Jeremy Hunt – 2014 Speech on the Better Care Fund


Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, at the National Children and Adult Services Conference on 30 October 2014.

Let me start with a thank you.

All of you have been talking about delivering integrated, joined-up care for a very long time and I know sometimes it has felt like banging your head against a brick wall. And now it is happening, for real. Instead of people just talking about it, you are actually delivering it. And without your vision, your determination, and your passion to do better for some of our most vulnerable citizens it wouldn’t be happening.

I am also pleased to be saying these words in Manchester which has been at the forefront of joining up health and social care and proved beyond doubt that integrated care, driven not from Whitehall but by local enterprise and initiative, can support the transfer of hospital services to out-of-hospital settings by truly focussing on the needs of patients and service-users.

And the fact that this kind of project is not peripheral but now central to the change we want to see in our NHS and social care system was demonstrated last week with NHS England’s visionary Five Year Forward View. It talked about inspiring new models of out-of-hospital care, exactly the change that people here have been arguing for. That plan and your ambition is completely consistent with the government’s own view about the future of health and social care.

We all agree that change needs to happen. But to work it has to be locally led, tailored to local needs and designed by those who know those needs best. So the role for government is clear: no grand blueprints, no structural shake-ups, no one-size-fits all. But our role will be to enable, champion – and yes fund – your endeavor.

So I want today, as my first response to the NHS England Five Year Forward View, to outline the four pillars of our plan to prepare the NHS and social care system for the challenges of an ageing population. And as social service directors your role will be absolutely central to every element of that plan.

Funding backed by a strong economy

The first pillar of our plan concerns funding. A strong NHS and social care system needs a strong economy to support it. The last four years have been the most challenging ever for both the NHS and social care system – and they started because of an economic crisis. It is in all of our interests to make sure the economy continues to grow, create jobs and generate the tax revenues that allow sustained ongoing financial support for health and social care. In Portugal, Spain and Greece we have seen services cut as the price of economic failure – and we don’t want that to happen here.

And when we did have to tackle the deficit, we prioritised the NHS by protecting its budget – which meant tougher settlements for other departments including local government. But the interconnected relationship between the services we both offer to vulnerable people means that we in the NHS have a responsibility – as we move to fully integrated services – to help you deal with a tough financial settlement. If we operate in financial silos the costs will be higher for both of us – hence there is no sustainable NHS without the tremendous strategic importance of the Better Care Fund which we are celebrating today.

Transformed out-of-hospital care

But it isn’t just about money: it’s also about the way we deliver care.

The NHS was set up in 1948 in a very different world. The model was essentially if you were a little bit ill you went to your GP; if you were very ill you went to hospital. You were then patched up and sent home.

With an ageing population our challenges are profoundly different. By the time of the election we will have nearly one million more over 65s than at the start of the last parliament. Within the next two years, we will have three million people with three or more long term conditions. A few years after that we’ll have one million people with dementia. And a few years after that – by 2030 – the number of over 80s will double to 5 million people, 10% of the entire population.

Older people with complex conditions need a different type of care, one that is usually best delivered out of hospital settings. They’ll be frequent users of the health and social care system so they need one person taking responsibility for their healthcare. And they need to know that wherever they go they will be dealing with someone who knows about them and their family, knows their medication history, and knows about their other interactions in the system.

So if getting a strong economy is the first pillar of our plans for the NHS and social care system, getting this new model of care right for an ageing population is the second.

Better Care Fund

And on that front I am pleased to report today some remarkable progress with the Better Care Fund, which for the first time anywhere in the world is integrating health and social care across an entire health economy.

Building on the excellent work by Norman Lamb on the Integration Pioneers that many of you were involved in, local authorities and local NHS commissioners have joined together and painstakingly planned commissioning for adult health and social care with pooled budgets. Budgets from the local authority side are for the first time helping to reduce emergency hospital admissions and budgets from the NHS side are for the first time helping to reduce permanent admissions to care homes.

I want to thank my colleague Eric Pickles for making this happen, and thank the Better Care Fund Team and Andrew Ridley.

Sceptics said this wouldn’t happen. Critics said there wasn’t the appetite among local councils or the NHS. The papers criticised it and opposition politicians called for it to be halted and when they were proved wrong said it didn’t do enough.

Well they were all wrong. Because today I am delighted to announce the total amount of pooled budget for next year is even higher than the government’s original £3.8 billion. It has risen to a staggering £5.3 bn.

I can announce that 97% of the 151 plans have been approved.

And that as a result of these plans NHS England estimate that the Better Care Fund will be supporting at least 18,000 individuals in new roles delivering care in the community. This will be a range of social workers, occupational therapists, care navigators, doctors and nurses, deployed based on local needs and delivering outside hospitals care to some of our most vulnerable citizens.

Taken together, these plans will mean savings [to the NHS] of £500m in the first year alone. More importantly in terms of patient care, they will mean 163,000 fewer hospital stays or 447 fewer hospital admissions every single day; and 100,000 fewer unnecessary days spent in hospital in total through organising better delayed discharges

This is a great start and everyone here should feel very proud. But based on the same principles that we’ve learnt in the last year I want to ask why should we not go further?

Accountable care organisations

For me GPs, whose services are commissioned by NHS England, sit at the heart of NHS community care. We need them to be part of this change too. So this year, for the first time, CCGs have been offered for the chance not just to commission social care jointly with local authority colleagues, but also co-commission primary care with NHS England. I hope the result will be in many areas a single integrated approach to commissioning all out of hospital care, whether through community care, GP practices or social care, often using personal budgets to integrate care even better around the person.

I think we can go even further than that.

Should we not adopt the same partnership approach we have so successfully pioneered with the Better Care Fund for public health responsibilities as well? You have made a great start with your new public health responsibilities – alcohol recovery rates up, smoking down, teenage pregnancy down and health checks at an all time high. It would surely make more sense for local authorities to plan their smoking, alcohol, drugs and obesity strategies alongside NHS colleagues who have a direct financial interest in making them successful. In doing this we can turn CCGs, working alongside local government colleagues in accountable care organisations, responsible for commissioning end-to-end integrated care for their entire populations – including both care closer to home and proactive prevention programmes.

And in the same vein, should we not also consider joint commissioning of children’s services, building on our review of Children and Adolescent Mental Health services? That review highlighted the importance of different organisations working together – so as we move to integrated care we should consider what the benefits could be for this very important patient group.


A strong economy and integrated community care are the first two pillars of our plan. The third pillar involves being much better at embracing innovation and efficiency.

The technology revolution means that now half of us bank online, nearly two thirds of us have a smart phone and three quarters of us access the internet every day. Yet still in the NHS we employ people whose main job is to input the contents of faxes from hospitals onto electronic health records in GP surgeries.

IT investment has had a chequered history in the NHS but in the last two years we have made some good progress. By the end of this year a third of A & E departments will be able to access summary care records, as will one third of 111 call centres and one third of ambulance services. This will then be rolled out to everyone.

I know electronic record sharing is a key part of the Better Care programme you have been working on – so let me give you one example of where I think it could make a huge difference. Shouldn’t residential care homes be able, with a patient’s consent, to update someone’s condition onto their GP record on a daily basis? We’ve introduced named GPs for all over 75s this year, rolling out to everyone next year. But we could make this much more meaningful if the responsible GP was able to check on someone’s condition on a daily basis just by looking at their record on a computer.

Cost tracking

But innovation is not just about electronic medical records.

One of the most common criticisms of the NHS is that it is a slow adopter of technology, even when adopting such technology earlier would save overall costs. This tends to be because we look at costs in financial silos so people are reluctant to invest in costs upstream that benefit another part of the system downstream.

We therefore need CCGs and local authorities to collect full real time total NHS and social care cost information by patient and service-user. Only when we can see that will commissioners invest properly in the preventative innovations that both improve health and contain cost.

Culture change

Innovation and efficiency is the third pillar of our plan. And then final pillar is the most difficult of all, because it is not financial, it’s not operational it’s cultural.

We need to change the culture of a system that has too often failed to put patients at the heart of its priorities.

Almost two years ago, after less than two months as Health Secretary, I made one of my most difficult speeches I’ve ever made when – in the wake of Mid Staffs – I talked about the normalisation of cruelty in the NHS. And we have sadly also seen at Winterbourne View the criminal abuse of vulnerable adults.

Since that time, thanks to the huge efforts of people across the health and care system, we have made great strides in improving quality and safety in hospitals. We have 5,000 more nurses in our hospitals, every patient being asked whether they would recommend the care they receive to friends or a member of their family and with the new Chief Inspectors of Hospitals, General Practice and Adult Social Care we probably have the most robust independent inspection regime of anywhere in the world. And we are doing more as well to help adults and older people live independently, with the appropriate support, rather than in residential care.

And these things are all important – but unless the culture changes as well they will be for nothing.

And the heart of the problem is that for too long in the NHS, perhaps less true in the social care system, but in the NHS we have relied on top-down targets as the main way to raise standards. Whilst there will always be a role for some targets in any large organisation, the danger with too many targets people focus their energy away from the vulnerable person sitting right in front of them – as we saw at Mid Staffs with tragic consequences.

We need to recognise that transparency of outcomes and peer review is a far more powerful way to improve care than yet more targets.

Transparency of outcomes was pioneered by Bruce Keogh and our heart surgeons a decade ago: since they had the courage to assemble and publish, surgeon by surgeon, mortality rates we have moved from having some of the highest heart surgery mortality rates in Europe to some of the lowest.

The MyNHS website now displays comparative performance by hospitals and local authorities on a wide range of indicators, from food to efficiency to safety and public health. I want this to be the engine that turns our NHS and social care systems into truly learning organisations.

And as part of that cultural change we need to see, which is to make sure the primary accountability of doctors and nurses is not to system goals but to the patient standing in front of them.

From next year every NHS patient will have a GP who is personally responsible for their care, with the GP’s name at the top of their electronic health record. Named, accountable doctors so that both patient and NHS know where the buck stops. And GPs supported to discharge that responsibility with more capacity in primary care, whether through additional GPs, practice nurses, district nurses or administrative support.


So I wanted to spend some time explaining the four pillars of our plan to transform our health and social care systems over the next parliament: increased funding backed by a strong economy; integrated, joined up out of hospital care; innovation and efficiency; and a culture where patients and service users always come first.

If it sounds ambitious, I think it is.

But we have a few trump cards to play.

A social care system that has succeeded in weathering perhaps the toughest financial challenge in its history.

We have an NHS that was rated this year by the independent Commonwealth Fund as the top-performing healthcare system in the world – ahead of America, ahead of France, ahead of Germany, ahead of France, ahead of Spain.

The commitment and values of not just NHS staff, but also colleagues in the social care system who have given their lives to the most noble cause of all, giving dignity and respect for our most vulnerable and disadvantaged citizens.

And we have a growing economy. But the litmus test for us as society is what we do with the fruits of economic success.

Today shows that with hard work, imagination and commitment we can pass that litmus test and rise to the challenge of an ageing population by making Britain the best country in the world to grow old in.

There’s a long way to go, but today the journey has started.

Jeremy Hunt – 2014 Speech to King’s Fund


Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, to the King’s Fund in London on 13 November 2014.


Here at the King’s Fund, in November 2012, I made the most important and difficult speech I’ve made as Health Secretary.

It was in the run up to the publication of the Francis report.When I described the problems at Mid Staffs and across the NHS I used words never used by a Health Secretary before – I spoke of the ‘normalisation of cruelty.’

But rising to the challenge of Francis has not been the only thing the NHS has had to cope with.

We’ve also had the deepest recession since the second world war with unprecedented austerity. At the same time an ageing population has given us nearly one million more over 65s than at the time of the last election.

This triple whammy has created perhaps the toughest financial climate for the health and social care system in its history.

Four pillars

Big challenges. Which call for big solutions.

Solutions that involve us all, owned not just by politicians and NHS leaders, but by doctors and nurses on the frontline.

Solutions that improve care and reduce cost at the same time – better care for patients and better value for the taxpayer.

And solutions that are sustainable because they go with and not against the grain of core NHS values.

So today I want to outline the four pillars of the government’s plan for the NHS – and how we intend to make a reality of the NHS England

Five Year Forward View

And I will be brave: by saying I am increasingly optimistic that working together we can build a historic new compact across the NHS which not only achieves the Forward View’s £22 billion of efficiency savings but also delivers higher quality and safer care to an ageing and increasingly demanding population.

So what are the four pillars of our plan?

Firstly to recognise that a strong NHS needs a strong economy.   This is not a political point but economic reality. Much of the current pressure was caused by an economic crisis. The way to relieve that pressure is both to end the crisis and to make sure it is never repeated. As the Forward View makes clear, the only way to grow the £113 billion NHS annual budget is to make sure we have an economy generating the tax revenue to finance it.

The second pillar is something you have championed for many years at the King’s Fund: the need for integrated care closer to home as the heart of our response to an ageing population.

Within the next 2 decades the number of over 80s will double to over 5 million. The care they need is different: proactive, out of hospital care focused on prevention and management of illness – rather than a narrow focus on emergency care when it is too late.   So in the last year we have been taking important steps: a proactive care programme which commits GPs to additional care for their most vulnerable patients; named GPs personally responsible for the care of individual patients, starting with over 75s this year and rolling out to everyone next year; and two weeks ago the £5 billion integration of health and social care through the Better Care Fund. 151 local plans to improve out of hospital care including sharing medical records, jointly commissioning social care and jointly working to reduce emergency hospital admissions.

