud those oil producers who are now leading the way in working with us to meet the global energy challenges we all now face.

For it is only by:

  • investing in more nuclear and renewable sources
  • increasing the efficiency with which we use energy in all its forms
  • making more efficient use of our existing oil reserves; and
  • acting to stabilise world energy markets

that can we achieve a more diverse, secure and sustainable energy mix that will ease the pain for Britain’s families, its businesses and ultimately also our environment. So today I set a new ambition to free Britain from the dictatorship of oil.

The policies we are putting in place will mean that by 2020 our economy will consume 20 per cent less oil for each unit of output than it consumes today – and only a quarter of the oil we used in 1970.

First – investing in more nuclear and renewable sources – with increased support for nuclear supply chain companies and the best and most cost-effective possible arrangements for safety, security, and eventual decommissioning.

Already today Westinghouse Electric Company has signed agreements with BAE systems, Rolls Royce and Doosan Babcock to collaborate on work associated with bringing the AP 1000 nuclear power plant to the UK – and may eventually lead to between 70 and 80 per cent of the work and services required to construct the AP 1000 being provided by the UK supply chain, securing valuable jobs in Britain.

And our 100 billion pounds investment to increase the proportion of our energy coming from renewable sources to 15 per cent by 2020 – a tenfold increase, is one of the largest increases anywhere in Europe.

So British companies must grasp the new opportunities to invest in green technologies and continue to back our planning reforms, because willing the ends also requires willing the means. The question must be not whether to invest in more renewables, but where.

Today I can announce the approval of a new offshore windfarm, near Walney Island – off the coast of Barrow-in-Furness. At up to 139 turbines, it will be one of the UK’s largest, providing the equivalent of all the homes in Glasgow and Dundee with clean, green electricity – and helping to give the UK the highest operating offshore wind capacity in the world.

And Scotland too is playing a leading role in this green technological revolution – already providing almost half of the UK’s renewable generation capacity.

Just south of here, at Whitelee, is the largest onshore wind farm operating in the UK. When complete next year it will be the largest operating in Europe.

By 2050 the overall added value of the low carbon energy sector could be as high as three trillion dollars per year worldwide. And it could employ more than 25 million people. I want Britain to benefit from these new jobs – with at least one million jobs in the green economy by 2030.

In Fife alone – there are some 50 companies investing or planning to invest in renewable energy. With projects such as:

  • manufacturing sub-structures for deep water off-shore wind farms;
  • developing large capacity batteries to store off peak generated power;
  • introducing biomass plants to cut CO2 emissions and increase efficiency in brewing and cereal processing.

Second – we must make far better use of existing oil.

We need major improvements in the fuel efficiency of vehicles – so we are issuing a challenge to the car industry that we will match their investment in new technology with a commitment to a new infrastructure for the use of electric vehicles.

And I can announce today a major new pilot programme for electric cars – including plug-in hybrids which can be fuelled by electricity from the grid or petrol. Working with the Energy Technologies Institute, Cenex, the UK Centre of Excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technologies, and the industry to explore the role of electric cars in a sustainable transport system.

But making better use of existing oil also means, third, taking all practical measures to draw on the reserves still in the North Sea.

So I have asked Malcolm Wicks to convene a joint industry-government working group to ensure we can make full use of enhanced oil recovery. And we will also re-examine the wider fiscal and regulatory frameworks to ensure the right incentives to maximise economic recovery of our oil and gas reserves.

Fourth – there is a clear and urgent need to bring stability to global markets. Here too, I am committed to ensuring Great Britain leads from the front.

Earlier this summer I went to Jeddah to press for a global new deal between oil producing and consuming nations.

We agreed action to reduce oil prices and secure global energy needs, through more oil supply – and more investment to achieve it.

This included:

  • ensuring sufficient access to capital and technology to bring new oil supplies on-stream, often in increasingly difficult physical conditions around the world;
  • a new emphasis on the reduction in future demand for oil, by promoting energy efficiency, and reducing market distortions caused by fuel subsidies, taxes and tariffs;
  • and providing help for oil producing countries to adjust as the world inevitably moves to low carbon sources of energy, including the progressive opening up of our markets to encourage their broader and deeper integration into the global economy.

At the end of the year we will be hosting a global energy summit to agree key areas for further action and so maintain the momentum generated in Jeddah.

A low carbon society will not emerge from business as usual. It will require new thinking and new technologies, new forms of economic activity and social organisation, new forms of consumer behaviour and lifestyles and your creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship to unlock the talents and skills of UK companies.

So if the British economy, British firms and the people of Britain are to reap the benefits of a new low carbon future, then every one of us – in every part of Britain – will need to act together.

We all know that sharing these islands places common obligations upon us all – obligations that current world economic conditions and the imperatives of transforming our energy economy can only increase.

But I believe there is a real risk of waking up one day to find that the many benefits of the union had been too long taken for granted and thoughtlessly thrown away.

In energy – as we have seen – the arguments that point to our interdependence grow in strength; to you in business they are already clear. There are very few major Scotland-only companies. Most are active throughout the UK, and more and more are global.

I ask you – are our firms in shipbuilding held back by being part of the UK? No – the aircraft carrier orders at Rosyth and the destroyers being built only a mile away supply the British Ministry of Defence.

And consider financial services – our biggest industry by value, and now Scotland’s biggest employer.

Scotland generates more money through trade with England, in financial services, than from its trade in all sectors in all areas across the whole of the European Union.

That is the simple arithmetic of the union. And it adds up.

So do the sums for jobs.

In the mid-1980s, Scotland’s employment rate was six percentage points below that of the UK.

Now Scotland has the highest employment rate of any nation in the UK and one of the very best in the whole of Europe.

If since 1997, the employment rate had instead increased only in line with the average for the UK as a whole, there would be around 200,000 fewer people in work.

That is Scotland’s employment dividend – the result of this Government’s record investment in the New Deal and Jobcentre Plus and its partnership with a devolved Scotland and local initiatives helping to deliver welfare on the ground. Scotland has benefited from this partnership – a source of strength not weakness.

No-one should be in any doubt about my commitment to the United Kingdom. It is founded not in ideology but on the evidence of history and the starkest of current reality.

Set against the global challenges facing us today, the bleak separatist obsession of the nationalists to split Scotland from the rest of the UK looks at best like self indulgent posturing. At worst like a wilful denial of the realities of the world we live in.

It is the duty of every government to strive to create the conditions in which business can flourish.

But there are some tests which should be applied before any party or any government can claim to be the party of business.

I would suggest that any party which said its core policy is to make business’s biggest market a foreign country fails that test. To make England a foreign country with all the increased cross border costs, all the regulatory and legislative fragmentation and duplication that would involve.

Nor, I believe, can a party be called the party of business when it fails to address our dependence on oil ruling out nuclear power.

Nor is it business friendly to propose a tax on jobs, to refuse to invest in infrastructure or to simplify the planning system.

Engagement and dialogue are vital but they are no substitute for having the right policies and the right relationships in place to build Scotland’s economy.

The reality is that we are stronger together than we ever could be apart. And what matters is where our talents can take us, not where Scotland ends and the rest of the world begins.

And you and your members recognise that. Our economic union benefits all the UK’s citizens – it’s in the interests of your members, their employees and your customers.

That is as true in 2008 as it was in 1708, and I will do nothing to put it at risk.

But do not confuse that resolve with unthinking opposition to change and development in how our union governs itself.

The constitution of the union has always evolved to meet the changing needs and rising hopes of our people as it did most notably when we created the Scottish Parliament – within the United Kingdom – 10 years ago.

And it is because the union’s flexibility is a source of its strength that, together with the Scottish Parliament, I set up the Calman Commission to review devolution. And I particularly welcome the contribution of the CBI to its work – and that your director Iain McMillan is one of its members.

I am not going to pre-judge the Commission’s work – but I do want to say two things about it. First of all, devolution has worked, but I do see one problem: while there have been good reasons why this is so the Scottish Parliament is wholly accountable for the budget it spends but not for the size of its budget. And that budget is not linked to the success of the Scottish economy. That is why we asked the Calman Commission to look carefully at the financial accountability of the Scottish Parliament. And this is a critical part of Calman’s remit.

And the second thing is more important still. Be under no illusion about my purpose. Devolution is intended to preserve the unity of the United Kingdom – and developing devolution is intended to strengthen Scotland’s place within it.

There is a modern case for the union and it must be heard. It is not about partnership at the expense of pride; nor about pride that can satisfied only by sacrificing partnership.

As our triple gold medallist Chris Hoy said: “Scotland is part of Britain – they are not mutually exclusive. I wouldn’t have three gold medals hanging round my neck if I wasn’t part of the British team”.

I believe that your world-beating companies are champions for the same reason.

So as businesses and as people in Scotland — and in England and Wales and Northern Ireland — we can go forward with our partners in the United Kingdom:

  • confident in our partnership, in its history and in its future.
  • stronger within it to face the challenges – and reap the rewards – of globalisation.
  • stronger and more prosperous – because we are together.

Gordon Brown – 2007 Lord Mayor’s Banquet Speech


This speech was made by Gordon Brown on 12th November 2007.

Tonight, I want to speak about Britain’s unique place in the new world. And where, as a result, our responsibilities lie; how our national interest can be best advanced; and what we can achieve by working together internationally and by contributing to building the strongest and broadest sense of common purpose.

In the 1820s the then Foreign Secretary George Canning said that he had ‘called the new world into existence to redress the balance of the old’. The order of the nineteenth century saw European empires spanning the globe. After World War Two a new international order was defined by the high stakes of the superpower nuclear stand off. Both these world orders shaped by political weight and military power.

In 1989 the old world order dominated by the Cold War came to an end. But how quickly events have disproved those who celebrated the end of the Cold War as ‘the end of history’. From Bosnia to Darfur, Rwanda to Afghanistan we have seen a level of disorder and uncertainty that no-one predicted. And no one foresaw the scale of the dramatic and seismic shifts in economy, culture and communications that are now truly global.

Our international institutions built for just 50 sheltered economies in what became a bipolar world are not fit for purpose in an interdependent world of 200 states where global flows of commerce, people and ideas defy borders. With such transformative change comes a clear obligation, but also a great opportunity, to write a new chapter — to set down for a new era a better 21st century way of delivering peace and prosperity.

Of course the first duty of Government – our abiding obligation – is and will always be the safety of the British people, the protection of the British national interest. And let me affirm our commitment that we will always be vigilant and resolute, never leave ourselves vulnerable, but will at all times support and strengthen our armed forces, our defences and our security. Yet the timeless values that underpin our policies at home – our belief in the liberty of all, in security and justice for all, in economic opportunity andenvironmental protection shared by all – are also ideals that I believe that it is in our national interest to promote abroad. But we do so in a changing world where six new global forces unique to our generation are demonstrating our growing interdependence and pressing the international community to discover common purpose.

First, few expected when the adamantine certainties of the Cold War came to an end, we would have to address the constantly changing uncertainties of violence and instability from failed states and rogue states. The spread of terrorism has destroyed the old assumption that states alone could access destructive weapons. As dramatic in a different way is a third force for change: global flows of capital and global sourcing of goods and services have brought the biggest shift of economic power since the industrial revolution – the rapid emergence of India and China as global powers with legitimate global aspirations. The new frontier is that there is no frontier.

The unprecedented impact of climate change transforms the very purpose of government. Once quality of life meant the pursuit of two objectives: economic growth and social cohesion. Now there is a trinity of aims:prosperity, fairness and environmental care. And as energy supplies are under pressure there is a new global competition for natural resources. New global forces at work – from pandemics to worldwide migration – make the task of overcoming the great social evils of hunger, illiteracy, disease, squalor and poverty even more challenging. And if, as Tom Friedman has written, the defining image of the 20th centurywas a wall representing division, the defining image of the 21st is a web championing connections — a world where we can rightly now talk not just of the wealth of nations but the wealth of networks. The web cannot be controlled in the end by any single force or any single leader. And what happens within it cannot be predicted from day to day.

George Orwell was not quite right: the technology revolution he foresaw is not a controlling force enslaving people, but for the most part a liberating force empowering them. In the old order power affected people but could not easily be affected by them. But once powerless people now have the potential to be heard andsee their impact felt in places far away. And because our world is now so connected and sointerdependent it is possible in this century, for the first time in human history, to contemplate and create a global society that empowers people.

Why do I believe this is not only possible but essential? Because we cannot any longer escape the consequences of our interdependence. The old distinction between ‘over there’ and ‘over here’ does not make sense of this interdependent world. For there is no longer an ‘over there’ of terrorism, failed states, poverty, forced migration and environmental degradation and an ‘over here’ that is insulated or immune.Today a nation’s self interest today will be found not in isolation but in cooperation to overcome shared challenges. And so the underlying issue for our country – indeed for every country – is how together in this new interdependent world we renew and strengthen our international rules, institutions and networks.

My approach is hard-headed internationalism: – internationalist because global challenges need global solutions and nations must cooperate across borders – often with hard-headed intervention – to give expression to our shared interests and shared values; – hard-headed because we will not shirk from the difficult long term decisions and because only through reform of our international rules and institutions will we achieve concrete, on-the-ground results.

Building a global society means agreeing that the great interests we share in common are more powerful than the issues that sometimes divide us. It means articulating and acting upon the enduring values that define our common humanity and transcending ideologies of hatred that seek to drive us apart. And critically – and this is the main theme of my remarks this evening – we must bring to life these shared interests and shared values by practical proposals to create the architecture of a new global society.

Through our membership of the European Union – which gives us and 26 other countries the unique opportunity to work together on economic, environmental and security challenges – and the Commonwealth, and through our commitment to NATO and the UN, we have the capacity to work together with all those who share our vision of the future. And I do not see these as partnerships in competition with each other but mutually reinforcing.

It is no secret that I am a life long admirer of America. I have no truck with anti-Americanism in Britain or elsewhere in Europe and I believe that our ties with America – founded on values we share – constitute our most important bilateral relationship. And it is good for Britain, for Europe and for the wider world that today France and Germany and the European Union are building stronger relationships with America.

The 20th century showed that when Europe and America are distant from one another, instability is greater; when partners for progress the world is stronger. And in the years ahead – notwithstanding the huge shifts in economic influence underway – I believe that Europe and America have the best chance for many decades to achieve historic progress —-

–working ever more closely together on the project of building a global society;

–and helping bring in all continents, including countries today outside the G8 and the UN Security Council, to give new purpose and direction to our international institutions.

And while no longer the mightiest militarily, or the largest economically, the United Kingdom has an important contribution to make. Just as London has become a global hub linking commerce, ideas and people from all over the world, so too our enduring values and our network of alliances, can help secure the changes we need.

Today, there is still a gaping hole in our ability to address the illegitimate threats and use of force against innocent peoples. It is to the shame of the whole world that the international community failed to act to prevent genocide in Rwanda. We now rightly recognise our responsibility to protect behind borders where there are crimes against humanity.

But if we are to honour that responsibility to protect we urgently need a new framework to assist reconstruction. With the systematic use of earlier Security Council action, proper funding of peacekeepers, targeted sanctions – and their ratcheting up to include the real threat of international criminal court actions – we must now set in place the first internationally agreed procedures to prevent breakdowns of states and societies.

