Alan Duncan – 2019 Speech on Kazakhstan

Below is the text of the speech made by Sir Alan Duncan, the Minister of State for Europe and the Americas at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, on 28 January 2019.

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and thank you Ambassador for giving me this opportunity.

This fine building has a habit of witnessing historic occasions. Both Houses of Parliament moved into Church House at some stage during the Second World War, and [as the Ambassador rightly said] the very first United Nations Security Council meeting took place here in 1946.

So this is absolutely the right place in which to be celebrating Kazakhstan’s successful first spell on the Council. Given Central Asia’s pivotal place at the centre of the world, it was about time that we saw it represented at the heart of the international system.

I hope that Kazakhstan’s obvious success in the UN over the last 2 years will encourage other states in the region to follow in your footsteps and become key players on the international stage in the way you have been. Your significant contribution to the workings of the UN is a good illustration of the way in which Kazakhstan, and the region, are attracting more and more attention and interest.

Kazakhstan’s more active role on the international stage is undoubtedly one of the reasons for that – their successful Caspian Summit was a good example, and that forged an agreement to settle the previously unresolved status of the Caspian after 20 years of negotiation. This represents a key step in unlocking future international investment in the Caspian Basin.

Two particular highlights I would like to commend are its work on promoting regional partnership between Afghanistan and Central Asia, and its success in organising the first visit since 2010 of a Security Council Delegation to Kabul.

Beyond its membership of the UN Security Council, Kazakhstan has also demonstrated its commitment to international peace and security by deploying peacekeeping troops in Lebanon. This is a significant contribution to the pursuit of peace in the Middle East.

In connection with that deployment, I am proud that the UK’s close partnership with Kazakhstan played a role in readying their troops for peacekeeping, by providing them with English Language Training and supporting what was called Exercise Steppe Eagle, which is an annual peacekeeping training exercise.

But our collaboration goes much further than the mere military. 2018 was a spectacular year for bilateral trade and investment. We saw the launch of the Astana International Financial Centre, with its associated Court, based on English Law. We also saw the successful dual listing of the Kazakh uranium company, KazAtomProm, for its IPO, in both London and Astana.

I really welcome these closer trade and investment links and look forward to collaborating on trade policy as Kazakhstan prepares to host the World Trade Organisation 12th Ministerial Conference in Astana in June 2020. Of course, every successful partnership ultimately depends on the bonds between its people, and especially its young people. And here, too there is a good story to tell. Many Kazakhs have deep connections with Britain, in part thanks to the ‘Bolashak’ higher education programme, which has brought thousands of students to the UK over the last 25 years. And overall, we issue 3,000 visas to Kazakh students every year; and I have to say, it’s nice to know that at least some visas can be issued without difficulty.

We plan to strengthen these personal links even further in 2019, which President Nazarbayev has helpfully declared the year of youth. And I have decreed that includes me. We will build on the successful model pioneered by the British Council’s ‘Creative Central Asia’ programme, to link up young leaders across a range of fields, from politics and business to culture and social engagement.

Our vision for Central Asia is of a peaceful, prosperous and well-governed region, whose countries are free to exercise their independence and sovereignty, and which are able to continue cooperating peacefully with each other and with the wider neighbourhood.

This is a vision shared by our partners in the region, including Kazakhstan, and by the EU. We want the EU to continue to take an ambitious role in the region and that is why we have remained an active participant in discussions on the new EU-Central Asia Strategy.

It is also why, regardless of the nature of our future relationship with the EU after we leave, we remain committed to cooperating with them and other partners in Central Asia, and to further developing our strong relationship with Kazakhstan and its neighbours.

I very much look forward to working with Kazakhstan’s new Foreign Minister to further develop our bilateral relationship, including by continuing to collaborate in the UN and other multilateral fora.

Your excellencies, Erlan, I offer my congratulations once more to Kazakhstan on your successful 2-year stint in New York, and I commend you all on your wider efforts to embrace international cooperation and the support you’ve given to the rules-based international system. In doing so, Kazakhstan has not only shown a determination to step up and play its part on the world stage; it has also set an example for the region to follow.

I believe that we share with the government of Kazakhstan a vision of a region working together for the common good, one that plays a positive role on the international stage, and most importantly one that realises its considerable potential, to the benefit of all its citizens and the wider world.

So we remain committed to supporting Kazakhstan to realise that vision, in 2019 and beyond. And once again I congratulate you for your service to the world over the last 2 years.

James Brokenshire – 2019 Speech on Troubled Families

Below is the text of the speech made by James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on 19 March 2019.

Introduction

Thanks, Andy [Cook].

I too would like to pay tribute to the work of the CSJ, the Centre for Social Justice. Through you and your founder Iain Duncan Smith you have provided powerful leadership on the issues of poverty and social breakdown; challenging assumptions as well as developing pragmatic, imaginative solutions but rooted in the experience of some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

From Free Schools to the Modern Slavery Act, your influence I think has been hugely significant and very far-reaching and there’s little doubt that you’ve succeed in your mission to put social justice at the heart of British politics.

As such, I’m hugely grateful to you for hosting us today and I very much look forward to seeing much more of your impressive work.

Now we’re obviously meeting at an important moment in our country’s history as we forge a new relationship with Europe and raise our ambitions for what kind of country we want to be – a country with a strong, outward-looking presence on the world stage, but also with a strong foundation of thriving communities at home.

That means renewing the cherished union not just between the four nations of our United Kingdom, but a new unionism between all our citizens – between the multiple units of solidarity; country, region, community and family that underpin it.

These units of solidarity, of identity and belonging, operate in many ways and on many levels.

But it’s clear that the most important and keenly felt of these is family.

Rich or poor, it’s the bedrock on which everything else is built – that teaches us the value of love and support, in good times and bad.

That determines our ability to form healthy relationships, our levels of resilience.

How well we do at school and into adulthood.

That connects us to the wider community and the world beyond.

I know I speak for many when I say that my family is the most important thing in my life – I would certainly have not have got through my illness last year without my wife and children by my side.

That’s why this government is championing families at every turn:

driving down the number of households where nobody works by almost a million

driving up the number of good and outstanding schools

extending free childcare

helping more families onto the housing ladder through Help to Buy and by

scrapping stamp duty for most first-time buyers

easing pressures on families by cutting income tax and introducing the National Living Wage

And let’s not forget milestones like the introduction of same sex marriage, measures to support flexible working and shared parental leave and now proposals to introduce blame-free divorce – important steps that to help somehow to strengthen the bonds of family further and protect them in difficult times but equally recognise the issues and structures that lie behind it.

Now it’s important to see how we can bond that unit of family together.

When families thrive, we all thrive.

But sadly, the reverse is also true.

As the CSJ’s latest research shows, young people who experience family breakdown under the age of 18 are more likely to experience homelessness, crime and imprisonment, educational underachievement, alcoholism, teenage pregnancy and mental health issues.

Quite apart from the dire consequences for communities, there’s the enormous personal toll – in wasted potential, in lives unlived.

It is a dangerous disconnection between these families and wider society – a society in which many feel they have no stake.

And in many ways I have the CSJ to thank for helping make that crystal clear to me.

Back in 2006, I took part in a CSJ Programme which saw MPs spending a week with a charity working on some of the toughest social problems.

