Theresa May – 2013 Speech to Conservative Party Conference

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Below is the text of the speech made by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to the 2013 Conservative Party Conference in October 2013.

Just over a week ago, we were given another terrible reminder of the threat we face from international terrorism.  The attack on a shopping centre in Nairobi might have happened thousands of miles away, but at least 61 people died, six of whom were British nationals.

In May, terrorists attacked here, in Britain, when Drummer Lee Rigby was killed in Woolwich.  His suspected murderers said they wanted to “start a war in London”.  They failed – our memories of that day are not just of the terrible loss suffered by Lee Rigby’s family but of acts of bravery by members of the public and the resolve of the British people not to turn one against one another.

The same motive – to provoke violence and conflict across Britain – appears to have been behind a series of terrorist attacks in the West Midlands earlier this year.  In April, Mohammed Saleem, an elderly British Muslim from Birmingham, was stabbed to death on his way home from prayers.  His death was followed by bomb plots against mosques in Walsall, Wolverhampton and Tipton.  But again, the terrorist failed – the response from British Muslims was a quiet resolve not to be provoked.

We must not for one second underestimate the threat we face from terrorism and the challenges we must meet in confronting extremism.  But let the message go out from this hall today that whatever the race, religion and beliefs of a terrorist, whatever the race, religion and beliefs of their victims, this is Britain and we are all British – we stand united against terrorism and we will never succumb to violence.

It’s because of the terrorist threat that this Government has taken a tough new approach.  A new strategy to confront all forms of extremism, not just violent extremism.  More foreign hate preachers excluded than ever before.  And foreign terror suspects – including Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada – removed from Britain for good.

I was told a story by one of our immigration officials who was there when Qatada finally got on the plane.  As the official signed off the last of the paperwork, Qatada looked at him and asked, “is Crazy May flying with me?”  I admit I was crazy – crazy with the European Court of Human Rights – and I know I wasn’t the only one.  Here was a foreign terror suspect, wanted for the most serious crimes in his home country, and we were told time and again – thanks to human rights law – we couldn’t deport him.

Despite the seriousness of the case against him, despite assurances from Jordan, and despite our own courts saying he should be deported, the European Court moved the goalposts and blocked his deportation on entirely unprecedented grounds.

So we went back to the drawing board, and – after months of negotiations – we agreed the treaty that finally secured Qatada’s deportation.  I would like everyone here to show their appreciation to James Brokenshire – the Security Minister – for his role in getting that treaty.

Deporting foreign criminals

But it’s ridiculous that the British Government should have to go to such lengths to get rid of dangerous foreigners.  That’s why the next Conservative manifesto will promise to scrap the Human Rights Act. It’s why Chris Grayling is leading a review of our relationship with the European Court.  And it’s why the Conservative position is clear – if leaving the European Convention is what it takes to fix our human rights laws, that is what we should do.

Those are issues for the general election, when Labour and the Lib Dems will have to explain why they value the rights of terrorists and criminals more than the rights of the rest of us.  In the meantime, we need to do all we can now to limit the damage.

The Government will soon publish the Immigration Bill, which will make it easier to get rid of people with no right to be here.

First, we’re going to cut the number of appeal rights.  At the moment, the system is like a never-ending game of snakes and ladders, with almost 70,000 appeals heard every year.  The winners are foreign criminals and immigration lawyers – while the losers are the victims of these crimes and the public.  So we’re going to cut the number of appeal rights from seventeen to four, and in doing so cut the total number of appeals by more than half.

Last year, human rights were cited in almost 10,000 immigration appeal cases.  So the second thing we will do is extend the number of non-suspensive appeals.  This means that where there is no risk of serious and irreversible harm, we should deport foreign criminals first and hear their appeal later.

And third, the Immigration Bill will sort out the abuse of Article Eight – the right to a family life – once and for all.  This is used by thousands of people to stay in Britain every year.  The trouble is, while the European Convention makes clear that a right to a family life is not absolute, judges often treat it as an unqualified right.

That’s why I published new Immigration Rules stating that foreign criminals and illegal immigrants should ordinarily be deported despite their claim to a family life.  Those Rules were debated in the House of Commons, and they were approved unanimously.  But some judges chose to ignore Parliament and go on putting the law on the side of foreign criminals instead of the public.  So I am sending a very clear message to those judges – Parliament wants the law on the people’s side, the public wants the law on the people’s side, and Conservatives in government will put the law on the people’s side once and for all.

Cutting immigration

It is a simple question of fairness.  Because it’s not the rich who lose out when immigration is out of control, it’s people who work hard for a modest wage.

They’re the people who live in communities that struggle to deal with sudden social changes, who rely on public services that can’t cope with demand, who lose out on jobs and have their wages forced down when immigration is too high.

That’s why we’re cutting immigration across the board.  Work visas are down by seven per cent.  Family visas are down by a third.  And student visas – which were abused on an industrial scale under Labour – are also down by a third.  Many of these people weren’t students at all – such was the scale of abuse under Labour, we’ve cut the number of student visas issued each year by more than 115,000.

Immigration is down by almost a fifth since 2010 and net migration is down by a third.  And that means hardworking people are getting a fairer crack of the whip.  Under Labour, in the five years to December 2008, more than ninety per cent of the increase in employment was accounted for by foreign nationals.  But under this Government, two thirds of the increase in employment is accounted for by British people.

That’s an achievement to be proud of.  But I want to tell you about an even bigger achievement.  Yes, our drive to cut immigration has been so successful, even the Liberal Democrats are boasting about it in their campaign handbook.  I don’t remember their enthusiasm for cutting immigration when we worked on the policies – so I’m going to take this with me next time they try to block our reforms.

The latest policy they’re fighting is immigration bonds.  It’s a simple idea – the government should be able to take a £3,000 deposit from temporary migrants and return it when they leave.  If they overstay their visa, they’ll lose their money.

Bonds were in our manifesto at the last election.  But the Lib Dems suddenly announced that it was their idea.  Then they said they were against them.  Then they said they were for them – but only to help more immigrants to come here.  Now they say they’re against them after all.  They were for them, then they were against them… then they were for them, and now they’re against them.

Confused?  Don’t be – the simple conclusion is you can only trust the Conservatives on immigration.

And let me be clear – if the price of Lib Dem support for bonds is more immigration, I will scrap the scheme altogether.

Let’s not forget about Labour.  In just thirteen years, up to four million people settled in Britain.  But they still won’t admit they let immigration get out of control.  In fact, in June, Chuka Umunna let slip they’re considering a target to increase immigration.  I suppose at least this time they’re being honest about it.  But I’ve got news for you, Ed: the British people don’t want it, they’ll never vote for it, and that means they’re never going to vote for you.

So let’s pay tribute to the Conservative Immigration Ministers – first Damian Green and now Mark Harper – for getting immigration down.  And let’s get out there and shout about it.  The British people want less immigration – and that’s exactly what this Government is delivering.

Reforming the police and cutting crime

The people want controlled immigration and a tough approach to law and order too.  Most victims of crime don’t live in the plush suburbs, where you find advocates of liberal drug laws, touchy feely policing and soft prison sentences.  People who live in poorer communities are more likely to be the victims of crime, and they, like us, want the police to be no-nonsense crime fighters.  That’s why we’ve undertaken the most comprehensive police reforms in generations.

There’s another reason, too.  Because of Labour’s deficit, we’ve had to cut police spending by twenty per cent in four years.  When we announced that decision, Labour were adamant: crime would go up.  But under this Government, crime is down by more than ten per cent.

Let’s pay tribute to the Conservative Police Ministers – first Nick Herbert, and now Damian Green – for delivering those police reforms.  And, let’s get out there and shout about our record.  We’ve had to cut spending, but police reform is working and crime is falling.

This Government backs the police.  That’s why many of our reforms give officers the freedom to use their professional judgement.  We also recognise that being a police officer brings with it risks that we don’t face.  Ten days ago, PC Andrew Duncan was knocked down by a speeding car he was trying to pull over.  He died two days later.  Yesterday, at the National Police Memorial Day, I paid tribute to PC Duncan and all the other officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

And let us today say thank you to all those police officers who day in, day out put themselves at risk to keep us safe.

We ask the police to confront dangerous people on our behalf.  We ask them to take risks with their safety so we don’t have to. And sometimes police officers are targeted by criminals because they represent the rule of law.

That’s why this Government will change the law so the starting point for anybody convicted of murdering a police officer is a whole life tariff.  My position is clear: life should mean life.

So we support our police.  But that support must not be unconditional.  Where officers abuse their power, or break the law themselves, we must be ruthless in purging wrongdoing from the ranks.  Recently, we’ve had allegations of misconduct by undercover officers, of attempts to infiltrate the family of Stephen Lawrence, and of attempts by police officers to smear the victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

The vast majority of police officers are driven by the best possible motives and they do fantastic work.  But I’m not prepared to allow a minority to erode public trust in the police.  So we’re creating a national register of officers who’ve been struck off, we’re making sure officers can’t avoid disciplinary hearings by retiring early, and we’re beefing up the Complaints Commission so that, for serious cases, the police will no longer investigate themselves.

There’s one way in particular that I want to make sure the police are using their powers fairly.  Stop and search is crucial in the daily fight against crime.  As long as I’m Home Secretary, the police will keep that power.

But we cannot ignore public concern about whether it’s used fairly.  There are more than a million stop-and-searches recorded every year, but only about nine per cent result in an arrest.  If you’re black or from an ethnic minority, you’re up to seven times more likely to be stopped and searched than if you’re white.  And according to the Inspectorate of Constabulary, more than a quarter of stop and searches might be carried out illegally.

I’m concerned about this for two reasons.  When stop and search is misused, it wastes police time.  And when it’s used unfairly, it does enormous damage to public trust in the police.

We’ve just completed a public consultation into stop and search, and I will announce changes in policy by the end of this year.  But today, I want the message to go out from this hall that nobody should ever be stopped just on the basis of the colour of their skin.

Fairness means we should be equal before the law and equal before the police.  It also means – from minor offences to the most serious – that nobody should live in fear of crime.

But too many people live in just that way.  Too many people live in estates controlled not by the law-abiding majority or the police, but by the yobs responsible for persistent anti-social behaviour and crime.

Labour talk as though ASBOs ended anti-social behaviour overnight.  They need to get out of Westminster and talk to the people who live on those estates dominated by gangs.  They say that ASBOs were a depressing failure.  The majority are breached and – surprise, surprise – when the perpetrator realises there is no consequence, they’re breached again and again.

So in legislation about to be taken on by the excellent Lord Taylor of Holbeach, we’re scrapping CRASBOs, ASBOs, ASBIs, ISOs, DPPOs, DBOs, DCOs and the rest of Labour’s gimmicks.  We’re replacing them with powers that have real teeth and putting the people in charge.  We’re giving the public the power to demand a response when the authorities fail to act, and we’re giving them a say in how the perpetrators are punished.

It’s not just anti-social behaviour that causes decent people to live in fear.  For too long, organised crime has been hidden in plain sight.  It costs our economy more than £20 billion every year.  And it’s behind crimes taking place in towns and cities every day like drug dealing, the supply of guns and illegal immigration.

Here in Manchester, a little more than a year ago, we saw the grim reality of organised crime when Dale Cregan murdered Police Constables Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes in an unprovoked attack in broad daylight.  Cregan killed those brave officers – and two other people – but he didn’t act alone.  He was part of a criminal network linked to one of Manchester’s most notorious families.

Since those murders, Greater Manchester Police have done impressive work in dismantling elements of the city’s organised criminal gangs, and they brought Cregan to justice.  But organised crime doesn’t respect local, regional or national boundaries.  That’s why, from next month, the Government is creating the National Crime Agency.

For the first time, Britain will have a single national agency capable of compiling and harnessing intelligence, fighting crime with its own warranted officers, and leading officers from other law enforcement agencies.  The NCA will mean – at long last – that if you’re a fraudster, a drug baron, a human trafficker or a paedophile, there will be no hiding place.  The National Crime Agency will be coming after you.

Ending modern slavery

I want the NCA to take the fight to criminals of every sort.  We’ll be hearing soon from Nicola Blackwood, about her campaign against the sexual exploitation of children, and from Damian Green, who has been leading the Government’s work in this area.  But I want to talk now about the exploitation of men, women and children by organised criminal gangs.  This appalling crime is known as human trafficking, but we should call it what it is – modern slavery.

That might sound like an exaggeration.  But there is increasing evidence – as we’ve seen in Newport recently – that thousands of people in Britain are exploited through forced labour, being pushed into crime and being made to work in the sex industry.  They are bought and sold as commodities, they are kept in servitude and they have little chance of escape.  Because they are often forced into a life of crime, they fear not just their traffickers but the people who should be there to help them – the police and the authorities.

So modern slavery is taking place in Britain.  And its victims are not always foreign nationals brought here by gangs.  This year, in Luton, British criminals were sentenced for kidnapping homeless people and forcing them to work in dreadful conditions for no pay.  They were beaten if they even talked about escape.  They were British people, working for British gangmasters, in Britain – and they were being kept as slaves.

We cannot ignore this evil in our midst.  And that is why the Government will soon publish a Modern Slavery Bill.  That Bill will bring into a single Act the confusing array of human trafficking offences.  It will give the authorities the powers they need to investigate, prosecute and lock up the slave drivers.  And it will make sure that there are proper punishments for the perpetrators of these appalling crimes.

The Bill will send the clearest possible message.  If you’re involved in this disgusting trade in human beings, you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted – and you will be thrown behind bars.

You can only trust the Conservatives to be fair.

So, under David Cameron, this Government is doing serious work and achieving great things.  In the Home Office, we’re playing our part in dealing with the deficit by reducing spending.  But we’re proving – through reform – it is possible to deliver more with less.  Crime is down.  Immigration is down.  Abu Qatada is gone – and we are changing the law to get rid of other foreign terrorists and criminals.  We are proving that you can only trust the Conservatives to be fair for the hard-working, law-abiding majority.

Labour failed to deport Abu Qatada.  They deliberately let immigration get out of control.  They passed the Human Rights Act and put the law on the side of criminals.  They took black and ethnic minority voters for granted and did nothing about stop and search.  They spent billions on policing but failed to make sure we got value for money.  They never got to grips with anti-social behaviour and turned a blind eye to organised crime.

