Jeremy Wright – 2019 Statement on Betting

Below is the text of the statement made by Jeremy Wright, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in the House of Commons on 2 July 2019.

Mr Speaker, with your permission, I would like to make a statement about today’s announcement on support for those affected by problem gambling.

While we all want a healthy gambling industry that makes an important contribution to the economy, we also need one that does all it can to protect those that use it.

Problem gambling can devastate lives, families and communities.

I have met those who have lost more than the UK’s annual average salary on credit cards during one night of gambling online.

And parents who are now without a child as a result of gambling addiction.

Over recent months I have also met representatives from the gambling industry and colleagues from all across the House to discuss what more needs to be done.

We can all agree that it’s best to prevent harm before it occurs, and to step in early when people are at risk. But we also need to offer the right support for those people who do experience harm.

We have already acted to reduce the minimum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals to 2 pounds, from 100 pounds.

We have also tightened age and identity checks for online gambling websites; an important step to protect children and vulnerable people who may be at risk.

And today five of the biggest gambling companies have agreed a series of measures which will deliver real and meaningful progress on support for problem gamblers.

This announcement has been welcomed by the Gambling Commission, GambleAware and Gamban.

These are companies which, together, represent around half of the British commercial gambling industry.

At the heart of this package is a very significant increase in their financial contribution to fund support and treatment.

Last year voluntary contributions across the whole industry to problem gambling yielded less than 10 million pounds.

Now five operators:

William Hill


GVC – who own Ladbrokes and Coral

Flutter – formerly known as PaddyPower BetFair

Sky Betting & Gaming

have said that over the next four years they will increase ten fold the funding they give to treatment and support for problem gamblers.

And in this same period they have committed to spending 100 million pounds on treatment specifically.

The companies will report publicly on progress with these commitments, alongside their annual assurance statements to the Gambling Commission.

Last week NHS England announced it is establishing up to fourteen clinics for those with the most complex and severe gambling problems.

They include where gambling problems coexist with other mental health problems or childhood trauma.

And it has also been announced that the first NHS problem gambling clinic offering specific support for children is set to open.

The funding announced today enables a huge boost for the other treatment services that complement specialist NHS clinics, and it will help us to place an increased focus on early intervention.

I know members across the House have argued for a mandatory, statutory levy to procure funds for treatment and support of problem gambling.

I understand the argument but of course the House knows that legislating for this would take time – in all likelihood more than a year to complete.

The proposal made this morning will deliver substantially increased support for problem gamblers this year.

It may also be said that receipts from a statutory levy are certain, and those from a voluntary approach are not.

But it is important to stress two things. First that these voluntary contributions must and will be transparent, including to the regulator, and if they are not made we will know.

Second, the Government reserves the right to pursue a mandatory route to funding if a voluntary one does not prove effective.

Mr Speaker, this is a clear financial commitment from industry to addressing the harms that can come from gambling.

But this is not solely about spending money. This is a package of measures spanning a number of different areas, to ensure we tackle problem gambling on all possible fronts.

Firstly, a responsible gambling industry is one that works together to reduce harm and wants customers to be safe, whichever platform they use or however they choose to gamble.

The companies already identify customers whose gambling suggests they may be at risk, and they take steps to protect them. Their licences require this. But they will go further.

We have already seen the successful launch of GAMSTOP, the multi-operator self-exclusion scheme.

I am pleased that companies have committed to building on this through the greater sharing of data between them to prevent problem gamblers from experiencing further harm.

Secondly, the five companies will use emerging technology to make sure their online advertising is used responsibly.

Where technology exists that can identify a user showing problem gambling behaviours, and then target gambling adverts away from that person, they have committed to using it.

More generally, industry has already committed to a voluntary ban on advertising around live sport during the daytime, which will come into force next month.

Third, operators have committed to giving greater prominence to services and campaigns that support those in need of help.

They have pledged to increase the volume of their customer safer gambling messaging…

To continue their support for the BetRegret campaign, which is showing promising early results…

And to review the tone and content of their marketing, advertising and sponsorship to ensure it is appropriate.

These are welcome commitments and represent significant progress in terms of the support that operators give for those impacted by problem gambling.

But as technology advances, we will need to be even more sophisticated in how we respond.

The five companies who have proposed these measures today will be working closely with Government, charities and regulators so we can address any new or developing harms.

I commend the leadership of the five companies who have put them forward.

They are proposals from some of the industry’s biggest companies.

And I believe it is reasonable for the biggest companies with the largest reach and the most resources to do more and show leadership.

But the industry as a whole needs to engage in tackling problem gambling, and we want other firms to look at what they can also do to step up.

And I repeat, it will remain open to government to legislate if needed.

So this is not the end of this conversation.

And we will keep working hard as a Government to make sure we protect users, whether online or in the High Street.

Mr Speaker, there is still much more to do, but today’s announcement is a significant step forward.

It means substantially more help for problem gamblers, more quickly than other paths we could take.

We must and we will hold the companies that have made these commitments to them and we will expect the rest of the industry to match them.

They will change lives for the better and contribute to the ongoing work we are doing to make gambling safer for everyone.

I commend this statement to the House.

Jeremy Wright – 2019 Speech to NSPCC Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Wright, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the 2019 NSPCC Conference held on 26 June 2019.

Thank you for the introduction.

As most of you know when the internet began, it was a way for a relatively small number of scientists to talk to each other about their work.

Today the internet is a way for all of us to talk and to hear from the whole world, and is increasingly where we conduct our professional, social and family lives.