But where breakdowns occur, the UN – and regional bodies such as the EU and African Union – must now also agree to systematically combine traditional emergency aid and peacekeeping with stabilisation, reconstruction and development.

There are many steps the international community can assist with on the ladder from insecurity and conflict to stability and prosperity. So I propose that, in future, Security Council peacekeeping resolutions and UN Envoys should make stablisation, reconstruction and development an equal priority; that the international community should be ready to act with a standby civilian force including police and judiciary who can be deployed to rebuild civic societies; and that to repair damaged economies we sponsor local economic development agencies —- in each area the international community able to offer a practical route map from failure to stability.

And just as we will continue to be a leading nation in negotiating nuclear arms reductions, so we must be at the forefront of meeting the challenge of preventing nuclear weapons proliferation. And with more sophisticated after-the-fact detection of the source of nuclear materials there must be a determination to hold to account both active providers and potential users.

I propose internationally agreed access to an enrichment bond or nuclear fuel bank to help non-nuclear states acquire the new sources of energy they need. But this offer should be made only as long as these countries renounce nuclear weapons and meet internationally enforced non-proliferation standards.

The greatest immediate challenge to non-proliferation is Iran’s nuclear ambitions, hidden from the world for many years in breach of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Iran has a choice – confrontation with the international community leading to a tightening of sanctions or, if it changes its approach and ends support for terrorism, a transformed relationship with the world.

Unless positive outcomes flow from Javier Solana’s report and the IAEA, we will lead in seeking tougher sanctions both at the UN and in the European Union, including on oil and gas investment and the financial sector. Iran should be in no doubt about our seriousness of purpose.

Small arms kill every 90 seconds so as we call for an Arms Trade Treaty, Britain is willing to extend export laws to control extra-territorial brokering and trafficking of small arms, and potentially other weapons. And having led the way by taking two types of cluster munitions out of service, we want to work internationally for a ban on the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of those cluster munitions which cause unacceptable harm to civilians.

To build not just security but environmental stewardship and prosperity free of global poverty, I want a G8 for the 21st century, a UN for the 21st century, and an IMF and World Bank fit for the 21st century.

And to achieve this I want to play my part in helping the European Union move away from its past preoccupation with inward looking institutional reform and I will work with others to propose a comprehensive agenda for a Global Europe – a Europe that is outward looking, open, internationalist, able to effectively respond both through internal reform and external action to the economic, security and environmental imperatives of globalisation.

I said my approach was hard headed because I am conscious of weaknesses in international institutions that need to be addressed, aware that while resolutions matter results matter even more, determined to judge success not by the number of initiatives in conference halls but by practical action for change, and resolute in my determination that we need fewer rather than more international bureaucracies. Indeed, we need a new network of change-makers – often non-governmental organisations – which deliver concrete action on the ground.

Long term but now also interim options must be examined to reform a UN Security Council – whose permanent members do not include Japan, India, Brazil, Germany, or any African country – to make the Council more representative, more credible and more effective.

The G8 has to increasingly broaden to encompass the influential emerging economies now outside but that account for more than a third of the world’s economic output.

And we need a new coalition of democracies and civic societies joining together as allies for progress, with leaders in politics, economics and civil society all pushing forward reform.

International efforts against terrorism are not a short-term struggle where we get by through ad-hoc improvisation: this is a generational challenge. Global terrorist networks demand a global response. And if there are to be no safe havens for terrorists, and no hiding places for those financing and harbouring terrorism, we should work for a concerted global strengthening of law enforcement, financial supervision and policing and intelligence cooperation.

Financial disruption in one country can now affect all countries. The IMF should be transformed with a renewed mandate that goes far beyond crisis management to crisis prevention – not only responsible in the manner of an independent central bank for the independent surveillance of the world economy but becoming its early warning system.

As we move to a post 2012 global climate change agreement, we need a strengthened UN role for environmental protection.

And while we strengthen the World Bank’s focus on poverty reduction, it must also become a bank for the environment. So as its new President Bob Zoellick has argued, it should recognise that the poorest countries are the most vulnerable to climate change – and help them to adapt and to finance low carbon economic growth.

Over the summer in places of turmoil as different as Darfur and Burma – where we will continue to pressure and persuade – the international community has shown how it can come together.

In Afghanistan we will work with the international community to match our military and security effort with new support for political reform and for economic and social development.

And today and together we call on President Musharraf of Pakistan to restore the constitution and implement the necessary conditions to guarantee free and fair elections on schedule in January; release all political prisoners, including members of the judiciary and human rights activists; to pursue energetically reconciliation with the political opposition; honour his commitment to step down as Chief of Army Staff; and relax restrictions on the media.

Nor will we shirk our obligations to the people and new democracy of Iraq and to the international community. As we move next month from our combat role to ‘Overwatch’ in Basra Province, we will support economic development to give the people of Basra a greater stake in the future.

And with the personal leadership of President Bush and the peace initiative involving all 22 states of the Arab League, there is potentially a window of opportunity to achieve – thanks to the political courage of Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas – the creation of a viable Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel.

For this we need not only a road to Annapolis but a road from Annapolis: the December donors conference in Paris; Tony Blair’s painstaking work for which I thank him; and Britain’s economic road map for reconstruction in the West Bank and Gaza, in support of which the Foreign Secretary and the International Development Secretary will both shortly visit the region.

Whether in the Middle East or across the developing world, indifference to the plight of others is not only wrong, but not in our interests. That is why we continue to do all we can to reach a world trade agreement that will be of most benefit to the poorest.

But the global poverty emergency cannot be solved by one organisation or even a coalition of governments on their own: we now need the concerted efforts of private, public and third sectors working together —— a new public-private alliance founded on promoting trade and growth.

The injustices people inflict on one another are not god-given but man-made and we have it in our power to become the first generation in history to deliver to every child the long overdue basic right to education. And today we also have the science and medicine to be the first generation to eradicate the preventable diseases of TB, polio, diptheria and malaria — and eventually to cure HIV and AIDS.

And with a special UN meeting next year, it is my personal commitment to work with all people of goodwill to achieve these goals.

By history and conviction, we – Britain – are bearers of the indispensable idea of individual dignity and mutual respect. But we act to build a different, better world because we judge that it too is the best defence of our own future. We know that Britain cannot be a safe and prosperous island in a turbulent and divided world. A better world is our best security, our national interest best advanced by shared international endeavour.

So this is our message – to ourselves, our allies, potential adversaries and people who, no matter how distant, are now our neighbours: Our hard-headed internationalism means we will never retreat from our responsibilities. At all times justice in jeopardy, security at risk, suffering that cries out will command our concern.

From the early years of this young century we can already discern what Britain, the first multinational state, has always known: that success requires that people of different races, religions and backgrounds learn to live in harmony with each other.

We have already seen what our values have taught us: that progress depends upon openness, freedom, democracy and fairness. And we are finding that prosperity like peace is indivisible and to be sustained it has to be shared.

And we have learned too that without environmental sustainability, justice and prosperity are both imperilled and that the best route to long-term economic growth lies in action to tackle climate change.

These lessons are not an excuse to relax or rest or be complacent but a summons to act with utmost resolve. For the pressing challenge for Britain and for the international community is to harness these insights in a sustained endeavour to reform and renew our global rules, institutions and networks.

Upon this rests our shared future: a truly global society empowering people everywhere; not yet here, but in this century within our grasp.

Gordon Brown – 2007 Speech on Education


Below is the text of the speech made by Gordon Brown at the University of Greenwich on 31 October 2007.

Thank you very much. Can I say first of all what a pleasure it is to be here at the University of Greenwich today, to be here with Tessa Blackstone, who does such a wonderful job, to be able to congratulate all those involved with the university for everything that you have achieved, and to be here with people from all the different parts of the world of education, from students, to lecturers, to teachers, to head teachers, to parents – everybody interested in the future of education.

And I do want to congratulate Greenwich University which was inaugurated as Britain’s second polytechnic college many, many years ago, has been an innovator from the start, now a great university with 23,000 students, right at the heart of this local community, going from strength to strength, a great reputation for teacher training, pioneering initiatives to encourage local young people to think about going to university.

And so I believe there is nowhere more appropriate for me to talk about what this government is trying to do, and will try to do in future, to unlock the potential of every child and young person and help every young person in this country make the most of their talents for the future.

My school motto was ‘I will try my utmost’. The motto of the school in the next door town to me, which was at the heart of the mining community in my county was ‘Rise to the light’. And as I have travelled round the country I have seen just how aspirational and inspirational mottos that schools adopt can actually be. ‘No goal is beyond our reach’ – that is the motto of the Business Academy at Bexley; ‘The best in everyone’ – Paddington Academy; ‘Achievement Beyond Expectation’ – Branksome School in Darlington; ‘Excellence through endeavour’ – the Kennet School in Newbury; ‘To strive and achieve is to succeed’ – the Howard School in Medway. And all these school mottos, that they tell us something about the spirit of the age in which they were written they are not in my view simply mementos of the past, they are not just enduring statements of shared beliefs across our communities about the possibilities of progress, they are a declaration of faith in the future, schools saying in their mottos that education should make it possible for young people to bridge the gap between what they are and what they have it in themselves to become. And I believe that these mottos are a promise and a summons, they embody ideals and aspirations and they speak to a guiding belief that I think most of us hold that every child has a talent, every child can learn and so we must nurture and fulfil the potential of all.

Of course some mottos can be misunderstood. Brighton Hove and Sussex Grammar School, its motto was ‘Absque labore nihil’ which is ‘Without labour, nothing’. Funnily enough the school moved to new premises, the old building then became Brighton’s maternity hospital and their motto ‘Without labour, nothing’ was left on the façade.

Now I was fortunate. I went to a school that aimed high, a school that had an ethos of striving, hard work and achievement and that is what I want for every child in the country.

I have said education is my passion. Britain is full of talented people. I believe each young person has talent and potential, each has some gift to develop, each something to give to the good of the community. And the Britain I want to strive for is a Britain with no cap on ambition, no ceiling on hope, no limit to where your potential will take you, how far you can rise, a Britain where the talents of each of us can contribute to the well being and prosperity of all.

And this idea of excellence in education is not just a noble ideal, respecting the search for knowledge, the pursuit of wisdom and the fulfilment of human potential, it is also I think as everybody knows an economic imperative too.

In the past those countries who had the raw materials, the coal or the oil or the basic commodities, or the infrastructure, the ports and the communications, were the ones that had probably the most competitive advantage. Today what matters is who has the skills, the ideas, the insights, the creativity. And the countries that I believe will succeed in the future are those that will do more than just unlock some of the talents of some of their young people, the countries that will succeed will be those that strive to unlock all the talents of all of their people.

Now in the last 10 years we have moved from an education system which was below average in its performance to above average, but we now have to do much more than that. Our ambition must be nothing less than to be world class in education and to move to the top of the global education league, and it is time to say not just that we will aim high but that we can no longer tolerate failure, that it will no longer be acceptable for any child to fall behind, no longer acceptable for any school to fail its pupils, no longer acceptable for young people to drop out of education without good qualifications without us acting.

So no more toleration of second best in Britain, no more toleration of second best for Britain.

And I believe that to achieve that we must confront head on three assertions that I believe have held our country back for too long. The first is an assumption that there is only limited room at the top, that there is no point in educating everyone as far as their talents will take them because the economy simply needs only a few who are trained for the top.

Now I think the fast changing global economy has decisively defeated that argument. Even if in the past there might have been national limited room at the top, now there is clearly global room at the top. Indeed there are millions more skilled jobs and opportunities in our country and round the world for people with skills and qualifications. The young people we educate can and often do work anywhere in any part of the world and there is a virtually unlimited global demand for new talents.

The real challenge that we face is not no room at the top, but no room at the bottom. Unskilled jobs are disappearing. We have 6 million unskilled workers in Britain today, we will need only a half million of these 6 million jobs in 2020, 5.5 million fewer unskilled jobs and this disappearing demand for low skills and no skills and a rising demand for high skills explains why no young person can afford now to leave school without some skill or qualification.

I believe that Britain has often in the past also been held back by a second often heard assertion that ‘more means worse’, that to educate more and more young people is wasteful because they simply don’t have the talent to benefit. And instead of talking of a pool of untapped talent, some people have talked of a pool of tapped untalent.

And each year, even as more young people achieve GCSEs and A’ Levels, even as university and college opportunities are expanded, we often hear echoes of this ‘more means worse’ dogma, the assumption that when you get these results that only some can really achieve high standards and that high achievement in education is by definition limited and exclusive.

And I think this self-imposed limit on the idea about how talent can develop has been an historic curse of the British education system and it does go a long way to explain why too often we fall short of other countries.

Take university access. Other countries are already above 50% for young people going into higher education. Australia claims a graduation rate of 59%, yet many in Britain still say that even to aspire to going up to 50% is a recipe for dumbing down. And the result is that while we have some of the best world class schools and the best world class universities, still too many young people do not get an excellent education. And of course in Britain just 10% of the unskilled workers’ sons and daughters reach university and that is an attainment gap that has to be bridged in the modern world.

And if these notions of ‘more means worse’ are wrong, so too is a related view which is a more fatalist assumption that springs from the denial of aspiration: that there will always be schools that do badly, there will always be pupils who will never do well or even adequately, and when combined with an equally defeatist left of centre assertion sometimes that poor children can never overcome their disadvantage at school, it acquiesces in low expectations and then we put up with coasting and failing schools.

So my argument, and my starting point today, is it is time for Britain to leave behind once and for all this culture of pessimism, any acquiescence in defeatism, any acceptance of low aspirations that holds us back. Poverty of aspiration is as damaging as poverty of opportunity and it is time to replace a culture of low expectations for too many with a culture of high standards for all.

Now that is one of the reasons why in the summer we created a new Department for Children, Schools and Families. We wanted for the first time to be able to support children and young people in the round.

We all know that there are many other influences on our children’s development beyond school, and we all know I think that education must look at the whole picture. So since then the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families has been laying the foundations for the next stage of the transformation of education: how we will focus on classroom standards, ensure that we monitor exam standards rigorously, reform the qualifications system with announcements he has made for the monitoring of that to be independent, mobilise universities and businesses behind school improvement so that all contribute to the education of young people.

And it is building upon these changes that have already been made that I want to spell out what that idea of world-class education could mean for Britain in the 21st century. And I also want to show something more, that only by tackling these old prejudices, ingrained culture of low expectations, and by raising our sights for the future, can we make a reality of equality of opportunity for all children in our country.

In other words I think we need not just education reform to continue and intensify, but we need culture change as well. And what do I mean when I say this? For most of the 20th century the fundamental political divide was between a Left that believed that the extension of state action, command and control structures, could solve social problems and reduce inequality, and then there was the Right that believed that the state had to be rolled back for market forces and market incentives and rewards to be unleashed.

And in the social democratic tradition the state supplied services to people, it built schools, hospitals, houses, provided the funding to run services. But let’s be honest, we paid less attention to how people used these services than the capabilities people need to make the most of the opportunities available to them. We trusted professionals to deliver services, the public to accept them. People were treated sometimes more as passive subjects than as participants in change. The system was content to limit participation in the shaping and direction of public services to voting at election time. In the words of one historian, Peter Clarke, it was about mechanical reform, social change from above, not from below.