I spent my week in Devonport in Plymouth with a charity supporting the adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

It gave me the chance to shadow some of those out on the frontline working to combat social exclusion, deprivation and antisocial behaviour.

One particular moment has guided and informed my thinking ever since.

Walking through one of the run-down estates, I asked one of the social workers why the families of the truanting kids they worked with didn’t actively encourage their children to go to school to improve the opportunities available and give them that step up.

The answer was as direct as it was bleak.

Well if they did that it would remind them of the inadequacies of their own lives.

This stark picture of the engrained challenges of inter-generational deprivation has stuck with me.

It made clear to me that you can’t tackle the complex and overlapping problems that struggling families face – worklessness, persistent truanting, health problems, crime and anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse and vulnerable children – in silos.

That you need to join up support and work with whole families, and not just individuals, to change lives.

None of this is especially revolutionary – it’s just common sense.

And that profoundly is what lies at the heart of the Troubled Families Programme.

The results – as seen in the latest national Programme evaluation being published today – I think speak for themselves.

When compared to a similar comparison group, the programme of targeted intervention saw:

the number of children going into care down by a third

the number of adults going to prison down by a quarter and juveniles in custody down by a third

10% fewer people claiming Jobseekers Allowance

There is of course, more to do, but I think this is a significant achievement and a tribute to the tireless efforts of family workers, local authorities and their many partners in our public services and the voluntary sector.

I’m hugely thankful to them.

What they’ve achieved adds up to more people back in work, often in families where unemployment was seen as the norm.

This isn’t just about the financial boost provided by a regular wage, but about the pride and dignity that comes from taking control of your own life. About children growing up with an example of hard work and aspiration.

Equally important for the next generation is the security and stability provided by more families staying together as the pressures on social care and criminal justice system ease.

This means a lot to the families who’ve benefitted.

People like 13-year-old Kyle whose anti-social, gang-related behaviour – developed against a backdrop of historic domestic abuse and the death of his father – had left him and his mum Sue facing eviction from their home.

Thanks to the wrap-around support organised by the Programme’s family worker, based in the Youth Justice Service, Kyle hasn’t been in trouble since, his behaviour and attendance at school has improved and Sue now has her own support network outside the family.

The Programme has also made all the difference for 16-year-old Daniel and his father John.

Following a difficult childhood, he had developed serious problems – self-harming, threatening suicide, regularly smoking cannabis – which had left John too scared to leave him on his own despite his desperation to get a job.

Again, the family worker’s intervention in organising parenting and employment support for John and counselling and specialist support for Daniel was instrumental in helping improve his mental health, encouraging him to apply to an art college and helping John find work as a security guard.

Just 2 examples.

And it underlines why we must never give up on people like them and the families that this Programme is designed to support.

The problems they face – tangled, entrenched, with deep roots – are among the most challenging in our society.

Before beginning the Programme, over half of the families were on benefits.

More than two fifths had at least one person with a mental health issue.

In 1 in 6 families, 1 person was dependent on non-prescription drugs or alcohol.

And in over a fifth, at least 1 person had been affected by domestic abuse.

One of these issues alone is enough to be dealing with.

When they’re multiplied, the effects are devastating – for the families concerned, affecting their ability almost literally to get through each day.

But also sometimes for their neighbours, their classmates and the wider community; who can find themselves on the receiving end of disruptive and distressing behaviour as a result.

In providing support, equally, we should not make excuses for behaviour which falls well short of what should be expected.

As their issues have burgeoned, these families have usually found themselves becoming the passive recipients of services and becoming more isolated and alone.

This is not, in any way, inevitable and there are plenty of examples of people who have beat overwhelming odds to succeed – and those who will say: “They did it by themselves, so everyone should be able to do it.”

But when you dig deeper, it turns out that there are usually people who had their back.

A loving parent who, even though money was tight, was not short on aspiration.

An inspirational teacher who lifted their sights and broadened their horizons.

A neighbour, a friend of a friend who helped secure a lucky break.

Because the truth is no-one ever does it alone. We are all the product of a multitude of small kindnesses done to us and done for us.

We all need support and commitment to achieve our full potential; to grow, branch out and reach our goals.

That starts with stronger families – as the cornerstone of stronger communities.

And that’s the spirit that runs right through this Programme.

Families working together to rise together.

Agencies across sectors working together to help them succeed.

This represents a fundamental shift in how the state supports those who depend on it; centred not on systems and processes, but on people and forging a common sense of purpose among all involved.

For families previously used to being shunted between a host of different, often disjointed services; all with their own assessments, thresholds, appointments and approaches, the role of the family worker, in particular, is a huge breakthrough.

Someone who builds trust and rallies everyone to agree a plan to rebuild their lives, based on their ambitions – and, who, then, crucially, is a single, consistent point of contact coordinating and mobilising all the necessary specialist services, such as mental health or debt advice.

The impact of this should not be underestimated.

Problems caught early before they escalate into a crisis.

People no longer having to go through the emotionally draining process of repeating and repeating and repeating their stories to multiple services.

A boost in confidence, new skills and resilience as families, as the extra help provided with practical issues – such as parenting and household budgeting – pay off.

We know families value this support – this second chance to not so much transform their lives as rediscover them.

To tap into their own power and agency to change them for the better.

And this is the point – the Programme doesn’t affect this change. They do.

But the benefits of the Troubled Families Programme don’t end there.

It’s changed the way people deliver services too.

Many of those working on the Programme have talked about silos breaking down and a marked change in culture and ways of working; with more sharing of information and discussion between partners as their eyes are opened to a fuller picture of a family’s circumstances.

We know that the improved use and sharing of data across agencies has also helped identify families most in need of help, helped target services and track family progress more effectively, with systems increasingly picking up early indications of need – paving the way for improved commissioning of services in the future.

But perhaps the biggest gain is a greater sense of solidarity among services who have worked with these families, who are among the hardest to help, for years, but who now grasp just how much more can be achieved for them when they come together.

According to the evaluation, over half of Troubled Families Coordinators agree all agencies have a common purpose – up from 43% the previous year (2016).

Moreover, just over two thirds of Coordinators say the Programme has been effective at achieving long-term positive change in wider system reform.

This is really encouraging to hear.

The Programme is breaking new ground in developing best practice and, as with anything new, you learn as you go.

And yes we’ve undoubtedly learned a lot from the first phase of the Programme; improving the way we evaluate it by not only drawing on data from more local authorities over 5 years instead of just 1 year, but also through surveys with staff, including family workers and specialist employment advisers, and by speaking to families who’ve been involved.

And we’re keen to continue to think about what we could do differently and better – and this is where it is fair to say that I think we need to look again at the name of the Programme.

I understand why we alighted on phrase ‘Troubled Families’, but, in reality, it obscures as much as it enlightens.

At its worst it points an accusing finger at people, who are already isolated, and says to them “you are the ‘others’ and you are not like the rest of us”.

When, in truth, they are like the rest of us, they’ve just had a little less help, been a little less lucky, and yes, made choices themselves that haven’t led to the best outcomes.

But we don’t give up on people in this country. People can make the most of a second chance.

That is the lesson of the Programme.

So we need something which better recognises its objective of creating stronger families.

Something that recognises where it might take us.

Because the implications for wider public service delivery are profound.

We had the new public management model under Margaret Thatcher in the Eighties.

Then the choice agenda, followed by the open public services agenda from 2010.

