Lord Adonis – 2017 Speech on High Speed Rail

Below is the text of the speech made by Lord Adonis in the House of Lords on 31 January 2017.

My Lords, this is a huge investment and the noble Lord, Lord Framlingham, need not apologise for putting down his amendment or opening this debate. Given the views that he holds, I think he is absolutely right to require the House to come to a decision after a debate and without simply proceeding straight to a vote before such an investment is made involving an important strategic departure from our transport policy.

The noble Lord and my noble friend Lady Mallalieu made two claims: first, that this project is somehow undemocratic because it has not properly been considered by Parliament and the people; and, secondly, that I and those who followed me were somehow bewitched by trains doing what they seem to do in most of the rest of the world—that is, running at 200 miles per hour and linking up the principal cities of countries with economic geographies similar to our own. Perhaps I may deal with those two points in turn.

I was responsible for publishing the Command Paper that began the process for HS2 in March 2010. I can tell the House frankly that there was a debate inside the Government at the time as to whether we should publish the Command Paper before or after the election. I can also tell the House frankly that a key factor in that discussion was whether the route should be published before the election or after it. The route had been prepared in detail by High Speed 2 (HS2) Ltd and indeed, following all the scrutiny since 2010, it has survived with hardly any variation, except for the addition of a considerable number of tunnels.​

I was very firmly of the view—and the Prime Minister at the time, Gordon Brown, came to the same view—that it would be profoundly undemocratic to announce an intention to build such a major infrastructure project as HS2 knowing what the route would be but hiding it until after the election from the people and, in particular, from those who lived in the constituencies affected. So we published the route before the election.

All three major parties had a commitment to HS2 in their manifestos for the 2010 election. Because of the public meetings that I conducted in the 2010 election, I know that it was—how can I put it?—a very live issue in that election. I remember addressing one meeting where I said that I thought that HS2 would be on my tombstone and somebody from the back shouted out, “Not soon enough”. So there is no way that this scheme was disguised from the people in the 2010 election, and an overwhelming majority was returned supporting HS2.

That then led to exhaustive consideration by the House of Commons and a Select Committee of the House of Commons. There were thousands of petitions against the scheme and the Select Committee considered the Bill in detail for the best part of two years. When the House of Commons had considered the report of that committee, it voted by 399 votes to 42 in favour of the passage of the high-speed 2 Bill. After another general election, HS2 was in the manifestos of the major parties, and all the detail relating to it, including the detailed parliamentary consideration, could be considered by voters

It is hard to see how the noble Lord, Lord Framlingham, can sustain a charge of a lack of democracy in this process. It has been almost a model of democratic engagement: there have been two general elections; two parliamentary committees; thousands of petitions, which were considered patiently by Members of a Select Committee in both Houses; and two votes in the House of Commons—on Second Reading and Third Reading—in which the Bill passed 10 to one, with very large numbers voting.

We now come to my bewitchment. To clear up one factual error, it has been stated that at the beginning HS2 was about trains running very fast and that it became about capacity when that argument fell apart. That is completely untrue. The opening words of the 2010 Command Paper which launched HS2 are:

“the Government’s assessment is: … That over the next 20 to 30 years the UK will require a step-change in transport capacity between its largest and most productive conurbations”,

that is, London, West Midlands, the north-west, and Yorkshire. It continues that alongside such additional capacity—let me repeat those words—

“alongside such additional capacity there are real benefits for the economy and for passengers from improving journey times and hence the connectivity of the UK”.

The argument could not have been clearer. Capacity was the first and overriding consideration. But because a new railway was being built it was clearly sensible and right that Parliament authorised it to be built with 21st-century technology not 19th-century technology, the cost difference between the two not being great in any event.​

The noble Lord and my noble friend spoke as if there might be a free lunch—if we do not build HS2 we will save large sums of money. I freely confess that constructions costs are high. If someone could wave a magic wand and reduce them I would be glad to hear from them and I think the House and Parliament would be well served. The two key points in relation to the costs are these. First, if HS2 is not built then other, very expensive interventions, which will probably end up costing about the same amount of money, will be needed to systematically upgrade the west coast main line to meet the requirements of the next generation. Those upgrades will not produce anything like the capacity that could be produced by building a new railway to 21st-century specifications.

The first function I performed as Minister of State for Transport was opening the refurbished west coast main line. That line is often described as Victorian. It is in fact pre-Victorian; it was opened for the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1838. Only four miles of the line—between London and the extension north from Birmingham, built after the coronation—are straight, because it had to be built around the estates of Members of your Lordships’ House. I can assure the House that in earlier hybrid Bill Committees, noble Lords were extremely good at getting compensation for the building of the line—much greater in real terms than is available to those affected now, which is of course part of the reason that the project is controversial. They were also good at making the line take detours.

Upgrading a pre-Victorian railway is a very difficult task. It has been described to me as like performing open-heart surgery on a moving patient. It is also very expensive and complex. The completion of the last upgrade of the west coast main line, which produced only a fraction of the additional capacity that HS2 will produce, cost, in pre-2010 prices, £10 billion—in post-2010 prices that figure would be significantly higher. Of that £10 billion, £1 billion alone was for paying the railway company not to operate services at all in compensation for the disruption. For HS2, with the scale of the work that would be required, the proportionate figure would be larger still.

If an alternative scenario to HS2 were to be carried out—upgrading the existing railway—the estimate that was made for me by officials in 2010, and which has been done again since, is that you would have to spend half as much as on HS2 for a quarter of the capacity, and of course the sum is a moving target because of construction costs and inflation. The idea that this is good value for money is for the birds. It is good value for money only if the limit of our horizons for the modernisation of this country and of the transport links between our major conurbations stops in 10 or 15 years’ time. If we are doing what I regard as our job as parliamentarians—looking to the longer term—then it is very poor value for money.

I should add that the alternative scheme involved the complete rebuilding of Euston station, which will need to be done anyway. The great monstrosity that is Euston station was built for half its current capacity in the 1960s. I am glad to say, for those with a sense of history, that the Euston arch will come back when the station is rebuilt. The scheme also required hugely ​difficult and expensive work that would involve weeks on end of closures to realign tracks and signalling, extend platforms at all the main stations going north from Euston and so on. Those of your Lordships who used the west coast main line when the last work was being conducted will know that the disruption was chronic for the best part of a decade. We would be looking at something significantly worse than that if we were to seek to modernise the west coast main line on the scale required for the additional capacity.

It is not just the west coast main line that would be affected. In order to provide that 25% extra capacity, the Chiltern line would need to be substantially four-tracked throughout. I am not the most popular person when I appear in the Chilterns to explain the benefits of HS2. However, I can tell your Lordships that if you were to go the Chilterns to suggest that the existing railway be four-tracked, all of which goes above ground and which would have a significantly worse impact on the environment than HS2, I wish you luck in conducting those public meetings.

The choice that we faced was between building a new line between the major conurbations of the country to provide three times the existing capacity and the essential economic backbone for interchange between those great conurbations for the next generation, or conducting yet another patch and mend of a pre-Victorian railway at huge expense and offering a fraction of the capacity. I believe the decision that we took, which the coalition Government and now the existing Government have stood by, was exactly the right one, looking to the long term. The big mistake that has been made was the failure over the previous 40 years to adequately modernise the railways and, instead, to make do with patch-and-mend solutions that were hugely expensive and did not meet the exigencies of the case.

Let me make one final comment. My noble friend said that there were other pressing investment requirements for the railways, and she is correct. The London to Brighton mainline, which was mentioned earlier, is one among many lines that have huge capacity constraints, and I am entirely supportive—as is the National Infrastructure Commission, which I chair—of what has been called the east-west Crossrail of the north; that is, the upgrading of the lines between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Hull. But these are not choices. We can actually manage, as a country, to conduct more than one big infrastructure project at a time—most other developed countries have been managing it for the past 50 years. The idea that it should be an ambition beyond the reach of this great country that is now looking to forge a path in the world on its own as a great economy is, of course, nonsense. It is perfectly possible for us to carry through and pay for HS2 over the next 15 years, the completion of Crossrail, the next Crossrail scheme, the Crossrail of the north and other essential modernisations. What we need is proper planning, the right level of ambition and to stand by our duty to the country to see that we do not have to put up with, in the next generation, second-rate infrastructure that holds back the economy in the way that we did for too much of the post-war period. That is the issue that faces us, as a House and as Parliament. I hope that your Lordships will rise to the challenge.​

Lord Adonis – 2010 Speech on the Academies Bill

Below is the text of the speech made by Lord Adonis in the House of Lords on 21 June 2010.

I begin by paying tribute to the Church of England for the outstanding work that it does in promoting academies. As the right reverend Prelate said, the Church of England is the largest single sponsor of academies. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Liverpool and I worked closely on the ​development of academies in Liverpool and the area around, and they are making marvellous progress, extending opportunity in an area that has not had it in the past.

This is my first opportunity in the House to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Hill, on his appointment, which I do very warmly indeed. I should also say how glad I am that my noble friends Lady Royall and Lady Morgan are leading on this Bill for the Opposition. They bring a wealth of talent and experience to the task.

My noble friend Lady Morgan raised a number of policy issues about the extension of academies, which I shall leave the Minister to respond to. However, on the specific issue about the legal name that should be given to a certain category of school, I find myself in surprising agreement with the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley. She and I are survivors from the interminable debates on the Education Act 2005, on which our views did not coincide all the time, particularly on the issue of academies. But she is right that, in terms of legal category, the schools to which the Bill proposes to accord that status have all the essential characteristics of existing academies.