And then for its part the right-wing tradition viewed government as an obstacle to market forces, indeed in many ways it still does, reducing human motivation to self-seeking calculations in the market place, relying on civic virtue for charity in areas from where the state is then withdrawn.

I think we can say today that both of these positions are inadequate. We need both strong public services and we need a dynamic market economy to have a fair and prosperous society. Arguments about the size of the state and the funding of public services mark important dividing lines in politics, investment in public services in my view is absolutely critical. But we don’t believe in a zero sum game in which there is only one winner between state and market forces in advanced economies. Each, markets and government, have their place. Prosperity results from drawing upon the best strengths in each of them.

But that is not the end of the matter. For what those who placed their faith in either state or market too often ignored, is culture: the motivation, the values, the habits that influence us all in our daily lives, that influence our families and our communities. These are the values we share, the aspirations we have, the boundaries we set as communities between what is acceptable and unacceptable.

And I think we can now see that culture change is critical to achieving success in reforming public services, true in almost every area of public policy: preventative local health, to social care, community policing, tackling climate change. When we see that equality of opportunity can work to best effect, when people believe, such as on the environment, that they can improve things for themselves and are aspirational about what they want to achieve.

Public services can no longer be delivered to people without their engagement in them. Whether we aim to reduce carbon emissions or tackle obesity, or empower those people who are receiving social care, change will always be more effective if people participate and play their part.

So the bad news for the old thinking on both Left and Right is that culture matters. The good news is that cultures can change. And it is by promoting cultural change that we will ensure that many of the values that we share come alive in this 21st century.

So I think our goal must be simultaneously to expand opportunity, not just one chance but second, third and fourth chances for people throughout their lives, to raise the aspirations that people have to grasp these opportunities, that is the key to unlocking talent, and to develop people’s capabilities to participate in shaping the future so that services are personal to each but also shaped by people themselves.

On its own, equality of opportunity can never be enough. Opportunities are only meaningful if people have the capabilities, the resources, the aspirations to make the most of them. So inequalities in aspiration and in the capability to benefit from them must be tackled also. Without doing that fairer outcomes, the fairness which will shape the opportunities of the generations to come will not be achieved. But if we can expand opportunity, aspiration and participation together, then outcomes for pupils, parents and citizens will be fairer, the result of the choices we make, the hard work and effort we put in – not imposed by the accident of birth or the brute luck of circumstances. And it is in this way I think we will create a stronger, fairer society with excellence within the reach of everyone and not just the few. Talent nurtured, effort rewarded, the merit of each in the service of all.

Now what does that mean for how we move forward with our schools and our education?

Aspiration matters in every aspect of education: the aspirations of parents for their children from their very earliest years; the aspirations of young people, whether they are going to seize the opportunities available to them; the aspirations of course of teachers, of schools, of local government setting high expectations for achievement; the aspirations of society placing the highest possible cultural value upon learning itself; and of course aspirations of government that sets long term ambitions and matches those ambitions with the necessary investment over the long term to realise them.

Now just consider the evidence. We now know the level of parental engagement in learning is actually more important in determining a child’s educational achievement than the social class background, the size of the family or the parent’s own educational attainment. A child with a stimulating home environment does better on all the scores of early childhood development.

Conversely we know for example that teenage pregnancy is significantly more likely amongst girls whose mothers have low expectation for their education, even after controlling for other socio-economic factors.

Aspiration matters. But we have barely set out on the journey of involving parents in the education of their children and encouraging high aspirations as an explicit and central goal of policy.

Parents are worried about discipline, about bullying, about schools where children’s lessons are disrupted, and where there is not enough of a school ethos for learning to flourish and all children to succeed.

And I share all of these concerns. If we ask parents to get more involved in the education of their children, in the lives of their schools, we have to respond to these concerns, just as parents for their part need to reinforce the expectations for good discipline and the boundaries of acceptable behaviour set by head teachers for their schools.

So let us do more now to involve and engage parents at every stage of the journey of their children’s education, spread the best practice of the best schools, more regular real time feedback about their children’s progress, regular emails, regular meetings, more parent sessions at schools, to share information and to set goals at key transition points for children.

But it is not just parental involvement that can be expanded, young people’s aspirations matter too. In many ways the greater failure is not the child who doesn’t reach the stars, but the child who has got no stars that they feel they are reaching for.

And as every teacher knows, you can’t educate those you can’t easily motivate. But we know sometimes that helping boys in particular to aspire and aim higher comes up against in schools boredom, distraction, disaffection, a sense the classroom isn’t for them, the downward pull of peer pressure. So we have also to raise boys’ aspirations in education, provide education that can enthuse and engage, provide different opportunities for different kinds of vocational learning as young people prepare for the transition to the world of work.

And that lies behind much of what we are doing in diplomas. The very idea of personalised learning is about helping children become more aspirational, that we identify talent, we shape education around the unique needs and aspirations of every child, we engage pupils in their own learning and we give them a thirst for education and knowledge that will stay with them long after they have left school.

So we will expand our Gifted and Talented Learning Programme for children at school. We will give a million of our most talented children the opportunity to benefit from special and stretching tuition, we are boosting activities in those areas which can unlock so many different forms of talent: sport, music, the arts, culture, enterprise. We will continue to increase the number of student ambassadors from universities who work in schools: there are now 7,000 helping promote the benefits of higher education to younger pupils when they are still at school. And we will build on what is called our Aim Higher Programme so we increase the aspiration of many to go to university, just as universities are now encouraged to reach out into the schools and colleges, hold summer schools and other events to help lift young people’s sights towards higher education.

And because raising aspirations is at the heart of raising standards we will ask the National Council for Educational Excellence to work with schools and universities, the Sutton Trust and other organisations in this field, to report on how we can increase applications to universities from schools in disadvantaged areas.

So raising aspiration, encouraging the participation of parents and students is at the heart of our approach. But direct action to raise standards and to address failure is also fundamental.

I think we have come a long way in the last decade. Ten years ago there were no children’s centres like Sure Start, there were no nursery places for 3 year olds, there was no literacy hour in our primary schools, no guaranteed sports, arts and modern languages, no extended schools, no trust, specialist or academy schools in every area. There were no educational maintenance allowances so young people found it difficult in some areas to stay on in education beyond 16. There were few new school buildings which now today stand as beacons of aspiration, particularly in low income communities.

Now all of this, and more, has been achieved. But now as we develop what will be our 10 year Children’s Plan we need to move to the next stage in the transformation of standards in education in Britain, rising to the challenge of world class excellence.

Across the globe, as everybody knows, education standards are rising. Other countries will not stand still and are pushing forward and they are pushing forward the frontier of what a 21st century education can offer. Take Canada, or Finland, or Hong Kong. Almost all the children there achieve the required standard of literacy by 11. In Finland every teacher has to have a Masters Degree and 10 people apply for every place on a teacher training course. In South Korea only the brightest and the best are selected to enter the teaching profession. In Chicago, Boston and New York education leaders are now taking a systematic and relentless approach to tackling failing schools.

So the world is moving at this restless pace to transform education. And what appears to be world class now will soon of course appear to be second class in 10 or 20 years time. And that means that the strategic choices that we make today are going to be critical for our long term prosperity.

So I want us to learn all the lessons of excellence from round the world, that the very best education systems start with high quality affordable daycares and early learning, as in Scandinavia where children start school ready to learn because they have had excellent and highly professional pre-school care and development.

But as Michael Barber has shown, the best education systems recruit the best people into teaching – the top 5% in South Korea, the top 10% in Finland, the top 30% in Singapore and Hong Kong. In excellent schools the teachers receive continuous training and professional development to update their skills and expertise, and there is always strong leadership from head teachers with the autonomy to lead their schools. World class education, we know, achieves high standards for 100% of the children when there are systems of accountability, funding and pupil tracking that leave no child behind and personalised learning is tailored to the unique potential of every child with one-to-one tutoring and support. That world class education depends on a systematic intolerance of failure and a preparedness of public authorities to intervene and to innovate to eradicate failure; and in leading economies of course participation in learning or education is near universal up to the age of 18, skills investment is high and rising, and in all successful countries entry to universities and colleges is rapidly increasing.

So we must renew our ambitions also. And we will build on the improvements we have made in early years by extending entitlements to free nursery education, we will improve the quality of childcare and early learning, we should aspire to match the excellence we know exists particularly in the Scandinavian countries in early learning and daycare.

And then we will raise still further the status and standards of teaching. Everybody remembers an inspirational teacher, everybody knows that a good teacher makes all the difference, and there are many good teachers here this morning. And that is not just my personal experience but the personal experience I find when I talk to many people.

And research is absolutely conclusive about the importance of teaching standards. If you take a group of 50 teachers, a child taught by one of the best 10 will learn sometimes at twice the speed of a child taught by one of the worst 10. Teaching quality is that important.

Ofsted say we now have the best teachers ever in our schools today and they should be valued and applauded for their work. And now our goal should be even bolder, to have a world class teaching profession for all our pupils within a generation.

So we will do more to raise the quality of recruits into teacher training, we will expand routes into training for talented people in mid and late career with ‘Teach First’ followed by ‘Teach Next’ so that people can move into a teaching job later in career. We will build on these reforms with the aim of raising still further the status of teaching in Britain. We will match the rigorous selection of the brightest and best into teacher training that other countries are achieving and we will promote graduate opportunities for teachers to undertake professional training and development linked to performance assessment.

And this is my belief: that world class performance comes from consistent brilliance from teachers in every classroom, professionals who always seek continuous improvement; who teach better lessons tomorrow than they did yesterday because they are learning all the time; who when a pupil falls behind don’t assume it is a lack of ability but instead ask: how could I teach that material better to enable my pupil to master that?

And that is the challenge, we know, for the best teachers and we will assist them in rising to it.

But we should also work on the principle of social justice for all, that no child should be left out or lose out, that as we raise standards we also narrow the social gap attainment in education and that every child should be given the best chance to progress as far and as fast as they can.

And we have improved standards of schools in disadvantaged areas, but we have not made enough progress in closing the gap between individual pupils from different backgrounds. A ‘no child left out’ education system must work for 100% of the pupils 100% of the time, and that is a major undertaking for this generation.

So what accountability there is and what progress targets we have must prioritise success for all.

Now in primary education every child should reach the expected level in literacy and numeracy. If the best in the world can do it now, so should we. For those who say it is not possible, I say visit West Dunbartonshire, one of the most disadvantaged parts of Scotland. Ten years ago it took the decision to eradicate illiteracy in primary schools. In 2001 almost 1 in 3 left primary school functionally illiterate. Last year only 6% did so. Through sustained ambition, intensive intervention at every level it is on track to wipe out pupil illiteracy this year after a decade of raising standards for children.

And if West Dunbartonshire – one of the poorest parts of the country – can do it, so can the rest of the country. It means one-to-one catch-up in the 3 Rs to every pupil who needs it, with early intervention, ‘Every Child a Reader’, ‘Every Child Counts’, the new programme that Ed Balls has just introduced, ‘Every Child a Writer’.

And it means better school-based social and behavioural support for children with extra needs, building on the ‘Every child matters’ agenda.

And then for secondary school it must mean all pupils making good progress with setting by ability, stronger classroom discipline and real commitment to personalised learning. More one-to-one tuition, small group teaching, a personal studies tutor for secondary schools, more support for innovative teaching and learning strategies.

And we all know that the best schools already achieve superb results with personalised learning, the best schools are well led with innovative ideas, they increasingly operate as networks that link schools together and they spread best practice from school to school. And our goal must be a service that has the capacity and space to innovate and to personalise learning.

And as we start to move to personalised testing we must keep assessment under review to ensure it supports learning and achievement, and does not dominate teaching.

Every child is entitled to a decent school and a good education. So we must also put an end to failure. We have cut the number of failing schools dramatically in the last decade. In 1997 over 600 secondary schools had less than 25% of children getting 5 or more good GCSEs. Now instead of over 600, 26 do. But the latest figures still show that there are 670 schools where less than 30% of pupils get 5 A star to C grades at GCSE, including English and maths, and while that is down from 1,600 in 1997 there is still much to do.

So we must go further to end failure. And the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families has challenged local authorities to use new powers and this is a critical strategic role and challenge for local government.

In the next 5 years we will work to get all schools above 30% A star – C grades at GCSE, including in English and maths. And let’s be clear, many of these schools below this threshold are already improving, many have strong and determined leaders, many face the toughest challenges in our education system and we have to use the right mix of intervention and support to raise standards.

So we have put in place now a systematic plan of ever tougher measures for eradicating failure. It will start with annual improvement targets for all schools that are falling below the required threshold. There will be new incentives for the best teachers to teach in the toughest schools, including expanding the ‘Teaching First’ and ‘Teach Next’ programmes to have the best possible teacher intake for these schools.

Good schools will be brought in to help poorer schools under improvement networks that will be run by schools for schools, as the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust motto puts it. Warning notices to trigger intervention powers will include new interim executive boards to take over school management where there is failure. Complete closure or takeover by a successful neighbouring school in a trust or federation or transfer to academy status, including the option of taking over by an independent school will be an available power.

And there will be 150 more academies in the next 3 years, on route to our target of 400; more universities working with us to set up academies; more local authorities doing what Manchester, Birmingham, Oldham and others are doing – putting academies at the heart of their local school improvement plans; more independent schools setting up academies to take over failing schools.

And this is therefore a determined and systematic agenda to end failure that we will see through and we will not flinch from this task.

And our final goal for world class education for young children will be 100% success for young people to make the transition from school to college, to university or to skilled work. And every young person should know that they have something to aim for in their education. So at age18 or 19, each should graduate from school, college or an apprenticeship with good qualifications or a certificate on the way.

We have set out in the last few days a new vision for diplomas, designed alongside and with universities and businesses to meet the needs of the new century. And alongside the diplomas, as they grow in excellence we plan a radical overhaul of apprenticeships too. A new matching service, rather like the UCAS university service, so that young people in any area can be matched up with businesses that are wanting and offering apprenticeships in every area of the country; a widening of the number of employers who now join the apprenticeship programme and we build on the 130,000 employers in all parts of Britain who have signed up for apprenticeships; we make the public sector a better partner, which it hasn’t always been, in apprenticeships, including changes in Whitehall itself; and we place a legal duty on the Learning and Skills Council to provide sufficient apprenticeship places in every area so that we can end a situation in which there can be only 95 apprenticeships completed in Hackney but over 2,500 today in Hampshire.

And to drive aspirations up we will ensure that all those reaching 18 or 19 who want to go on to an advanced apprenticeship or further education and training have the resources they need.

Just as from this year two-thirds of university students will be able, under changes that we have announced, to apply for grants of up to £3,000, so too advanced apprentices will have a credit of at least £3,000 through a Skills Account to pay towards their costs. And from this year we are paying the college fees of young people up to the age of 25 studying the equivalent of A levels and giving access to an adult learning grant of £30 a week.

And all of this is possible against the backdrop of the legislation to extend training or education to the age of 18 by 2015 to bring us in line with the rest and the best in the world. We will offer financial support for those who could not otherwise afford to stay in education. We will not insist that young people stay in the classroom. They will be able to choose from clear pathways into the future: further study at school or college, an apprenticeship or work with time off for training.

And in the coming week the Secretary for Children, Schools and Families will bring forward his action plan to ensure that all young people are in education, jobs or training and we will offer new rights to young people matched by that new duty to be in education until 18.