The Troubled Families Programme – with its model of services joining up around a whole family – I think suggests the next wave.

And fresh thinking is needed now more than ever to meet challenges we face.

I’m thinking especially of the horrors of knife crime, which is devastating families and communities.

This cannot go on.

Every violent incident, every injury, every young life lost is an absolute tragedy and we must act to ensure our children can grow up knowing they’re safe and have a great future ahead of them.

The Troubled Families Programme – with its emphasis on early intervention and its track record of tackling complex challenges – has a valuable role to play in this endeavour.

It’s why we’re making a £9.5 million fund available within the existing Programme to focus on supporting children and families vulnerable to knife crime and gang culture – with a further £300,000 available to train frontline staff on how to tackle childhood trauma.

The money will go to community-backed projects in 21 areas across England and I look forward to seeing it making a difference to families on the ground.

Conclusion

I have every confidence that it will make this difference because the real strength of the Troubled Families Programme – the real strength, too, of the CSJ’s approach – is that it’s not just trying to manage the challenges those families face. It’s changing lives in the long term.

In doing so, it’s addressing not just the symptoms, but the underlying issues that have held them back.

Just over three quarters of a century ago, in a similar spirit, Sir William Beveridge drafted the landmark report that laid the foundations for the welfare state.

The 5 “giant evils” he sought to eradicate – want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness – thankfully no longer loom so large, as attested by longer lifespans and better life chances.

But there is no denying that serious challenges remain.

And while we’re doing all we all can to ease pressures on families, we must also face up to new “giants” – such as, for example, increasing social isolation – the sense that while with the internet and social media we’ve never been better connected, many of us have never felt more alone.

And this perhaps is one of the biggest mountains that families on the Programme previously faced – the feeling they were battling multiple problems on multiple fronts on their own.

Not anymore.

At least 400,000 families have been helped by the Programme’s whole family approach as it goes mainstream; winning the confidence of councils and their partners alike with its proven ability to give people hope and a brighter future.

That’s why I believe in the Programme and want to see it go from strength to strength.

And why I will always do my utmost to champion these and other families – the principal units of solidarity that bind our communities and our country.

Put simply; whether as families or communities or as a country, we’re always stronger when we stand together.

And that simple but significant truth should guide our policy making for the future.

Thank you.

Liz Truss – 2019 Speech on the Spending Review

Liz Truss

Below is the text of the speech made by Liz Truss, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, on 19 March 2019.

2019 is a massive year for British politics

And not just because it’s the year I joined Taylor Swift’s squad.

As we leave the European Union, we have an opportunity to set out a new economic agenda.

We’re leaving the era of post-crash consolidation and recovery.

And we’re entering a new era of growth and opportunity for Britain.

When we reach out to a much wider world…

…we are friends and rivals pushing us all to greater heights.

This will be a year of change and renewal for Britain.

Leaving the European Union with the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal gives us back control over our money, laws and borders.

And we should use this opportunity to think about the future.

This year’s Spending Review, where we will set budgets from 2020 through to 2023, allows us to make a real and lasting impact.

We will have the power to modernise the state, making it sleeker, more effective and better value for the people it serves.

We have got a big opportunity to unleash economic growth, as well as the potential of everyone in the country – giving them the chance to take control of their own lives.

We should be guided by three principles.

First of all, we should focus on people’s priorities not the blob of vested interests.

Second, for a free market economy to succeed – everyone must have a shot.

Third, the state should help people on the margins take control of their own lives – not tell capable citizens what to do.

I start from the principle that every pound in the exchequer is money that somebody has worked hard to earn.

That means we have a responsibility to make sure that public money is spent on public priorities, not those of vested interests.

But there is a growing blob of lobbyists, corporations, quangos and professional bodies who ask again and again for Government favours – arguing that they are the exception, that their cause deserves special treatment.

But if we gave in to all their demands, what would we squeeze out? And should they be taking money from those on relatively low earnings, who could be spending it on a new car, a holiday, or a treat for their children?

I want to make sure that the Spending Review works for people right across our country, from Plymouth to Perth and Darlington to Dereham – people that go to work every day and don’t have the time or money or inclination to hang around Whitehall.

This should be the People’s Spending Review.

That’s why I’m travelling around the country asking the public what their priorities really are.

So far, I’ve been in Felixstowe, Walsall and Tadcaster.

People have told me they want money focussed on core public services – the police, education, roads, defence and the NHS

We have already started on this. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor increased spending on the health service – with a £33.9 billion annual cash increase by 2023/24 – making it the government’s No. 1 spending priority.

And we’re also making sure the health service reduces waste so that more money is spent on the front line.

That is the approach we’re going to take across the Spending Review – making sure we’re prioritising the core services that people want.

People are also very clear that they don’t want to see the government waste taxpayers’ money.

Let’s not forget how angry people get when politicians get this wrong. This waste betrayed contempt for the taxpayer, and damaged their faith in politicians.

We must never go there again. It’s still underappreciated in politics how much people hate their money being frittered away.

The public have little truck with the nanny state or with vanity projects.

They don’t want their hard-earned cash spent on announcements designed purely to get column inches.

Or on billboards that brag about the government’s generosity. They don’t want to hear that their money is used for corporate subsidies. Or to prop up zombie industries. Or to be told exactly how much to eat or how much to exercise.

Support for business spread over numerous government departments including tax credits, costing around £18 billion.

Across the board there were hundreds of opaque organisations with ill-defined aims demanding public money for their latest pet project…

…erecting barriers and piles of bureaucracy and admin.

We have reduced the number of quangos from 561 in 2013, to 305 in 2017.

But it is still the case that the administration budget of these bodies costs us £2.5 billion.

And that too many hard-working public servants and business people are spending their time filling in forms and applying for grants.

There are those prophets of doom who say the size of the state must inexorably grow. But, as we leave the EU, I’d point to some of those countries we are now competing with.

Countries like South Korea and Japan show that it is perfectly possible to fund the services people care about while keeping taxes low…

…the way to do it is to grow the economy – just as we have for the past nine years…

…so that we have more pie to share out.

And at the same time prioritise ruthlessly – keeping the people’s interests at heart.

We will do this during the Spending Review.

In the zero-based capital review, we will look at the major projects we are investing in, and asking whether they are really working for us – whether they are having positive effects on growth and the wealth and wellbeing of individual people.

We need to make sure we are upgrading and maintaining our public realm, while also focusing on the less sexy projects – the nitty gritty that has a high return on investment. One example is local transport around our cities and counties – the journey into work each day that really affects everyone’s lives.

It was one of the top priorities for people I met. They want the local roads fixed and not to have to sit in a traffic jam. They want a less crowded commute into work. They want the basics sorted.

British cities lag our continental neighbours in terms of local public transport connections. Leeds is the biggest city in Europe without a mass transit system. (Don’t I know it from my time spent on the no. 19 bus.) And the two most congested commuter lines in the country are the train lines going in to Manchester.

Birmingham, meanwhile, has a Metro with just one line, whereas Lyon, a city half the size, has four.

It means that the people in the city have to rely on slow buses that get stuck in traffic.

And in effect creates a barrier that stops people commuting in from the suburbs.

A study from CityMetric shows that Birmingham’s productivity is 33% lower than a city of its size should be – in large part because of its poor cross-city transport.

That’s why we have funded Andy Street, the inspirational Mayor of the West Midlands, to the tune of £400 million to improve and extend the city’s Metro.