The third pillar of our plan, is something I want to spend some time on today. How do harness innovation and value for money to improve care and make the Forward View’s £22 billion of savings?


Innovation is not alien to the NHS.

It has had more “world firsts” since its creation in 1948 than any other publicly funded health system, including the first baby born by IVF in 1978 at Oldham General; the first ever heart, lung and liver transplant at Papworth in 1987; and the link between lung cancer and smoking, discovered at NHS hospitals by Sir Richard Doll in the 1950s.

But scientific innovation has not been matched by process innovation. We have not built a system that is good at adopting and rapidly diffusing new ways of doing things. Given that much innovation saves money as well as lives, we need to change the NHS from a lumberingly slow adopter of new technology to a world class showcase of what innovation can achieve.

Today I am taking an important step towards making that change.

Alongside colleagues across the health and care system on the National Information Board, I am setting out a plan to achieve personalised, 21st century healthcare for the whole NHS. We will not do this through bureaucratic top down initiatives but by encouraging and diffusing local clinical innovation. And harnessing the most powerful driving force for innovation we have: the power of individual citizens who care about their own health.

From next spring you will have online access to a summary of your own GP record, and access to the full coded medical records by 2018. By 2018, as well as access, you will be able to record your own comments. This means everyone will be able to create and manage their own personal care record.   From next April you will be able to book GP appointments online and order repeat prescriptions without having to go into your local surgery.

By 2018 a paperless NHS will ensure you only have to tell your story once: if you consent, your electronic care record will be available securely across most of the health system, and by 2020 across the whole of the health and care system, so that, when you need care, different health professionals have instant access to the information they need. This has already started with one third of A & E departments now able to access GP records and one third of ambulance services able to do so by the end of this year.

From next 2016 NHS England have said you will also have access to trusted NHS health ‘apps’ and social networks – so that you can monitor your own health, or join a virtual community of friends, family or other patients who can support you.

Personalisation and prevention

We know in other sectors technology has made personalised service economic to deliver – whether it is home banking, on-demand TV or personalised Christmas cards.

But in healthcare that is only the tip of the iceberg.

More personalised, responsive and joined-up care becomes possible with shared electronic health records.

But in healthcare, technology also unlocks personalised cures for illnesses. We know that diseases like cancer and dementia are not single diseases, but infinitely complex variations on a theme. We also know that it is often not economic – under current models – to develop cures for rarer diseases like pancreatic cancer or infantile epilepsy.   And that is why this government has committed to make the UK the first country to sequence and make research-ready 100,000 whole genomes. We want the NHS to spearhead a global revolution in personalised medicine based on individual genetic characteristics.

But in healthcare it is not just personalised care and personalised cures that technology unlocks. It is also a revolution in prevention.

If you are a vulnerable older person being cared for by Airedale Hospital in Yorkshire, you may well be given a big red button. This sits on your armchair and to use it, there is only one thing you need to do: and that is to make sure your TV is switched on. Then if you press the button – anytime, day or night, a nurse will appear on your TV screen to ask how you are.

Incredibly simple – but incredibly effective at reducing emergency admissions by making good care accessible from inside your own home. Airedale estimates a 14% reduction in such admissions for these patients – while NHS Gloucestershire, where I was yesterday, estimate they have reduced the cost of emergency admissions by 35% for patients with long-term conditions using a similar remote monitoring system.

And this is not just about the frail elderly. Google and Novartis are collaborating on a new contact lens to help people with diabetes monitor their blood sugar levels through analysing tears.

7 million people now wear devices or use apps to monitor their own health. My own FitBit One says that today I have done 8553 of my 10,000 daily steps. In the US Kaiser Permanente are looking to integrate pedometer data into electronic health records to give physicians a better understanding of people’s prevention regimes.

Too often, though, the NHS has lagged behind other countries in offering access to these kinds of products even though the NHS itself is the winner if costs are contained by preventing illness. This will not change until healthcare is commissioned holistically, so that the budget holder who pays for innovative prevention sees the financial benefits that accrue as a result.

So today I can announce that as part of a step towards becoming accountable care organisations, all CCGs will be asked by NHS England – with support from HSCIC – to collect and analyse expenditure on a per-patient basis.

CCGs will then, as co-commissioners of primary and specialist care with NHS England, and co-commissioners of social care and potentially public health with local authorities, be able to pinpoint more clearly where there is the greatest potential to improve patient outcomes by reducing avoidable costs through more innovative use of preventative measures.


But alongside personalisation and prevention, there is a third “p” that is vital if we are to embrace innovation – and that is the protection, protection of personal medical data. If we lose the confidence of the public that their data is safe none of this will be possible.

So we need to be as robust in protecting personal data as we are ambitious to reap the benefits of sharing it.

This year’s Care Act put in place a number of measures, controls and independent oversight of the use of personal data. New data security requirements will be published by October 2015 and mandatory for all providers of NHS care.

But today I am going further.

Just as we now have a Chief Inspector of Hospitals to speak without fear or favour about standards of care, I am today announcing the establishing of a new National Data Guardian to be the patient’s champion when it comes to the security of personal medical information.

I am delighted that Dame Fiona Caldicott, who has done so much outstanding work in this area, has agreed to be the first National Data Guardian for health and care. She has agreed that it will be her responsibility to raise concerns publicly about improper data use. And organisations that fail to act on her recommendations will face sanctions, either through the ICO or the CQC, including potentially both fines and the removal of the right to use shared personal data.

I have already asked Dame Fiona to provide independent advice to me on No data will be extracted from GP practice systems – including during the ‘pathfinder’ pilot phase of the programme – until she has advised me that she is satisfied with the programme’s proposals and safeguards.

I intend to put the National Data Guardian on a legal footing at the earliest opportunity, but even before that the CQC and the ICO have committed to pay special attention to her recommendations, including sanctioning organisations where they find breaches, that do not comply with Dame Fiona’s recommendations, even before any new legislation is passed, so patients will benefit immediately from a much tougher and more transparent regime.

Reaching the £22 billion

A more personalised service that helps people stay healthier is not just what people want: it also reduces cost.

The banks have persuaded more than half of us to bank online. And in doing so cut their own costs by an impressive 20%. By embracing the lower costs of virtual shopping, websites such as Amazon deliver products more conveniently but also more cheaply too. Skype is not just handy – it means international calls are free. Higher quality and reduced cost at the same time.

And likewise this has happened in healthcare, where the Veterans Association estimates that a fully integrated, digital system including accessible electronic health records, remote monitoring, and online consultations has saved $3 billion over 6 years.   It is, now difficult, of course, to predict exactly what the savings might be for the NHS – but to give you one example, if better care at home reduced the cost of emergency admissions by 30%, we could save £5 billion by 2020. A one year delay in the onset of dementia would save £1.5 billion. Money that can be reinvested in more frontline staff and more preventative care, creating a win-win for patients and staff alike.

The Forward View £22 billion savings challenge

But there is also a lose-lose which we are grappling with now.

Because every pound wracked up in deficits is a pound taken away from patient care, which is why maintaining financial balance is vital. But true financial sustainability means rethinking how we spend money not just day-to-day but more fundamentally. Just as in 2009 Sir David Nicholson set up the Nicholson Challenge to save £20 bn this parliament – something that has largely been delivered – so the Forward View sets up a £22 billion challenge for the next parliament.

The challenge may be similar but the way we deliver it will change. As the Forward View makes clear, long-term pay freezes are unlikely to be viable if the NHS is to retain the staff it needs. But as before we will need a combination of national and local initiatives, so today I want to outline 10 savings challenges we can help NHS organisations deliver, challenges which between them could save between £7 billion and £10 billion by 2020.

The first challenge is safer care. Last month, at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, I spoke about the huge cost that is placed onto the NHS by poor quality and unsafe care. A single avoidable fall costs the NHS £1200 because of the longer hospital stay it causes; but we also know avoidable bedsores cost the NHS £50m and orthopaedic surgery infections cost between £2-3m every year. A report by Frontier Economics, bringing together the available evidence, suggested that the total cost of preventable harm in the NHS may be between £1 and £2.5 billion.

One of the areas identified by the Frontier report forms the second challenge: ensuring the safe, effective and optimal use of medicines. Last week, the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges estimated that adverse drug reactions resulted in costs of £466 million through additional bed days. This may be the result of prescribing errors. Or clinicians may not know that a patient has an allergy. And some patients, particularly those taking multiple medicines, may find it difficult to take the right doses at the right times. The report argued a further £85 million of savings could be found by prescribing lower cost statins, without impacting on patient care.

So poor use of medicines is connected to the third challenge: the £300 million of waste each year in primary care from unused drugs, half of which could be avoided according to a study by the University of York and the School of Pharmacy. We have already started to help systems tackle these issues through the roll out of e-prescribing systems using the Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards fund, and through more one-to-one pharmacist consultations as part of the New Medicines Service. But there is much more to do to support patients and clinicians to get the best outcomes from medicines.

The fourth challenge is procurement. The NHS spends almost £15 billion each year on medical equipment, devices, office supplies and facilities. Prices for surgical gloves vary from £2.43 to £5.44 across the NHS, and the NAO found variation of up to 183% in the prices paid by Trusts for the 100 most commonly ordered products. So we have established the Procurement Efficiency Programme, led by Lord Carter, which aims to deliver savings of at least £1.5 billion from the NHS procurement budget from next year. Mid Cheshire Foundation Trust made savings of 9% on their orthopaedic wards and reduced clinical time spent on stock management by 74% by embracing modern procurement and stock control principles, and I am confident we can make similar changes across the NHS by collecting and sharing data, getting a grip on stocks and supplies, and helping providers with central frameworks and core lists to purchase common products.

My fifth challenge is agency staffing. Agency staff can be an essential way to fill difficult gaps quickly and to ensure that services continue to be delivered. But we know that a Band 5 agency nurse can cost three times more than a permanent member of staff. And data from University Hospitals Birmingham suggests that high use of temporary staffing can be a sign of poorer quality care, something that Professor Sir Mike Richards has also noted during his inspections. The amount being spent by trusts on agency fees has gone beyond a sensible response to new staffing levels required by Francis and become an unacceptable waste of money.

So we are supporting Trusts by publishing a new toolkit to help reduce spend on agency staff. And we will bring down these costs further by working with providers to improve their processes and challenge agencies that are ripping off the NHS and the taxpayer. We know it is possible – Taunton and Somerset Foundation Trust, for example, saved £2.5 million by introducing clear rules for hiring agency staff and using electronic rostering.

The sixth challenge is on surplus land and estates. In many areas of the country the NHS owns buildings and land that it no longer requires, as care is increasingly delivered in the community or in people’s homes. There is huge potential for that land to be used for better NHS primary care facilities or indeed housing and schools – whilst at the same time, reducing NHS overheads and generating cash for reinvestment in NHS services. The London Health Commission estimated that the total value of surplus estate in the capital alone was worth £1.5 billion.

The seventh challenge is to ensure that visitors and migrants pay a fair contribution to our NHS. Government and the NHS need to ensure that, where people need to pay for their care, every effort is made to recover the charges. Independent research from Prederi suggests that up to £500 million can be recovered from visitors and temporary migrants accessing NHS services. That would be enough to pay the salaries of almost 10,000 nurses. To do this we are providing financial incentives to trusts to promote the identification of people who should be paying for their healthcare. Identification will also be made simpler through details listed in healthcare records of visitors and migrants.

The eighth challenge is back office costs. The health system is on track to reduce its administration costs by one third over the course of this Parliament, which will save £1.5 billion – and we are committed to save a further £300 million in next year including through shared services and bearing down on estates costs in the department and its agencies. All of these savings go back to supporting frontline care. But it is vital that the NHS continues to look at how it can reduce back office costs in order to support better patient care and these could produce an around £0.5 billion of savings.

The ninth challenge is to come up with more solutions ourselves by reducing the £500 million plus we spend a year on management consultants. We have the ideas and people inside our NHS to deliver the change we need. It is our doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants and managers who will create a sustainable NHS but we won’t grip this if we try to subcontract the challenge of working out the solution. The final challenge is a personal priority of mine: making better use of IT to free up time for frontline staff. A study by the Health and Social Care Information Centre found that 66% of a junior clinician’s time is spent finding, accessing and updating patient notes – compared to just 24% on patient contact. Electronic records systems could make a real difference in freeing up time to care for patients. And that is why I want all clinicians in primary, urgent and emergency care to be operating without the use of paper records by 2018.

Taken together these changes could save a significant part of the Forward View’s £22 billion – and combined with local innovation we can surely find the rest. But some of them are not new – so why am I optimistic we can deliver them this time round?   Because I think the Department of Health has learned that simply coming up with an initiative and hoping to “roll it out” from the centre is rarely successful. These challenges will only be achieved if we construct and implement them with the full support of NHS organisations and their frontline staff.

So I want to do something different this time.