Only the Conservatives can be trusted to control immigration.

Only the Conservatives can be trusted to get tough on crime.

And only the Conservatives can be trusted to be fair for the hard-working, law-abiding majority.

So let’s be proud of our Prime Minister and our achievements in government.  Let’s keep striving to win that majority so we can carry on the job.  Let’s offer the country an optimistic vision for what we can achieve in the years ahead.  Let’s remember that we share the values of the British people.  And let’s show every hardworking person which party is on their side – our party, the Conservative Party.

Jeremy Hunt – 2013 Conservative Party Conference Speech

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Below is the text of the speech made by the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to the 2013 Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been in this job a year now. When I was given it I said that to be responsible for the NHS was the greatest privilege of my life, and so it has been. It has been a wonderful year in a remarkable organisation.

And I’ve been very lucky to have a great team of ministers. Norman Lamb, Dan Poulter, Anna Soubry and Freddie Howe have been terrific. Please put your hands together to thank them for their work.

I actually had an NHS operation on my head last year. You might say there are lots of things wrong with my head, but this was only minor surgery. I was lying on my back in the operating theatre. The surgeon had his scalpel out ready to start when one of the nurses looked at me and said “By the way Mr Hunt, what is it you do for a living?”

I froze. In fact my mind flashed back to when Ronald Reagan was shot. As he was wheeled into the operating theatre, he looked up at the doctors and said “I hope you’re all Republicans”.

I go out onto the frontline most weeks. Not just visiting, but actually rolling up my sleeves, putting on the uniform and mucking in. I have learned more from doing this than I’ve ever found out sitting behind a ministerial desk.

I have done the tea round in a Worthing ward; washed down emergency beds in Watford; answered the phone in a busy London GP surgery; even done a nursing round in Salford. You’ll be relieved to hear that no one has asked me to perform surgery yet.

I’m pleased to say staff are never slow to say when my efforts don’t meet their high standards. Disconcertingly the usual reaction I get is “you’re much nicer than we thought you’d be.”

Going on the frontline you meet some remarkable people.

People like the inspirational Elaine and her team at Salford, running one of the safest hospitals in the country right here on our doorstep.

Or a GP I met in Feltham who had a patient who was diagnosed with a terminal illness.

He went out of his way to visit the patient every day after he finished at work. Then one day he arrived at the patient’s home and was upset to see he’d just died. So he decided to wash and clean him. As he told the patient’s wife “I want this man to go out of his home with dignity.”

To him that was just his job. To me, it’s the NHS. There for us and our families, no matter how old, how frail, how hard-up…treating everyone with dignity, respect and compassion.

That incredible miracle of human nature that happens when one human being is confronted with another who’s unwell. However tired, stressed or busy they feel, they tap into hidden reserves of strength and compassion to comfort and help.

I don’t come from a health background. I ran my own business. I’ve worked in Japan and set up a charity in Africa. But in all of the places I’ve worked I have never seen people strive harder than the doctors, nurses and professionals in our NHS. To all of you who work in the NHS, I want to say thank you for what you do for our country. You make us proud.

CONFRONTING FAILURE

But if you love an institution, you are even more determined to sort out any problems.

Which is why every week I make sure I see personally some of the letters that come in about things that have gone wrong.

Recently I read about someone who lost their wife because her records were mixed up and she was given the wrong medicine. Someone else wrote in who had lost their three year old son because the ambulance didn’t get there in time. Someone else had been brushed off when he complained that his father was left lying naked in a public ward.

These are not typical of our NHS or its staff. And things do go wrong sometimes despite everyone’s best efforts.

But the duty of of a Health Secretary, however painful, is to look into these problems, accept responsibility and do what it takes to stop them being repeated.

Which is what happened this year.

Not just at Mid Staffs hospital where so many terrible things happened. But at 11 more hospitals we had to put into special measures all in one go in July, something that has never happened before in the NHS.

So this year we appointed for the first time a Chief Inspector of Hospitals. Modelled on the tough regulatory regime that Ofsted use for our schools, this is someone whose job is to speak out, without fear or favour, about the standards in our hospitals. The nation’s whistleblower in chief.

What Professor Sir Mike Richards finds will not always be comfortable. But his tough new inspections, which started two weeks ago, will mean everyone for the first time will know the answers to some simple questions: how good is my local hospital? Is it safe? Does it have enough staff? Does it put patients first?

I’m sure in most places the answer will be positive. But if it isn’t we need to know and then things will change.

DENIAL

It sounds simple.

But many of these problems should never have happened in the first place.

Let’s be clear – in a huge system like the NHS, things go wrong and mistakes are made whichever party is in power.

But tragically under Labour the system did everything it could to cover up these mistakes.

Giving Morecambe Bay the all-clear in April 2010 despite the deaths of 16 babies. That was wrong.

Giving the all-clear to Basildon and Tameside Hospitals in late 2009 just weeks before stories emerged of blood-spattered wards, patients being treated on trollies and elderly patients left alone unable to eat. That was wrong.

Refusing 81 requests, as their ministers did, for a public inquiry into Mid Staffs. That was wrong.

Forcing a group of grieving families to wait in the snow, wind and rain because the health secretary refused to grant them even one meeting. That too was wrong.

As the country’s leading expert on hospital death rates Professor Sir Brian Jarman says, the Department of Health was a ‘denial machine.’

Indeed the Chair of the CQC talked of the pressure she was put under by a minister in that government not to speak out.

That person, Barbara Young, is no Conservative – in fact she is a Labour peer. So even their own people felt desperately uncomfortable.

To those Labour people who hated what was happening on their watch, I have this to say: you were right.

Covering things up is not only worse for those who suffer. It means the problem doesn’t get fixed and may be repeated.

And then it’s not the rich who suffer, it is the most vulnerable. Disabled children. Older people with dementia. Those with no relatives to kick up a fuss. Ordinary people who put their faith in the system, only to find the system wasn’t there for them when they needed it.

Labour betrayed the very people they claim to stand up for.

But what is even more worrying is they are still in complete denial about what happened.

In his speech last week, Andy Burnham didn’t find time to mention Mid Staffs once. Not once. In the year of the Francis Inquiry, Morecambe Bay, the Keogh report, a brand new inspection regime – none of that was important enough to merit even a single mention by Labour’s health spokesman.

But he did mention privatisation 13 times. They want the whole health debate to be about so-called privatisation.

But use of the independent sector to bring waiting times down and raise standards is not privatisation. It’s what Tony Blair, Alan Milburn, Patricia Hewitt, John Reid and Alan Johnson all believed was right for patients.

Ed Miliband now says that was wrong. But no ideology, left or right, should ever trump the needs of patients.

Because for patients it’s not public vs private. It’s good care vs bad care. And we’ll stamp out bad care wherever we find it – public sector, private sector, hospitals, care homes, surgeries – and never cover it up.

So today I can announce a major reform that will stop Labour or any government ever trying to cover up poor care.

We will legislate in the Care Bill to give the CQC statutory independence, rather like the Bank of England has over interest rates, so ministers can never again lean on it to suppress bad news.

The care of our NHS patients is too important for political meddling – and our new legislation will make sure that ministers always put patients first.

OUR RECORD

As Conservatives we show our commitment to the NHS by what we do as well as what we say.

And we have a record to be proud of.

We set up the Cancer Drugs Fund which has helped 34,000 people so far.

This week David Cameron has announced it will continue for another two years. Even better would be if Labour in Wales agreed to introduce it there so we stopped the obscenity of Welsh cancer sufferers renting houses in England in order to get the cancer drugs they need to save their lives.

And unlike in Wales, this Government made the difficult choice to protect the NHS budget in the face of unprecedented financial pressure.

And look at what we’ve done with that budget. On basically the same budget in real-terms, the NHS is doing 800,000 more operations every year than Labour’s last year in office AND long waits have actually come down.

In 2010, 18,000 people waited more than a year, now it’s less than 400.  And not just that:

Four million more outpatient appointments every single year;

MRSA rates halved;

Mixed sex wards virtually gone.

8000 fewer managers and 4000 more doctors

All thanks to our Prime Minister David Cameron, whose personal commitment to the NHS has shone like a beacon from the moment he became our leader.

OUR VISION

But if we are to prepare the NHS for the future we cannot stop there.

Andrew Lansley courageously put health budgets and decisions on treatment back into the hands of local doctors – and we are seeing huge innovation as a result.

And if there’s one big change we need more than anything, it’s to transform the care older people receive outside hospital.

It’s true for all of us, but especially true for older people that prevention is better than cure. Avoiding that fall down the stairs, stopping an infection going septic, halting the onset of dementia – these are things that give people happy, healthy last years to spend at home surrounded by family and friends. They also saves the NHS money.

To do this, we need to rediscover the ideal of family doctors. Making GPs more accessible for people at work, as today’s announcement about piloting 8 till 8 7 day opening will do.

But also giving GPs the time and space to care proactively for vulnerable older people on their lists, keeping tabs on them and helping them stay well longer.

The last government’s GP contract changes in 2004 abolished named GPs – and in doing so destroyed the personal link between patients and their GPs. Trust between doctor and patient is at the heart of what NHS professionalism stands for – and we should never have allowed that GP contract to undermine it.

So from next April we will be reversing that mistake by introducing a named GP, responsible for proactive care for all vulnerable older people.

Someone to be their champion in the integrated health and social care system that we will be implementing from April following George Osborne’s announcement in July.

Restoring the link between doctor and patient for millions.  And joining up a system which has allowed too many people to fall between the cracks.

And for those who need residential care, we’ll do something else. We’ll stop them ever having to sell the home they have worked hard for all their life to pay for the cost of it.

Our Dilnot reforms will make us one of the first countries in the world where people make proper provision for their care costs just as they do for their pension.

CONCLUSION

These are big and difficult challenges.

But the party that really cares about the NHS is the party prepared to take tough decisions – so the NHS can be the pride of our children and grandchildren just as it is our pride too.

No to the blind pursuit of targets – but yes to putting patients first.

No to cover ups and ignoring problems – but yes to transparency and sorting them out.

No to pessimism about the future of the NHS – yes to pride and confidence that with courage and commitment it can go from strength to strength.

That’s our Conservative NHS: the doctors party, the nurses party and – yes – the patients party.

Conference we have always been the party of aspiration.  It has always been our dream to make Britain the best country in the world for young people to grow up in.

But we’re also the party that believes in respect for older people.  So as we face the challenge of an ageing population, under our stewardship of the NHS we can do something else too: we can make Britain the best country not just the best country in the world to grow up in, but the best country to grow old in too.

Let’s stop at nothing to make that happen.

Justine Greening – 2013 Speech to Conservative Party Conference

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Below is the text of the speech made by Justine Greening to the 2013 Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.

I’m proud to be a member of a party and a government that is cracking on with the job of turning this great country around.

Like everyone else in this room – I would have preferred a Cabinet that was a lot more blue and Conservative and a lot less yellow and Lib Dem.

We all know that Labour left our country in the worst possible state.

I was with George Osborne in the Treasury team when came into Government in 2010 – so I know as well as anyone the state in which Labour left our nation’s finances.

We’ve come a long way since then, and we are turning the corner. This Conservative led government is getting things back on track –  we have cut the deficit by a third, capped benefits, businesses have created 1.4 million new jobs, we’ve cut taxes for 25 million people, and more besides.

And as someone who fought and won a seat off Labour in 2005 I know that what comes up on the doorstep is generally what’s happening at here in the UK.

But I also know what we are doing overseas matters hugely in today’s complex world.

I’ve never looked at that world through rose tinted glasses but I believe what we do in development is crucial for a successful Britain.

We are a nation that’s always engaged with the rest of the world, in every sense: culturally, commercially and politically. Britain has always been a country that matters. That’s in our interest. Doing this role I’ve had the chance to see us from the outside, as others do. They have an overwhelmingly positive view of Britain. We have a standing in this world that is unique. It counts for something. It means always being heard in a crowded world, always being listened to. And critically, as I know from my time in industry before I came into politics, the UK is the ultimate brand that our companies rely on, to open doors to new markets for them.

How do we maintain that vital advantage? Well, international development is a practical part of that approach – alongside a strong defence policy, which we heard about just now from Philip, and skilled diplomacy, which we’ll hear about next from William.

Last week, William and I were representing Britain at the United Nations. While we were there, we met the US secretary of state John Kerry.

If John Kerry didn’t know the Rotherham Yorkshire accent before that meeting, he did by the end of it.

And we talked about our humanitarian work in Syria.

It’s our biggest ever response to any humanitarian crisis and it reflects the scale, despair and brutality of the situation.  The face of this Syrian crisis is a child’s face.  Out of school, traumatised.

Our humanitarian work for Syria is about helping ordinary people – who led lives we’d recognise but have now lost everything.

When I’ve had the chance to meet Syrian refugees, in camps and communities in Lebanon and Jordan, I’ve met proud people – they don’t want handouts, they just want their lives back. And we should support them to make that happen.

We’re not a country that just stands by or looks away as people have their lives shattered through no fault of their own.

When people in need call out to the international community, to the world for help, Britain is one of those countries that they can count on. And I am proud about that.

I’m also proud of what we’re achieving when it comes to tackling the three big killer diseases: AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Our investment in the Global Fund is saving literally millions of lives with the help of the British people. One life saved every three minutes over the next three years.

And for developing countries, healthcare is about economic productivity.

In a country like Ghana, if you get malaria during the year, and the rest of your family does too, it’s like being badly laid up with flu, only not just once during the winter, but every other month – you get it, your children get it. It can be fatal. And aside from the strain on the health system, a family in Ghana will spend 30% of their entire household income on the medical costs of treating malaria.

For businesses with a workforce that’s often sick, it’s a big productivity issue too. So if we can reduce malaria, we increase economic productivity. That’s why the UK announced last week that we are stepping up our Global Fund investment in malaria, AIDS and TB with people like Bill Gates. He’s not someone who invests for the sake of it and neither am I – we invest, because we both know this pays back.

He expects results and so do I.