Projects for commuter line improvements and local roads generally have a much higher return on investment than long distance routes. That’s why we created the £2.5 billion Transforming Cities fund – because we know that these are the sorts of projects that make a real difference to productivity, and to people’s lives.

By focusing on the core services that matter to the public, we can boost growth – both personal and economic.

And we can do so while keeping taxes low – which means that people have more freedom to spend on their own priorities, and more of a stake in their own future.

We’re opening up opportunities for people across Britain.

Thanks to our policies:

More children from low income backgrounds are now going to university.

More young people are setting up businesses.

We’ve got fewer workless households than ever before

And because we’ve cut stamp duty, over half of new homes are being bought by first time buyers

But we must go further, if we are to grow our economy.

To be a successful popular free market economy – everyone has to have a shot at success.

I came into politics because I want Britain to be a success story and that means everyone in the country being a success story.

Everyone, regardless of their background, has to believe that they can be a successful business person, a judge, or even a leading politician.

I came from a comprehensive, went on to Oxford University and became a Cabinet minister.

But I was very lucky in having great parents and good teachers – things in my early life that gave me the opportunity to go far.

Not everyone has that, and success in life should not be a fluke of circumstance.

A fully functioning free market depends on the success of new entrants generating new ideas.

So we have to crack down on any entrenched privileges that stop talented people coming through.

It’s still the case that eight schools get as many students into Oxbridge as three quarters of all schools put together.

It’s still the case that seven in ten senior judges are the product of a private education, ten times the proportion in the general public.

It’s still the case that 90% of Venture Capital funding deals in the UK go to all-male teams.

And it’s still the case that – because of our restrictive planning system people are paying a greater proportion of their income in housing than ever before.

In 1947 people were paying less than an eighth of their total expenditure on housing – now it’s over a quarter. And people who rent in London are spending half their income on rent.

If we don’t deal with these entrenched barriers, it will undermine people’s faith in our economic model.These barriers cost us all dearly.

They block people’s path to success, stopping them get the education, the job and the home that their efforts deserve.

And the public pay the penalty twice over.

Because they have to pay higher taxes to paper over the cracks:

Next year we will spend £34 billion on housing support, over £1 billion in support for the fuel poor, and over £17 billion on out of work benefits.

All of that comes from taxpayer’s pockets, so it’s in all our interests to eradicate these barriers.

Inside every one of us are aspirations and dreams.

And the role of government shouldn’t be doing things on people’s behalf like an overbearing helicopter parent. It should be clearing the barriers to their success.

So how do we do this?

Finland carried out a trial in 2017 to see if universal basic income could solve their high unemployment rate.

But, after giving a random sample of 2,000 people €560 a month to do what they liked, they found they were no more likely to find work.

The programme removed the incentive to work and earn.

And the OECD warned them that in order to expand the programme across the country, they would need to increase income tax by nearly 30%.

After all the fanfare, the promise of free money for all was revealed to be as expensive as it was ineffective.

In the UK, just as in Finland, the answer is to create a truly free market, in which everyone has a chance.

Where everyone has a chance to work – the best route out of poverty.

And not just work, but succeed – to move in and move up.

And that means identifying the barriers to success, and taking them away.

What people need is not handouts or Universal Basic Income, but the Universal Basic Infrastructure of life.

The foundations of living a full life in a modern free enterprise country.

Foundations that give people the chance to get where they want to go.

Access to good education…a good home with fast internet…and good transport links to get to a good job.

That’s why we have reformed the welfare system to get people off benefits and into work…

…and we’re also investing in capital at a 40-year high, as the Chancellor reiterated at the Spring Statement.

As we improve rail, roads and fibre right across the country, we’ll be guided by our industrial strategy, and use our zero-based review to make sure we are getting maximum value for the public.

We’re also transforming education with our academy and free schools programme.

And in housing, we’re reforming our planning system, just as places like France, Germany and Japan have.

I’m delighted that James Brokenshire is soon launching his planning green paper – I look forward to seeing what’s in there.

At the Spending Review we’re going to look at every bit of spending and make sure it is delivering for everyone regardless of their background.

To make sure that everyone has that Universal Basic Infrastructure to be successful.

There are people who talk down success.

They demonise profit.

They believe any one person’s triumph must come with another’s failure.

They are wrong and they damage the prospects for those one lower incomes by taking the ladder away.

Success is not a zero-sum game. If we get the conditions right, it’s there for everyone to grasp.

If we give everyone the platform for success, and the chance to run their own business, or work in someone else’s…

…we will help people achieve their potential, solve social problems, and increase economic growth.

But we also need to recognise that there are some people who will not yet be capable of using this platform.

Perhaps because they are struggling with health conditions or addiction. Or because they have missed out on a basic education.

Or because they have been traumatised and left in despair after suffering the consequences of crime.

And it should be government’s responsibility to prioritise support for these people – helping those on the margins move to a position where they can take control of their lives.

And to stop any more people getting into that position in the first place.

It’s a simple idea: that we should spend more on the areas which have the biggest impact, and less on those that don’t.

And it points towards the moral case for proper public spending control.

That every pound wasted on a pet project could have been used to change someone’s life.

Giving more children in care the best start in life.

Or more support to help disabled people get into work.

Additional focus on preventing grooming and child sexual exploitation, so that more girls in places like Rotherham and Oxford don’t see their futures taken away from them.

Targeting spending towards those who genuinely cannot do without the state’s help is the way to spend money well.

I saw how the No Wrong Door programme in North Yorkshire provides a loving family like environment for the children in their care. I spoke to a young man there who had now got a job but came back regularly because he knew they were looking out for him. This programme has reduced crime and improved health but most importantly it’s giving these children a lodestar in their life – encouragement to succeed.

We are rolling out up to 20 more programmes like this and will be looking at this area in the Spending Review.

I’m a great believer that we should not tell capable adults what to do. And that we all need the freedom to make decisions, good or bad, and live our own lives.

But we all have a duty of care to make sure that children growing up in Britain have the best start in life.

In this country, we spend just over £3,000 per pupil in early years, just under £5,000 in primary, just over £6,000 in secondary, and we contribute approximately £6,500 to students’ university education.

The academic evidence shows that when it comes to intervention the earlier the better. Professor James Heckman argues that focusing investment between birth and the age of five “creates better education, health, social and economic outcomes that reduce the need for costly social spending”.

Of course, shifting funding towards earlier intervention is difficult. This requires us to be patient. Too often we question why a policy hasn’t worked immediately.

Take our phonics scheme, which has helped our nine-year olds us rocket up the European literacy rankings, and proved one of our biggest policy successes of recent times – championed by Nick Gibb.

The benefits will be felt most in 10-20 years’ time, when these children are entering the world of work and starting their own families.

These children are not yet in secondary school, much less the jobs market.

But in the future, we’ll have more independent adults able to succeed.

And so this is exactly the sort of long-term policy the government should be supporting.

That’s why we we’re working with the Office of National Statistics on valuing Human Capital.

This sounds like a dry concept, but what we’re really talking about is how do we maximise everyone’s opportunities – how do we give everyone the best chance of living a healthy, successful life.

Using this as a lens for the Spending Review will help direct resources to improve people’s opportunities while keeping taxes low.

We will constantly ask ourselves the consequences of our spending decisions on people’s lives – not just in the here and now… but long into the future.

