Grant Shapps – 2013 Speech on the Labour Party

Below is the text of the speech made by Grant Shapps on 31st July 2013.

I know the summer is not a traditional time for political speeches…

…so apologies for rousing you from your deck chairs…

…but there is a certain urgency to what I want to say and less than two years left to get this message across.

Since the beginning of this parliament, we’ve been working relentlessly to sort out the mess…

We’ve cut a third off the deficit…

… created 1.3million jobs in the private sector…

… and cut tax for 25million working people.

We’re supporting a nation that wants to get on.

Making tough decisions now…

…so that we can help not just this generation…

…but the next.

That’s the story so far.

But what if the next five years told a very different tale?

I’d like you to imagine for a moment that it’s the day after polling day…

… the 8th May 2015.

The sun is rising over the Thames…

… the longest night of the political calendar is over…

… and a new government is formed.

History in the making.

As the city starts another day, a car travels up Whitehall.

In it are Ed Miliband…

…and Ed Balls.

Len McCluskey’s there too, of course…

… After all, he paid for that car…

… chose the passengers…

… and put fuel in the tank…

…In every sense, the back seat driver.

Now, as the car slowly approaches the gates of Downing Street.

The Skycopter hovers above…

… capturing live the unthinkable nightmare that so many have dreaded.

Yes – that’s right.

After years of fighting off their radical left-wing policies…

…And despite a gruelling, hard-fought campaign stretching back a generation…

…It’s finally over for the Blairites

Because they know, as we do…

…how the bungling premiership of Miliband, driven by Balls, would inevitably pan out.

And so I invite you to imagine…

…if indeed your power of creativity can stretch this far…

…that it’s the two Eds’ first day on the job.

One man and his tempestuous Chancellor.

A new day has dawned, has it not?

You can picture the scene for yourself…

Weak Ed Miliband cuts short his first bilateral to hurriedly address the irate calls of his Chancellor…

…that it was a skinny latte, not a cappuccino that he ordered.

And imagine Miliband sigh as the Downing Street switch connects the soon-to-be Lord McCluskey of Anfield…

…with his third set of policy demands for the day…

Because after all those rigged MP selections…

…And the tens-of-millions of pounds in union funding…

…Today – is payday for Unite…

…And it’s gonna come with 1,000% interest.

Because now, it’s starting to sink in for Ed…

… he’ll be lucky if he gets to choose his own sandwich at lunchtime…

…let alone his Cabinet.

Meanwhile – there’s Ed Balls…

Yes, think for a moment of Ed Balls.

There he is next door…

…unpacking his portrait of Gordon to hang on the wall…

…and already thinking about measuring up for the Number 10 curtains…

…As the country braces itself to relive the torrid nightmare of a Chancellor…

…who is once again demanding to know…

…when it will be his turn.

On that first day they waste no time in enacting their manifesto.

And it’s a package that comes with a sense of inevitability…

Since Labour have already committed to billions more in unfunded spending this year alone…

… in government, the deficit quickly begins to grow…

…foreign investors soon take fright…

…and mortgage rates – for millions of ordinary people – start to rise.

In opposition, Labour opposed all the changes to tighten border controls.

They’ve even proposed going further – planning a higher target for immigration.

So back in government, immigration goes up…

…bringing new pressure to our public services…

… and fresh strains on health, housing and education.

In Opposition Labour have opposed…

…every single measure introduced to fix the welfare state.

So in addition to reversing our own measures…

…Messrs Miliband and Balls follow through on Labour’s pledge…

…to make benefits a human right.

Now, I’m not making this up –

… Labour has actually been working on this policy…

Which, taken to its logical conclusion…

…could allow prisoners – serving a life sentence at Her Majesty’s Pleasure…

…To be entitled to housing benefit.

As they…and thousands more…

…exploit the Human Rights Act…

…to secure their newfound human rights to claim welfare, regardless of personal circumstances…

… The implications for public finance are immense.

Gone the fairness brought to the welfare system…

… gone the incentive to get back into employment…

… and gone the assurance that work will always pay

Forget the cost to the state…

…or to hardworking taxpayers…

…because with the Welfare Party…

…benefits always come first.

But they’re not done yet…

Next up, they implement their pledge…

…to get rid of medical professionals examining care standards in our hospitals.