As a former Treasury minister I’m not interested in schemes or programmes that fail to make a long term dent in extreme poverty. And I’ve taken decisions to exit aid programmes in countries that are successfully developing and able to invest for themselves, like India and South Africa

That’s also why one of my top priorities is investing in girls and women. That investment delivers some of the best returns of any development programmes – when a girl gets education she marries later, has fewer children, and the children she does have will be healthier. When she can earn extra income, a woman will reinvest 90% of it in her family and community.

It may sounds boring to non-accountants out there, but I’m proud that in procurement, last month up against competition from the public and private sector, my department won the annual award for the Best International Procurement from the Chartered Institute for Procurement and Supply

This is the kind of stuff I’ve been getting to grips with, driving up value for money and driving out waste.

But it’s not just about a value for money approach to Britain’s commitment to being there for humanitarian crises and being part of the effort to defeat the global diseases that hold countries back.

We also target our efforts to reduce conflict, and boost the rule of law, which helps make Britain safer at home.

That’s why I sit with William Hague, Theresa May and Philip Hammond on the Prime Minister’s National Security Council. Because aid has a role in making us safer.

What the Prime Minister has called the Golden Thread is about building good governance and the institutions that make fairer, more productive and more stable countries.

In other words, countries where people can go about their business in peace without having to flee violence or poverty.

Our work in Somalia is a case in point. It’s a country that’s been under siege from the terror group Al Shabaab – a group that the Government of Somalia has been fighting with our help. It’s closely affiliated to Al Qaeda. If you didn’t know of Al Shabaab before the recent atrocity in Nairobi, you sadly do now. It shows you just what they’re up against and why they need our help.

We are helping train their police force, rebuilding Mogadishu’s crumbling prison and developing their criminal justice system to contain that terror threat as much as they can.

Similarly in Yemen, my Ministerial colleague Alan Duncan has led the way working with that country’s government to keep their country stable and secure.

Of course it’s good for those countries, but it’s good for us too.

It can’t ever make sense to allow terrorists to flourish overseas, and to reach our shores before we do something about it.

It’s sensible to tackle these risks at source.

Its overseas aid with a tough objective. In this case, being involved early so that our soldiers don’t have to be.

In fact about half of our budget now goes on helping countries to have a better chance to remain stable, so in turn we have a better chance to keep safe.

And key to a stable, successful country with prospects is a thriving private sector, jobs and businesses, trading with Britain and the rest of the world.

I don’t want countries to continue indefinitely being dependent on our aid. I never have. I want the opposite – an end to aid dependency through jobs.

That’s why we’re helping developing economies grow faster but can we be smarter about the UK locking into the business opportunities those emerging economies present? Yes. That’s why the work I’m now doing with British industry – the retailers, infrastructure companies, London Stock Exchange, oil and mining companies to name a few – has the chance to be a real win/win situation, helping developing economies grow, but with responsible investment from our British companies aswell.

Seven of the 15 fastest growing economies in the world today are in Africa.  And while Africa may still have immense challenges, it is a continent now in transition. Development is happening.

China has already transitioned significantly, lifting millions out of extreme poverty on the way – their purchase of our cars, built here, is one of the reasons why our car industry is a net exporter for the first time since the 1970s.

So development doesn’t just develop their economies, it develops ours too.

28 chief execs of some of the UK’s biggest companies wrote to the Financial Times earlier this year to make this very point. As they know, relationships count in business. We can be building those relationships early in the next wave of emerging economies, or we can start building them late after others are already there.

So yes, we spend 0.7% of our National Income on international development and of course it means that 99.3% isn’t spent on international development.

But I can assure you that in meeting this manifesto promise, it’s a 0.7%, that’s 100% in our national interest.

The easiest thing would be to do nothing. To turn our face away from extreme poverty and hardship, to ignore the instability, ignore the effects until they reach our shores, to not worry about getting into emerging markets until after everyone else, but that’s not sensible.

And in an ever more joined up world – To those who say “stop the world I want to get off” that’s not an option. So reaching out, shaping our world has never been more important.

We are a country that looks out to the world and shapes it. We don’t just sit back and wait for events to shape us.

Britain is great because our values, our institutions do stand for something that is real that others want to share, we have a history that means we’re unique in having our Commonwealth.

And at the end of the day, we’re helping people provide for themselves, building opportunity, growing trade markets, keeping Britain safe and getting a headstart in the global race.

That sounds like a Conservative agenda for international development to me, and that’s exactly what this Government is committed to delivering.

George Osborne – 2013 Conservative Party Conference Speech

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Below is the text of the speech made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, to the 2013 Conservative Party Conference.

At every Party Conference since the election, as we have gathered, the question for us, the question for me, the question for our country, has been: ‘is your economic plan working?’. They’re not asking that question now.

The deficit down by a third. Exports doubled to China. Taxpayers’ money back from the banks, not going in. 1.4 million new jobs created by businesses. 1,000 new jobs announced in this city today. Our plan is working.

We held our nerve in the face of huge pressure. Now Britain is turning a corner. That is down to the resolve and to the sacrifice of the people of this country. And for that support we owe the British people a huge heartfelt thank you. Thanks to you: Britain is on the right track.

So now families, working hard to get on, anxious about the future, are asking these questions: Can we make the recovery last? And will I feel it in my pocket?

My approach has always been to be straight with people. So let me answer these questions directly.

‘Yes’, we can make the recovery a lasting one. But it won’t happen by itself. Many risks remain. We have to deal with our debts and see our plan through. And ‘Yes’, if the recovery is sustained then families will start to feel better off. Because what matters most for living standards are jobs, and low mortgage rates, and lower taxes. But family finances will not be transformed overnight. Because Britain was made much poorer by the crash. That is what happens when you get a catastrophic failure of economic policy of the kind we saw under Labour. When no-one prepares in the boom for the bust. When banks get bailed out. And when government budgets spiral out of control. We are never going to let that happen to our country again.

I share none of the pessimism I saw from the Leader of the Opposition last week. For him the global free market equates to a race to the bottom with the gains being shared among a smaller and smaller group of people. That is essentially the argument Karl Marx made in Das Kapital. It is what socialists have always believed. But the irony is this: It is socialism that always brings it about. And it is the historic work of this Party to put that right. Because attempts to fix prices and confiscate wealth crush endeavour and blunt aspiration. And the people who suffer are not the rich, but the hundreds of thousands put out of work. The millions made poorer. The generation whose hopes are blighted. It is working people who always pay the price when the economy is ruined. That is what Labour did to the workers. And the British people are never going to let them forget it.

By contrast, I’m an optimist about the world. I am a believer in freedom and free markets. I see the global economy growing. I see hundreds of millions of people in places like India and China leaving grinding poverty to join it. That is something to celebrate.

It doesn’t have to be a threat to this country. It is a huge opportunity. But we have to understand that the wealth of nations depends on some basic truths. Jobs are only created when people build businesses that are successful and can expand. Exports only happen if those businesses are making things that others in the world want to buy. Investment only flows if your country is a more attractive place to do business than other countries. The wealth this creates can be spread widely across the nation.

But only when every child gets a good education; when each adult has the incentive to work; and every family gets to keep more of what they earn. To achieve all this you need to get the fundamentals right: economic stability, sound public finances, safe banks, excellent schools & colleges, competitive taxes, amazing science, welfare that works.

There’s no short cut to any of these things. Just the hard graft of putting right what went so badly wrong and forging a new attitude in this country that says: We are not afraid of the future because we intend to shape it.

So there’s no feeling at this Conference of a task completed or a victory won. We know it’s not over. Until we’ve fixed the addiction to debt that got this country into this mess in the first place. It’s not over. Until we can help hardworking people to own a home, to save, to start a business. It’s not over. Until we’ve helped the long term unemployed condemned to a life on the dole. It’s not over. Until there is real faith that our childrens’ lives will be better than our own. It is not over. This battle to turn Britain around – it is not even close to being over.

We are going to finish what we have started. What I offer is a serious plan for a grown-up country. An economic plan for hardworking people. That will create jobs. Keep mortgage rates low. Let people keep more of their income – tax free. It is the only route to better living standards. For without a credible economic plan, you simply don’t have a living standards plan. We understand that there can be no recovery for all – if there is no recovery at all.

The events in Italy and deadlock in Washington this week are a stark reminder that the debt crisis is not over. And yet the last fortnight has shown there’s no serious plan coming from any other party. The Liberal Democrats at their Conference were jostling for position. I have to tell you today, that Nick Clegg has informed us of his intention to form a new coalition. For the first time, he’s intending to create a full working relationship with Vince Cable. Mind you, at their conference Vince Cable did do something that was undeniably Tory. If I’d been there, I wouldn’t have turned up to the Lib Dem economic debate either. But at least they had an economic debate.

Labour’s economic announcements amounted to: Declaring war on enterprise; a tax rise on business; and an apprenticeship policy that turned out to be illegal.

And then there was the energy announcement that completely unraveled. Any politician would love to tell you that they can wave a magic wand and freeze your energy bill. Everyone wants cheaper energy. So we’re legislating to put everyone on the cheapest tariff.

But I’ll tell you what happens when you draw up policy on the back of a fag packet. Companies would just jack up their prices before the freeze so in the short term, prices go up. And companies would not invest in this country and build the power stations we need – so in the long term, prices go up.

So that’s Labour’s offer: Get hammered with high prices now. Get hammered with high prices later. Higher energy prices for all. But don’t worry, there’s a phony freeze on prices in between. How should I put it? Britain can do better than that. But perhaps with all this talk of blackouts we’ve been a bit unfair on Ed Miliband’s leadership. We used to think: lights on, but nobody’s home. It turns out we were only half right.

I remember when we were in opposition and we made uncosted commitments and unworkable promises to abolish things like student fees. We felt good at Conferences like these. Then we lost elections. David Cameron got us to face the truth about the way we had come to be seen. He forced us to be credible.To reach out to all parts of society.Last week, Labour didn’t do that. They retreated to the left.

Ed Miliband told delegates he could make all our problems disappear.That he could send everyone a cheque in the post.But it isn’t based on truth. More borrowing and more debt remains their economic policy.

But they no longer dare talk to the British people about it.Instead, they’d much rather just talk about the cost of living. As if the cost of living was somehow detached from the performance of the economy. Well you ask the citizens of Greece what happens to living standards when the economy fails. You ask someone with a mortgage what happens to their living standards when mortgage rates go up. Just a 1 percent rise means an extra £1,000 on the average mortgage bill.

You ask the citizens of this country what would be an absolute disaster for living standards. They’ll tell you. Higher borrowing. Higher welfare costs. Higher taxes. Meaning: Higher mortgage rates, and higher unemployment.

These aren’t the solution to lower living standards. They are the cause of lower living standards. And this country is paying a very high price for that lesson.

If you want to know the consequences of an Ed Miliband premiership, just look at the plan of the man who knows him best: His brother. David Miliband. One: leave Parliament. Two: leave politics. Three: leave the country. Four: dedicate your life to International Rescue. David and Ed Miliband. The greatest sibling rivalry since the Bible. Cain and not very Abel.

Our own rescue mission for the British economy is far from complete. People know the difference between a quick fix con and a credible economic argument. Here’s our serious plan for a grown-up countr:

First, sound money. The bedrock of any sustained recovery and improved living standards is economic stability. That is what the hard work and sacrifice of the last three years has all been about. In that time we have brought the deficit down by a third. And the British public know that whoever is elected will face some very hard choices. Let me tell you the principles I bring to that task. Our country’s problem is not that it taxes too little. It is that its government spends too much.

So while no responsible Chancellor ever rules out tax changes, I think it can be done by reducing spending and capping welfare, not by raising taxes. That’s my plan.

And surely the lesson of the last decade is that it’s not enough to clean up the mess after it’s happened?You’ve got to take action before it happens. It should be obvious to anyone that in the years running up to the crash this country should have been running a budget surplus. That’s what we mean when we say they didn’t fix the roof when the sun was shining.

Let us never make that same mistake again. Never again should anyone doing my job be so foolish, so deluded, as to believe that they have abolished the age-old cycle of boom and bust. So I can tell you today that when we’ve dealt with Labour’s deficit, we will have a surplus in good times as insurance against difficult times ahead. Provided the recovery is sustained, our goal is to achieve that surplus in the next Parliament. That will bear down on our debts and prepare us for the next rainy day. That is going to require discipline and spending control. For if we want to protect those things we care about, like generous pensions and decent healthcare, and buy the best equipment for the brave men and women who fight in our armed forces, all of us are going to have confront the costs of modern government – and cap working age welfare bills. And only if we properly control public expenditure will we be able to keep lowering taxes for hardworking people in a way that lasts.

I’ve never been for tax cuts that are borrowed. I want low taxes that are paid for. We also want to go on investing in the essential infrastructure of our country – the roads and railways and science and communications that are the backbone of the future economy. So we should commit, alongside running a surplus and capping welfare, to grow our capital spending at least in line with our national income. These principles will form the foundation of our public finance policy and I will set out the details next year.

And for those who ask: Is this necessary? I say: What is the alternative? To run a deficit for ever? To leave our children with our debts? To leave Britain perilously exposed to the next storm that comes? This crisis took us to the brink. If we don’t reduce our debts, the next could push us over. Let us learn from the mistakes that got Britain into this mess. Let us vow: never again This time we’re going to run a surplus. This time we’re going to fix the roof when the sun is shining.

So first, our plan secures sound public finances. Second, it supports the aspirations of hard working people and lets them keep more of the money they earn. We are increasing to £10,000 the amount you can earn before you pay a penny of income tax. That is a real achievement, delivered in budget after budget by a Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The Liberal Democrats like to point out that during the election David Cameron said he’d love to increase the tax allowance, but warned it’s not easy to afford. You know what? He did say that. And he was right. The difficult thing is not increasing the tax-free allowance. The difficult thing is paying for it. But we’ve done it. The result: an income tax cut for 25 million people. Equivalent to a rise of almost 10 percent in the minimum wage. Real money in peoples’ pockets.

For we are the party of hard working people. And to anyone who questions that I say: Go to the workplaces of Britain, like the huge Morrisons warehouse in Sittingbourne, and meet the fork lift truck drivers there. Go to the Warburton factory near Birmingham. Meet the people who work all hours or meet the night crews repairing the M6. Hardworking people better off because of Conservative tax cuts. These are the people we stand alongside.