I want to build on the consensus around the Forward View to develop a compact around both the amount and the way we embrace innovation and efficiency to deliver the savings needed. A compact between the bodies leading the NHS and NHS organisations themselves. And a compact that goes on to be translated at a local level to agreements between Trusts and their own staff as to how we are going to improve both care and efficiency at the same time.

Fourth pillar

So that’s the third pillar is a compact to deliver real change in the way the NHS embraces innovation and efficiency.

But there is a fourth pillar, perhaps the most difficult and important of all. And that is to make sure we get the culture inside the NHS absolutely right. We can make the investments, find the efficiencies, we can even invent new cures – but if those changes are delivered without the right culture of safe, compassionate care they count for little.

I will return to this on another occasion, but let me leave you with a thought about the two biggest areas of culture we still need to improve. First of all safety: why in healthcare is it somehow acceptable that one in twenty deaths are avoidable? In the NHS in England that is 1000 avoidable deaths every single month. I want us to be the first country in the world that aims to eliminate avoidable deaths in healthcare with the same standards of safety they have in the airline, nuclear or oil industries.

And we will do that by nurturing a new culture in which the main driver of performance improvement is not endless new targets, but a culture of openness, transparency and continual improvement through peer-review.

And the second area we need to think about is accountability. Still too often in the NHS it is hard for patients to see where the buck stops. Whether it is frail elderly with complex conditions, adolescents with severe mental health trauma, inside hospital or outside we still have a system where corporate goals trump responsibility for individual patients. Patients will never be at the heart of our system until we have professionals truly accountable for making that happen patient by patient, person by person.


So ladies and gentleman it has been a longer speech than normal, even for a politician.

But I wanted, in the wake of the Forward View, to put some flesh on the bone with respect to the government’s response and the plan we want to work with you on for delivering for the NHS.

I’d like to finish then on a note of optimism: we are not alone as a country in facing these challenges. But if we implement the plan I have outlined this afternoon, we will be the first country in the world to do so across an entire health economy.

A properly funded healthcare system backed by a strong economy.

New models of care appropriate for an ageing population with the safe sharing of data.

Innovation and efficiency that both saves money and puts patients in the driving seat for their own healthcare.

And a culture of safe, compassionate care where patients always come first.

And an NHS that turns heads across the world as it blazes a trail for 21st century healthcare.

Thank you very much.

Frances O’Grady Speech – 2014 Speech at the Unionlearn Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Frances O’Grady to the 2014 Unionlearn conference.

Thanks Juliette [Alexander] and to everyone for coming.

Welcome to the 2014 unionlearn conference.

As ever, a great opportunity for us:

To celebrate our magnificent achievements in the field of learning and skills

To hear inspirational stories from ordinary workers we have supported

And to reflect on what the future holds for us.

I want to begin by saying thank you.

Thank you to all of our partners for the great support you give us. Thank you to our learning reps for your outstanding work. And thank you to the staff at unionlearn for doing such a great job.

I know the past few months have been incredibly tough. The government’s decision to slash our budget by almost a fifth has had a big impact. I’d be lying if I claimed otherwise.

But it’s thanks to your professionalism and commitment that we’ve still been able to support learners so effectively. This year, there have been 34 successful bids for new workplace projects. Each different. But each making a difference. And that’s what our work is all about.

Touching lives.

Changing lives.

Transforming lives.

A few months ago I travelled up to Stoke to meet workers in the ceramics industry. It’s a city that has borne the brunt of industrial change. Unemployment is higher than average and pay rates are low. But there I saw for myself how our work on learning is giving people hope.

People like David Barker. After leaving school he had a number of short-term jobs. He spent time on the dole. But at the age of 21, things changed for the better. With the support of his union Unity, he became an apprentice at Wedgwood.

A great scheme with employer and union working closely together. And, in the three years since, David has never looked back. He’s now got a highly-skilled job at the company’s visitor centre. And is looking forward to a bright future.

And just a couple of weeks ago I visited the BMW mini plant at Cowley. Thanks to a strong, well-organised site, the company has made a huge investment to secure the future of both Oxford and Swindon.

But the investment isn’t just in new kit and technology. Unite the union have ensured it’s in people too, including a top class apprenticeship programme that is helping young men and young women become the skilled workforce of the future. What’s more those apprentices are all union members.

This is the difference that only union learning can make.

Because we know that the best way to empower individual workers is through collective action. As the old trade union adage goes, together we are stronger.

And if anybody ever doubts that, I say let’s set the record straight. Tell them about the 220,000 workers we helped last year. Tell them about the men and women able to read to their kids for the first time, or speak a foreign language for the first time, or go to university for the first time.

Conference; trades unionism transforms lives.

Our work on learning is our movement at its best.

Positive, progressive, popular.

Focused firmly on the future.

Making our economy stronger and more productive.

Our society fairer and more mobile.

Our country brighter and more hopeful.

But for all the progress we have made, we still have a mountain to climb. In the autumn, the OECD laid bare the scale of the skills challenge facing Britain, how far we have slipped behind our competitors. In a damning report, the international organisation pointed to the huge training divide in our workplaces.

It underlined big skills gaps among young people, older workers and the disadvantaged. Revealed major weaknesses around intermediate and technical skills. And showed how inequality and poor skills are fundamentally and inextricably linked.

As trades unionists, we know we won’t address the former unless we crack the latter. In the long run, democratising education is the only sustainable way to make Britain more equal. Making learning for life, for all, a reality.

And self-evidently, what happens at work will be crucial. Now there are lots of good employers who make a real effort to train all their staff. ut it’s a sad fact that far too many organisations still neglect their responsibilities.

We know that nearly half the UK workforce do not receive training at work.

A national scandal.

And it’s those whose skills needs are most acute – migrant workers; people on zero hours contracts; agency staff – who are losing out the most.

It’s the same old story. The lion’s share of development opportunities going to the privileged few, the privately-educated elite who control so much of our national life. And working-class people all too often passed by. Simply left alone to learn to labour.

Righting this wrong – getting the pendulum swinging the other way – is why everything we do around the learning and skills agenda is so massively important.

And I’m proud that there is so much great work going on as I speak. To mention just a few examples:

We’re working with the National Numeracy charity, employers and education providers to boost numeracy skills.

We’re doing pioneering work to help workers in mid-career, with our joint project with NIACE attracting double the expected take-up.

And we’re making further improvements to trade union education, already recognised as among the best in the world.

TUC Ed is of course a critical part of the unionlearn offer. Last year, we trained 43,000 reps in the classroom and online. With a further 5,000 learning through e-Notes, our web-based service.

Trade union education is education with a purpose and we’re making a big impact in workplaces right across the country.

Let’s be clear: union learning reps are vital. But the success of union learning also depends on having well trained convenors, shop stewards, workplace reps and branch activists too.

Today we are launching a new study – “Still Making a Difference” – which underlines the continuing importance of our work. Copies are available here in the hall and online.

And I want to thank the 2,000-plus reps – including many learning reps – who took the time to give us detailed feedback for the report.

Conference, it doesn’t matter whether it’s Trade Union Education or union learning, we need to set our sights high.

And as the election approaches, I see three areas where can really shape the policy debate.

The first is young people. With youth unemployment still a terrible blight in our communities and nearly a million under-25s out of work, this is a huge challenge for all of us.

And whether it’s facilitating work placements or improving the new traineeships schemes, trade unions are helping our young people gain a foothold in the world of work. Giving lie to the myth that we’re only here to look after people already in a job.

The second area where we can lead from the front is apprenticeships. I’m proud that we’ve led the argument about the quality of schemes, really shaping the political consensus. In place of six-month long sham apprenticeships, we’ve shown that Britain needs proper schemes with good off-the-job training and decent terms and conditions.

And trade unions are in a unique position to make sure that happens. Last year, almost 6,000 apprenticeships were supported by ULF projects – a big increase on the previous figure. From the NHS to McVities, from the Fire & Rescue Service to Heathrow Airport, from Network Rail to Wolverhampton City Council, we’re working with employers in every sector of the economy.

Raising standards.

Raising expectations.

Raising quality.

And we should all be incredibly proud of that work.

Conference, the third area where we can shape the debate is intermediate and higher skills. It would be a big mistake to assume our work on learning was targeted only at lower-skilled workers.

We’re putting a lot of work into continuous professional development, helping workers with intermediate and higher skills move on to the next level. And we’re also addressing Britain’s chronic shortfall of technical skills – especially in science, engineering and technology.

Through our “Technician Pathways” project, we’re promoting the professional standing of technicians. Not just recognising the huge contribution they make to our economic life, but extending career development opportunities to this crucial group of workers.

Conference: tackling youth unemployment; making apprenticeships better; improving our technical and higher skills. These are the some of the huge challenges facing Britain today.

And our movement is showing that we’re a big part of the answer. Ultimately our work on learning and skills is about winning a better deal for working people.

The theme of our conference this year is “Britain needs a pay rise”. But in the long run, we’re not going to get a pay rise without a productivity rise. And we’re not going to get a productivity rise without a skills rise.

That’s why what we do matters so much.

Learning reps, course tutors, project workers, education providers, support staff – together we are helping to deliver the learning revolution Britain needs.

Giving all working people – regardless of class, gender, race, age, ability or background – the chance to fulfil their true potential at work and in life.

A genuinely noble cause.

So my message to you today is simple:

Keep up the good work.

Keep innovating.

And keep changing lives.

Nicky Morgan – 2014 Speech on Charity


Below is the text of the speech made by Nicky Morgan, the Financial Secretary, on 15th May 2014.


Good afternoon.

I’m sure I won’t be the first – or the last – speaker at this conference to talk about Stephen Sutton…

Who sadly succumbed to bowel cancer yesterday.

And – with no disrespect intended to any of the other speakers – if I want you to look back in a month or a year’s time…

And remember one speech from today…

Now, in that speech, which I can’t recommend highly enough…

Stephen tells his story…

From his childhood…

Through his diagnosis…

And into his – if you will – campaign…

And the part of it that has stuck with me most is when he says… and I quote…

I do not know how long I’ve got left to live…

But one of the reasons for that is because I haven’t asked.

And that’s because I don’t see the point in measuring life in terms of time anymore…

I would rather measure it in terms of what I actually achieve.

I’d rather measure it in terms of making a difference…

Which I think is a much more valid and pragmatic measure.

And I’m sure that anybody that has seen the papers this morning…

And read about everything he did achieve…

And the difference he did make…

Would agree that – in his nineteen years…

Stephen touched more lives, and bought more hope and more joy to more people than many of us will in a lifetime.

He attempted a world record.

He trended on twitter.

He skydived.

He drummed at the Champions League final.

And perhaps most famously – and some would say most importantly – he raised over £3 million for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

And the reason I wanted to talk about Stephen is this:

I’m sure that he – having given up all those hours to do all that fundraising…

And I’m sure that everyone who was touched by his story, and inspired to give up their time or their money to charity…

Would expect those charities to make sure their money went as far as possible.

And they would certainly expect the tax system to make sure their money went as far as possible.

And it’s the latter of those that – as a Treasury Minister – I want to talk to you about today.

Of course, I recognise that in an ideal world…

Wherever possible, charities wouldn’t pay any taxes on income or expenditure.

But realistically that isn’t possible…

And – as such I want to use my time at the Treasury…

To ensure that we all use the tax system as well as we can…

Both to reduce the burden for charities…

And to increase incentives for givers.

I’d like to believe that we are making sure that happens.

Tax reliefs for the sector were worth over £4.4 billion last year…

Gift Aid alone was worth over £1bn…

But I’d like to spend my time with you this morning to:

first – look back on some of the progress the government has made on helping charities to date

second – talk you through some of the announcements that the Chancellor made in his most recent budget…

and finally – to discuss some of the work that we hope to take forward between


So first, what progress have we made to date?

You’ll all – no doubt – be familiar with a lot of this, but…

We’ve launched the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme…

Which allows charities to benefit from a Gift Aid style top up payment on small cash donations.

We’re clarifying the rules for Community Amateur Sports Clubs…

And we’re introducing corporate Gift Aid to encourage companies to support their local sports clubs.

We’ve launched Charities Online to make claiming Gift Aid quicker and easier…

…and acted on feedback from charities that needed help in understanding the new online platform.

And we’ve also:

– reduced inheritance tax for those who donate to charity

– increased the Gift Aid benefit limit for donors

– introduced the Cultural Gifts Scheme

– and introduced the Employment Allowance to reduce NICs bills by up to £2,000 a year – which could help 35 000 charities

So – in four years – we’ve made a lot of very positive changes to the system.

But – as you’ll all know – launching or unveiling or announcing schemes is one thing…

But making sure they’re taken up is quite another.

And of course we – as government – have got a part to play here.

The new HMRC Outreach programme that the Chancellor announced in last month’s budget…

Will play a key role in raising awareness of all these schemes.

They will be a 15 strong team tasked with:

– identifying – and contacting – charities that need help making Gift Aid claims…

– simplifying HMRC guidance and forms…

– and – most importantly –multiplying the number of people who know about – and take advantage of – these schemes

But while we’ve recognised that government can – and that Government will – do more to raise awareness…

You have just as crucial a role to play.

First, we need you to use your networks and your contacts…

To make sure that as many people as possible are aware of these schemes and these reliefs.

