David Gauke – 2017 Speech on 75th Anniversary of the Beveridge Report

Below is the text of the speech made by David Gauke, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, at the LSE in London on 8 December 2017.

Seventy-five years ago, in the depths of war, William Beveridge produced the report that became the foundation of the modern welfare state.

Seventy five years on, it is still at the centre of discussions on welfare. It is that rare thing – a government command paper which seized the imagination of the nation, and became a focus of hope for the post-war future.

The principles he set out – and the challenges he identified – remain an important part of the system we have today. Much has stood the test of time. But the world Beveridge knew has changed in some profoundly important ways.

We need to celebrate the strengths of the system we have, which day-in and day-out, provides essential support to millions of people.

But we need to be ready to think – as he did – about new solutions to new challenges. To test the system of today against the needs of tomorrow.

I will be arguing that the future welfare state must continue to hold work at its heart, while becoming ever more personalised and holistic, in order to meet the needs of future populations.

Above all, we need the confidence to change and adapt, to build a welfare system for the 2020s and 2030s – as Beveridge did for the 1940s and 1950s.

Beveridge’s principles

Beveridge wanted a system which was universal for those in work. He recognised, as we do today, that the state should provide support – but should never be the whole answer. He wrote:

The State should offer security for service and contribution. The State, in organising security, should not stifle incentive, opportunity, responsibility; in establishing a national minimum, it should leave room and encouragement for voluntary action by each individual to provide more than the minimum for himself and his family.

And those words also remind us that Beveridge’s system was fundamentally based on contributions – it was, above all, a national insurance system.

Beveridge in practice

Beveridge’s proposals were hugely popular. I can tell you with some confidence that a policy with 86% popular support, and only 6% opposition, is one of which politicians’ dreams are made.

But political and economic realities intrude even on the most popular of policies. The post-war welfare state differed in some important ways from Beveridge’s vision. The country never got the contributory system that he quite envisaged.

It would have been politically unacceptable to defer the introduction of the new retirement pensions until the contributory fund had matured, necessitating the pay-as-you-go approach we still see today. We have always had a national insurance system in name only; since its foundation, it has been supplemented by taxpayers.

Perhaps more fundamentally, Beveridge didn’t, and probably couldn’t have anticipated, the profound social and economic changes of the second half of the last century.

75 years on

Seventy-five years on, the social, economic and political context has been transformed.

Real disposable income per head has almost quadrupled.

Life expectancy at birth has risen by almost 15 years.

Life expectancy at age 65 has risen by over 8 years.

Child mortality has fallen from over 55 per 1,000 live births in 1931, to just 3.7 by 2015.

And the proportion of people who own their homes has more than doubled.

Those changes are closely linked to changes in patterns of employment.

Today, more than 70% of women are in work – up from just over a quarter in 1939.

Fifteen percent of all workers are now self-employed – almost double what it was in 1950. A further 4% are estimated to work in the gig economy – something which did not exist a decade ago.

And there has been increasing recognition in recent decades of the need to support people in low-paid work, in addition to those who are without work altogether.

So the context for welfare has moved a long way since Beveridge, as have our expectations of it.

So, where are we now?

Our vision for welfare is one with work at its heart.

One that is personalised, using professional work coaches and modern digital tools to provide tailored, holistic support.

One which recognises and supports progression within work, as well as the initial move into work.

And one which balances that support with clear expectations of the claimant.

The new contributory principle

Beveridge’s principles, however, remain a good starting place for thinking about the modern welfare system. He recognised the importance of putting something in, as well as taking something out.

His was fundamentally a contributory system: you were insured because you paid your stamp – quite literally for many people. That’s still true today – though the stamps are long gone.

But our expectation now is that people also contribute in a broader sense – where they are able to do so.

That may be by looking for work.

It may be by building-up hours in work.

It may be by developing skills and earning potential.

We have a right to expect people to support themselves whenever they can, and to the full extent of their capability.

We have built these expectations into the Claimant Commitment, where welfare recipients agree to a specific set of actions to ensure that they move towards and enter work. The Commitment – and the work-focused approach behind it – is in fact the embodiment of the new contributory principle.

In other words, for many, the financial support provided by benefits is conditional upon demonstrating their determination to eventually support themselves from their own earnings.

But at the same time, we also recognise that some people will always need support from the state, and from society as a whole.

Welfare attributes

A modern welfare system should support aspiration, helping people to fulfil their potential.

It should be focused on work, enabling success in the labour market.

It should be based on evidence, continuously learning and building on the approaches that achieve its aims.

It should be both affordable and sustainable, supporting economic growth.

And it should be personalised. People are not all the same – they have different needs. So we should offer different support, with tailored expectations that reflect individual circumstances.

This mirrors changes in the wider environment. We increasingly expect personalised services in other aspects of our lives. We should expect no less of our welfare system.

Because, of course, welfare always operates within a wider economic and social context. Beveridge designed his welfare system for the world of his time, and we must do the same for ours.

Future challenges

We are now facing the challenge of what some have called the fourth industrial revolution.

The first industrial revolution harnessed the power of water and steam for mechanisation. The second brought electric power and increasing mass production. The third was about automation driven by computers.

And now the fourth heralds the arrival of a range of new technologies, which bring both great opportunities and enormous changes.

Each of the first 3 revolutions brought huge increases in productivity and in standards of living. We are immeasurably better off because of them.

But each of those revolutions also disrupted many people’s lives. Jobs which had looked secure from generation to generation vanished – sometimes with great speed. Each revolution has created many more jobs than it destroyed – but that does not mean that it was always easy for those affected.

The fourth industrial revolution brings the same challenges, and the same opportunities.

We are already seeing impacts on the pattern of jobs, as well as their content. The gig economy matches people and tasks much more dynamically than we have been used to. Communications technology allows people to access services not just here, but from the other side of the world.

There is a real opportunity though – as Matthew Taylor has argued in his report to the Prime Minister – to focus on ‘good work’. Work organised to be fulfilling in itself, as an enriching part of our lives.

We need increasingly skilled workers to deliver increasing value – for themselves, for their employers, and for the wider economy.

And good employers know how to unlock that value by investing in their people through training and development – and by being flexible in helping employees manage the balance between their work and wider lives.

Every past industrial revolution has created jobs which were unimagined – and unimaginable – from the perspective of the old world. In 1900, 13% of the workforce was employed in agriculture. That proportion is now 1%. But we are not surrounded by unemployed farm workers. The descendants of those farm labourers of a century ago work in an economy with unemployment at historically low levels, doing jobs their great-great-grandparents could not have dreamed of.

The transition will undoubtedly be challenging. For some, it will be personally stressful and painful. For others it will be a time of enormous new opportunities. But I strongly believe that the fourth industrial revolution will deliver the same positive step change in our collective wealth and wellbeing that resulted from the first 3.

We need new technologies to be spread more widely, in order to improve productivity and make jobs better. Our mission is to best position the workforce to take advantage of these new opportunities. Automation promises to liberate us from dull, dirty, difficult and dangerous jobs – to free us to work with technology to create new products, new work, and new roles – the like of which we have yet to imagine.

The fourth industrial revolution presents so many new opportunities. In our Industrial Strategy, we set our sights on making the UK a global centre for artificial Intelligence and data-driven innovation. We are determined that this country should be among the world leaders in adopting the next generation of technology. And we are determined that everyone should benefit from the changes it brings.

Universal Basic Income isn’t the answer

Of course, there is an alternative, gloomy view: that the future will be worse, that work will wither away. That a significant proportion of the workforce will become effectively unemployable, and that others will live in fear that their job will be next to go.

This leads some to conclude that the most we can do is pay out cash to everyone to compensate for this state of affairs. In other words, a Universal Basic Income.

The more positive case, I suppose, is that technology does the work, and we humans can relax and enjoy ever greater leisure time.

There’s a seeming simplicity in having no forms to fill in, no conditionality, no jobcentre to go to, no one trying to advise you. The security of knowing that you would have a stable, predictable income, indefinitely, without effort.

I have to say I am far from convinced. The arguments against a Universal Basic Income are formidable; in my view, technological and economic change is making the case weaker, not stronger. Some jobs will disappear. But work will not.

Work matters now and will matter in the future. Not just because of the income it provides, but because of the place that it gives people in society. Work can give the worker self-respect, dignity, and the confidence that they are involved, that they are contributing – that what they do matters.

We cannot give up on this.

Those receiving support have a right to expect that the government will be helping them to find work and to adapt to economic change. That is not something to be ashamed of.

A Universal Basic Income would be a retreat from the future. It would mean that we give up on this effort, that we give people a hand-out, not a hand-up.

And we shouldn’t give up on the principle of something for something. Those who can contribute, should do so.

I have talked about the importance Beveridge attached to contributions, and how we have carried that principle forward into the modern welfare system.

Payments are conditional on making a contribution – either financial, or in terms of effort to get into the labour market.

An unconditional Universal Basic Income is completely at odds with that principle.

It requires that hard-working people subsidise those who have chosen not to work. That there is no need to contribute. And human nature being what it is, we should be concerned at the prospect of legitimising the decision to simply to opt out, creating whole communities of workless dependents.

Moreover, a true universal income is – by definition – poorly targeted. The same payment, given to everyone, will not take account of disability or caring responsibilities.

It requires that we ignore the specific needs of those who most deserve our collective support.

An affordable basic income would be inadequate, and a basic income that’s adequate for all would be unaffordable.

Major welfare reforms

I have already said that the future lies in support that is increasingly tailored to the needs of the individual, not a crude single-serving for everyone. It should help the working-age population to make the most of a changing economy, not turn away from it.

This approach is already underpinning the reforms that we have introduced since 2010.

Take Universal Credit.

Universal Credit reinforces the huge practical advantages of a single, integrated support system.

It is designed so that support is withdrawn gradually, as people become more self-sufficient. The transition from unemployment into work is no longer abrupt, with far less financial disruption and uncertainty.

And it is designed to help people progress further once they are working.

It is no surprise that poverty rates are higher in families where no-one works full time. This is why we must continue to use Universal Credit, to support more people, in more households, to work full-time where they are able to do so.

A similar situation arises for those who are self-employed but on low pay. Again, we must use our integrated system to help people build-up to greater self-sufficiency.

Our pensions reforms – and our approach to Fuller Working Lives – demonstrate our response to the need to adapt – in this case, to an ageing society.

Auto-enrolment has used behavioural science to increase the number of people saving into workplace pensions.

The steps to introduce the new State Pension, and to end contracting-out, have also let people know what they can expect from the state.

This means that we are getting the right balance between the contributions people make during their working lives, and the support they receive in later life.

These measures have simplified the pensions saving journey for individuals; a clearer offer from the state allows people to plan and save for their retirement more easily, with more certainty.

Looking to the future

Implementing these current reforms is at the heart of my role. But it is also important to think about where we will go next.

Our relentless focus on helping people to get into work has delivered results. When unemployment fell to 5% early last year, many people thought it couldn’t get much lower, and yet it now stands at 4.3%.

This achievement should not make us lose sight of the need to support people still further, especially those on low incomes, to get into work and progress once in work.

We know that the jobs of the future will be different. So we should help people to benefit from the new opportunities that the coming change will bring. People will need to gain new skills to secure meaningful and productive employment throughout their lives.

In the Budget we announced a unique partnership between employers, unions and government – a new National Retraining Scheme to help people adjust to the changing world of work.