And because we’re getting the public finances back under control, we’ve been able to help in other ways too. Freezing council tax. Cutting beer duty. Tax free childcare. And thanks to our Prime Minister, now a one thousand pound married couples allowance too. A Conservative promise made and a Conservative promise more than delivered.

We’ve cut fuel duty. Abolished Labour’s escalator. And I can tell you today that provided we can find the savings to pay for it, I want to freeze fuel duty for the rest of this Parliament. Conservatives don’t just talk about being on the side of hardworking people. We show it day in day out in the policies we deliver. People aspire to keep more of their income – tax free. And many aspire to run their own business and work for themselves. My parents planned carefully, took a risk, and set up a small manufacturing company more than forty years ago.

The company grew. Employed more people. And the life of the family business – the orders won, the first exports, the recessions and recoveries – these were the backdrop of my childhood. I’m hugely proud of my parents – of what my parents achieved. And I’m proud that they’re here in this hall today. You should know this about me:

I will always be on the side of those who use their savings, take a risk, and put everything on the line to set up their own company. Labour increased small business tax. I’ve cut it. Labour were extending business rates to the smallest firms. I’ve exempted them. Now, our new Employment Allowance is going to take a third of all the businesses out of paying national insurance altogether. We Conservatives are nothing if we’re not the party of small business, and that’s the way it’s going to stay.

And we’re the party of home ownership too. I’m the first person to say we must be vigilant about avoiding the mistakes of the past. That’s why I gave powers to the Bank of England to stop dangerous housing bubbles emerging. But too many people are still being denied the dream of owning their own home.

So instead of starting the second phase of Help to Buy next year, we’re starting it next week.

There are some people – many living in the richest parts of London – who say we shouldn’t be doing these things. I have this to say: Take you arguments down the road to Nelson or Colne, where house prices have fallen for the past five years. Take your arguments to Bury, or Morecambe, where young working couples are still living at home with their parents. Take your arguments to our great towns and cities where there are families who have saved for years, earning decent salaries, who can afford the mortgage repayments but can’t possibly afford the deposit being asked by the banks these days.

Take your arguments to those families and say: ‘This policy is not right. You shouldn’t be allowed to get your home.’ I tell you what they’ll say back: ‘It’s alright for you. You’ve got your own home. We’ve been saving for years. What about us?’

I know whose side this Party is on. We are the party of aspiration. The housebuilding party of Macmillan. The party of Thatcher’s right to buy. And now the party of David Cameron’s Help to Buy. We are the party of home ownership and we’re going to let the country know it. We are also going make sure no one is left behind as our economy recovers. Our goal is nothing short of a recovery for all. That’s the third part of our economic plan.

Lectures from the Left on fairness, quite frankly, stick in the throat. Under their government: the richest paid lower tax rates than their cleaners; tax avoidance boomed; inequality increased; youth unemployment doubled; the gap between the north and the south grew; and the number of households where no one worked reached record levels.

Fair?

Theirs was the unfairest government of them all.

And contrast this with what we have done. And when I say we, I mean we Conservatives. I sit at that Cabinet table and I know who has really put forward the policies that are delivering a fairer society. The pupil premium to support the most disadvantaged children: that was Michael Gove’s idea, front and centre of the last Conservative manifesto.

Our commitment on international aid. Delivered by Andrew Mitchell and Justine Greening. Action on domestic violence – that’s Theresa May The international campaign to get rape recognized as a war crime – led by William Hague. New care standards for the elderly – Jeremy Hunt. The anti avoidance measures in Budget after Budget: the painstaking work of our Conservative Treasury team Greg Clark, David Gauke, Sajid Javid, and Amber Rudd. Powers to the Cities, rights for gay people, the biggest ever rise in the state pension.

All delivered by Conservatives in Government.

And the overhaul of our entire welfare system, making sure work always pays. That’s Iain Duncan Smith’s life’s mission.

These are all achievements of the modern, reformed, Conservative party we have worked so hard to create. But as we change our party and govern our country, there is still more to do. I am part of the generation of Conservatives that came after the great struggles of the 1980s. That government rescued the country from a tail-spin of decline. It laid the foundations of the renewal of cities like Manchester. But we shouldn’t pretend we got everything right.

Old problems were solved. But some new problems emerged. In some parts of the country, worklessness took hold and we didn’t do enough to stop that. And as a local Member of Parliament here, I know that in some parts of the North of England we still have to work hard to overcome the long memories of people who thought we didn’t care.

Labour made that problem of welfare dependency worse. By the time they left office, five million people were on out of work benefits. What a waste of life and talent. A generation of people recycled through the job centres, collecting their dole cheques year in year out, and no one seemed to notice.

And an open-door immigration policy meant those running the economy didn’t care. There was always an uncontrolled supply of low-skilled labour from abroad. Well, never again.

We’ve capped benefits and our work programme is getting people into jobs. We’ve cut immigration by a third. But what about the long term unemployed? Let us pledge here: We will not abandon them, as previous governments did. Today I can tell you about a new approach we’re calling Help to Work. For the first time, all long term unemployed people who are capable of work will be required to do something in return for their benefits, and to help them find work.

They will do useful work putting something back into their community. Making meals for the elderly, clearing up litter, working for a local charity. Others will be made to attend the job centre every working day. And for those with underlying problems, like drug addiction and illiteracy, there will be an intensive regime of support. No one will be ignored or left without help. But no one will get something for nothing. Help to work – and in return work for the dole.

Because a fair welfare system is fair to those who need it and fair to those who pay for it too. Our economic plan. Sound finance. Backing aspiration. No-one left behind. Investing in the future.

At the end of next week, I’m travelling to China. And when you visit a metropolis like Guangzhou or Shenzhen, it’s hard not be awed by the scale of what is happening there, by the ambition and the drive. Some say we shouldn’t even try to compete against China because it’s the sweatshop of the world. But the world is changing. And China is now also a huge market for our exports and a home of innovation and technological advance. This is a huge challenge for our country. But if we get it right, it is the key to our future prosperity.

That is what the debate about living standards is really all about. I don’t want to see other nations pushing the frontiers of science and invention and commerce and explain to my children: that used to be us; that used to be our country. I don’t want to look back and say I was part of a generation that gave up and got poorer as a result. We don’t have to be.

The other day I went to meet the people building a car that will travel at a thousand miles an hour and break the land speed record. And it’s not being built in Boston by some huge American defence company. It’s not being built in Beijing by the Chinese Government. It’s called the Bloodhound. Built in Bristol by British engineers and British apprentices and British companies.

That’s why I say we are in charge of our own destiny.

And here in this great railway hall can you imagine the nation of Isambard Kingdom Brunel being unable to summon the will to join the north and the south with a high speed railway and bring more jobs and prosperity to great cities like this? We will complete this great work of engineering in the best tradition of our country. And should we accept that this nation that mined deep for coal, and took to the cold, stormy seas to search for oil, will turn its back on new sources of energy like shale gas?

No. We absolutely should not. Should we, the country that built the first civil nuclear power station, say: ‘we are never going to build any more – leave it to others?’ Not on my watch.

Should we, the nation of Newton and Crick, here in the city of Rutherford and Turing, should we say:’Let others in the world lead mankind’s scientific endeavour. It’s all too difficult for us?’ No. Let’s mass sequence the human genome, promote genetic research and pioneer the materials of the future like graphene.

Here in Manchester, where the industrial age began, the atom was first split, and the modern computer first built, we’re going to confront that tendency that says: ‘stop the world I want to get off.’

We say: ‘Not for us the comfort of the past’. Ours is the Britain of the future.

Earlier this year, the greatest of our peacetime prime ministers died. I was there in the Cathedral at that emotional farewell. And as I looked at the coffin in front of me, draped in the Union flag, I thought to myself: for what will Margaret Thatcher best be remembered? Her strength? Her conviction? The simple fact she was the first woman prime minister.

Yes, she’ll be remembered for all of those things. But for me, what she really had was: optimism. She refused to accept that Britain was in terminal decline. She believed Britain had a great future. That British people could lead better and more prosperous lives.

And so do we.

William Hague – 2013 Conservative Party Conference Speech

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Below is the text of the speech made by the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, to the 2013 Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.

I want to thank our outstanding Ministers in the Foreign Office:

Sayeeda Warsi, a foremost champion of freedom of religion;

David Lidington, the best Europe Minister Britain has had in decades;

Hugo Swire, pioneering new Embassies in Latin America;

Alistair Burt, a picture of calm whatever the storm in the Middle East;

Mark Simmonds, bringing new energy to Britain’s ties in Africa;

And Stephen Green, revolutionising our support to British exporters.

And I thank all our PPSs: the inimitable Keith Simpson, the irrepressible Tobias Ellwood, the urbane Richard Graham, the tenacious Margot James and the unflappable Eric Ollerenshaw.

This is a great team that deserves a great round of applause.

My team and I returned yesterday from the UN General Assembly in New York.  We have fanned out across the corridors and chambers of the United Nations, working on dozens of issues from building up Libya’s security forces to helping Lebanon cope with refugees; from aiding Burma on the path to democracy to promoting peace in Sudan; and from combating religious intolerance to preserving Africa’s wildlife. Across the full breadth of Britain’s global diplomacy we are injecting the energy and commitment abroad that keeps British people safer at home.

Above all in New York this week we have been seeking a peaceful solution to some of the world’s most intractable problems: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the nuclear programme of Iran and the tragic bloodshed in Syria, and on each we have made progress.

We have urged Israelis and Palestinians on towards a permanent peace, and given our steadfast support to their negotiations. I want our conference to pay tribute to the bold leadership of Secretary Kerry, Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas. This is the best chance in a decade, perhaps the last chance, of ending this conflict and Britain will be with them every step of the way.

We have stepped up the pressure on Assad and his regime, and given new help to save the lives of innocent victims of their oppression. On Friday night at the UN Security Council I cast Britain’s vote for a resolution requiring the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons. Working with the Foreign Ministers of the other permanent members of the Security Council, we agreed to convene a peace conference by mid-November. Millions of bereaved and displaced people deserve every effort by the leading countries of the world to bring this tragic conflict to an end.

We have set a date too for new negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programme. Twice last week I sat down with the Iranian Foreign Minister. We welcome the new and positive message from the Iranian government that they are ready to negotiate. It is vital that these promising words are matched with genuine action. We will test Iran’s sincerity to the full and we will take steps ourselves. The talks which we agreed on improving our bilateral relations have already begun. We are not naïve and will never be starry-eyed. But we will miss no opportunity for diplomacy to prevail and the spread of nuclear weapons peacefully to be prevented.

We must never understate the great dangers to peace and security these challenges bring, but nor should we underestimate what can be achieved through resolute diplomacy.

Diplomatic success often follows a readiness to use power that is hard as well as persuasive.

The reason that Iran is at the negotiating table is because we have imposed and maintained the toughest sanctions in modern times on its nuclear programme.

The reason that Syria now wants to hand over its chemical weapons is because the United States threatened military action.

To do our utmost to resolve these conflicts is in our national interest, and so is sticking up for British nationals around the world and for Britain’s Overseas Territories.

You would think that was obvious.

Later today I will be proud to speak alongside the Chief Minister of Gibraltar. But the last Labour government was prepared to negotiate away British sovereignty over Gibraltar against its people’s wishes – this government will never do that.

The Leader of the Labour Party didn’t mention the European Union once in his speech last week. Our Prime Minister set out our plan in January – renegotiate a new deal in Europe and then put the decision to stay in the EU or leave to the British people in a referendum.

It is the referendum James Wharton, our youngest MP and one of our best, is with all his skill and energy taking through Parliament and that your Conservative MPs are doing everything they can to make the law of the land.

It is the right course for the country because democratic consent for Britain’s membership of the European Union is now wafer thin, and that is above all because Labour in Government signed away power after power in Treaties without ever giving the British people the say they need and deserve.

So now the EU has a bigger place in our national life than most people in Britain ever wanted or will ever want and it has that place without their permission. The British people want change and they want a choice and we will give them that choice.

Cosmetic change is not enough; we want real change to how the EU works: an end to never-ending centralisation, a Europe that understands the global race we’re all in, a Europe which isn’t about ever more rules, regulations and interference from Brussels but lets power go back to parliaments and to voters. That is the Europe we want.

This change must go to the heart of what the European Union is for and where it is heading.

To take one key principle, the EU Treaties commit every single member of the EU to ‘lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe’.  From the signing of the original Treaty of Rome this phrase has been part of the EU’s fundamental framework.

But, as our Prime Minister has said, for Britain that is not the objective and it has never been. Nation states working together with common rules, yes. But Britain as part of a superstate, never.

If some countries want ever closer union they can go ahead. But for those like us that don’t want it and don’t believe in it, it should go.

The Dutch have also said enough to ever closer union. They propose ‘Europe where necessary, national where possible’. That would be a far superior principle for Europe, so let’s write that into the EU’s rules – that wherever possible it shouldn’t be about more power for the EU; decisions should belong to each nation state. That would be a fundamentally different approach for Europe.

To those in Brussels who say that nothing should or need be changed, Edmund Burke taught us an organisation without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation.

When David Cameron set out his vision for real change in Europe he warned that he’d be denounced as a heretic.

But I can tell you that Europe needs heresy and his heresy is spreading.

People used to think there was only one destination – a federal Europe – and the only question was whether you got there in the fast lane or slow lane. They don’t think that any more.

Governments across Europe are talking about power coming back to the countries of Europe.

That is something new.

Even now, some people say that real change in Europe isn’t possible – often the Labour Party, who never tried to change anything at all.

But just look at what we’ve achieved in three years in Government:

A referendum lock in law, now accepted by the other Parties, so that never again can treaties shift power from Britain to Brussels without the British people’s consent.

No more of the Eurozone bail outs that Labour signed us up to – the first time a power has ever been returned from Brussels to Britain.

The EU budget cut for the first time; and unlike Labour, not an inch given on the rebate hard won by Margaret Thatcher.

A treaty against our national interest – vetoed.

An EU military headquarters – vetoed.

Dramatic reform of that long-running, wasteful and indefensible disaster, the Common Fisheries Policy.

An agreement that there should be no new EU red tape for the smallest businesses.

Free trade agreed with Korea and Singapore. And talks opened on free trade with Japan, the world’s third largest economy, and on a transatlantic free trade deal with the United States, which we as a nation dedicated to free trade will do our utmost to achieve.

