David Lidington – 2019 Speech to the Women in Security Network

Below is the text of the speech made by David Lidington, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, in the House of Commons on 18 June 2019.

Hello, and thank you for having me here today. In the four years since it was created, the Women in Security Network has provided a crucial forum for women and underrepresented groups to gain skills and connections to help them get ahead in their careers.

We all agree that the national security profession should reflect those it works to protect. So I am delighted to speak today about some of the work this Government is undertaking through the National Cyber Security Strategy to ensure a vibrant and representative cyber security profession.

Of course, women have served in security and technology throughout history – and have often been pioneers in computing and codebreaking. I’ve attended briefings in the Lovelace Room, right here in the National Cyber Security Centre. Each briefing in that room is an excellent reminder how women such as Ada Lovelace, Joan Clark, and Mavis Batey have been trailblazers in this field. But women need to be the rule and not the exception – especially when it comes to cyber security.

Today, cyber security is among the most important aspects of our national defence as we work to protect the UK and the British people.

The National Cyber Security Strategy has revolutionised the UK’s fight against cyber threats as an ambitious, deliberately interventionist programme of action. During the last three years, we have put in place many of the building blocks to strengthen our cyber security and resilience, backed by an investment of £1.9 billion pounds.

In 2016, we set up the world-leading National Cyber Security Centre to act as our single authority on cyber security. We’ve invested in cutting-edge cyber capabilities across all tiers of UK Law Enforcement. And we’re protecting UK internet users from lower-sophistication, high-volume attacks that have an impact on people’s everyday lives, that compromise their identities and undermine the individual security of their bank accounts.

More than halfway into the Strategy, we’re seeing behavioural changes, too – and not just from our warnings to an estimated 23 million account holders that 123456 isn’t a suitable password! In Government and in the private sector, we’re also seeing Boards integrate cyber security into the core functions of their organisations. The results of DCMS’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2019 make clear that cyber security is increasingly a key issue for organisations, with three quarters of business and charities now rating it as a high priority. So we’ve made considerable progress in Government, and with industry. And the people in this building have been a crucial part of that success.

But, we also recognise that there is much more work to be done.

The government, and indeed, the national security profession – must reflect those that it seeks to represent and protect. Yet, national security has the lowest representation of women than any other profession in Government, at 15.7 percent. And the National Security Council Officials board has the lowest proportion of female officials than any other Civil Service board.

The British government isn’t alone. There remains a severe lack of diversity and representation in the cyber security industry. According to a report from the Global Information Security Workforce, only 11% of the global workforce is made up of women – this falls to a mere 7% elsewhere in Europe.

And we’ve seen the risks in other sectors when technology doesn’t get diversity right. A New York Times piece published yesterday outlined how human biases in artificial intelligence technology have led to minorities and underrepresented groups being turned down for job opportunities, denied bank loans and even misidentified as criminals. Because when the faces who create AI systems are all male, or white, the algorithms are unable to recognise other groups as easily.

At the same time, we’ve seen ample research on how more diverse organisations do better at meeting their objectives. McKinsey studies of the British private sector show that greater gender diversity at the senior level corresponds to higher performance. So there is a business imperative, as well as a moral one.

There are lots of ways to address the issue of diversity. But today, I’m going to focus on the urgency of addressing the skills gap in cyber security, and the importance of cultivating the right workplace environment.

Cyber security is a nascent profession, which provides us with a narrow opportunity to shape its future. We need to be inspiring the next generation to think about a career in this field. There is a wealth of talented young people across the UK who could have successful careers in cyber security. Teenagers who are livestreamers with their own gaming vlogs. Students who consider Twitter their second language. They do not need to be fluent in Javascript to be the future of the industry.

Many of you in this room have been involved in valuable efforts to engage younger people – especially young girls — in cyber security. In 2015, GCHQ launched the CyberFirst programme to give talented young people the support, skills, experience and exposure they need to become ‘cyberists’ of the future.

This year, nearly 12,000 talented 12-13 year-old female students from over 800 schools across the UK took part in the CyberFirst Girls Competition. Last year, 44% of CyberFirst attendees were female. And in the Cyber Skills programme, female participation is at 23%, with the aim of achieving gender balance.

At the same time, we also recognise that financial barriers can prevent very capable people from pursuing their chosen path. So the CyberFirst University Bursary aims to remove these barriers and give young people access to the training and skills they need to succeed, regardless of background. These are vital steps in unlocking and opening up the profession to young people, and I commend them wholeheartedly.

However, it is important that senior leaders recognise that an emphasis on skills-building isn’t the only piece of the puzzle. There needs to be a cultural shift in the way we think about gender equality and diversity. We need to ensure that we don’t treat this as a tick-box exercise, thinking that the job is done once the recruitment process has been finalised. Instead, we all need to be thinking about the broader, collective environment we create for new recruits. That means replicating opportunities for mentorship, like the network that you have so successfully built here. But it also means encouraging more senior male leaders to mentor women and improve the underlying culture, as recommended by Harvard Business Review.

Of course, a commitment to diversity is something even more rudimentary than skills, initiatives, or pathways. It means empowering staff to pursue their careers, building the confidence to constructively challenge their environments, and ensuring that they can construct opportunities for their colleagues in the future. This is the sort of power that diversity can bring to a profession as young and as pioneering as cyber security, and I challenge you all to embed this across your teams.

When a young Ada Lovelace began her mathematical studies, her tutor fretted that “the very great tension of mind [that mathematics] require is beyond the strength of a woman’s physical power of application.” Ada, of course, went on to become a visionary of computer programming. And we can now laugh at this outdated thinking.

But subtler societal perceptions persist. We can, and must, do more to encourage that a more diverse body of talent is represented at every level of government, business and beyond. Because as we chart the course for cyber security, we must ensure that our aims for the future of this profession remain as ambitious as our algorithms.

David Lidington – 2019 Speech at Cutlers’ Feast

Below is the text of the speech made by David Lidington, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, in Sheffield on 23 May 2019.

Master and Mistress Cutler. Lord Lieutenant. High Sheriff. Lord Mayor. My lords, ladies and gentlemen. It is an honour to speak at the 383rd Cutlers’ Feast here in Sheffield.

Now I have to admit that as a Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, I received an invitation to speak in Yorkshire with some trepidation!

But your warm welcome has put me at ease, and I have to say: it’s a true pleasure to be away from Westminster. At least here at the Cutlers’ Feast, the knives are only out for loin of lamb.

In a similar spirit, I’d like you to consider the humble table fork in front of you. When the Company of Cutlers was founded nearly four centuries ago, the fork was considered a flamboyant affectation suitable only for Italians and their pasta. But it was popularised in the British Isles by the Elizabethan writer Thomas Coryat, who described this strange new utensil in his 1611 travelogue, Coryat’s Crudities.

Ultimately, as you know, the fork was adopted by the Company of Cutlers, who took this strange pronged instrument, and laid it on tables around the world. But you might not know that in doing so, they may have changed the course of human evolution – by popularising the fork, it gave humans an overbite. So, Cutlers, I lay the responsibility for any jokes about British dentistry firmly at your feet!

Indeed, the people of Sheffield have always been quick to adopt innovation. And we know that this is a city whose history is built on its innovation in steel.

It is the steel forged in Sheffield that built British bridges and railways that have stood for centuries.

It is the steel forged in Sheffield that has improved lives around the world, from yes, the cutlery on our tables, to the biomedical implants used to help people walk again.

And it is steel forged in Sheffield that, today, is used in British nuclear submarines which are helping to secure our national defences.

Steel is a crucial part of our British heritage – and its future success. It’s a vital part of the economy of this region. And that is why the government is committed to supporting the steel sector in every way possible.

On that note, I would like to say a few words in the wake of the deeply unwelcome news this week about British Steel. I know that in recent weeks, my colleague, Business Secretary Greg Clark, has worked tirelessly with British Steel, its owner Greybull Capital, and lenders to explore all potential options for the company’s future. We share your commitment to ensuring the success of the British steel industry, but Government must act within legal parameters. And I think that this Government’s record speaks to its support.

We’ve successfully pressed for the introduction of trade defence instruments to protect UK steel producers from unfair steel dumping.

We’ve published pipelines of national infrastructure projects to help the steel industry prepare for future demand, and introduced steel procurement guidance to ensure that wider social and environmental effects are taken into account.

To help manage energy costs, we’ve provided more than £291m in compensation to the steel sector since 2013 and created a £315m fund to help businesses with high energy use to cut their bills and transition UK industry to a low carbon future.

And we’ve allotted £66m through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to help industries like steel to develop radical new technologies, because steel has always been at the heart of innovation. And this government is dedicated to ensuring it remains so.