As if to learn nothing from the NHS tragedies of Morecambe Bay…

…or the appalling conditions at Mid Staffs…

…Labour once again hand the most crucial role in patient safety…

…back to those with no qualifications whatsoever in healthcare.

So – they’ve returned uncertainty to the Health Service…

They’ve brought the benefits system to its knees…

… they’ve spent more…

…borrowed more…

…and created more debt.

And after a while, these decisions –

…real choices that Labour have committed to or worked up during this parliament…

…come back to bite them…

…and the rest of us.

Imagine the concern of hardworking people…

…as their council tax bill doubles – just as it did under the last Labour government …

… leaving those on fixed incomes – like the elderly – financially vulnerable.

And imagine the angst of parents as they start to attack – and close down – popular Free Schools…

even though people in their own party – like Lord Adonis – have praised them as some of the country’s best.

Meanwhile, as the deficit creeps back up to double digits…

… the Paris based Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development issue a bleak warning on the state of Britain’s economy…

…With the economic news worsening, in scenes reminiscent of some of our Eurozone neighbours…

… the International Monetary Fund meets in Washington to draft its UK bailout demands.

A nation is pushed to the brink once more…

… Britain firmly back in the danger zone.

Yet inside Downing Street the mood is only worsened…

…by the endless television rounds of Lord Mandelson…

…keen to offer his view.

As they say in the Labour party –

Things Can Only Get Better…

…if only because they’d struggle to get any worse.

Right, I think that’s enough dystopian torture for one day…

So let’s get back to reality.

While we’ve been working to get Britain back on track…

Labour are on the wrong side of every major argument.

They said that, under this government, crime would soar…

… It hasn’t.

… Crime has fallen by 10%.

They said there’d be a double – or was that triple – dip recession…

… There wasn’t.

We now know the only actual recession took place under Labour –

… and at 7.2% it was the biggest in this nation’s history.

They said the private sector wouldn’t create jobs –

… meaning a million more unemployed by today…

… But they were wrong…

… private sector employment is at an all-time high.

The sad fact is, Labour loves doing Britain down.

In every case it’s almost as if they’ve been willing the country to fail…

You could almost sense palpable disappointment for Ed Balls just last week…

… as, through gritted teeth, he acknowledged stronger than expected growth.

It’s the single biggest difference between our outlooks.

We can see a vision of this country beyond the boom and bust of Brown.

A future where we continue to generate employment…

…adding to those 1.3million jobs created in the private sector.

A future where we drive up apprenticeships…

…adding to the record number created since 2010.

… And a future where we help businesses trade around the globe…

…continuing record rises in exports to China, India and Brazil.

We recognise that times have changed.

And as a nation we can harness the opportunities this brings to our citizens.

Take the humble phone in your pocket for example…

Just a few years ago it was good for making an emergency phone call.

Or perhaps sending a text…

But today here in Britain, there are more mobile phones than there are people…

These sophisticated online devices are changing everything about our lives.

The built-in cameras capture events…

… as three-quarters of Britain’s 34m facebook users access their news-feeds through their mobiles…

They enable us to share projects and thoughts through social media, no matter where we are.

Now, we can just as easily access TV and Radio from across the globe…

… as we can discover what’s happening in our own back yard.

Just this month, new payment technology means that if you leave cash and your credit cards at home…

…you can still pay by simply touching your phone on a contactless reader in quarter-of-a-million UK shops.

You can bring colleagues together for meetings using Skype or Facetime – from London to Bejing.

…Who here shares my appreciation of the phone’s flash – which doubles as a torch – when you’ve come home late and dropped your keys?

… and this morning maybe you blamed your phone – rather than your alarm clock –

…when you overslept and missed the Deputy Prime Minister’s press conference!

Today it’s a reality that we carry the world around with us.

Of course this raises all sorts of complex questions for society and public administration.

But as a government, we must be at the epicentre of the opportunities this brings.

That means removing the digital-divide for all our citizens…

…with the most ambitious rollout of fibre-optic broadband in Europe.

And the faster deployment of 4G, which just this week saw 15 UK cities upgraded to a staggering 60megabits per second…

…that’s a high-definition film downloaded in just 3 minutes.