And all that in a Coalition. Just think what we could accomplish on our own.

Everything we have achieved and everything we want to achieve comes from active diplomacy and hard work.

No single Labour Europe minister even bothered to visit every EU country. David Lidington has been to all of them and is over half way round his second lap.

We have made our security and foreign policy alliance with France stronger than it has ever been.

The last government neglected our friendship with Germany. We have invested in it and, by the way, we saw in Chancellor Merkel’s great election victory what happens when a conservative party that understands the global race meets a party of the left that doesn’t.

And it is not just in Europe that this government is reviving British diplomacy, we are doing so across the globe because we know that a world without British influence would be a less safe, less free, less prosperous and crueller place.

Our greatest leaders Disraeli, Salisbury, Churchill, and Thatcher have always known that to be secure and successful at home Britain must exert itself abroad. Standing as we do on the shoulders of these giants, we know it can never be part of a Conservative foreign policy to understate or reduce our influence. Withdrawing from the world has never been the creed of the Conservative Party.

We cannot pull up the drawbridge to our islands. We will only get the best for Britain if we go out and work for it all over the world.

And we have more to work with than perhaps any other country on earth. As we speak, soldiers in Sierra Leone are being trained by the British Army, pirates are being held at bay in the Gulf of Aden by the Royal Navy; terrorist plots are being tracked and foiled by our Intelligence Agencies; war criminals are being brought to account by British lawyers in courts from the Netherlands to Cambodia; human rights defenders languishing in the prisons of repressive regimes are not forgotten because of British NGOs; half a million people are being taught English by the British Council in 49 countries; families in 800 million homes around the globe are tuning in to watch the Premier League; 400,000 overseas students are being educated at British Universities, 500,000 are studying for British degrees on campuses from Malaysia to Manhattan; hundreds of thousands of girls in Pakistan and Yemen are going to school thanks to British development funding; and every two seconds, somewhere in the word, a child is saved from life-threatening diseases by vaccines provided by the United Kingdom. All these things and more British people are doing every day. Quite something for a small island, isn’t it?

We are able to keep ourselves and others safe because of our fine diplomats, our dedicated aid workers and our unmatched Intelligence Agencies, and because our Armed Forces are second to none.

And when British companies sell beer to Germany; wine to France; teapots to China, salmon to Russia and clothes to India, it is not only because their products are among the very best in the world, it is because British diplomats and trade representatives are active in 270 overseas posts working for every person in this room and in our country, and the Prime Minster and I expect every Minister travelling overseas to do the same.

We can all be proud of what Britain accomplishes in the world.

We can be proud that British people pioneered the Arms Trade Treaty, that we were one of the first countries to sign it.

We should be proud that British development aid is saving lives and helping to create opportunity for millions of impoverished people.

And I am proud that at the United Nations last week 120 countries promised for the first time to join me in my campaign to shatter impunity for warzone rape and sexual violence. Next year we will hold a global conference in London and ask people of all parties and all nations to say that we will not accept that rape can be used as a weapon of war against millions of innocent women, men and children, and that those who commit these crimes will never again be allowed to go unpunished. We must change the entire global attitude to these crimes, and we must attain that great strategic prize of the 21st century – full economic, social and political rights for women everywhere.

We should be inspired that when our campaigns are based on British democratic values we can stir the conscience of the world and change the lives of millions of people.

Let us be clear that it is unambiguously in our national interest that Britain plays a global role, and under this government we will never turn away from it.

Most of what we achieve is through our diplomacy, our culture and our generosity. Yet we should never shirk our tougher responsibilities or allow any country to think for a moment that Britain will not defend itself – and yes, the Falkland Islands will be British and be defended by Britain for as long as the Falkland Islanders wish it.

But this is not a government that is trigger-happy with our Armed Forces. As we reduce our forces in Afghanistan the only major deployment of the British Armed Forces we have authorised was to save thousands of lives in Libya two years ago, which we did without ground troops or the loss of a single British life in combat.

In Somalia and Mali we are using diplomatic and development power to stabilise fragile states, supporting African troops fighting on the ground, and the appalling terrorist attack in Kenya last week shows why our resolve to continue that work must never be shaken.

We will keep on expanding our influence in the world. The BBC World Service has more listeners than at any time in its history – up by 26 million in the last two years. We have six of the world’s top 20 universities. We must open the sluice gates of our soft power – those rivers of ideas, diversity, ingenuity, knowledge and values – and let them flow across the world, cultivating influence that flows rather than power that jars.

Ours foreign policy supports that objective.

Remember this: the last Labour government closed 43 British diplomatic missions overseas, and retreated from 17 countries altogether. They left our country less able to defend our national interest. We are opening up to twenty new Embassies and consulates in Asia, Latin America and Africa. We are doing more with a smaller budget, and Britain is better represented across the world.

Remember too that we are the only European country enlarging our diplomacy in this way. Britain led by us is going to be more active in more places, helping our businesses in more places, and it is going to look after British nationals more at the same time. The rudderless retreat of the Labour years is over.

Remember that under the last Government, there were British posts overseas that did no trade promotion work whatsoever. Now it is clear to every Embassy, High Commission and Consulate that they must create opportunity for hardworking British businesses which brings jobs and prosperity at home.

Remember as well that in 2009, UK exports were going down. Now they are going up. Last year, exports to Russia were up by more than 11%, to China up by more than 13%, to Thailand up by 41% and to South Korea up by 83%. Far beyond Europe we are working in every corner of the globe to create growth in the British economy. It is by expanding British trade that we will escape the debt-fuelled false boom of the Labour years and secure our country’s future.

Remember that last year, foreign direct investment in the world economy fell by a fifth, but in the UK it rose by a fifth. That is because we are pursuing George Osborne’s tax policies, Michael Gove’s education policies and Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reform that are making Britain competitive once more.

Remember that in 13 years, no Labour Foreign Secretary made a bilateral visit to our cousin-countries Canada, Australia or New Zealand. I have visited over 70 countries on behalf of Britain, including some where no British Foreign Secretary had set foot for years or at all.

Remember that the last Government ran down and sidelined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, but we are building it up again. They closed the Foreign Office’s language school. Last month I opened a new one. And now I will open a new Diplomatic Academy to seal the revival of the Foreign Office. When it comes to negotiation, language and diplomacy British diplomats will be beyond doubt the very best in the world. We will never rely on anyone else to look after our national interest.

And remember finally that we have a Prime Minister who leads all of this from the front and who I can see every day is respected throughout the world for being unshakeable in his conviction and always representing his country with pride, determination and toughness. He always stays the course and he always thinks about the next generation.

We are not going back to the days of a drifting, left-wing, union-dominated, debt-laden, heavy-handed, conniving, in-fighting, back-stabbing, unrepentant Labour leadership who have learnt nothing from their errors, never apologised for their disasters and left our country weaker in the world.

So it is the policy of this government to work with other nations in shaping a more peaceful and prosperous common future, making full use of the ingenuity and inventiveness of the British people and our unique vantage point at the crossroads of Commonwealth, NATO, European alliances and our Special Relationship with the United States.

We have brought and will continue to bring an energy and determination to our dealings with the rest of the world and will always retain and expand our influence abroad to the benefit of hardworking people here at home.

Ruth Davidson – 2013 Conservative Conference Speech

Below is the text of the speech made by Ruth Davidson to the 2013 Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.

Good morning.

Friends, I hope you’re enjoying conference.

And, as you enjoy it, I want you to reflect that this could be your last ever UK party conference.

Because by this time next year the people of Scotland will have voted in a referendum which will decide not just if Scotland should be in or out of the UK, but will decide whether the UK will exist at all.

It is a huge decision.

Touching every one of our great British institutions

Affecting our businesses and our prosperity, our services and our security, our allies and our place in the world.

A decision made by people now, on behalf of generations still to come.

Because this decision isn’t the same as election.

If we don’t like the result, we can’t just come back in 5 years’ time and vote again.

It is a choice that is vital and is binding.

And while everybody understands why this matters to Scotland, I want to talk to you this morning about its importance to the rest of the UK. And why, as Conservatives, we are leading the fight to keep our country together.

Firstly, we are unselfconscious in the love of our country. We have worked and strived for generations to build a Britain that we can be proud of.

In the good times, we have shared our prosperity and our expertise.

In darker days, we have stood shoulder to shoulder with our allies; and with each other.

The Union is in our DNA.

But don’t take my word for it.

Research conducted last month showed how party voters would cast their ballot.

Only two thirds – 68% – of SNP voters would actually support independence.

75% of Labour and 80% of Lib Dems were Backing Britain.

But 98% of Conservatives said they wanted to keep our Kingdom United.

And friends, d’you know what I want? I want the names and numbers of the other 2%

Because, as a party, we rejoice in our nation’s success, appreciate our proud history and strive to make Britain better still.

Our Conservative values – freedom for the individual, success based on hard work, horizons limited only by ambition – they reflect our national character.

We’re a party that says it doesn’t matter if you’re a grocer’s daughter, or a working class boy from Brixton – you can be Prime Minister.

A country that says it doesn’t matter where you were born, if you make Britain your home and don the Team GB jersey, win or lose, we will cheer you around the Olympic track.

A society which says it doesn’t matter if you are Welsh first. Or Scottish, English or Northern Irish. You are British too.

And we are all equal under the Union flag.

And that flag is a sign, a symbol of how our nation can be a force for good in this world.

And let me tell you how I know that – because I’ve seen its power at work.

Before I was elected, I was a journalist and broadcaster.

And as young reporter, I was sent to Kosovo, to see the work our troops were doing there.

I was with the Black Watch regiment, and saw lads younger than me patrolling the streets and protecting schoolchildren from attack.

Clearing bombs and dealing with bullets aimed at those who came from a different ethnic background.

And they did all of that with a patch on their arm – the Union Flag.

They did it because they believed in something, and I believe in it too.

I know that the world is a safer place for Kosovars, ethnic Serbs and Albanians because of the service men and women of our country.

Not just the Black Watch, but the Royal Regiment of Wales, who served alongside them in Pristina; the Royal Irish Regiment, the Household cavalry, the parachute regiment, the Royal engineers, the marines, the RAF and others.

The UK has the most professional fighting force in the world.

And when Scotland’s First minister, Alex Salmond, says – as he did – that our troops should never have been there, that stopping genocide and ethnic cleansing on Europe’s shores was in his words ‘unpardonable folly’ I say no, Alex.

That was an unpardonable slur.

We are a responsible nation in the world and we are not afraid to help shoulder the burden of a persecuted people.

And we’re only able to do so because we have the integrated armed forces we do – pulling together from every part of the UK to keep our people safe at home and to work for peace abroad.

Can you imagine this time next year if there’s a ‘yes’ vote; trying to pick apart different divisions, splitting up regiments, dividing our nation’s military hardware…

…Our frigates and fighter jets, arms and artillery like a feuding couple dividing up their furniture?

It doesn’t bear thinking about.

We are stronger together, safer together, at our very best together.

And, while we can make these arguments of the heart; of our dual identity, of our shared history, of the common endeavour to build and develop the most successful political, economic and cultural union in the modern world….

…As Conservatives, we are a practical people too, and look also for the arguments of the head.

Everyone in the UK benefits from our borderless Union.

Scotland exports more to the rest of the UK than it does to the rest of the world combined.

And – in return – we buy back too.

In fact, we import more than twice as many goods by value from the rest of Britain than the rest of the globe.

Tens of billions of pounds and hundreds of thousands of jobs rely on our shared market and cross border flow.

And it’s not just goods and finance criss-crossing north and south. It’s people too.

Labour migration is estimated to be up to 75% higher within an integrated UK – allowing us to share skills and knowledge.

And it works. More than 800,000 Scots live and work in other parts of the UK.

And 400,000 people in Scotland were born in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Over the years we have worked together and fought together. We have mixed our families together.

We are not easily separated by those who now seek to divide us.

And we work hard for each other.

Nearly 200,000 financial services jobs in Scotland rely on companies selling pensions, mortgages and insurance to the rest of the UK.

More likely than not, the financial products which secure your home and support you in old age are looked after in Scotland – as nine out of ten of these customers live in the rest of the UK.

In defence – right now 5,000 people in Scotland are hard at work constructing the next generation of vessels for the Royal Navy.

And, In fact, every lens of every periscope of every submarine which has ever served – now or in history – under the white ensign has been constructed by the same specialist company in Scotland.

I know, because they’re in my constituency in Glasgow.

And in medical research.

It’s not just Dolly the sheep.

Because of the UK’s support structure, nine out of ten women and eight out of ten men are now surviving skin cancer, thanks in part to the work being done at Dundee University.

Scottish expertise, UK support, worldwide benefits. Achieved Together.

Now Conference, in Scotland, issues around the referendum are reported every single day.

I know that’s not the case elsewhere – at least, not yet.

And when you do get a news report, down south, more likely than not you’ll be hearing from Alex Salmond.

He’s the one talking Britain down and saying that Scots are desperate to leave.

Well, I’m telling you now. Don’t believe it.

When it comes to this issue, Alex Salmond doesn’t speak for a majority of Scots. In fact, he never has.

Time after time, poll after poll, people in Scotland say they want to stay.

But we’re not complacent.

In the months ahead we have a lot of work to do to hammer home to people just how much Scotland gains from being part of the UK and how much the United Kingdom benefits from Scotland as a member.

As a nation, we know we are greater than the sum of our parts.

And I think Scotland’s First Minister has cottoned on to that recognition.

Because he’s opened up a new tack in recent months.

Not content, to just make promises about everything that would stay the same under independence – Keep the Queen, Keep the pound, Keep the Bank of England – whether it is in his gift or not.

Not content, just to make assertions about a separate Scotland’s place in the world. – Automatic membership of NATO and the EU – against expert advice.

But his new tack is the last refuge of every shameless populist in history staring down the barrel of defeat.

It’s to promise things for free.

A quick tally shows – with 11 months still to go – at least £32 billion pounds of uncosted promises.

Under his independent utopia Alex Salmond promises to:

– Increase overseas aid

– Reverse benefit reforms

– Underwrite oil decommissioning

– Set up a Scottish Spy service

– Subsidise more windfarms

– And renationalise the Royal Mail.