It follows that it is also a place where increasingly our children are growing up. As some of you will know 99% of 12-15 year olds are online, spending around 20 hours a week on the internet.

And as we live more and more of our lives online, it becomes less and less acceptable, less and less sustainable for the protections, and the restrictions on bad behaviour that we expect and require in every other environment not to be present online.

If in the society we want to live in, you couldn’t get away with it in print or broadcast media, or out in the streets, then you shouldn’t be able to get away with it online either. But right now, too often you can.

Many of you deal with the real consequences of that discrepancy.

And you have the right to ask us in government to act on the statement – if it’s unacceptable offline, it’s unacceptable online. I want to explain how we intend to do that and set out some of the challenges in doing so.

Now lets be fair, some of the online platforms have begun to hear the voices of those who advocate for children, like so many of you here today, and to take some steps to make the online world safer.

But it is not enough and it is far too reactive to tragedies, not proactive in preventing them. And many of these companies have themselves begun to accept that government must have a role here.

We cannot accept self-regulation anymore, or co-regulation come to that. So if Government is to regulate, how should it do so?

There are genuinely held and valid concerns about freedom of speech online and the need for innovation there to continue.

Genuine and natural fears of government deciding what is right and wrong on the internet. But I think we have to keep in mind our objective of protecting people from harm.

This is not about making rules for the internet that don’t exist elsewhere, it is about bringing the rules we live by to the world we increasingly live in.

Another genuine fear is that in an environment that changes as fast as the internet does, where the threat landscape is very mobile, the rules get out of date fast.

And that is why I believe the right way forward is a duty of care based model, which the NSPCC, among others, have so effectively argued for.

What it means is that online companies who deal with user generated content, and facilitate searching for it, or sharing it, must do all they reasonably can to keep the users of their services safe.

And of course the more vulnerable the users, including children, the more it is reasonable to expect.

There will be codes of practice to help explain what the duty of care might involve, but the key point is that the overarching duty sits above them and means that no online company can say – as harms manifest themselves in new ways, as we know they will – that there was nothing in the code of practice about it, so I did nothing to keep my users safe from it.

We expect, we deserve, and we will require that some of the cleverest companies in the world use their ingenuity to protect us, as well as to sell to us.

So we will set out that duty in law. The next question is – how will that duty be enforced?

There must be a regulator, independent of government, with the ability to administer the duty of care and the powers to sanction those who ignore it.

Those sanctions must be significant to influence the actions of the big international companies that so many of these online entities now are.

Significant in terms of the scale of fines, but also in other penalties and we will consider individual director liability or site blocking.

Government must act but we also expect and will require online companies to act. But the truth is we all have to take action to keep ourselves, and our children safe online. Nobody is going to uninvent the internet or social media.

And however effective the regulation I am proposing may be, it will not stop every piece of harmful content from reaching every one of us.

So we need the skills and techniques to keep ourselves safe, and we need to teach them to our children. And we should require the new regulator and the companies it regulates to do more to give us these skills and techniques. So there is much to do and we should approach it with determination, but also, in my view, with humility.

It’s important to listen to what people have to say about this White Paper and to make improvements where we can. We are consulting on it until the 1st July and I encourage you all to respond. It is also important for us to hear from young people themselves, and we have been doing that.

One of my officials recently had the unenviable task of explaining a regulator and a duty of care to a group of 8-year-olds.

But actually, they got it. And when asked what the punishment for a breach should be, one child said ‘a £100 fine’. Another, less forgiving student, said ‘No – it needs to be £500’.

Well I can reassure those students and all of you that fines will be considerably higher than that. And I’ve been hearing from them myself, from a group of year 10 students in Solihull, to the Diana Award’s anti-bullying ambassadors here in London.

And they all have experiences and interests to register in this process. It is in their interests most of all that we must get this right. It is also important to recognise that there is no comprehensive international model to follow.

What is proposed in this White Paper means the United Kingdom will lead the world and we should be proud of that not intimidated by it.

But we want others to act to protect other citizens of the digital world of all ages, so I am also speaking to policy makers and legislators in other countries to urge them to take a similar course.

In all of this I need your help, your passion and commitment to a safer online world for our children translated into effective legislation and regulation.

And I recognise the urgency of doing that, so I intend to publish the Government response to the White Paper consultation by the end of the year and to introduce legislation as soon as possible next year.

We are doing as much as we can now to bring Parliamentary consensus on that regulation when it is brought forward.

But even so, getting this right cannot be done immediately. And we should not wait for a new regulator to be established to take action on online harms. Neither should the companies which will become subject to that regulation.

We’ve set out in the White Paper some of the work we are doing now to protect children online. For example, the UK Council for Internet Safety has developed an online resilience toolkit for users. Helped by many of you in this room.

And government has funded the UK Safer Internet Centre to develop cyberbullying guidance which provides advice for schools on understanding, preventing and responding to cyberbullying, and an online safety toolkit to help schools deliver sessions.

And I know you are hearing from my colleague, the Education Secretary, later today on, among other things, what we are doing to incorporate online safety into the school curriculum.

We are making progress, but ensuring we are giving children the skills they need to go online is still a relatively new and emerging issue and there is more we could do.

That’s why government will produce a new draft code of practice on child online safety to set clear standards for companies to keep children safe online.

That will be published ahead of the new online safety laws.

The draft code will set our expectations about what is required to keep children safe and will examine existing resources available, including whether specific guidance should be offered to parents and carers.