And because we cannot afford to leave any young person behind outside work or study, and because we owe it to them to equip them for the world they are growing up into, this will be a priority of the government that every young person is offered a route forward in education as they grow from their teens into their 20s.

I make no apology therefore for saying that education is the best economic policy, and I make no apology for wanting every child and young person to be able to read, write and add up. But as we all know education has always been about more than exams, more than the basics, vital as they are and will continue to be. To educate, as we know, is to form character, it is to shape values, it is to liberate the imagination, it is to pass human wisdom, knowledge and ingenuity from one generation to the next, it is a duty and a calling.

As was said by one of the ancient philosophers, the mind is not a vessel to be filled, it is a fire to be kindled. And that is why we have such high ambitions. Not just because education is a matter of national prosperity, it is certainly that, it is because education is the great liberator, the greatest liberator mankind has ever known and the greatest force for social progress.

That is why it is my passion. That is why I want to see a Britain where every child can go to a world class school, supported by high aspirations and surrounded always by excellent opportunities. And that is why I want to see a Britain where every family has the right to participate in the education of their child and is encouraged with every chance to do so. And that is why too I want a Britain where every young person can see ahead of them a goal in life, the support they need to get there, and it is a Britain therefore where effort is rewarded, ambition fulfilled, potential realised, a Britain of high aspirations and a Britain of all the talents. And I ask all of you to enlist in this cause.

Thank you very much.

Gordon Brown – 2007 Speech to the CBI


Below is the text of the speech made by Gordon Brown to the CBI at the Business Design Centre on 26 November 2007.


It is a privilege to be here to address you this morning; to see the CBI so well supported by so many impressive companies like that of your own President; and to see how, under the leadership of Richard Lambert, the CBI asserts itself as an outstanding leader of business: a powerful force: pioneering new thinking on the great economic challenges of our time: on skills, science and technology and on the environment too.

And today – and let me congratulate the leadership of so many companies represented today – we can see how the vast majority of British businesses are meeting the global competitive challenge —- fitter and stronger than ever.

And I believe that – from financial services to modern manufacturing, from vehicles and aerospace to the creative industries – the British corporate community continues to rise to the challenges and opportunities of globalisation, the emerging technologies and new markets in Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

But we must recognise too that the last 12 months have shown that – along with challenge and almost unlimited opportunities – the new global order brings new uncertainties and new insecurities too – most recently in the form of financial turbulence and credit problems whose origins are clearly international but whose full implications are still unfolding.

And it is precisely because of these new short term and long term global challenges that every government in the world has to look afresh at what it can do to support business.

And today I want to discuss how we cooperate more fully to meet these new challenges and find, for this new era, enhanced ways of working more closely together for Britain — a new engagement through which government and industry can together respond to changing circumstance.

And my profound conviction is that if together we address and master all the long term challenges, Britain – with its openness, global reach, willingness to adapt and innovate and our new stability – can be one of the great global leaders of this century.

Some of the foundations of this framework we have already laid together. Over the last ten years, our shared resolve to entrench stability and the resilience of our economic framework have been tested again and again: the Asian crisis, the Russian crisis, the American recession, the escalation of oil prices and now the recent financial turbulence. But because of the tried and tested framework we now have in place – Bank of England independence, the Financial Services Authority, a new system for financial regulation – Britain has succeeded in delivering both low inflation and low interest rates and at the same time has had sufficient flexibility to adjust when events threaten our growth.

Earlier this year when inflation threatened to increase in the wake of oil and utility price rises, we took the difficult decisions to bear down on inflation and by staging public sector pay, keeping average overall awards at 1.9 per cent, we supported inflation moving back to target.

At the same time when we have had to deal with the fall out from global turbulence with events at Northern Rock, we have taken difficult decisions to steer a course of stability and protect the taxpayer which have led to today’s announcement by the company of a preferred bidder.

And so in difficult times we have been able to and will continue to hold to a stable course.

And I assure you that we will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure that in future we maintain our hard won stability. We will take no risks. There will be no irresponsible relaxation of pay discipline, no unfunded spending commitments, no unaffordable promises and no short-term giveaways. By definition, responsible government demands that stability will be our first priority – yesterday, today and tomorrow.

But whatever the ups and downs of the world economy, the short term fluctuations we face, globalisation forces us also to make the right long term decisions in infrastructure and planning, the environment and energy, science and education – to leave behind the old policies of yesterday and make the right long term decisions for a more successful tomorrow.

First, a long term approach to our transport and infrastructure where we must – and will – continue to step up our investment in major projects. And in each year to 2017 we will invest £20 billion a year in transport – double what was spent a decade ago. And having opened the Channel Tunnel Rail Link we will now proceed with a unique partnership between business and government: the £16 billion investment in Crossrail.

And we know also that even as we place strict local environmental limits on noise and air pollution and ensure that aviation pays its carbon costs, we have to respond to a clear business imperative and increase capacity at our airports – and you have rightly called for action at Heathrow. Our prosperity depends on it: Britain as a world financial centre must be readily accessible from around the world. And this week we demonstrated our determination not to shirk the long term decisions but to press ahead with a third runway.

Second, planning – which we all know that despite recent changes remains too inflexible. Following the case put in the Eddington and Barker reports the legislation which will be published tomorrow will put in place a streamlined system for making decisions on key national infrastructure projects —– a new independent body to take decisions fairly and without delay while allowing the public and local communities to participate effectively in the process. And we will stick to our plans to build 3 million more homes by 2020, making housing more affordable and providing homes for the workforce of the future.

Third, we need the same long termism in our approach to energy. We must – and will – take the right long term decisions to invest now for the next generation of sustainable and secure energy supplies. We have said that new nuclear power stations potentially have a role to play in tackling climate change and improving energy security. And having concluded the full public consultation we will announce our final decision early in the New Year.

Fourth, energy security for the long term must be matched by what your taskforce have reported on today – a sustainable environment for the long term. Among our market-based measures to achieve our goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by at least 60 per cent by 2050, we are working to expand the EU Emission Trading Scheme. And to meet that and our share of the European Union renewables commitments – and to create a new global carbon market in London – is not just a challenge but an opportunity for British business to lead the world in environmental technologies and finance.

Fifth, a long term approach to managed migration. In a world where 190 million people a year are moving from one country to another, we will continue to balance the needs of our economy – opposing those who want to abolish the highly skilled migrant programme – with the need to create a stronger sense that residence and citizenship means responsibilities too – not least through a new Australian-style point system and ID cards for foreign nationals.

Sixth, a long term approach to tax and deregulation including for Britain’s 4 million small businesses. Having cut the headline rate of corporation tax to 28 per cent, with a lower rate for small firms and an additional allowance for investment, we will continue to work with you to continuously modernise and simplify our tax regime and improve our tax competitiveness. And we will continue to listen and discuss with you the representations we have received about capital gains tax, ensuring that we maintain reforms for a fairer and simplified system that rewards enterprise.

Our risk based approach to deregulation – outlined originally in the Hampton Report, now extends from the light touch of the Financial Services Authority right across to reducing inspections by local authorities. Recent changes include replacing a multiplicity of planning forms by one, reducing health and safety burdens, abolishing the requirement for private bodies to hold AGMs, creating a single point of contact for all import and export regulatory requirements, pushing forward single market reform in Europe, and in December departments will publish further measures. And so I share with you the aim that with a risk-based approach we significantly reduce the numbers of inspections and reduce information requirements and form filling by firms and so reduce red tape.

And to help meet all these challenges we have set up the new business department so there is a better business voice in government.

And just as we have made monetary policy independent of government, we have made competition policy, industrial policy and now much of planning policy more independent of day to day political control.

And the new Business Council headed by some of our leading business leaders has a remit to examine every significant area of policy and to scrutinise and challenge government on the tasks ahead.

The new Council for Educational Excellence also contains business leadership so that standards in the schools can reflect the needs of business for the future. And last week we announced our intention to set up a new forum for the private sector to make sure their contribution to the NHS continues to grow – and to represent value for money for patients and taxpayers.

And together we should continue to search out new ways of attracting and retaining the best businesses in the world as we have in financial services, pharmaceuticals and aerospace. This requires a long term approach to the advancement of science and innovation in the UK – building on our 10 year science framework which links the universities, research institutes and knowledge centres to business, the £15 billion allocated to medical research, and the new public-private Energy Technologies Institute.

And up against the competition of over two billion people in China and India – with 5 million graduates a year – Britain, a small country, cannot compete on low skills but only on high skills. Our imperative – and our opportunity – is to compete in high value added services and manufacturing; and because that requires the best trained workforce in the world, our challenge is to unlock all the talents of all of the people of our country.

And the nation that shows it can bring out the best in all its people will be the great success story of the global age.

Richard Lambert has spoken powerfully of this imperative and the CBI is doing important work to help the cause.

And we must lead the world in mastering the most far-reaching change in our occupational industrial and employment structures for more than a century.

Let us face facts: as a result of changes in the global economy many of the jobs British workers do now are becoming redundant.

Of today’s 6 million unskilled workers in Britain we will soon need only half a million – over 5 million fewer.

We have 9 million highly qualified workers in Britain – but the challenge of the next ten years is that we will need 14 million – five million more. Higher standards of living will depend on higher standards of learning.

For most of the past half century we have had a Keynesian paradigm – either you are in work or you are on welfare. And in the old days it was the economy that had to create work – what prevented full employment was lack of jobs.

Now we need a new and very different paradigm. If in the old days the problem as unemployment, in the new world it is employability.

If in the old days lack of jobs demanded priority action, in the new world it is lack of skills.

So as we prepare and equip ourselves for the future, many of the policies of the past are out of date, with no answers to be found in old dogmas – and long term reforms changing the role of education and welfare – the responsibilities of the individual and government will have to intensify and be stepped up.

While in the old days we could assume that if a teenager left education with no qualifications they could get unskilled work, in the new world the unqualified and unskilled teenager will, in future, have to acquire a skill to be easily employable.

While in the old days only a limited number of apprenticeships were available for a far larger number of highly qualified teenagers, in the new world it makes economic sense to expand apprenticeships to make use of all the skills of all who have them.

While in the old days it was seen as the duty of government to create work for the inactive, in the new world there has to be both a duty on the government to help the inactive become employable and a duty on the inactive to take up those opportunities.

Indeed while in the old days the obligation was on the unemployed to find a job, in the new world the obligation on the unemployed should be not just to seek work but to train for work.

In the old days we could leave lone parents on benefit until their children left school. Now if they are to go to work sooner, they must train earlier and be ready for work when they can take it up.

In the old days when incapacity benefit was introduced the focus was on disabilities preventing work. Today in the interests of claimants and in the economy the focus must be on their capabilities and the opportunities for new skills for work.

In the old world you had colleges for everything that happened after school. Now we need a new focus on 16-19 year olds in sixth form centres —- and a similar focus on community colleges with state of the art training facilities that increasingly specialise in adult vocational excellence.

So making education for skilled work our first priority we need to provide new incentives and new obligations to train; we need to transfer resources from welfare to education and move claimants from passive recipients of welfare benefit to active job and skill seekers;

far-reaching reforms of our welfare state and education system to put us right in the forefront of the higher paying, highly skilled economy of the future.

Quite simply the old system does not fit the aspirational society the Britain of the future needs to be. The new idea is the development of all the talents of all our people.

Since June we have stepped up reforms in our schools and in the coming weeks we will publish our Children’s Plan, founded on an historic change in the span of schooling and the range and quality of learning – in the classroom and beyond it. Our aim that every teenager goes on to college, university or an apprenticeship or is preparing for this.

And today, as we come to terms with the far reaching nature of the global challenge, I have asked John Denham, who is responsible for skills, and Peter Hain, responsible for welfare, to bring together businesses, colleges, the whole of education and the voluntary sector to forge a new partnership to push through the scale of changes needed to equip people for the future.

In the old days the government ran the whole welfare system through separate jobcentres and benefit offices. In the new world Jobcentre Plus – which since its establishment in 2001 has built up a genuinely world class track record in getting people off welfare into work – will ask private sector agencies and charities to play a central role. As Peter Hain will set out tomorrow, we will contract with new providers – and incentivise providers – to find innovative ways of helping the long term unemployed and those outside the labour market altogether to move into work.

Already 200 of our best companies are leading the way in local employment partnerships. And while in the old world employers felt that the training system was unresponsive to their needs, in the new world you will increasingly be able to direct training budgets and we are inviting employers to play a more central role in the development of further education colleges.

Let me explain the new principles for welfare that will guide our new approach across the whole of government — on both what is being announced this week and what we will set out in the coming months.

First, if the best welfare is no longer the benefits you have today but the skills you gain for tomorrow then the inactive should, wherever possible, be preparing and training to get back into work.

So when someone signs on as unemployed, they sign up for a skills review, be given access to skills advice and training if that is what is needed, and this could be taken into account in their benefit entitlement. In the same vein, we should not deny people who are looking for work the chance to better their skills. So today Peter Hain is announcing we must reform the so-called ’16 hour rule’.

And we will help people not just get work but get on at work – helping them move up the jobs ladder. So we propose a seamless transition from out-of-work training to in-work skills development and – as John Denham will set out later today – a new adult careers and advancement service will be created to help people in work improve their skills or change their career: a commitment not just to one-off learning but to life-long learning.

Second, rights and responsibilities will be at the heart of our approach so we will intensify compulsion while at the same time offering new incentives.

In return for new rights to training and help to get into work, we will demand more responsibility.

We want lone parents on benefit to be training in preparation for going back to work when their child goes to school. And there will be a more modern regime for new IB claimants which, for the first time, will mean work for those who can, education or training for those with no skills, and treatment for those who need medical help including for mental health problems. Peter Hain is announcing today that in the future we will look to apply this more active approach to existing IB claimants as well as new ones, starting with those under 25.

And whilst in the old world, with no minimum wage or tax credits, 740,000 households faced marginal deduction rates of over 70 per cent, from April next year that figure will have fallen by three quarters and we will now do more to ensure that the long term unemployed, lone parents and those on IB are better off in work, even after reasonable transport costs.

And we believe that the flexibility you want as employers can be matched over time by more rights to request flexible working.

And we will focus on those areas where worklessness is concentrated and later this week Hazel Blears will announce details of new plans to help communities act together to get more people back into work.

Everybody in this room is well aware of the pressures this country faces and the need to rise to the challenge.

So just as we are modernising transport, planning, science policy, we are redefining the Britain welfare state for a wholly new world — to give people skills through transferring resources from welfare to education, not leaving them dependent, reliant on benefit without the opportunity to improve their skills and prospects.

All over the world – and this is what lies behind protectionist sentiment – peoples and countries are worried that they will not be globalisation’s winners but its losers, its victims not beneficiaries.

To help British people win from globalisation, I have outlined a new framework for British business based on firm fundamentals – open markets, free trade and flexibility – and action plans for equipping us in infrastructure, science, education and employment that we can now progress.

Working together we can move forward the long-term investments in education and skills we need.

Working together we can prepare, equip, and make Britain ready for a stronger future.

And working together we can make Britain a model – indeed a beacon – to the world for stability and progress.

Andrew Selous – 2015 Speech on Criminal Justice Management


Below is the text of the speech made by Andrew Selous,  the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Prisons, Probation and Rehabilitation at the Ministry of Justice, made on 23 September 2015 at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London.