– By polling day, I’m expecting free beer with every vote.

All of these promises made to people in Scotland.

None of them with any explanation of how they would be paid for.

In fact, a secret leaked document from Scotland’s Finance secretary shows his projection that – far from being able to offer unlimited bonuses – Scotland would be worse off than the rest of the UK by 2016-17 and would start under independence laden with a debt and debt interest we’d struggle to pay.

That’s not me saying Scotland couldn’t be a separate country – of course we could.

But why would we want to when we gain so much as part of the UK?

And the man in charge of the sums for breaking up Britain – when even he – admits we’d be worse off as a nation?

Friends, it is this ‘say anything’, ‘do anything’, ‘promise anything’ approach to breaking up Britain that we are fighting.

And it is a fight.

And I’m asking you to join me in it.

I know that many of you living in other parts of the UK won’t have a vote – but we all have a stake in the result, and we can all play a part in securing our country for the future.

When Quebec went to the polls to decide whether to leave Canada in 1995, the result was exceptionally close.

The secessionists were ahead until the day itself.

There was just a 1% margin of victory.

And the single fact credited with making the difference between staying and going, between uniting the country or dividing the nation – was that the rest of Canada said ‘We want you to stay’.

So, over the next year, when Alex Salmond comes on your television, saying things designed to get right up your nose.

Know that he’s doing it on purpose, and that he doesn’t speak for the majority of Scots.

Know too, that while this is the most important decision in Scotland’s history – it also affects each and every one you, no matter where you live.

In three hundred years we have built our nation together, fought together, traded together, lived, loved, settled together.

Shared our countries risks.

Benefitted from its rewards.

We walk taller, shout louder and stand stronger together.

I am proud of the Britain that we’ve built together

And I will fight heart, mind, body and soul to keep it together.

Friends,

Over the next 11 months, we have a huge fight to save our United Kingdom.

It’s a fight we can win.

It’s a fight we must win.

Conference, with your help, it’s a fight we will win.

Thank you.

Eric Pickles – 2013 Conservative Party Conference Speech

ericpickles

Below is the text of the speech made by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, on 30th September 2013.

Conference.

It is always a delight to be working with our yellow chums inside Whitehall, but it’s great to be back at a Conservative Party conference.

Conservatives share common beliefs – a smaller state, lower taxes, trusting the people and championing hardworking families.

After three years in government, it is easy to forget the toxic legacy that Labour left behind.

They mortgaged away our future.

Labour allowed the benefits bill to double, creating a something-for-nothing culture.

We have been cleaning up Labour’s mess ever since.

But imagine if the last three years had not happened, and David Cameron had not walked through the doors of Downing Street.

Imagine a parallel universe of a Lib-Lab Government clinging to power today.

Labour would have quickly lost the confidence of the markets for failing to tackle the deficit.

Mortgage rates would have soared, and after that, taxes too.

The Chancellor, Ed Balls, would be extending his so-called “mansion tax” to ordinary family homes.

Hitting your garden, your patio and your home improvements with soaring council tax.

The Business Secretary – Unite’s Baron McCluskey of Mersey Docks – would be abolishing Margaret Thatcher’s trade union reforms and turning the clock back to the 1970s.

The Deputy Prime Minister, the ever-cheerful Vince Cable, would still be urging an economic Plan B.

The Equalities Minister, Harriet Harman would be making welfare benefits a Human Right, assisted by her new human rights czar from the Brazilian Workers Party.

And the Home Secretary, Chris Huhne, the newly-elevated  Lord Huhne of Wormwood Scrubs, would be championing that great Liberal Democrat cause:

Votes for prisoners!

And in the dark, over-cast offices of Downing Street, candles would flicker during the 3-day-week electricity blackout

The walls battle-scarred by the years of flying Nokias and smashed keyboards

A dour Scotsman would be quietly cursing Tony Blair for his legacy of boom and bust.

To his left, Damian McBride, his spin doctor, whispering sweet poisons into his ear.

To his far left, Ed Miliband, his policy wonk, urging higher taxes, price controls and land grabs.

In reality, Gordon may be absent. But they are the same old Labour Party.

A vote for Labour still means:

– More spending

– More borrowing

– More debt

– More taxes

– And a return to the culture of spin.

I don’t know if you’ve been reading the McBride memoirs.

It’s twenty quid for a signed copy. The unsigned ones are even more expensive

So let me give you the condensed version.

Yes – there is a Nasty Party.

And it’s called the Labour Party!

At the next election, there will be a clear choice.

Between a modern Conservative Party or back to the future with Red Ed.

Look at the records of both parties.

Under the Labour Government, council tax more than doubled.

We have worked with councils to freeze it, cutting bills in real terms.

Under Labour, house building fell to the lowest rate since the 1920s.

Under Conservatives, house building and first time buyers are back at their highest rate since Labour’s crash, thanks to schemes like Help to Buy.

The economy is turning the corner.

We have built over one-hundred-and-fifty thousand new affordable homes since the election, with more to come.

And we are supporting new family-friendly tenancies in the private rented sector.

Labour build nothing but resentment.

Take Ed Miliband’s latest plan? To confiscate private land and build over the Green Belt.

Resurrected eco towns: the zombie policy that will not die.

It’s the same old Labour.

Hardworking people are still paying the price for Labour.

John Prescott told councils to hike up parking charges, cut the number of parking spaces and use parking fines to punish motorists.

It’s no wonder that nine million parking fines are now issued every year.

Shoppers drive to out-of-town superstores or just shop online, rather than face the high street.

So we will make it easier for hardworking people to pop into the local shop to buy a newspaper or a pint of milk.

We will empower local residents to challenge the excessive yellow lines and unreasonable fines.

We will switch off the parking ‘cash cameras’ and spy cars.

We are helping families with the cost of living, and supporting local shops.

But it’s not only Labour that wastes taxpayers’ money and interferes in people’s lives.

Increasingly the EU interferes in local communities.

Take the EU programme, INTERREG. You have probably never heard of it.

It replaces our national boundaries with pan-European regions.

Such as the “TransManche” –merging the southern counties of England with the north of France.

Last week, at a road show at the Jules Verne Circus in France, the Eurocrats celebrated this region.

Over a hundred million pounds of taxpayers’ money has been wasted on vanity projects.

And what gifts the new citizens of TransManche have received.

A new Atlas, renaming the English Channel. It’s now called “Le Pond”.

“Franco-British master-classes” in circus training.

Giant puppets and cross-border contemporary dance.

And to top the lot, a bold piece of 21st Century transport infrastructure.

The Cross-Channel Cycle Lane.

I struggle to see how Labour Ministers ever thought this was a good idea.

Mind you, Tony Blair did think he could walk on water.

These Euro projects are a symptom of a wider problem.

In quangos and town halls across the land, public sector bureaucrats think ‘Euro funding’ is somehow ‘free money’.

It’s not.

Every cent of EU grant we get back was British taxpayers’ money in the first place.

But there are strings attached.

To get the money, grant recipients must praise the European Union.

If they don’t, they are punished with fines.

Even in this great city of Manchester, a grave injustice has been committed.

Down the road is the People’s History Museum.

The home of the Labour Party Archives,

Containing papers from Kier Hardie, and a Frederick Pickles from Bradford – one of the earliest members of the Labour Party a century ago.

Labour’s Museum took the EU cash, but failed to fly the EU flag.

The punishment?

A seven thousand pound fine.

An outrage. But not a peep from the Labour Party.

Where was Peter Mandelson when Labour needed him?

But now the Commission wants to go further.

Using Lisbon Treaty powers, it wants councils to stamp the EU flag on birth, marriage and death certificates.

It’s optional say the Commission.

We’ve heard that one before. Just look at the EU flag on your driving licence.

Will branding Britons from cradle to grave with EU flags drive economic growth?

No.

Will fining local community groups help balance the EU budget?

Non.

Will barmy cycle lanes and the EU’s flying circus make us love Brussels more?

Nein.

Brussels says it needs ‘more Europe’ to save the Euro.

As Ronald Reagan might have said …

More EU government is not the solution to our problems.

The EU is the problem.

As David Cameron has said, it’s time to return powers to Britain and to let the people decide.

Like Labour, the EU doesn’t care about wasting taxpayers’ money.

But this Government has led from the front in the war on waste.

In my department, we’ve cut our administration by a cool FIVE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-TWO MILLION POUNDS, from savings big and small.

Our corporate credit card spending fell by three-quarters after we published every transaction online.

We’ve cut back the consultants, the temps, the marketing budget.

We’ve stopped translating documents into foreign languages.

And shortly, to save NINE MILLION POUNDS A YEAR, my whole department is going to bunk in with Theresa at the Home Office.

Conservative councils have also led the way in producing quality services at a much lower price.

Sharing back-offices, better procurement and more joint working.

But Labour councils continue to burn money – from their union pilgrims to their Town Hall Pravdas.

Their councils make lazy choices – a “bleeding stump” strategy of axing the frontline, all so they can wave the red flag.

Let one Labour authority speak for them all – Newham.

This council, in one of the most deprived parts of our capital, has spent over one-hundred million pounds on a luxury headquarters, including thousands on designer light fittings.

Three years on, it’s moving back to its old building. All that money wasted.

By an historic accident, the council’s housing arm – Newham Homes – has houses in my constituency in Essex.

Former Right to Buy tenants who bought their own home are being hit with leasehold repair charges of up to fifty thousand pounds.

The local Conservative council charges a tenth of that for the same sort of maintenance.

That’s where I met Florence Bourne.

Florrie was a woman in her nineties, full of energy, full of fun and full of the joy of life that belied her years.

She was proud to have brought up a happy family.

When Mrs Thatcher gave her a chance she bought her own 2 bedroom flat over the top of the local parade of shops,

Then Newham gave her a fifty thousand pound bill.

A crushing sum for a proud woman who had never been in debt before.

Right across the estate former tenants were billed for work that was not done, work that was poorly done, work that was overpriced.

Most shocking of all work that was not necessary, including a replacement roof she didn’t need.

We went to the Valuation Tribunal, and eventually they over-turned the bill.

But too late for Florrie.

The last time I saw her she looked every one of her ninety-three years, weighed down by the drilling, the banging, the dust, the mess, but above all the debt and the worry.

She died a couple of weeks later still believing she owed fifty thousand pounds.

Ninety-three is a good age, but I’m convinced she had a few more good years in her and I blame Newham for its lack of care.

Newham: A council more concerned about the roof over its head rather than the roof over an elderly woman.

This case highlights the scandal of leaseholders being ripped off by inefficient municipal landlords who kick those who took up the Right to Buy.

We need to increase protection for former Right to Buy leaseholders like Florrie.

But this story shows the true face of Labour when in power, locally and nationally.

In May’s local elections, don’t let Labour do to your council what they did to our country

Conference,

Conservatives will always be on the side of those who work hard and do the right thing.

We trust the people.

We believe in a smaller state.

We stand up for the ordinary guy in the face of state bureaucracy.

And we believe in cutting taxes and charges, helping hardworking people with the cost of living.

We promised change.

We’ve delivered change.

Conservative change for the better.

David Willetts – 2013 Conservative Party Conference Speech

davidwilletts

Below is the text of the speech made by David Willetts at the 2013 Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.

Our economy is on the mend because George Osborne has stuck to his plan, through thick and thin. Yet again Conservatives are sorting out an appalling mess left by Labour. But we are not just trying to get the patient off the sick bed – we want our economy to be stronger and fitter than ever. We have taken tough decisions to save on waste and welfare in order to invest in the future.

That is why we have protected spending on science. Labour’s irresponsible plan to deal with their crisis in public finances was to cut capital spending in half. Step by step we have reversed those cuts. And now we have a long-term plan to increase investment – the most ambitious for decades. Over a billion pounds a year will be invested in new labs and facilities, year after year, to 2020. Conservatives are backing British science and technology.

It is how we are going to thrive in the global race. Sometimes it literally is a race – and Britain is of course the home of Formula One motor racing. The teams monitor each car and driver second by second during a race. Imagine that the NHS could monitor the condition of a patient in intensive care as effectively. McLaren are working with Birmingham Children’s Hospital to do just that. Putting enterprise at the service of sick children.

Another global race is the space race. We do not have massive rockets or a massive budget; instead we have to get our satellites into space cheaply and efficiently. Did you know that we make almost half of the world’s small satellites? Many are from Surrey Satellites, a spin-out from the University of Surrey. We have one of the world’s most entrepreneurial and nimble space industries, growing at almost 10% a year, as fast as the Chinese economy. Now we are going to have a British astronaut in the space station – Major Tim Peake. So it will be ground control to Major Tim.

Everyone’s ambition is to have a fully reusable spacecraft, ending our reliance on rocket launches. It is a British engineer, Alan Bond, who has cracked that challenge. His engine doesn’t carry the oxygen to burn the fuel, instead it takes air from the atmosphere as you fly and cools it down to mix with the fuel. To do that he has developed the world’s most efficient heat exchanger. That really is rocket science. It cools air from 1,000 degrees Centigrade to minus 150 degrees in one hundredth of a second. That really is cool. The only other way I know to make things so frosty so quickly is getting Vince Cable and Theresa together to talk about migration.

The global race is not just about speed, it’s about being smart and nimble too. We make the world’s smallest, most affordable computer – called Raspberry Pi. In fact the conference session is being run off a Raspberry Pi.  The millionth has just been produced in South Wales, bringing an old factory back to life.

Who says we don’t make things in Britain any more? We make satellites and computers, cars and diggers, airplane wings and engines. Last year we ran a trade surplus in cars for the first time since Red Robbo decimated our car industry. That is the march of the makers.

And it’s not just things – it’s the smart programmes behind them. We might not make the most powerful computers but we write the smartest software to get a result with fewer calculations. So we have the world’s most energy efficient computers. And the processing system inside almost every mobile phone and tablet is designed by a company started in Cambridge thirty years ago. Now ARM is worth over £13 billion. Tech City in London is Europe’s start-up capital. Over a thousand new companies have been created or moved there since David Cameron backed it. That’s the spirit of enterprise, thriving in Britain again.