We also know that new ways of working can enable those with caring responsibilities to work flexibly, and those with health conditions to stay in work. We should seize these new possibilities too.

It means we need to build on a work coach’s ability to connect with people – to provide encouragement and support, build resilience, and develop potential. Just last week I announced a new programme of mental health awareness training for work coaches, in order to further these aims.

New technology will provide us with additional opportunities. Increased automation, machine learning and big data will provide ways of tailoring our services.

This offers huge potential to improve the customer experience, identify those most in need of help, and to successfully target the important support that only work coaches can provide. We are exploring new ways of providing support online, using a ‘test and learn’ approach to see how people respond, and making adjustments as we go along.

We are also testing new data sources, including online vacancy data. This data has the potential to help us to understand changing job and skill demands, enabling us to better signpost people to the opportunities that are out there.

We are also learning from other countries. Just this week my officials met their Dutch and Belgian counterparts. They shared insights, and built on their pioneering use of data to identify those people who need different kinds of support, so it can be better targeted towards them.

In early 2018 we will publish our Areas of Research Interest, to increase collaboration with academics in putting evidence at the heart of our decisions.

Public expectations are changing. Our own data tells us that people access their online benefit claim accounts 24 hours a day. In the rest of our lives, we are all coming to expect services – from online shopping to social media – that respond and develop to suit us and our lifestyles. The welfare state needs to be able to keep up.

We must not forget, though, that we also need to do more to support those who face the greatest barriers to work, including people with disabilities; mental health issues; lone parents with young children, and others with caring responsibilities; and those experiencing several barriers in the same household.

We will explore how to improve access to occupational health services, as well as improving interaction between people and health and welfare services

We are keen to make the best use of technology which can provide crucial support to removing barriers to work.

We will support and encourage employers to confidently recruit and retain those with health conditions.

Most importantly, we will continue to build our offer of personalised employment support.

Beyond Beveridge

More personal, more tailored, more holistic. That is the welfare state that I envisage.

Over the 75 years since Beveridge produced his report, the welfare system has constantly adapted to changing circumstances, to new priorities and to expectations.

Today’s welfare state, work, economy and society all look vastly different from those of the 1940s. The fourth industrial revolution brings with it fresh new challenges.

The best welfare systems help to ensure that societies can embrace change.

To enable people to make the most of the opportunities created by a new and fast-moving economy.

To build on new technologies to improve the support we give.

To keep hold of the principle of support for those who need it, in exchange for a commitment to contribute.

And to keep work at its heart – adapting to help those who can, while supporting those who can’t.

If we are optimistic about the future, as Beveridge was; if we take the opportunities presented by a changing world, as Beveridge did; then we can look forward to the next 75 years with confidence.

Brandon Lewis – 2017 Speech to CBI Wales

Below is the text of the speech made by Brandon Lewis, the Minister of State for Immigration, at the CBI Wales dinner in Cardiff on 7 December 2017.

Noswaith dda, a diolch am y croeso cynnes heno.

I would like to begin by thanking you for inviting me to speak here this evening, and for your warm welcome.

It is great to be here again be in Wales – the country of Saint David, T. E. Lawrence, Tom Jones, David Lloyd George – and hard as it is for me to admit – better than average rugby.

And it is a pleasure to be addressing you in such a beautiful building, in the heart of this wonderful city.

The design of Cardiff City Hall was inspired by English and French Renaissance architecture, but opened during the Edwardian period, when Cardiff’s prosperity from the coal industry was at its height.

The Renaissance was a period of history that is widely regarded as the cultural bridge between the Middle Ages and modern Europe; a period that inspired centuries of creativity and intellectual thought across Europe, and one that many believe defined what it is to be European.

And so what an appropriate building in which to be talking to you this evening, as we look to build a positive and special future relationship with the European Union, focussing on the businesses and industries that make the United Kingdom – including Wales – a thriving place to live.

It is in this spirit of new beginnings that we should look to our future relationship with the EU – a spirit of promise, ambition and opportunity.

The people of the UK, including a majority here in Wales, have voted to leave the EU, and for many, this is an exciting time full of potential and prosperity.

We have been clear that, as the UK Government, it is our responsibility, ambition and belief that we will get the best possible deal for the whole country, as we build our new and special partnership with the EU.

Our challenge is to navigate our exit from the EU with cool heads, and with a sense of innovation and ambition.

We want to get the best outcome for every individual who lives in the UK, every sector of our economy, and for every nation of our United Kingdom – none more so than here in Wales.

Importance of CBI Wales

The CBI in Wales plays a crucial role in representing the business voice across Wales, ensuring that it is heard around the United Kingdom and beyond.

Your membership plays a vital role in feeding into the work that both my department and the UK Government as a whole is doing – and we hugely value your views and input as we navigate this period of opportunity and challenge.

We understand that the UK’s decision to leave the EU brings challenges for businesses, and we want to be clear that we are considering how this change will impact the whole of the UK economy.

My colleague David Davis stood here last year and addressed you all – and I want to build on the message he gave then.

He made clear the crucial role that Wales will play as we make a success of our departure from the EU. And since he spoke, the UK Government has gone on to scrap the Severn Tolls, secured a new daily flight to Qatar and is working to add more companies like Aston Martin to the growing cluster of companies looking to invest in Wales.

We are demonstrating an open, cross border commitment to the future of Wales outside the European Union. I pay credit to my close colleague Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales, in making sure the voice of Wales – guided by you – is heard around the cabinet table.

As leaders of industry here in Wales, I would like to ask for your help:

– help us to write this new and exciting chapter in our country’s history

– help us to understand how to get the best deal for businesses in Wales and the UK

– help us by projecting confidence and ambition about what lies ahead
EU nationals in the Welsh economy

For the UK economy is fundamentally strong, and there are more people in work across the UK than ever before.

In Wales alone, there are more than 1.4 million people in work; in the past few months unemployment in Wales has fallen to a record low; and has more than halved since 2010.

Exports are worth almost £16 billion a year, and Wales has been the fastest growing part of the economy per head outside London since 2010.

There are currently more than 79,000 EU citizens living in Wales, the majority of whom are working in key economic sectors, public services or higher education institutions – and contributing greatly to Welsh culture and society.

I understand that a number of business sectors across Wales are ones where there is a significant representation of migrant workers: for example tourism in North Wales, as well as manufacturing and construction.

EU migrants in Wales have a higher employment rate than the working age population as a whole – 79 per cent of working age EU migrants in Wales are in employment, compared to 71 per cent of the total working age population.

This is similar to the pattern across the rest of the UK, and we understand the need for these key sectors of the economy to have access to the necessary workforce once the UK leaves the EU.

That is why the UK Government is committed to creating opportunities across the whole of the UK, with businesses in Wales – quite rightly – at the forefront of this ambition.

We are committed to ensuring we remain an attractive option for those with the skills and expertise across all sectors of our economy, and who play an invaluable role in making the United Kingdom and Wales better still.

We have been clear that after we leave the EU, we want to strike a balance between attracting the brightest and best to work and study in Britain, and controlling immigration from the EU in the national interest, thereby delivering on the will of the British people in June last year.

The Government understands that this is a time of great change, and we want to provide clarity going forward – both on those who are here now, and those who we want to come here to Wales in the future.

Status of EU Citizens’ rights

As you know, we are in the process of negotiating our withdrawal agreement with the EU, and the Prime Minister has been clear that it is her first priority to ensure that the 3 million EU citizens living in the UK – as well as those UK citizens living in the EU – can carry on their lives as before.

We will continue to recognise the valuable contribution migrants make to our society and will remain an open and tolerant country, welcoming those with the skills and expertise to support our businesses and industries.

As the Prime Minister emphasised in her speech in Florence, and again in her recent open letter to EU citizens, we greatly value the contribution that EU citizens make to our national life – and we want them and their families to stay.

I have personally spoken to many European citizens who are understandably concerned about their future in the UK.

These are people who have made a hugely positive impact on the social, economic and cultural fabric of our country, including Wales. We know that they bring with them ideas, innovation and skills which are relied upon by our employers and businesses; from aviation to hospitality, from tech to tourism.

The Prime Minister, the Home Secretary and I have repeatedly been clear that those EU citizens living lawfully in the UK today will be able to stay.

Of course, these initiatives are taking place in the context of negotiating our exit from the EU. As Immigration Minister, I recognise both the challenges and opportunities this presents.

You will have seen the widespread media coverage of the talks in Brussels over the past few days.

The UK and the Commission have held positive talks, and we have made good progress but there are some final issues to resolve.

As the Prime Minister and President Juncker have said, both sides are confident we will conclude this positively ahead of the December European Council.

We know that our relationship with our European partners is set to change, and our exit from the EU marks a critical period in the history of this relationship.

But we want to retain the deep and special partnership that we enjoy today, and I am confident that together we can forge a brighter, better future for Wales, the UK and the EU.

Future ‘settled status’ scheme

But I also recognise concerns some individuals have about how the agreement will be implemented: that the process will be over-complicated and bureaucratic; that it will throw up hurdles that are difficult to overcome.

I want to provide some much-needed reassurance here:

– we have committed to provide an application system that is as simple and user-friendly as possible, and we are developing it with the individual user in mind

– we have committed to minimise the burden of documentary evidence required to prove eligibility

– we have committed to a 2-year period after our exit for people to apply, and the Home Office will work with applicants to help them avoid any errors or omissions

– we have committed to keep the cost as low as possible, with the fee not exceeding the cost of a British passport

– for those who already hold an EU permanent residence document, there will be a simple process to exchange this for a settled status document – charged at a reduced or no fee

– we have committed to engage with users every step of the way – which is why we have set up a new user group for this scheme;

– and we are also engaging with representatives of EU citizens to ensure the process meets their needs

I am confident that our approach to the design and development of the scheme, as well as the eventual outcome, will be well received by you in business and industry.

But most importantly – it will be straightforward for those who use it.

Since the result of the referendum, we as a Government have been clear that our top priority is securing the status of those EU citizens living in the UK and Wales, and UK nationals living in the EU.

And this extends to businesses and communities too, as we understand the need for certainty around access to the workforce you need.

We hope that our offer will provide this reassurance to both individuals and you as their employers – that this part of your workforce will be able to stay permanently and carry on exactly as before.

Future immigration system

But we also understand your concern that businesses in Wales and across the UK will still be able to access the skills and labour they need in the future to deliver growth.

We will be setting out our proposals for the UK’s future immigration system shortly.

And we will introduce an Immigration Bill in the new year.

But I want to use this opportunity this evening to emphasise some core principles of the new scheme.

There will be a smooth transition. I recognise the importance of providing certainty, and clearly business and public services should only have to plan for a single set of changes.

That is why the Prime Minister has made clear that there will be an implementation period of around two years, providing this certainty for business and individuals, and ensuring no cliff edge.

During this period, access to one another’s markets should continue on current terms and Britain should continue to take part in existing security measures.

People will continue to be able to come and live and work in Wales; but there will be a registration system – which is an essential preparation for the future system.

Going forward, we will make decisions about the future arrangements following discussions with stakeholders, including with the EU, and based on evidence.

That is why we have commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee to report on the impact of the UK’s exit for the EU, and how the UK’s immigration system should be aligned with our modern industrial strategy.

The Migration Advisory Committee will provide a clear opportunity for businesses and employers – such as yourselves and others in Wales –to express views that will play a vital role in the decisions we make about our future immigration system.