Let me start by thanking the organisers of this conference, GovNet, for inviting me to speak at the 15th annual Criminal Justice Management conference here today. I am delighted to follow in the footsteps of my colleague, Lord Faulks, who spoke here last year, and to be speaking today alongside others with whom I work closely – Natalie Ceeney, Lord McNally and Paul Wilson. These people work tirelessly every day to improve the Criminal Justice System, and I applaud them for the work they do.

Last year, Lord Faulks spoke to you about modernising the Criminal Justice Sector through the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill. Today, Natalie Ceeney is going to talk to you about modernisation of the courts and tribunals through digital technology.

Under this government, reforms continue to be implemented throughout the Criminal Justice System. During the last government Tom McNally was a crucial part of the Ministerial team leading our reforms and he is therefore ideally qualified to be leading the transformation in Youth Justice. The Prime Minister spoke earlier this month on reviewing the Criminal Justice System, and in particular adapting a whole system approach to the delivery of Youth Justice. I am therefore delighted that Tom is coming here today to talk about this important work.

Later, Paul Wilson is going to give an independent view of progress on the reforms we have made to the Probation Service. Therefore I want to spend the time I have with you today looking at the broader landscape for rehabilitating offenders and reducing reoffending; and the challenges ahead. In order to do this, I will describe how the landscape has changed both in probation and prisons in the wake of Transforming Rehabilitation; set out other initiatives which will help offenders lead better lives, and touch on our vision for rehabilitation in the future.

Setting the context

We are already reducing adult reoffending – since 2002, the overall reoffending rate decreased by 2.3 percentage points to stand at 25.3% at the end of September 2013. However, the group of offenders with the highest reoffending rates remains the under 12 month custodial sentenced group, which is the one group which previously remained out of scope for statutory supervision and rehabilitation in the community.

During the last government, we came to office determined to change this, and, as a result, implemented the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms, to focus the system better on reducing reoffending and public safety and to ensure greater value for the taxpayer.

Transforming rehabilitation

As part of this major programme of reform, we introduced the Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014. This made a number of changes to the sentencing framework, most notably changing the law so that all offenders released from short prison sentences now receive 12 months of supervision in the community.

These provisions came into force on 1 February 2015, and apply to offences committed on or after that date. We are therefore building up a cohort of offenders who would previously have been released from prison with £46 in their pocket and little else. Now those offenders receive statutory supervision and assistance with their resettlement back in the community.

To enable the Ministry of Justice to extend statutory rehabilitation in the community to the 45,000 offenders sentenced to less than 12 months in custody, we needed to make significant structural changes both to the Probation Service and the Prison Service. Therefore, after consultation, the 35 Probation Trusts were re-organised into 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies, or CRCs, and a single National Probation Service, known as the NPS.

As you know, transition to the new probation structures took place on 1 June last year, from which date the NPS and 21 CRCs were live and supervising offenders. Offenders who pose a high risk of serious harm to the public, or are convicted of the most serious offences, are being managed by the public sector NPS, while medium and lower risk offenders are being managed by the CRCs. The NPS sits within the National Offender Management Service, while the 21 CRCs remained in public ownership until 1 February this year when 8 new providers took ownership of, and began running, the CRCs. The CRCs are being run by a diverse group of providers, including a range of voluntary sector providers, which have experience in rehabilitating offenders. These providers will be remunerated via a system which rewards them for reducing reoffending – payment by results.

Transforming Rehabilitation also brought about substantial reform to the prison system. To support improved rehabilitation outcomes, the prison estate was reorganised to facilitate a “Through the Gate” model where offenders are given help and support from within custody and in to the community to which they will return on release. In order to do this, the National Offender Management Service established a network of 89 Resettlement Prisons in what has involved a large scale re-organisation of prisoner allocation and re-configuration of roles for a substantial part of the prison estate. Short term prisoners and prisoners in the last 12 weeks of their sentence are being housed in those prisons where CRCs provide a Through the Gate resettlement service including support to offenders for accommodation needs, employment brokerage and retention, finance and debt advice and support for sex workers and victims of domestic violence.

It has now been 8 months since CRCs transitioned to their new owners. So how is the new probation system looking? It is encouraging, given the scale of change that the probation service has gone through, that, based on the wide range of information we published last November, and in July this year, performance is broadly consistent with pre-transition levels. Probation staff in both the NPS and the CRCs have worked very hard to implement these reforms and we of course continue to support them as the new ways of working become embedded.

In regard to the Community Rehabilitation Companies all the new providers have commenced the process of restructuring their CRCs in order to implement the business models which they set out in their bids during the competition to win the CRC contracts. As the 8 providers only took over the running of their CRCs on 1 February this year these changes are in the early stages. By opening up the market to these new providers the Transforming Rehabilitation programme aimed to ensure that new and innovative approaches would be used to reduce reoffending and bring in best practice from the public, private and third sectors. Initial innovation can already be observed as the eight providers establish new ways of working, ranging from streamlining back office functions and installing modern ICT to implementing new management styles.

One of the first priorities for the new owners of the 21 CRCs was to get their Through the Gate services up and running by 1 May. Resettlement services relating to employment and accommodation brokerage, and finance and debt advice are now in place. Work continues to drive up standards of this service in both custody and the community with a view to further reducing reoffending, and we are monitoring delivery closely to ensure that these resettlement services meets the high standards set out in our design.

Intensive contract management by my officials will ensure CRC providers continue to deliver as we go forward. Contract management teams, comprising regionally-based combined teams of operational and commercial staff, are managing CRC contracts, ensuring contractor compliance and consistent levels of performance and delivery of the contract, including all statutory functions.

The Transforming Rehabilitation reforms have made substantial changes to the way we manage offenders in England and Wales. And I am proud to be a part of the team that made that happen. There of course remains much work to be done as we embed these reforms, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank probation and prison staff for their continued hard work. They are doing a magnificent job and deserve widespread recognition.

Education and employment

We are also making a number of other changes to the Criminal Justice System and I will now move on to reflect on some of those changes.

Offenders have a variety of social problems such as a lack of, or low qualifications, lack of employment, accommodation needs and drugs and/or alcohol misuse.

These factors are associated with higher rates of reoffending on release from prison, and so we need to take them into account and tackle them when developing and delivering strategies for reducing reoffending.

Almost half (46%) of prisoners said they had no qualifications 13% said they had never had a job.

We know that tackling employment can reduce reoffending. A recent statistical publication made by the Ministry of Justice on the impact of employment on reoffending sets out some interesting findings, for example: offenders who got P45 employment at some point in the year after being released from custody were less likely to reoffend than similar offenders who did not get P45 employment. For custodial sentences of less than one year, the one year proven reoffending rate was 9.4 percentage points lower for those who found P45 employment after release than for the matched comparison group.

Education Review

Of course, you are more likely to find P45 employment if you have a decent standard of education. Increasing numbers of prisoners are engaged in learning but Ofsted Inspections confirm that one in five prisons has an inadequate standard of education provision and another two fifths require improvement. This is why the Secretary of State for Justice has asked Dame Sally Coates to chair a review of the quality of education in prisons. The review will report in March 2016.

The review will examine the scope and quality of current provision in adult prisons and in young offender institutions for 18-20 year olds; review domestic and international evidence of what works well in prison education to support the rehabilitation of different segments of prison learners; and identify options for future models of education services in prisons.

Stakeholders will be contacted and invited to provide evidence to the review.

We will, of course, take the findings of that review very seriously, but we cannot stand still. Work is already in progress to improve the quality of learning and skills in prisons. This includes: finding ways to improve class attendance and punctuality; collecting better management information; improving support for those with learning difficulties and disabilities and developing more creative and innovative teaching.

In August 2014 we introduced mandatory assessment of Maths and English for all newly received prisoners. Provisional data, for August 2014 to April 2015, shows that 57,000 prisoners have been assessed and that 32,000 have taken part in a Maths and English course.

We have also invested in the Virtual Campus which is a secure web based learning and job searching tool which is currently available in 105 prisons to support prisoners’ education.


Another of my key priorities is to improve the support available to prisoners to build positive relationships with their families. Families are a stabilising influence and an important motivating factor in rehabilitation and the prevention of reoffending. Many prisoners need additional help to break cycles of crime and family breakdown and I have seen the good work that can be done, such as at HMP Parc where the Invisible Walls Project, using Lottery funding, has enabled the prison to establish a multi-agency partnership and a special unit focused on supporting relationships. Interventions offered to prisoners are integrated with advice and support for the whole family, and the prison hosts parent/teacher evenings where children, their teachers and parents review their school work, and advise fathers on how to support their children’s education. In the public sector, HMP Erlestoke is piloting a dedicated Family Interventions Unit within NOMS benchmarking costs.

As a part of this I am working with colleagues across government to ensure the needs of the children of prisoners are recognised. For example, as part of the expanded Troubled Families programme to turn around families with multiple disadvantages, which rolled out nationally in April this year, Local Authorities now work with families which include adult offenders and dependent children in the household.

Volunteers in prison

I have spoken at some length about the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms, and how they have enabled us to bring the voluntary sector into areas of rehabilitation to a greater degree. We know that some of these organisations use ex-offenders to mentor and assist current offenders to get their lives in order, which, as we all know increases the likelihood that they will not reoffend and that they will make a positive contribution to society. I am keen to encourage more volunteers and volunteer organisations to work with our prisons, bringing a different perspective and valuable innovation to this key area, and making sure that we are using them effectively and to their full potential.

Prisons reform

On a final note, some of you might have had the opportunity to hear the Justice Secretary’s speech to the Prisoner Learning Alliance in July. If you did, you will know that we are renewing our focus on making prisons ‘places of rehabilitation’. We have many dedicated and hard-working governors, and the Justice Secretary wants to make those who run establishments more autonomous and accountable, but in turn to demand more of our prisons and of offenders.

For example, we need to be better at devolving power, like the government has done in education. Currently, Governors do not have enough have control over what is taught in prisons and who teaches it, and insufficient financial freedom to provide meaningful work for their prisoners. We want to give governors that control and we want to incentivise and reward them for delivering the right outcomes.

As a first step, we are currently considering the potential to close ageing and ineffective Victorian prisons and to build modern establishments which embody higher standards in every way they operate. We need to tackle overcrowding and deal with the problem of violence against prison staff. Psycho-active substances are also a major cause for concern and we must do more to prevent them getting into prisons.

The money we make by selling off old prisons should be reinvested by commissioning a modern, well-designed prison estate, which design out the faults in existing structures which make violent behaviour and drug-taking much harder to detect.

There is much to be done and we have already made an excellent start with the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms and Through the Gate support. We must continue this good work, as we redouble our efforts to rehabilitate prisoners; helping to turn their lives around, and ultimately make our society a safer and more decent place in which to live.

Sam Gyimah – 2015 Speech on Connecting Employers to Schools


Below is the text of the speech made by Sam Gyimah, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Childcare and Education, at the House of Lords in London on 17 September 2015.

Thank you for that very kind introduction, Christine [Hodgson, Chair of the Careers and Enterprise Company].

It’s a great pleasure to be here today at the launch of this brand new programme connecting schools and employers, and young people and careers. Only this morning, I was lucky enough to visit Baylis Court School in Slough which already has a very successful careers education programme – the highlight of this visit was when a sixth-form pupil asked how she could get my job!

For too long the careers provision in schools has not been taken as seriously as it should be – instead, treated with disdain, as a kind of relic from the days before the internet put the whole world at our fingertips.

I’m sure plenty of people here have heard anecdotes about careers services in schools before – I certainly have.

Teenagers’ futures being reduced to a 20-question online quiz, a one-off meeting with a careers adviser in year 11 that feels more like a chore than an opportunity – in other words, a total lack of practical advice and personal support.

Tales of bad advice like these are all too common. I read an article just the other day about a famous comedian who told his careers adviser he liked canoeing, and was told he should join the navy

When you couple that with that the fact that an Ofsted study found that only 1 in 5 schools gives effective guidance and advice to its year 9, 10 and 11 pupils, it’s no wonder that 80% of employers think that young people don’t leave school equipped with the right skills for the workplace.

Imagine trying to study for your GCSEs, A levels or even your degree without having any idea about what your future might hold, and with no idea how the qualifications you’re working towards can shape and influence the rest of your life.

During this tricky phase of life, young people desperately need sensible, practical advice and guidance.

But I also know that good careers provision is about so much more than directing people into specific jobs.

It’s about providing that initial spark of enthusiasm and inspiring pupils to broaden their horizons – to think about the world outside the school gates.

After all, how can we tell a 13-year-old exactly what they should be doing by the time they’re 30 when we don’t even know what jobs will exist then?

Ten years ago, we didn’t know what a mobile app developer was. But now, coders are a hot commodity, working in some of the most high-profile and creative industries in the market.

What young people really need today are the building blocks to help them navigate a jobs market which is changing at a more rapid pace than ever before.

From the simple things that you or I might take for granted – a professional-sounding email address, to dressing smartly for an interview, to writing a great CV – all of these are vital components of good careers provision.

We’ve all seen embarrassing email addresses, or spelling mistakes in a job application, and I’m sure many young people have holiday snaps that they wouldn’t want their potential bosses to see if they looked at their Facebook profile – it’s all too easy to fall at this first hurdle if young people don’t have the right kind of support!

I do, however, know that many organisations across the country are working tirelessly to make sure that young people have equal access to this kind of provision at all points of their school journey.

I know that careers advisers are dedicated professionals who genuinely want young people to progress onto the best courses and into the best job.

Plenty of employers already work hard to target and support young people in their area.

And organisations like the National Citizenship Service are helping older teenagers build vital skills like leadership, teamwork and communication.

But I want this to be done consistently.

I want a strategic approach that brings all of these people and organisations together so that every single child, no matter where they live or what school they go to, has the same access to top-quality advice. That’s what this ‘one nation’ government is all about – spreading educational excellence everywhere and making sure that every young person across the country can unlock every ounce of their potential.

Because, as Christine has said previously, there’s currently too much variation across the country. Some schools benefit from a steady stream of professionals coming in to inspire their pupils, but others aren’t lucky enough to have access to these opportunities. And often, it’s pupils at these schools, in disadvantaged areas, who’d benefit most from an extra insight into the world of work.

Increasing aspirations, improving social mobility and giving everyone an equal chance at a good life can only be a good thing for the continued productivity and economic strength of our country. Outstanding careers provision has to be at the heart of this plan.

So, finally, when I think about this careers provision, and how the Careers and Enterprise Company can add the most value, I think about the importance of making the right links.

The importance of connecting employers to schools and young people, connecting schools with the best support and careers provision there is, and connecting young people’s presents to their futures.

Helping them see the value and relevance of high attainment, good behaviour and regular school attendance.

Giving them an insight into the exciting paths their careers could follow.

Fuelling their passions and their drive to succeed.

Perhaps, most importantly, teaching them the rules of the game. As I said earlier, how to choose the right career, how to apply for the right job, how to impress in the professional world.

Because I’ve never met a single young person who wants to end up unqualified and under-employed – and yet one young person not in education, employment or training, wasting their abilities and aspirations, is one too many.

So if we’re going to get careers advice right, if we’re going to harness the talent of the next generation and help young people make sensible choices about their future education and employment, we all need to raise our game.