I know that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet but, for two reasons, I do not support this amendment on the name that it gives to a legal category of schools. First, the schools which we are talking about in this Bill are academies in all their essential legal characteristics. They are managed independently of the local authority, on a contract with the Secretary of State that regulates a whole host of their policies and funding and which will be similar to that of existing academies. My noble friend says that academies are schools largely in deprived or challenging circumstances, and she is correct, although I need to point out to the House that that is not the exclusive preserve of academies. A number of entirely new schools have been set up as academies in very mixed social areas and a number of successful schools, including successful independent schools, have come into the state system by using the legal category of academies.

The legal status is clearly set out in Section 65 of the Education Act 2002, which is cast in similar terms to Clause 1. I emphasise the fact that the 2002 Act, which was passed by the last Government, does not specify that academies, in legal terms, can only be schools that pass a threshold either of deprivation or of low achievement. On the contrary, I invite Members of the Committee to look at Section 65, which says:

“The Secretary of State may enter into an agreement with any person under which … that person undertakes to establish and maintain, and to carry on or provide for the carrying on of, an independent school in England with the characteristics mentioned in subsection (2)”.

Those characteristics are that the school,

“has a curriculum satisfying the requirements of section 78 of the Education Act 2002”,

and that it,

“provides education for pupils of different abilities who are wholly or mainly drawn from the area in which the school is situated”.

Those provisions are almost identical to those in the Bill.​ If there is no legal distinction between the schools that we are talking about in this Bill and those referred to under the Education Act 2002, is there another public policy reason for us to give a different label to certain schools within a similar legal category? I urge your Lordships not to do so. We already have an alphabet soup of different names for schools within the state system: community schools, foundation schools with a foundation, foundation schools without a foundation, voluntary aided schools, voluntary controlled schools, trust schools, city technology colleges, grammar schools, maintained special schools and non-maintained special schools. If the schools that we are talking about are academies, as they are in their essential legal characteristics, the right thing to do is to call them academies and not to add to the alphabet soup.

Dan Poulter – 2018 Speech on Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk

Below is the text of the speech made by Dan Poulter, the Conservative MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, in the House of Commons on 2 May 2018.

I thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, and Mr Speaker for granting this debate on mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk and the challenges they face.

Quite rightly, the Government have talked a lot over the last few years about parity of esteem between mental and physical health and about the need to invest more in mental health services. Indeed, there has been limited extra investment in Norfolk and Suffolk. None the less, the NHS trust has faced challenges that are affecting the quality of patient care. Tonight is a good opportunity to bring before the House some of those issues and, hopefully, to offer some solutions and appeal to the Government to do more to help the trust in very difficult times, because ultimately it is the patients who suffer when trusts are in difficult circumstances.

First, I would like to pay tribute to Gary Page, who is the chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trust. Despite very challenging circumstances, difficult Care Quality Commission reports and the financial pressures that have faced services in Norfolk and Suffolk for many years, he has worked hard to make sure that there has been continuity. It is thanks to his leadership that the trust is now able to move forward and address some of the challenges that it faces with the quality of care.

I want to talk briefly about some of the issues involved, focusing mainly on ward closures and the points raised in the CQC report. I want to outline to the House some of the fundamental issues with staff shortages, which are probably the worst in almost any mental health trust in the country. I want to talk a little further about the finances of the trust, and I also want to talk about some of the difficulties there have been in how the trust works with addiction services and how that is counterproductive to the effective care and treatment of patients.

Although my medical work is not currently in the east of England, I want to draw attention to my declaration in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. I am a practising NHS doctor working in mental health services, which of course gives me some insight into the challenges faced by the trust, although I do not think that interest is particularly applicable in this case, because my medical work is not done in the region.

The quality of care challenges facing the trust are quite extensive. As the Minister will be aware, the trust was put into special measures in October 2017. There are significant pressures on beds within local services, resulting in higher numbers of out-of-area placements for patients. Many patients are now having to be transported out of area to be treated because of the closure of beds, which is not good medical practice. It is not good for patients either, because they will be a long way away from their support networks, and it interferes with the effective post-hospital care and rehabilitation that is so important in co-ordinating with community services.

The challenges appears to centre on patient flow into beds and delays to discharge. We know that there is a historical lack of community mental health services in ​Norfolk and Suffolk, and investment has not been available to increase them at the necessary speed and rate. There are challenges with housing providers in the area not necessarily working closely enough with the trust, and there are also the pressures on social services that we know too well exist across the country. Those pressures are very relevant in Norfolk and Suffolk, where we have a lot of older patients with dementia who are struggling to be discharged effectively into the community because of delays in receiving adequate social services. A lot of the blame for that has been attributed to the mental health trust, but many factors are beyond its control.

The trust also faces significant challenges with the quality of its buildings infrastructure. Many of its buildings are old and not fit for purpose. The capital budget has not been available to improve the buildings, although there has been some new building work. I will come on to that in a moment.

Sandy Martin (Ipswich) (Lab) My meetings over the past three weeks with the new chief executive and others have given me cause to hope that the structural problems are now being addressed. A new co-produced community services partnership, commissioned by the clinical commissioning groups and involving Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Ipswich and West Suffolk hospitals, the county council and the GP federation, is embarking on a level of integration that has never been tried before in the United Kingdom, working with district councils, schools and the voluntary sector to make mental health everyone’s business. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the Government have a real interest in seeing whether that model can succeed? Will he support me in calling on the Minister to provide sufficient pilot funding for the project, so that Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust can recruit the staff it needs to make the new model capable of success?

Dr Poulter I thank my constituency neighbour for that intervention. I entirely agree with everything he says, although I am not sure it is quite so pioneering—I think the hospitals in London would probably disagree with that. There is a lot of good work going on in London built around exactly that sort of model of more integrated care.

One of the challenges faced by the trust in the past, and which mental health trusts in general face, is the failure of many partner organisations to properly engage on issues such as the provision of adequate social care for patients with chronic and long-term mental illness and dementia. There is also the failure of housing providers to be involved and of the police to be properly involved. There is a big overlap between some people with mental ill health and presentation to the police, when they would be better looked after by the NHS.

This project is the right way forward, with more integration of services and better integration between mental and physical health. Many patients with chronic mental health needs have physical health problems. They are sometimes a side-effect of the drugs, but are often a result of a chaotic lifestyle. Better joined-up working with the local NHS undoubtedly has to be a good thing. For that to be effective, however, as we have seen in some pilot projects in London, there needs to be the funding to deliver it. The mental health trust is not in the best financial shape—I will come on to that ​later—and support from the Government through funding for this innovative way of working, which I think is certainly a first in a rural area, would be very welcome. I hope the Minister may be able to provide some reassurance on that this evening.

Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con) I congratulate my hon. Friend and constituency neighbour on securing the debate. Before he goes on to talk about the money, which is very important, does he agree that it is very important that the trust promotes and endorses local, tailor-made initiatives such as the trauma-informed approach currently being promoted in Lowestoft by mental health champions Tod Sullivan and Paul Hammond?

Dr Poulter Yes, that is absolutely the right way to provide integrated services and joined-up care, because we cannot necessarily have a one-size-fits-all approach across Suffolk or Norfolk. We need to look at the local healthcare need. That is partly about working not just with housing providers, social services providers, primary care and GPs, as I believe is happening in my hon. Friend’s constituency, but with the voluntary sector, other third sector providers and local charities, many of which have knowledge of the needs of patients, families and carers. When we are providing joined-up, holistic mental healthcare, it is just as important to make sure that the approach is joined up and holistic in that regard, and I believe that the project in my hon. Friend’s constituency will have a very good chance of improving services for patients.

Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP) Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Dr Poulter I will make a bit of progress first and give way in two or three minutes.

The challenge from a lack of bed capacity is acute; 36 beds have been closed in recent months, 28 of them temporarily to be reopened as soon as possible. One of the challenges, as my constituency neighbour, the hon. Member for Ipswich (Sandy Martin) said, comes from the lack of joined-up working and a failure of commissioners, to some extent, to work collaboratively with the trust to identify short-term solutions. None of us wants to see patients travelling outside Suffolk. The commissioners have not worked well with the trust, because beds are available. My neighbour, my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St Edmunds (Jo Churchill), who is unable to speak because of her Government role, has rightly highlighted that bed capacity is available at the Chimneys in Bury St Edmunds—18 beds, including specialist eating disorder beds, which are available and could be commissioned if the commissioners worked more collaboratively and supported the leadership of the trust more effectively. I hope that will come out of the collaborative and pioneering work on which the trust’s partners are now supporting it.

None the less, there are some positive things to point towards. Building work is going on to deliver some new wards, and it is hoped that Lark ward in Ipswich, the psychiatric intensive care unit, will be able to reopen later this year. There are hopes that more can be done for child and adolescent mental health services, with continuing expansion in the number of beds.

Jim Shannon I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on securing the debate. I sought his permission to intervene beforehand and told him why I wanted to. With the prevalence of mental health issues at 25% higher in Northern Ireland than in the rest of the United Kingdom, and with our NHS unable to meet the demand on the service, does he not agree that mental health reform must be UK-wide and undertaken urgently, before people who simply need a bit of help to cope become people who need in-patient care and a strong drug regime to survive? Do it now and it can stop problems later.

Dr Poulter I agree entirely with my hon. Friend. He is always a strong advocate for the needs of his Strangford constituents. He is right to highlight that early intervention and early support can be very effective. That is partly because it often prevents some of the other unwanted effects of having a mental illness. When people have been untreated for a long period, they may well lose their job and struggle with their relationships. A number of the supportive and protective factors that can help to support someone through mild and moderate ill health, such as being in work or in a supportive relationship, can be lost. If we can do more to help people in the early stages, that is a good thing—quite apart from it potentially reducing the number of acute admissions later on.