We are so focused on innovation because the city of Sheffield, and the history of the North of England, has shown us time and again that it can create widespread change, not only revolutionising manufacturing, but helping to create a better way of life. However, in order for that change to happen, innovation needs to be nurtured and managed effectively.

The Industrial Revolution saw Sheffield transformed from a market town to a city recognised around the world. This transformation was fired by incredible entrepreneurialism but also supported by government action – whether in maintaining and extending free markets, opening up infrastructure or improving working conditions.

Today, as we drive forward a Fourth Industrial Revolution, we may face a very different landscape. But some of the challenges remain the same.

As now, Sheffield’s industries were intimately connected to the global economy, with steel forged from Russian iron being exported and sold to American markets.

As now, new technology brought both prosperity and challenges, as some workers enjoyed higher incomes but others worried whether automation would affect their jobs and those of their children.

As now, the desire to expand industry was balanced with an awareness of how it could impact the environment and public health, and an expectation that business should be a force for good.

So we must learn from the lessons of the past to ensure we are ready for the future.

Over the centuries, as trade and markets have grown, governments have been at their most successful in reforming and renewing capitalism when they have driven effective competition and recognised the social dimension of free enterprise.

This government has made significant advances in addressing these challenges. That’s in part due to our modern Industrial Strategy, which aims to build on our strengths, close the productivity gap between different regions and drive growth more evenly across the country.

Our strategy builds on our ambition to create a Northern Powerhouse, by investing in growth deals, schools and transport across the region. Sheffield’s success is central to this and today, our reforms are working in this city and beyond to create a more innovative business environment, a workforce that’s fit for the future, and infrastructure to support growth.

Here in Sheffield, companies like Boeing, Rolls Royce and McClaren are partnering with Sheffield University, one of the top one hundred universities in the world, and using an open source research model to create cutting edge technologies at the Advanced Manufacturing Park.

In fact I was delighted to read in the papers today that Sheffield University has just become the top UK higher education centre for engineering income and investment; a clear measure of business confidence in this region.

Sheffield steel helped to shape the world. And the innovation we see flourishing here today has far-reaching effects, not just in this region, but for the wider national and global economy too. So we need to encourage more of that innovation, right across the country. That’s why we have invested record amounts in research and development, with the aim of raising total R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027. And this government is doing more to help grow emerging industries, with incubator funds, productivity reviews and sector deals in aerospace, construction and artificial intelligence.

We also need to ensure that our workforce is fit for future challenges. In 1978, there were 4,000 students in Sheffield and nearly 45,000 people working in the steel industry. Today, those numbers are nearly reversed – which tells us a lot about how the economy is changing.

It’s why our investment in higher education, technical education and apprenticeships is so important – as well as the work we are doing to create a National Retraining Scheme, which will ensure no-one is left behind by automation but are able to acquire new skills.

But the success of this area can never be driven just by policy emanating from Whitehall. Economic growth also relies on strong local leadership. That’s why I’m delighted to see such enthusiasm in Yorkshire for devolution.

I know this hasn’t always been easy. Some have questioned whether ministers, council leaders and mayors of different political parties could really work on this together effectively. But one thing that has always struck me throughout my time in politics is that – whatever their political differences – everyone involved is fundamentally trying to improve the lives of the people they serve.

The Sheffield City Region deal is a landmark step on this journey, which will bring £900 million of investment to the local area. And the people of this region are now starting to feel the benefits of greater local partnership and investment, through work on projects like the Sheffield SuperTram. So let me reassure the Senior Warden, this government is committed agreeing local industrial strategies to spur innovation in communities around the country.

The motto of the Cutlers is Pour Y Parvenir a Bonne Foi – To Succeed through Honest Endeavour. And that is exactly what we aim to do. To create a fairer, fitter economy for the UK, that will succeed through hard work and the innovative spirit of its people.

The pressure might seem immense. But out of this crucible, we will forge an economy for Britain that is bold, strong and ready to face the future.

David Lidington – 2019 Speech at CYBERUK Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by David Lidington, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, at the CYBERUK Conference held in Glasgow on 25 April 2019.

Good morning.

It’s a pleasure to be with you in Glasgow, and it is appropriate that we’re meeting here. This is a city with a rich history of innovation, the home of the Scottish Enlightenment, the home of inventors like James Watt and the first Industrial Revolution. And today, Scotland is also home to a growing cyber community– there are three times as many cyber companies today than there were just a few years ago.

So it’s fitting to be here in Glasgow, and to look at what’s coming next in cyber security. But I’d like first, I’d like to look back 30 years to November 2, 1988, when one of the first recognised cyber attacks, the Morris worm, wreaked havoc and crippled the fledgling internet for several days.

Today, it seems a bit quaint to consider that a worm could take down a few thousand computers. It is two years ago since WannaCry, which affected over 100 countries and did an estimated billions of pounds in damage to the global economy. Although we’ve not seen anything quite on that scale since, there are a some concerning global trends that stand out.

We’ve seen critical national infrastructure threatened by attacks like the short-term disruption at Bristol airport in September. We’ve seen private information comprised in large-scale data breaches of businesses like Marriott and Equifax. And we’ve seen consistent levels of attacks via company supply chains, like the infection of tens of thousands of Asus computers. And supply chains seem very much in the eyes of both criminals and hostile states as the soft underbelly of the private sector and providers of critical infrastructure.

The threat continues to evolve rapidly. But thankfully, the UK is a global leader in the fight against cyber attacks. We have stood strong with our international partners to call out cyber attacks, to attribute where there is evidence so to do, and to set the standard for hardening national cyber defences.

The National Cyber Security Strategy has revolutionised the UK’s fight against cyber threats as an ambitious, deliberately interventionist programme of action. During the last three years, we have put in place many of the building blocks to strengthen our cyber security and resilience, backed by an investment of £1.9 billion pounds.

In 2016, we set up the world-leading National Cyber Security Centre to act as our single authority on cyber security. Countries around the world, including the US and Australia, have recognised NCSC as a global centre of excellence and many countries are now copying our model for cyber security.

That also includes setting the standard in protecting our critical national infrastructure.

I want to be very clear in the light of reports in the last 24 hours on one point in particular. The UK takes the security of our telecoms networks extremely seriously. We have rigorous and tested procedures in place today to manage risks to national security.

Next generation networks like 5G raise security risks as well as opportunities for prosperity. That’s why the government commissioned a comprehensive review of the telecommunications supply chain. This is a serious study, based on evidence and expertise, not supposition or speculation.

The government is committed to strengthen significantly this country’s security framework for telecoms. We will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure the secure roll-out of 5G and full fibre network. We will not countenance high risk vendors in those parts of the UK’s 5G network that perform critical security functions.

The government’s approach is not about one company or even one country. It’s about ensuring stronger cyber security across telecoms, greater resilience in telecoms networks, and more diversity in the supply chain. We shall want to work with international partners to develop a common, global approach to improving telecoms security standards.

As with any other review, certainly one of this complexity and this scale, the decisions will be announced in due course, and to Parliament first.

We have also invested in cyber capabilities within law enforcement. National Cyber Security Programme funding has helped to train and equip staff at the National Crime Agency’s National Cyber Crime Unit, and has established dedicated cyber capability in all nine Regional Organised Crime Units.

Meanwhile, our Active Cyber Defence programme is making good progress in automatically protecting UK internet users. Last year, it took down nearly 140,000 UK-hosted phishing sites.

And we’re protecting the public sector, checking more than 4 billion queries to the internet every week, and blocking more than 1 million that are malicious. These are the kind of crude, high-volume attacks that have impact on people’s everyday lives, that compromise their identities and undermine the individual security of their bank accounts.

So we’ve made considerable progress in government. More to do, yes, but considerable progress. But to build on this success, we need to demystify cyber security for the average citizen. We need to get away from the outdated image of WarGames and begin thinking more about botnets and malvertising.

There remains a deep lack of awareness about these threats. Too often, in the corporate world, cyber resilience is seen as the responsibility of an IT department, when cyber security needs to be everyone’s responsibility.

We saw, from WannaCry in particular, how a low-level lapse in cyber security can risk the compromise of a much wider network.

The vast majority of cyber attacks can be prevented by putting basic cyber security measures in place. But nationally, only about a third of businesses and charities have a board member or trustee with specific, designated responsibility for cyber security. And even fewer have a system in place for when a cyber attack occurs.

So all of us, including we in government, need to improve our efforts. That’s why, last month, I asked all government boards to appoint a representative for cyber security.

Meanwhile, there are thousands of organisations outside government that can benefit directly from government expertise. So a few weeks ago I launched a new Board Toolkit designed by the NCSC to help FTSE 350 companies encourage discussions on cyber security between organisations’ board members and their technical experts.