It means helping young people fresh out of education to set up their own e-businesses…

… backing world-beating innovation from aerospace to computing…

…and hi-tech engineering to pharmaceuticals.

Yet in this changed environment,

Labour leaders remain inextricably bound up with the past.

Their addiction to wholesale union funding means they maintain an old fashioned, skewed relationship with trade union barons…

… demanding policies…

… fixing candidates

and installing their leader.

It’s a dinosaur world, that time forgot…

…which would lead to them governing in response to the demands of a few.

Instead, we’re governing for the many…

… unencumbered by narrow interest and restrictive practice.

…We look to the advances and opportunities from technology…

… to unleash new jobs in brand new industries.

It’s part of our overall package to rebalance our economy and get Britain moving.

But it’s something which the same old Labour party…

… wedded to their old ways and beholden to their union paymasters – will never match.

Now, the last few years have been a struggle for people in this country.

But they’ve led the way in sacrifice to get this economy back on track.

Of course, down the line they’ll hear the false promises of Labour’s soft options and easy credit.

But this country has been there before…

… and it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

So today, I’m here to remind all of us –

…that if we give up on our recovery now…

…we’d be handing the keys right back to the people who crashed the economy in the first place.

Same Old Labour…

…forcing Brits to live the pain again.

So on that morning of the 8th May 2015…

…I want to make one thing certain.

Ed Miliband and Ed Balls must drive past those gates of Downing Street – without turning in.

They’re off to the commiseration party at Labour HQ.

t’s a vision we need to make a reality.

Because if we don’t see this through…

We’ll be condemning our citizens to relive the austerity gains of the past few years.

And if we do that – we’ll be letting Britain down.

I’ve absolutely no intention of doing so…

…and nor does this Prime Minister.

hat’s why, during this summer, Cabinet colleagues will be outlining what we’ll be doing next.

You’ll be hearing from our excellent Home Secretary Theresa May…

… the redoubtable Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith…

… and ministers from across the government.

Because we’ve got to continue the bold steps to recovery…

…so that we can go to the British people in two years’ time…

…and ask for their permission to finish the job.

And we won’t throw away a single minute…

…not even a single second in getting our country back on track.

So when parliament returns this September…

It will be clearer than ever that we have the right programme to take this country forward.

We’re determined to do what’s right for our nation in the long term, rather than what’s popular in the short.

We’re advancing to a brighter and better future.

Because we’re on the side of hardworking people the length and breadth of this country…

…And we must not let them down.

…because they are relying on us to succeed.

Thank you.

Grant Shapps – 2010 Speech on Aspiration

Below is the text of the speech made by Grant Shapps at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in London on 8th June 2010.

Introduction

Thank you to Robert Peto for your very kind introduction and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors for hosting this event this morning.

Last time I was here as Shadow Minister to launch a collection of my speeches.

Old habits die hard – in a speech last week I made the mistake of calling myself the Shadow Housing Minister.

As one of my staff cruelly pointed out – “Minister, you spent longer as a shadow than Cliff Richard!”

But I’m finally here and it’s great to be able to talk to you today on a subject I am passionate about.

Something that is at the heart and soul of this Government – aspiration.

Aspiration

Now, my predecessor famously said that falling levels of home ownership were ‘not such a bad thing’.

I’ve asked RICS to host this event to make clear from the outset that I believe that home ownership is a very good thing.

In fact I will work every day to help people achieve their aspirations to own their home.

Of course I am not arguing that everyone should somehow aspire to home ownership.

Renting a home can be a positive and flexible choice.

And social housing provides a sense of security for millions of families.

I am simply saying to those who aspire to own their own home –

This Government will support you.

You will not be ignored.

The age of aspiration is back!

There are an estimated 1.4 million households who aspire to own a home but are unable to do so because of house prices and mortgage availability.

There are hundreds of thousands of people in rented accommodation, or living with parents, who yearn to be first time buyers.

It is now true that the average age of first time buyer (with no support from their family) is 37.

Now that 37 year old is not asking for a hand-out they just want a chance.

We need to give them that opportunity.

Sound economic management

The best thing we can do for the all-important First Time Buyer is to get the economy back onto a sound footing.

This Coalition is prepared to take the tough decisions needed to make that happen.

The Prime Minister said yesterday that his number one priority is to deal with the country’s massive deficit.