Of course we must always leave room for our scientists to pursue their own ideas, like the scientist in Newcastle University wondering how locusts manage to fly in such dense swarms without colliding. So she analysed locust brains to see how they worked. Now she is going to sell her anti-collision software to the car industry.

Scientists here in Manchester used sticky tape to pull thin layers of material off a block of graphite until eventually they discovered graphene, one atom thick and 200 times stronger than steel. It is brilliant science with just a hint of Blue Peter. They got the Nobel prize for that in 2010 and two years ago in this very hall George backed them with £50 million. Now they are building a world-class lab – I was there this morning shovelling cement. I do a lot of that as Science Minister. The world’s researchers are beating a path to Manchester and I can announce today that Manchester will host Europe’s leading science conference – here in this hall – in 2016. We can be proud of having so many of the world’s great universities here in Britain.

We have been leading the world in life sciences ever since Watson and Crick discovered the structure of DNA. A quarter of the world’s leading drugs come from Britain. The patent box, part of our life science strategy, is attracting more investment to Britain. We got one billion pounds of commercial investment in biosciences last year. Now David Cameron has set the challenge of sequencing the genomes of 100,000 NHS patients. No other country has set such an ambition. We are putting science at the service of patients.

Our aim is for Britain to be the best place in the world to do science. That is the challenge Brian Cox has set and, Brian, we are up for that. But to achieve that we must invest long term and get the next generation doing science and engineering. That means girls as well as boys.

We are not going to win in the global race if we waste the talents of half the British people. The proportion of engineers who are women is one of the lowest in Europe and we’ve got to raise our game. That is why we support the ambition to double the proportion of engineering degrees taken by women.

Today I can announce two initiatives to help us achieve that. We will extend fee loans to part time students of engineering, technology, and computer science who already have a degree in a different discipline. And we will invest £200 million in new teaching facilities for science and engineering in our universities. Universities will have to match it with private money. So that makes £400 million of investment so that students can be taught on the latest equipment ready for the world of work. That is our commitment to working with universities and business to help win the global race.

Of course we can be proud of our past achievements. But even more important. With solid long-term funding for great British science, we can be confident in our future too.

David Cameron – 2013 Conservative Party Conference Speech

davidcameron

Below is the text of the speech made by the Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron, at the 2013 Conservative Party Conference in Manchester on 2nd October 2013.

This week in Manchester we’ve shown this Party is on the side of hardworking people.

Helping young people buy their own home.

Getting the long-term unemployed back to work.

Freezing fuel duty.

Backing marriage.

Cutting the deficit.

Creating jobs.

Creating wealth.

Make no mistake: it is this Party with the verve, energy and ideas to take our country forward…

…and I want to thank everyone here for the great week we’ve had.

When we came to office, we faced a clear and daunting task: to turn our country around.

In May 2010, the needle on the gauge was at crisis point.

People were talking about this country in a way they had not done for decades.

But three and a half years later, we are beginning to turn the corner.

The deficit is falling.

Our economy is growing.

The numbers of our fellow countrymen and women in work are rising.

We are not there yet, not by a long way.

But, my friends, we are on our way.

I want to thank the people who have done the most to get us this far.

You. The British people.

Never giving up. Working those extra hours. Coping with those necessary cuts.

You. British business. You kept people on in the hard times. Invested before you knew for certain that things were getting better.

Together – we are clearing up the mess that Labour left.

But I have a simple question, to the people in this hall and beyond it.

Is that enough?

Is it enough that we just clear up Labour’s mess and think ‘job done’?

Is it enough to just fix what went wrong?

I say – no. Not for me.

This isn’t job done; it is job begun.

I didn’t come into politics just to fix what went wrong, but to build something right.

We in this party – we don’t dream of deficits and decimal points and dry fiscal plans…

…our dreams are about helping people get on in life…

…aspiration, opportunity…

…these are our words, our dreams.

So today I want to talk about our one, abiding mission…

…I believe it is the great Conservative mission…

… that as our economy starts to recover…

…we build a land of opportunity in our country today.

Now, I know, it’ll be tough.

But I know we’ve got what it takes in this Party.

Some people say “can’t be done” – Conservatives say “what’s to stop us?”

They said we couldn’t get terrorists out of our own country.

Well – Theresa knew otherwise…

…and that’s why Abu Qatada had his very own May Day this year…

…didn’t it feel good seeing him get on that plane?

Some people said the NHS wasn’t safe in our hands.

Well – we knew otherwise.

Who protected spending on the NHS? Not Labour – us.

Who started the Cancer Drugs Fund? Not Labour – us.

And by the way – who presided over Mid Staffs…

…patients left for so long without water, they were drinking out of dirty vases…

…people’s grandparents lying filthy and unwashed for days.

Who allowed that to happen? Yes, it was Labour…

…and don’t you dare lecture anyone on the NHS again.

And some people say a lot of things on Europe.

You’ll never be able to veto an EU treaty.

You’ll never cut the Budget.

And if you did these things – you’d have no allies in Europe.

Well we’ve proved them wrong.

I vetoed that treaty…

…I got Britain out of the EU bail-out scheme…

…and yes – I cut that budget.

And in doing all this, we haven’t lost respect – we’ve won allies to get powers back from Europe.

That is what we will do…

…and at the end of it – yes – we will give the British people their say in a referendum.

That is our pledge. It will be your choice: in or out.

BRITAIN IN THE WORLD

And friends, you know what someone said about us recently?

Apparently some Russian official said: Britain is “just a small island that no-one pays any attention to.”

Really?

Let me just get this off my chest.

When the world wanted rights, who wrote Magna Carta?

When they wanted representation, who built the first Parliament?

When they looked for compassion, who led the abolition of slavery?

When they searched for equality, who gave women the vote?

When their freedom was in peril, who offered blood, toil, tears and sweat?

And today – whose music do they dance to?

Whose universities do they flock to?

Whose football league do they watch?

Whose example of tolerance of people living together from every nation, every religion, young and old, straight and gay?

…whose example do they aspire to?

I haven’t even got on to the fact that this small island beat Russia in the Olympics last year…

…or that the biggest-selling vodka brand in the world isn’t Russian, it’s British – Smirnoff – made in Fife…

…so yes, we may be a small island…

…but I tell you what, we’re a great country.

But I want to make a serious point about our place in the world.

Following that vote on Syria in the House of Commons, some people said it was time for Britain to re-think our role.

I’m sorry – but I don’t agree.

If we shrunk from the world we would be less safe and less prosperous.

The role we play, the organisations we belong to…

… and yes – the fact our defence budget remains the 4th largest in the world…

…all this is not about national vanity – it’s about our national interest.

When British citizens –our fathers, mothers, daughters– are in danger…

…whether that’s in the deserts of Algeria or the city of Nairobi…

…then combatting international terrorism – it matters to us.

When five of the world’s fastest growing economies are African…

…then trading with Africa – and yes helping Africa to develop with aid – that matters to us.

And at the heart of all this work – the finest Foreign Secretary I could ask for: William Hague.

Around the world, we really do matter as a United Kingdom…

…England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The date of the referendum has been set. The decision is for Scotland to make.

All the arguments about our economy, jobs, currency – I believe they make an unanswerable case for the UK.

But today I want a more simple message to go out to all the people of Scotland.

From us here in this hall, from me, from this party, from this country, from England, Wales, Northern Ireland…

…and it’s this:

We want you to stay.

We want to stick together.

Think of all we’ve achieved together – the things we can do together.

The nations – as one.

Our Kingdom – United.

For 12 years now, men and women from all parts of these islands have been serving their country in Afghanistan.

Next year, the last of our combat troops will be coming home…

…having trained up the Afghans to look after their own country.

More than a decade of war.

Sacrifice beyond measure – from the finest and bravest armed forces in the world.

And I want us to stand, to raise the roof in here, to show just how proud of those men and women we are.

THATCHER

We in this room are a team.

And this year, we said goodbye to one of our team.

Margaret Thatcher made our country stand tall again, at home and abroad.

Rescuing our economy. Giving power to our people. Spreading home ownership. Creating work. Winning the Cold War. Saving the Falklands.

I asked her about her record once.

I was sitting next to her at a dinner – and I was really nervous.

As ever she was totally charming, she put me at ease…

…but after a while I said: “Margaret, if you had your time in Government again, is there anything you’d do differently?”

And she turned to me and said: “You know, I think I did pretty well the first time around.”

Well we can all agree with that – and we can all agree on this…

…she was the greatest peace-time Prime Minister our country has ever had.

LABOUR’S MESS

Margaret Thatcher had an almighty mess to clear up when she came to office…

…and so did we.

We will never forget what we found.

The biggest Budget deficit in our peace-time history.

The deepest recession since the Second World War.

But it wasn’t just the debt and deficit Labour left…

…it was who got hurt.

Millions coming here from overseas while millions of British people were left on welfare.

The richest paying lower tax rates than their cleaners.

Unsustainable, debt-fuelled banks booming – while manufacturing withered away.

The North falling further behind.

Towns where a quarter of people lived on benefits.

Schools where 8 out of 10 children didn’t get five decent GCSEs.

Yes, they were famously “intensely relaxed” about people getting filthy rich…

…but tragically, they were also “intensely relaxed” about people staying stuck on welfare year after year…

…“intensely relaxed” about children leaving school without proper qualifications so they couldn’t hope to get a job at the end of it.

That was it.

That was what they left.

The casino economy meets the welfare society meets the broken education system…

…a country for the few built by the so-called party of the many…

…and Labour: we will never let you forget it.

OUR MISSION

These past few years have been a real struggle.

But what people want to know now is: was the struggle worth it?

And here’s the honest answer.

The struggle will only be worth it if we as a country finish the job we’ve started.

Finishing the job means understanding this.

Our economy may be turning the corner – and of course that’s great.

But we still haven’t finished paying for Labour’s Debt Crisis.

If anyone thinks that’s over, done, dealt with – they’re living in a fantasy land.

This country’s debt crisis, created by Labour, is not over.

After three years of cuts, we still have one of the biggest deficits in the world.

We are still spending more than we earn.

We still need to earn more and yes, our Government still needs to spend less.

I see that Labour have stopped talking about the debt crisis and now they talk about the cost of living crisis.

As if one wasn’t directly related to the other.

If you want to know what happens if you don’t deal with a debt crisis…

…and how it affects the cost of living…

…just go and ask the Greeks.

So finishing the job means sticking to our course until we’ve paid off all of Labour’s deficit, not just some of it.

And yes – let’s run a surplus so that this time we fix the roof when the sun is shining…

…as George said in that brilliant speech on Monday.

To abandon deficit reduction now would throw away all the progress we’ve made.

It would put us back to square one.

Unbelievably, that’s exactly what Labour now want to do.

How did they get us into this mess?

Too much spending, too much borrowing, too much debt.

And what did they propose last week?

More spending, more borrowing, more debt.

They have learned nothing – literally nothing – from the crisis they created.

But finishing the job is about more than clearing up the mess we were left.

It means building something better in its place.

In place of the casino economy, one where people who work hard can actually get on

In place of the welfare society, one where no individual is written off.

In place of the broken education system, one that gives every child the chance to rise up and succeed.

Our economy, our society, welfare, schools…

…all reformed, all rebuilt – with one aim, one mission in mind:

To make this country, at long last and for the first time ever, a land of opportunity for all.

For all.

So it makes no difference whether you live in the North or in the South, whether you’re black or you’re white, a man or a woman, the school you went to, the background you have, who your parents were…

…what matters is the effort you put in, and if you put the effort in you’ll have the chance to make it.

That’s what the land of opportunity means.

That’s what finishing the job means.

Of course I know that others in politics may talk about these things.

But wishing for something, caring about something – that’s not enough.

You can’t conjure up a dynamic economy, a strong society, fantastic schools all with the stroke of a minister’s pen.

It takes a mixture of hard work, common sense and – above all – the right values.

When the left say: you can’t expect too much from the poorest kids; don’t ask too much from people on welfare; business is the problem, not the solution…

…Here in this party we say: that’s just wrong.

If you expect nothing of people that does nothing for them.

Yes, you must help people – but you help people by putting up ladders that they can climb through their own efforts.

You don’t help children succeed by dumbing down education…

…you help them by pushing them hard.

Good education is not about equality of outcomes but bringing the best out of every single child.

You don’t help people by leaving them stuck on welfare…

…but by helping them stand on their own two feet.

Why? Because the best way out of poverty is work – and the dignity that brings.

We know that profit, wealth creation, tax cuts, enterprise…

…these are not dirty, elitist words – they’re not the problem…

…they really are the solution because it’s not government that creates jobs, it’s businesses…

…it’s businesses that get wages in people’s pockets, food on their tables, hope for their families and success for our country.

There is no shortcut to a land of opportunity.  No quick fix.  No easy way to do it.

You build it business by business, school by school, person by person…

…patiently, practically, painstakingly.

And underpinning it all is that deep, instinctive belief that if you trust people and give them the tools, they will succeed.

This party at its heart is about big people, strong communities, responsible businesses, a bigger society – not a bigger state.

It’s how we’ve been clearing up the mess.

And it’s how we’re going to build something better in its place.

So let’s stick with it and finish the job we’ve started.

ECONOMY

A land of opportunity starts in our economy.

The chance to get a decent job. To start a business. To own a home.

And at the end of it all – more money in your pocket.

To get decent jobs for people, you’ve got to recognise some fundamental economic facts.

We are in a global race today. No one owes us a living.

Last week, our ambition to compete in the global race was airily dismissed as a race to the bottom…

…that it means competing with China on sweatshops and India on low wages.

No – those countries are becoming our customers…

…and we’ve got to compete with California on innovation; Germany on high-end manufacturing; Asia on finance and technology.

And here’s something else you need to recognise about this race.

The plain fact is this.

All those global companies that employ lots of people – they can set up anywhere in the world.

They could go to Silicon Valley. To Berlin.

And yes, here in Manchester.

And these companies base their decisions on some simple things: like the tax rates in each country.

So if those taxes are higher here than elsewhere, they don’t come here.

And if they don’t come here, we don’t get those jobs.

Do you get that, Labour?

British people don’t get those jobs.

Last week Labour proposed to put up corporation tax on our biggest and most successful employers.

That is just about the most damaging, nonsensical, twisted economic policy you could possibly come up with.

I get to visit some amazing factories in my job.