I also asked all boards to commit to achieving minimum standards in cyber security – and I’d encourage everyone here to do the same.

We are partnering with nearly 600 private-sector organisations through our national Cyber Aware campaign to encourage citizens and small businesses to take simple protective steps that can prevent the majority of high volume, low sophistication attacks.

And we’re already hearing great results from these programmes. We were recently contacted by the managing director of a small construction company who, thanks to advice from a cyber crime officer, was able to thwart an attempted invoice fraud. Doing that saved the company £125k and a contract that they had been negotiating for months.

But there’s more we can do. That’s why, today, I am announcing that the NCSC will launch a new exercising initiative, called ‘Exercise in a Box’, designed to help organisations test their cyber resilience. This will be aimed at SMEs, at local government and the emergency services. It will be a free online tool, using scenarios based on common cyber security threats to enable organisations both to practice, and to test their responses to attacks in a safe environment.

It will also provide bespoke guidance from the NCSC to help organisations to understand better the cyber risks they face, so that working together, we can build the UK’s cyber resilience to attacks, and target-harden ourselves against adversaries.

But improving cyber security is not, and never will be, an exact science – it relies on partnerships to achieve lasting change. The geopolitical, technological and threat environment is constantly evolving. And we are seeking to meet these challenges, by building resilience regionally, nationally and internationally.

Regionally, the UK government is working closely with the devolved administrations in areas like cyber skills and local government cyber resilience. That’s why, in the spirit of highlighting collaboration across the devolved administrations, I’m pleased to announce today that CYBERUK 2020 will take place in Wales. By sharing our expertise and helping to build vital skills together, we are working together to protect the whole of the UK from the threats of both today and tomorrow.

We are working alongside FTSE 350 companies right across the UK to invest in pipelines of talent through our schools and universities. So far, more than 55,000 young people have participated in our Cyber Discovery and CyberFirst learning programmes, with a special focus on including more girls and more mid-career professionals.

And internationally, we are promoting our cyber expertise. We have worked with allies to counter malicious cyber activity. And we’ve called out unacceptable behaviour, joining 19 countries, NATO and the EU, to attribute a range of cyber attacks to the Russian and the Chinese governments during the course of 2018.

We are sharing best practices with allies. And across government departments, we are funding projects in more than 40 countries to help them defend themselves from emerging cyber threats.

Now it’s time to look to the future. Our current National Cyber Security Strategy takes us to 2021. But, in the spirit of preparedness, we need now to consider our vision beyond then, and how we sustain long-term change.

First, we want to reduce the risk from high-volume, low-sophistication cyber attacks. We need to build security right into internet-connected devices, systems and networks. And we must create a culture of cyber resilience among consumers themselves.

Meanwhile, we must continue our work to tackle the most sophisticated and serious threats from hostile states and organised criminals alike. This means ensuring our agencies and law enforcement partners have the capabilities to counter malign activity, and modernising our deterrence posture so the UK is seen as a hard target. And we will continue to take a leading role in promoting a free, open, peaceful and secure cyberspace.

Underpinning this, we want to build a sustainable ecosystem, with the companies, talent and research we need to remain world leaders in cyber security.

It’s going to take time for our long-term investments to reap benefits. But with eight years of experience in national cyber security strategies, we can now focus government’s efforts where they’re going to be most effective, and move towards a more mature partnership in the public, private and third sectors.

During the past four months, we’ve had three important reviews of the strategy from Parliament’s Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, from the National Audit Office, and from the Infrastructure and Projects Authority. I want to say plainly that we do not shy away from constructive criticism. Criticism of that kind can only help us to strengthen the UK’s defences.

These reviews rightly said that our approach can benefit from independent external expertise, particularly from industry and the academic world. This means inviting more critical challenge at working level. It means investing more into academic research. And it means looking at the ways industry innovates against emerging threats.

One of the other points made by these independent bodies is the need for more transparency and reporting. So, in an effort to boost transparency while balancing that against the inherent restrictions that the national security considerations involve, we will be publishing an update at the end of May this year on the effectiveness and impact of our interventions under the strategy.

As Alan Turing said, “We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.”

The task in front of us is great. The threats are evolving every day. But this is the same country whose citizens invented programming, the first computer and the World Wide Web.

We are up to the challenge. But we cannot do this alone. Partnerships at the key to UK’s cyber security. This government considers industry and academia to be the catalysts in delivering long-term, effective, cultural change.

We need partners like the ones here today, to be engaged, open and willing to work with us for the safety and security of all. So thank you for all you have done, and for all you will be doing in the future, to ensure that we remain stronger, together.

David Lidington – 2019 Speech to the British Chambers of Commerce

Below is the text of the speech made by David Lidington, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, at the British Chambers of Commerce annual conference held on 28 March 2019.

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning! I was looking for something to fill the spare minutes today, so you know, when Adam’s invitation came through, I thought, well, what better way than to come to the BCC Conference.

I want to thank you sincerely for the invitation to speak today. For more than 150 years, the Chambers have sat at the heart of the United Kingdom’s business community.

Today, there are tens of thousands of businesses represented in this room, and the network of Chambers, include the employers of nearly six million people in every part of the UK.

So I want to start by recognising the huge contribution that you and Chamber members make to creating wealth and providing jobs and livelihoods in communities right across this country.

I want to say thank you for something else, as well. I was listening, early this morning, to Adam’s dulcet tones on the Today Programme. And every time I’ve worked with Adam, we go back a few years now, from my various ministerial capacities, what I know is that he and the Chambers, in general, will give it to you straight.

Just as I’ve always said to my officials, in every job I’ve held, that no one will be penalised for giving me advice that is honest, but perhaps unwelcome – I think that is of equal importance in terms of a dialogue between government and outside organisations.

It may mean that, at times, there is friction and disagreements, but actually, it’s part of a healthy, free society, that there should be that candour in relationships between us.

My starting point this morning is to acknowledge the fact that we are living through a time of turbulence. There are the global shifts in economic power, geopolitical trends and technological change, that we have respond to so we can ensure that this country remains a successful and open trading nation.

Over the next decade the world economy will be dominated by the EU, the US, and China.

UK trade with those blocs is valued at £637bn, £184bn, and £66bn respectively.

And by the middle of this century, the US, China and India will make up something like half of total global GDP.

And according to a report by PWC the combined economies of China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, Turkey and Mexico will be double that of the G7.

The population of Africa will double to almost 2 billion people.

Now, the expansion of these emerging markets offers opportunity for business in the UK as we seek to grow exports from 30% to 35% of our GDP.

New technology, and our international relationships, also offer opportunities to enhance UK prosperity. But digital technology also creates profound long-term changes in our economy and in assumptions about work and careers.

Because you don’t need me to tell you that the impact of digital technology is going to shake up established ways of doing white collar and professional work, and not just alter the working environment and expectations on the factory floor.

So we face risk as well as opportunity.

The World Bank’s recent forecast predicts that global growth will slow to 2.9 percent this year. International investment and trade are moderating, trade tensions are elevated, and protectionism around the world is increasing.

These times, and I suspect this will be a view shared by many here, these times are more unpredictable than we would like them to be.

And that is certainly true of the process of EU exit.

I recognise the real frustration that uncertainty around this process has caused in the business community.

I am acutely aware that for you, and the businesses you represent, this is about the practicality of doing business, about having predictable relationships with both customers and suppliers.

This is a message I have heard repeatedly from businesses across the United Kingdom, from salmon processors in Rosyth to ice cream makers in Coleraine.

You want to know the terms of trade so you can focus on running your business – with certainty about the people you can hire, the regulations that apply, the tariffs on imports and exports. I get it that you don’t want to spend time poring over the latest parliamentary developments and scanning the pages of Hansard.

So I want to assure you that, from the Prime Minister down, the government is doing all it can to secure a Brexit that does honour the result of the 2016 referendum, but does so in a way that protects jobs and economic growth.

I also understand, in part taking up a point that I heard Adam make this morning, that a chaotic, disorganised exit, without an agreed deal, is something that we should not be seeking to have.

This is, unavoidably, the legal default position. But as far as the Government is concerned, this is a matter of necessary contingency planning. It is not the destination or objective of government policy.

Such a No Deal Brexit will undoubtedly mean disruption to businesses in every part of the UK, and I believe, would be a threat to the integrity of the union of the UK itself.

Despite the political uncertainty, it is a tribute to the strength of UK business that the British economy remains robust.

It has grown for nine consecutive years. It has the longest unbroken quarterly growth run of any G7 economy.

As the Chancellor set out in the Spring Statement, both the IMF and the OECD are forecasting the UK to grow faster than Germany this year.