I want to make the important point that the staff shortages at the trust are one of the major challenges that need to be addressed. It is frankly, and I do not use this word lightly—I do not think I have ever used it before, even though we often hear it used by politicians—a scandal that there is such a shortage of staff at Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trust. I hope the Minister can think of better ways to fund and support the trust. Without enough staff, it cannot expand services or deliver safe services. The trust has struggled with CQC inspections because there are not enough staff on the ground to deliver the care it wants to deliver. That is not entirely the fault of the trust, however, as it is constrained by its funding.

I will outline some of the issues that the trust faces. It has had difficulty recruiting band 5 registered mental health nurses—there are approximately 125 full-time vacancies; there are 35 full-time equivalent vacancies for psychiatrists, partly owing to a national shortage, but also owing to particular challenges in the east of England; almost one in five medical posts at the trust are vacant—that means that doctors who should be there treating patients are not because of staff shortages; and 16.02% of qualified nursing posts are vacant. That is not acceptable or sustainable. If we are to improve patient care and help the trust turn around, the fundamental issue of recruitment has to be addressed. There are fewer than 15 psychiatrists per 100,000 people in the region, which is much lower than the national average. In fact, the east of England has the fewest psychiatrists per head of population in the country.

Doctor recruitment is not a good story either. Issues with the junior doctor contract might not have helped, but we are where we are. Recruitment for CT1 junior doctors in 2017 saw only 16 of 45 vacancies filled—that is 36%—so only one third of the number of doctors who should have started training at CT1 level are working in the trust. That is a big rota gap to fill and will of course affect patient care. In 2015-16, about one third of ST4 vacancies in child and adolescent psychiatry ​were filled. In general adult psychiatry, which is the bread and butter of psychiatry, only nine of 18 posts were filled in 2015. In 2017, only five of 22 posts were filled, which means that less than a quarter of posts for registrar trainees in general adult psychiatry are filled. The story goes on and is equally bad in older-age psychiatry—and we have a lot of older people with dementia to look after in the east of England.

Recruitment, then, is vital. We have to do more to recruit psychiatrists. The current strategies are not working, so I ask the Minister to look at what has been successful overseas—in Queensland, Australia, and other places—and to put financial incentives in place to support nurses and doctors to come and work in the east of England, because at the moment patients are paying the price for a lack of doctors on the ground. The trust is doing its best to recruit, but it needs extra financial support through Health Education England, and it needs to be given support and the go-ahead from the Department. We know from elsewhere in the world that financial incentives work in rural and coastal areas, as long as doctors and nurses are helped with a relocation package. The Department’s successful health visitor programme is a good example of how financial incentives can work. I hope she will look at that.

The pressures on the trust’s finances have been there for many years—since the merger of Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trusts—and we know that mental health has been underfunded nationally for decades. The trust needs £9.2 million to meet CQC recommendations for improvement. Some £4 million can be funded from the capital budget, but given that the CQC has criticised the building’s infrastructure, it seems ironic to raid the capital budget for buildings and infrastructure and put it into the revenue budget to deal with immediate quality of care issues.

Even with that £4 million, however, there is still a shortfall of £5.2 million, and that was the subject of a recent funding bid to NHS England. The bid will be resubmitted fairly soon, and I hope the Minister will encourage NHS England to look favourably on it. It is important that the trust be given the financial wherewithal to deal with the quality issues raised by the CQC, to reinvest in vital community services and to undertake the vital work on integration that my constituency neighbour, the hon. Member for Ipswich, mentioned in his intervention.

There is some positive news. The ligature reduction project is proceeding successfully, and some good work is being done in the rebuilding programme at Chatterton House. The Norfolk and Waveney perinatal mental health service was launched in September. I pioneered support for the expansion of perinatal mental health services when I was a Minister, and I am pleased to see that it is now happening on the ground. In February a specialist perinatal mental health service was launched in Suffolk, which is a very good development. However, severe challenges remain and need to be addressed.

Finally, let me say something about services for patients with addictions. I will be brutally honest: I think that we created a problem with effective addiction treatment through the Health and Social Care Act 2012. The commissioning of addiction services has been transferred to local authorities, although the bulk of mental health services and physical health care for patients with addictions is still run by the NHS.​

In the east of England, the amount invested in drug misuse services has been reduced by about £6 million over the last four years. Drug misuse is a serious challenge in areas such as Lowestoft, Ipswich and Norwich, not just as a result of underfunding but because those services are not working in a joined-up way with mainstream physical and mental health services. That must be addressed as a matter of urgency, because patients are falling through the net and not receiving the holistic care that they need. Many end up in the criminal justice system as a result, and the police and, in some cases, communities are picking up the pieces because of the failure to provide joined-up care for those patients. The lack of substance misuse services as part of any NHS system affects the dynamics and practicalities of good care, such as the sharing of information. Barriers are created, and the good intentions of staff on the front line are undermined. That has an adverse effect, and I am sure that we will continue to see a rise in the number of drug-related deaths as a consequence.

Let me ask the Minister some questions. What additional support can be offered to the trust to help it to deal with its historical and current financial challenges and transform its services in the wake of the CQC’s report? There is a shortfall in funding; the trust has submitted a funding bid, and I hope that the Minister will support it. What additional resources can be made available to improve the recruitment and retention of psychiatrists and nurses, and what can be done to attract junior doctors to the east of England? One in five doctors who should be at work are not there because of staff vacancies. What steps are being taken to stop the transfer of patients out of area for treatment? Finally, what can be done to ensure that there is proper integration of addiction services with mental health services in our region, to ensure that patients are given a better deal?

It is time for the rhetoric about mental health to join up with the reality, and for patient care to improve. It is time for Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trust to be given the support that it needs, so that it can do the best for its patients.

John Manzoni – 2018 Speech on the Civil Service

Below is the text of the speech made by John Manzoni, the Permanent Secretary for the Cabinet Office, on 1 May 2018.

Thank you for inviting me back to the Institute for Government on the topic of transformation of the Civil Service.

I made one of my first speeches here as Chief Executive, a little over three years ago.

And it’s fair to say, I think you’ll agree, that quite a lot has happened since then.

We’ve had two changes of government, we’ve had the EU referendum – on the back of which we’ve created from scratch, and staffed, two new departments. One of which, the Department for Exiting the European Union, is coordinating the work of more than 300 Brexit-related work streams across government.

I should take this opportunity to thank Philip Rycroft and his team who run DExEU and who are doing a fantastic job and deserve our collective thanks for that work.

Back in 2015 I made the observation that Civil Servants were brilliant, talented people, doing too much. Not much has changed!

But I also made four specific observations:

First, that as a result of progressively outsourcing delivery the Civil Service had evolved to focus mainly on policy-making. Our policy strength will always be important, but we had lost much of our capability to implement and deliver policies and services.

Second, that while the fiscal envelope was continuing to shrink, the standard efficiency drive had run its course – to get to the next level of efficiency, while at the same time improving the effectiveness of service delivery, we needed a more fundamental transformation of how we worked as a Civil Service.

Third, that we needed to begin to break down the silos that existed, learn to work across boundaries, and take a more collaborative approach.

Lastly, I said that we needed to move our leadership approach on from a focus on pure intellect to one that embraced depth of experience: from elegant explanations to delivered solutions.

And I then set out four priorities to address these observations, aimed at setting us up to be fit for the 21st century:

Increase the numbers of people in Whitehall with delivery skills, and to offer clear career pathways so that they would feel valued, and could build their experience within the Civil Service
Develop functional leadership across government
Build our planning and performance management capability
Evolve the model of leadership in the Civil Service, developing a pipeline of credible, confident, and experienced leaders.
The second of those priorities, functional leadership, is integral to delivering all of the others.

And I want to return to it now to provide some context for the Institute’s series on this and to reflect on our progress to date.

Because we haven’t stood still.

We now have 9 core cross-government functions, each with a dedicated, experienced leader, and championed at Permanent Secretary level. These are complemented by dozens of professional networks that connect civil servants right across government, from the Operational Delivery Profession – our largest – with more than 240,000 civil servants, to the International Trade Profession – our newest – which launches today.

These advances are important. I believed then, as I do now, that deploying professional expertise across the system through a functional structure is the only way to tackle the transformation needed to meet the requirements of being both more efficient and more effective.

And since then – we have Brexit. It’s been said before, but this is the biggest, most complex peacetime task the Civil Service has faced.

The challenge is not a distraction, or a substitute for other priorities, it is an opportunity; and one we must seize.

Because at the same time as the task of delivering Britain’s EU exit strengthens the argument for strong functional leadership, it also provides an opportunity to accelerate the changes we’re already making, to implement the complex tasks ahead.

To remind you – I believe the functions have 3 primary roles:

First, to set standards – because:

without a consistent approach to working with the private sector – every contract is different
without a consistent approach to cyber security – it’s every department for themselves
without consistency of pay structures – there’s arbitrage across departmental boundaries
without consistent data standards – there are no linkages between departments
without consistent technology standards in buildings, it sometimes isn’t even possible for visiting employees from one department to log-on in another departmental building

Second, functions have a leading role in building skills and capability; because:

I’ve said many times we need to build professionalism and experience back into the Civil Service

making shared services work needs people who have done it before
building sophisticated and flexible relationships with the private sector needs experienced commercial people – to move us on from the transactional, price-based relationships that still exist across parts of our system
we need to have people with technical and data skills as we increasingly engage with citizens in a digital world
and we need proper project management skills to undertake the complex projects the Civil Service is now involved in
And, third, functions help to shape cross-government strategies, because:

we needed to see the multiple connections a company like Carillion had across government, so that we were able to respond to that situation and protect public services in the way that we did – something that would simply not have been possible even two or three years ago
we need to have mechanisms for building careers and developing our people to be the best they can be – and that needs cross-government coordination
we need to have consistency in how we build new digital systems – because of the efficiencies and economies that come from having common platforms
we need to bring multiple departments into the same buildings – not just for the sake of economy – but for better, smarter, more collaborative working
and we need to have common ways of doing the transaction process, so that we can benefit from the huge economies of scale that government can bring to bear; to do otherwise would be such a waste of taxpayers’ money
Seen through these lenses – the appeal of the functional model seems obvious.