By cutting out unnecessary activities that drive up costs for the government…

…we can cut taxes so that people can keep more of their own money…

…make sure everyone in Britain has the basis of success…

…and afford to help the most vulnerable.

For the first time in many years, we have the power to make positive decisions. We’ve got choices.

We’re throwing off the constraints of the post-financial crash world.

And the constraints of the European Union.

We’re now in a position to make Britain a success story into the future.

By growing the economy, and realising the potential of everyone in our country.

Matt Hancock – 2019 Speech on DNA Analysis

Matt Hancock

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, at the Royal Society on 20 March 2019.

I’m here at the Royal Society, perhaps the greatest institution of Enlightenment values in the world.

The Royal Society has supported progressive human endeavour for 350 years, from Wren, through Newton to Einstein and Hawking.

Today, we address a new scientific breakthrough: genomics.

And celebrate the world-leading achievement of the 100,000 Genomes Project.

100,000 whole genomes that have been sequenced to help diagnose and treat rare diseases.

So many families closer to a cure or a treatment.

And I know some of those families are here this morning. Renewed hope. Not feeling alone, but part of a community.

With the knowledge their genetic data has helped others.

That impulse to help others: someone we’ve never met before, someone we’re probably never likely to meet, caring about the fate of a stranger.

That inspires me.

I talk a lot, as Health Secretary, about the need to harness technology to improve and save lives.

This past week, that’s been brought directly home to me.

Last week I took part in a different genomic exercise – a predictive polygenic risk test.

I wanted to find out whether I was at high risk of any diseases, and how it would make me feel.

I was really looking forward to it. The process was simple and easy: spit in a tube, send it off. I waited a couple of weeks while my sample was analysed by a team at Oxford University.

On Friday, I got the results. And I have to admit, I started to feel pretty nervous.

It struck me that I was about to find out how likely I am to get 16 serious diseases.

I’d already chosen only to get tested for diseases I could do something about.

Even so, it’s a big moment.

First, they told me the good news. For most of the diseases, my risk was below average.

I’m particularly lucky with heart disease.

I’m in the 3% of the population with the lowest genetic risk. Maybe that’s why Grannie lived to 103.

Then the bad news. The test also showed that, despite no family history, I’m in the worst 20% for prostate cancer.

I have around a 50% higher risk than average.

I was obviously worried when I was first told this.

But while it’s not good news, it’s good news to have.

Death from prostate cancer is more treatable if diagnosed early.

But prostate cancer can be a silent killer, and tragically, so many men don’t find out until it’s too late.

But it doesn’t have to be.

It may sound weird but I’m now absolutely delighted.

Thank God for genomics!

I’ve already booked a blood test, and obviously I’ll be on alert as I get older.

I’m going to make certain I don’t miss any screening appointments in the future.

I also found out an important lesson: it really matters how the results are presented.

You need an expert to help you make sense of the data, and you need a clinician to tell you what it means medically.

And the reason it’s so important is that predictive genomics is not about absolutes. It’s about risk factors. And your genes are only one part, and usually not even the biggest part, of the risk.

Even more important, we’ve got to be crystal clear about the different role, different science and different ethics between predictive, polygenic tests like this and diagnostic whole genome sequencing.

I believe both have a huge role to play in the future of healthcare, but they are very different.

Predictive testing has big implications for screening: genomics can make cancer screening more targeted and more effective.

By using predictive testing we can help people at higher risk earlier.

I see it as a game-changer for cancer screening in the NHS, and I’m determined that we harness this technology to save lives.

So for me, it’s personal that we’re writing the first National Genomics Healthcare Strategy, which my brilliant Lords Minister, Baroness Blackwood, is developing.

I’m delighted Nicola has consented to my sharing her story.

Because Nicola’s life has been changed by genomics too, in a different way to mine.

Nicola has the rare disease Ehlers Danlos. But she wasn’t diagnosed for 30 years, going through test after invasive test from childhood into adulthood, being referred to doctors who each tried to do their best, but without much success.

Until finally, she was referred to a neurologist, with experience of EDS, who recognised the symptoms and was able to diagnose her.

Today, with whole genome sequencing Nicola could have been diagnosed within a couple of weeks.

Her story shows the power of the other type of genomics.

For rare diseases, whole genome sequencing is life-changing because it is a diagnostic test of absolute certainty, and early diagnosis can have a massive, immediate impact on improving someone’s chances.

So many people have felt there’s no way forward if they have a rare disease. That’s why whole genome sequencing has been so revolutionary – and it holds the key to unlock new cures and treatments.

Whole genome sequencing raises other, new ethical questions.

Imagine you discover you have a single gene disease that can be inherited.

Imagine the impact not just on that person but their children.

The positive potential on people’s lives is massive.

But the sensitivity of that information is so acute.

To make all this happen, there are 3 areas I want to address today, each vital to success.

First, rolling out the science.

I’m very proud we lead the world in genome technology.

This year we’ve started our Genomic Medicine Service within the NHS, and we have a new ambition of sequencing one million whole genomes, and 5 million partial genome tests like the one I’ve had done.

Our science budgets are growing, and rightly so.

And we’ve got to get the data rules right.

After all, genomic sequencing is really just revolutionary amounts of data.

It’s why I’m so frustrated at data blockage.

We can’t currently test for all cancers, because too often, the data is locked away.

Sometimes there are good ethical or scientific reasons, and strong privacy rules are vital.

But it’s outrageous that too often, anonymised data, paid for by taxpayers, donated by the public, can’t be used for research.

We will unlock that data because we know it saves lives.

Second, getting the ethics right.

Understanding the human genome raises profound new ethical questions, and we need to get the ethical rules right, both for diagnostic and predictive genomics, and even more so when it comes to the emerging science of editing the human genome.

Understanding our genetic code also raises issues around privacy and consent.

We’ve already made some progress here, when in October we updated the Code on Genetic Testing and Insurance to ensure people don’t wrongly have to disclose their genomic data when they take out life insurance.

For diagnostic genomics, the area most in need of ethical rules is how, and with whom, information is shared.

When it comes to editing the human genome, that raises major new ethical questions.

I don’t believe in a blanket ban on genome editing research.

Not when it offers the hope of tackling terrible genetic diseases.

But I fully understand, and recognise the real and genuine concerns and fears, that people have, and we must put in place an ethical framework to govern it.

These are just some of the vital ethical questions that we need to address together as a society.

After all, the reason we care about the science is so we can improve and save lives.

Science is founded on the noble Enlightenment principle of progress driven by rational inquiry and objective reality.

But we need to take people with us.

Proving something scientifically true is not the same as proving to people that it’s a good thing.

We must listen to concerns.

Understand rational, and sometimes irrational, fears.

We need a clear framework so that we, as a society, can make active choices over how the science is used.

I think our ability to do that in this country is one of our hidden strengths.

We often talk about how we are world-leading because of our universities, our open, outward-looking culture, our environment for enterprise.

But we are also world-leading in developing the ethical framework within which science can be applied with confidence.

And we build the institutions that make it real.

We reject the laissez-faire approach of some, and the authoritarian instincts of others.

Instead, we apply liberal values: open, enquiring yet sceptical, and with a firm focus on the benefit of mankind.

For Britain, ethics is a competitive advantage.

That is how Britain has forged our leadership role in so many areas of innovative science over the years, and we must do so once again.