Although the committee’s initial call for evidence has now closed, they will continue to engage with organisations.

I also appreciate that different sectors and regions of the UK will feel they have different needs – which is why our commission to the MAC will allow us to get a richer understanding and develop a future system that seeks to work for everyone, applying as much to Wales as every other part of our country.

In addition, the Government is speaking with businesses like those represented here tonight, industry, trades unions and many others to ensure we strike the right balance between keeping our future immigration arrangements in the national interest, and ensuring the UK remains open to the talent we need from Europe and the rest of the world.


So as we look to the future, I want to stress the importance of working together, under the shared ambition to secure the best possible outcome for Welsh businesses, industry and communities.

As we take back control of our immigration system by ending freedom of movement under EU law, I want to stress that we do not want to end immigration from the EU.

The UK Government greatly values the incredible contribution that EU citizens make to the UK economy, and we want to continue to attract the best and the brightest to make all four parts of our country better still.

It is only with your help and support that we will ensure the whole UK – with Wales at its heart – remains a hub for industrial excellence and a great place to open and run a business.

Together, we can make this ambition a reality and build a whole United Kingdom fit for the future – with Wales leading the way.

Thank you.

Diolch yn fawr. Mwynhewch y noson.

Tracey Crouch – 2017 Speech on Sport

Below is the text of the speech made by Tracey Crouch, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport and Civil Society, on 5 December 2017.

Thank you for inviting me here today and giving me the opportunity to speak on an issue that I know many of you here share my passion for – sport and physical activity and how we can all collectively work together to tackle inactivity and the associated problems.

I want to start by paying tribute to the work of local authorities in delivering sports and leisure services.

I recognise that this is a difficult time for Local Authorities and that tough decisions are having to be made in terms of services delivered due to challenging financial circumstances.

The vast majority of sporting activity in this country is delivered at a local level and it is extremely important that this support continues.

But I also know that many of you will argue on a regular basis with your finance directors as to why investment in sport and leisure is needed at a time when every other directorate may have what seems like a stronger hand.

The truth is that investment in leisure not only can reduce the burden on more expensive budgets but it also builds and bonds communities, and helps tackle social problems, hidden or otherwise, that can quietly eat away at the core of society until it is too late.

It is for this reason that when I looked at rewriting the Sports Strategy we looked to local government and DCLG first to get initial thoughts. How you deliver what we wanted for the next ten years was going to be key. When I did media straight after one of the recurring questions was but government has cut local authority budgets…but my answer was always good local authorities get it. They get why this is important. And yes of course it may be delivered differently across the country, that is what local government is about, but not tackling inactivity by not providing sport and leisure services in an accessible and affordable way only stores up more expensive problems for councils down the road.

Your agenda today deals with much of this so I won’t repeat what they will say and instead outline some of the key points from the Sports Strategy, two years old next week.

The Sports Strategy was not about getting the active more active. Instead it stressed the importance of getting the inactive, active, and set out a new vision for a successful and active sporting nation.

It marked a big shift in the way we think about promoting, supporting and investing in sport and physical activity. It emphasised that we as a government, and a country, need to think more broadly about the benefits that getting active can bring.

We set out 5 key outcomes that we want to strive towards and that we want to see delivered in return for government support and investment. These were: * physical wellbeing; * mental wellbeing; * individual development; * social and community development; and * economic development.

I’m committed to making sure that these outcomes drive everything we do, and I’m pleased with how government and the sport and physical activity sector has responded to the challenge so far.

So what have we achieved?

On physical wellbeing Sport England has committed to spending at least a quarter of its total budget on tackling inactivity.

Sport England will be devoting much of its focus to supporting those groups who have been traditionally underrepresented to get more active.

For example, their Active Ageing Fund will invest up to £10 million into projects that help inactive older people get active.

Their Tackling Inactivity and Economic Disadvantage Fund is investing £3 million to support inactive people from lower socio-economic groups.

And their Tackling Inactivity in Colleges programme will invest £5 million in 49 colleges across England to help students be more active.

We’ve sought to tackle what people often feel is an artificial distinction between sport and physical activity. Not everyone likes the idea of playing sport. It provides an automatic barrier to many either because they think it is about getting sweaty or muddy or uber competitive. Or maybe people think they are too old for sport. Or not interested in team activities. But physical activity is different. Take what many of you already invest in – the health walks. I went on one locally and not a single person thought they were doing sport but through their hour long walk they were certainly doing something active and their physical well being was vastly improved as a consequence.

What matters is that people are getting active in a way that suits them and that makes them more likely to continue being active in future.

Mental wellbeing, the second outcome we are aiming to achieve with our strategy, is just as important as physical wellbeing.

And funding is already going to organisations that show they can best deliver this outcome, for example Sport England have invested a significant amount of government and National Lottery funding in mental health projects such as Mind’s Get Set to Go programme.

Get Set to Go has supported over 3,500 people to become active in local communities, and trained over 300 coaches and leaders in mental health awareness for sport and physical activity.

We encourage sports and mental health organisations to continue to work together to drive work in this area, improving mental health through sport and physical activity and changing lives for the better.

In terms of the third and fourth outcomes of our strategy, the impact sport and physical activity can have on individual and community development is significant.

We know there is a great deal of excellent work going on locally to demonstrate the impact of sport and physical activity.

I have seen the results first hand visiting a number of projects across the country which are using physical activity and sport to bring communities together and engage those who are less likely to be active.

For example I recently visited a project in Milton Keynes called MK SNAP, which is using sport and physical activity to help those with learning difficulties. Activities like yoga are really making a difference to improve the quality of the participants’ lives.

I have visited Active Norfolk’s Mobile Me project focusing on over 65s. It is designed to address barriers to participation identified by this age group, and take physical activity interventions into sheltered housing and residential care homes.

I’ve also been to Crawley Old Girls, a female football development group organised by the Crawley Town Community Foundation and the Football League Trust Female Football Development Programme.

Weekly sessions are held for women aged 40 and over, who have an interest and passion for football and who may not have had the opportunity to participate before.

And in Worcester I met Disability Sport Worcester, who specialise in creating and running sporting events, clubs and activities for children and adults with disabilities.

Of course, sport is also a significant contributor to the UK economy – and economic impact is the fifth of our key outcomes I referred to earlier. I see you have an agenda item later today about how sport can boost the visitor economy. I can’t stay for the session but I can give you a little nationwide taster…

In the UK, sport was valued at £35 billion in terms of Gross Value Added in 2015.

And as well as major events, grassroots sport contributes hugely too. People who follow sporting trends and buy the latest gear or purchase gym memberships also play their part.

It is important that we continue to build and capitalise on the economic growth of the sector.

However, there is still plenty of work to do in order to fully implement all of the actions set out in Sporting Future and the role for Local Authorities in delivering sport provision will continue to be crucial.

Local Authorities are the biggest public sector investor in sport and physical activity, spending over £1bn a year.

Your understanding and knowledge of communities is vital in targeting opportunities to encourage participation and designing services to suit.

You also have responsibilities that span wider policy areas which can have a significant impact on the physical activity of the local population, including management of rights of way, parks and other green spaces.

With increasingly devolved funding and opportunities for place based working we are keen to see innovative ways of engaging communities in sport and physical activity.

We must make sure that all investment into sporting and leisure facilities is well considered and provides an offer that is demand-based and led by the needs of the customer. We are working closely with Sport England and ukactive on their proposal to co-locate community services with sport and leisure facilities to encourage more people to participate in sport and physical activity.

I am keen that we continue to drive the development of local solutions to inactivity, with ideas like this.

With this in mind, it is my great pleasure to announce that 12 areas have now been confirmed as the Sport England Local Delivery Pilots. The full list is being published this morning but includes Bradford, Essex, Doncaster and Withernsea.

The aim of these pilots is to trial new and innovative ways of increasing participation in sport and physical activity at the local level and to make sure that this increase is sustained over time.

It’s about whole system change involving all local agencies, including small third sector organisations that work in the heart of these often disadvantaged communities we need to reach.

Sport England will be investing up to 100 million pounds over the next four years across these 12 areas to support this ambition. They will also be investing staff resource in working with the pilot areas.

This is going to be a huge challenge. We know that too often, investment in a particular project or place can yield a short term result but that as soon as the money stops, the gains can fade.

We want these pilots to be different.

We must make sure that we learn from the pilots, that we scale up what works in other areas and that we learn from what does not work so well.

The areas chosen as pilots include a good mix of urban, rural and coastal areas and a good geographic spread. This is deliberate, and will help the sharing and scaling up of learning across different areas.

This is a long term programme and Sport England will be working closely with these areas over the next four years.

We are not going to see results overnight, however this is a very important step in the right direction and Sport England will be monitoring progress carefully, as will I.

So in conclusion I would like to again take this opportunity to thank all of you for the huge part you already play in getting the nation active and I look forward to working with you to ensure Sporting Future is fully implemented and embedded in every community across the country. It is not going to all work overnight but with the right strategic direction in place and the will and enthusiasm of people like you I genuinely believe we can deliver the outcome of creating a fitter healthier nation for years to come.

Nick Gibb – 2017 Speech on Reading

Below is the text of the speech made by Nick Gibb, the Minister of State for School Standards, on 5 December 2017.

Teaching children to read is the key to unlocking human potential. It is the cornerstone of education. Infinite worlds are laid at our feet; from Charles Dickens’s portrayal of ambition and lost values in 19th century England in ‘Great Expectations’ to Ishiguro’s subtle portrayal of repression in the dying days of Britain’s great houses in ‘The Remains of the Day’.

Reading emancipates us from the everyday. It liberates us to pursue our interests in non-fiction and it introduces us to the great heroes and anti-heroes of the ages. Through the canon, we are invited into the conversation of humankind.

From musing the plight of the human condition to learning about the majesty of space-science, reading is the foundation from which we build knowledge.

That is why improving literacy has been at the heart of the government’s drive to improve standards in England’s schools. One of the most controversial education reforms introduced by the Conservative-led Government in 2010 was our decision to require schools to use phonics to teach children to read.

In the years just before we came into government in 2010, we knew something was wrong with the way our primary schools taught reading; England was stagnating in the international league tables. The international data also showed a wider gap between top and bottom performers than in most other countries. England was well known for its ‘long tail of underachievement’.

I vividly recall visiting classrooms around the country where pupils were being failed; too many were unable to read. Effectively, locked out of achieving their potential. This was not through lack of effort from them or their teachers, but because of a dogmatic romanticism that prevented the spread of evidence-based teaching practices.

Those who stood in the way of evidence-based phonics reaching England’s classrooms are responsible for stifling human potential and negatively affecting the life chances of countless children.

We are the only OECD nation where literacy is no better amongst the 16-24 year olds than amongst the over 55s. What more stark statistic could there be to exemplify the damage dogmatists have inflicted on our education system?

Prior to our reforms, schools were using variations of a method called ‘look and say’ to teach reading, in which children encountered frequently used words over and over again until they were recognised automatically. Where schools were using phonics they were mixing and matching with these other methods, which significantly inhibited its effectiveness. Contextual clues encouraging children to guess at words – rather than sound them out – were widely encouraged, breaking the link between the alphabetic code and spoken language.

The theory was that this was an easier way to learn to read than learning the 44 sounds of the alphabet and how to blend them into words. In reality, there was no evidence to support the ‘look and say’ approach; it was simply in keeping with the philosophical opposition to formal instruction, which was so ubiquitous in teacher training colleges and education faculties.