And it will act as a one-stop shop for smaller companies to help them navigate the range of guidance already available, and fill any gaps if necessary.

This will make it as easy as possible for companies to take practical steps to improve safety ahead of new laws.

This work will complement the media literacy strategy which we announced in the White Paper.

In addition to that, I have commissioned new guidance about the use of technology by platforms to ensure that children are protected from inappropriate content.

This work will provide platforms with guidance establishing appropriate safeguards. We expect that guidance will be published in the autumn. So we recognise that our children are growing up in a changing technological world.

And significant harms are emerging that are unique to the online world – such as cyber-flashing, deepfake pornography or the trauma of having private sexual images disseminated across the internet.

We know from the NSPCC and others that sexting is a growing issue.

You then have deeply worrying group behaviours such as viral suicide games, or sustained and co-ordinated campaigns of online abuse directed against individuals by particular groups in society.

These paint a picture of an online world that I and you don’t want our children to grow up in.

I have talked about how regulation structures need to adapt to change that, but the criminal law needs to keep pace too.

So today, alongside colleagues in the Ministry of Justice, I have asked the Law Commission to review the current communications offences to establish whether the law is fit for purpose, and make specific recommendations about options for legal reform in this area.

It will consider whether the non-consensual taking and sharing of intimate images could be more effectively dealt with by the criminal law.

And it will also examine whether the legal framework around co-ordinated harassment by groups of people online is as clear and fit for purpose as it needs to be. This work will begin next month.

So there is plenty of work being done and plenty more to do.

Keeping our children safe online is complex because the online world is complex, and changing all the time.

My priority in the 12 months I have had this job has been the development of proposals now set out in the Online Harms White Paper, that I believe will make a real difference in making that online world safer.

I am proud of it. But I believe it can be made better.

I hope you will help me do that and that together we make the United Kingdom the safest place to grow up online.

Jeremy Wright – 2019 Statement on Online Pornography Age Verification

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Wright, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in the House of Commons on 20 June 2019.

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement. As the House knows, the Government announced that age verification for online pornography, under the Digital Economy Act 2017, would come into force on 15 July 2019. It has come to my attention in recent days that an important notification process was not undertaken for an element of this policy, and I regret to say that that will delay the commencement date. I wanted to take the opportunity to come to the House as soon as possible to apologise for the mistake that has been made and to explain its implications.

In autumn last year, we laid three instruments before the House for approval. One of them—the guidance on age verification arrangements—sets out standards that companies need to comply with. That should have been notified to the European Commission, in line with the technical standards and regulations directive, and it was not. Upon learning of that administrative oversight, I instructed my Department to notify this guidance to the EU and re-lay the guidance in Parliament as soon as possible. However, I expect that that will result in a delay in the region of six months.

As the House would expect, I want to understand how this occurred. I have therefore instructed my Department’s permanent secretary to conduct a thorough investigation. That investigation will have external elements to ensure that all necessary lessons are learned. Mechanisms will also be put in place to ensure that this cannot happen again. In the meantime, there is nothing to stop responsible providers of online pornography implementing age verification mechanisms on a voluntary basis, and I hope and expect that many will do so.

The House will also know that there are a number of other ways in which the Government are pursuing our objective of keeping young people safer online. The online harms White Paper sets out our plans for world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online. Alongside the White Paper, we published the social media code of practice under the Digital Economy Act 2017, which gives guidance to providers of social media platforms on appropriate actions that they should take to prevent bullying, insulting, intimidating and humiliating behaviours on their sites. We will also publish interim codes of practice detailing the steps that we expect companies to take to tackle terrorist content, and online child sexual abuse and exploitation. These will pave the way for the new regulatory requirements.

We set out in the White Paper our expectation that companies should protect children from inappropriate content, and we will produce a draft code of practice on child online safety to set clear standards for companies to keep children safe online, ahead of the new regulatory framework. During the consultation on the White Paper, technical challenges associated with identifying the specific ages of users were raised, so I have commissioned new guidance, to be published in the autumn, about the use of technology to ensure that children are protected from inappropriate content online.

The new regulatory framework for online harms that was announced in the White Paper will be introduced as soon as possible, because it will make a significant difference to the action taken by companies to keep children safe online. I intend to publish the Government response to the consultation by the end of the year, and to introduce legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows after that.

I recognise that many Members of the House and many people beyond it have campaigned passionately for age verification to come into force as soon as possible to ensure that children are protected from pornographic material they should not see. I apologise to them all for the fact that a mistake has been made that means these measures will not be brought into force as soon as they and I would like. However, there are also those who do not want these measures to be brought in at all, so let me make it clear that my statement is an apology for delay, not a change of policy or a lessening of this Government’s determination to bring these changes about. Age verification for online pornography needs to happen. I believe that it is the clear will of the House and those we represent that it should happen, and that it is in the clear interests of our children that it must.

Jeremy Wright – 2019 Statement on Free TV Licences for Over-75s

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Wright, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in the House of Commons on 11 June 2019.

The BBC is a fundamental part of the social and economic fabric of this country. It is important for people of all ages, but particularly for older people, who value television as a way to stay connected with the world.

The Government recognised the importance of the licence fee when we agreed a funding settlement with the BBC in 2015 to provide the BBC with financial certainty to plan over the long term. We agreed to take action further to boost the BBC’s income by requiring iPlayer users to have a TV licence, and we unfroze the licence fee for the first time since 2010 by guaranteeing that it will rise each year in line with inflation.