Over the coming months, I want to see the Careers and Enterprise Company go from strength to strength, spreading what works to all schools and colleges, filling gaps and making it much, much easier for schools, employers, and careers and enterprise providers to connect.

Putting the experts in the classrooms, the people that understand business, and careers opportunities in the local area and beyond.

In turn, I want to see all of those companies who have said time and time again that school leavers don’t have the right skills for the workplace step up and help to solve that problem.

Of course, some companies are thinking about this already, but many more can consider offering work experience placements, sending staff into schools, mentoring pupils – there are so many ways to help bridge the gap between education and employment.

I’ll leave you now to hear more from Claudia (Harris, CEO of the Careers and Enterprise company) on the Enterprise Adviser programme, but before I do, I want to thank all of you for all of your work so far. I’m confident I’ll soon be hearing great things and glowing reports as schools and pupils start to benefit from this new service.

Thank you.

Gordon Brown – 2007 European Council Statement


Below is the text of a statement made by Gordon Brown, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the House of Commons on December 17th 2007.

With permission Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement about the European Council held in Brussels on 14 December, which focused on two major concerns:

1 – The reforms Europe must make to meet and master the global challenges we face – for competitiveness, employment, secure energy, climate change;

2 – And issues of security – in particular Kosovo, Iran and Burma – that we must confront together.

I start with the most immediate concern facing the summit: the best way to bring about a satisfactory resolution to the status of Kosovo.

Kosovo is the last remaining unresolved issue from the violent break up of the former Yugoslavia. And in light of the recent failure by the parties in the Troika process to find a negotiated way forward, the European Council accepted its responsibility for joint European action and agreed the importance of moving urgently towards a settlement.

It is to the credit of all parties in the dispute that even when faced with conflicting positions the region remains at peace. And, as the European Council conclusions noted, it is essential that this commitment to peace is maintained.

The principles of our approach are: first, that Europe take seriously its special responsibility for the stability and security of the Balkans region. Indeed it is thanks to the sustained efforts of NATO troops and the diplomacy of the United Nations and the European Union that a safe and secure environment has been maintained.

But, second, we were agreed that the status quo is unsustainable and that we needed to move forward towards a settlement that ensures what we called a ‘stable, democratic, multi-ethnic Kosovo committed to the rule of law, and to the protection of minorities and of cultural and religious heritage’.

And third, after a detailed discussion at the Council, we were also wholly united in agreeing that European engagement should move to a new level. We agreed in principle and stated our readiness to deploy an ESDP policing and rule of law mission to Kosovo. This will consist of a multinational mission of around 1,800 policemen and judicial officials. I can confirm that the UK will contribute around 80 of these, including its deputy head, Roy Reeve. European Foreign Ministers will confirm the detailed arrangements for this mission shortly.

Fourth, we also reaffirmed that a stable and prosperous Serbia fully integrated into Europe is important for the stability of the region. The Council encouraged Serbia to meet the necessary conditions to allow signature of its Stabilisation and Association Agreement and expressed our confidence that Serbia has the capacity to make rapid progress subsequently towards candidate status.

Indeed, the conclusions of the meeting of European Foreign Ministers last week reiterated the European Union’s support for enlargement more generally – and we also look forward to recognising the progress made by both Croatia and Turkey at this week’s Accession Conference in Brussels.

The UN Security Council will discuss the issue of Kosovo with representatives from both Belgrade and Pristina on 19th December, with the aim of giving Russia an opportunity to accept a consensus on the way forward. If this proves impossible, we – Britain – have always been clear that the Comprehensive Proposal put forward by the UN Special Envoy, Martti Ahtisaari – based around the concept of supervised independence for Kosovo – represents the best way forward.

And while we are rightly focused on the immediate priority of bringing the status process through to completion in an orderly and managed way, the European Council agreed that it is also important that we address the longer-term challenge of ensuring Kosovo’s future economic and political viability. I welcome the commitment made by the European Union to assist Kosovo’s economic and political development and planning is now underway for a Donors Conference to follow shortly after a status settlement.

The Council also discussed Iran and there was agreement on a united European approach. Here again, the power we wield working with all the EU is greater than if we acted on our own.

As I have made clear repeatedly, Iran remains in breach of its international obligations. In September foreign ministers from the E3 plus 3 agreed that unless there were positive outcomes from Javier Solana and the IAEA’s discussions with Iran, we would seek tougher sanctions at the UN. The latest E3 plus 3 assessment is that sufficient progress has not been made.

The European Council conclusions call on Iran to provide full, clear and credible answers to the IAEA, and to resolve all questions concerning their nuclear activities. The European Council reiterated its support for a new UN resolution as soon as possible. In addition we agreed to decide on new measures that the EU itself might take to help resolve this situation at the January meeting of Foreign Ministers. These should complement UN measures or substitute for them if the Security Council cannot reach agreement.

Iran has a choice – confrontation with the international community leading to a tightening of sanctions or, if it changes its approach, a transformed relationship with the world from which all would benefit.

As set out in the Council’s conclusions, the EU also reaffirmed its deep concern about the unacceptable situation in Burma, and makes clear that if there is no change in the Burmese regime’s approach to political negotiations and basic political freedoms, we stand ready to review, amend and – if necessary – further reinforce restrictive measures against the Burmese Government. The Council also reaffirmed the important role of China, India and the Association of South-East Asian Nations in actively supporting the UN’s efforts to establish an inclusive political process leading to genuine national reconciliation.

For our part we believe that the forthcoming visit of the UN envoy – Professor Gambari – is critical. It is essential that the Burmese government meets the demands set out in the UN Security Council statement of 11th October to:

Release all political prisoners; Create the conditions for political dialogue, including relaxation of restrictions on Aung San Suu Kyi; Allow full co-operation with Professor Gambari; Address human rights concerns; And begin a genuine and inclusive process of dialogue and national reconciliation with the opposition.

In particular, the regime should respond to the constructive statement of Aung San Suu Kyi of 8 November and open a “meaningful and timebound dialogue” with the opposition and the country’s ethnic groups.

The Council also agreed that a key part of the EU’s external agenda is how we can – by working together – maximise our influence in tackling global poverty. The Council agreed that the European Commission should report by April next year – half way to 2015 – on how the EU is meeting its commitments to the Millennium Development Goals, and how we can accelerate our progress.

In addition to these issues of international security and development, the Council conclusions and the special declaration on globalisation also sets out the challenges that the EU must now address on globalisation:

First, we agreed to maintain our focus on economic reform, with a renewed focus on modernising the single market so it enhances the EU’s ability to compete in the global economy. We must have full implementation of the services directive by 2009 and we must continue to work towards further liberalisation in the energy, post and telecoms markets — where market opening could generate between 75 and 95 billion euros of potential extra economic benefits and create up to 360,000 new jobs. Investment in research, innovation and education – and removing barriers to enterprise – are also essential.

Second, we confirmed our commitment to free trade and openness. The priority is securing a successful outcome to the Doha trade round, which would deliver gains to the global economy approaching 200 billion dollars by 2015, equivalent to 0.6 per cent of global income and bringing significant benefits to rich and poor countries alike. We will also promote better EU-US trade links.

Third, we agreed to do more to develop mechanisms for co-operation within the EU and with countries across the world to tackle security challenges like terrorism, illegal immigration and organised crime. We renewed our commitment to the EU Counter terrorism strategy and to cooperate on counter-radicalisation work.

Fourth, we will work together to deliver our commitments to tackle climate change – including the target of reducing emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, or 30 per cent as part of an international agreement. And building on the significant progress made last week in Bali – an agreement which the Environment Secretary will report to this House upon tomorrow – we must help negotiate an ambitious post-2012 international climate change agreement. And Europe must also now step up funding, including through the World Bank, to help the developing world shift to lower carbon growth and adapt to climate change.

Mr Speaker, it was agreed at the last Council meeting that the Presidency would bring forward a proposal for a new Reflection Group. This was announced in October. At this later meeting the Council invited Mr Felipe González Márquez, assisted by two Vice-Chairs, Mrs Vaira Vike-Freiberga and Mr Jorma Ollila, Chairman of Shell and Nokia, to – and I quote – ‘identify the key issues and developments which the Union is likely to face in 2020 or 2030 and to analyse how these might be addressed’.

The remit specifically states that ‘it shall not discuss institutional matters. Nor should its analysis constitute a review of current policies or address the Union’s next financial framework’. It will report back to the Council, who will decide how to follow its recommendations.

Mr Speaker, I can tell the House also that today we are publishing the EU Amendment bill which contains the institutional changes to accomodate a Europe of 27 members and will include the safeguards we have negotiated to protect the British national interest:

– The legally binding protocol which ensures that nothing in the Charter of Fundamental Rights challenges or undermines the rights already set out in UK law – and that nothing in the Charter extends the ability of any court, European or national, to strike down UK law; – Legally binding protocols which prescribe in detail our sovereign right to opt-in on individual justice and home affairs measures where we consider it in the British interest to do so, but alternatively to remain outside if that is in our interests; – A declaration that expressly states that nothing in the new Treaty affects the existing powers of Member States to formulate and conduct their foreign policy and that the basis of foreign and security policy will remain intergovernmental, a matter for governments to decide on the basis of unanimity; -And an effective veto power on any proposals for important changes on social security so that when we – Britain – determine that any proposal would impact on an important aspect of our social security system – including its scope, cost or financial structure – we can insist on taking any proposal to the European Council under unanimity.

With the publication of the Bill that legislates for the amendments to the European Communities Act, Parliament will now have the opportunity to debate this amending treaty in detail and decide whether to implement it.

We will ensure sufficient time for debate on the floor of the House so that the Bill is examined in the fullest of detail and all points of view can be heard.

This will give the House the full opportunity to consider this treaty, and the deal secured for the UK, before ratification.

In addition, I can tell the House that we have built into the legislation further safeguards to ensure proper Parliamentary oversight and accountability.

To ensure that no government can agree without Parliament’s approval to any change in European rules that could, in any way, alter the constitutional balance of power between Britain and the European Union, there is a provision in the bill that any proposal to activate the mechanisms in the treaty which provide for further moves to qualified majority voting – but which require unanimity – the so-called “passerelles” – will have to be subject to a prior vote by the House.

In the event of a negative vote, the Government would refuse to allow the use of the passerelle.

The Bill also includes a statutory obligation that any future EU amending treaty – including one which provided for any increase in the EU’s competence – would have to be ratified through an Act of Parliament —- so Parliament would have absolute security that no future change could be made against their wishes.

I said in October that I would oppose any further institutional change in the relationship between the EU and its member states, not just for this Parliament but for the next. I stand by that commitment.

And this is now also the settled consensus of the EU.

All 27 member states agreed at the Council – and this was expressly set out in the conclusions – that this amending treaty provides the Union with a stable and lasting institutional framework and that it completes the process of institutional reform for the foreseeable future.

The conclusions of the Council state specifically that the amending treaty ‘provides the Union with a stable and lasting institutional framework. We expect no change in the foreseeable future’

Finally, let me conclude with the discussion on the most immediate of economic issues discussed — concerns about the economic consequences of the global financial turbulence that started in America in August.

The Government’s first priority in the coming weeks is to ensure the stability of the economy and to have the strength to take the difficult long term decisions necessary.

And the Council agreed that the whole of the EU must now turn its attention to both the immediate measures necessary and the long term strengthening of international capacity to secure greater financial stability.

The announcement earlier this week by Central Banks in the major financial centres that they will provide liquidity to ease tension in the financial markets must now be built upon.

As we agreed, supervisory authorities in different countries need to co-operate effectively across borders in exchanging information and in the management of crises and contagion.

The European Council conclusions emphasised that macroeconomic fundamentals in the EU are strong and that sustained economic growth is expected. But we concluded that continued monitoring of financial markets and the economy is crucial, as uncertainties remain. The Council underlined the importance of work being taken forward both within the EU and with our international partners to:

Improve transparency for investors, markets and regulators; Improve valuation standards; Improve the prudential framework, risk management and supervision in the financial sector; As well as review the functioning of markets, including the role of credit rating agencies.

The European Council will discuss these issues at its Spring 2008 meeting on the basis of a progress report by the Finance Ministers Council and by consideration of the Financial Stability Forum’s work to date. As agreed by Chancellor Merkel, President Sarkozy and myself in October, the progress report should examine whether regulatory or other action is necessary. And I have invited Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy to London so that we can discuss the proposals in the paper we agreed and issued a few weeks ago.

Measures important to strengthening the international community’s role in addressing financial turbulence across the world —- showing the importance we attach to taking the tough long terms decisions to ensure in testing times the stability of the economy.

Mr Speaker, the conclusions of the Council state specifically that in the institutional framework we expect no change ‘for the foreseeable future’.

The protections that have been agreed in the amending treaty defend the British national interest. In the Bill introduced today we are legislating for new protections and new procedures to lock in our protection of these interests.

Europe is now moving to a new agenda – one that focuses on the changes needed to meet the challenges of the global era.

And I commend this statement to the House.

Gordon Brown – 2004 Mansion House Speech


Below is the text of the speech made by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, at the Mansion House in London on 16th June 2004.

My Lord Mayor, Mr Governor, My Lords, Aldermen, Mr Recorder, Sheriffs, Ladies and Gentlemen.

In thanking you for your invitation let me start My Lord Mayor by thanking you for the work you and your staff do not just here in the City of London but round the world in promoting the City and Britain. And let me at the outset pay tribute to all the companies and institutions represented here today.

Let me thank you first for the scale of the contribution you make to the British economy – the £50 billion of income, 4 per cent of national output, and the 1 million jobs that arise.  And let me thank you also for the resilience, the innovative flair and the courage to change with which you have responded to not just the world economic downturn but to the greatest economic challenge of our times – the challenge of global competition.

When last year, as we made our euro assessment, we conducted a detailed and in depth review of the British economy, we were able to conclude that because you, here in the City, had been prepared to change and adapt, to innovate and invest in the future, to embrace technological change like automated trading not as a threat but as an opportunity, and to acquire – from all over the world – the skills financial services need, London’s already considerable and historic advantages and assets – our stability, our global reach, our reputation for integrity, our willingness to be flexible – had been so enhanced for the new global era that, even in the face of a pre-eminent American economy and an integrated euro area, London has today

– a greater number of foreign bank branches and subsidiaries than any other city in the world;

– the largest share of global cross border bank lending;

– with the London Stock Exchange, the largest trading centre for foreign equities in the world;

– and the foreign exchange market, the largest and most important in the world.

And it is a visible demonstration of London’s global reach and position – and now, in recent years, the modern links being forged not just with the USA, Japan and the euro area but with China, India, South Africa and other countries round the world – that I am told that there are more countries represented this evening than at any time in the 120 year history of the Lord Mayor’s Banquet. And I welcome all of you here from every continent and every corner of the globe.

Your presence tonight demonstrates that the City of London – and our financial services industry – has learnt faster, more intensively and more successfully than others the significance of globalisation :

– that you succeed best not by sheltering your share of a small protected national market but by striving for a greater and greater share of the growing global market;

– and that stability, adaptability, innovation and openness to new ideas and to global trading opportunities – great British assets and advantages – matter even more today than ever.

– and what you have achieved for the financial services sector, we as a country now aspire to achieve for the whole of the British economy.