And secondly – and most importantly – we need you to take advantage of them…

Because as each future fiscal event comes around…

Be it a budget or a spending review or an Autumn Statement…

Ministers and opposition leaders and journalists will go through our entire tax system with a very fine toothed comb…

And it’s crucial that we’re able to prove that these measures are being used…

And that they are making the difference we intended.


Of course, we had a big fiscal event just two months ago…

And – again – I hope it contained measures that will support what you do.

We reiterated our support for Gift Aid…

…and our intention to help people donate through modern, digital channels.

We announced a programme of work with donor researchers…

To clarify the wording of the Gift Aid declaration…

And – on top of that – we announced a review and update of the Gift Aid guidance for charities and donors…

Again, so people can understand it more easily…

And access it more easily as part of the GOV.UK site.

The Chancellor also announced…

that we’ll set the rate of income tax relief for the Social investment tax relief at 30%…

that we’ll be developing a joint HMRC/Charity Commission portal…

…to make administration – particularly for smaller charities – easier

And this was an announcement I was particularly pleased to see happen…

We’ll increase the Cultural Gifts Scheme limit…

To allow even more pre-eminent works of art and historical objects to be donated to public collections across the entire nation.

Future work

So – again – the budget built on our progress with further announcements.

And there will be – I hope – a few more announcements to come.

Because wherever you alert us to issues or blockages or problems…

I will do my best to fix them.

Some of you may know that I spoke to the Charity Tax Group at the end of last month.

It was quite clear to me at that conference, that the biggest issue on your mind is tax avoidance.

The first thing I’d say on that, is that we are using the powers we already have to clamp down on those who are abusing the system

Just last week – in fact – HMRC scored its fifth victory against schemes promoted by Matthew Jenner and NT Advisors…

The same Matthew Jenner behind the Cup trust scheme…

Bringing the total tax protected to more than £750 million.

This was in a case against an individual who used a ‘bluebox’ charity tax relief scheme to avoid £200 000 in tax.

And as a result of that decision, about £21 million of tax is likely to be paid by users of the scheme.

So there are measures in place to clamp down on this behaviour…

We did add measures last month, in the form of our accelerated payments change…

And wherever we do see disreputable companies – or individuals – using those reliefs…

Which were set up with the best intentions…

To support the worst kind of behaviour…

We will continue to take action.

As I’m sure all you’ll know, our recent consultation on tax avoidance and the charitable sector has closed…

And officials back at Treasury and HMRC are working through the responses.

Now, while I can’t yet share the outcome of that consultation…

What I can share is the intent – which I’ve always made very clear.

I want to protect innocent charities – and their reputations – from unscrupulous avoiders…

And I will make sure that our response doesn’t harm those reputable charities devoted to making the world a healthier and a happier and – let’s be honest – a better place.

I also know from that conference that there is concern in the sector about take up of the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme…

So the HMRC outreach team that I mentioned earlier, will have raising its profile as a key activity.

I’m also hopeful that our new and improved guidance will clarify just how easy it is for charities to claim that relief.

And I also was reminded that morning that there are some concerns about donor benefits…

So I went straight back from that conference to the Treasury…

And made sure that our officials are hard at work consulting with charities and rep bodies on areas where we could simplify the process.

In fact, one such official – Cerys Morgan – is on one of the panels later this afternoon…

And if I can’t answer any of your more detailed questions in a moment…

I’m sure that Cerys will be able to expand on my answers further.


In fact, I’m very keen to get to that Q&A as soon as possible…

Because – presuming I stay in this post

If I want to look back in a years’ time…

And if I want to judge what I’ve done not in political terms, but in Stephen Sutton’s terms.

By what I’ve achieved…

And – by helping charities wring every last penny of every last donation – how many lives I’ve helped you to touch…

Then we as the Treasury – and you as the sector – need to have as honest and as open a dialogue as possible.

So that we can make sure that the schemes already in place work.

That the schemes recently announced are introduced smoothly.

And that ultimately…

And this is the point of all this…

We can make sure that all the money that you raise…

Helps as many people as it possibly can.

Thank you for listening.

Ed Miliband – 2014 Speech on Condition of Britain Report


Below is the text of the speech made by Ed Miliband, the Leader of the Opposition, at the launch of the IPPR Condition of Britain Report. The speech was made on 19th June 2014.

Along with Rachel Reeves and the Head of Labour’s Policy Review, Jon Cruddas, I am delighted to be here with you launching the IPPR’s Condition of Britain report.

For years, IPPR has done brilliant work to help us respond to the challenges Britain faces.

And they have done it again with this important report.

So I want to thank the report’s authors Kayte Lawton, Graeme Cooke and Nick Pearce for the work they have done.

And all those – voluntary group leaders, campaigners and community organisers – many of whom are here today who helped IPPR with their work.

The issue that motivates this report is the same one that brought me into politics.

A belief that the deep inequalities of income, wealth and power in our country are damaging, wrong and can be tackled.

In each generation, we must seek to tackle these inequalities.

And today this belief means there is one question, over-riding all others, that matters to the future of this country.

It is a question that goes beyond one party, one government or one election.

It is a question that countries all around the world are grappling with:

How can we make the country work not just for a few at the top but for the security and success of ordinary families?

When I went round the country in the recent elections, so many people told me the country didn’t work for them.

They were talking about the basic fundamentals of work, family and community.

Things many people at the top of our society just take for granted.

The basic bargain that if you work hard there would be a degree of security, an ability to make ends meet, has been broken.

Low paid, low skill, insecure work that doesn’t give people any sense of fulfilment: that is the reality for millions of people.

That is not good enough for me.

And it is not good enough for Britain.

For the first time in generations, parents from all types of background, fear that their children will do worse than them.

That is not good enough for me.

And it is not good enough for Britain.

And all round this country people who are doing the right thing don’t seem to be rewarded anymore.

That is not good enough for me.

And it is not good enough for Britain.

For my Party, in everything we do, in every reform we make, in every decision we take, in opposition and in government, our job is to tackle this challenge.

And no vested interest, no orthodoxy, should stop us changing the country for this cause.

The importance of this report is that it shows there is a distinctive and compelling answer to addressing this issue, in particular when it comes to our welfare state.

This report shows we can change things at a time of scarcity.

Because we know the next Labour government won’t have money to spend.

It starts with work.

And a welfare system that helps all our young people to succeed.

For decades we have known about the problem of young people with no or poor qualifications entering adulthood, facing little chance of being able to get on.

But it hasn’t been addressed.

Indeed the perversity of the system means that the one thing we most discourage those young people from doing is getting the skills they need for a decent career.

Because we tell them that they should sign on for benefits not sign up for proper training.

And we say, at the same time, to those who go to university that they are entitled to financial support to improve their skills and qualifications.

There can be no better example of a divided country which seems to value the 50 per cent of young people who go to university and fails to value the untapped talents of the 50 per cent of young people who don’t.

It is about people like Danny who I talked to yesterday.

I asked him whether the Job Centre had been good enough at getting him in to training.

He said it had been completely useless.

And that’s because of the rules and the system.

How can he have faith in the system when that happens?

It is no wonder that people feel that politics doesn’t serve them.

It is not good enough for me.

And it is not good enough for Britain.

We can’t succeed as a country with unskilled young people going from benefits to low paid work and back again without proper skills.

Because it doesn’t give business the productive workforce they need.

And it costs the taxpayer billions of pounds in extra welfare spending and lower productivity.

So we’re going to change it.

What the proposals in this report show is that we can address these issues and reform welfare in a way that is progressive not punitive.

And a Labour government will get young people to sign up for training, not sign on for benefits.

So for 18 to 21 year olds, we will replace Job Seekers’ Allowance with a new youth allowance.

An allowance dependent on young people being in training

And targeted at those who need it most.

These are the right principles:

Britain’s young people who don’t have the skills they need for work should be in training not on benefits.

We should abolish the limit on training that has for decades held young people back.

And to pay for these changes in tough times, we should say young people will be entitled to financial support only if they really need it.

Assessed on the basis of parental income, as we do for those young people who go to university.

This is the right thing to do and it doesn’t cost money, it saves money.

So with this proposal and others, this report says to those worried about work in Britain that there are answers.

And we can restore the link between hard work and reward.

And to properly reward hard work and effort, we need contribution to be at the heart of our welfare system too.

We talk about the problem of people getting something for nothing.

And we are right to do so.

But there is a problem that politicians rarely talk about of people getting nothing for something.

How many times have I heard people say: “for years and years, I paid in and then when the time came and I needed help I got nothing out”?

Rewarding contribution was a key principle of the Beveridge Report.

And it is a key intuition of the British people.

But it is a principle that has been forgotten by governments of both parties.

Aside from pensions, less than one tenth of social security spending now goes on entitlements that are based on contribution.

We should not allow the contributory principle to recede still further.

Instead, we should strengthen it.

That’s why as one example, the next Labour government will change the way Job Seekers’ Allowance works.

To make sure that someone who has been working for years and years, paying in to the system, gets more help if they lose their job, than someone who has been working for just a couple of years.

And we will pay for it not by spending more money in social security.

But by extending the length of time people need to have worked to qualify.

And this report faces up to the tough reality that my party understands.

We won’t be able to ensure the security and success of ordinary families in the years ahead with higher benefit spending.

Instead, we must do so by tackling the problems at source.

That’s why we have set out proposals to tackle low pay, increasing the minimum wage.

Saving money on benefits.

Supporting childcare to help mums and dads get back to work.

Reducing the costs of worklessness.

And this report shows also how we can start to tackle a historic problem in Britain, a problem which has developed over decades: a housing benefit bill going up and up and investment in housing itself falling further and further.

Higher housing benefit spending is not a sign of progressive success.

It is a sign of failure.

And again in this report shows the right vision for how we can start to turn this round.

Moving from benefits to bricks by empowering local authorities to use the money they save on housing benefit and reinvest it to help build homes.

And this report is right also that if we are to tackle the generational challenge our country faces of inequality, we cannot do so simply by pulling levers at the centre.

We can’t make the country work for people again by relying on Whitehall and Westminster.

We can only do it by devolving power.

Whether it is getting work for our young people.

Creating the jobs of the future.

Supporting business.

And in public services:

Giving more powers to parents in shaping the future of their schools.

And patients in shaping the future of their hospitals.

People-powered public services.

That is why devolving power is a key part of this report and other reports that are being published in the coming months.

Anyone looking to bring change to Britain today is confronted with a huge problem.

People’s desire for change is enormous, just as it was at the time of the Beveridge Report in the 1940s.

But their belief that this change is possible has been profoundly shaken.

There is a deep sense of pessimism about whether Westminster politics, or anyone within a million miles of it, has any of the answers.

People see a country that doesn’t work for them and hasn’t done so for a long time.

And they believe nobody really gets it.

And it is not just that people think the problems are huge, it is that they don’t believe they can be solved because of the financial challenges the country faces.

I know we must meet the cause of our time, the cause I came into politics for, while confronting a fiscal situation the like of which we have not seen for generations.

The result of a financial crash the like of which none of us have ever seen.

What this report shows is that we do have answers.

Distinctive answers that are right for this time.

Above all the situation means we can’t just hope to make do and mend.

We can’t just borrow and spend money to paper over the cracks.

The old way of doing things won’t work anymore.

Instead, we need big, far-reaching reform.

Which means big changes, not big spending.

Reform that can reshape our economy, so that hard work is rewarded again.

Rebuild our society, so that the next generation does better than the last.

And change our country so that the British people feel it is run according to their values.

That kind of reform is going to be tough.

No one said it would be easy.

I know that.

And you know that.

But it is a cause worth fighting for.

It is the way we change Britain.

That is our mission.

That’s what the Condition of Britain teaches us.

And I congratulate IPPR on your report.

Ed Miliband – 2014 Speech to Labour Friends of Israel


Below is the text of the speech made by Ed Miliband, the Leader of the Opposition, to the Labour Friends of Israel on 17th June 2014.

Friends, it is once again a privileged to have the opportunity to address the annual LFI lunch.

I would like to thank everyone from LFI for organising today’s lunch, and I am sure you would like to join me in thanking Sir David Garrard and Isaac Kaye for helping make it happen.

I am delighted that Ambassador Daniel Taub is with us today and I would also like to take this opportunity as we approach the first anniversary of his induction to say how much I have admired the humanity and generosity of spirit shown in his tenure by Chief Rabbi Mirvis.

I am proud to be a supporter of LFI.

You play a vital role in promoting Israel and passionately campaigning for a two state solution for two peoples.

We are committed to working with LFI to further deepen the relationship between my party and the Israeli Labour Party led by Isaac Herzog, who I was delighted to welcome to my home during his recent visit.

I would also like to play tribute to Anne McGuire who has done an excellent job in chairing LFI over the last year.

I also want to welcome Adrian Cohen to his new position as chair of LFI and I am sure we all want to show our appreciation for the tireless efforts of Jennifer Gerber who joined us on our recent trip to Israel.

Let me say before I get into the main part of my remarks, I am sure all of our thoughts today are with the 3 kidnapped Israeli teenagers, Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach and their families. We all profoundly hope for their speedy and safe return. And it is a measure of this community’s concern that on Sunday afternoon the Chief Rabbi led a service attended by over a thousand people to pray for their safe release.

Today I want to talk to you about my reflections following my recent trip to Israel.