And, crucially, our economy is forecast to continue growing in each of the next five years.

UK businesses and UK workers with, I would argue, support from government policy, have built an economy that has created more than 3.5 million net new jobs.

And we need to keep repeating the message, that despite what some of the media reports would suggest, 96% of those new jobs created last year were full time.

The female employment rate in this country is the highest on record, with 1.2 million women-led businesses in the UK.

And wages are now growing at their fastest rate for over a decade.

Meanwhile, we are on track to meet our fiscal targets, our national debt is falling sustainably, and taxes at the corporate level remain low, to attract talent and spur investment.

That is coupled with this government’s commitment to helping business thrive – thanks to our Industrial Strategy, the British Business Bank is now supporting more than 78,000 smaller businesses with more than £5.5 billion of finance. And we will also provide management training to 10,000 small business leaders by 2025 through the Small Business Leadership Programme.

But to seize the opportunities in the global economy, we need to ensure we are doing all we can here at home to improve our productivity and competitiveness.

A key focus of my role, as Minister for Cabinet Office, is to drive forward implementation of the government’s policy reforms. I’m pleased to say that despite everything else that’s going on, we’ve made significant strides in domestic reform.

Since 2010, we have invested more than a quarter of a trillion pounds of investment in infrastructure, including the biggest rail programme since Victorian times.

But there is still much more to do to improve productivity, to boost our infrastructure, and invest in the people that we need.

Take housing. We need to fix the housing market in this country for two reasons: first, so that there is a workforce which can be mobile and respond to the changing needs of British business.

But also, because frankly, as a matter of social justice, we cannot be content with a situation in which younger people, who are working hard and earning decent salaries cannot afford to get even the first foot on the housing ladder in parts of our country.

So we are working to build more homes and backing home ownership, delivering over 222,000 additional homes in the last year, cutting the Stamp Duty tax for 95 percent of first time homeowners, and increasing our affordable homes programme to £9 billion.

We are also investing £400 million through the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund – to ensure that businesses and homes across the country benefit from faster and more reliable broadband.

And we are building the technical skills our workforce needs, something that in pretty much all my meetings with business, whether at the local or a national level, I’m told is something this country really needs to do. And developing new policies in partnership with employers themselves.

So beginning in 2020, we’ll be introducing T Levels, which will offer 25 high quality courses that give a clear line of sight to actual job roles.

And we are also focussed on harnessing the power of apprenticeships. In the Spring Statement, Philip Hammond responded to the concerns that the BCC and others have raised and announced a £700 million reform package to help small businesses take on more apprentices.

But for all we are doing to build a strong environment for business, we also face a paradox where there is less faith in capitalism, in terms of UK public opinion. Government and business need to work together to restore the reputation of free markets by demonstrating that they can and should work for everyone.

As the Prime Minister has said, offering someone a job – and creating opportunity for other people – is one of the most socially-responsible things that you can do.

I believe that companies acting more responsibly and markets working more competitively are the twin pillars of restoring trust in those free markets.

For our part, the government is doing more to build a diversified marketplace that puts small and medium sized businesses and strong social values at the heart of public services delivery.

I have committed to using the government’s £49bn annual buying power to drive social value and provide a more diverse and competitive market. So for the first time, all major procurements will explicitly evaluate social value. And because we know that smaller businesses tend to be closest to the communities they serve, we’re aiming to further open up the procurement process to SMEs.

This is all part of a government-wide initiative to level the playing field for small businesses bidding for government contracts by cracking down on suppliers who don’t pay on time, and breaking down contracts into smaller lots to make them more accessible.

And the Prime Minister has appointed ministers from every government department to help us meet our aspiration of spending one pound in three with SMEs by 2022.

So we should recognise the fundamental strength of our economy and the progress we’ve made in domestic reform, especially through our industrial strategy.

But we need a smooth and orderly departure from the EU which delivers on the results of the referendum and is managed in a way to protect jobs, living standards, and investment.

And I’m grateful that the BCC has been out there, stating your support for getting a deal over the line. Your voices are incredibly important, as those who have been creating jobs, driving exports, and investing in our economy.

In recent days, both the Prime Minister and I have been engaging constructively with Leaders and Member of Parliament from across the House of Commons. Between us, we have met leaders of all the other parties in the Commons as well as other senior Parliamentarians, and we will continue to do so.

In last night’s votes, the House of Commons considered a wide variety of options as a way forward. None of them attracted a majority. And I think what those results demonstrated is that there are no easy, simple options.

The deal that the government has negotiated is itself a compromise, both with the EU and with political opinion at home. We haven’t secured everything we want – neither has the EU. Businesses understand compromise is the essence of any complex negotiations.

I remain of the view that the deal the Government have negotiated is the best option available. And I think that every Member of Parliament, regardless of which political party he or she represents, regardless of which part of the country they serve, has to face up to the fact that any deal, any aspiration for the nature of the future economic relationship between the UK and the EU, must include as a starting point, the Withdrawal Agreement that has been negotiated with the EU.

If you believe in delivering the referendum result by leaving the EU with a deal, then it is necessary to back the Withdrawal Agreement. For whether a particular MP wants the final destination to look like Norway, or look like Canada, or look like the proposals in the Chequers White Paper, the starting point is the Withdrawal Agreement itself. And that would apply even in the event that the UK reverted simply to WTO terms.

For the EU has made it clear that any negotiation about a future preferential or free trade agreement will need to start with agreement on the key elements of the Withdrawal Agreement. In particular, citizens rights, a financial settlement, and arrangements to secure an open border on the island of Ireland.

So the government remains committed to an Agreement that ensures our smooth and orderly departure from the EU and delivers on a time-limited Implementation Period during which trade will continue on current terms that protects the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU, meaning no disruption to your existing workforces.

And in a way that ensures that there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, and no customs border in the Irish Sea. And earlier this month, we secured legally-binding assurances that guarantee that the EU cannot act with the intent of applying the so-called backstop indefinitely.

By leaving the EU with a deal and an orderly transition to a future economic partnership, as the Chancellor has said, we will see an economic boost from improved business confidence and investment; as well as a boost from the fiscal headroom once a no deal Brexit is definitively off the table.

So the responsible course is to back this deal, and deliver on the vote of the referendum, and bring an end to the uncertainty.

But if Parliament comes together and backs the deal, then in just under two months, we could be out of the EU and into the implementation period.

As somebody who campaigned very strongly for Remain in 2016, I think that is the best choice available to us that both respects that democratic verdict and which safeguards the economic interests of this country.

The alternative is more division and more uncertainty, with all the risks that will entail. And I think now, politicians of all political parties have a duty to put the national interest first, so that we can put this controversy behind us and move on to a brighter future for the British people.

Thank you very much indeed.

David Lidington – 2019 Speech on Brexit

Below is the text of the speech made by David Lidington, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, in the House of Commons on 11 March 2019.

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on the government’s negotiations to leave the European Union.

Can I start Mr Speaker with an apology to you and to the Hon Gentleman for Holborn and St Pancras and to the SNP spokesman that we’ve not tonight been able to follow the usual courtesies that I would have wanted to do and give them advance notice. The reason for this as Honourable members who’ve been following the TV coverage will know, is that negotiations are still taking place in Strasbourg, and I think anybody who has taken part in EU business on behalf of this or any previous government will know that it is far from unusual for deadlines to be stretched or for talks to be going on late.

I would emphasise to the House Mr Speaker that the intention of my Rt Hon Friend the Prime Minister is to secure a deal that works for the national interest of our country and she will persist in those negotiations until she is satisfied that that is what has been achieved.

I can Mr Speaker, provide the House with an update tonight on what has been agreed so far and clearly the government will update the House at the earliest opportunity tomorrow should there be an outcome to the continuing talks in Strasbourg, that will have an impact on tomorrow’s debate.

Legally-binding changes

This evening in Strasbourg the Prime Minister and my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU has secured legally-binding changes that strengthen and improve the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration.

This House spoke clearly on 29 January when it voted in favour of honouring the decision of the British people and leaving the EU with a deal that works for the UK.

The primary issue of concern then was the Northern Ireland backstop. This House needed legally-binding changes. And today, that is what the PM and the Secretary of State have achieved.

Tonight, we will be laying two new documents in the House. A joint, legally-binding instrument on the Withdrawal Agreement and Protocol on Northern Ireland, and a joint statement to supplement the Political Declaration.

The first provides confirmation that the EU cannot try to trap the UK in the backstop indefinitely and that doing so would be an explicit breach of the legally binding commitments both sides have agreed.

And if, contrary to all expectations, the EU were to act with that intention, the UK could use this acceptance of what could constitute an explicit breach as the basis for a formal dispute through independent arbitration that such a breach had occurred – ultimately suspending the Protocol if the EU continued to breach its obligations.