The third thing we need to get right is operational.

I’m delighted we are taking up genomics in the NHS. The new Genomic Medicine Service is a world first.

And I’m very excited that the new £100 million children’s hospital we’re building in Cambridge will mean we can do even more to identify and treat children with rare diseases through whole genome sequencing.

But there’s more to do.

How do we train up doctors and nurses so they understand genetic data, including these new predictive tests, and are able to explain it in a way that helps people make the best decisions?

And we can’t just ignore it.

After all, thousands of people are already taking predictive tests, and many are now turning up at their GP surgery with their results in hand.

We need to harness the power of this new technology to diagnose and prevent illness, and that means using it right.

Some people say we shouldn’t encourage the ‘worried well’.

I feel that’s the wrong response.

We need to understand that people will have genuine concerns and we must give them the help and support they need to make sense of their genetic data.

Of course, that also means supporting our GPs and frontline clinical staff. We must get the right numbers in place – we now have record numbers of GPs in training, and we’re putting in the biggest rise in primary and community care in a generation.

If we encourage people to take better care of themselves, that means patients and clinicians, together, can prevent problems from arising.

This will save the NHS time and money in the long term.

It’s as Sir Nilesh Samani said:

Genomic medicine is set to revolutionise the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of many of the UK’s most devastating diseases…

Identifying someone’s genetic risk could lead to more personalised treatments that might stop a disease ever developing.

And I feel that very strongly, because I’ve now personally seen the potential benefits.

And this isn’t just about physical health, but mental health. For some people there will be a big psychological impact from finding out news they weren’t prepared for.

We already provide support and counselling to people, but we must ensure that provision keeps pace with the expansion of predictive testing.

Get all this right and I’m certain we can build consent and trust, and put genomic science on the strongest possible footing.

One of your esteemed Royal Society fellows, Bertrand Russell, once said:

To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.

Fear is the enemy of progress.

The Enlightenment – science and reason, allied with a mission to help people – led to the biggest ever leap forward for humanity.

We need to renew that spirit of progress.

And I believe we can defeat fear by building trust.

Listening, learning, improving.

Always wanting to make things better.

Progress that puts people first.

Caring about technology, because we care about people.

A noble mission for us all.

Theresa May – 2019 Statement to the Country on Brexit

Below is the text of the speech made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, made in Downing Street, London on 20 March 2019.

Nearly three years have passed since the public voted to leave the European Union.

It was the biggest democratic exercise in our country’s history.

I came to office on a promise to deliver on that verdict.

In March 2017, I triggered the Article 50 process for the UK to exit the EU – and Parliament supported it overwhelmingly.

Two years on, MPs have been unable to agree on a way to implement the UK’s withdrawal.

As a result, we will now not leave on time with a deal on 29 March.

This delay is a matter of great personal regret for me.

And of this I am absolutely sure: you the public have had enough.

You are tired of the infighting.

You are tired of the political games and the arcane procedural rows.

Tired of MPs talking about nothing else but Brexit when you have real concerns about our children’s schools, our National Health Service, and knife crime.

You want this stage of the Brexit process to be over and done with.

I agree. I am on your side.

It is now time for MPs to decide.

So today I have written to Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, to request a short extension of Article 50 up to the 30 June to give MPs the time to make a final choice.

Do they want to leave the EU with a deal which delivers on the result of the referendum – that takes back control of our money, borders and laws while protecting jobs and our national security?

Do they want to leave without a deal?

Or do they not want to leave at all, causing potentially irreparable damage to public trust – not just in this generation of politicians, but to our entire democratic process?

It is high time we made a decision.

So far, Parliament has done everything possible to avoid making a choice.

Motion after motion and amendment after amendment have been tabled without Parliament ever deciding what it wants.

All MPs have been willing to say is what they do not want.

I passionately hope MPs will find a way to back the deal I have negotiated with the EU.

A deal that delivers on the result of the referendum and is the very best deal negotiable.

I will continue to work night and day to secure the support of my colleagues, the DUP and others for this deal.

But I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than 30 June.

Some argue that I am making the wrong choice, and I should ask for a longer extension to the end of the year or beyond, to give more time for politicians to argue over the way forward.

That would mean asking you to vote in European Elections, nearly three years after our country decided to leave.

What kind of message would that send?

And just how bitter and divisive would that election campaign be at a time when the country desperately needs bringing back together?

Some have suggested holding a second referendum.

I don’t believe that is what you want – and it is not what I want.

We asked you the question already and you gave us your answer.

Now you want us to get on with it.

And that is what I am determined to do.

Jonathan Edwards – 2019 Speech on the UK’s Departure from the European Union

Below is the text of the speech made by Jonathan Edwards, the Plaid Cymru MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, in the House of Commons on 14 March 2019.

Before I explain my party’s position, I would like to add my voice to those who have been calling for the House of Commons to have a full portfolio of votes on the various options. On 15 January, I wrote an article for The Huffington Post making the case for using a voting system designed to create a majority. I was delighted to see the Father of the House bring forward an amendment to that effect a few weeks ago. I hope that if amendment (i) passes this evening, that will be looked at in all seriousness.​

The key question that will face us after this evening if we support an extension to article 50 will be this: for what purpose? Without finding a purpose for the extension, we still face the prospect of no deal by default. The publication of the Government’s tariff proposals gave us a good idea of what that would mean. It would be a disaster for Welsh agriculture, in particular, because if we set very high import tariffs, that would be reciprocated in terms of exports. Half of all Welsh lamb goes to the European Union, and that sector would be decimated. In keeping an open border between the Republic of Ireland and the north of Ireland, the British Government signalled their intention to sink the ports of my country.

Our amendment (a) would extend article 50 to cover phase 2 of the Brexit process. That would help to deal with the backstop. Although I do not share the concerns of hon. Members in relation to the backstop, that issue would be dealt with by our suggestion. It would deal with the problems of a blind Brexit. It would deal with the problem of no deal. It would encourage a more sensible approach to other trade negotiations. There is something for everybody in our suggestion, apart from those who seem obsessed with leaving on 29 March.

I look forward to voting for amendment (h). I say to Labour colleagues that the right moment does not always come in politics—there is only the moment, and the moment is now.

Pat McFadden – 2019 Speech on the UK’s Departure from the European Union

Below is the text of the speech made by Pat McFadden, the Labour MP for Wolverhampton South East, in the House of Commons on 14 March 2019.

When the Prime Minister set out the timetable for this week a couple of weeks ago, she did not say that the vote on an extension was to be linked to acceptance of the deal. When she set out those arrangements, the premise was that we would come to this point after the defeat of her deal, which is what has happened. Now we find, from her reaction to the vote last night, that the Government’s proposal to extend article 50 is linked to their strategy of one more heave, two more heaves, however many more heaves it takes.

The amendments that I will support tonight are the amendment tabled by my right hon. and hon. Friends on the Front Bench or the amendment tabled by my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn). They seek to remove that conditionality and to extend instead for the purpose of clarifying our future direction. That is the reason why we should extend. For four months we have been having the wrong conversation with Europe. Instead of disappearing into five different levels of legality over the backstop, which looks to the rest of Europe as if we are trying to wriggle out of our commitment to no hard border in Northern Ireland and to supporting the Good Friday agreement, we should have been having the conversation that we need to have about what Brexit really means, what the choices are and what the trade-offs are. Let us not pretend that the reason that has not happened is that somehow it is impossible until we leave. The reason it has not happened is that to do so would expose the deep divisions within the Conservative party, but the public deserve better than that. That is why extension should be for the purpose of clarification.