And what it meant to me as a Jew, as a son, a grandson and a father.

And what it means for Labour in government and our approach to Israel.

We travelled out on the El Al flight LY316 three days before Passover.

Justine and I had not entirely anticipated something, which I am sure will be more familiar to so many in this room, and Chief Rabbi I am sure in particular to many of your congregants – that every other passenger on the plane seemed to know each other.

And it wasn’t long before complete strangers were coming up to Justine and me to ask the same question – “So where will you both be for Seder?”

On our trip we would witness the candour of Israelis and the willingness to speak their minds.

I particularly enjoyed the moment at a briefing given by a group of Knesset Parliamentarians, one of whom, in a state of complete exasperation, turned to me and referring to his colleague said, “Mr Miliband, please don’t listen to him he has no idea what he is talking about”.

It makes the Parliamentary Labour Party appear positively benign.

As we touched down on that pre-Passover plane, it immediately took me back to being a young boy and travelling to Israel for the first time.

For the next two days, I would have the most vivid reminders of the deep roots that I have in Israel: like visiting my cousins at the Nachshonim Kibbutz, where I had picked oranges as a child, and having dinner with my extended family in Tel Aviv, arguing and debating, with love and affection.

And there were three particular things which made this visit not only an official trip but a deeply personal journey:

First, being approach by the assistant to the President of the Hebrew University, who said to me: “My grandmother was in hiding in the same Belgian village as your grandmother”.

I can truly say to you, that experience would be unlikely to happen to me in any other country in the world.

That is just one of the reasons why Israel has special meaning for me and a special place in my heart.

Second, my visit to Yad Vashem.

A moment of reflection, mourning and discovery.

Reflection on the loss of so many millions of Jews.

Mourning for so many members of my family that were lost.

And discovery. As I left Yad Vashem I was handed a collection of documents about my family including new information, 70 years later, about what happened to my grandfather and where he perished.

It was an extraordinary feeling, so many years after he died, to make new discoveries about his death.

The new Yad Vashem tells an overwhelming story of the greatest single stain on the conscience of humanity – the Holocaust.

But it also tells, in a way that I was not expecting, a story of life; the richness and the colour of life for European

Jews before 1939. And of course, it also tells how Israel became a miraculous affirmation of life in the face of death.

Finally, I would also say that it was a joy for me to have Justine with me on my trip to Israel. And for her to have a chance to meet my family.

She was moved and delighted to be there.

And I look forward to travelling to Israel with my children, Daniel and Sam, when they are older.

So these are some personal reflections about my trip.

But I did not simply go as a Jew returning to his family’s roots, but also as someone who wants to be the next Prime Minister of this country.

So I also want to reflect on the lessons I learn as the person wanting to do that job.

And my theme, the promise I want to make to you today, is about the priority the next Labour government will attach to its relationship with Israel.

Because of its importance to the Jews of Britain, because of the democracy it represents, because of its economic lessons, and because of the importance of a Middle East peace process for the stability of the world.

I specifically chose this as one of my first official overseas visits because of all these reasons and more.

The priority that I attach to our relationship with Israel, is not just a promise for Opposition, but a commitment for government.

And today I want to tell you where that sense of priority leads me on the major issues that matter.

Israel: economic power with social challenges

As LFI has repeatedly argued, the world needs to get to know Israel better for its economic achievements, as well as its security and diplomatic challenges.

And what struck me is that while Israel is an amazing economic powerhouse, it also faces the common challenges of inequality that so many countries around the world are wrestling with.

The Israel I experienced on my trip was one that is seizing the future: like the young people at Hebrew University and the thrilling innovation and entrepreneurship of new and high tech businesses.

Israel is a major world innovator and I was inspired by the work of the high tech hub, organised by the British Embassy.

We learnt some of the interesting lessons about Israel’s success: the rate of graduate entry, immigration bringing new skills, the availability of venture capital and the collaboration between private and public enterprise.

I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the excellent work of our brilliant Ambassador Matthew Gould.

And I can tell you that a major priority for a Labour Government would be to further collaborate, building stronger working relationships between British and Israeli companies.

And yet for all the innovation, and economic success, it is impossible to ignore the security challenges that Israel faces.

Indeed, they are an economic issue, holding back investment and preventing Israel from achieving even greater things economically and socially.

And they are not simply issues for Israel, because we all have an interest in a stable and secure Middle East.

Visiting Israel brings home the security challenges that it faces very starkly.

We visited Sderot and I saw the rockets that had been fired from Gaza and landed in that town.

I heard from the Mayor about the reinforcements against rockets they had to build for their local schools.

And Justine and I met children, no older than my own, who don’t get the luxury of playing outside as ours do, but are assigned to an inside bunker playground.

And we met the parents of Daniel Viflic, who had been killed in a rocket attack just before Passover in 2011.

He had simply been visiting his grandmother.

The Viflics are the bravest people, but nothing can change the grief and loss they face.

And after 10 years of continuing rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli civilians from Gaza, of course there remains deep concern amongst Israeli citizens about their security.

So attaching the right priority to our relationship with Israel means fully understanding its security concerns and the threat to its people.

Therefore, we must ensure Israel’s security and right to protect itself.

With the unfolding situation in Iraq, we are also reminded of the security situation that Israel faces beyond its borders.

Iraq is today facing fundamental threats to its integrity, security and stability.

ISIS is a violent and brutal military group posing a threat to the entire region. As we have seen in a horrifying way in the last few days.

Their advances in Iraq and their growing base in northern Syria should be seen by all as extremely grave developments.

As Douglas Alexander said yesterday the priority now must be to promote the political integrity of Iraq, to help the Iraqi government through support and advice and do everything we can to provide humanitarian assistance.

Nobody should be in any doubt about the seriousness of the situation and the priority it demands from the world.

Given all of our interests in stability in the region it is right also to be seeking dialogue with other countries in the wider area.

Which brings us to Iran.

I want to be clear about Labour’s position: we are under no illusions about the Iranian regime.

It has supplied thousands of missiles to Hamas and Hezbollah which have been used against Israel.

If Iran continues its illegal nuclear programme and develops a weapon, it poses a grave threat to Israel and to the stability of the region.

That is why the world has such a strong interest in preventing this happening.

The interim agreement brokered by Cathy Ashton is a step forward. We should take nothing for granted about Iran’s behaviour but that route represents by far the best hope for avoiding what we all fear: Iran with nuclear weapons.

But while it is absolutely right to remain deeply sceptical about the nature of the regime, we support the Government’s decision today to reopen the Embassy as a means of engagement.

All of us are conscious, especially at this moment of the instability of this region. Not just in Iraq but also the unfolding tragedy in Syria and the consequences that is having for neighbouring states.

For us that reinforces the importance of a successful peace process.

Our trip to Israel turned out to be just prior to the collapse of the talks.

We can all see the considerable challenges to the peace process. And there is a growing sense as to what those challenges are.

Settlement building in the occupied territories is a significant threat to a negotiated agreement.

The daily reality of all this was brought home on our visit.

We had the chance to visit a Bedouin camp in the Occupied Territories.

People there lived difficult, impoverished lives, and are faced with the potential threat of eviction.

As we heard during our trip, the real fear is that settlement activity makes the viability of a two state solution more challenging.

And those significant challenges to the peace process include the role of Hamas, not just its failure to renounce violence against Israel but to accept its very right to exist.

These deep concerns about time running out represents reasons for pessimism.

They lead some to say that support for a two-state solution should be abandoned.

I don’t agree.

After all what is the alternative?

So we should step up, not abandon, our support for a two state solution.

We should do so deeply conscious of the pressure of time.

But having set out the reasons for pessimism, there are reasons for optimism too.

Most conflicts are unresolved because we do not know what an agreement looks like.

What came home to me on this trip was reasonable people on both sides have a sense of what a resolution looks like.

Two states for two peoples, based on 1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps, with Israel as the homeland for the Jewish people and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people, and with each state enjoying self-determination, security and mutual recognition.

We know that compromises in key areas must be made on both sides.

We must also do nothing that will get in the way of peace.

So we are clear that the threat of boycotts of Israel is the wrong response. We do and we will resolutely oppose the isolation of Israel. And my party does so.

No one in my party either should question Israel’s right to exist.

And what is our role in all this? As friends of Israel.

We must, as LFI is, be persuaders for peace and the two state solution.

We can’t deliver peace unless both sides in the conflict want it.

The international community can set high expectations of both sides.

That is what Secretary Kerry has sought to do in an outstanding and brilliant way, winning the trust of both sides.

That will be how a future Labour government approaches the peace process, passionate and engaged in a successful outcome.

I am reminded of the words of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin used twenty years ago next month at a joint session of both houses of Congress:

“We all love the same children, weep the same tears, hate the same enmity and pray for reconciliation. Peace has no borders…here is where we were born. Here is where we created a nation. Here we forged a haven for the persecuted and built a model of a democratic country. But we are not alone here on this soil, in this land we have neighbours, the Palestinian people – we who have seen you in your difficulties, we saw you for generations; we who have killed and been killed are walking beside you now toward a common future and we want to be good neighbours.”

So let me make this pledge today: in that spirit, we stand with Israelis and Palestinians in their pursuit of peace.

It was meeting extraordinary Israelis and Palestinians that made my recent trip an extraordinary journey.

And a complete privilege for me.

The Jewish community in Britain is also extraordinary: civic minded people of the charity world, dynamic business people, committed public servants, people from every walk of Jewish life with deep love and affection for Britain.

Over these four years, I have learnt a lot from you.

And I hope you have found me willing to listen and learn.

I want you to know that if I become Prime Minister in less than a year’s time, I will be proud to do so as a friend of Israel, a Jew and, most of all, someone who feels so proud to be part of the community gathered here today.

Ed Miliband – 2014 Speech to GMB Congress


Below is the text of the speech made by Ed Miliband, the Leader of the Opposition, to the GMB Congress held in Nottingham on 12th June 2014.

I want to pay tribute to the fantastic work that the members of the GMB have done over this year.

The GMB takes a stand for the values of our movement, even when that is hard.

And we have seen that in the work you have done.

Leading the campaign against blacklisting in our construction industry.

Standing against tax avoidance by some of the world’s biggest and most powerful firms.

Doing all you can to make work pay, with your campaign for a Living Wage.

And I also want to thank you for playing your part in the fight to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom.

And let us also stand for this debate being conducted in a decent way.

We have seen over the last 24 hours the most unpleasant and unseemly attacks on JK Rowling for her speaking out.

All leaders should say that this has no place in the debate about independence.

Friends, I want to talk today about the country we can begin to build in less than 11 months’ time if we win the next general election.

And I want to talk about Labour’s cause between now and that election.

And, more important than that, the crucial cause for our country.

You know how your members are feeling.

They have been at the sharp end of the worst cost-of-living crisis in living memory.

More and more people who are working all the hours God sends and are still being left behind.

One in five people are now working for poverty in the 4th richest country in the world.

Millions more struggling to make ends meet.

And a deep sense of unfairness about how Britain is run.

Friends, it’s not good enough for Britain.

And the Labour Party I lead will not let it stand.

And these aren’t just problems for today.

They are problems for our country’s future as well.

For the first time we can remember, parents in Britain are worrying that their children will have a harder life than they did.

Young people are unable to get the best start in life.

The apprenticeships and secure jobs people used to rely on, just don’t seem to be there anymore.

There aren’t flats or houses that young people can afford to rent or buy.

What I call the promise of Britain, that the next generation does better than the last, has been broken.

What does all this tell you?

This country doesn’t work for most working people.

The vital link between working people’s family finances and the wealth of the nation as a whole has been broken.

And it is the task of the next Labour government to restore it.

The bond between hard work and fair reward has snapped.

And it is the task of the next Labour government to mend it.

Inequality has been on the rise.

And it is the task of the next Labour government to turn the tide.

These are our tasks.

And that is why we need big changes.

Big changes in how our country is run.

And who it is run for.

And that is what One Nation Labour is all about.

And there’s one thing we can be certain of.

We’re never going to see the kind of action Britain needs from David Cameron and George Osborne.

Friends, the Tories can never be the solution to the cost-of-living crisis.

Because they are part of the problem.

It is because of how they think an economy succeeds.

They really do believe in the old ideas.

If a few at the top do OK, it will be all right for everyone else.

That’s why they give the millionaires their tax cut.

While to everyone else they say:

Keep your wages down.

Put up with insecurity.

Trade in your rights at work.

Accept the zero-hours contracts.

A race to the bottom.

Friends, what you know, what I know is that Britain doesn’t need a race to the bottom.

It needs solidarity, fairness and a country that works for all.

And don’t let anyone tell you UKIP are the answer either.

They say they want to be the champion of working people.

But what do they stand for?

Charges to see your GP.

Attacking the minimum wage.

Bring back the 11 plus.

Tax cuts for those at the top.

Keeping the flame of Thatcherism alive.

These aren’t the values of working people.

And they offer no solution for Britain.

So it will fall to Labour, as it has fallen to us before, to make the changes we need.

To have the determination to rebuild the economy.

I’m not going to pretend it will be easy.

Because it won’t.

We will face tough an economic situation.

That’s why we’ve said we won’t borrow more for day-to-day spending in 2015-16.

And we will balance the books in the next Parliament with a surplus in current spending and the debt falling.