The trouble was that this method was letting down too many children, particularly the least able. Decades of evidence from around the world – including the influential longitudinal study from Clackmannanshire in Scotland – pointed to systematic phonics as the most effective way to teach children to read.

Phonics teaches children to sound out words sound by sound and then ‘blend’ these sounds together, unlocking the code of written English.

When we came into office in 2010, therefore, one of the first things we did was to strengthen the National Curriculum, explicitly requiring schools to teach reading using phonics. We funded training and phonics materials and books for schools. And, most controversial of all, we introduced a test for all six-year-olds, called the Phonics Screening Check.

This test consists of a list of 40 words that the child reads to their teacher. Half the words are ordinary words and the other half are made up ‘pseudo-words’, which are demarcated by a cartoon alien so that children are not confused by these unfamiliar words. The inclusion of these pseudo-words is important, as it is impossible to guess how to pronounce them, ensuring children have been taught to decode words using phonics rather than learning words by sight.

In 2012, the first year of the Phonics Check, just 58% of six-year-olds reached the pass mark of 32 out of the 40. This year, 81% of six year olds reached that standard, with 92% of children reaching that standard by the end of year 2.

Reading is the fundamental building block to a successful education. Securing the mechanical ability to translate the hieroglyphics of letters on the page into words is a necessary component to achieving fluency in reading; allowing children to build their speed of reading, their comprehension and to develop a joy and habit of reading for pleasure.

And this is not an un-evidenced assertion. This is a statement backed up by decades of research. Consider the conclusions from the longitudinal study carried out in Clackmannanshire:

– Improvements in word reading had grown from 7 months ahead of chronological age in Primary 1 to 3 and a half years in Primary 7;

– A similar gain was seen in spelling, with pupils increasing their advantage over the expected chronological age following the use of systematic synthetic phonics, bucking the trend for the effects of education interventions to ‘wash out’ over time; and

– Reading comprehension scores were still significantly above the expected standard for chronological age by the end of primary school.

Extraordinarily – despite all of the evidence in favour of phonics – we faced opposition from various lobby groups: those opposed to testing; those professors of education who had built a career on teaching teachers to use the ‘look and say’ approach; and the teaching unions.

We pressed on nonetheless, confident in the evidence base and encouraged by the thousands of teachers who had embraced and supported this method of teaching children to read and who could see the results in their classrooms.

Today, we received the first set of international evidence that confirms that our approach is working. The international study of 9-year-olds’ reading ability in 50 countries showed that England has risen from joint 10th place in 2011 to joint 8th place in 2016, thanks to a statistically significant rise in our average score.

Perhaps most importantly of all, today’s results show reading has improved for pupils from all backgrounds, but it is the low-performing pupils who are gaining most rapidly. The tide is rising, but it is rising fastest for those who need it most.

Slowly, but surely – thanks to the government’s relentless focus on rigour – England is dealing with the ‘long tail of underachievement.’

The pupils who took part in the international survey were the first cohort to have taken the Phonics Screening Check in 2012; the cohort to have been taught to read after we changed the law requiring schools to use phonics.

The details of these findings are particularly interesting; I hope they ring in the ears of opponents of phonics whose alternative proposals would do so much to damage reading instruction in this country and around the world.

For example, the data is clear on the role that the phonics reforms played in these results:

The characteristics that were most strongly predictive of PIRLS performance included prior achievement in the Year 1 Phonics Check, followed by resources at home, both in terms of educational resources (e.g. the number of books the pupil has in their home) and socioeconomic status (as determined by historical free-school-meal eligibility).

Teaching children to decode is crucial to reading comprehension. And the detail of the relationship between pupil scores on the Phonics Screening Check and pupil scores in the PIRLS tests bring this to life:

Pupils who scored full marks in the phonics check were also the highest scoring group in PIRLS 2016, with an average overall PIRLS score of 617. In contrast, pupils who did not reach the ‘expected standard’ in the phonics check (score below 32) performed below England’s overall average, with lower phonics check scores being associated with increasingly lower average PIRLS scores.

These results are stark. They stand in defiance to those who still choose to ignore the evidence.

But the argument of those opposing the use of phonics has always relied more heavily on emotion than evidence. For years, proponents of evidence-based approaches to reading have been wrongly accused of making children ‘bark at text’, ignoring the importance of reading for meaning and damaging pupil confidence and love of reading.

Whilst the evidence from the PIRLS data demonstrates that phonics has improved reading comprehension levels, there is also data that dispels their other tawdry myths about pupil confidence:

A higher percentage of pupils in England were categorised as being ‘very confident’ readers (53%) compared to the international average (45%). Pupil confidence in reading was strongly associated with average performance in PIRLS, with the most confident readers in England scoring over 100-points more than those who reported the lowest levels of confidence.

These results are a vindication of the government’s boldness in pursuing the evidence in the face of ideological criticism. They are a tribute to the hard work and dedication of primary teachers who have quietly revolutionised the way children are taught to read in this country. And they promise even more in the future.

The 5000 nine-year-olds in England who took part in this international study in 2016, all took the Phonics Check in 2012 when just 58% passed nationally. Future international studies will be of children taught even more effectively as the proportion passing the Phonics Check has risen steadily year on year.

This year, thanks to the government’s continued drive for phonics, 154,000 more 6 year olds were on track to be fluent readers than in 2012. Last year, 147,000 more 6 year olds were on track than in 2012. In 2015, that figure was 120,000. These numbers show the trend, but every single one of them is an individual child given a better start to their education.

They show that the government is building a Britain fit for the future, where every child is afforded the best start in life.

And they are a reminder of the damage that can be caused when dogma flies in the face of the evidence.

Slowly but surely, the education sector and the teaching profession are embracing evidence and raising academic standards for all.

Thank you.

Karen Bradley – 2017 Speech at Children’s Media Summit

Below is the text of the speech made by Karen Bradley, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, at the Children’s Media Summit held in Manchester on 5 December 2017.

It’s a pleasure to be here at this Children’s Global Media Summit to discuss the future of children’s media in a digital world.

I’m in the fortunate position where I have two roles here: as the Secretary of State responsible for Digital and Media – the first Secretary of State to include Digital in my official title – but also as a mother to two boys.

So I really do appreciate the importance of this Summit, and of the new digital world for our children.

Like any mother, I want my children to be safe online, but at the same time I don’t want to smother them, or unduly limit their freedom. That is the balance I have to strike in my professional role too.

We all know that we’re living through a time of great change, and that digital is an ever-increasing part of everything we do, as we move more and more online – and that includes media.

For my generation, media used to mean the shows we watched, the music we listened to, the books and comics we read. And they’re all still relevant even in this digital age. Around a third of children have a radio set. Nine out of ten children still watch TV on a traditional set. Millions of families are hooked on Strictly, and I’m sure most of us here, not just our children, will watch history being made at Christmas when Jodie Whittaker becomes the first female Doctor Who.

But the media is changing, and children’s engagement with it developing at an incredible rate. It isn’t just about settling down in front of the television for whole evenings any more. I know this from personal experience. One minute my children are watching Horrible Histories on the iPlayer, the next they’re looking at a Youtube clip to help their homework on the iPad. The platforms, content and experiences the media offers them are far more varied than when I was their age.

That’s because in this digital era, media has taken on a broader meaning. Increasingly it is where children socialise, and how they experience the wider world, although that too is changing all the time – in fact the pace of change can feel relentless.

Once it was Myspace and Bebo, now it’s Instagram and Snapchat. Ten years ago neither of those existed. Now they have nearly one billion users combined. In the years ahead it will be something we haven’t even heard of yet – so it is vital that on all of this we continue to look forward and prepare for the next innovation.

As any parent will tell you, children understand how this technology works. Better than anyone. They were born into it. A fifth of 4 year olds in the UK already have their own tablet, and more than half of them are regularly online – and when you get to 12 to 15 year olds, my children’s age, that figure rises to 99%. They are completely at home in the online world. Or think they are. Because what children don’t necessarily understand is the level of risk involved.

Ofcom’s Media Attitudes Survey, published just last week, made the challenges clear. It tells us almost half of all 12 to 15 year olds have seen something hateful online in the last year. A quarter have been contacted online by someone they don’t know. And one in ten have seen something of a sexual nature that, as the report words it, made them feel uncomfortable. Something they weren’t emotionally or mentally prepared for. Something, frankly, they should not have seen.

Now as a parent, that really worries me. As Secretary of State, it’s my responsibility to do something about it. We don’t pretend this government can, on its own, solve this global challenge. But we are committed to taking genuine action and for the United Kingdom to lead the way.

That is why we are working hard in three ways: through our Digital Charter and Internet Safety Strategy; through our work to support children online; and through taking steps to help the media provide for our children in a global society.

First, we announced our Digital Charter in June to establish a new framework to balance freedom with protection. Through the Charter, we will work with businesses, academics, charities and the wider public to build consensus on how technology should be used and how we act online. We announced our Internet Safety Strategy in October – the first major step towards achieving that goal – and the consultation on that closes this Thursday. The aim here is simple: behaviour that is unacceptable in normal life is not acceptable online.

These are, of course, global issues. Every country is being transformed by the rapid development of digital technology, so we are consulting with people from a whole range of backgrounds – other Governments, technology firms, content creators, schools, the voluntary sector, and ordinary people young and old – to make sure we get this right.

That includes consulting on a social media code of practice to tackle harmful conduct – including bullying behaviour – and an industry levy to support educational programmes and technical solutions.

Only a few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be able to join the Duke of Cambridge to support his Royal Foundation Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying. It is exactly this sort of action, which brings together tech companies and charities to set out effective industry-driven initiatives, that we need in order to make a real difference. I look forward to His Royal Highness’ keynote speech tomorrow, and to continuing to work together on this very important issue.

The second area Government is taking action on is around supporting children online. It is crucial that young people understand online risks, that they know where to get help, and that they’re able to recover when things go wrong.

Today’s generation is the first to learn about relationships and sex in an online world, and that isn’t always something their parents understand or can teach them about. So we’re bringing in new compulsory school subjects in England. For the first time, primary school children will be taught Relationships Education, and secondary school children will be taught Relationships and Sex Education.

And we are considering how we can best support children, and their parents and guardians, through industry-designed projects, peer to peer support schemes and partnerships with civil society organisations. It was great to see the BBC Director General today launching the “Own It” website to do exactly this, by giving children the information they need to minimise risks online.

And thirdly, we are taking steps to ensure that the media provides for and supports our children in a global society. While the distinction between TV and online blurs, it is so important that children have access to the content that helps them understand their place in the world.

So we are taking steps to strengthen the children’s TV sector in our country. We have introduced a tax relief. We have given Ofcom new powers to impose quotas on commercial public service broadcasters, taking into account the new platforms on which children watch this content.

And we are committed to establishing a contestable fund to stimulate new public service content, with children’s programming as potential area of focus. We want the children’s sector, a source of so much imagination and inspiration for all of us, to play its part in a media environment that provides for our children for years to come.

As I said at the outset, I’m in a fortunate position where I see the challenges first-hand, but I am also able to do something about it. When I’m much older, and grey-haired, I want to look back on my time in this role and say we helped to make the digital world a safer place for children.