As for timing and other conditions, far too often in our discussions we forget that there are two sides at the table. An extension has to be applied for and agreed ​unanimously. It will not just be up to us how long it is for. Whatever happens in the votes tonight, it is important that we understand that.

I understand the public impatience with politics right now. It is our job to get stuff done, but the leadership response to parliamentary votes matters. We heard a great speech yesterday from my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Yardley (Jess Phillips), who defended parliamentary democracy. It is just a pity that our Prime Minister, the leader of our country, never defends parliamentary democracy. Continually setting Parliament against the people is at best disappointing. It is thoroughly irresponsible and it is not the leadership that we need through these troubled waters.

Mike Gapes – 2019 Speech on the UK’s Departure from the European Union

Below is the text of the speech made by Mike Gapes, the Independent MP for Ilford South, on 14 March 2019.

Two years ago when we debated article 50 and I voted against invoking it, I said that we would go on to an escalator with no brake and no way of getting off. I now understand why the Prime Minister invoked it at that time. It was because she wanted to stop a European Parliament election. The timetable of agreeing an article 50 process 18 months before the Government had even got an agreed position, which lasted about three days before the resignations, was driven by fear inside the Conservative party. They did not want UKIP to come back in a European election, so they triggered article 50 at that point.

The reality is that the Government are now trying to get us out as quickly as possible, and amendments that refer to the end of June are also trying to get us out quickly because people fear a European election. The reality is that if we do not have a European election, we will have no voice, no say and no vote within the councils of Europe when we may still be in a transition. That will give us a great period of weakness in any future framework negotiations.

In the 1970s this country was the sick man of Europe. We are now the joke of Europe.

Damian Hinds – 2019 Speech at Association of School and College Leaders’ Annual Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Damian Hinds, the Secretary of State for Education, in Birmingham on 15 March 2019.

This morning I woke up to news of a terrible attack in New Zealand. In the never-ending battle against hate, education plays a leading role in tackling intolerance and teaching mutual respect. My thoughts and prayers are with those in New Zealand.

Good morning everyone and thank you Rachael for that welcome.

I am very pleased to be here, joining you for a second year. When I stood up this time last year, I had been in the job for just two months.

I told you then how pleased I was at the prospect of working with you, and how I was acutely aware of the enormous weight of responsibility this job carries. It is a responsibility to you and all those school and college leaders like you, as well as the teachers, the support staff, the governors and of course the children, young people and families we all serve.

One year on, I can say for certain that the best part of my job is getting out to visit as many of those schools and colleges as possible. In the last few weeks I have heard that I’m not meeting headteachers. This came as a bit of a surprise to me.

I’m visiting schools, nurseries and colleges week in week out and I’ve heard from hundreds of headteachers about their ambitions for their students and the challenges they face. You couldn’t do this job without talking to headteachers.

And I can reassure you that I have heard the message on funding loud and clear and before I go any further – I want to address this directly.

I understand that there are real concerns on funding, that finances are challenging for schools and that many of you have had to make, and are having to make very hard choices. I know that rising costs from suppliers to supply agencies add to these pressures, alongside the particular pressures in High Needs.

On Wednesday the Chancellor announced the next spending review, which is when Government sets out spending allocations for the year ahead. I will take that opportunity to make the strongest possible case for education. For me, its not only a moral argument about our priorities – though that can’t be overstated.

From a hard-headed point of view, for a strong, highly skilled, productive economy clearly we need the right level of investment in our schools. And so too, to deliver the revolution we need in technical education we need investment in our colleges.

I stood on this stage last year and said that I would back head teachers.

Since then, when I was challenged to ban mobile phones in every school, I backed heads to make that judgement because you are best placed to make decisions in your schools.

When I have been challenged to intervene to centrally direct behaviour policy, I’ve backed heads to know what is right for their schools, their staff and their pupils.

And as we approach the next spending review, I will also back heads to have the resources they need to deliver a world class education.

Of course there will be competing demands on the public finances, as there always are, but ours is a very strong case, because so much else relies on what you in our schools and colleges do.

It is our education system that will shape the doctors, police and nurses of the future. It’s our education system that will produce the engineers, builders and lawyers of the future. And it’s our education system that will give us the teachers of the future.

I want to work with you on this just as we’ve worked together in other areas – in particular on recruitment and retention.

I’d like to say a special thank you to ASCL here, for their contribution and to Geoff in particular. And I’m also very grateful to the heads on our expert advisory group: Maura Regan, Jo Heaton, Vijita Patel and Lesley Powell.

Making sure that teaching is a profession that attracts and retains top talent is our shared priority, and the strategy sets out a clear plan to put this into practice.

Ultimately, a school can only be a great place for pupils to learn if it’s also a great place for teachers to teach.

Clearly, it’s school leaders like you that shape a school’s working environment, its ethos. But it’s my responsibility to support headteachers to create great cultures in their schools. Critical to this is enabling you to be able to hire the best teachers possible and to keep them in post.

You know that teaching can be an incredible career. But you also know it’s often a challenging and tiring one as well as one where you get to spend every day working with inspiring and inquiring young minds.

I’m well aware that many of the people in this room regularly put in a working week which is just too long. The pressures that you and your staff face are not good for your quality of life and your families. This is why I made a promise to you last year that I would take an unflinching look at workload and its causes.

Its why, for example, I asked Professor Becky Allen to take a hard look the issue of data and the burdens it creates. Our workload reduction toolkit, published in July, has been downloaded more than 95,000 times.

We have just updated it with a new section on reducing workload linked to behaviour management and advice for governors in response to recommendations in Professor Allen’s report.

And today we are also publishing updated guidance helping schools to reduce the workload and data collection burdens that often go with the pay and appraisal processes.

But to make lasting progress on workload, we also need to do more to set up a system that works for both teachers and leaders.

At the heart of this systematic approach – and as set out in the recruitment and retention strategy – are our reforms to the accountability system. Children only get one shot at an education so accountability is vital – and I know that you recognise that.

But I do recognise that the current system can have unintended consequences that add unnecessary burdens, especially for schools in some of the most challenging circumstances.

So we are radically simplifying the system to reduce the pressure on school leaders. As part of this we intend to make “requires improvement” the sole trigger for an offer of support – replacing floor and coasting standards.

School accountability needs to be simpler and more supportive. Heads should have complete clarity on the way the system works, the distinct role that each actor plays within it and the support available to them.

Central to this is the new Oftsed framework, Amanda Spielman and I are totally aligned on the need for an active focus on teacher workload, supporting and recognising leaders in managing this well alongside a commitment to reduce data burdens.

Amanda and her team have been working hard to combat the myths about ‘what Ofsted wants’. And more broadly, this new inspection framework will – rightly – rebalance inspection towards the substance of what happens in a school.

I recognise that workload is a tough one to crack. For many years now teachers have been reporting working excessive hours, but I hope we may now, with will and concerted action from all the actors in the system, be at a turning point. And what is making the biggest difference by far is what headteachers and principals are doing.

From surveys we know that now virtually all schools – over 90% – have taken specific action on workload reduction. We’ve published some great examples today in the workload toolkit, from King Charles I School, and Ascent Trust, among others.