On top of this, the joint instrument also reflects the UK’s and the EU’s commitment to work to replace the backstop with alternative arrangements by December 2020 – setting out explicitly that these arrangements do not need to replicate the provisions of the backstop in any respect. By including this commitment in the joint instrument this provision on alternative arrangements will be legally binding.

And I hope too that the legally binding commitment that the alternative arrangements do not need to replicate the backstop in any respect will go some way to reassure hon members that the backstop does not predetermine our future relationship with the EU should be.

The joint instrument also puts the commitments set out by Presidents Juncker and Tusk in January onto a legally binding footing: underlining the meaning of best endeavours; stressing the need for negotiations on the future relationship to be taken forward urgently; and confirming the assurances we made to the people of Northern Ireland – for example providing a UK lock on any new EU laws being added to the backstop.

The second is a joint statement supplementing the Political Declaration which outlines a number of commitments by the UK and EU to enhance and expedite the process of negotiating and bringing into force the future relationship, for example it makes reference to the possibility of provisional application of such future agreement, and it sets out in detail how the specific negotiating track on alternative arrangements will operate.

As I said, Mr Speaker, negotiations are continuing and the government will provide an update to the House at the earliest opportunity should there be further changes.

I would also completely understand that Honourable and Rt Hon members on all sides of the House will want to have the opportunity to study the documents in detail and to analyse their import. And clearly, there will be the opportunity at the debate scheduled tomorrow for members to question the Prime Minister and other Ministers and to seek answers to those questions.

It is also the case that as he said during Law Officers’ oral questions last week, my Rt Hon and Learned friend the Attorney General has given a commitment from this dispatch box to publish his legal assessment and that will, of course, be available to all members in good time before the debate.

I mean Hon members, Mr Speaker, say ‘when?’. Since my Rt Hon and Learned friend has just seen the outcome of the negotiations as they have concluded so far in Strasbourg, I think the House would expect that they would want the Attorney General to consider very carefully the implications of those documents, rather than rush an opinion out to meet the deadline for this statement this evening.

Forward process

Mr Speaker, this evening we shall table a motion that the House will debate tomorrow.

We have already published the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration, and the other papers required of us under the European Union Withdrawal Act. And those will be supplemented by the documents I have drawn to the House’s acquaintance this evening.

Tomorrow the House will vote on this improved deal.

A good deal

Mr Speaker, I believe that the deal we have already secured represents a good deal for the whole country and delivers on the result of the referendum.

When I was knocking on doors during the referendum campaign, the message I very clearly got from the people who voted to leave the EU was that they wanted to take back control – particularly of our borders but also of our laws.

The deal ends free movement and allows us to deliver a skills-based immigration system; and it ends the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK.

Under the deal, we will also take back control of our money, no longer sending vast sums to the EU.

We will leave the Common Fisheries Policy and Common Agricultural Policy and take back control of our trade policy.

But I also found in 2016, Mr Speaker, that whether people voted to leave or to remain, they wanted us to have the deep and special partnership with the EU that our manifesto committed us to delivering.

The Political Declaration – the framework for the future relationship – allows for this.

The choice tomorrow

So in the Meaningful Vote tomorrow this House will face a fundamental choice. We said we would negotiate a good deal with the EU and I believe we have. And the EU has been clear that with the improvements that have been announced, which continue to be negotiated, this will be the only deal on the table.

And tomorrow there will be a fundamental choice: to vote for the improved deal or to plunge this country into a political crisis.

And if we vote for this improved deal we will both end the current uncertainty and have delivered Brexit.

This House was clear on the need for legally binding changes to the backstop. Today we have secured those changes.

Now is the time to come together, to back this improved Brexit deal, and to deliver on the instruction of the British people.

David Lidington – 2018 Speech on Responsible Capitalism

Below is the text of the speech made by David Lidington, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, on 24 November 2018.

I really welcome the foundation of Onward and hearing about the work that this new think tank plans.

It seems to me when I look back on those days, growing up and going to university in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was a time of really exciting intellectual ferment on the centre right of British politics.

I think what all supporters of a liberal free enterprise society – a responsible society that cares about the values expressed in communities – needs now is a resurgence of that intellectual energy.

In those days that was brought about through the Centre of Policy Studies, the Institute of Economic Affairs, and the Adam Smith Institute. Today Onward is contributing to that renewal of ideas.

That is important as today those of us who support free enterprise and the market economy are confronted by a paradox.

On the one hand, living standards globally are higher than they have ever been in human history. That is largely down to the success of capitalism, free markets and free trade.

Generations of people in Asia, South America and in many countries in Africa…

… men and women whose parents and grandparents lived with the real fear of food running out if the harvest failed…

… are now able to look forward to greater prosperity and security than ever before.

In 1950 three-quarters of the world were living in extreme poverty; by 2015, fewer than a tenth were in that condition, despite a massive increase in the global population in that period of time.

The global poverty rate is now lower than it has ever been in recorded history.

That progress has led to knock-on improvements:

Global illiteracy rates have fallen from a third in 1930 to less than one-fifth today.

And child mortality – measured in terms of the percentage of children dying before their fifth birthday – has fallen tenfold since 1800 to 4.3% today.

There have been real improvements in the developed world, too.

We probably all know this from talking to our own parents or grandparents, but if you look at household goods – things like fridges, freezers, washing machines, dishwashers – which in the 1950s were considered luxury products are now seen as standard.

Things that were once counted as the exceptional rewards for high living standards are now seen as a measure of the ordinary expectations.

We carry smartphones in our pockets – giving instant access to information from every part of the world – which carry in them greater computing power than that of a mainframe computer a few decades ago.

Customers are now able to get what they want, often the next day, after shopping from the comfort of their homes.

Online retailing has cut costs and delays.

One might have expected that this unprecedented rise in human prosperity should cause people to celebrate the success of free enterprise and of market economies.

Yet that is not the case.

Rather here in the United Kingdom, and in much of the developed world, what we see is a level of scepticism higher than for many years. Not just about the conduct of individual businesses or particular sectors, but about the virtues of the free enterprise system itself, on a scale that we haven’t seen for about 40 years.

Citizens today are better informed than previous generations and young people today are increasingly motivated. They want and expect businesses to behave responsibly.

And as they look at the world they conclude that that is not what they are seeing.

Polling by the Legatum Institute shows that a majority of the British people now view capitalism as ‘greedy’ and ‘selfish’.

That research actually found remarkable consistency across the generations on economic issues – and shared by Labour and Conservative voters alike.

When asked for their top three word associations with capitalism, 32% of the public said ‘corrupt’ and only 7% said ‘for the greater good’.

And earlier this year another poll found that 61% of ordinary working people feel they don’t get their fair share of the nation’s wealth.

There are reasons for this scepticism.

There is no doubt that the crash of 2008 and the downturn which ensued damaged people’s confidence in the virtues of free and open markets.

Making matters worse has been the contrast between high profile examples of corporate excess or malpractice, and the reality for many families of squeezed living standards.

Effective competition in markets – something that underpins public trust in those markets – has in too many markets stalled.

Data from The Economist this week shows that over the last 20 years market concentration has risen in two-thirds of US industries; in Europe the trend is similar, with the average market share of the biggest four firms in each industry having risen since 2000.

But of course, underlying this widespread public concern and to some extent public anger lies not just the events of the last ten years…

… but the profound long-term changes in our economy and in assumptions about work and careers, changes being driven by globalisation and digital technology.

Both those phenomena present us with great opportunities.

Tens of millions of new customers around the world heading towards the kind of consumer expectations that are taken for granted in Britain or Germany or the United States.

And new jobs and firms – indeed entirely new professions and occupations – being created by digital technology.

So there is a paradox. Higher living standards around the world than ever before. A triumph of capitalism. Yet at the same time we see deep public discontent, for understandable reasons, with the very system that has made this prosperity possible.

So how do we respond to this challenge?

I want to touch on three ways we can go about doing so.

Our philosophical approach, how we think about free enterprise and capitalism…

… what government should do in its words and its actions…

… and what business itself ought to be doing in order to restore its public reputation.

In part what we need to do is to rediscover and renew the arguments that we made and won in the 1970s and 1980s about the success of a market system at meeting human needs and wishes, when compared with a model that looks instead to extensive state control.

Debates that we thought perhaps had been won conclusively, but have now been reopened.

To do that we have to engage with a generation for whom talk about the stagflation of the 1970s, or Trade Union power or the Soviet model, is at best a matter of remote history.

For those of us who are older, we think back to the 1970s. The great impersonator of that time, Mike Yarwood, had a big show on Saturday evenings. He could take off six trade union leaders in a show and everyone would instantly know who those people were. You could not do that today.