For me that means protecting them without limiting their freedom, or putting barriers on their ability to learn and explore. If we get it right it is something that will benefit my children, their whole generation and their children after them.

Thank you.

Nick Gibb – 2017 Speech at the Policy Exchange

Below is the text of the speech made by Nick Gibb, the Minister of State for School Standards, at the Policy Exchange on 30 November 2017.

Over the past 7 years, the school system has seen dramatic improvements. Teachers and headteachers have been given greater control than ever before; leading free schools and academies are shining a light on what works; and a renewed focus on the importance of core knowledge has seen the first signs of a return to textbooks.

Since 2010, there has been a transformation of England’s education system. The quality of education received by England’s pupils has improved dramatically, with 1.9 million more pupils taught in good or outstanding schools than in 2010.

The proportion of pupils studying at least two science GCSEs has risen from 62% to 91% since 2010, better preparing them to compete in a global 21st century marketplace.

And the accountability system has been overhauled, turning attention away from an obsessive focus on the C/D borderline towards ensuring that all pupils make as much progress as possible. The focus pre-16 has rightly returned to ensuring that all children are taught a broad and balanced academic curriculum.

Whilst the government is determined to ensure that there is a stretching and prestigious technical route for pupils post-16, we know that a knowledge-rich academic curriculum pre-16 is the best preparation for success whatever route a pupil chooses to go down. That is why 96% of non-GCSE and IGCSE qualifications have been removed from the school performance tables since 2010.

As well as removing qualifications that do not serve the best interests of pupils, we have incentivised greater take-up of GCSEs that do prepare children for the next phase of their education. Thanks to the EBacc, we have seen dramatic increases in the proportions of pupils studying core academic GCSEs.

We know that lower participation from disadvantaged pupils in these core academic subjects can negatively affect social mobility. Yet overall, disadvantaged pupils remain almost half as likely to be entered for the EBacc subjects as their non-disadvantaged peers, and the gap in EBacc subject entry persists even among the most academically able disadvantaged pupils.

That is why the government has announced plans to have 75% of Year 10 pupils working towards the EBacc by 2022 and 90% of Year 10 pupils working towards the EBacc by 2025.

A recent paper from the Institute of Education found that:

Students pursuing an EBacc-eligible curriculum at 14-16 had a greater probability of progression to all post 16 educational outcomes, while taking an applied GCSE subject had the opposite effect.

There were no social class differences in the advantages of pursuing an EBacc-eligible curriculum which suggests that an academically demanding curriculum is equally advantageous for working class as for middle class pupils.

The government has been determined to drive up standards since taking office in 2010. In order to do so, there needed to be a focus on the system-wide options available to government, such as the accountability system.

But real change in education is driven by what happens in the classroom. In particular, what is taught to children and how effectively it is taught. Incentivising subject choices that leave open a wide array of technical and academic options post-16 is an important component of this. But so is the content of each subject.

The past decade has seen the emergence of a teacher-led drive to put ‘core knowledge’ at the heart of the curriculum. Influenced by the work of the great American educationalist E. D. Hirsch – who spoke at Policy Exchange in 2015 – the concept of ‘cultural literacy’ has gained currency.

Classroom teachers concerned about the deleterious effects of the 2007 skills-based curriculum expressed their dismay at the unsubstantiated ideological drive to focus on supposedly transferable, cross-curricula competencies.

In ‘7 Myths About Education’, Daisy Christodoulou expertly dissected the commonly held belief that teaching transferable skills is desirable and possible. It is neither. As a result of her concise and devastating assault on the edu-myths that pervaded so much of education, the importance of domain knowledge is now much more widely understood.

Rob Peal documented the history of progressivism’s expansion and domination of all corners of the education system in his polemic ‘Progressively Worse’. From Plowden and the later sweeping aside of the Black Papers, to the subversive takeover of the national curriculum project and the ideological conformism demanded by so many local education authorities, the damage inflicted on children was laid bare.

This teacher-led movement continues today. A vocal minority has formed an online community, fighting back against those who seek to return to the past. Winning converts as they go, these teachers have set the stage for important changes in classrooms all over the country. They have shifted the Overton window, as can be seen from the changing narrative of those whose influence they continue to push back.

The review of the national curriculum – led by Tim Oates – took place in this wider context. It overhauled a curriculum that was not fit for purpose, raising the bar for what was expected and putting knowledge back at the heart of schooling.

The new national curriculum insists that children should know their times tables by the end of Year 4. This is being supported by the introduction of the multiplications tables check, announced in the primary assessment consultation response earlier this year.

Work is underway to ensure that the Key Stage 2 reading assessment draws from the wider curriculum to help ensure that all children are being taught a broad and balanced, knowledge-rich curriculum that builds their wider vocabulary and best-prepares them for the rigours of secondary school.

From the high bar set by the national curriculum, innovative academy chains and leading free schools have built and are iterating demanding curricula. Take the Harris Federation, which recorded some outstanding results this year; 3 of their schools registering progress 8 scores above 1.

Time and again, when the strongest multi-academy trusts take over a failing school they turn it around. A stretching knowledge-rich curriculum and high behavioural expectations for all does work.

And there are a growing number of academy trusts and free schools demonstrating that academic excellence need not be reserved to London. This year, Dixons Trinity Academy in Bradford registered a progress 8 score of 1.22, putting it in the top 10 for progress achieved, demonstrating that geography need be no barrier to academic achievement.

Leading academies and free schools show what it is possible to achieve. They provide an evidence base for other schools to learn from. Year on year, as new secondary free schools reach their fifth year and their first set of GCSE results are published, it is becoming ever clearer what works in education.

Leading free schools and academies ensure a meticulous focus on developing coherent, well-functioning systems that save time and money, so that teachers can focus on what is important. In turn, greater focus is given to the detail of what is done in lessons.

Too often, those seeking to inform national education policy and those commenting on it miss the lessons that can be learnt from what the leading schools are doing. There is a pre-disposition to discuss the education system at the level of school-accountability or school structures. In turn, too little focus is given to what happens in the classroom, where so much attention is paid by these leading multi-academy trusts.

The reading revolution that has occurred in this country over the past 7 years has dramatically improved the education of hundreds of thousands of children. This year, there are 154,000 more children on track to be fluent readers than in 2012 thanks to the introduction of phonics.

The success of this policy is a victory for evidence over dogma. And it is a policy that other countries are seeking to replicate; as a result of the success enjoyed in England, Australia is looking at adopting the same evidence-based approach to early reading instruction.

However, appreciating the true scale of what has been achieved thanks to the phonics reforms requires an understanding of what difference has been made in the classroom.

We supported teachers to adopt evidence-based approaches to teaching early literacy by providing matched-funding for phonics resources and through the dissemination of best practice across the country. Consequently, the views of teachers about reading instruction slowly began to change.

By 2013, about two-thirds of primary teachers surveyed by the government agreed that using systematic synthetic phonics was important. Our reforms have been successful only because the intervention we are promoting – systematic synthetic phonics – works, and has decades of international evidence behind it.

Without the drive to promote the evidence in favour of phonics and change perceptions and practice in the classroom, the policy would not have been such a dramatic success.

The question that should be at the forefront of a policymaker’s mind is: how is this going to change what happens in the classroom? This question is certainly at the centre of my thinking, as can be seen from the adoption of two important policies from top performing jurisdictions in the Far East:

The introduction of Teaching for Mastery, adopting and adapting Shanghai’s approach; and

The re-introduction of textbooks into classrooms, drawing on the success of Singapore.

Thanks to the work of the teacher-led maths hubs, we now have 281 Mastery Specialists, working in 789 schools. By 2023, we expect 11,000 primary and secondary schools to be involved in the Teaching for Mastery programme. This teacher-led programme takes important aspects from the pedagogy that characterises the successful East Asian approach to maths teaching and translates it to English classrooms.

The national curriculum has raised expectations for primary schools and the evidence-based Teaching for Mastery approaches provide teachers with the tools they need to meet these expectations, exemplifying the important relationship between system-level and classroom-level in delivering successful policies that change what is happening in the classroom.

A key lesson that we have taken from the success of the Far East is the importance of textbooks. We know – thanks to the work of Tim Oates – that top performing jurisdictions have high-quality textbooks that work coherently with the curriculum.

In Why Textbooks Count, he makes clear the stark differences in our approach to textbooks and those of the highest performing jurisdictions. In England, only 10% of pupils’ teachers use maths textbooks as the basis for their teaching compared to 70% in Singapore.

Textbooks provide the detailed knowledge implicit in the national curriculum programmes of study, which are succinct and broad descriptions of the content that needs to be taught. For example, the Key Stage 2 Science Curriculum requires 9-year-old pupils to be taught that “unsupported objects fall towards the Earth because of the force of gravity”. This could be taught superficially or in a way that conveys a genuine understanding of the science involved. Herein lies the power of textbooks.

But despite their importance, textbooks have been on the decline for a long time in England’s classroom. Ideological hostility to the use of textbooks, particularly in primary schools, developed in the 1970s. Their replacement with work sheets and hundreds of thousands of bespoke written lesson plans has added to teacher workload, detracted from coherence and negatively affected standards. But this long term movement away from the use of textbooks might be about to go into reverse.

Thankfully, the last few years has seen a number of high quality textbooks come to the market to support the new national curriculum. Responding to the demands of the new national curriculum and demands from primary schools for Teaching for Mastery materials, publishers are again writing knowledge-rich textbooks.

The latent demand for textbooks has grown over the past few years. The online curriculum debates centred on the role of knowledge organisers – led by the likes of Jon Brunskill and Joe Kirby – is evidence of interest in how knowledge can and should be sequenced and presented to pupils.

And increasingly, teachers like Robert Orme and Robert Peal have taken to writing their own textbooks. Drawing on the international evidence, these materials – honed in their own classrooms – are returning the textbook to the heart of schooling.

History and Religious Education have such a wealth of stories, characters, events and places that should be common currency for all. Textbooks are crucial for translating the framework of knowledge outlined by the national curriculum and bringing it to life.

The best textbooks do not recommend activities, prescribe schemes of work, take up space with enormous images, or offer guidance on writing style or exam technique. Those are all things teachers can do, and often enjoy resourcing.

Instead, they provide something teachers will always struggle to create on their own – high quality, considered, extended prose pitched ambitiously, but not unrealistically, which can form the basis for lessons and schemes of work.

The textbooks being launched tonight do just that. They are a bridge from the national curriculum that enables teachers to build the cultural literacy of their pupils and introduce them to the ‘best that has been thought and said’.

The new national curriculum was crucial for raising the bar and returning knowledge to the heart of schooling, but the teacher-led move back towards textbooks will be integral to ensuring that the national curriculum is as effective as we hoped.

They are yet another example of the focus that is needed on what is happening in the classroom. The government recognises the importance of textbooks, and will continue to support the development of high-quality, knowledge-rich resources. Already, work has begun on the curriculum fund announced in the manifesto, which will encourage Britain’s leading cultural institutions to develop knowledge-rich materials for our schools.

By focusing on how to support teachers to further improve what is happening in the classroom as well as the macro issues of the school system – such as the accountability system – the government is determined to build on the success of the past 7 years and ensure Britain is fit for the future.

Thank you.

Theresa May – 2017 Speech on World Aids Day

Below is the text of the speech made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, on World Aids Day on 1 December 2017.

On this thirtieth World AIDS Day, I am proud to wear the red ribbon in support of everyone living with HIV.