Tackling workload is one of the ways we can build a supportive culture in schools. Another is to ensure that we’re providing our teachers with a proper professional pathway. The way in which teachers enter and progress in the profession must enable staff to achieve the things that brought them into teaching in the first place: inspiring children and ensuring they can fulfil their potential. This is already the case for many, but not yet for enough.

You’ve all had talented teachers, who have decided they no longer want to do the job.

It is a sad fact that more than 20% of new teachers leave within two years and 33% within five. And this problem is most acute, as you’ll know, in areas of disadvantage, where schools can least afford that kind of professional churn. They are hit particularly hard by high turnover in some subjects, like maths and science.

The great tragedy of this situation – and it is a tragedy – is that teachers all come into the profession with such a burning vocation, such optimism – they want to change lives; they are passionate about their subject and sharing their knowledge.

Retaining teachers in the first years of their practice is now the biggest challenge we face in the teaching profession.

That’s why at the heart of the Recruitment & Retention Strategy is the Early Career Framework, the most significant reform to teaching since it became a graduate-only profession.

Today, not enough early career teachers receive the high quality professional development they need to build the foundation for a successful career. We’ll change this by putting in place a fully-funded, two-year package of support for these teachers, linked to the best-available research evidence.

The Early Career Framework will provide much needed structured support for all teachers at the start of their career. The headteachers were extremely clear during the creation of the Recruitment & Retention strategy that for the career framework to work, additional funding was required. We heard you.

So by the time the framework is fully in place we will back it up with substantial extra investment and we expect to be spending at least an extra £130 million every year on its delivery.

The framework covers the key areas that will form the building blocks of any teacher’s career: behaviour, management, pedagogy, curriculum, assessment and professional behaviours; and it underpins an entitlement to support and training in these areas for all new teachers, including a strengthened mentoring offer.

To enable this, we are extending the induction period from one year to two and we are guaranteeing that every new teacher will have more time to consolidate what they are learning – with a fully funded 5% off-timetable in their second year.

And our vision for the framework isn’t just to transform the experience for early career teachers joining the profession. We want the framework to become the key link that brings together professional development at all stages of a teacher’s working life. This covers everything from the reformed ITT core content, to the development of specialist NPQs that support those teachers who don’t want to go into leadership to continue to develop and progress.

I want to enable more teachers at every stage of their careers to benefit from a clear, coherent professional pathway.

Similarly, as people’s working patterns change, so it is increasingly important that schools are able to adapt their working practices, so that teachers are able to have the greater flexibility that is becoming more and more important throughout our country. Although more teachers are now working part time, it is still a smaller proportion than the working population as a whole.

I appreciate that this can be a real challenge in schools which is why we are taking steps to help you make it more achievable.

We will be creating a new jobshare matching service to support teachers who are looking for a potential jobshare partner. We have also launched a competition among EdTech providers to come up with innovative solutions to enable schools to accommodate more flexible working patterns, including through timetabling tools.

In developing the R&R strategy, teachers told us that they don’t mind working hard when they can see the difference they are making. But their wellbeing is not something that we can take for granted or ignore.

Today I’m announcing the creation of an expert advisory group on wellbeing. Among the experts who have agreed to take part are Paul Farmer, of Mind, Peter Fonagy, from the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, Nancy Hey, of the What Works Wellbeing Centre and other leaders in the field. I am pleased to say that ASCL and other representatives of the school and college sector will also be involved, as well as serving teachers and leaders.

The group will provide expert advice and work with us to look at what government, local authorities and academy trusts can do to promote wellbeing.

I know there is a lot of excellent work already being done by schools and colleges involving charities such as the Education Support Partnership and I want to build on that.

Of course, motivated, well-supported teachers are more likely to have motivated pupils in their classrooms.

This point – that the success of teachers is inextricably linked to the success of their students – shapes my entire approach to education. It’s an idea formed through countless conversation with the people in this room and with the terrific teachers who work for you.

I began this morning by talking about the sense of responsibility that I feel in this job. But it’s teachers and school leaders that shape the lives of their pupils – and in turn the future of our country. My job in government is to do everything I can to support you.

We have made good progress on the Recruitment and Retention Strategy, the accountability framework and CPD. Make no mistake though, I see these efforts as a work in progress and something we must continue to shape together.

I know that each one of you will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of your staff and students. In return, you can expect me to back your right to be the ones making the decisions in schools, and doggedly determined in working to ensure we have the resourcing we need for our schools.

I very much look forward to seeing you again this time next year and to seeing the progress I know we are going to make between now and then.

Liam Fox – 2019 Speech on Wales

Below is the text of the speech made by Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, on 9 March 2019.

As Wales Week in London draws to a close, there is no better time for us all to reflect on Wales’ position in the global marketplace – and there is much to be proud of.

The amazing scope of Welsh innovation and entrepreneurship was showcased in last year’s Board of Trade Awards hosted in Swansea. They ranged from a marine lighting firm in Swansea, furniture makers in Wrexham, revolutionary construction material manufacturers based in Pontypridd – and a brewery in Newport. These companies have contributed to Wales’ impressive economic performance. LSN Diffusion – an Ammanford-based powder coating company – exports nearly 90% of its products to countries including India and the U.S for example.

Goods exports from Wales continue to grow – rising by 3% to £16.9bn in the year to Q3 2018 – and that’s before taking into account our world-class services offering to global investors. Wales attracted 57 FDI projects in 2017/18, creating more than 3,100 new jobs.

Wales is building a strong reputation for innovation around the world – offering foreign companies access to top class talent, and a growing range of opportunities in areas like semiconductors, cyber security, neuroscience, wound healing, and of course the financial and insurance sectors, which in 2017 employed 29,500 people in Wales, contributing over £2.8bn to the UK economy.

The UK Government is working hard to continue that success by supporting Welsh firms to enter and expand into growing markets around the world.

In November 2018, we announced a £250m Energy Investment Portfolio in Wales, which will deliver further growth in innovative sectors, create jobs, and drive prosperity.

We also have dedicated online support – invest.great.gov.uk, giving overseas businesses help and advice to invest in the UK and access our high potential investment opportunities – and great.gov.uk, which acts as a first port of call to get Welsh firms started on their exporting journey. The platform also offers information and support ranging from country guides and export opportunities to specialist advice on accessing particular markets.

And UK Export Finance – the UK’s export credit agency – has dedicated finance managers in Wales and has provided nearly £7.5m of support for Welsh exporters in 2017-18, resulting in over £64m worth of overseas sales.

The truth is that if you’re a Welsh business, or thinking of investing in Wales, there has never been a better time, in terms of support, opportunity and ease of doing business.

The UK – with Wales at its heart – stands at the beginning of an exciting period in its trading history, with the opportunity to reach out to the wider world as an independent trading nation. It is estimated that in the next 5 years, around 90% of global economic growth will come from non-EU nations.

Cardiff-based company Sure Chill is one of the Welsh companies leading the way, with life-changing medical refrigerators that have protected 20 million vaccinations in over 50 countries including Kenya, Mali, Nepal, Nigeria and Pakistan.

As we prepare to leave the EU, this is the moment to look to the future – to a world beyond Europe, and a time beyond Brexit. The UK is a great trading nation – and the UK Government will continue to work with firms in Wales to deliver the investment, exports and new opportunities that our people, businesses and communities need.