In return, we agreed that responsibility for the over-75 licence fee concession would transfer to the BBC in June 2020. We agreed a phased transition to help the BBC with its financial planning as it did so. This was a fair deal for the BBC. At the time, the BBC director-general said the settlement represented

“a strong deal for the BBC”,

which provided “financial stability”.

The BBC is operationally independent, so the announcement yesterday is very much its decision, but taxpayers want to see the BBC using its substantial licence fee income appropriately to ensure it delivers for UK audiences, and that includes showing restraint on salaries for senior staff. In 2017-18, the BBC received over £3.8 billion in licence fee income—more than ever before. The BBC is also making over £1 billion a year from commercial work, such as selling content abroad, which can be reinvested. So we are very disappointed that the BBC will not protect free television licences for all viewers aged 75 and over.

The BBC received views from over 190,000 people as part of its broader public consultation, which sought opinions on a number of options. With a number of proposals on the table, the BBC has taken the most narrowly defined reform option. I firmly believe that the BBC can and should do more to support older people, and I am now looking to it to make clear exactly how it will do that.

Jeremy Wright – 2019 Speech at Launch of TechNation Report

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Wright, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on 14 May 2019.

Thank you very much.

It has been a successful and exciting few days for our DCMS sectors.

Last week, four English football teams qualified for European finals, the first time ever that all the finalists have come from the same country.

And this report shows that our digital economy is leading the way in Europe too.

We are fourth in the world for scaleup investment after only the USA, China and India.

Thirty five per cent of Europe and Israel’s tech unicorns have been created in the UK.

And last year, total venture capital investment in UK tech topped six billion pounds, more than any other European country.

This report is a worthwhile reminder of how far we have come. And it makes a number of interesting recommendations which we will study with interest.

There is still work to do if we want to stay on top.

So today I wanted to talk briefly about what change we need to see if we are to keep this momentum going in the years ahead.

Encouraging investment

First, we need to encourage investment.

Today’s report tells a compelling story in this area. Investment for UK high-growth digital tech firms grew 61 per cent between 2017 and 2018 – driven in large part by our ambitious tech scaleups.

And in the growing fintech sector, we were ranked number one in the world for scaleup investment.

Despite this positive outlook, there are some firms that can find it challenging to raise capital, particularly within the tech for good sector.

If we want mission-driven tech businesses to have a positive impact on society, then we need to help them flourish and scale up, through giving them the right support and funding.

So we have announced that we are backing the UK’s leading dedicated supporter of social tech – the Social Tech Trust – to set up a new investment fund.

This fund will provide ventures with the access to capital that they need at the right time, so that we can boost our already thriving tech for good sector, which was valued at 2.3 billion pounds last year.

The aim is to raise up to 30 million pounds for this investment fund, to help ventures focused in three key areas of social transformation: health, wealth, and communities.

This is part of a package of support, including a fund of one million pounds to drive social tech innovation in civil society, to help develop solutions to tackle social isolation and bring communities together.

We also need to encourage innovation friendly regulation, especially for start-ups, which already face so many challenges in their formative years.

Modern businesses require modern regulation – and the UK is leading the way in embracing change.

The Financial Conduct Authority’s Green Tech Fintech Challenge is a good example.

It supports a number of firms, including many of our dynamic start-ups, in developing products and services to help our transition towards a greener economy.

The challenge provides guidance and live market testing, which can be essential in helping a product overcome the hurdles faced by businesses.

I want our regulators to carry out their essential roles – preventing harm, and providing certainty to businesses and trust to citizens – whilst supporting the innovation that has helped us deliver these exceptional results.

Skills and talent

My second point is about having the best possible tech talent here in the UK.

The report shows the UK is the number one destination for tech talent, employing five per cent of all tech scaleup employees globally.

Success requires an immigration system that welcomes the world’s top tech talent.

Like our Tech Nation Visa, which enables the brightest and best to come and work in the UK’s digital technology sector.

And our Entrepreneur and Graduate Entrepreneur visas, which have recently been revived in response to feedback from the tech sector.

As we leave the EU, we need a future immigration system based around bringing skilled people to the UK. I know this is a priority for you and I will continue to – reflect your needs at the Cabinet table and beyond.

It is also pleasing to see that cyber, AI, and Cleantech are all featuring in the top ten sectors for employment in high-growth tech firms.

This shows that the newest and most exciting technologies are being developed right here in the UK. But we need to make sure everyone feels the benefits.

Digital technology is continuing to transform the nature of work and the skills that are valued by employers.

And the best way to futureproof our economy in a time of unprecedented change is to promote digital skills. And I know that this is a view shared by employers too.

From making coding in the curriculum compulsory at school age, through to supporting a more flexible labour market and expanding digital training for adults, we have a far-reaching programme to support digital skills.

Our Digital Skills Partnerships have made huge strides to improve digital capability right across the country.

And our AI Sector Deal included a focus on skills and talent, by developing new industry funded AI Masters programmes, cutting-edge PhD places and creating a globally respected fellowship scheme.

This work is so important.

Because we cannot become a truly digital nation until we have a skilled, digital workforce that makes use of all the available talent.

Regional tech economy

Finally, I want to talk about the importance of our regional digital economies.

It is easy as we gather here in the heart of the capital to focus our attention on London.

There is no doubt that London is one of the world’s great hubs for technology and commerce. And we don’t want to change that.

London-based companies receive billions of tech investment every year, almost twice as much as their European counterparts.

But we have a crucial opportunity to use technology to drive regional economies and help deliver prosperity right across the country.