Since the first World AIDS Day in 1988, treatment and care for people with HIV has been transformed.

Men and women who a generation ago would have been lost are today leading happy and productive lives, and making an enormous contribution to our world.

Valued colleagues and neighbours, much-loved children, friends, and partners are a living testament to how far we have come.

And if we can succeed in making testing and treatment available to all, a final end to HIV transmission and the reality of an AIDS free generation is within our grasp.

As we continue our work towards that goal, we must also bring an end to the stigma which still blights the daily lives of many people with HIV.

This stigma leads to social isolation, lowers self-esteem, and damages mental health.

No one should have to face it – and we all have our part to play in stamping it out.

So on this World AIDS Day, as we remember all those we have lost, and redouble our efforts to end HIV transmission, let’s vow to support everyone who is living with HIV.

And together, let’s end the isolation and end the stigma for good.

Paul Maynard – 2017 Speech on Transport Investment in the North

Below is the text of the speech made by Paul Maynard, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rail, at the North of England Transport Summit at the Royal Armouries on 30 November 2017.


I’m really pleased to have been asked to deliver the closing address at today’s conference.

And what a choice of venue.

I hope there is no deliberate symbolism in asking a Westminster politician to talk to a northern audience about investment in the north in a building devoted to medieval warfare, hunting and instruments of torture.

Before anyone gets any ideas, let me make absolutely that clear I am a northerner as well – both in terms of where I grew up and who I represent in parliament.

And very glad I am too that these days we decide which regions get what resources through sensible means, such as consultation exercises, elections and civil dialogue.

Investment debate

Even so, the truth is that anyone who follows the debate about transport investment in the north might have got the impression that, of late, things have become somewhat gladiatorial.

Well, my view is that that, in itself, is no bad thing.

In fact, one of the reasons that the government pushed hard for metro mayors, and for the creation of sub-national transport bodies like TfN, and why we’re making good progress on giving statutory status to TfN, is because we want regions across the UK to speak with a more powerful voice.

So if we’re hearing free and frank debate, including at conferences like this one, something’s going right.

Our record

But no one should mistake that debate for a divergence from our shared goals – that of building a transport-fuelled Northern Powerhouse.

Or still more serious a mistake – that the government is somehow washing its hands of transport in the north.

Because speaking as a northern MP who now has a seat in government, it’s incredibly exciting to have a hand in delivering the things I called for when I was a backbencher.

When I took up the rail brief 17 months ago, there was already good progress underway.

In 2014, 15 minutes had been knocked off the journey between Liverpool and Manchester by upgrading the track.

In 2015, electrification of the route between Liverpool and Wigan was completed, securing quicker, more reliable journeys.

We upgraded Manchester Victoria, and built new stations at Kirkstall Forge and Apperley Bridge.

In 2016, we awarded new Northern and TransPennine Express rail franchises, which will deliver new trains, 500 new carriages, over 2,000 extra services, and room for 40,000 more passengers per week.

These new franchises mean that, by 2020, rail travel in the north will have been transformed.

All the trains will be brand new or completely refurbished, and all the Pacer trains will be gone.

Also in 2016, we committed £60 million for TfN to develop plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail.

And this year, we opened the Ordsall Chord, connecting Manchester’s three main railway stations for the first time; all part of the Great North Rail Project, on which we are spending over a billion pounds to deliver better services across the north, with more seats and faster journeys.

Still to come

And there are many more important rail projects underway right now.

The upgrade of Liverpool Lime Street station.

The extra services between Blackburn and Manchester, Bishop Auckland and Darlington – starting next month.

Next year, upgrades between Manchester and Blackpool via Bolton and Preston will be complete.

Followed by a new fleet of Azuma Class 800 trains on the East Coast Main Line.

And we’re working with Network Rail and Rail North on options for upgrades between Manchester, Leeds and York to deliver more seats and faster journeys.

I could go on – but I think the point is clear.

That’s the to-do list of a government taking very seriously its responsibilities towards northern transport.

And I haven’t even mentioned the billions we are spending on northern roads.

Recent announcements

Now, I hope these projects will be familiar to most people in the room.

But I’d also like to touch on some recent announcements that might be less familiar.

Such as the Rail Strategy we announced yesterday.

The HS2 productivity report also out today.

The Transforming Cities Fund, announced in last week’s budget.

And the new Nexus rolling stock announcement for Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland.

Rail strategy

Let me take the rail strategy first.

It’s a story that begins with privatisation, over 20 years ago.

On all the measures that matter most, privatisation has succeeded.

We have one of the most improved railways in Europe, and the safest.

Passenger numbers have more than doubled.

In the north, too, whether one is looking at journeys within the different regions of the north, or to and from the north and elsewhere in the country, passenger numbers are all significantly up over the last 20 years.

Today, for instance, TransPennine Express is one of the country’s fastest growing operators.

But just because something has worked, doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.

I understand why the railways were privatised in the way they were, with the trains and the tracks split into separate companies.

But the railway of the mid-1990s is very different from that of today.

And delivering the kind of improvements I’ve been talking about on a working railway is tough.

Doing so across different teams with complicated contracting arrangements is even tougher.

And when things go wrong, a lack of a joined up approach can make things much worse for passengers.

Solutions can take too long.

Communication with passengers is poor.

Train companies take the blame for the failings of Network Rail.

And Network Rail as an infrastructure company has not always been incentivised to focus on the best possible customer service.

So last year we announced that we would start bringing back together the operation of track and train on our railways.

And today I am very pleased to announce that, as part of our reforms, the first line on which track and train operations will be jointly run will be the East Coast Main Line, connecting London, Yorkshire, the north east and Scotland.

From 2020, we’re going to introduce a new generation of long-term partnerships between the public sector and a private partner.

Both track and train will be operated by a single management, under a single brand and overseen by a single leader.

It will mean a better railway, better able to meet today’s challenges.

Whether it’s planning essential repairs, putting in place improvements that can squeeze in an extra service to meet demand, or responding quickly to a problem on the network – the line should be much better run by one team of people working together.


Let me move on to talk about HS2.

Today we’re publishing a report written following discussions with 100 employers, local authorities and universities across the country.

It sets out how HS2 will improve northern productivity by raising regional growth, leading to a wider range of jobs and careers, which in turn will make it more attractive for graduates to stay in the north – among many other benefits.

But one thing that is very clear is that both central government and local public bodies of all kinds need to work together and plan ahead for HS2 if we are to maximise its benefits – whether to housing, education, local businesses or anything else.

HS2 is coming.

It’s going to transform travel in our country and in the north.

And local areas need to get HS2-ready.

Nexus trains

That’s some of what we’ve announced today and yesterday.

But there were also some big announcements for the north in the budget last week.

Foremost among which is our commitment to spend £337 million replacing the 40-year-old trains on the Tyne and Wear Metro.

The Metro was Britain’s first light rapid transit system and first step-free railway.

Today it remains the second largest metro system in the country.

But its trains are showing their age.

So Tyne and Wear is going to have a new fleet, with the first deliveries coming in 2021 – creating a state of the art Metro once again.

Transforming Cities Fund

The other big announcement in the budget was the government’s new Transforming Cities Fund.

And it’s an idea inspired by this city.

Leeds has long had ambitions to improve transport across the city – ambitions the government shares.

So when a proposed a trolleybus scheme didn’t get the approval it needed last year, we pledged to put £173 million into an alternative.

First Group and local leaders since raised an extra £100 million on top.

Now Leeds is getting:

– new buses

– new park and ride sites

– real-time information for passengers

– and accessibility improvements

The aim is to double bus patronage in Leeds within 10 years.

And what’s worked in Leeds can work elsewhere, so last week the Chancellor unveiled our new £1.7 billion Transforming Cities Fund.

Half to be shared by the 6 areas with elected metro mayors.

With other cities in England to bid for the remainder.

Liverpool City Region will get £134 million.

And Greater Manchester £243 million.

Just like in Leeds, we want the money to drive productivity and spread prosperity, by improving local transport links and making it easier for people to get around and access jobs.

And we want changes that benefit every citizen, especially those struggling at the margins.

It will be up to cities to tell us what improvements they want, but we want truly transformational changes.


So I hope those remarks are sufficient to suggest that the government hasn’t quite given up on the north just yet.

In fact, we’re only just getting going.

But suffice it to say, for now, that in coming months and years, we are going to be working with the north and for the north.

There’ll be plenty of debate and discussion on the way.

But during my time in the job, I’ll be focused on deeds.

On delivery.

That’s how we’ll all be judged in the future.

On what we, working together, do for the north.

Thank you for your time.

Justine Greening – 2017 Speech at Skills Summit

Below is the text of the speech made by Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Education, at the department’s skills summit on 30 November 2017.

I’m delighted to welcome you all to this inaugural Skills Summit here at the Department for Education.

It’s fantastic to see businesses of all sizes and sectors, from up and down the country, representing all kinds of industries here today. As well as some key players from across the education sector.

I’d like to thank the CBI for their support in organising this event, and particularly to Carolyn Fairbairn for her leadership on the skills agenda.

On Monday, we launched an Industrial Strategy aimed at making a Britain that’s really fit for the future for our country and our economy, competing on the global stage, and thriving in the 21st Century.

This strategy recognises that while we must invest in machinery, in buildings, in roads and in technology…this will count for nothing unless we also invest in our biggest asset and that the investment works – for our own people, our home-grown talent that we have in this country.

Because, of course, in the end it’s the people who get in the cars on those new roads, who log on to the 5G network, who operate that high-tech machinery and it is their wherewithal that will make the difference to this infrastructure and as to whether the investment really counts or not.

It’s no secret that this country needs more skilled workers. And if you look at digital skills alone, businesses will need an estimated 1.2 million new workers by 2022. Whether that’s experts on cyber security, mobile and cloud computing or big data.

And, if we’re honest, this country’s historic failure to address these skills shortages has meant that too often we’ve imported talent and people – instead of building up our own.

And that has to change.

Because we’re not just talking about a skills shortage for the economy it’s more than that – it’s millions of opportunities missed for people.

And the real tragedy here is all those people who could have been that engineer, that doctor, that computer programmer…who, perhaps, could have been another James Dyson or Tim Berners-Lee. They’re not – not because they didn’t have that potential – they absolutely did, but because we didn’t have a country that connected them up with that opportunity.

The human story of what might have been is why the skills gap also matters hugely for the left-behind communities in this country, where young talent so often languishes or leaves.

Britain has talent and it’s spread evenly across the country – the problem is that opportunity isn’t.

Where you are born, live, go to school and work still directly affects where you get to in life and how well you do.

Like for many people, when I was growing up in Rotherham. My parents lived where their parents lived…I grew up with them being round the corner. But I always knew it would be difficult for me to stay in the same place to get the opportunity I wanted. But people shouldn’t have to move miles away from their families. That’s how it was for me, and worst of all that’s still how it is today. Again, that has to change. Opportunities have to be on people’s doorstep.

And if we’re going to make the most of ourselves as a country, and make Brexit a success then we have to make sure every person and every place is fulfilling its potential. It’s a social imperative as well as an economic one.

Social mobility. Equality of opportunity. This is my and my department’s guiding mission and we will soon be launching an overarching plan setting out the concrete, practical actions we will take on key areas.

I’m clear that, ultimately, we tackle the skills deficit when we tackle the opportunity deficit. This is how we build a Britain that is fit for the future and a Britain that works for everyone.