And this is my theme this evening.  That the nations that will succeed in this fast changing, fiercely competitive global economy will be those that:

– first of all, lock in long term stability;

– second, encourage a competitive environment and the deepest and widest entrepreneurial culture;

– third, make the commitment to invest in what offers comparative advantage as global economic and technological change restructures where and what we produce – world class levels of innovation, technology, education, skills and, as you My Lord Mayor have mentioned,  infrastructure;

– and fourth, have the strength to take the hard long term decisions in favour of free trade and outward looking internationalism.

And I believe that if we have the strength to take the right decisions for the long term Great Britain stands better placed than almost any comparable industrial country to be one of the great success stories of this new global age.

Why?  Because I believe that if we build on qualities and values that have made us great in the past – our British enterprise, British creativity, the British openness to the world, the British adaptability to new ideas and our strong British sense of fair play and civic duty – and if around these great enduring qualities we can develop a shared British economic purpose about our future destiny as a country, then I foresee a new era of economic success for a global Britain.

Now Sir Winston Churchill – who we remember particularly in this month, the sixtieth anniversary of D-Day – spoke pointedly on the qualifications needed for a politician: “The ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.”   But in another remarkable phrase he warned his contemporaries that they must never be, as he put it: “Resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity and all powerful for impotence”.

And it is indeed the need for resolution, solidity, an unwavering commitment to British values facing the challenges of the global economy, and the strength to take the long-term decisions, that is central to my message this evening.


First, Britain will succeed amidst this ever more intensive global competition only by locking in the monetary and fiscal stability that we have been enjoying.

And I can tell you that we have not taken the tough decisions on stability from 1997 onwards to lower our guard or relax our discipline now.

Let us remind each other of Britain’s chronic history of stop-go – under-investment, short-termism, insecurity and higher unemployment:

– an instability that meant businesses would not invest;

– people would not start up businesses;

– both families and businesses could not and did not plan for the long term;

– everyone expected inflation to recur; and

– short-termism was dominant.

Indeed, stop go had entered our psychology.

And when we came into government in 1997 it would have been easier not to have taken the decisions to raise interest rates. I would have avoided difficulties in my own Party if I had ignored the case for independence of the Bank of England. It would have been far more comfortable politically not to have frozen public expenditure or introduced tough new fiscal rules. But I believe that the test of our capacity to govern is whether we have the strength to take the right long term decisions for our country.

And it was our resolve that facing more intense global competition than ever – where investments will move to the countries that can demonstrate a long standing commitment to and record of monetary and fiscal stability – Britain had to have a new monetary and fiscal regime.  And so the changes we made were not just making the Bank of England independent but:

– cutting the national debt dramatically;

– imposing tough new fiscal rules over the economic cycle which allowed us to invest through a world recession;

– and introducing a symmetrical inflation target that targeted deflation as much as inflation.

And so let me thank the new Governor – Mervyn King – first for the work he did establishing the new regime as Deputy Governor and now for the contribution he has already made as Governor, showing why he is a worthy successor to Sir Edward George.

I know the Governor will agree that it is because we have developed a British model for monetary and fiscal stability – which allowed the Bank to cut interest rates aggressively during the world downturn and allows the Bank to act proactively and pre-emptively in the upturn too – that while the USA, Germany, Italy and Japan suffered recessions, Britain for the first time in 50 years did not suffer a recession during the world downturn and instead has grown in quarter after quarter, year after year.

And I can report to you that now the world economy is strengthening, growth in Britain is also becoming more balanced with business investment, manufacturing output and exports rising now – and expected to continue to rise this year and next.

Such is our determination to lock in our hard won stability that looking forward we can, and will, take nothing for granted.

With financial markets expecting interest rates to rise around the world as the world economy turns upwards and looks forward to rising growth and trade, we will continue to support our monetary authorities in the difficult choices they have to make and entrench not relax our fiscal discipline.

And we will be vigilant to global risks: geopolitical uncertainties, current account imbalances, the long term fiscal pressures of ageing, and specifically three challenges – oil prices, house prices and the need for continued fiscal discipline.

First oil: while the OPEC decision to raise production targets in July and August is welcome, I can tell you tonight that I and other Finance Ministers will continue to press OPEC both on meeting these quotas and on the case for raising the targets higher.  And because a secure production environment is crucial for stable oil prices in the long term, we will support Mr Rato – the new Managing Director of the IMF – in his proposal for a modern and up to date approach to global energy policy.

Let us recall that most stop go problems that Britain has suffered in the last fifty years have been led or influenced by the housing market. 40 years ago we built 400,000 homes a year, by the mid 1990s it had fallen to just 200,000 so we will press ahead with resolution – following the Miles and Barker reports and building on the success of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Sustainable Communities Plan – to tackle the large and unacceptable imbalance between supply and demand in the British housing market.  Reforms that, as we said last year, are right in themselves but are also necessary for sustainable and durable convergence with the euro area.  And on the euro, the Treasury will again review progress at Budget time next year.

And while debt servicing costs are on average substantially lower than ten years ago, the housing market has remained strong. And with Britain’s forward looking and pre-emptive approach to monetary policy we are showing our determination to maintain both a sustained economic recovery and stability, remaining vigilant at all times.

Let us recall also that at times like this in the political and economic cycle – as the economy starts to grow faster – governments have relaxed their fiscal disciplines and resorted to quick fixes and short cuts in fiscal policy and gone on to raise the rate of spending in a pre election spree. But the spending review I will announce in the next few weeks will both meet all our commitments and all our fiscal rules.  And because our duty is to achieve fiscal sustainability over the longer term we will not make the mistake of other countries whose pension and health care costs could rise to 20 to 25 per cent of national income in future decades. And I can tell you that i am determined to ensure that we can lock in greater stability not just for a year, or for an economic cycle, but in this generation —– a prize of greater stability that has eluded successive governments of all parties in the post war era; a prize that – with resolve and prudence – is now within our grasp.


British success in the global era depends on us not just building a consensus around the importance of long term stability but building a similar shared purpose about the importance of flexibility and enterprise – historic British qualities, now more relevant than ever for success in the global age.

We all know about the rise of China:

– over recent years contributing more to the growth of the world economy than all the G7 countries put together;

– consuming, for example, half the worlds cement, over a quarter of the world’s steel and a third of the world’s iron ore;

– the largest market for mobile phones in the world, and one of the fastest growing car markets too, with more Volkswagens sold in China than Germany.

We all know about the rise of Asia: whose economy, without Japan, has been growing at twice the rate of America and seven times the rate of the euro area; and to whom 5 million European and US jobs could be outsourced in the next fifteen years.

And we all know about the rise of developing countries: the vast majority of whose exports twenty years ago were primary products but which are now two thirds manufacturing goods with, in twenty years time, developing countries perhaps accounting for 50 per cent of all manufacturing exports worldwide.

And I think we can now say with some certainty that the advanced industrial countries that will do well will be those that are able to combine the skills of their people in design, science, technology, finance and management – and modern manufacturing strength – with the production advantages available in emerging economies.

Think back again to the 1960s and 70s when the old corporatism stifled enterprise and creativity — what we called:

– ‘the productivity problem’;

– ‘the management problem’;

– ‘the union problem’;

– ‘the short termism problem’;

– the ‘what’s wrong with Britain problem’.

So deep rooted was the British problem – sometimes called the British disease – that as they said at the time:

– first in the fifties we had managed decline;

– then in the sixties we mismanaged decline;

– then in the seventies we declined to manage.

Corporatism led not just to inflationary pay settlements but to mistakes made by governments trying to pick winners and to subsidise loss making industries and to sterile confrontations between union and management as between private sector and public sector, between market and state, with little shared economic purpose on the way forward.

And it is only recently that we are seeing a new Britain rising in its place.  Our task – and here I acknowledge the work of my predecessors – is to complete that break with the sterile self defeating corporatism that belongs in the past – hence the last Budget’s decision to end permanent on going industrial subsidies in steel, coal and shipbuilding – and develop a far a wider deeper entrepreneurial culture where enterprise opportunities are genuinely open to all.

So same way that we made the Bank of England independent of government we made our competition authorities independent of government and created one of the most open competition regimes in the world.  And although not quite as public a symbol as the Bank of England independence – but unique in terms of labour’s history none the less – we have cut capital gains tax substantially. Even with other priorities to finance – not least the NHS  – we have cut capital gains tax from 40 pence down to 10 pence for long term business assets and in budget after budget I want us to do even more to encourage the risk takers, those with ambition, to turn their ideas into reality and make the most of their talents.

And just as public services reform in health, education, transport and the criminal justice system will be stepped up, so too I can tell you that we will propose further economic reform and in particular greater flexibility to make us globally competitive.

Take the planning system where I can tell you that we will make our planning laws quicker, more flexible and more responsive to the needs of industry and people.

On pay: we will do more to encourage local and regional pay flexibility

On tax: having cut corporation tax from 33 pence to 30 pence and small business tax from 23 pence to 19 pence, I promise we will continue to look with you at the business tax regime so that we make and keep the UK as the most competitive place for international business.

On transport not least here in London: we must work with you – private and public sectors together – to tackle the massive backlog in infrastructure investment.  And with £180 billion of investment over ten years we will.

And on regulation:  I have announced measures – both for the City and beyond – to tackle unnecessary and wasteful bureaucracy and red tape:

– all new FSA rules subject to scrutiny by our competition authorities;

– the Office of Fair Trading now specifically examining the impact of the financial sector regulatory framework on competition;

– and because 40 per cent of new regulation – and as much as three quarters of new financial sector regulation – comes from Europe I can tell this gathering that having won the battle for a Savings Directive against tax harmonisation, Britain has, having consulted widely with you, already insisted on improvements to the Prospectus Directive, the Transparency Directive, the Market Abuse Directive, the Occupational Pensions Directive and the Investment Services Directive – and we will continue to resist inflexible barriers being added into the Working Time Directive and the Agency Workers Directive.

And now that the UK Government has agreed with Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg to put regulatory reform at the heart of our four EU Presidencies through to 2005, putting every costly and wasteful regulation to a competitiveness test, we must ensure that if other countries fail to implement EU Directives we will not be discriminated against and there will be a level playing field.


British inventiveness is not just a feature of our industrial revolution past.  I am proud to say that today we lead the world not only in so many areas of financial services but in technologically advanced spheres from aerospace and pharmaceuticals to telecommunications, broadcast technologies and digital electronics.

And while it would always be easier to take the short term route – and fail to continue to make the necessary investments for the future – we propose to take the longer term view and to choose – even amidst other spending priorities – innovation, science and technology, education and infrastructure.  And I can tell you today that in the spending review we have not only financed higher standards in schools and the development of world class universities but we will move forward our ten year transport plan and set out a long term ten year framework for innovation, seeking a partnership with the private sector to do more as we set ourselves an ambitious target of increasing UK R and D investment.

So instead of stop go, Britain is now a stable economy.  Instead of instability and corporatism, Britain is embarking on an enterprise renaissance and demonstrating a commitment to science and a new determination to raise standards in education and training.

But just as we have forged a consensus on stability and on enterprise, science and skills, so too I believe we can forge a consensus on the issue of Britain’s place in the world – and particularly on our relationship with Europe.

Global Britain

As I said at the outset a commitment to stability and world class levels of skill, innovation, enterprise and investment must be matched in the global economy by the same commitment the City has shown  – to being outward looking and global in our reach.

That is why I can assure you of our determination to achieve a successful outcome of the Doha Round in the world trade talks and we will also make the case for our membership of the European Union for the advantages it brings to Britain – and for being a leader in the enlarged Europe, the biggest single market in the world.

Let us not forget the significance of enlargement.

It brings to an end half a century of division between east and west — once it was said that Europe was divided into two halves – those in the west who had Europe and those in the east who believed in it.

The idea of the European Union was that with economic cooperation a new prosperity would reinforce that peace.

It was not just an attempt – to use the words of the Bible – to ‘turn swords into ploughshares’ but to ensure there would be no need for swords ever again: although, with the Common Agricultural Policy, we ended up with rather more ploughshares than we might have wanted.

So European economic cooperation is vital to our prosperity and let us not forget that 750,000 companies trade with Europe accounting for 3 million British jobs.  53 per cent of our total imports of goods and services are from Europe. 50 per cent of our total exports of goods and services go to Europe.  And 65 per cent of our investment overseas now goes to Europe.

We are linked to Europe by geography, history and economics

A Europe of self-governing states working together for common purposes is in Britain’s interests.

And at a time when a significant section of political opinion appears to be making the case against Britain’s very membership of the EU, I say that we must, and will, make the positive case for Britain in Europe.

And I believe that the best contribution pro-Europeans committed to Britain leading in Europe can make to the cause of Europe is by ensuring that in Europe – indeed in every debate including the constitutional debate – we face up to rather than duck the difficult decisions about economic reform.

For just as Britain has to reform to meet the challenges of the new global economy, so must Europe.

Thirty, twenty, ten years ago it was commonplace to think of Europe as a trade bloc and of the growth of European companies, European brands and European flows of capital – and then to debate the internal rules, disciplines and institutions necessary to make the trade bloc work.  Hence the assumptions of many that a single market and single currency would lead to tax harmonisation and a federal fiscal policy and then a quasi-federal state.

But globalisation has meant that it is not simply European but global companies that have mushroomed, not mainly European brands but global brands, not European flows of capital alone but global flows of capital – and because it is globalisation that is driving our economies, the new enlarged Europe of 25 must look outwards not inwards, must think globally, reform, be flexible and rise to meet the competitive challenge of globalisation.  And it is global Europe not trade bloc Europe that is the way forward and a flexible, reforming Europe that thinks globally must now reject the old, fatally flawed assumptions of tax harmonisation and federalism.

First, facing worldwide competition, this new global Europe has no alternative but to embrace flexibility and liberalisation in product and capital markets: the opening up of electricity, utilities, telecommunications and financial services markets must proceed with speed; we need a new competition policy that ensures the single market delivers the lower prices and greater productivity of the US single market; and we should abolish wasteful state aids and promote both a European wide venture-capital industry and Private Finance Initiatives across the continent.

Second, with more than 18 million Europeans out of work, a globally orientated Europe must combine a new labour market flexibility with policies that equip people with the skills they need for work.   And third, Europe must think globally and because half of the world’s output arises in Europe and America, forge a new relationship with the USA – seeing America as a partner not rival.  It is not just in Britain’s but in Europe’s interest that the EU and USA make a greater effort to tackle the barriers to a fully open trading and investment relationship, strengthen joint arrangements to tackle competition issues, engage in dialogue about the approach to financial services regulation and together make multilateralism work for developing countries.

And Europe must also think globally and ensure that its monetary regime – the ECB and fiscal regime – the Stability and Growth Pact – enables it to deliver strong and sustainable growth.   That is why the Stability and Growth Pact must place greater emphasis on the importance of low and stable debt levels, and take into account both the ups and downs of the economic cycle and the quality of public finances including the importance of public investment.  And as we evolve the Stability and Growth Pact to meet changing European needs, it is through intergovernmental co-operation that fiscal policy delivers its most effective results.  And the British government will continue to stress that when member states are themselves answerable to their citizens for tax and spending decisions, it is right that the conduct of fiscal policy remains the responsibility of Member States.