We have to deliver the key messages once again. You cannot distribute wealth unless it has first been created. Individuals and businesses are better at spotting opportunities and pursuing innovations than is government. A modern economy, in all its complexity and diversity, is something that no government, however good its intentions, will be able to micromanage successfully.

And putting politicians in charge of everything from railways to electricity to water supplies, as some advocate, would mean there would be nowhere else to turn when things went wrong.

We have to re-establish in the minds of today’s opinion formers and today’s public the principle that free enterprise, far from being incompatible with ethical values, is actually rooted in and depends upon a moral framework.

This actually is something where we can look to history for guidance.

The Harvard scholar David Landes in his book The Wealth and Poverty of Nations and the Cambridge historian and anthropologist Alan Macfarlane in The Culture of Capitalism have written about how it was the moral and cultural environment of European nations which enabled a capitalist economy to take off and to thrive.

Indeed the father of free enterprise, Adam Smith, recognised that markets were, as my colleague Jesse Norman puts it in his recent biography, “living institutions embedded in specific cultures and mediated by social norms and trust”.

Political stability, a sound currency representing a reliable store of value and medium of exchange, independent courts to resolve disputes, effective mechanisms to deter and punish corruption: these all help provide the essential foundations on which a market economy can flourish and grow and command public trust.

And of course these foundations are made possible by governments and by parliaments – in other words by effective, but limited, state action. Indeed, many of the things upon which businesses rely – limited liability, patents, copyright, enforcement of contracts – are embodied in law.

Over the centuries, as trade and markets have grown, governments have been at their most successful in reforming and renewing capitalism when they drive effective competition and recognised the social dimension of free enterprise.

We saw that with the impact of the Factory Acts of the mid-nineteenth century and in the trust busting drive of Teddy Roosevelt in the United States.

Roosevelt’s concern was not with big business per se – rather, he wanted to act to enforce what he termed a “rule of reason” on companies that grew through unfair practices rather than through reasonable means.

Today we are acting with measures such as the proposed digital services tax, our work to implement the Taylor Review, our push for regulators to do more to protect vulnerable consumers, and our legislation to outlaw the practice of unscrupulous freeholders charging onerous ground rents.

I cannot emphasise hard enough: these reforms are about restoring the reputation of the free market system by demonstrating that it can and it should work for everyone.

This is not a task that government can undertake on its own.

Part of the reason why the Government is responding is that companies themselves do not always act in a way that benefits the public good or delivers for working people.

But increasingly, I sense that businesses are willing to rise to the challenge of strengthening faith in capitalism. Working with Jeremy Wright, I have introduced ways to use the Government’s buying power on public procurement to drive social value and promote a more diverse market…

… and I have been heartened by the welcome that those proposals have had from many of the Government’s major suppliers.

But there are habits too that need to change. The detailed information now held about consumers can be used by suppliers both for and against customers.

Consider the loyalty penalty – where consumers who stick with their suppliers find themselves placed on the highest tariffs and actually end up subsidising other consumers.

The Government has acted to stop this behaviour in the energy sector and we are willing to act in other markets too to make them work for people.

The increased shareholder activism that we have encouraged in recent years, especially around executive pay, is also a vital element in renewing the public standing of free enterprise.

Scrutiny by shareholders of the decisions of companies is making a real difference.

It was after all the vocal opposition of shareholders that persuaded Unilever to abandon its plans to make Rotterdam its HQ.

And it was condemnation, not just from politicians or even from campaigners but ultimately also shareholders, that led to the departure of Persimmon’s chief executive following the controversy over his bonus payment.

By encouraging stewardship, active and diligent shareholders can improve the reputation of capitalism and I believe have a responsibility so to do.

It is not enough to fix broken markets – we have to fix public perceptions of them too.

We have to do so in a way that recalls the Prime Minister’s first speech on the steps of Downing Street – reaffirming the Government’s commitment to championing responsible capitalism and asking businesses for their part to accept their share of social and moral responsibility.

So we should celebrate businesses that create wealth and provide jobs and livelihoods in communities across the country…

We should drive effective competition – removing barriers to entry, making sure our competition powers are fit for purpose to regulate digital markets, and promote innovation.

We should be clear about our expectations of businesses because public support for their licence to operate depends how they act.

I think these are the steps that will help to break this paradox of capitalism.

Business done right is a force for good.

The best businesses play a highly positive role in society, not just by reacting to social or environmental problems, but by driving innovation and delivering products or services that meet consumer needs.

The best businesses – whether that’s manufacturing or finance or technology – lead the way in putting social and environmental impact at the heart of what they do.

The best businesses also lead the way on promoting diversity, tackling injustices, and encouraging talent regardless of people’s background.

By taking these steps we can help raise standards, stimulate investment and drive long-terms returns, and continue that improvement in living standards which has been free enterprise’s greatest achievement.

Companies acting more responsibly and markets working more competitively are the twin pillars of restoring trust in those free markets.

Thank you very much.

David Lidington – 2018 Speech at the Stock Exchange

Below is the text of the speech made by David Lidington, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, at the London Stock Exchange on 24 October 2018.

Well thank you very much indeed for the invitation to open trading today and to mark this, the first, the inaugural, and I’m sure by no means the only or the last, London Stock Exchange Group’s cyber security conference.

We’ve got every reason in this country to be proud of the United Kingdom’s position at the front of the global digital revolution – driving our prosperity and enhancing our national security. We have seen a rise in the number of new cyber technology companies, right across the UK, who are helping to keep some of our biggest enterprises secure.

But of course, with that opportunity comes risk. We’ve also seen a significant increase in malicious cyber activity globally – both from hostile nation states and from cyber criminals. And only last week The National Cyber Security Centre reported that it is defending the United Kingdom from around 10 significant cyber attacks every week.

And that’s why cyber security remains a top priority for the government and why, two years ago, we launched the National Cyber Security Strategy.

At the very heart of the government’s response was the creation of the National Cyber Security Centre, bringing together the best intelligence and expertise. Right here in the City, the NCSC’s valuable partnership with the Bank of England and its suppliers is helping to build cyber security into the heart of a number of next generation systems. And I am delighted to announce this morning, that Faster Payments – now called Pay.UK – will be the latest scheme to benefit from this collaboration. It will ensure that every payment processed in the United Kingdom is done so safely and securely.

The financial sector has, for a long time, recognised the cyber risk posed by criminals and by states, and I know that financial companies routinely considers cyber security as part of an overall approach to business risk.

In fact, we in government have taken best practice from the financial sector. We’ve launched the GBEST scheme, for government, based upon the sector’s CBEST model. And this will improve government systems to identify and to act against sophisticated and persistent cyber attacks.

And I think the finance sector in the UK should be commended for the initiatives they have taken and the standards they have set.

But the government’s latest Cyber Security Breaches survey showed a significant proportion of companies overall in our economy are still not adopting the basic cyber security precautions that are needed. More than two in five businesses identified breaches in the last twelve months. Despite that, two thirds of FTSE 350 boards say that they have had no training in how to deal with a cyber incident.

There is still a lot more to do – and our ability to build the necessary resilience in the face of these challenges, relies on the strength of our collective action and expertise.

Now last week, I really enjoyed being at UK Finance, and it gave me great pleasure to give the government’s full backing to a new initiative to further cement the growing partnership between industry and the public sector. Early next year, we will establish the Finance Sector Cyber Collaboration Centre. This will build on existing industry expertise and exploit the NCSC’s Industry 100 scheme, it will be led by UK Finance in alliance with 20 financial institutions.

As government, we recognise that cyber security is everyone’s responsibility. We must learn from – and support – one another. For example…

…By taking part in our annual FTSE 350 Cyber Governance Health check – which is now open – you can benchmark the cyber security of your organisation against your peers and understand where you can improve your resilience to cyber attacks.

And I believe our efforts are bearing fruit. The UK’s cyber security industry is making an enormous contribution and is generating more than £5 billion to our economy.

It benefits from strong support from government, including specialist expertise and world leading academic institutions which are providing much needed access to funding, targeted support and also testing facilities. There has never been a better time to invest in our high-quality and home-grown cyber security start-ups and emerging businesses – there are now more than 800 of those across the UK.

Those businesses, supported by the government’s Industrial Strategy, provide world leading products and services to buyers right across the world – injecting innovation into our economy to build a UK fit for the future.

We consider it vital that all organisations should embrace and embed cyber security, from the boardroom down. This isn’t only about minimising operational, financial and reputational risk. Building resilience amongst employees and customers can also be a catalyst for far greater change.