But historically we haven’t been set up like that. And to make it so is not a quick fix.

We have to build professional pathways to attract people to join the Civil Service and plan their careers to give them the experience they need over time; and that is now starting to happen.

We have to begin to value new skills in our leaders. Intellect alone is no longer enough – we need more – because otherwise the system won’t be able to support the the implementation challenges we face today.

We need to learn new ways of working – because a cross-government matrix structure in itself is new – and it has to add value to what went before. And that takes time to learn – and skilled people to implement it.

And, of course, at the same time we must continue to deliver services that meet the standards and convenience citizens have come to expect as 21st century consumers.

So, transforming what we deliver means transforming how we deliver it.

And that delivery needs the skills and experience I have described.

Returning to the current challenges of Brexit, and the need to use this moment as an opportunity to accelerate – it demands that we both think through a complex set of problems and deliver the solutions on the ground within a fixed time period.

We can’t do that unless we approach this challenge differently to the way we have done things in the past.

And the good news is, it’s already happening – we are accelerating the changes we need and they are helping us to deliver what we need to deliver.

To take just a few examples where we are leveraging the functional structure in that task:

In commercial:

many of the Brexit-related projects require multiple new contracts and procurements – we are already using commercial teams to help structure those for maximum effectiveness in the market
we are setting up ways of accessing skills in the market that will deliver right cross government – not just department by department
In technology:

many Brexit projects require new technology in one form or another, and those systems are being built to our new digital standards, in agile ways with new and different partners, allowing an iterative development process
even three years ago that would not have happened – because we didn’t have the digital skills or awareness in-house to do it

In project leadership:

we have a group of experienced project leaders, many of whom have been trained through our Major Projects leadership programmes, and are now being deployed into the most complex Brexit projects

These are the leaders who will help us get projects through the difficult gap between designing a policy and putting it into action – as Tony Meggs has called it recently, the ‘Valley of Death’

This is all work in progress. But we have come a long way in a short time.

It’s a fact that we don’t have all the implementation skills that we need in-house – but we are building them quickly – and we have hired more than 5,000 people into 8 departments over the last 12 months in order to help.

And we are using the current imperatives to accelerate new joined-up ways of working. We have established the new Border Delivery Planning Group of officials across Whitehall to tackle the complex issues around making sure our borders continue to work effectively post-EU withdrawal.

I’m not going to get into the complexities of the negotiations here, but this new Group will create and oversee a joined-up implementation plan, drawing together the 30 or so departments and agencies that interact at our borders.

Responsibility for delivery, of course, remains with departments – but the cross-department group will define the plan – and hold the departments to account for delivering their piece of it.

That goes against the grain of traditional accountabilities in our Civil Service system.

Many more challenges – and not just in relation to Brexit – now transcend the boundaries between departments – from healthcare to justice to housing and benefits. We can learn from the borders experience and apply that elsewhere over time.

The matrix structure introduced by the functions helps us to address those cross-cutting issues – because it cuts across the vertical departmental silos and enables more transparency, lets information flow, allows us to target expertise and generally work more collaboratively.

I have used Brexit-related examples, but there are many others outside Brexit. And I’m not going to go into great detail here – because I’ve done that in other fora – but to take just a few examples.

We’ve launched the Government Property Agency. Over time, this will help us make more collective and collaborative use of our property portfolio.

We’ve already announced 13 government hubs across the country – mostly, predominantly HMRC, but with many of them including other departments. Just the other day I was at our new building in Canary Wharf, which will host 8 different public bodies. These hubs together will impact and benefit around 40,000 public servants – that is a very material change. And we have yet to announce another 8 to 10 hubs over the course of the next few years, and those will host even greater numbers of departments than the ones that we’ve already announced.

We have now stabilised and are seeing the benefits from the various centres of expertise that we have across the Civil Service – from the Shared Services centres which are taking shape across government; to the Debt Market Integrator joint venture, which has collected 17% more debt, that would otherwise have been lost to government; and our Crown Hosting JV – which again has proven hugely successful in efficiently hosting legacy systems, and has saved many hundreds of million of pounds.

The digital transformation of public services means we’re delivering in ways that people expect and that are becoming more and more routine for government.

At Newcastle Crown Court last month, I saw first-hand how video hearings are revolutionising the way our courts system operates. In the first month of starting to resolve small claims online, there are litigants who have resolved their case out in just two hours. And prosecutors are getting to work digitally too, with online pleas for offences like fare evasion. This is groundbreaking modernisation – which takes an enormous management focus and huge attention to deliver.

HMRC is trailblazing the adoption of artificial intelligence and robotics for mass-repetitive tasks, and we’ve recently established a Centre of Excellence to accelerate the adoption of this technology across government. And we’re mining the potential in data and prospecting in emerging areas like geospatial data to unlock value across the economy.

All these are in motion, and over the last 2 or 3 years have contributed material savings and efficiency to government.

I could go on – but the point is that significant change is already being delivered, and our task is to accelerate that change, not only using the imperative of Brexit but our impatience to change and modernise our Civil Service to meet the challenges of today.

So the question is, “what next?”, and what must we do to sustain and accelerate this progress?

I will highlight three areas:

How we’re codifying the skills we recruit and reward, and hence embedding new career paths across the organisation

How we need to think about funding the functions and the centre going forward

And how we might adjust our governance to accommodate the changes I have described

To take the first of these – we want to continue to attract and develop people with professional skills within the Civil Service.

The interesting thing about setting up a functional structure is that we are now organised more like the outside world. Many of our recent external hires have entered the Civil Service via the functions – because they can now see how and where they can add value, and the organisation looks more familiar to them than perhaps it has in the past.

But it’s no use bringing these people in with functional skills, and then assuming we can judge them against criteria that aren’t matched to their personal career experience. If we did that, over time they’d just leave.

And that’s why we are now launching Success Profiles – an expansion of our competency-based approach to recruitment and promotion, broadening it to include more robust and wide-ranging selection criteria.

This change, in my view, is really, really important – because it bears on what qualities and skills we value and promote.

It relates to building experience – so that we are no longer creating generalists by default, but people with broad and deep experience in delivery and implementation.

The new Success Profiles will be used for recruitment and promotion, and over time will allow us to evaluate candidates on what they have done before, what their actual experience, behaviours and values are – rather than on how they answer a competency questionnaire.

This means we can encourage people to build a career path, and be promoted within that career path, to build deeper experience and depth in their profession – and that is a significant change.

It will require quite a change in our leaders, too – involving them much more in interviewing and performance managing their people.

It may also be time to think about how we fund the centre of government. This is something I would like to see as part of the 2019 Spending Round.

There is always a tension of course – because in the end the functions only exist to help the delivery teams in departments deliver their outputs. There is, therefore, a strong argument to insist on the rigour and discipline of demand-driven mechanisms to fund the functions. It ensures that the functions don’t do things which don’t add value.

But it can also be inefficient and slow. Our new IT system for sensitive information took far longer than it should have because funds had to be negotiated with each separate department.

To leverage some of the centres of expertise I have talked about, sometimes needs central funding to build consistency across government.

The same imperative applies to building a new recruitment platform that everybody can use.

Accelerating the roll-out of our commercial capability also needs to be addressed centrally, so that we can do it quickly. Our Assessment and Development Centre has been piloted with the big departments. It has assessed more than 1,100 people against professional commercial standards. Now, we’re extending it to Arms Length delivery bodies.

So, I am hopeful we can make a sensible case for funding the centre in a different way, while still retaining good discipline to ensure that the functions only do what adds value.

And finally, while we have built a function structure into government over the last few years, we have not reviewed the overall governance within the Civil Service to reflect that. This is internal plumbing – not, frankly, the stuff of headlines – but nonetheless important in how we function as an organisation.

There is no single right way. Our structures are inherently complex, and I don’t pretend to have answers today. But it’s something we must start to consider over the next period.

So, there’s more to do.

We have taken up the enormous challenge of Brexit. And while we tackle it – indeed, as part of tackling it – we are building our future capability and accelerating towards that goal.

Ultimately, this is all about people. The citizens we work for as civil servants; and the civil servants themselves. They are already doing extraordinary things to deliver the government’s priorities.

They are also in the middle of huge changes and improvements that everyone in government has to embrace. As senior leaders it is up to us to create the structures within which they can be most effective; give them the modern tools and workplaces to do the best job they can, providing the best public services; and the training and experience to realise their potential.

That is the task before us. And we are on the way. Success means we will remain one of the most admired public institutions in the world.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much.

Greg Hands – 2018 Speech on Trade Policy

Below is the text of the speech made by Greg Hands, the Minister of State for Trade Policy, on 26 April 2018.

Thank you.

We’re on the cusp of a profound moment for British trade. It’s almost exactly 13 months since Article 50, so it’s now 11 months until we leave the European Union.

As has often been said, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. But based on that text that was agreed last month, that means we’re 11 months from being able to negotiate and sign trade agreements – a power we haven’t had for 45 years.