I have been pleased to see that the report illustrates that over the last 12 years, we have seen a much greater distribution of investment all across the UK, rather than just in the capital.

It shows that although 36 per cent of tech investment is now in London, the East of England has seen a massive 206 per cent increase in capital investment over the past twelve years.

This means that many of our towns and cities have thriving tech ecosystems and are creating fast-growing businesses that are competing successfully with European capitals.

Sixty UK unicorns have now been created outside of London.

And in terms of unicorns, Manchester is neck and neck with Amsterdam, while Oxford and Cambridge combined are outperforming Berlin and Paris.

Last year, Tech City UK and Tech North evolved into Tech Nation.

This wasn’t just a rebranding but reflects the Government’s commitment to supporting tech pioneers wherever they are based.

And Tech Nation’s Enterprise Engagement Managers, who work alongside key digital partners in their host region, are a key part of our vision for future success.

This means rolling out the best physical infrastructure all across the UK, for example through unlocking the potential of full fibre and 5G.

And also through making sure we unlock the potential of our rural digital economies, through TechNation and also by using all the other levers that we have as a Government.


After this speech, I am taking the Eurostar to the VivaTech summit in Paris. So I am very grateful to you for hosting this event at Kings’ Cross…

That summit brings together leaders from the tech sector, civil society and Government to discuss how to get the best from new technologies.

And I will be taking this report with me.

What better way to show that we remain an innovative and outward looking nation, open to new ideas, investment and talent from all across the world.

This report tells a story of innovation and ingenuity.

And our challenge now is to write the next chapter.

Thank you very much.

Jeremy Wright – 2019 Speech at Impact19 Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Wright, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on 9 May 2019.

Thank you very much and good afternoon.

This is a very important event to help us explore how business, government and civil society can work together to solve the major challenges faced by our society.

The fact that we have several Government ministers here, along with William Vereker, the Prime Minister’s Business Envoy, I hope demonstrates the attention and the significance we are giving this subject all across Government.

As society changes, enabled by the rise of new technologies, the nature of business must change too.

Businesses are increasingly recognising that they have a contract with society and that to maintain and renew this contract, they must play a part in addressing the major social issues that we all face.

The idea of social responsibility as a bolt-on option for businesses is long gone.

We are seeing so many businesses that have a social purpose at their heart.

But there is scope to do more and get greater numbers of businesses on board.

And that’s what I wanted to talk about today. How we can channel this momentum and support the scores of businesses that want to live up to the changing expectations of our society.

Forming partnerships

First, I would like to talk about partnerships.

This event is all about partnerships. Because there are some challenges that can’t be solved by Government, by civil society, or by business alone.

If we are to succeed in creating a truly inclusive economy, we need to combine all of our strengths and create a new model for solving these problems.

Using the convening power of Government, the dynamism of business and the knowledge and expertise of our civil society.

And that is what we have aimed to inspire through the Inclusive Economy Partnership.

This aims to find new ways of working together on societal issues, and to give businesses the right support and the right conditions to make big interventions.

In its first year, it focused its work on three areas: transition to work for young people, mental health and financial inclusion.

The IEP ran a Partnership Accelerator, based on these themes, offering financial support for projects that aim to tackle these issues, and brokering partnerships between social innovators and big businesses and civil society organisations.

My colleague, the Secretary of State for Business will discuss the work of the Accelerator in more detail later today, but early indications have been extremely positive.

As Oliver said, around 100 partnerships have been confirmed as a result of the programme, with an estimated 50,000 people benefiting as a result. And there is considerable potential to scale these partnerships up even further.

Looking beyond the Accelerator, highlights of the Inclusive Economy Partnership have included the Launch of Fair4All Finance, which will use funds from dormant assets to support solutions to provide affordable credit to those who need it most.

And the creation of a new West Midlands taskforce to reduce youth unemployment, inspired by IEP’s transition-to-work pilot in the region.

This is crucially important work.

And it has been heartening to me to see so many of the Inclusive Economy Partnership’s projects emerging from our world-leading technology sector.

Digital businesses

Our technology and civil society sectors are, at their core, all about shaking up established conventions and solving problems.

You can see that in the rising number of tech for social good organisations, with the sector growing exponentially in recent years.

In the Civil Society Strategy, we committed as a Government to exploring what more could be achieved through partnerships between the technology and social sectors.

And there are many social issues where I see a role for tech firms.

Not just through meeting their responsibilities around protecting users from harm, like cyberbullying and extremist content.

But also through striving to make a positive impact on the world we live in.

One example is financial inclusion and the ‘Open Banking 4 Good’ scheme. Nationwide worked with the Inclusive Economy Partnership to launch a three million pound Challenge Prize for solutions that use open banking technology.

And then there’s the issue of loneliness, one of the greatest public health challenges of our time.

Up to a fifth of all UK adults feel lonely most or all of the time. And there is evidence showing loneliness can be as bad for our health as obesity or smoking.

In January I announced that we are investing a million pounds to drive social tech innovation in civil society, to help develop solutions to tackle loneliness and bring communities together.

This Tech for Good Challenge Prize will set inspiring targets to focus the efforts of industry, civil society and government.

Successful participants will be rewarded with a cash incentive and ongoing business support. And we are working hard to create the best possible environment for these businesses to succeed, through innovation friendly regulation, access to capital and ensuring stronger digital skills at every level.

A few months ago we announced the beneficiaries of our new Digital Inclusion Innovation Fund.

That 400,000 pound fund focuses on tackling digital exclusion amongst groups that are most excluded from the digital revolution and slowest to adopt basic digital skills.