So we need to make a new offer to our young people – a universal offer on opportunity, so that everyone can reach their potential, regardless of their background or where they live.

And I feel the opportunity deficit is at its biggest on skills. Here in this room, I believe there is both the power and the intent to help deliver a much needed skills revolution for Britain…a revolution that could transform the social landscape of this country, by bringing opportunity to every doorstep and finally, at the same time, delivering the skills British business needs.

Of course, this is not something government can do alone… and we need business and education to form a new alliance – a deep, strategic, mutually beneficial partnership between business and education, educators and employers: this will be one team for skills.

This government is investing in education and skills, and in fact today there are new stats out that showed now 1.9million more children are in good or outstanding Primary or Secondary schools in England. Crucially, we have committed to building a first class technical education system for the first time in the history of Britain…

We kicked this off already with our major overhaul of the apprenticeship system. And in fact, even since May 2015, we’ve had 1.1million people starting on apprenticeships. They go right up the ladder.

We’ve introduced new degree-level apprenticeships where you earn while studying for a degree.

Through the levy we are also giving employers greater control over the training an apprentice gets, and we want employers to become demanding customers in the training market to develop quality candidates better and faster.

I want this government to continue to work closely with you to help you make the most of the opportunities the levy can bring for you and your workforces – but also to make sure that the levy works effectively and flexibly for industry, as we set out in the budget.

In the greatest shake-up of further education in 70 years we are introducing new T Levels for 16 to 19 year olds, an alternative to A Levels focused on practical, technical skills which will include a mandatory three month work placement.

Indeed, today we are also publishing a full consultation on the detailed design and implementation of these T Levels, and we’re also announcing the full list of our T Level panels, for the first 6 T Level routes.

Today we’re also announcing the launch of Institutes of Technology, with a funding pot of £170million pounds to draw on.

We want successful bids to be a successful collaboration between employers and education, as well as local further and higher education providers

We are also launching the first of our Skills Advisory Panels in regions across the country, they’ll be in Greater Manchester, West Midlands, Cornwall and the Scilly Isles, Greater Lincolnshire, Lancashire, Leeds and Thames Valley.

We are introducing a National Retraining Scheme and we have so far committed over £100million to career learning pilots and initiatives on digital and construction skills.

Today we’re announcing £10 million for a set of pilots in areas including Leeds, Devon and Somerset, Lincolnshire, Stoke-on-Trent and the West Midlands, to test the best ways of incentivising adults to train in the skills that their local economy needs.

I think all of this is adding up to a fundamentally different offer to young people and to everyone in the workplace – to develop the skills they need and we need to play their part in Britain’s high tech future.

I know that this isn’t the first time a government has promised to solve Britain’s perennial skills problem.

So why have these well-intentioned efforts always failed?

Well, maybe part of it’s been too much chopping and changing on policy. But most of all, I think it’s because previous efforts never fully got employers on board…and there were too many employers who were happy to let government try to fix the skills problem and didn’t want to be part of the solution as well. That approach didn’t work, and couldn’t work.

And this didn’t, couldn’t, work.

So that’s why we are putting you, the employers, at the heart of the reform.

To be frank, everything I’ve set out today and the discussion we have today lives or dies on the strength of your involvement and commitment, to work in partnership.

It’s businesses – big and small – that can uniquely motivate and inspire people in our schools, its businesses that can show people the path into careers, like Mamuda set out, that never thought were for people like them. All are crucial for the skills revolution and our policies need to help the global multi-national and the one-man start up.

Today is your chance to help us do that. Our workshops will focus on: how we can make T Levels work for business, delivering the important T Level work placements, Further Education teaching we want you to look at how you can work with us and improve that quality and consistency, and of course we do what workshops on apprenticeship reforms and adult learning. This is your chance to challenge and offer ideas, as our Permanent Secretary just said, on how we can do better.

But in return I want you to make a commitment – to work with us, to sign up to a new skills partnership and to make a better offer to young people, whatever their background.

So far 36 leading companies have done this and I hope that more will follow and sign up to our statement of action. We recognise that partnership can’t just be about words though, it has to be about actions. What I want to see is a race to the top, companies showing leadership on skills.

Actions like GF Tomlinson who give children in Derby insight into careers in construction through mock interviews, site visits and work experience.

Actions like Kier who have an army of more than 200 volunteers working with young people to help them decide what career path they want to follow.

This is about a culture change for business, a mindset shift. And if we really are to have a skills revolution it cannot be business as usual.

It’s about providing high quality apprenticeship,

It’s about providing high quality work placements. We talk to them and they are crying out for this. Many of you are the converted already, but we want to talk to you to have that discussion and debate. I want young people to see business as the solution to get the education and opportunities they want.

Employers always say practical work experience – but not enough businesses offer it. How can we work together to change that? Today is your chance to tell me and my team.

Later this year we will publish our new careers strategy to help young men and women get practical advice and experience of the widest possible jobs and workplaces so their choice of a career is really based on what they know and experiences, not some wrong preconceived notion of what they are and what they aren’t capable of. I never thought I could be a lawyer or do a law degree, as I had never met a lawyer. You are the credible voices that can bring this to life for them.

This is how you can get the biggest and the brightest candidates. Take engineering – according to Engineering UK, just one in eight roles are filled by women – you won’t plug the skills gap in this industry without tapping into the other half of the population. It’s probably one of the easier way to get more people into that job where there is a shortage.

I’d also like to see more industry experts actually going into colleges and teaching. What more credible voice is there for a young person in a college that a person who is part of the industry they are interested in. That’s what the skills training and T Levels is all about – bringing those things together.

Finally, we need every business to instil a culture of lifelong learning through their organisation, to invest in learning and development, from the people already at the top all the way down the organisation. We all know the changes the economy and technology will have. Which is why we must look at the national training scheme – and that starts with businesses. From people at the top right through the way down. It’s a lot isn’t it, what I’ve set out? And this is out of the comfort zone of many. I get that as much as anyone sat round the Cabinet table – and I know that has to change, and businesses have to step out of the comfort zone if we’re really going to plug the skills gap for good.

In conclusion, I wanted to bring you here to Sanctuary Buildings today to send a direct message to employers –at DfE, our doors are open to you.

This government believes in business – we see you as the solution. Business has helped to make our 21st century lives longer, more connected, more convenient. We see you as the solution and we want more young people to see you as a solution.

So we’re throwing down the gauntlet to you today: Come with us on this journey. Bring the innovation, the creativity, the commitment that has made British businesses the best in the world and help us develop apprenticeships, T Levels, careers advice schools and adult learning…

Join a skills partnership to create the workforce this country needs.

This is about people, it’s about places – it’s about all of us doing better and ending the opportunity deficit in this country.

We all have a part to play in that – and we all need to rise to the challenge.

Thank you.

Theresa May – 2017 Speech in Jordan

Below is the text of the speech made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, in Jordan on 30 November 2017.

Thank you very much for that introduction and it is a great pleasure to be back in Amman and to be making my second visit to Jordan this year.

From the Great Arab Revolt a century ago – when British Forces fought alongside the Hashemite Army of Sharif Hussein, with the help and support of the region’s local Bedouin tribes – to the establishment of the Emirate of Transjordan under British Mandate in 1921 and the independent Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1946, our two countries and our two peoples have stood resolutely alongside each other.

His Late Majesty King Hussein was crowned one month to the day before our own Queen was crowned in Westminster Abbey. And over the nearly 18 years of His Majesty King Abdullah’s reign, we have continued to stand firmly side by side, including as partners in the Global Coalition against Daesh.

It is true to say that – by virtue of both our shared history and our shared values – there is no country in this region with which the UK feels instinctively closer.

So this further visit is a sign of the priority I have placed on deepening the special friendship between our countries – and the strength of my commitment to supporting the security, stability and prosperity of this entire region.

From trade treaties stretching back to the 17th Century to our alliance in defeating Daesh, the rich and historic relationship between Britain and its allies in the Middle East has been the bedrock of our shared security and prosperity for generations.

And I believe that relationship is every bit as important for our future as it has been for our past.

Today as extremists plot terrorist attacks from this region, they are not only targeting people here in the countries of the Middle East, but targeting people on the streets of Britain too.

As unresolved conflicts and tensions fuel instability across the Middle East, it is not only security here that is threatened, but the whole international order on which global security and prosperity depends.

And as countries here in the Middle East face the generational challenge of creating opportunity and prosperity for all your people – it is in all our interests that your efforts succeed. Not only because your prosperity affects the prosperity of us all – but also because that prosperity is a vital foundation for the long-term stability on which our security depends.

To those who ask if the United Kingdom is in danger of stepping back from the world, I say: nothing could be further from the truth.

We understand that we best defend our values, our interests and our way of life by working together with our international partners to uphold the international rules-based system.

I have a clear message today – for our allies here in Jordan; and for our allies across this region:

We will support you as you confront the threats to your security – and back your vision for societies and economies that will prosper today and play a positive role in the world tomorrow.

And to do this, we are making a new, ambitious and optimistic offer of partnership to support that strength and resilience for the long-term.

A partnership that supports your security, helping you defend and protect your borders and your people from external aggression. A partnership that goes further in seeking to resolve the ongoing violence and political tension across the region. Not just containing current conflicts – but resolving them and in so doing increasing the resilience of the region.

And a partnership which helps you deliver the social and economic reforms that will address many of the underlying causes of this tension and create transformative opportunities for your people – and with it economic security and regional stability.


Our security partnership builds on a strong foundation. Most recently, the UK has been proudly at the forefront of the international coalition that is defeating Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

We have conducted more than 1600 air strikes against Daesh targets, second only to the United States – and we have more than 1450 personnel supporting counter-Daesh operations in the wider region, including over 600 deployed in Iraq. We have trained over 60,000 Iraqi Security Forces on everything from countering IEDs to engineering, logistics, and combat medical support.

And under my leadership we remain profoundly and unequivocally committed to supporting the security of this entire region – for example, with our Royal Navy continuing to patrol the Gulf as it has done for decades.

Yesterday I was in Iraq – where I was the first British Prime Minister to visit in nine years. This visit was a clear statement that while we must draw lessons from our history of engagement in the region, we will not let the challenges of the past prevent us from doing what is right for the future. I am determined that Britain will engage in the most pressing regional and global issues, in our interests, in the region’s, and in line with our responsibilities as a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council.

I made it clear in my discussions with Prime Minister Abadi that for as long as the Iraqis want and need it, the UK will continue to be a fully committed security partner.

This includes continuing to train Iraqi forces and investing a further £10 million over the next three years in strengthening Iraqi counter-terrorism capabilities. And it involves working with partners across the region – including Jordan – to develop the capabilities that can help to counter the dispersal of foreign fighters as Daesh is squeezed out of its so called ‘caliphate’.

We will also continue to support the Iraqi government as it seeks to deliver the reforms needed to rebuild public trust in a unified and sovereign Iraqi state, while at the same time recognising that the UK has a long-standing relationship with the Kurds as vital partners in the fight against terrorism. We encourage the Iraqi government to respond positively to the new Kurdish leadership, and we encourage the Kurds to respect the Iraqi Federal Court ruling that the referendum was unconstitutional.

We call on both sides to move quickly to negotiations of outstanding differences on the basis of the constitution – and I welcome the reassurance that Prime Minster Abadi gave me that this dialogue was already underway. And we urge the Iraqi people to ensure that next year’s crucial elections contribute to reconciliation and the creation of a more representative political landscape that can unite Iraq against all forms of extremism and hatred.