That really does matter: it’s a time of great opportunity, but also great responsibility.

The vitalness of stakeholder engagement

And if nothing else that reminds us – especially sitting here, in the world’s greatest scientific society – of the need for a good evidence base.

Trade policy can be complex, after all. So I’d like to thank you all for coming – it really is important for us to hear what you have to say, and for you to contribute your expertise.

That’s why we genuinely put a lot of stock on stakeholder engagement – and thank you to everyone who responded to the Trade White Paper.

Many of you here are from business, or representing businesses. As I often say: businesses trade, not the government – we’re just here to help them trade.

Trade agreements are important, but ultimately they are simply there to facilitate you to do the actual trading.

They only have value insofar as they’re of value to individuals and to businesses.

The first thing that businesses normally raise with me is their need for certainty, so that’s the first thing I’m going to address: how our trade policy is designed to deliver certainty and continuity, whilst also taking advantage of the opportunities that lie outside the Customs Union.

Business after Brexit: certainty and continuity

The agreed text provides for an implementation period until the end of 2020, during which business will have access to the single market on the same terms they do now, giving more certainty for the near future and more time for firms to adjust.

And for 2021 onwards, the Prime Minister has said that she wants a deep, comprehensive and unique free trade agreement with the EU, so our businesses can have the best possible market access.

And, turning to my area of responsibility as Minister for Trade Policy, we are looking to transition the EU’s 40-or-so existing third-party free trade agreements, to give our businesses continued access to those markets on current terms.

We’re also supporting the EU in its ongoing negotiations elsewhere. The Commission is currently prioritising new agreements with Singapore and Vietnam and we are strong supporters of these: we’re full members of the EU until we leave, and we’re going to play a constructive role in the meantime.

And we’re working to take up our independent position at the World Trade Organization, too. We’re already a member in our own right, but we’re currently covered by the EU’s commitments, so we need to negotiate schedules in our own right.

This is not a cliff edge – the EU’s schedules haven’t been up to date in years.

Nonetheless, it is important that we do update them. In order to deliver maximum certainty and continuity for businesses, we will be replicating the EU’s existing schedules.

Together, these will give a great deal of certainty: certainty of continued access to the EU market in the near-term; certainty of deep and comprehensive access in the long-term; certainty of continued access to the EU’s free trade agreements; and the certainty of the WTO’s global rules.

And that certainty is certainly achievable.

Achieving continuity: trade bill, FTAs, the WTO

On the free trade agreement, it’s in the strong interests of both sides to agree thoroughgoing access to each other’s markets.

The EU27’s exports to the UK were nearly £320 billion last year, making us their second-largest trading partner after the US. This trade is worth more to the UK in relative terms, true, but it’s not a zero-sum game.

And this is the only agreement in history where both sides start from a position of regulatory alignment.

Domestically, as Minister for Trade Policy I’m currently taking the Trade Bill through the House of Commons.

That will give the government the domestic powers we need to roll over existing EU free trade agreements, and to sign up the World Trade Organization’s Government Procurement Agreement, so that UK companies can maintain their access to a global public procurement market £1.3 trillion – and so our public services get the best value possible, on passports or anything else.

The opportunities from Brexit

So that’s our approach for the near term, for continuity, for certainty. But what of the opportunities?

The first thing to say is that this isn’t all about trade agreements: the government is not solely concentrating on Brexit. To give one example, DIT is currently designing a new Export Strategy.

That will boost our exports – whether they’re going to the EU or the rest of the world.

As for our future trade regime – any future trade regime must benefit the poorest among us. That’s really important.

The Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill will let us set up our own trade preferences regime, to give developing countries preferential access to the UK market – again, we will deliver maximum certainty.

As a minimum, we will provide the same access as the EU, whilst leaving ourselves room to explore options to make our preferences even more generous and easy to use in the future.

And any future regime must work for consumers, as well as businesses.

We’re absolutely committed to upholding and strengthening our already high standards – so that consumers know they’re getting products that are safe to use, of good quality, and friendly to the environment.

As a country, our comparative advantage is in quality, not price: we want to see a global race to the top, not a race to the bottom.

Why we should leave the Customs Union

As for the Customs Union. The Prime Minister has been very clear that leaving the EU means leaving the Customs Union, and the UK will be leaving the Customs Union. That position was restated only this week.

Recently there’s been a lot of talk about this, and whether the UK would be better off leaving the EU but staying in a Customs Union.

So I’d like to talk through the reasoning behind this decision, and why it’s the right one.

If we are in a Customs Union, we would be unable to negotiate new agreements with countries outside the EU. And that’s where the real opportunities will lie: according to the IMF, 90% of global growth will be outside the EU over the next decade or so.

While Europe quibbles over tenths of percents, China, for example, is adding an economy the size of Norway to its GDP every 7 months – and that’s not even at purchasing power parity.

A Customs Union would leave us with the worst of both worlds. Remember that we cannot stay in the Customs Union, as we will not be a member state – legally it would only ever be a Customs Union.

If you look at Turkey’s Customs Union, whenever the EU signs a trade agreement with a third country, Turkey has to open up its markets to imports from that country. But Turkey’s exporters don’t get access to the third country’s markets in return – that’s reserved for EU exporters.

Turkey has to sign its own trade agreements with the third countries. But that’s very difficult, because Turkey isn’t allowed to offer those third countries anything in return, because it’s in a Customs Union.

So we should not be staying in the Customs Union. We should aim for an agreement that gives us the best of both worlds and there’s no reason why we can’t achieve that.

Trade with the EU and trade with the rest of the world – it doesn’t need to be an either/or choice.

For the reasons I set out earlier, it’s in both sides strong interests to sign a good EU-UK free trade agreement.

And we are also looking to sign new trade agreements abroad. Whilst in the EU we are still bound by the duty of sincere cooperation, so cannot sign or negotiate new agreements.

But we are preparing the ground. We have set up trade working groups covering 21 countries, including the world’s largest economies. Myself and other DIT ministers have made over 160 overseas visits.

Only last week I was in Singapore, talking to representatives of the ASEAN nations – it was fascinating to see the dynamism and optimism on show, and that’s something we should be taking advantage of.

But we can only fully take advantage with your expertise, so thank you all again for coming today.

Thank you.

Damian Hinds – 2018 Speech at National Association of Headteachers Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Damian Hinds, the Secretary of State for Education, at the National Association of Headteachers Conference on 4 May 2018.

I’m delighted to join you here today, and for the opportunity to speak directly to so many heads and school leaders.

Since I started this job in January, one of my first priorities was to go out and visit schools, visit nurseries, visit colleges.

You can read a lot of papers and talk to a lot of officials in the civil service – but nothing beats meeting the people who bring education to life.

And, of course, no two schools are the same but what I’ve seen everywhere is this enormous passion, enormous level of commitment and dedication that you just don’t see in every profession.

With so many teachers telling me how deeply they enjoy what they do. The creativity. The freedom. The joy of learning, helping to develop young minds.

Looking around this conference room, I know that all of you want to lead great schools, to create a culture where teachers love their jobs and where children do their best.

As Secretary of State for Education, my simple ambition is for all children, whatever their background, to go to a good school where they are inspired to learn and can fulfil their potential.

I want us, together, to narrow the gap for the places left behind and provide better opportunities for the children who have the hardest start in life.

And in aiming for this I know that in education there is nothing more important than the people who are making it happen.

When I ask people to think back to their own days of school – about what they most remember from school, what made the difference for them, I have yet to hear anyone mention the smartboard. Or textbook, or a computer, or an exam. It is always Ms Smith or Mr Davies.

There are no great schools without great teachers and leaders.

And of course great schools thrive under great leaders – which is why I want to work with you. It’s why I am determined to champion your profession.

Working with you to raise its status, helping to attract and retain more brilliant people to teach in our schools.

In short, I will do everything in my power to make sure teaching remains one of the most fulfilling jobs anyone can do.

One of my most urgent tasks is, therefore, to look at the barriers that can drive teachers, and leaders, out of the profession and may put people off in the first place.

Top of the list here is workload. Workload comes from different places.

Sometimes it can come from schools themselves, and policies on marking and data collection for example.

It can come directly from specific requirements set by government.

But it can also come indirectly from the pressures inherent in the accountability system.

And today I’m going to talk quite a lot about those pressures and about that system.

I don’t need to tell anybody here that accountability is vital. Children only get one shot at an education and we owe it to them that they can get the best, where they are being let down we need to act quickly – so no one ends up left behind.

But, that sort of action is rarely needed.

In fact, standards in our classrooms are higher than ever. 89% of schools, and 90% of your primary schools, are rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted.

This is not to say that the system that we have right now is working perfectly.

We all know that if we went outside this room and tried explaining to someone not in the education sector, about Regional Schools Commissioners, Ofsted, MATs, coasting, below the floor – they would look pretty blank.

But what I’ve found from speaking to many of you these last few months is that even within the profession and within the sector, there can be confusion.

Confusion about the different actors within the system…who has the power to do what and on what basis, the exact circumstances that could lead to enforced structural or leadership change at a school.

All of this means that the spectre of our accountability system can loom large over schools.

Fear of inspection. Fear of a single set of bad results. Fear of being forcibly turned into an academy – all of this can create stress and anxiety, and that can percolate through the staff.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we can do better than this.

As members of NAHT you are, of course, doing your own thinking about accountability, and I want to work closely on this with you.

But I also wanted to come here today with something that I think itself is very important.

School leaders need better clarity on how the accountability system will operate, the consequences that can flow from it – and the roles of the actors within it.