This long-term investment is crucial if we are to develop strong foundations for this inclusive economy.

And create businesses that can make the most of the technological changes ahead, whilst maintaining a strong social purpose.

Businesses as employers

And I am pleased that we are seeing more and more employers rising to this challenge.

Society increasingly expects all businesses to make a positive impact, whether it is within their own business, throughout their supply chain or within the communities they operate in.

And one way of doing this is through providing opportunities to those who might not otherwise be able to get through the door.

You cannot have an inclusive economy without an inclusive workforce. A greater diversity of background, and thought, means more perspectives and, as a result, a better quality of decision making.

So it is good news that so many firms have been looking to see how they can employ under-represented groups and provide alternative entry level routes into their industries.

Earlier today, I spoke at a conference for the publishing industry, where I commended the Spectator magazine for their commitment to inclusivity.

They no longer ask for prospective interns to submit CVs, opening the doors to those whose educational background may have previously discouraged them from applying.

And we have had over 300 signatories to the Tech Talent Charter, which gives organisations tangible actions and principles to adopt to help them change their hiring practices.

And I know there are many more examples, including some in this room.

For example, the Inclusive Economy Partnership is backing a growing movement of businesses focused on the mental health of their employees, as well as looking for opportunities to tackle this issue among their customers and the wider community.

It supported the development of the Government’s voluntary reporting guidelines, launched in November last year.

And one of the many success stories from our Accelerator has been the “This Is Me” programme, aimed at creating inclusive workplaces through creating more open conversations about mental health.

They have formed a partnership with Landsec, the UK’s largest commercial property development and investment company.

Landsec is helping this programme to launch in two new cities and they have also introduced the programme through their supply chain.

This is a real example of the inclusive economy in action. It’s good for society as a whole while providing benefits for the companies that show leadership in this area.

And increasingly people want to work for firms that share their values and that are making a positive impact on the communities they live in.

So please think about what you can do, through the IEP and beyond. It is good for business, recruitment and retention, but it can make a lasting difference to future generations.


As a Government we want to showcase to the world that we can be a leader in delivering inclusive growth.

But if we are to succeed and build a truly national movement, we need to build partnerships. That is what today is all about.

We need your help and look forward to working with you.

Thank you for coming today and I hope that you have an inspiring and enjoyable day.

Jeremy Wright – 2019 Speech on Online Harms

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Wright, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, at the British Library in London on 8 April 2019.

Thank you all for joining us and thanks to the British Library.

And for those of you who are wondering why we have come to the British Library to talk about the internet, let me offer an explanation.

Until the internet arrived, this was the world’s great collection of human knowledge.

In this collection are the products of the greatest innovations and innovators in our history – from some of the earliest works created by the printing press to letters from Ada Lovelace, often known as the first computer programmer.

Elsewhere there are elements of our legal history, like one of the few remaining copies of the Magna Carta.

And it is on the interaction between the technological progress that drives our economy and the rules that protect our society that the White Paper we have published this morning is based.

Just as the invention of the printing press required new ways of thinking about copyright and the ownership of ideas, so the online world has produced its own challenges.

The internet is a part of our lives – nearly 90% of adults in the UK are online and 99% of 12-15 year olds.

In many ways it is a powerful force for good. It can forge connections, share knowledge and spread opportunity across the world.

But it can also be used to promote terrorism, undermine civil discourse, spread disinformation, and abuse or bully.

For the most vulnerable in our society, the effects are more acute and sometimes they are tragic.

And the truth is that the more we do online, the less acceptable it is that behaviour which would be controlled in any other environment is not controlled online.

How to preserve a dynamic and innovative internet, while keeping its users safe from serious harm, is one of the great policy challenges of our age.

This White Paper is our response.

So what does it say?

We could have decided to continue as we are – to urge online companies, in louder and louder voices, to do more to tackle the damaging content on their platforms but leave it to them to decide what should be done and when.

Or we could pursue a prescriptive system of rules-based regulations that would struggle to keep up with a fast-changing threat landscape.

We have concluded that neither of these approaches would deliver the better, safer internet which is in the interests of both those who provide online services and those use them.

So we have set out in this White Paper a different approach.

We propose a duty of care for those online companies which allow users to share or discover user-generated content, or that allow users to interact with each other online.

A duty to do all that is reasonable to keep their users safe online.

That duty will be enforced by an independent regulator.

The White Paper sets out in greater detail our expectations of online companies as to how they should meet that duty of care and we expect the regulator to reflect those expectations in new codes of practice it will develop.

The regulator will also take account of the need to promote innovation and freedom of speech.

It will adopt a risk-based approach, prioritising action where there is the greatest evidence of threat or harm to individuals or to wider society.

It will also adopt a proportionate approach – taking account of a company’s size and resources.

It will be regulation designed to be intelligent, but most of all designed to be effective.

The regulator will have powers to demand transparency from online companies about the harms found on their platforms and what they are doing about them.

And the regulator will have powers to impose meaningful sanctions.

We are consulting in the White Paper not just on remedial notices and substantial fines, but also on senior management liability and the blocking of websites.

But this will be a regulatory approach designed to encourage good behaviour as well as to punish bad behaviour.

Just as technology has created the challenges we are addressing here, technology will provide many of the solutions and the regulator will have broader responsibilities to promote the development and adoption of the these technologies and to encourage safety by design.

It is also important to recognise that we all need the skills to keep ourselves safe online and we will task the regulator with promoting those skills too.