But don’t let anyone tell you that it means we can’t make a difference.

We can.

And we will.

On every aspect of inequality, of the cost-of-living crisis, of the break between hard work and reward – we will act.

And I want you to know, your members to know, your friends and neighbours to know, the difference a Labour government will make.

We will take action on wages, on jobs and on prices.

It starts with wages.

The next Labour Government will write the next chapter in the battle against low pay.

For the first time since records began, most of the people in poverty in Britain today are in work, not out of work.

There’s a low pay epidemic in this country.

It has not happened overnight.

It has been coming for generations.

And it shames us all.

A Labour government would start to turn it round.

Let’s today congratulate the 26 Labour councils who are already leading the way in moving to a living wage.

A living wage is good for employees as it means they can better afford to bring up their family.

It makes sense for government, saving money on subsidizing the cost of low pay.

And leading businesses are showing it makes sense for them too,

improving productivity and reducing turnover of staff.

That’s why in government we want to help more employers become living wage employers.

Why for the first time we will give tax incentives to employers who do the right thing.

Because we know the living wage is an idea whose time has come.

And working together we’ll strengthen the minimum wage too.

We all need to take action – government, trade unions and businesses together – to stop those who abuse the minimum wage.

Exploiting workers who come here from abroad and driving down wages for everyone else.

I’m the son of immigrants and I believe that immigration has benefited our country.

But it is part of a progressive, Labour agenda, a trade union agenda, to say it is right to tackle exploitation whoever it affects, including when it undercuts wages.

You know your members are concerned about immigration.

Because you hear it in the workplace.

Let us tell them Labour doesn’t stand for cutting Britain off from the rest of the world.

But Labour stands for fair rules.

Enforcing the minimum wage, stopping employers putting 15 people in a house to sidestep the minimum wage, regulating the gangmasters operating in industry.

And it means something else as well.

It took too long for the last Labour government to introduce rules on agency workers.

The next Labour government will act on the loopholes in those rules that mean agency work can be used to undermine the pay of permanent employees.

And we will set our sights higher as a country too.

With a clear ambition for the minimum wage at the start of each Parliament.

Because we know the single most important truth:

A country can only succeed if those who work hard and do the right thing get a fair day’s pay.

That’s why I guarantee today: the next Labour government will increase the minimum wage.

And we won’t just increase it, we will narrow the gap between the minimum wage and average earnings.

So we can make hard work pay again in our country.

These are the values of the British people, that if you work hard you should get a decent reward and be able to bring up your family.

And these will be the values of the next Labour government too.

Securing good wages for the working people of Britain is also about creating the jobs of the future.

The principle of the next Labour government is that we must not just secure full employment but decent jobs with decent wages.

That means successful businesses, making profits, creating wealth in a dynamic economy.

After the next election the route to social justice lies through the creation of these well paid, private sector jobs.

Jobs that help people build a career, a future for themselves and their families.

Secure. High skill.

Like those you have been campaigning for in the construction industry.

Getting Britain building again.

I believe in a simple idea: there should be a future for all of our young people including the 50 per cent who don’t go to university.

Decent qualifications.


And careers for all our young people.

We can’t build the good quality jobs of the future, when zero-hours contracts are spreading like wildfire through our workplaces.

There’s no place for exploitative zero-hours contracts in Britain today.

So the next Labour government will have a simple rule:

If week after week, you do regular hours, you deserve a regular contract not a zero-hours contract.

And creating the jobs of the future, means backing Britain’s small businesses too.

The businesses that invent and create and sell, that make the opportunities, but so often can’t get a break themselves.

That’s why we will cut and freeze business rates for Britain’s small firms.

And why we will take on the big banks that still refuse to lend.

Breaking up the banks on the high street.

Establishing a British Investment Bank.

And creating regional banks in every part of the country.

So that there are successful companies creating good quality jobs in every single part of Britain.

Not just in the City of London.

Because I believe in the same principle that you do.

We don’t want businesses serving our banks, we want banks that serve our businesses.

Tackling inequality and the cost-of-living crisis, also means dealing with the costs families face.

The next Labour government will have a simple principle: we will take action on the broken markets that have held our country back for so long now.

Driving prices too high, ripping people off.

It starts with the energy companies.

We’ve seen the problem this very week.

The wholesale price goes up, your bills go up.

The wholesale price comes down, your bills still go up.

Not under a Labour government.

We will freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017 to stop them rising.

And we will give new powers to the regulator to cut prices too.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Isn’t it time we had a government that faced up to one of the biggest causes of the cost-of-living crisis in our country?

The price of renting or buying a home

There are nine million people renting their homes.

Think of the million families in this position, with kids starting the school year this September.

Who don’t know whether they will be in their house in 12 months time.

That insecurity is bad for them and bad for our country.

That’s why we will give those who rent, three-year secure tenancies, with rent rises that are stable and predictable.

The government might think that reminds them of Venezuela.

But I think it is the minimum sense of decency and fairness that the nine million people of Britain who rent their homes have the right to expect.

And we will get homes built again in this country.

We all know why house prices are out of reach for so many families.

Because there are fewer house completions in Britain today that at any time since the 1920s.

That’s why the next Labour government will make sure that 200,000 homes a year are built by the end of the next Parliament.

We’ll give local authorities the right grow.

And at the same time, we’ll tackle the problem of developers buying up land, getting planning permission, and then just sitting on it waiting for it to rise in value.

Half a million homes part of the landbanks in our country.

We won’t let it continue.

And to those developers, we’ll have a simple message:

You either use the land, or lose the land.

And we know we can only make this country strong for all and not just a few if we have strong public services.

People have lost faith in lots of institutions in Britain.


The press.

The banks.

But amidst all that, there is a public service, an institution, that people still have great faith in.

And that’s our National Health Service.

We created it.

We invested in it.

And brought it back to health after 1997.

And it will be our job to save it once again.

The NHS is going backwards under the Tories.

The highest waiting times in A&E for a decade.

Longer waiting lists.

Longer waiting times to see your GP.

And creeping privatization of our NHS.

David Cameron said the NHS was safe in his hands.

He has betrayed the trust of the British people.

It will be up to the next Labour government to protect and improve our NHS.

Stop the Tory privatization.

And repeal their terrible Health and Social Care Bill.

Friends, we face a generational challenge in Britain right now.

For years, for decades even, we’ve had a country that works well for a few.

But that leaves most working people behind.

We’ve got to turn that round.

We face the fight of our lives in less than a year’s time.

We all know how the Tories will fight that election.

We all know the tactics they will use.

How desperate they will be to cling to power.

But I have to tell you.

We have a bigger opponent at these elections.

Bigger than the Tories.

Bigger than UKIP.

And it’s certainly bigger than the Liberal Democrats.

It is the sense that nothing can be done.

The sense that Britain’s problems are too big.

And politics is too small.

We all heard it time after time during the election campaign last month.

“You’re all the same. In it for yourselves. You don’t keep your promises.”

Friends, we know that’s not right.

We know we are different.

We have to show people.

We can do it.

Remind people that we came into this party, and this movement, for a reason:

Show that we can change Britain.

That we can rebuild our economy.

Save our NHS.

That we can make our country a fairer, more prosperous, more equal place.

And that we can do all that even when times are hard.

Friends, that is our mission.

A fairer society.

A more just society.

A more equal society.

That is our cause.

And together, we can make it happen.

Ed Miliband – 2014 Speech on One Nation Labour


Below is the text of the speech made by Ed Miliband, the Leader of the Opposition, in London on 17th January 2014.

Today I want to tell you what the next election is about for Labour.

It is about those families who work all the hours that God sends and don’t feel they get anything back.

It is about the people who go to bed anxious about how they’re going to pay their bills.

It is about the parents who turn to each other each night and ask what life their sons and daughters are going to have in the future.

It is about those just starting out who can’t imagine they will ever afford a home of their own.

It is about the most vulnerable in our country who feel they are just being tossed aside.

And it is about all those who are doing OK but still feel Britain should be doing a lot better.

It is about who we are as a country.

And who we want to recover to be.

It is about all those who believe that we’re Britain and we should never settle for second best.

All those millions of people who believe, like I do, like you do: We’re Britain, we’re better than this.

But we can only do better if the conversation in politics catches up with our country.

For too long politicians acted as if when something wasn’t talked about in politics or wasn’t big on our television screens, somehow it wasn’t happening.

The banking crisis.

The problems in the eurozone.

Ups and downs on the stock market.

They are the daily stuff of politics.

But all the while something just as important, something even deeper, has been going on.

And we have been far too silent about it.

That is the cost-of-living crisis.

Some people in Westminster still ask me: is the cost-of-living crisis really such a big deal?

Isn’t it just a short-term problem?

This shows they just don’t understand.

The cost-of-living crisis is the single greatest challenge our country faces.

Not since the century before last have we seen such a sustained fall in living standards.

What is the cost-of-living crisis?

On my very first day as leader of the Labour Party, I talked about the squeezed middle.

I realise now that back then I didn’t grasp the full scale of the problem.

It only really came home to me later.

And since then we’ve had three more years of that squeeze.

It is why I focused on it in my Labour Party conference speech this year.

And today, I think about the fragments of the conversations I have had since then, about the problems people face.

“My wages are stuck but all the bills carry on going up.

I just can’t get the hours I need so everything is a struggle.

The weekly food shop.

Gas and electricity.

Petrol for the car.

I just can’t afford this government.

I don’t know how much I am going to earn from one week to the next.

Work sixty hours a week.

I have to do two jobs.

I don’t have time to see my kids.”

“Of course, life’s going to be hard,” people say, “but surely it doesn’t need to be this hard?”

“And what’s going to happen to my kids when they grow up?

Will they get a regular job?

What about when they want to start a family?”

“They tell me on the news the economy is fixed.

And the people at the top they certainly seem to be doing OK.

But why isn’t that happening for my family?”

It is used to be that this country worked for ordinary people.

It just doesn’t seem to any more.

You see, this cost-of-living crisis is about the pound in people’s pocket today.

But it is not just about that.

It reaches deeply into people’s lives.

Deeply into the way our country is run.

Deeply into who our country is run for.

And because the problems are deep, the solutions need to be too.

That is the task for the next Labour government.

What is going to happen?

At least, politicians are finally talking about the cost-of-living crisis.

But talking about it isn’t enough.

People need to know that we’re going to do anything about it.

This government think it is all going to be OK.

Because this year the forecasts say that average wages will finally overtake prices.

Let’s hope that happens.

But I really warn this government:

If they think a few months of better statistics will solve this crisis, they are just demonstrating again that they have absolutely no idea about the scale of the problem or the solutions required.

This cost-of-living crisis is about who gets the rewards, not just the averages: ordinary people or just those at the top?

It is about the nature of work and whether it is secure or insecure.

It is about the prospects for people’s kids and the quality of jobs.

It is about decent homes at affordable prices.

It is about a strong sense that this cost-of-living crisis has been coming for a long time.

And that there are some big things need to change if we’re going to sort it out.

This government says: “the job is not even half done.”

You might think that’s a good sign.

But when they say that, they are not talking about your living standards.

The work you do.

The prospects for your kids.

They are just talking about the deficit.

Of course, we need to reduce the deficit.

That’s why Labour won’t borrow more for day to day spending in 2015/16.

But deficit reduction alone can’t fix our economy.

Deficit reduction alone can’t make hard work pay.

Deficit reduction alone isn’t a vision for the country.

And why does their vision fall so short?

It is not an accident.

Because they think low wages, insecure work, the hope of a bit of wealth trickling down from the top, is the way Britain succeeds.

Their economic policy is not the solution to the cost-of-living crisis.

It’s part of the problem.

They believe in a race to the bottom.

Low wages, low skills.

Not the race to the top Britain needs to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

High skills and high wages.

The symptoms of their failure to make the long-term changes that Britain needs are there for all to see.

Personal debt for ordinary families rising again, as wages are squeezed and productivity remains low.

The largest deficit in traded goods since records began back in 1955, because there’s no proper industrial policy and no plan for growth in every region.

Investment 159th in the world because reforms haven’t been made so firms can take the long-term view.

Over-reliance on insecure, low paid jobs, not enough of the secure, high paying ones that used to keep our middle class strong.

Millions of people unable to afford to buy or rent a home, because the homes just aren’t being built.

Broken markets, from gas and electricity to transport, which are not being reformed.

And a banking system that still doesn’t serve Britain’s firms.

Higher personal debt.

Uneven growth.

Low investment.

Insecure jobs.

House prices out of reach.

Bills still too high.

Banks not serving the wealth-creators.

And David Cameron and George Osborne want congratulation.

This is not a recipe for building the new economy that can tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

It is a recipe for clinging on to the old economy.

I say: Britain can do better than this.

How we earn our way to a higher standard of living

Over the coming months, Labour will be setting out the long-term changes we need.

So we earn and grow our way to a higher standard of living.

A One Nation industrial policy serving every region of Britain.

An end to the fast buck with a new culture of long-termism, from our infrastructure to our takeover rules to the stock market.

An education policy to help provide skills, training and a career to all of our young people, not just the 50% who go to university.

A plan to build 200,000 homes a year by the end of the next Parliament, so we can tackle the housing crisis.