So I am publishing today a statement that sets out key principles for how I see the system working in future – the next step will be consulting with you and colleagues on the details.

I urge everyone to read the statement in full but in essence it comes down to this:

We have many excellent schools in this country – schools with great leaders, great teachers.

And I have a clear message to these schools and their leaders – we, I trust you to get on with the job.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I trust that you know better than us – better than me, better than the Department for Education – how to improve your schools. You don’t need government getting in your way.

We will, of course, take action where a school is failing – on those rare occasions where, frankly, the leadership isn’t there to make the improvements needed then we must act decisively and make structural change where it’s necessary.

But these are the measures of last resort – and I believe every school must be absolutely clear on the rare circumstances when this would happen – and when it wouldn’t.

Ofsted is the body that can provide an independent, rounded judgement of a school’s performance – data alone can’t tell the whole story.

So I want to move to a system where, when it comes to educational underperformance, we only enforce academy conversion, leadership change or changing the trust a school is part of when there has been an Ofsted Inadequate judgement.

So that means we will not be forcibly turning schools into academies unless there is that judgement.

Now, I firmly believe that becoming an academy can bring enormous benefits to schools and their pupils.

Increasingly, becoming an academy also means schools coming together in a Multi Academy Trust, sharing expertise, working collaboratively, driving improvements.

Hundreds of schools every year voluntarily choose that route – to become an academy and join a Multi Academy Trust. And I want this to be a positive choice for more and more schools.

So I want to move away from forced academisation being seen as this punitive threat that can also hang over schools that are not failing.

But we must have a system that does more than just deal with failure. Which is why we will work to identify schools at risk… But we will also do so in the right way, making a clear offer of support for the current school leadership.

This support would come from Teaching Schools or other high quality school improvement providers – people with a proven track record.

I intend this to replace the current confusing system of having both a ‘below-the-floor’ standard and ‘coasting’ standards for performance.

There will be a single, transparent data trigger at which schools will be offered support in this way. We will consult on how this single measure should work.

And as I said earlier, school leaders above this threshold will know that they have full freedom to get on with their job – without interference.

What does this mean for how we work with schools?

I know that right now schools can sometimes feel accountable to multiple masters.

Regional School Commissioner representatives going into schools and performing visits that can feel a lot like inspections – making additional requests for data.

And that is something that comes about for well-intentioned reasons. But it can be confusing for schools. And I’m afraid it plays its part in helping to create a culture that drives some unnecessary workload for you and your teachers.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this will end.

Ofsted inspectors are the only people who should be inspecting schools – the clue is in the name.

Commissioners commission.

Ofsted inspectors inspect.

Which means no more RSC initiated visits that can feel like inspections with those extra demands for data, adding to bureaucracy – more time for schools to get on with the job that they’re doing well.

I’ve been talking here about the standard of education provided in schools.

I will also be looking at how we can support schools that are in financial trouble or take action where there has been a serious breakdown of governance. I will be setting up far more robust oversight and challenge when it comes to the financial performance of academy trusts.

And there must also be improvements in the governance of MATs as they grow in size and number, and how we, on behalf of the public, hold them to account – and again, we’ll seek your views on this.

The need to bear down on workload is not a new thing.

In 2014, the Department for Education launched the Workload Challenge. Thousands took part and, overwhelmingly, people talked about the sheer volume of lesson planning, marking and data management which was too often being driven by fear of inspection rather than for the benefit of the child.

Since then we have worked closely with Ofsted and others to bust myths about inspections.

I recently made a video with a clear message with myself alongside Amanda Spielman and others – committing to schools that you won’t be judged for cutting back on excessive bureaucracy.

And let me say again – neither Ofsted or DfE require you to do things like annotated seating plans, triple marking, deep marking, dialogic marking, colour coded marking, excessive monitoring of a child’s progress…

The video has now been watched more than 75,000 times, and I hope you will all, not only watch it but share it. And if anyone does tell you that Ofsted require this or that, please show them that video too.

There’s more to come from us on this. One area which many of you have raised with me is how the pressure to collect assessment data and evidence of progress has grown dramatically over the years.

In response, I have established a workload advisory group to look into this issue and publish recommendations.

And I am pleased to announce that this group will be chaired by Professor Becky Allen and the membership will include teachers and school leaders, as well as Ofsted and the unions – and I very much welcome NAHT’s commitment to take part.

I also want to urge heads and leaders to play their part.

As I visit more and more schools, I discover that there isn’t a uniform story on workload – teachers’ experiences are very different; and schools’ policies and practices are very different too.

I urge you to ask questions like: Do we need this much data collection? What does this extra time spent marking add?

And yes, Government has responsibility too.

In our drive to raise standards these last seven years, we have made great strides together.

However, the pace of change has been fast and that is why I’ve said that there will be no more new statutory tests or assessments for your schools, beyond those already announced, for the rest of this parliament as I’ve already announced.

And I will continue to work with NAHT and others to make sure that schools successfully embed and have the time to adapt to the changes that have already been announced and are coming through.

Of course, all of us here have a shared goal of making sure teaching remains an attractive, fulfilling profession.

Yes, teacher numbers are at an all time high and more people are returning to teaching this year – but, still, we know that staff turnover is a real challenge for schools.

Actually not just for schools. With record employment there has been increased demand for talented graduates altogether.

We’ve brought in schemes like the student loan reimbursement pilot for new graduates.

But we need to go further and that’s why over the coming months we will be developing an overall recruitment and retention strategy.

We will take an unflinching look at the things that discourage people from coming into teaching or make them consider leaving.

We will also look at how we support teachers to get better at what they do and hone their expertise as well as career progression, whether they want to get into leadership as you have, or stay and develop in the classroom.

I particularly want to support teachers early in their careers, when I know some new teachers feel a bit like having been chucked into the deep end before they’ve really learnt to swim.

And so I’m pleased we are setting out our initial response to our QTS consultation today.

Following strong support, I’m happy to announce that we will be introducing an enhanced offer of support for new teachers – including extending the induction period to two years.

And we will work with the profession to develop a new early career framework that will set out all the training and mentoring a teacher is entitled to in those first years.

I am committed to working with the profession to understand how to deliver these proposals and the resources needed to make them work.

It’s not just the early years though – I want teachers to be able to develop and progress through clearer career pathways, including for those, as I said, who want to stay in the classroom as experts.

You’ve said you want professional qualifications including in a specialist subject – so we will work with the sector to support these new qualifications.

I’m also announcing today something that has been called for by the profession for some time – a new £5 million sabbatical pilot.

This will allow more established teachers to do something else for a period, whether that’s working in an industry relevant to their field or doing academic research – or indeed coming to DfE to help shape policy.

Now, finally, I want to turn to an issue which I know is top of your minds.

I certainly don’t pretend I can just stand up here at this podium and say a few words that will solve all of the challenges that you face in schools today.

It is true that schools get more funding than they used to but it is also true that society asks much more of schools than we did a generation ago.

It is true that if you compare our schools to other countries… according to the latest OECD data, per pupil, our schools get more government funding than countries such as Germany.

But there have also been real cost pressures on schools – pensions, National Insurance.

So, yes, it is challenging for schools making the numbers add up and I do pledge to work with you to bear down on some of the cost pressures as best as we can.

Working closely with you to make sure schools do get the best deals possible and can target precious resources at the frontline.

I want a close, collaborative relationship with you, with this profession, whether on reforming accountability, or reducing the data burden, strengthening professional development or reducing cost pressures.

I’m clear that our retention and recruitment strategy would be nothing without your voices, your expertise… heads, teachers, support staff and unions.

We have a powerful opportunity to raise the status of this profession, for teaching to remain one of society’s most fulfilling roles…meaning that every child has the chance to fulfil their potential.

And I pledge to work with you all to make this a reality.

Sajid Javid – 2018 Statement on Windrush

Below is the text of the statement made by Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, in the House of Commons on 30 April 2018.

I am honoured to have been asked this morning to become Home Secretary. I start by making a pledge to those of the Windrush generation who have been in this country for decades and yet have struggled to navigate through the immigration system: this never should have been the case, and I will do whatever it takes to put it right.

Learning about the difficulties that Windrush migrants have faced over the years has affected me greatly, particularly because I myself am a second-generation migrant. Like the Caribbean Windrush generation, my parents came to this country from the Commonwealth in the 1960s; they too came to help to rebuild this country and to offer all that they had. So when I heard that people who were long-standing pillars of their communities were being impacted for simply not having the right documents to prove their legal status in the UK, I thought that that could be my mum, my brother, my uncle or even me. That is why I am so personally committed to, and invested in, resolving the difficulties faced by the people of the Windrush generation who have built their lives here and contributed so much.

I know that my predecessor, my right hon. Friend the Member for Hastings and Rye (Amber Rudd), felt very strongly about this too. Mr Speaker, please allow me to pay tribute to her hard work and integrity and to all that she has done and will continue to do in public service. I wish her all the very best. I will build on the decisive action that she has already taken. A dedicated taskforce was set up to handle these cases; more than 500 appointments have been scheduled, and more than 100 people have already had their cases processed and now have the necessary documents. We will continue to resolve these cases as a matter of urgency.

We have made it clear that a Commonwealth citizen who has remained in the UK since 1973 will be eligible to get the legal status that they deserve: British citizenship. That will be free of charge, and I will bring forward the necessary secondary legislation. We have also been clear that a new compensation scheme will be put in place for those whose lives have been disrupted. We intend to consult on the scope of the scheme and we will appoint an independent person to oversee it. I hope that I can count on the full support of all hon. Members to make this happen as soon as possible. I end by making one thing crystal clear: we will do right by the Windrush generation.