So we are proposing some significant changes and we believe they are necessary.

I want to take the opportunity to thank the team of civil servants from my Department and the Home Office, and others across Government for the huge amount of hard work that has gone into producing this White Paper today.

And I want to thank those of you here this morning who have campaigned for a safer internet, who already do so much to keep people safe online and who have added so much to our thinking on this subject.

We hope you will continue to add to that thinking.

We want you to tell us what you think of what you read in this White Paper, so we can get it right.


The last thing I want to say is this.

There are those who say, and will say when they read this White Paper, that because the internet is global, no nation can act to regulate it unless every nation acts to regulate it.

I don’t agree.

I believe the United Kingdom can and should lead the world on this. Because the world knows we believe in innovation and we believe in the rule of law too. We are well placed to act first and to develop a system of regulation the world will want to emulate.

This White Paper begins that process, and I am grateful for the strong support in its development of my friend and colleague the Home Secretary, to whom it is my pleasure to hand over to now.

Jeremy Wright – 2019 Speech at the Enders Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Wright, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on 7 March 2019.

Good afternoon everyone and thank you the invitation to come and speak here today.

I often talk about DCMS as being a department that is all about the things that connect us.

Like the ties of civil society that bind us and the culture, sport and heritage that brings our nation together.

These connections of course include our world class media. Media that gives us all shared experiences and inspires and informs us every day.

And of course, I don’t need to tell you, the digital infrastructure that is needed to power our growth as a digital economy.

It is a crucial time for these industries.

In recent years, we have seen new technologies emerge, new firms entering the market and consumer habits changing beyond recognition.

This also presents a range of new challenges for policymakers.

How can we make sure that public service broadcasters remain valued and relevant?

How can we incentivise the type of content that underpins a healthy democracy and society?

And how can we make sure we have the right digital infrastructure to support the digital pioneers who can make this country a better place?

So today, I want to outline three areas I see as crucially important if we are to keep forging the connections that are so important for a well informed and prosperous nation.

Supporting domestic broadcasters

The first is supporting the UK media in a landscape that is increasingly competitive.

There has been a lot of discussion about print media in recent weeks, especially after the publication of the Cairncross Review into high quality journalism.

So today I wanted to talk about our broadcasters, another part of our media that has undergone massive changes I know that you have been discussing this morning.

Traditional TV set viewing of broadcast channels is declining at an increasing rate, with a 5 per cent decline year-on-year in 2018. And for under 25’s the figure has fallen by half since 2010.

Even in the midst of this seismic change, our broadcasters remain powerful forces for good at home.

PSBs work for the public benefit to foster shared experiences, stimulate learning and inspire change.

The very nature of our PSBs means they perform services that are in our national interest.

For example ITV’s regional news coverage and Channel 4 driving the growth of the sector outside London, including through setting up their national HQ in Leeds.

And they are making a huge impact across the globe too, with hit shows like Sherlock, Planet Earth and Victoria being sold to over 180 territories worldwide.

And of course these PSBs are joined by other diverse and creative broadcasters who share many of their essential values.

Sky and Sky News are a very strong example of this and I am sure you will hear more about their work from Jeremy Darroch a little later.

We must recognise that while global competition and the opening of markets has been beneficial, it has also created tough challenges for traditional broadcasters.

And we must not lose the good that public service broadcasting can do and the impact it makes on our society, our economy, and our standing around the world.

That is why the Government asked Ofcom to look at prominence.

It is vital that our regulatory environment adapts with the market and audience expectations.

And that means ensuring that public service content can be found easily on different platforms and within PSBs’ on-demand offerings.

There is no point having prominence rules that relate to how material used to be viewed, rather than how it is viewed today and how it will increasingly be used – from smart TVs to voice control.

And we will consider Ofcom’s report carefully when it is published, and if they make legislative recommendations we will look at taking them forward.

But there is also a need to look more broadly at how we can strengthen the foundations that support public service programming.

An example of Government taking a new approach is through the new pilot Contestable Fund.

This will provide up to 57 million pounds for new, UK originated children’s content, with a further fund of up to three million pounds for public service radio programming.

This will test a new way of helping emerging British talent reach UK audiences.

The fund is on track to be launched on the 1st April and I would encourage all eligible broadcasters and producers to engage with it.

Of course, on the subject of things scheduled to happen around this time, Brexit.

I realise it has not been an easy period and like all businesses, you are looking for certainty.

And I will do everything I can to seek the best possible arrangements for broadcasters over the coming months.

We have already confirmed that EU exit will not have any direct impact on creative sector tax reliefs.

And that in the event of no deal, the Government will underwrite the payment of awards made before exit day, for programmes like Creative Europe.

And last month, we reaffirmed our commitment to EU co-production by signing the revised Council of Europe’s Convention on Cinematographic Co Production.

I am passionate about creating the best possible conditions for this vital industry to thrive. But we accept that as a Government we do not have all the answers.

I have been heartened to see the work that broadcasters have been doing to form partnerships to achieve greater reach and impact.

Last week, both BBC and ITV announced their plan to launch a new Britbox service.

I am pleased to see the BBC and ITV bringing forward an ambitious proposal and I look forward to seeing more detail on this service as it develops.

I see partnerships like these as a part of a competitive and highly creative future for the sector.

Level playing field

In pursuit of that bright future, the second topic I want to discuss today is a level playing field.

The UK rightly prides itself on its world-leading broadcast regulation that allows for free speech and innovation whilst protecting consumers. It is vital we have effective regulation for digital content too.