Taking on the vested interests in every broken market to get a fairer deal to help consumers.

And building a banking system that serves the real economy.

At our party conference in September, I talked about how we will reform Britain’s broken energy market.

As you may remember, the big energy firms didn’t like it.

But it is broken.

And only Labour will put it right.

Today, I want to talk about another broken market.

Britain’s banking system.

Because there can be no bigger test of whether we are serious about building a new economy and tackling the cost-of-living crisis.

Part of the reason as a country we rely too much on low paid, insecure work is that the small and medium sized firms that could create the good, high paying jobs of the future can’t get the finance they need.

Of course, financial services is an important industry in itself.

But for an industry that calls itself a “service”, it has been a poor servant of the real economy.

And it has been an incredibly poor servant.

Not just since 2010.

Or 2008.

But for decades in this country.

We need a reckoning with our banking system not for retribution but for reform.

Labour has already laid out important plans to change our banking system.

A Green Investment Bank, with proper powers to invest.

A new British Business Investment Bank, supported by a network of regional banks in every region of the country.

And we’ve said very clearly if the big banks can’t demonstrate real culture change by the time of the next election they will see their high street and casino arms broken up.

But to really change our banking system, we have to tackle a decades long problem in British banking: too much power concentrated in too few hands.

Britain has one of the most concentrated banking systems in the world.

Just 4 banks control 85% of small business lending.

Not lending to firms.

Poor customer service.

High charges.

The old economy.

The next Labour government will act.

On day one of the next Labour government, we will ask the Competition and Markets Authority to report within six months on how to create at least two new sizeable and competitive banks to challenge the existing high street banks.

I want to be clear about the difference this will mean:

This is not about whether we should have new banks.

The question this government is still asking.

But about how.

It is not about creating new banks that control some tiny proportion of the market.

But new banks that have a substantial proportion and can compete properly with existing banks.

And we are not asking whether existing banks might have to divest themselves of significant number of branches.

We are asking how we make that happen.

And we will go further too.

In America, by law, they have a test so that no bank can get too big and dominate the market.

We will follow the same principle for Britain.

And so under the next Labour government we will establish for the first time a threshold for the market share any one bank can have of personal accounts and small business lending.

Preventing mergers and acquisitions over this threshold.

After decades of banking becoming more and more concentrated, Labour will turn the tide.

I want to send a message to our small and medium sized businesses: Under a Labour government, you will no longer be serving the banks.

The banks will be serving you.

You will have a better chance of getting the support you need to grow your business, employ more people, at decent wages, making profits and helping Britain succeed.

Only if we take on powerful vested interests, from energy to banking, and reform broken markets, can we make the long-term changes Britain needs.

And tackle the cost-of-living crisis.


All of us face a choice about how we want to fight the next election.

Optimistic about Britain and its future.

Or pessimistic.

Giving people a sense of hope.

Or trying to win by fear.

In the next 16 months, I want you to tell people:

About our belief that Britain can do better than this.

About how we believe we can tip the balance away from struggle and towards hope.

And tell them exactly what we will do to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

An energy price freeze.

Strengthening the minimum wage.

Tackling the payday lenders.

Better childcare.

Abolishing the bedroom tax.

Alongside the long-term changes our country needs:

New banks on our high street.

Skills for all our young people.

A new culture for long-termism.

An industrial policy for every region.

Building homes again in Britain.

I say Britain can do better than this.

To build the new economy.

And leave the old economy behind.

To tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

That’s what the next Labour government will do.

Maria Miller – 2014 Speech at LGA Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Maria Miller, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, to the LFA Conference in Portsmouth on 3rd March 2014.

I’m delighted to be here in Portsmouth today. As you might be aware it stood, partnered by its long-time rival Southampton, as a candidate for our 2017 City of Culture competition. And a very worthy candidate it was too.

And as the home of the Mary Rose, HMS Victory, three theatres and a football team that has seen its fair share of success over the years, it is an extremely appropriate venue for this conference.

It is a city which clearly understands the value and importance of culture, tourism and sport – which is the underlying theme to this conference.

The precise topic of the conference is actually ‘making the most of your cultural, heritage and sport assets’.

I think this topic reflects two things:

Firstly, it acknowledges that times remain tough. We all now have to think differently, plan differently and deliver public services differently. That is true both in central Government and local Government.

But secondly, on a much more positive note, I think it reflects the central importance of culture, heritage and sport in communities up and down the country. It reflects the fact that these activities really are the bedrock of our modern lives. And that we all care about them a great deal.

In local government, as you all know only too well, the arts… culture… sport… are not statutory services. But they remain essential services. Good local authorities recognise that fact. They realise that their local residents expect these services to be provided and provided well. And they realise the benefits which these services offer.

The same arguments apply in central Government as in local Government. We continue to prioritise these areas both because we know people care about them deeply… and because we know what activity in these areas can achieve.

Today I want to talk, if I may, about some of the arguments we have at our disposal when we argue for support for these areas. I want to talk about the balance between national and local government funding and what we have done to help these sectors. And I want to talk about the role of partnerships, in particular, as a means by which we can all make the most of our assets.

Intrinsic Value

I’d like to begin with a simple proposition.

I believe that culture – and I’m using the word in its very broadest sense… to include the arts… our creative industries… our built heritage… and also including the central role that sport has in our lives… is absolutely fundamental to who we are.

It has a privileged place in our lives. It is uniquely able to move us, inspire us… make us laugh and make us cry. As I said recently in a speech, it’s what makes our hearts sing. In my opinion this, in and of itself, is a compelling enough reason for any government – central or local – to continue to fund these sectors.

I feel proud and privileged to have responsibility for these sectors at a national level. And I am sure you feel the same in your local areas. Trips to the theatre… family kick-arounds in the park… visiting local heritage sites…these are a central part of Britain and being British.

So, undoubtedly, there is a powerful intrinsic argument to be made for support for the arts, heritage and sport. But the case does not start and stop there… we can also point to evidence of the myriad benefits that these activities can help secure.

Instrumental arguments

Whether we are talking about economic, educative, health or community benefits, there is a clear and compelling case to be made. If I may, I’d like to give you a few brief examples to illustrate this.

The economic case is captured here in Portsmouth. The new Mary Rose museum has only been open for nine months but has already attracted more than a quarter of a million people.

Similarly in Wakefield, the council has invested and has been rewarded by half a million people visiting The Hepworth Wakefield in its first year. This has contributed around £10 million to the local economy.

Yorkshire will also host the opening stages of this year’s Tour de France – an event which should bring millions of pounds in for the local area.

The educational benefits of both the arts and sport have been well demonstrated. Not only can sport be used as a hook to keep children engaged in education but sport programmes have been shown to improve the learning performance of young people. And recent survey data shows that those participating in the arts are much more likely to claim that they are ‘very likely’ to go on to further education.

In health, the sporting case is obvious but I’ve been struck by emerging evidence about the positive impact culture can have on physical and mental health.

A 2007 report from UCL, commissioned by my department and the Department for Health, showed that arts participation lead to mental health improvements.

Both culture and sport are proven to help increase motivation, inspire hope, provide relaxation and reduce the symptoms of depression.

And the case in terms of physical health is equally compelling. Physical activity is linked to a reduced risk of 20 illnesses, including cardiovascular disease and even cancer. Regular sports activity is estimated to save thousands of pounds per person in healthcare costs over a lifetime.

And an interesting piece of research to be published shortly – again commissioned by my department –shows that people who had engaged with the arts were also more likely to report good physical health than those who had not.

Again this can mean big savings for the NHS. In fact, taken together, this research suggests potential annual savings of more than £3 billion thanks to activity in the arts and sport.

And I am delighted that cCLOA (Chief Cultural and Leisure Officers Association) will publish guidance tomorrow on the vital role of culture and leisure in improving the health and wellbeing of local communities.


But perhaps the most compelling of the so-called instrumental arguments for culture – and one which I think clearly marries the intrinsic value with the instrumental benefits – is the way in which it can bring people and communities together.

A great example of this is to be found in the amazing work of East Lindsey, who have transformed Skegness through a cultural programme, centred on the now-regular SO Festival. Yes this has a big economic impact on the local area, but more importantly, it has helped bring the local community together and allowed them to get behind what they, quite rightly, see as their event.

This idea – that culture brings people together, instils civic pride and lifts the spirits – is one of the main reasons why the City of Culture competition has been such a success. .

We saw this take place in Derry-Londonderry last year and the omens are very good indeed for Hull when they take on the mantle in 2017.

I was delighted to hear that when Crystal Palace supporters recently travelled to Hull for a Premier League match, they were greeted by home fans chanting ‘You’re only here for the culture’.

And undoubtedly sporting success – whether that is through a local team or thanks to inspirational local stars such as Jessica Ennis Hill from Sheffield or Nicola Adams from Leeds – can have a huge impact on a local community.

Sir Tom Finney, who passed away just last month, is a perfect example of how sporting excellence, civic pride and loyalty to a local community can have a resonance long after a sporting career is over. Described by Bill Shankly as “the greatest player to ever play the game” he never thought of leaving his home-town club, Preston North End, and his funeral last week quite literally brought that town to a standstill.

So these factors – economic benefit, civic pride, educational achievement and health benefits – should be central to our case when we argue for investment in culture, sport and heritage.

But it is also important to remind ourselves of the intrinsic value of these activities. And to remember that making these instrumental arguments does not contradict a belief in an intrinsic value. Put simply, there can be instrumental benefits without compromising intrinsic value.

What we’re doing in Central Government

In central Government we believe in both the intrinsic and instrumental potential of the arts, heritage and sport. And we have therefore done all we can to protect these sectors despite the tough times we find ourselves in.

At the last Spending Round, we only passed on a five per cent reduction to the arts, museums and sport. This was a far lower reduction than for many other sectors.

And, we increased the shares of Lottery income going to the arts, heritage and sport from 16 per cent to 20 per cent.

This means hundreds of millions of pounds of extra Lottery funding for these sectors over the course of this parliament.

I am proud of this record. But I don’t agree with those who seem to think funding is the be all and end all. After all, it is true that – in real terms – funding has fallen for arts over the last few years. Yet participation in the arts has gone up over the same period. It is currently at an all-time high with almost 4 in 5 adults participating in the arts last year.

And since London was awarded the Olympics in 2005, the number of people participating in sport has gone up by 1.5 million.

If we can do more for less, we always should….. In local government you know that better than most.

The important role of local authorities

The role you play in providing cultural, heritage and sporting services up and down this country is vital. You are the largest funders of culture. In fact, you spent almost £4 billion on cultural and related services – including sport – last year. Clearly, you are the backbone of support for these areas.

But you, like us in central Government, are having to think differently these days. Budgets are tight and choices have to be made – prioritisation is the name of the game.

But what local authorities have also proved is that reduced spending doesn’t have to mean public dissatisfaction. In fact, the LGA’s own research shows that overall satisfaction amongst the public with the way their local council runs things remains high, with almost three-quarters of people fairly or very satisfied. This, I think, is a pretty clear indication that customer satisfaction is not just a matter of funding – it is also about how things are done and how services are provided.


As I have travelled the country, I have been really encouraged to see how local authorities are innovating to reduce costs and to deliver services more effectively.

These innovations include establishing charitable trusts, creating mutuals, outsourcing, and sharing services across a number of LA areas.

For example Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery have joined forces with Thinktank and Birmingham Science Museum, to form ‘Birmingham Museums’, the UK’s largest independent museums trust.

Luton Cultural Services Trust – a registered charity – who manage 12 venues and provide cultural services across Luton. And Hampshire County Council, with Winchester City Council, have developed a new charitable trust to support arts and museums in the county.

So partnerships are being established. And I think they spell a very exciting way forward, working within the grain of how culture works in this country.

After all, culture is not a monolithic, state-controlled entity. It is delivered by many organisations. These partnerships reflect that.

Arts Council England and the national tourist board, VisitEngland, work together to boost cultural tourism in England making £3 million available to local culture and tourism partnerships.

Universities are forming partnerships with cultural organisations. For example, “Evolve” at the University of Derby offers support and space to new and growing businesses, and the University is a vital supporter of the theatre in Derby.

And I’m very pleased to see so many of our National Cultural institutions, including those funded by central Government, working in partnership across the country.

National institutions reaching out

Digital technology, in particular, is providing new ways to extend the reach of our national institutions. These days the amazing productions that are thrilling audiences at the National Theatre on London’s South Bank are also being broadcast to cinemas all over the country. Barn-storming performances like James Corden’s in ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’, or Adrian Lester’s stunning handling of ‘Othello’ can now be enjoyed by audiences right across the UK.

Then there’s the Plus Tate network which aims to support the development of the visual arts across the UK. Tate contributes resources to help create a network of organisations – 18 so far – who share ideas and expertise, as well as programmes and collections for the benefit of the wider public.

This is good for Tate because it expands its reach and expertise, and great for people outside the immediate orbit of Tate’s main galleries by increasing public access to the national collection of British and international modern and contemporary art. More than 3.5 million people have visited the shared collections since it began.

Tate also administers the spectacularly successful ‘Artist Rooms’ programme which has reached almost 30 million visitors in scores of exhibitions at museums and galleries in all corners of the UK. This programme means these works can dazzle… inspire… and make hearts sing in so many more places.