As he put it; if we don’t, we run the risk of much higher interest rates. But it’s not just that they will be higher:

It’s that they’ll climb faster – and further – and sooner and stay high for longer – if we don’t act immediately.

We’ve made a good start with over £6 billion in savings for this year. George Osborne is sending a strong signal to the markets that we’re very serious about tackling head on the huge financial challenges we face.

We will need to work together across the housing market – builders and surveyors, lenders and brokers, Regulators and agents – to ensure that the conditions which created the housing bubbles of the past are never repeated.

But there are still difficult adjustments to be made and I know that market confidence remains fragile.

There is a risk that the market may not respond to changing conditions quickly enough, leaving creditworthy borrowers still out in the cold.

I see responsible lending and responsible borrowing as two sides of the same coin.

Borrowers will need to demonstrate financial responsibility and show that they can sustain homeownership.

In return lenders will need to support creditworthy homeowners. I know the housing market is still fragile but we in Government will do all we can to help.

We’ve already taken quick and decisive action to make HIPs history.

Expensive and bureaucratic Home Information Packs increased the cost and hassle of selling homes. We have ripped up red-tape that was strangling the Housing Market recovery.

A move that has already started to have an impact – the number of homes coming to market immediately jumping by a third.

The Coalition Government has also agreed to promote shared ownership schemes and help social tenants and others to own or part-own their home.

Housebuilding

But if we are really serious about supporting people’s aspiration for home ownership, the real prize is we must build more homes.

In that booklet of speeches I launched here earlier this year, I sympathised with my predecessors in this job, saying:

Ordered to deliver 3m homes by 2020 – it was just a race against time for this week’s hapless housing minister to make something … anything …happen … before the inevitable reshuffle.

So higher targets … louder diktats … a bigger stick and more legislation to create strange sounding Quangos designed to deliver on the Government’s housing targets … RSS’s … the HCA … RDAs … EEDA … SEDA … EERA … NERA.

As the latest housing minister pulled the levers of state, he or she pushed the people further away.

And now, I am that Minister with my hand on the levers.

And I’m determined to deliver.

So in place of those meaningless targets – we will introduce powerful incentives.

In place of centralisation – I will devolve power.

In place of expensive Quangos – we will trust people.

I’m going to release those centralised levers that don’t work anyway – and as I do, I am certain an extraordinary thing will happen.

The more power we give away – the more people will act to generate real change.

For the first time incentives will create direct benefits for local communities. Bringing jobs, investment and yes – more homes for local people.

Rather than being told what to build and where – residents of villages, towns and cities will be able to develop their own vision for their place.

We’ll introduce Local Housing Trusts. Enabling communities to create new housing for local people.

We understand that the transition to a more open, transparent and democratic planning system is not entirely anxiety-free for many involved.

But we know that there is no future in this centrally planned system which has so dramatically failed, delivering fewer homes now than during any peacetime year since 1924.

By unleashing the aspirations of communities as well as individuals to build homes where and when they are needed, we will bring about greater certainty.

Certainty that will replace the conflict caused by imposing housing numbers from right here in Whitehall.

Certainty that will give investors confidence to invest.

Conclusion

The last thing we need is a return to the house price boom and bust of recent years.

Falling prices are bad for homeowners and builders alike, whilst soaring prices freeze out first time buyers.

So, we need to build more homes and entrench sensible lending practices so that, in the long run, houses will become more affordable.

That’s our aim: a stable housing market that gives both home buyers and builders a solid base to invest for the future.

Homeownership has provided personal and financial security to millions of people in the UK, including (I am almost certain) the majority of this audience.

I do not believe that it is right to deny the benefits of homeownership, that we have enjoyed, to the next generation.

And this new Government is not in the business of pouring cold water on people’s aspirations.

Of course I know many analysts predict further short or medium-term falls in homeownership.

And given the appalling financial legacy left to us – they could be right.

But it is not good enough to simply say “this may be a good thing.”

I believe that it is human nature to aspire to shelter and security – and for the many that means owning the roof over your own head.

And I don’t consider it my job as Housing Minister to hold those aspirations back.

With a new Government and despite the enormous financial difficulties the country faces I want to state clearly today:

“The Age of Aspiration is back.”