Penny Mordaunt – 2018 Speech on Syria

Below is the text of the speech made by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development, in the House of Commons on 30 April 2018.

Let me take this opportunity to put on record that the aid workers who have been attacked in south Sudan are very much in our thoughts. Aid workers should never be a target, and I am sure that the whole House will want to send our good wishes to them and their families at this difficult time.

I want to update the House on the United Kingdom’s support for the people of Syria. I am keenly aware that Members are deeply concerned about the level of suffering experienced by millions of Syrians. The United Kingdom has shown, and will continue to show, leadership in the international humanitarian response.

In the eighth year of the conflict, the plight of the Syrian people remains grave. The Syrian regime appears to have no intention of ending the suffering of its own people, although the opposition have placed no conditions on peace negotiations. The barbaric attack in Douma on innocent civilians, including young children, was yet another example of the regime’s disregard for its responsibility to protect civilians. Some may seek to cast doubt over the attack and who was responsible for it, but intelligence and first-hand accounts from non-governmental organisations and aid workers are clear. The World Health Organisation received reports that hundreds of patients had arrived at Syrian heath facilities on the night of 7 April with

“signs and symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals.”

Regime helicopters were seen over Douma on that evening, and the opposition do not operate helicopters or use barrel bombs.

Assad and his backers—Russia and Iran—will attempt to block every diplomatic effort to hold the regime accountable for these reprehensible and illegal tactics. That was why the United Kingdom, together with our United States and French allies, took co-ordinated, limited and targeted action against the regime’s chemical weapons capabilities to alleviate humanitarian suffering. Britain is clear: we will defend the global rules-based system that keeps us all safe. I welcome the support that we have received from Members and from the international community. We will work with the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to create a new independent mechanism to attribute responsibility for chemical weapons attacks. We will work with France on the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons, and we will work with the EU to establish a new sanctions regime against those responsible for chemical weapons use.

In wielding its UN veto 12 times, Russia has given a green light to Assad to perpetrate human rights atrocities against his own people. This is a regime that has used nearly 70,000 barrel bombs on civilian targets; a regime that tries to starve its people into submission, although the UN Security Council has called for unhindered humanitarian access; a regime that has continued to obstruct aid to eastern Ghouta and removes medical supplies from the rare aid convoys that do get in; a regime that deploys rape as a weapon of war, with nearly eight out of 10 people detained by it reported to have suffered sexual violence; and a regime that deliberately bombs schools and hospitals, and targets aid workers and emergency responders as they race to the scene to help.

We must support the innocent victims of these atrocities. All warring parties must comply with the Geneva conventions on the protected status of civilians and other non-combatants. There must be an immediate ceasefire, and safe access for aid workers and medical staff to do their jobs.

We also want to adapt what we do to the new reality of this war. That is why I have announced the new creating hope in conflict fund with USAID, to work with the private sector to find new technology to save lives in conflict zones. Britain will establish a humanitarian innovation hub to develop new capabilities to hinder regimes that appear determined to slay innocent men, women and children.

Our aid has made a difference. Despite the horrific violence meted out by Assad, we have been able to prevent mass starvation and large-scale outbreaks of disease. When we are able to reach the people who need our help, our aid works. We are the second largest bilateral donor to the humanitarian response in Syria. Since 2012, our support has provided over 22 million monthly food rations, almost 10 million medical consultations, and over 9 million relief packages. But the suffering continues. Some 13.1 million people are now in need of humanitarian assistance. Over half of Syria’s population has been displaced by violence, with nearly 6 million seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. In north-west Syria, an intensification of hostilities and the arrival of an additional 60,000 people from eastern Ghouta is stretching scarce resources. Today, 65% of the population of Idlib—over 1.2 million people—have been forced from their homes.

At last week’s conference I announced that the UK will provide at least £450 million this year, and £300 million next year, to alleviate extreme suffering in Syria and to provide vital support in neighbouring countries. This will be in addition to our support for the second EU facility for refugees in Turkey. We have now committed £2.71 billion since 2012, our largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis.

Our pledge will help to keep medical facilities open to save lives. We will deploy protective equipment to keep medics and rescue workers safe. We will deploy antidote stocks to treat any further victims of chemical weapons. We will train doctors and nurses to treat trauma wounds. We will focus on education, making sure that every child in the region has access to quality education even in the most trying circumstances, on steps to protect civilians, and on ensuring that those responsible for attacks face justice.

We will help to support the millions of Syrian refugees sheltering in neighbouring countries. Our friends in the region—Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey in particular—continue to demonstrate extraordinary generosity by opening their doors to millions fleeing the conflict in Syria. We must continue to offer them our fullest support. Last week I also announced that the UK will host an international conference with Jordan in London later this year. It will showcase Jordan’s economic reform plans and aspiration to build a thriving private sector, and mobilise international investment.

There are refugees who cannot be supported in the region: people requiring urgent medical treatment, survivors of violence and torture, and women and children at risk of exploitation. We will work closely with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to identify those most at risk and bring them to the UK. We are helping but, with Russia’s support, Assad continues to bomb his own people, and that is why so many continue to die and so many have fled their homes.

There can be no military solution to the Syrian civil war. As UN special representative Staffan de Mistura said in Brussels last week, the Assad regime risks a pyrrhic victory unless it and its backers engage in a genuine political process. Only this can deliver reconciliation and the restoration of Syria as a prosperous, secure and stable state. The UK will continue to support the efforts of the UN, under the Geneva process, to this end.

The obstacles remain serious. The regime has shown no inclination to engage seriously so far, and the Security Council remains divided. But the international community cannot, and should not, resign itself to failure. The costs for Syria, for the region, and for the wider international rules-based system are too great. The Foreign Secretary was in Paris last Thursday to discuss with key partners how we should intensify our efforts to bring this conflict, and its causes, to an end. While we actively work to find a political solution, the UK will continue to stand alongside the people of Syria and the region to do what we can to alleviate human suffering, and to demand immediate access for aid workers to all those who need our help. I commend this statement to the House.

Claire Perry – 2018 Speech at Aurora Spring Forum

Below is the text of the speech made by Claire Perry, the Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, on 20 March 2018.

It is wonderful to be back in Oxford, not only because of many happy memories, but also to be in a city that is central to so many energy breakthroughs.

In 1976 Professor Goodenough formed a research group from around the world to tackle the intractable problem of how to make batteries rechargeable.

And these great minds struggled, they even had to call out the fire brigade when experiments went wrong… But of course in 1980 they published their findings in Materials Research Bulletin.

The world took notice – the lithium ion battery changed the world, although it meant that officials could pester ministers at any time, day or night.

So many academic innovations have sprouted from this academic powerhouse, from nuclear fusion research at Culham to Professor Snaith’s new understandings of perovskites which could transform solar power.

And it is harnessing the value of this sort of world changing innovation that we want to see right across the UK, and particularly in the energy portfolio.

That’s why this government has set out the biggest ever increase in public research and development investment; three billion pounds more invested every year by 2021.

And it is that focus on innovation, research, development, commercialisation which underpins the Industrial Strategy.

Looking at how we invest in Britain’s historical straights to create the high-growth firms and well-paid jobs is essential to redress many of the imbalances of our economy, and make sure we are fit for the future. And our modern Industrial Strategy doesn’t just celebrate engineering developments, it celebrates ideas.

That’s why it’s so great to be hosted by Aurora today, a relatively new energy research company, trying to do things differently…

… and one that has already grabbed a leading position across Europe.

And that was one of the reasons we tapped into one of Aurora’s founding directors, to ask for his wisdom and his experience of the energy sector, to lead the Independent Cost of Energy Review.

This was commissioned as a no-holds barred look at how we deliver more affordable energy, to look at how we keep the lights on, while decarbonising, how we create innovation, and how we balance those relationships and those responsibilities between the public sector and the market.

The review has sparked a debate, a vibrant debate if I might say, about how we actually get to an energy market where active consumers, not producers, are central; where the pyramid of supply and distribution is turned upon its head; where we realise the potential of the investments we’ve been making now for many years in new clean energy technologies.

And where we implement ideas and spending according to a framework. One of the frameworks we’ve been using a lot in the Clean Growth Strategy which I authored last year, is the idea of a triple test that investment makes sense if it decarbonises, if you can see a cost trajectory so that means you don’t burden consumers with expensive innovations over the long term, and where you actually create and leverage a strategic innovation that means you can export that technology globally.

And since Dieter’s Review was published, we have also published the Industrial Strategy White Paper, which once again emphasised the importance of energy to our economic success.

And showed a reliable, affordable, and smart energy system provides the backbone for a stronger, fairer, and more productive society.

And how new technologies, AI, big data, EVs, autonomous vehicles are not just disruptive in their own sector but are also hugely disruptive to the energy sector as well.

And how creating the conditions for success for fair competition is so central to innovation.

And also how energy systems are central to the broader challenge of clean growth, 1 of the 4 Grand Challenge of the Industrial Strategy. An energy system that underpins, benefits from and accelerates the transformation of our economy.

And Dieter’s Review covered very eloquently many of these arguments. Much of his diagnosis is compelling, articulated brilliantly.

He talks about the disruptors that are coming along in this sector, the move from passive to active demand, more and more zero marginal low cost clean generation.

We are now buying at prices unimaginably low compared to just a few years ago. Access to cost-effective storage technologies that scale; linking in electric mobility into the grid.

Dieter says that these changes are happening regardless of what government does, whether we like it or not, this is the way the market is moving.

And so for me the job of government is to re-examine the bits that we do, the bits of the market that we are involved in, the frameworks, the policies, the regulation that we put in place, to make sure that they are fit for purpose.