That is why Europe must avoid endorsing a federal–style fiscal policy which would make the Commission and not Member States responsible for fiscal discipline. That is why while tackling unfair tax competition Europe must avoid the tax harmonisation that would damage our competitive position. And that is why also in the coming financial negotiations also Europe must show the resolution to keep its budget prudent and continue to tackle the waste of the CAP.

So the new constitutional treaty which is being debated in Brussels tomorrow must recognise these new economic realities.

What are called our red lines – that include economic red lines requiring unanimity on tax decisions and no federal fiscal policy – are not founded on dogma as some allege but on a concrete assessment of Britain’s national interest and Britain and Europe’s economic needs as we meet the challenges of the global economy.

So Mr Lord Mayor here in 2004 we can speak of a Britain that is no longer the country of stop go but a Britain of stability.

A Britain that has set aside the old corporatism and is a Britain of flexibility and enterprise.

A Britain no longer looking backwards, its mindset one of managed decline, but a Britain rising in confidence as it equips itself technologically and educationally for the future.

And as a Britain no longer looking inwards but a Britain true to its tradition of global engagement, we can find a new confidence as a nation — our outward looking internationalism making us uniquely placed to be a part of – and lead – in a Europe that is itself engaged with the rest of the world

A strong Britain in a strong Europe – strong to succeed.

Our shared aim: a confident Great Britain that is a great success story of global economy.

Gordon Brown – 2002 Speech to the TGWU Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Gordon Brown, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, to the TGWU Conference on 28th March 2002.


It is a pleasure to be in Yorkshire today to address this conference on manufacturing and to praise the TGWU for their role in organising this event highlighting the importance of manufacturing for us.

The importance you attach to jobs, good jobs, lasting jobs and highly skilled jobs that pay, is right at the heart of our full employment agenda for this region and for this country.

And building what I call “modern manufacturing strength” plays a vital part.

Manufacturing has been, and remains, critical to the success of the British economy – employing 4 million people and accounting for 20 per cent of our national income.

Let no one think that manufacturing is a sector of the past, to be praised for its historic role but somehow not relevant to the future: the issue for manufacturing — as a hugely important source of innovation in our economy, accounting for 60 per cent of our exports and vital to our regions — is to build modern manufacturing strength.

Here in Yorkshire and Humberside manufacturing accounts for 375,000 jobs – and generates over one pound in every four of the region’s annual wealth.

This morning I met one of Yorkshire’s most successful women entrepreneurs in high tech manufacturing…beating competitors in Britain and soon, I hope, abroad. Her business in Wakefield, which I visited today, is responsible for pioneering a new and innovative windows system which opens by touch – helping the disabled and elderly.

But we know the challenges we face.

Take last year.

The fastest growing and most dynamic sector of manufacturing – electronics and engineering – saw a 29 per cent decline in the output of computers, a 45 per cent cut in the output of semi conductors and a 54 per cent fall in the production of telephony equipment.

And we recognise the problems the weak euro has caused manufacturers exporting to the euro area.

But let us remember that there are many success stories in Britain’s manufacturing industry:

– last year manufacturing output in chemicals, food, drink and tobacco did not fall but rose;

– and on average productivity growth in manufacturing has outstripped productivity growth in the rest of the economy;

– even after the world slowdown in ICT demand and production last year, output of computers in the UK was still over four times higher than ten years ago;

– since 1970, output of the ‘high-tech’ electrical and optical equipment industries has more than trebled and output of chemicals has increased almost 140 per cent.

And there are many successful manufacturing businesses in Britain – world beating firms from aerospace and pharmaceuticals to motor vehicles and general engineering:

– our high tech expertise in steel engineering is exported to 170 countries around the world. Engineers at Sheffield Forgemasters have built and exported 280 tonnes of castings to the US, china and the Middle East;

– we are home to two of the most productive car plants in Europe attracting foreign investment of over £400 million in the last two years, creating and safeguarding thousands of jobs;

– and our pharmaceutical industry contributes 2.5 billion pounds to GDP and 60,000 jobs in Britain.

High skilled, high tech manufacturing is what Britain does best.  We are world leaders in electronics design, photonics, mobile network and broadcast technologies.

Yes, manufacturing is facing new challenges, but I can assure you that, as a government, we will help people, be on their side to cope with change.

I know that what manufacturers and manufacturing workers fear most is a return to the old boom and bust – they saw what happened in the eighties and early nineties when boom and bust cost Britain 3 million manufacturing jobs.

So stability is the essential pre-condition.

That is why since 1997 we have rejected short-termist free for alls – the take-what-you-can irresponsibility – and have put faith in our values of economic responsibility, building from solid foundations and looking to the long term.

With Bank of England independence, tough decisions on inflation, new fiscal rules, and hard public spending controls, we today in our country have economic stability not boom and bust, the lowest inflation in Europe, and long term interest rates – essential for businesses planning to borrow and invest – lower than for thirty five years.

So while many have claimed Britain was worst placed of any to withstand the global slowdown, the OECD and IMF have both shown that Britain last year had the highest growth of any of the G7 countries.

So nothing we do will put at risk the fundamental stability on which manufacturing depends.

There will be no return to the short-term lurches in policy that would put long-term stability at risk.

No relaxing our fiscal disciplines as some would like.

And there will be no change but consistency in our European policy – in principle in favour of the euro, in practice the five tests that have to be met.

The challenge

The challenge now for Britain – for manufacturing and across the economy – and for the Budget – is both to maintain our hard won stability and to accelerate the productivity improvements that will increase output, jobs and wealth.

That is why there will be no let-up in the drive that management and unions are all engaged in – with more competition not less, more innovation not less, more investment not less, and more not less small business development – to make Britain the most enterprising, productive and therefore prosperous economy over the next decade.

And our European policy is also designed to help manufacturing – opening up markets for British companies through economic reform.

We know that recovery in world trade will help manufacturing, but because modern manufacturing is about creating new ideas, new science and new technologies, developing new processes and new products, the vital factor in the future success of modern manufacturing will be our ability to harness technological change and develop a knowledge driven economy.

So I propose to go further to tackle four key drivers of productivity in manufacturing, and in the economy generally:

– innovation;

– investment;

– skills; and

– measures to help small business.


80 per cent of research and development activity in the UK is done by manufacturers.

To encourage modern manufacturing strength we will help British business and particularly manufacturers to invest in technologies of the future.  This week I announced a boost to innovation with a new research and development tax credit for large firms, following the introduction of the R&D tax credit for small firms – matching the best in the world.

To develop research partnerships between universities and business the Department of Trade and Industry is establishing university innovation centres.


Manufacturing contributes 15 per cent of business investment in the UK, but to generate greater growth and productivity we must boost investment further.

To encourage new investment by small business we have made capital allowances a permanent feature of the tax system – with 40 per cent capital allowances for investment in plant and machinery and, to encourage small and medium sized enterprises to move to the newest it systems, offering 100 per cent first year allowances for ICT expenditure.

Getting the venture capital funds for expansion can sometimes be difficult too.

So to encourage investment in the regions we are for the first time forming in every region of the country locally based venture capital funds.

The Yorkshire fund will be £25 million and we expect it to be operational and investing in local businesses in the next couple of months.


Skills are vital, not only because they are key to future levels of productivity and pay but also to our strength and security.

To encourage the new skills of the future we are backing modern apprenticeships.

In 1997 there were 75,000 modern apprenticeships, now there are 220,000 and by 2004 there will be over 320,000, with the aim that over a quarter of young people between 16 and 21 will take part in the scheme.

Many of these apprenticeships are in the manufacturing sector, with 15 per cent of advanced apprenticeships in engineering.

Because a third of the existing workforce lacks basic or level 2 qualifications and because the old voluntaristic approach has not worked, we have been investigating the joint CBI and TUC proposals for a tax credit for in-work training. And we will, from September, pilot a new approach combining direct financial support for business – especially small business  – with time off for training, under which employees, employers and government each accept their responsibilities.  Following consultation, the location and details of these pilots will be announced in the Budget.

We have also agreed with the CBI and TUC that we will encourage diffusion of best practice throughout industry. We have committed an additional £20 million to fund best practice initiatives and are establishing regional centres of manufacturing excellence in every region of our country.

The first stage of British regional policy – from the 1930s – was designed to support hard up areas with emergency measures.

The second stage – from the 1960s –  sought to encourage inward investment with new incentives.

Now we are moving to the third stage of modern regional policy – creating Regional Development Agencies where the emphasis is not just on encouraging inward investment but also on innovation and investment and building indigenous strength with freedom and flexibility for local people to make decisions based on local needs.

Small business

As over 95 per cent of manufacturing businesses are small, I want to create a competitive environment in which businesses can start up and grow.

Small businesses account for 55 per cent of all jobs – over 10 million jobs in all – and 45 per cent of the economy’s output, in total a trillion pounds of economic activity.

And small firms of today are the big firms of the future.

So I want a Britain where you can work your way up from unemployment to employment to self employment, from micro business to growing business.  A Britain where we break down the old barriers to opportunity, and where everyone has the chance to move ahead.

I want a Britain where people know what matters is not where you come from but what you do, not what you were born to but what you aspire to.

I want people with ideas and dynamism to know that if they start or grow a firm and make a profit they can not only reward themselves and their families but reinvest year on year to build a strong business.

Indeed in all areas of the country we must make it possible for people from all social backgrounds to transfer their ideas and hopes into the reality of small firm start ups and growing businesses.

And I want people in disadvantaged communities to see that the enterprise culture too often restricted to the elite is open to them – not least in high unemployment communities where prosperity for too long has passed people by.

We recognise not just the dynamism that small firms inject into our economy but also that starting a business or becoming self employed is increasingly an attractive option for graduates, women, the over 50s and those seeking new work and new challenges.

And so government has a special responsibility to remove the barriers that hold small firms back and create a level playing field in which small firms have an equal opportunity to succeed and grow.

Yet for fifty years British small business creation has been half that of the US and in our high unemployment communities one sixth of that of the more prosperous areas.

We need to do more to remove the barriers which hurt small business at each stage in their business development – and thus create the ladder of opportunity for businesses to move forward.

We need to cut the costs of starting a business, remove the barriers to hiring, training, investing, exporting and issuing equity.

Because the economy is stable and interest rates and inflation are low, there have never been better conditions in which to start a business.

And because there should be equality of opportunity for small business to enter new markets and to grow we supported the competition commission’s proposals to open up competition to make small business banking cheaper and until this happens  each small business should either see their bank charges abolished or have interest paid on their current accounts of at least 2.5 per cent less than the Bank of England base rate.

Through the tax system we are creating a more favourable environment for businesses to start and grow.

In 1997 we cut the small business tax rate from 23p to 21p. And then in 1998 we cut it again to 20p and introduced a lower rate 10p band especially for start up and growing businesses.

As I stated in the Pre-Budget Report I propose for business assets held for one year or more to cut capital gains tax to 20 per cent

And I propose to go even further for business assets held for more than two years, cutting capital gains tax to 10 per cent.

When we came to government all transactions were subject to a 40p rate.

Now three quarters of taxpayers with business assets will pay only a 10p rate, giving Britain overall a capital gains tax regime more favourable to enterprise than that of the united states.

At present each company with turnover above £54,000 has to account for VAT on each individual purchase and sale.

But because I want to cut red tape for small businesses, from next month a new flat rate and simplified scheme for payment of VAT will cut form filling for 500,000 businesses with turnovers of up to £100,000 – saving a typical small business up to £1,000 a year.  In the Budget I will consider extending this relief to more small firms and removing automatic VAT fines for companies in this category.

We will conclude our consultation on the Carter Report by making it easier and cheaper to do electronic filing of returns.

And we plan to do more for women entrepreneurs, not least with more help for starting up child care businesses.

Although we have many more businesses than in 1997, entrepreneurial activity in this country is still lower than the US.

Even more importantly, entrepreneurial activity in Britain varies markedly between areas.

In the wealthier areas of Britain, such as the South East, start-up rates – measured by VAT registrations – are as high as 45 per 10,000 people.

In Britain as a whole the rate is 39 per 10,000.

But in high unemployment areas like Yorkshire and Humberside start-up rates are as low as 30 per 10,000 people – 25 per cent below the national average – and in some towns between 21 and 27 per 10,000.

If all regions produced new businesses at the same rate as the South East, around 50,000 more small businesses would be registered a year.

So we have decided to do more to create a more favourable environment with new and special incentives in our high unemployment areas.

In the Pre-Budget Report I implemented the first stage of stamp duty relief in 2000 of our high unemployment areas – the abolition of stamp duty on all home and business property transactions up to £150,000. I intend to significantly increase or abolish this limit altogether for commercial transactions in this area.

Our ambition is to transform these high unemployment areas into 2000 enterprise neighbourhoods – and so they will also benefit from the initiatives this Government is putting in place as we champion small business:

– cutting the cost of investing with grant finance to stimulate entrepreneurial projects in the community through the Phoenix Fund;

– helping with premises and business support through the £75 million business incubation fund;

– advice worth up to £2,000 for start up through the small business service;

– providing equity investment for high growth firms through the £40 million community development venture fund;

– reduced VAT for residential conversions and capital allowances for creating flats over shops to regenerate our high streets.

And because new investment, new businesses and new jobs – not subsidies or giros – are the key to regenerating our high unemployment communities, the new community investment tax credit will cut the cost of capital and match every £100 million of private investment in the inner cities with £25 million of additional public investment – and we are publishing today the legislation for consultation.

I want to construct a ladder of opportunity, removing the barriers that prevent many from moving up the ladder rung to rung at every stage of growth: from employment or unemployment to self employment, from self employment to employing the first members of staff, and from small business to large business.

Too often for people and places that prosperity has passed by the enterprise culture is weak.

The enterprise culture will only be truly a British enterprise culture if no town, no community however depressed is left behind and if we extend its opportunities and benefits to the poorest areas of Britain where we need not more giro cheques being sent but more businesses being created.

Genuine equality of opportunity means that no matter your background or area, no matter your wealth, you should have the chance if you have talent and initiative to turn your ideas into a successful business – making Britain a more dynamic vibrant job creating wealth creating economy.

And to recognise the achievements of entrepreneurs working in our most disadvantaged areas I propose to present later this year a “Rising Star Award” as part of the Inner City 100 Campaign for the fastest growing new business created in our highest unemployment areas.


At each point we will be on the side of business, competition and wealth creation.

Our aim the most entrepreneurial economy, as we pursue our programmes for enterprise and fairness.

So the Budget in April will be a Budget for enterprise as well as for our public services.

And in each area modernisation will be the theme and the demand: modernisation of the environment supporting enterprise to achieve higher productivity and modernisation of the way we run public services to achieve better value for money.

So, as a Government, we must, and we will, press ahead with reforms to encourage new investment and higher productivity and promote enterprise.

And will continue to do more to recognise the vital contribution of modern manufacturing to exports, innovation, and our great regions.

But this calls for a modern dynamic partnership between government, trade unions, business and employees.

And the fruits of working together will be not just for some but for all – in every sector – in every region.

The test of national success judged not as the successes of a few, but how successes can be shared by the whole country.

Releasing our enduring values, the same yesterday, today and tomorrow – an opportunity and prosperity that enriches not just a few but everyone, and makes us a stronger, fairer, Britain.

This is our vision. It is our task.

Working together, this can be our achievement.