One of my favourites is Jaguar Land Rover…

…not just because they actually let me get in a car and drive it around on my own…

…but really because I get to meet people there who are incredibly proud of their work and their craftsmanship…

…the fact that what they’re making sells around the world – the best of British design and engineering.

So when Ed Miliband talks about the face of big business, I think about the faces of these hardworking people.

Labour is saying to their employers: “we want to put up your taxes… don’t come here – stick your jobs and take them elsewhere”.

I know that bashing business might play to a Labour audience.

But it’s crazy for our country.

So if Labour’s plan for jobs is to attack business – ours is to back business.

Regulation – down. Taxes – cut for businesses large and small. A new industrial policy that looks to the future – green jobs, aerospace jobs, life science jobs.

We’ve made a good start: 1.4 million new jobs created in our private sector since we came to office…

…and that is 1.4 million reasons to finish the job we’ve started.

In a land of opportunity, it’s easier to start your own business.

To all those people who strike out on their own, who sit there night after night…

…checking and double checking whether the numbers stack up…

…I say I have so much respect for you – you are national heroes.

I’ll never forget watching Samantha do just that – winning her first customer, sorting out the cash flow, that magic moment when she got her first business cards printed.

I was incredibly proud of her then – and I am incredibly proud of her now.

People setting up new businesses need finance – that’s why we’ve brought in Start-up Loans.

They need their taxes cut – and we’re doing it – up to £2000 off your National Insurance bill for every small business.

And it’s working.

Let me tell you how many businesses have started up in Britain since the election: over 300,000…

…that is 300,000 more reasons to finish the job we’ve started.

In a land of opportunity, more people must be able to own a home of their own.

You know that old saying, your home is your castle?

Well for most young people today, their home is their landlord’s.

Generation Y is starting to become Generation Why Do We Bother?

Millions of them stuck renting when they’re desperate to buy.

I met a couple on Sunday – Emily and James.

They’d both had decent jobs, but because they didn’t have rich parents, they couldn’t get a big enough deposit to buy a house.

And let me tell you where I met them.

In their new home, bought with our Help to Buy mortgage scheme.

It was still half built… but they showed me where the kitchen would be.

Outside there was rubble all over the ground, but they’d already bought a lawn-mower.

And they talked about how excited they were to be spending a first Christmas in a home of their own.

That is what we’re about…

…and this, the party of aspiration is going to finish the job we’ve started.

In a land of opportunity there’s another thing people need…

…the most important thing of all…

…more money in their pockets.

These have been difficult years.

People have found it hard to make ends meet.

That’s why we’ve frozen council tax…

…and why we are freezing fuel duty.

But we need to do more. I know that.

 

We’ve heard Labour’s ideas to help with the cost of living.

 

Taxes on banks they want to spend ten times over.

 

Promising free childcare – then saying that actually, you’ve got to pay for it.

An energy promise they admitted 24 hours later they might not be able to keep.

It’s all sticking plasters and quick fixes… cobbled together for the TV cameras.

Red Ed and his Blue Peter economy.

To raise living standards in the long-term, you need to do some major things:…

…you need to cut the deficit to keep mortgage rates low…

…you need to grow your economy, get people jobs…

…and yes – cut people’s taxes.

I want people to keep more of their money.

We’ve already cut the taxes of 25 million hardworking people…

…and yes – that is 25 million more reasons to finish the job we’ve started.

We’re Tories. We believe in low taxes. And believe me – we will keep on cutting the taxes of hardworking people.

NORTH SOUTH

And here in Manchester let me say this: when I say a land of opportunity for all I mean everyone – North and South.

This country has been too London-centric for far too long.

That’s why we need a new North-South railway line.

The fact is this.

The West Coast mainline is almost full.

We have to build a new railway…

…and the choice is between  another old-style Victorian one – or a high speed one.

Just imagine if someone had said, no, we can’t build the M1, or the Severn Bridge, imagine how that would be hobbling our economy today.

HS2 is about bringing North and South together in our national endeavour.

Because think of what more we could do with the pistons firing in all parts of our country.

With its wind and wave power, let’s make the Humber the centre of clean energy.

With its resources under the ground, let’s make Blackpool the centre of Europe for the shale gas industry.

With its brains and research centres, let’s make Manchester the world leader in advanced materials.

We’re building an economy for the North and South, embracing new technologies, producing things and selling them to the world.

So make no mistake who’s looking forward in British politics…

…we’ll leave the 1970s-style socialism to others…

…we are the party of the future.

We’re making progress.

You know how I know that?

It’s every week, at Prime Minister’s Questions.

There was a time when I’d look across to Ed Balls, and there he was, shouting his head off, and doing this with his hands – screaming out the economy was flat-lining…

…and all with such glee.

But recently, it’s gone a bit quiet.

Could it be because there was no double dip and the economy’s now growing?

Well, I’ve got a gesture of my own for Ed Balls…

…and don’t worry – it’s not a rude one…

…jobs are up…

…construction is up…

…manufacturing is up…

…inward investment…

…retail sales…

…homebuilding…

…business confidence…

…consumer confidence – all these things are up.

And to anyone who wants to talk our economy down, let me tell you this.

Since this conference began, over 100,000 jet planes have soared into the sky on wings made in Britain.

Every single day in this country, over 4,000 cars are coming off the production line – ready to be exported around the globe.

Last year, Britain overtook France as Germany’s top trading partner…

…not bad for a nation of shop-keepers.

And that’s the point.

Exports to China are up…

Exports to Brazil are up…

…exports to India, Russia, Thailand, South Korea, Australia – all up.

So let us never forget the cast-iron law of British politics…

Yes – the oceans can rise…

…and empires can fall…

…but one thing will never, ever change…

…it’s Labour who wreck our economy and it’s we Conservatives who clear it up.

EDUCATION

A land of opportunity means educating our children – and I mean all our children.

It’s OK for the children who have parents reading them stories every night – and that’s great…

…but what about the ones at the back of the class, in the chaotic home, in the home of the drug addict or alcoholic?

We need these children – and frankly they need us.

That’s why three and a half years ago, one man came into the Department of Education…

…Michael Gove, there he is…

…with a belief in excellence and massive energy…

…like a cross between Mr Chips and the Duracell bunny.

Let’s look at the results.

More students studying proper science.

More children learning a foreign language.

We’ve ended the dumbing down in exams.

For the first time – children in our schools will learn the new language of computer coding.

And we’re sending a clear message to children: if you fail English and maths GCSE, you’re going to have to take and re-take them again until you pass.

Because as I tell my own children – there’s not a job in the world where you don’t need to spell and add up properly.

But ultimately – really raising standards means innovation, choice…

…it means giving passionate people the freedom to run our schools.

That’s what Free Schools are all about.

I’ll never forget sitting in the classroom at Perry Beeches III in Birmingham, on the first day of term this year.

I met a mum there who said to me – this is what I’ve dreamed of for my child…

…proper uniforms, high standards…

…this is going to give my child a good start in life.

When Michael Howard asked me what job I wanted in the Shadow cabinet I said education…

…because this is the kind of thing I came into politics to bring about.

You want to know something totally extraordinary about free schools?

Labour’s official policy is to be against them…

…but – get this – Labour MPs are backing them in their local area.

And not just any Labour MPs.

I promise I’m not making this up..

…the Shadow Education Secretary – Stephen Twigg – has backed one in his own city.

Unbelievable.

And isn’t that always the way with the Left?

They don’t like privilege – unless of course it’s for their own children.

Well we in this Party are ambitious for all our children…

…and we’ve got to finish the job we started.

We’ve already got technical colleges run by great companies like JCB…

…I say: let’s have one of those colleges in every single major town.

We’ve had a million apprenticeships start with this Government…

…now we want a new expectation: as you leave school you have a choice – go to university or do an apprenticeship.

And while we’ve still got children leaving primary school not reading, writing and adding up properly…

…let us set this ambition for our country: let’s eliminate illiteracy and give every one of those children a chance.

And friends as we do all this, we’re remembering the most vulnerable children of all.

There are thousands of children every year who grow up in homes where nappies – and bedclothes – go unchanged…

…and where their cries of pain go unheard.

These children just need the most basic opportunity of all: a loving family.

Two years ago I told you about our determination to speed up adoption…

…and this past year, we saw record numbers finding permanent, loving homes.

4000 children adopted…

…that is 4000 more reasons to finish the job we’ve started.

And as we keep on with this, we remember who is on the front line.

I have to make some tough decisions in my job…

…but none as tough as whether to break up a family and rescue a child… or try and stitch that family back together.

Social work is a noble and vital calling.

I’ll never forget how after my son Ivan was born, a social worker sat patiently in our kitchen and told us about the sort of help we might need.

This Government has helped get some of the brightest graduates into teaching…

…and we have pledged to do the same for social work…

…now let us, in this hall, hear it for Britain’s social workers who are doing such an important job in our country today.

WELFARE

The land of opportunity needs one final thing: welfare that works.

We know how badly things went wrong.

Our fellow citizens working every hour of every day to put food on the table ask this: why should my taxes go to people who could work but don’t?

Or to those who live in homes that hardworking people could never afford?

Or to people who have no right to be here in the first place?

I say this to the British people: you have every right to be angry about a system that is unfair and unjust – and that’s why we are sorting it out.

We’ve capped welfare.  We’ve capped housing benefit.  We’ve insisted on new rules so that if you reject work, you lose benefits.

And let’s be absolutely clear.

As Boris said in that great speech yesterday, the problems in our welfare system and the problems in our immigration system are inextricably linked.

If we don’t get our people back to work – we shouldn’t be surprised if millions want to come here to work.

But we must act on immigration directly too – and we are.

Capping immigration. Clamping down on the bogus colleges.

And when the Immigration Bill comes before Parliament, we will make sure some simple and fair things, that should have always been the case, are now set in stone.

If you are not entitled to our free National Health Service, you should pay for it.

If you have no right to be here, you cannot rent a flat or a house.  Not off the council, not off anyone else.

When you are a foreign prisoner fighting deportation, you should pay your own legal bills.

If you appeal – you must do it from your own country, after you’ve been deported, not from here.

And on these huge, national problems we are making progress.

Immigration has come down.

On welfare: not only are there more people in work than ever before…

…the number of households where no one works is at its lowest rate since records began…

…and I want to thank the most determined champion for social justice this Party has ever had: Iain Duncan Smith.

Iain understands that this isn’t about fixing systems, it’s about saving lives…

…and that’s why we’ve got to finish the job we’ve started.

There are still over a million young people not in education, employment, or training.

Today it is still possible to leave school, sign on, find a flat, start claiming housing benefit and opt for a life on benefits.

It’s time for bold action here.

We should ask, as we write our next manifesto, if that option should really exist at all.

Instead we should give young people a clear, positive choice:

Go to school. Go to college. Do an apprenticeship. Get a job.

But just choose the dole? We’ve got to offer them something better than that.

And let no one paint ideas like this as callous.

Think about it: with your children, would you dream of just leaving them to their own devices, not getting a job, not training, nothing?

No – you’d nag and push and guide and do anything to get them on their way… and so must we.

So this is what we want to see: everyone under 25 – earning or learning.

And you know – on this, as on everything else, Labour will fight us…

…but remember: we are giving people real opportunities.

I’ve had people say to me “I’m back on my feet”… “I feel worthwhile.”

One wrote to me saying: now I can tell my son his Dad really does something.

This is what our Party is all about.

We don’t patronise people, put a benefit cheque in their hand and pat them on the head.

We look people in the eye as equals and say: yes, you’ve been down – but you’re not out…

…you can do it, you have it in you, we will give you that chance.

And that’s why we can say today that it’s this Party that is fighting for all those who were written off by Labour…

…it’s this Party that’s for the many not the few…

…Yes – the land of despair was Labour…

…but the land of hope is Tory.

We have done some big things to transform Britain.

But we need to finish the job we’ve started.

We need to go further, do more for hardworking people…

…give more children a chance, back more businesses, help create more jobs.

And I’m clear about how that job will best get done.

It requires a strong Government, with a clear mandate, that is accountable for what it promises and yes, what it delivers.

And let me tell everyone here what that means.

When the election comes, we won’t be campaigning for a coalition…

…we will be fighting heart and soul for a majority Conservative Government – because that is what our country needs.

CONCLUSION

You don’t do this job to be popular.

You do it because you love your country.

I do the best I can. And for me, it comes back to some simple things.

Country first. Do what’s decent. Think long-term.

There’s an old story that’s told about a great hall in Oxford, near my constituency.

For hundreds of years it’s stood there – held up with vast oak beams.

In the 19th century, those beams needed replacing.

And you know what they found?

500 years before, someone had thought… those beams will need replacing one day…

…so they planted some oak trees.

Just think about that.

Centuries had passed… Columbus had reached America… Gravity had been discovered…

…and when those oaks were needed, they were ready.

Margaret Thatcher once said: “We are in the business of planting trees for our children and grandchildren or we have no business being in politics at all.”

That is what we are doing today.

Not just making do and mending…

…but making something better.

Since I got to my feet, almost a hundred children have been born across this country.

Children of wealth – and children of none.

Children of parents in work – and children of parents out of work.

For every single one of those new-born babies let us pledge today that we will build something better…

…a land of opportunity.

A country built on that enduring principle, seared in our hearts, that if you work hard, save, play by the rules and do your fair share – then nothing should stand in your way.

A new economy.

A new welfare system.

A new set of values in our schools.

Not just fixing the mess we inherited – but building something better.

We’ve got a year and a half until that election…

…a year and a half until Britain makes a choice: move forward to something better or go back to something worse…

…but I believe that if this party fights with all we have, then this country will make the right choice.

Because we always have before.

Whenever we’ve had the choice of giving in to some shabby compromise or pushing forward to something better we’ve said: this is Great Britain…

…the improbable hero of history…

…the country that doesn’t give in, that doesn’t give up…

…that knows there’s no such thing as destiny – only our determination to succeed.

So I look to our future and I’m confident.

There are battles to fight but beyond this hall are the millions of hardworking people who renew the great in Great Britain every day…

…in the way they work and the way they give and raise their families.

These are the people we have alongside us…

…together we’ve made it this far…

…together we’ll finish the job we’ve started…

…together we’ll build that land of opportunity.