Today I want to assure you that my commitment to Jordanian security will be at the heart of our efforts in this region.

So far this year, we have seen four major UK military exercises with over 3,000 UK personnel in Jordan and over 350 Jordanian personnel taking part in 19 different military courses in the UK.

Jordanian police trained by UK-funded experts are patrolling the streets in Mafraqand in the refugee camps in Zaatari and Azraq, helping to keep communities safe.

And on my visit to the headquarters of the Quick Reaction Force with His Majesty King Abdullah in April, I was delighted to announce an uplift in the UK’s security assistance including additional support to help deliver an expansion of that Force to three units.

Following that visit we have also invested in better air land integration; in further enhancing Jordanian intelligence; and in helping Jordan to meet its ambition of a fully co-ordinated National Threat System. And over the next few months we will be working to help improve security in tourist areas and developing new strands of police co-operation.

As we move towards the collapse of the so-called caliphate of Daesh in Iraq and Syria, so we need to adapt our response as they move to new battlefields. We have to defeat the ideologues who fuel the hatred of Islamist extremism wherever they are found. So I very much welcome the development of your national strategy to counter violent extremism. And I pay tribute to His Majesty King Abdullah for his leadership in confronting the ideologies of extremism, as well as the latest in the series of conferences that His Majesty is hosting this weekend in Aqaba this weekend to ensure that we in the international community combat terrorism in a coordinated way.

We must also step up our efforts to crack down on terrorist use of the internet. Tech companies have made significant progress on this issue, and I welcome Facebook’s recent announcement on the use of artificial intelligence to improve the detection of terrorist content and speed of its removal. But we need to continue our efforts to go further and faster to reduce the time it takes to remove terrorist content online, and to stop it being uploaded in the first place.

And, we must confront new and increasingly diffuse threats as foreign fighters disperse and Daesh becomes increasingly active and turns to insurgency within the region – as we saw so tragically only last week, with the despicable murder of more than 300 Muslims who were praying in a Mosque in Egypt. A sickening attack that showed once again how this evil extremist ideology which we face together takes no account of race or religion – and indeed has murdered more Muslims than people of any other faith.

Addressing instability in the region

However, as we see Daesh seeking new ungoverned spaces from which to plot and carry out attacks, it will not be enough alone to deepen our security cooperation. We must also renew our partnership to address the ongoing conflicts in the region which they and others exploit.

Here in Jordan, we see clearly the challenges that the instability from Syria poses. You have the admiration and respect of the whole world for the extraordinary compassion, generosity and humanity that you have shown towards the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who have fled into your country.

As Her Majesty Queen Rania remarked recently in an important speech: “without compassion, we weaken the foundations of our common humanity”.

I am proud of the contribution that the UK has made in helping you provide this compassionate response. We have provided over three quarters of a billion dollars in Jordan – both for vital health and education facilities for those displaced by the fighting and also to address the needs of host communities. And we will continue to play a full role in supporting you to protect refugees.

Of course we must strengthen your security and support you in dealing with the effects of instability, which is why we are spending £25 million to help stabilise the Southern Syria De-Escalation Area on the Jordanian border and why we must continue to support the UN agencies to deliver aid across the border to the millions in desperate need. But ultimately only a lasting political solution in Syria will neutralise this terrorist threat and allow the refugees you are hosting to return home. That is why the international community must stop creating rival processes, and unite behind a single UN-led process in Geneva that will bring about an end to the conflict through a genuine transition to a new democratic, inclusive​ and legitimate government. After having overseen the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his countrymen, women and children, surely none of us can imagine that a government led by Bashar Al Assad could claim such legitimacy.

But it is not just Daesh and Asad’s regime that are a threat to Syria’s stability. Iran is showing that it is more interested in bolstering its role in the region, and that of its proxy Hezbollah, than finding a lasting peace in Syria.

And Iran’s destabilising activity goes beyond Syria. Their previous attempts to acquire a nuclear weapon posed a threat to the international non-proliferation system on which wider international security depends. That is why we must stand firm in our support for the nuclear deal. This deal was the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy and a major step towards ensuring that Iran’s nuclear programme is not diverted for military purposes. It is vitally important for our shared security.

Equally I am clear that the JCPoA only addresses one aspect of Iran’s threat in this region. We must therefore strengthen our response to Iran’s ballistic missile programme and its proliferation of weapons. This includes in Yemen, where it is unacceptable for the Houthis to fire missiles at Riyadh. In my meeting in Riyadh last night with Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman I agreed that we would increase our work with Saudi Arabia to address this. I welcome the ongoing UN investigation into the source of the missiles and the international community must be resolute in its response to the findings.

However, as we and our allies seek to protect ourselves, we cannot lose sight of the millions of Yemenis experiencing appalling suffering for a war that has little to do with them. For decades the people of Yemen have suffered through civil wars, through Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula using their country as a launch-pad for attacks across the world, and most recently through renewed internal power struggles. The people of Yemen must no longer be caught in the crossfire.

Today almost a third of Yemen’s entire population is at risk of deep food insecurity. This dire situation must end. The UK will work with our partners to do everything possible to achieve this.

We will continue as the third largest humanitarian donor to the crisis in Yemen, increasing our contribution to £155 million for 2017/18 and pressing the whole international community to do more.

But I am also clear that the flow of commercial supplies on which the country depends must be resumed if we are to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. During my discussions with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh last night, we agreed that steps needed to be taken as a matter of urgency to address this and that we would take forward more detailed discussions on how this could be achieved. And, following the Foreign Secretary-hosted talks in London this week, we will also intensify efforts with all parties to bring a political settlement that will bring sustainable security for Saudi Arabia and for Yemen.

The price of failure to resolve such conflicts is nowhere more apparent than with the Middle East Peace Process. With over 2 million Palestinian refugees living here in Jordan, you understand better than anyone the vital importance of getting the peace process back on track and the impact this would have on enabling all of our partners in the region to come together to face their common threats.

The UK has an historic role in the search for a just and lasting settlement. We remain absolutely committed to doing everything we can to support both sides to achieve a peace deal which must be based on a two-state solution, with a viable and sovereign Palestinian state alongside a safe and secure Israel.

And in this centenary year of the Balfour declaration, I have acknowledged that this remains a sensitive issue for Palestinians and many other people today. But just as I have been clear that we are proud of Britain’s role in the creation of the State of Israel – so I have also been clear that we must address the suffering of Palestinians affected and dislodged by Israel’s birth.

Just as we urge countries to stand up against threats to Israel and we are clear that incitement to violence and denial of Israel’s right to exist must stop, so I am clear that those actions of the Israeli government which create an obstacle to peace – not least illegal settlement construction – must also stop.

Across all these sources of instability in the region, we will work with you: not trying to impose Western solutions, but reliant on you and key partners across the Middle East and North Africa to show the bold leadership that can resolve these issues, and backing your efforts to deliver the political solutions that are so essential to solving the conflicts in this region.

Long-term prosperity for the region

These efforts to bolster your security and resolve today’s conflicts will not alone bring the long-term stability that we all want to see. So finally, we must also build our partnership to create economic prosperity now and into the future.

Across the Middle East, populations are growing rapidly to the extent that well over 50 per cent of the population is now made up of the under 24s. Here in Jordan your population has grown from 2 million in the 1980s to 10 million today; with over 40 per cent under the age of 15.

At the same time, the revenue streams of many states have been significantly reduced with the declining value of fossil fuels. All of this places immense strain on governments, social structures and services across the region. Inevitably tough choices have to be made, and these in turn risk creating political instability and provide fertile ground for extremism to prey on the most vulnerable.

Leaders across the region are recognising and stepping up to meet these challenges.

Yesterday I discussed Saudi Arabia’s ambitious reform programme: Vision 2030 with His Majesty King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman.

There are similarly ambitious visions across much of the region including in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

And, of course, here in Jordan King Abdullah has set out his 2025 vision – seeking to build self-reliance, as he told your Parliament earlier this month, and making your economy more competitive and better able to provide jobs and to give hope to the next generation.

A fundamental part of the United Kingdom’s new offer is a step-change in our support for these reforms.

Drawing on the full capability of the government and our private sector, we will back your visions for social and economic transformation with the potentially far-reaching benefits they bring. And in doing so, we will champion steps towards greater rights and openness, while also being realistic about the speed at which lasting change can happen and the necessary balance between stability and progress.

Think of the new trade you that can pioneer across the world, the new jobs for your young people, and the impact that Jordan and its partners can have in shaping the future.

And think of the opportunities for Jordan to become a focal point for new business, new services and new investment to assist the reconstruction of Syria when that longed-for political solution is finally achieved.

The potential for transformative change is very real if we get this right.

But, as His Majesty King Abdullah himself has said, we have enough visions and strategies. We now need to get on with delivering them – implementation is key.

So the United Kingdom will offer all we can to support you in doing exactly that.

The sustained economic partnership I am proposing today goes far beyond our role in supporting you to protect refugees. I come here today to propose a new long-term partnership to support your economic, social and political resilience, to improve education and to empower the private sector in helping to deliver jobs and opportunities for people across Jordan.

The Jordan Compact we agreed at the London Conference on Syria two years ago not only provided significant humanitarian assistance but also put in place a new approach harnessing the private sector and concessional financing to create jobs for refugees and Jordanians alike and boost Jordan’s economy. Building on this approach, we want to do more to support Jordan’s resilience. We will use the full breadth of our international relationships and our position in multi-lateral financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank to leverage the largest possible global financial backing for your vision 2025 reforms.

We will mobilise partnerships between British and Jordanian businesses, focusing on our shared expertise in services, and working to deliver an ambitious post-Brexit trade deal between our two countries.

And we will set up a joint senior policy dialogue on economic reform to maintain the momentum that we begin today.

For our own part, I am today committing an initial £94.5 million to support Jordan’s economic resilience – including £60 million in investment grants, support for critical infrastructure projects, essential skills training and support to improve the quality of education.

And this is just the start of a significant increase in our funding for Jordan’s resilience, which will go on to include support for the reform of government, the growth of private sector investment and the creation of safety nets to ensure that no-one loses out from these reforms.

We will also continue to support the educational reforms that King Abdullah and Queen Rania have so bravely pioneered, and which I saw first-hand when I met the Minister for Education here in April.

Of course, all of this is built on the principle that Jordan will deliver the political, social and economic reforms that His Majesty King Abdullah has set out.

But with His Majesty’s leadership I am confident that you can do so. His Majesty has talked of incremental reform – but it is no less ambitious or important for that.

At its heart is tolerance for different views, active citizenship, equal access to justice, fighting corruption and deepening democracy. These are the principles that His Majesty the King has set out. Our partnership is not about reinventing those principles but supporting them.

These are reforms made in Jordan, by Jordan and for Jordan. And we want them to succeed.


In conclusion, the challenges facing Jordan – and many of the countries in this region – are possibly some of the greatest that you have faced in many years.

But I believe that if you see through the reforms you have set out, there is every reason to be optimistic about the future ahead.

Optimistic that you can build economies and societies that generate opportunity and prosperity for your people.

And optimistic that you can deliver the stability in this region on which the security and prosperity of the wider world depends.

And throughout it all, you can be sure of one thing above all else: Britain will be a partner you can depend on – with you every step of the way.

Thank you.