Tate is not the only national institution operating nationally, of course. To take just one other example The Roman Empire: Power and People is a British Museum touring exhibition developed with Bristol Museum and Arts Gallery, which is visiting Norwich Castle, Coventry, Leeds, Dundee and Wallsend.

This is the way of the future and I believe this sort of activity will help extend regional organisation’s reach far wider than ever before.

The balance of regional cultural funding

I know that the current balance of funding is being questioned at the moment – in particular people ask if the capital gets more than its fair share?

Well my view is that London’s international reputation for excellence in both culture and sport, and its appeal to tourists from around the globe, is extraordinarily valuable

There is a debate to be had about the relationship between the capital and the regions but it’s worth remembering that London is a gateway to the UK and it benefits all of us, no matter where we live.

I would rather people outside London did not see themselves as competing with the capital. Instead, I would prefer it if people think of London’s cultural offer as providing a rising tide which carries all ships.

This includes the partnership work that the capital’s institutions should focus on round the country.

It is true that half the inbound visits to the UK are to London, but this last year has seen big increases in visitor numbers and spending in other parts of England and the rest of the UK by overseas visitors.

So the evidence suggests that we are seeing more and more visitors going through the gateway and seeing what the rest of the country has to offer.

The GREAT campaign has played a big part in this. It showcases the very best of our country. And it won’t surprise any of you here today that the imagery the GREAT campaign consistently uses is from your sectors. The worlds of culture, the creative industries, heritage and sport.


So, when you campaign to the public – and to central Government, of course – on behalf of the arts, heritage, sports and tourism, you are doing so very much within the grain of our thinking. We believe that these sectors are at the heart of a free and dynamic society. We believe they are the cornerstone of what central and local government do. And what people care about. The public’s appetite for these sectors is obvious and shows no sign of diminishing,

Whilst public finances remain extremely tight, central Government’s support for these sectors is assured. And I know the same is true for all good local authorities.

What we need to do now, and in the future, is to keep forging partnerships…to continue championing the intrinsic value of the arts…. as well as the amazing things culture and sport can help achieve…and to take pride in the fact that we are all working in some of the most exciting, creative and valuable areas that this country has to offer.

Maria Miller – 2014 Speech at Oxford Media Convention


Below is the text of the speech made by Maria Miller, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, on 26th February 2014.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web, and it is truly extraordinary – I think – that it was only such a short time ago that Sir Tim Berners-Lee and his colleagues at CERN made that first thought connection that changed the world.

Our creative industries are the fastest growing sector of the UK economy. The internet is a key part of this fastest growing sector. We have to get the internet right if we’re going to get the creative industries right. We have to foster the internet we want.

For most of us, the internet is now an intrinsic part of our lives. And for your industry in particular, it has had and will continue to have a transformative impact. It is revolutionising the business models for how content is created, shared and monetised. The future of the internet matters, so we want to foster the sort of internet that adds value to content and that adds value to our creative industries.

I want to reflect this afternoon on the transformative impact the internet has had for freedom of expression. Be that political, cultural or personal – the internet has given us all a voice and an audience.

That is a powerful change. A force for good. A force for liberation. A force for democracy. We have to protect that. So I also want to talk about the responsibility we all have for nurturing this phenomenal technology – to ensure it remains a force that improves and enriches peoples lives.

The responsibility we have for protecting the openness, innovation and security – that underpin it.

Open, so everyone can access the internet and enjoy the opportunities it provides.

Innovative, so technological development can keep pace with human creativity.

Secure, so that the infrastructure is robust and our data – whether personal or IP – is protected and we keep the most vulnerable people safe. I am sure we have all been struck by the role the internet and social media has played in world affairs from the Arab Spring to bringing to light the horrors in Syria.

The internet has made the world accessible and given every individual the possibility of access to a global audience. The internet has provided enormous opportunities in delivering public services such remote education and e-health, or even just renewing your car tax.

Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) are opening up education to the world. Farmers in Ghana are saving time and money by using their smartphones to trade their products before they go to market. None of this would be possible without the internet.

An internet for life

And it is not only at the high-end of human endeavour that the internet has changed our lives. For our children it is fundamental part of their world. Fewer than one in ten children in the UK do not use the internet at all. Most research and do their homework online. They watch TV or films, play games and use social media. The devices they use and location for these things may change, but the constant is the role of the internet.

This is no different for adults. Many of us also choose to spend leisure time on social media, gaming with friends, downloading or streaming films and music or sharing our own content.

So for the avoidance of doubt, let me make my starting point clear – and perhaps Government doesn’t say this enough – the internet and all that it has done for us in the past, and all that I think it will do for us in the future is – overwhelmingly – a very good thing indeed.

The internet is one of the great enablers for Freedom of Expression. It is the equivalent of the invention of the printing press many hundreds of years ago.

This freedom is the cornerstone of British democracy. And it drives our creativity, our culture, our economy and equality.

Rights and Responsibilities

But Freedom of Expression doesn’t just happen because the technology allows it. It is in our DNA. It is something that we must all actively nurture and protect through our actions and behaviour.

We have a responsibility to work together to ensure that everyone can approach the internet excited about what we can learn, what we can find, not frightened of where it might lead us.

So how should we approach this responsibility?

The starting point, I would suggest, is a straightforward principle.

The internet isn’t a ‘Second Life’, it isn’t something where different rules apply, where different behaviour is acceptable – it isn’t the wild west.

To put it simply the rules that apply offline are the same rules that apply online.

The same rules offline also apply online.

This is at its most clear when it comes to the law. If something is illegal offline, it is illegal online. We have laws in this country to protect our freedom… it is no different online.

Whether it is images of child abuse or terrorist material we will use the full force of the law, national and international, to take down that content and pursue the perpetrators.

If you have vilely insulted, or threatened to attack someone in person on the street, you do so expecting to be arrested and probably charged.

The same already applies on social media.

The legislation is already in place. And we have the guidelines by the Attorney General on contempt of court – and the Director of Public Prosecution’s on prosecutions involving social media communications – put together they present a strong and durable framework.

As the recent imprisonment of two people for the abuse suffered by Caroline Criado-Perez shows, being online does not mean the law doesn’t apply to you. And the law is being used. Last year 2000 people were prosecuted for sending electronic communications that were grossly offensive or menacing.

In tackling child abuse online, the new National Crime Agency is bringing greater resources to bare. Last month Operation Endeavour resulted in 46 arrests across 14 countries, demonstrating the NCA’s global reach. And yes, of course, there will be challenges of jurisdiction on the internet. But the internet is not the only space where working across borders presents legal challenges.

There are many countries that have sought to regulate the internet in ways that we would not consider, but I think you’ll agree that the debate has moved on from whether it can be done, to what is the responsible way for all of us – individuals, industry and state – to foster the web we want.

In other areas we don’t argue the law should not apply because it is difficult. And we will continue to work with other Governments and law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrators of serious online crime to justice, where ever they are.

The Sensible Consumer

But society is not only governed by laws.

We have social and ethical responsibilities for our own behaviour as well -online, just as we do offline. Freedom of Expression, creativity, entrepreneurship – these are repressed, not enhanced, by failing to treat people fairly, or with respect. We want the reassurance of knowing we are protected online, but equally we must be responsible for our own actions. The veil of anonymity the internet provides may be valuable but does not give licence to insult, cheat or exploit.

And the responsibility we take for our own and others’ belongings equally apply online.

You wouldn’t leave your front door unlocked with a handy map pinned to it, showing where you kept your valuables. So why use the word ‘password123’ as your on-line banking password?

If you wanted to see a film or listen to a CD, you wouldn’t sneak into a shop and steal it off the shelf, so why do the online equivalent and download it illegally?

It’s about good citizenship… as well as what’s legal and what’s not.

Changes can be made

And we already know that when the industry and Government work together we can make changes. We know that work can be done to enhance the protections that we see online. An example of this is the steps forward we have made with child internet safety.

The work that ISPs have done since last summer to deliver on filtering is a great example of a responsible industry supporting the people who use it to have the confidence in the internet.

And it works, not least because we’ve been able to demonstrate that the solutions to these problems are not always best arrived at through more regulation. But I am also clear that technological tools, can only ever go so far. Parents have – and understand that they have – a responsibility to know what our kids are up to, and help guide those choices. As parents, we know that when it comes to our parental responsibilities there is no substitute for talking to our children about the difficult challenges and the difficult decisions they have got to make. Industry must help us take responsibility and give us the information and tools to navigate this landscape. To allow us to make sensible choices about where we go and what we do and help to guide our children too.

That is why I so welcome the industry’s £25 million a year awareness campaign to help parents keep their children safe online.

Common Media Standards

Many of you are working at the cutting edge of these issues and realise you are facing more technical and legal challenges.

The advent of new technology from smartphones to tablets is changing the way we access media content online – from news, to celebrity gossip, to our favourite TV shows.

Different media are governed by different rules –we expect impartial news coverage on a TV news bulletin, but not so on social media where people are actively seeking personal viewpoints.

We expect traditional broadcast television to meet a ‘gold standard’ of accuracy and quality, whereas when we view a user-generated video online we know to be more circumspect.

But with people old and young alike increasingly able to access not only broadcast channels on their TV, but hundreds of YouTube channels, as well as videos on social media, in just a few presses of the family remote, it can be unclear to consumer which standards apply and to parents what broadcasting controls apply, if any.

It is important that viewers can be confident about what they are getting at the press of a button.

This works both ways. If the viewer is confident, then businesses can be too, and that can only be a good thing, which is why so many of you – from the BBC to YouTube – are already active in signalling to consumers – for example, the age appropriateness of material.

I think there is a responsibility to help make this clearer still.

I would like industry and regulators to come together to assess how they can most effectively give consumers clarity about the standards that apply across different platforms, and how they complain if those standards are not met.

That is why I have asked Ofcom to kick-start this work, and I look forward to seeing how that progresses.

Transparent media standards will help deal with the world as it is today rather than the world pre-internet.

Setting the standard

Your industry is at the cutting edge too, of demonstrating how behaving responsibly online can be rewarded. The standards and sensibilities that the media industry brings to creating content on line – whether news, kid’s entertainment or programming – is setting the bar for quality and driving consumer confidence online. Far from being a race to the bottom, the high standards of broadcasters become a valuable selling point for online content in the future.

Brands such as the BBC are becoming an important navigation tool for consumers looking for sources of content they can trust, and I know many of you here have worked hard to develop your reputation and relationship with consumers. For instance the work Channel 4 has done to create an award-winning data strategy that has allowed it to evolve its business model through a deeper understanding of its customer base, but with a ‘Viewer Promise’ that gives viewers transparency and control over their data.

This leads me onto the next area of challenge for industry.

Data as Currency

Information – or data, if you prefer – is the currency of the internet. Part of what I’m talking about today – quite a large part, actually – is the need for all of us to have clarity about the impact of the choices we make. This includes choices we make about our personal data when it comes to the internet

Understanding the value we and others place on it, how we spend this currency, what we are being sold, and at what cost.

Of course commercial broadcasters have been doing something similar for decades – viewers accept TV advertising as the trade for programmes they want. Personal data is the next evolutionary step.

The explosion of data as currency is not necessarily a bad thing. It delivers tremendous choice to consumers, allows us to access a huge range of content free at the point of consumption, and provides a level of convenience we could not have dreamed of a few years ago. I think of the App that tells where the nearest bus stop is, which buses go there and when the next one will arrive. Amazing.

But we must be intelligent consumers. We must understand the price we are paying for this extraordinary service. We’ve all experienced it. Ads for restaurants popping that seem spookily close where we are. Spotify or Amazon suggesting songs or books we might like. And we do!

We need to recognise that a commercial transaction has taken place – that our details, location and preferences, have been bought and sold and that is the cost of the convenience we want.

Using data intelligently has the capacity to transform how the public sector delivers services and reaches the most hard to reach groups, to drive medical research and inspire market-changing products and services – such as the work by Channel 4 I mentioned earlier.

What’s more, this virtual marketplace creates thousands of new jobs.

But, I go back to the principles of openness, innovation and security. If we are going to reap the benefits that an open, innovative internet can deliver, we must have confidence that our engagement with it is secure.

Data is a driver for growth and creativity. I believe that transparency is essential if consumers are to feel safe and empowered by the use internet, and the data that flows across it.

Good progress is being made here. For example the Ad Choices self-regulatory work on transparency means consumers can now not only see which advertising networks use their data, they can opt out of targeted behavioural advertising if they wish. Just as TV advertising sits within a proportionate regulatory framework, so too must the use of personal data.

We must continue to negotiate solutions. In the EU we are negotiating a new data protection framework which must reflect the realities of modern enterprise if they to deliver economic growth, promote the use of open data and protect citizen’s rights.


Let me conclude where I started, by saying that the internet is an incredible invention that has opened up our world.

But we are wrong to say this is a different world, where different rules of personal behaviour apply. The opportunities an open, innovative and secure internet have given us are precious. We must not crush it with thoughtless, harmful behaviour, the naked pursuit of profit, or overly burdensome regulation. And I am confident that our approach – self regulation first, regulation only where necessary – is the right one.

I look forward to working with you to promote an environment that preserves what we value, both online and offline – Freedom of Expression, creativity and prosperity.