That’s why I will be meeting a number of FTSE 350 Chairman to discuss how the government’s new Board Toolkit will help you better understand cyber risks and also to seek the ideas of business leaders on how to make our nation more resilient.

So, to look ahead to the challenges and opportunities of the future, I look forward to continuing to work together with you in the financial sector, and business more widely, to protect both our national security and our joint economic prosperity.

David Lidington – 2018 Statement on the Infected Blood Inquiry

Below is the text of the statement made by David Lidington, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, in the House of Commons on 18 October 2018.

On 24 September, I attended the commemoration that preceded the preliminary hearings of the infected blood inquiry, and watched the moving and powerful testimony from those infected and affected by the infected blood scandal. The commemoration brought home the terrible human cost of this tragedy, and emphasised to me the importance of this inquiry, to get to the truth of what happened, and provide the answers that the people infected and affected so desperately need.

When the public inquiry was launched in July this year, I deferred making a decision on whether to appoint a panel to sit with Sir Brian until he was able to take the view of core participants. Sir Brian Langstaff wrote to me this week following the preliminary hearings, and has advised me that he has now done so, and there has been no demand for a panel. In the place of single experts, sitting as panellists, Sir Brian is establishing expert groups to provide openness and transparency across a range of truly expert opinion. He recommended that I should not appoint co-determining panel members. I accept his recommendation.

In his letter Sir Brian also called for action in relation to financial and psychological support for the affected and infected. The Government will consider those comments and Sir Brian’s recommendations carefully and will respond as soon as possible.

The Cabinet Office takes seriously its role as sponsor to the infected blood inquiry and is determined to do all it can to support the inquiry with its work. Regrettably, an administrative error earlier this year has come to light, which had delayed the circulation of an instruction to Government Departments about the retention of records. I can reassure the public that this has resulted in no actual harm, but it is an error for which I apologise to the inquiry, and most importantly, to the people infected and affected.

The facts are these: Cabinet Office officials circulated a Government-wide notice on 3 April this year, instructing Departments to preserve all information relevant to the infected blood inquiry. A further, more comprehensive message was issued to Departments by the Cabinet Office on 11 June.

However, following a query from the inquiry about the notice, Cabinet Office officials discovered that the 3 April email containing the retention notice did not reach its recipients, due to the failure of the collective IT address used. My officials have provided a detailed explanation to the inquiry which will be published on the inquiry’s website.

Since the error was discovered, all relevant Departments and relevant areas within Departments have worked urgently to confirm that they have not destroyed any documents relevant to the inquiry during the period ​between 3 April and 11 June. Because of their size and the complexity of some of the records they hold, HM Courts and Tribunals Service and the Legal Aid Agency are continuing to work to provide this assurance and have committed to doing so as urgently as possible.

The Department of Health and Social Care put in place a moratorium on the destruction of historical records as soon as the inquiry was announced in July 2017. No material damage has resulted from this administrative error, but I am very sorry it occurred, and I would like to reassure the public that the Cabinet Office will learn the lessons from this to avoid such an error occurring in future.

David Lidington – 2018 Speech at UK Finance Annual Industry Dinner

Below is the text of the speech made by David Lidington, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, on 18 October 2018.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for the invitation and thank you for that welcome.

I am deeply conscious I am interposing a speech between you and the opportunity for food and drink, and also looking to my right, presumably for the karaoke for which this sector is renowned at the end of the evening. I will look forward to the FT’s music correspondents giving the full details tomorrow morning.

I want to start by being frank with you –

This country is facing some of the most complex social and economic challenges of any in recent history.

But those new challenges also bring with them new opportunities. And this sector and this country have track record of seizing those opportunities and making the most of them.

Many of you will be agog to know the very latest on what’s going to happen at the European Council in Brussels this evening –

Apart from the fact I suspect they won’t have anything like as good a dinner as they will have here –

The Prime Minister will welcome the progress made in recent weeks on the Withdrawal Agreement and the political declaration on the future relationship.

She will reiterate the need for the backstop to be temporary, and for this condition to be built into the agreement we negotiate with the EU.

And she will emphasise our continued commitment to getting a good deal in our mutual interest that respects the economic and constitutional integrity of both the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Getting that deal is something which I, having spent six years as Europe minister in the recent past, know is important for all sectors of the UK economy, including the financial services sector.

And I believe now is the time for a clear-eyed focus on the few remaining but critical issues that are still to be agreed.

I want to make it very clear that a deal is what we want. It is what we are working with every scrap of energy that we can muster towards achieving. And it is what we believe that we can and will secure at the end of the day.

And I think too that throughout the challenges ahead, whether those that arise out of our departure from the European Union or those that are posed generally by global competition and by the accelerating pace of technological change, the Square Mile will continue to display the characteristics that have helped make London the world’s pre-eminent financial centre.

That is certainly my view and I know it is the view of my colleague John Glen, the Economic Secretary, who is also with us this evening.

What strikes me – whenever I come to the City, whenever I talk to people – is that for centuries the City has been a place of innovation…

… of adaptability and resilience…

… and of problem-solving.

There are countless examples of those qualities that you can find shining through the fabric of the history of this City of London.

Bob, you listed in your earlier remarks a whole host of examples of how over the past 12 months alone this City, and this sector within the City, have demonstrated those qualities of adaptability, resilience and problem solving.

You mentioned at one stage what you have been doing in this sector over cyber security. Just two days ago I launched the second Annual Report of the National Cyber Security Centre.

One thing that I announced then is that the Government is going to copy the best of what you have done – the CBEST approach and standards that have been pioneered by the United Kingdom’s financial services sector.

We are going to adapt a GBEST approach to ensure that government and government suppliers are also working to ensure that when people do business with the UK of any kind, they know that this will be the most cyber secure business environment of any other in the world.

You look at the history of the City, and I can point to examples of those qualities of adaptability and problem-solving – at least two of them in this building itself.

You have probably already admired the magnificent 170-foot king post timber roof of this space, the so-called ‘Porter Tun’.

But you might not have yet a story about some early 19th century porter in the vaults lying beneath our feet.

The founder of this brewery, Samuel Whitbread, wanted to save money by switching from storing the porter in casks to a bulk storage system.

He soon found himself in difficulty.

The surviving documentation shows that the liquid ran through the walls “as through a sieve”.

Fortunately two of the great men of the day, Josiah Wedgwood and John Smeaton, applied their minds to the challenge in the great tradition of the City.

Now, that tradition of course is not solving problems through the rapid consumption of alcohol –

They didn’t drink it all themselves…

But what Wedgwood and Smeaton did was use their engineering expertise to help the Brewery go from strength to strength.

You might say they had successfully consigned the problem of uncontrolled leaks to the past.

Something that I am trying to persuade the Cabinet that they should adopt as well.

Government and business working together
But that anecdote exemplifies in a way the qualities that have helped the City prosper…

… and helped our financial services sector create opportunities for people around the country, too.

And it’s particularly important, at a time when in the years since 2008 we have seen an ebbing of more general public confidence and trust in UK finance, in the City, even in the free enterprise system itself, that we do ensure that we both speak about and demonstrate what this sector does for the prosperity and security of people in every part of this nation.

Roughly two-thirds of the 2.2 million people who work in the financial and related professional services sectors are based outside London.

And across all the major sectors the UK financial services industry is highly developed.

We’ve got the largest asset management sector in Europe…

… we have the largest banking sector in Europe…

… and the largest insurance sector in Europe, too.

All told, last year the UK was the largest net exporter of financial services in the world, with a trade surplus of £61 billion.

I think our dynamic financial services sector should be the beating heart of a free market economy…

… An economy that helps everyone in our country realise the opportunities ahead.

That includes creating new opportunities for small businesses, mutuals, charities, co-operatives and social enterprises.

We want to nurture vibrant, healthy, innovative, competitive and diverse marketplaces.

And so, I know, do you, representing UK finance business.

Financial services is a key part of our economic infrastructure.

It generates wealth…

… it creates jobs up and down the country…

… and provides tax revenue to support our vital public services.

That’s why this government is committed to listening to your views and engaging with you closely on a range of issues.

Working together we can help back businesses to create jobs while ensuring that they also play by the rules.

Working together we can build the homes people need so that everyone can have a safe, decent place to live.

And working together we can help people to achieve their true potential – whether that is about enable people to develop the skills they are going need in an economy that is being transformed every day by digital technology…

… or whether it is about ensuring everyone has access to the kind of opportunities that most of us in this this room sometimes take for granted.

Collaborating on the domestic financial services agenda
All of us in this room, for example, can agree on the importance of affordable credit.

Regardless of their background or income, it’s right that everyone should have access to useful and affordable financial products and services.