That they encourage this innovation, they increase competition, and they don’t have unintended consequences down the road.

And I think if we manage these changes well, the historic tension between cost, CO2 and security becomes irrelevant.

It’s a little bit like the conversation we have for clean growth, where some had always imagined that a green future meant hunkering down in caves.

Recessions are really good for cutting carbon emissions, and there are still politicians out there who would rather like that to be the case.

But actually, if you look at what the UK has done when it has decarbonised more and grown faster than any other G7 nation since 1990, that these 2 things go hand in hand.

And it’s the same with the age-old energy trilemma.

And of course, if it’s the UK innovators who develop the technologies to achieve those goals, we reap those industrial and economic benefits, bringing home the benefits of the world’s pivot to this low-carbon future in a way that generates highly productive jobs and growth at home.

So Dieter’s Review brings that challenge to life, and without front-running the response to the consultation, I did want to dwell on three of his findings, not all 68 of them, don’t worry.

The first was the necessity for more active management of the system.

The huge increase in distributed generation, the opportunity for more demand-side response, and the potential for creating new demand for electric heating creates a requirement for a less passive local grid.

Grid management is hard enough in the current top-down system, the idea of having intermediates and end-states of supply and demand I think is incredibly challenging.

And so, Dieter’s proposal for the system of neutral regional systems operators is extremely interesting. And it’s part of the process that we’re already going through, which has already seen us create a much more independent systems operator role for National Grid.

Dieter’s review challenges us to consider whether and how we should go further. The network industry has come forward with initial proposals, which we’re looking at, many of them suitably ambitious.

But we will be working closely to ensure that these go beyond ‘business-as-usual’ and deliver the framework that we need to move us to this future. We have to get this right.

And secondly, Dieter’s eye-catching proposal for the equivalent firm power auction is worth dwelling on. When considering this, I am mindful that many of the tools are actually working well.

I know we’ve taken a fair share of criticism for how we got here, but if you look at what the tools are delivering, CfDs are delivering offshore wind at 57 pounds per MWh with every prospect of further reductions, and with an industry that is being created as part of that supply chain, right across the UK.

The Capacity Market is giving confidence to industry that there is no risk to supply at keener and keener prices. And of course the ‘Beast from the East’ tested the resilience of the systems right across Europe and the UK. I think there are lessons to be learned, but overall our gas and electricity systems proved robust and responsive.

The market frameworks we had in place provided National Grid with the tools they needed.

Dieter’s challenge is how do we evolve today’s arrangements, so they can adapt to this pace of change and achieve this end-state that we want to see going forward.

And the Capacity Market is obviously a key part of that evolution.

So later this year, we will be conducting a formal review to mark 5 years since this introduction, asking some key questions:

Have we got the penalty regime right? Are the outcomes of the market aligned, not just with the security of the energy system, but with the triple test I described, and the ambition we have in the Industrial Strategy?

Should it be open to new technologies, like renewables as we are seeing in Ireland? How do we include battery technology into this mix? How do we work with demand-side response and small-scale gas installations, which have already confounded prior expectations?

Understanding and answering these questions will help simplify the system in line with Dieter’s recommendations, whilst maintaining robust energy security and delivering on our triple test.

But as we consider these changes, we have to create market structures and regulation that continue to make the UK one of the leading destinations for energy investment.

I think that clarity of regulatory structure and confidence in the system are a hugely important part of that. As we look to the future, I think it’s worth reflecting on the work that we’re doing now to ensure well-regulated, competitive markets deliver value and service for customers. That markets work for customers in a way that consumers perceive industry they should.

We’ve seen huge improvements in the efficiency of our home energy system, thanks to the smart regulation insulation measures.

I’ve given lie to the argument that all this stuff we do, the investing in the future of energy, is somehow putting up prices.

Whilst we’ve seen a policy price increase, bills have gone down in the average household because of excellent improvements in energy efficiency, and as we made clear in the Clean Growth Strategy.

We want to build on that success. I’ll be reviewing the ECO obligation very shortly, which I want to pivot as much as possible to helping those living in fuel poverty, making sure that it provides a much better route to market for innovation technology in the home efficiency space.

We’re regulating so that landlords have to ensure the homes they let are cheaper to run.

We’ve exempted many of our energy-efficient industries from many of the levies that we have brought forward. And we’ve also taken tough decisions in 2015 to cut subsidies while focusing resources on strategically important sectors like offshore wind and nuclear.

And just this month you may have seen that I brought forward the Price Cap Legislation, with very strong cross-party support.

This is not an attempt to set energy prices in Westminster.

This is an attempt to help the market speed up its evolution to a more competitive marketplace.

We have a problem in this market as in so many others, which is asymmetry of customer information: a group of highly enabled, digitally-savvy consumers who are able to take advantage of switching deals that are on offer given the new entrance on the market, and then a much larger group of those who are not as aware or as able to take advantage of those opportunities and worryingly tend to be older, less wealthy, less educated, often more vulnerable.

And we know that the market is working hard with its regulator to address many of those problems… But we want to make sure that that acceleration continues. That’s why we’re bringing forward a time-limited, intelligent intervention in the market to help reset this market to ensure it works for consumers.

And it’s part of a huge package of work that is coming forward:

smart meter roll-out

faster switching

half-hourly settlements

midata portability

Together this will mean that switching will be almost instantaneous and extremely easy to do. Dieter has made clear proposals in this area about what the cap should include. It is quite rightly being developed by Ofgem and I’m sure they will be listening carefully to Dieter’s recommendations when they bring forward the cap.

That cap will be in place by the end of this year.

Dieter’s review also makes absolutely clear that government has an important role to play in new nuclear. Dieter calls it a societal choice, as to whether to invest in nuclear.

But for us, it’s more than that. For us, nuclear has a crucial role to play in creating a diverse, reliable energy supply that reduces our CO2 emissions, creates a cost trajectory that we can see going forward and contributes enormously to the Industrial Strategy, to the creation of exportable innovation and capability.

I have no doubt that nuclear is a vital part of the mix both in the UK and for the global community to meet its Paris commitments.

It is also a sector that can deliver innovation, growth, and high-quality jobs for the economy.

But to get these benefits, we have to get costs down.

And this is a joint partnership between government and industry.

For me it’s about innovation. It’s about understanding how new technologies techniques, whether it’s digitisation, modular manufacturing, whatever it is, can help simplify and standardise the nuclear new-build process, and potentially find new markets for that technology.

I’m extremely mindful of the role of government in supporting new nuclear…

We’re studying the results of the NAO report carefully.

If we can get this right, we can maintain our position at the forefront of nuclear innovation. That, for me, is an example of the Clean Growth Grand Challenge in action.

But whether it’s nuclear, or the rest of the energy supply, we have got to think hard about the policy and regulatory changes that we bring forward and be mindful of the unintended consequences that can happen, not just currently, but over a decent period of time going forward.

The government’s ambition is for the UK to have the lowest energy cost in Europe for both households and businesses, whilst delivering on our CO2 targets and ensuring security of supply. We don’t know how markets will look in 50 years’ time.

There are so many disruptive technologies out there, from digitalisation, AI, the continued galloping fall in the cost of clean technology.

For me, this is the most exciting moment in the energy industry in the UK since privatisation, and this change will only accelerate going forward.

More renewables, coal getting off the system by 2025, increasing amounts of distributed energy, more storage, more demand-side, more local generation; again inverting this pyramid, from passive consumers and the top-down approach, to energy moving up and down the system.

And that’s before we confront the challenge that a more electrified heating system may place on the system. If you look at the Clean Growth Strategy, we’re looking at what hydrogen pathway looks like, what increased electrifications looks like; there are radical changes coming forward that will hugely impact the investment decisions we take.

And for me, central planning of anything, whether it’s of an economy or an energy system, means taking often poor choices for short-term ends, and stifling innovation.

The way to get beyond that is to put the consumer, not the producer, at the heart of energy policy.

Firms who create value for consumers – whether they’re large energy-intensive industries, or little old ladies paying on standard variable tariffs – the firms that create the value and deliver the service for those consumers, not the firms which are best at lobbying government, are the ones that are most rewarded by investment and by market share.

A system where market participants who innovate and can reduce both costs and emissions over time, thrive. That is the challenge we all face, whether it is government, regulators or indeed incumbents. That is the market that we want to see coming forward.

If we get it right, the astounding opportunities that are out there, both in solving our own energy problems and solving the energy problems of the world are just immense.

Helping the world’s poorest countries never build a coal-fired power station, but moving straight to a distributed, renewable policy, using some of our climate finance to make that happen.

If we can unlock that future, then the opportunities for UK-based innovation, economic growth and job creation are absolutely immense.

And again, I pivot back to the Industrial Strategy.

The people in the room will know about the Faraday challenge, the first beneficiary of one of the major investments to come out of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund…

Investing where we have a comparative advantage in technology, where we have an industry working from a position of strength,

… we already manufacture 1 in 5 of the electric vehicles sold in in Europe,

… overflowing any benefit into the renewables industry where distributed storage is what will unlock possibilities going forward

… and bringing it all together in a public- private way that drives jobs and growth and innovation and ultimately productivity.

And so, this ambition of a clean low cost innovative energy supply that works for customers, creates strong supply chains, really is built on incredible innovation and knowledge and development, just like we saw in Professor Goodenough’s lab.

That is the prize that is out there for us.

And ultimately, we want to seize that opportunity, create those long-term commercial advantages in the UK, but make sure that when we commercialise and bring them to market, that IP is also kept in the UK and contributes to our economy going forward.

Thank you very much.

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