The government is committed to addressing this issue…

That is why that subject formed part of the work of the Financial Inclusion Policy Forum, established earlier this year, which brings together industry, the third sector, ministers and the regulator.

UK Finance has worked alongside Toynbee Hall to co-chair the Forum’s subgroup which is exploring ways to increase the availability of affordable credit to all consumers.

That important work highlights how, coming together, we can explore solutions to the difficult challenges facing the most vulnerable men and women in our society.

Our collaborative efforts can support consumers…

… and they can protect them, too.

UK Finance data shows there were more than 30,000 cases of automated push payment fraud in the first half of 2018.

Both individuals and micro-businesses are being harmed by these kinds of scams.

We do need to take them very seriously…

… That’s why I’m delighted that requirements for consumer protection and the principles for reimbursement for consumers who fall victim to them have been developed by a joint Steering Group of industry and consumer group representatives.

And on behalf of the government I want to say a big thank you to UK Finance for your work in providing the secretariat for that Steering Group.

The publication of its draft voluntary code is an important milestone and we look forward to hearing responses to its consultation in due course.

It’s right that industry takes the necessary steps to protect consumers against this kind of fraud…

… and so we welcome UK Finance’s work in helping to develop it.

There are many other examples I can give of collaborative working:

UK Finance’s work with the Post Office to raise awareness of the Post Office’s services that allow banking in person to continue,

… or UK Finance’s integral role supporting our response to economic crime, including through the Joint Fraud Taskforce, the Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce and seconding staff to help build the new National Economic Crime Centre…

… or the very welcome engagement of UK Finance and others across the financial services sector as we draft the necessary legislation for onshoring.

Financial services and Brexit
As I have said at the start – and as I say again now – we recognise how important it is that we get a good Brexit deal, and that firms and their customers do not face a cliff-edge at the point of our exit from the European Union.

That is what the entire Cabinet is working towards, and we are committed to making further progress in negotiations.

But it’s also right that we ensure that we are prepared for any and all scenarios, just as you would also expect of any responsible business.

I want to say how grateful I am to UK Finance for your input into this process – your expertise really is invaluable.

But I also want to say that although there has been escalating excitement about the possibility that a deal with the European Union would prove elusive…

… the growth in newspaper column inches does not reflect an increased likelihood of no deal.

As the Prime Minister has said:

This is the time for cool, calm heads to prevail.

I believe her pragmatic proposals which she has put forward are in the economic interests of both sides – of businesses and of consumers in all 28 countries of the European Union.

We are asking our European partners to respond with ambition and with urgency…

… and to concentrate with us on completing this task in the interests of all our citizens.

We have had good working-level discussions with the European Commission on our proposals for the future relationship in financial services.

And what we have proposed in our White Paper is logical.

Our financial markets are deeply integrated.

That indisputable fact underlines why the bilateral treaty agreement we are putting forward should be bolstered with regulatory dialogue and supervisory cooperation.

We should recognise the autonomy of both sides in decisions relating to market access and the rulebook.

And the UK government is proposing a framework for financial services that will provide stability for the EU-UK financial ecosystem…

… preserving mutually beneficial cross-border business models and economic integration…

… and stabilising the current EU equivalence framework through a transparent and de-politicised process…

… for the benefit of businesses and consumers in both the United Kingdom and the EU 27.

Realising this means achieving that deal with our European partners that we remain committed to working towards.

The United Kingdom has always been both a European country and also one which has global interests and a global perspective.

And as we prepare to leave the European Union the United Kingdom is going to need to focus with even greater energy and determination on the opportunities to be a greater global force, forging new relationships, stronger trade links and working to increase global security.

My colleague John Glen put it this way:

the commercial instincts of this country have been honed and sharpened over the centuries…

… and we fully expect those instincts to prevail as we prepare to leave the European Union.

The innovation, the resilience of the financial services sector have been demonstrated time and time again in our national history.

Plague, fire, and blitz have not stopped the City in the past.

And while the markets that the City serves and the workforce that serves those markets have changed beyond recognition…

… I believe we can be certain of one thing:

It will be the City’s great traditions of resilience, adaptability and innovation that will continue to help it and the entire finance sector to grasp the opportunities ahead.

Thank you very much indeed.

David Lidington – 2018 Statement on the Infected Blood Inquiry

Below is the text of the statement made by David Lidington, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, in the House of Commons on 2 July 2018.

On 8 February 2018, I announced the appointment of Sir Brian Langstaff to chair the infected blood inquiry. From the outset, Sir Brian has been clear that he is determined to put people at the heart of the inquiry and to ensure an inclusive and transparent process.

Sir Brian and his team conducted a public consultation on the proposed terms of reference for the inquiry, which ran from 2 March to 26 April. They invited contributions via an online questionnaire, email, written correspondence and telephone. The inquiry team also held 15 meetings with groups and individuals across the UK, and Sir Brian is keen for the inquiry to continue to do that as it moves forward.

The inquiry received almost 700 responses to its consultation and Sir Brian, having reflected on those consultation responses, wrote to me on 7 June to advise me of the outcome and of his recommendations for the terms of reference. The terms of reference are comprehensive and reflect the key points made during the consultation.

The geographical scope of the inquiry is UK-wide. The inquiry will look at issues relating to the whole of the UK, as well as regionally. Sir Brian expects the inquiry team to hold regular meetings across the UK. I have therefore consulted, as I am required to do under the Inquiries Act 2005, with the devolved Administrations of Scotland and Wales and, in the absence of a Northern Ireland Executive, with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who, in turn, consulted the permanent secretary of the Northern Ireland Department of Health. The Governments of Scotland and Wales, and my right hon. Friend, were content with Sir Brian’s recommendations, and I am happy to accept his recommendations without amendment. I have written to Sir Brian to confirm this.

The terms of reference have been published and deposited in the Libraries of both Houses today. The inquiry can now formally begin its work; it will start today—2 July 2018. Sir Brian proposes to use groups of experts to assist the inquiry. Those groups would cover all the material fields relevant to the inquiry. Their evidence would be public, transparent and subject to scrutiny. People affected, and other participants to the inquiry, will be able to propose experts and put forward questions to the expert groups.

During the inquiry’s public consultation, views were expressed both for and against the appointment of additional panel members. Some, noting the complex and difficult issues to be examined by the inquiry, wanted a panel of many experts to assist the chair. It is Sir Brian’s view that his proposal for expert groups will achieve the objectives of those who have been in favour of panel members by providing legitimacy and transparency, a diverse range of expertise and, importantly, speed. Sir Brian’s view is that experts will be able to progress work in parallel in a way that co-determining panel members could not and that, very importantly, everything the expert groups will do will be public. Sir Brian plans now to discuss this proposed approach with those who will most centrally participate in the inquiry, particularly survivors and the groups representing them, and to ask ​them whether, in the light of the proposed approach, there remains any significant wish for him to be joined by a decision-making panel. Sir Brian has asked me to defer a decision on panel members until core participants have been appointed and have had the opportunity to consider the proposed approach.

I am aware that when my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Damian Green) met people affected before Christmas last year, many supported the idea of the chair sitting alongside other panel members. I have not lost sight of that, but I think it is only right that I allow Sir Brian time to consult core participants. I therefore do not propose to appoint other panel members at this time, but I will consider the issue once core participants have had an opportunity to look at Sir Brian’s proposed approach. Of course, section 7 of the 2005 Act allows me to make further appointments to the inquiry panel during the course of the inquiry, with the consent of the chair. Speed is of the essence, and I have asked Sir Brian to report back to me as quickly as possible; I will then make my decision on panel members.

Many thousands of people from across the United Kingdom have been affected by this terrible tragedy. Sadly, a number of those affected have died since the inquiry was announced. One of the clearest messages from the inquiry’s consultation was the need for speed. In his letter to me, Sir Brian noted that one respondent to the consultation had said:

“I really hope this Inquiry does not drag on as I would like to live long enough to see the result”.

It is extremely important that the infected blood inquiry can complete its work as quickly as a thorough examination of the facts allows, and this is something that Sir Brian and his team are very aware of.

This inquiry is a priority for the Government, and I have assured Sir Brian that the Cabinet Office will provide all the resources and support that the inquiry needs to meet the demanding timescales that are essential in order to meet the expectations of people affected by this tragedy, who have already waited so long for answers. The inquiry will have much to do over the coming months, and I am sure it will waste no time in getting started. The first stages of the inquiry will be critical for obtaining evidence, including witness statements from people who have been infected and affected. The inquiry will use this evidence to help to uncover what happened and why. It will hold its preliminary hearings in September at Church House, London, where core participants will be able to set out their priorities for the inquiry. My exchange of correspondence with Sir Brian and the full terms of reference have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses, and I commend this statement to the House.