The Government will soon be publishing a White Paper on Online Harms, which will set out clear expectations for companies, focusing most directly on those harms which present the gravest threat to user safety.

But beyond the White Paper, we must also make sure that our concept of broadcasting, and our policies towards it, recognise and reflect the growing impact of the digital world.

We all know the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime are now an established part of our media landscape and we will soon see other players entering too.

Viewers clearly welcome their presence here and they have made a substantial investment..

Netflix reported that it made 40 productions in the UK last year. It has also made important investments in talent, through training schemes and production initiatives.

They are increasing their UK presence and engagement which is great news for our creative industries and for viewers.

And it’s not mutually exclusive to have a thriving PSB system and a thriving SVoD world.

But as the SVoD landscape develops, we do need to understand what this means for UK broadcasters and UK audiences.

Our regulation of broadcasters is widely appreciated – including by audiences – for its robustness and effectiveness, and it sets the framework for much of the cultural and economic benefit that we so value.

It provides crucial consumer protections, especially with regard to harmful and inaccurate content, which plays an important role in ensuring trust in our broadcasters.

But for relatively new on demand platforms, rules are in many areas not as robust.

We place high expectations on our public service broadcasters to reflect and represent the full diversity of the UK’s nations and regions, and in doing so creating a product that often appeals across the globe.

On-demand platforms undoubtedly have global appeal. But it is worth thinking about how we can encourage them to develop in a way that means the content produced here truly reflects UK audiences.

Otherwise there are risks that audiences become more reliant on content that feels, as Sir Peter Bazalgette said recently, “curiously stateless”.

These changes are something we will consider carefully as the sector changes rapidly.

Another area where there may not be a level playing field is advertising.

I announced last month that my department will be conducting a review of how online advertising is regulated, and my officials are now scoping out how to take this work forward.

Equity between the regulated broadcast world and currently unregulated online world will also be an important part of our consultation which will be published shortly – on potential advertising restrictions for high fat salt and sugar products.

The consultation will look at online restrictions as well as those for TV. We will the make a decision solely based on the evidence and the proportionality of impact.

This distinction between online and offline is one of the most important policy questions of our time, and it applies to areas far beyond broadcasting.

I went to California a few weeks ago to meet leaders of many of the world’s biggest technology firms.

And I was clear that while we are very supportive of technology and innovation, we need to see technology companies doing more to face up to their responsibilities in this area.

There is some important work underway. Only today we saw the conclusion of a joint US-UK challenge event on disinformation.

This gave tech companies who are developing solutions the opportunity to demonstrate their products to a government audience.

But as more and more of our content, and public conversations, move online, we will need robust and democratic frameworks to help us find the right path.

This is not a move against technology; this is recognition that technology plays a huge part in our lives, with all the good it brings.

But it brings challenges too and a responsive and responsible Government must address them.

This is not an easy task but we all have a stake in getting this right and I’m looking forward to working with you all to do so.


And finally, I wanted to talk about another form of forging connections – economic connections through our digital infrastructure.

The UK has a strong digital economy. But to maintain our global position – and be ready for the future – we need to invest now and at scale in the latest technologies.

There is a real opportunity for the UK to become a world leader in digital connectivity – increasing our competitiveness, boosting productivity and meeting the future demands of consumers and businesses.

And we have ambitions in this area to make sure as many people as possible get the benefits, whether they live in urban centres or rural communities.

These ambitions were set out in the Government’s recent Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review, that sets out a long-term, national strategy for the UK.

We want to see 15 million premises connected to full fibre by 2025, with coverage across all parts of the country by 2033.

We want to make sure 95 per cent of the country has good mobile coverage.

And we want the UK to be a world leader in 5G, a new age of wireless connectivity that will open up important new areas of growth for our economy.

We have seen significant progress in recent months, with industry taking a leading role.

The availability of full fibre in the UK is now increasing rapidly – spurred by network competition. A million premises received full fibre over the last year.

But the UK still lags behind many of our peers, with only 6 per cent availability.

Mobile coverage has markedly improved – but too many parts of the country still have poor reception.

A strong, competitive telecoms market is the best way of delivering our ambitions.

As a Government we are working to create the best possible conditions to support the large-scale commercial investment we need.

Our barrier busting measures – such as our planned legislation to make sure telecoms services can be installed more easily – will reduce the cost of building fibre and mobile networks.

Our Statement of Strategic Priorities for Ofcom is clear that stable, long-term regulation will be necessary to incentivise network investment – and ensure fair and effective competition.

Our publicly funded Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme will launch in Spring to trial new approaches to fibre deployment in hard-to-reach areas.

And we are spending 200 million pounds on a programme of 5G trials to put the UK at the cutting edge of this new technology.

So a lot is being done – by the market and by Government. But there is a lot still to do.

There is an issue with customer satisfaction in many parts of the industry, as we set out in the recent Statement of Strategic Priorities for Ofcom.

This Government is committed to working with Ofcom and the CMA to safeguard the interests of telecoms consumers, including the vulnerable and less engaged.

More needs to be done to clamp down on harmful business practices and make it easier for customers to switch networks.

And we need to see more on coverage too.

It’s time to make seeing “no signal” on your screen a thing of the past.

Ofcom’s proposed spectrum auction will make important further progress towards that 95 per cent target.

But the Mobile Network Operators must also show leadership in this area and I am calling on them to respond to this challenge.

I want to see new innovative ideas from industry to deliver widespread, high quality coverage.

And if necessary, we will consider every single tool that we and Ofcom have in the policy and regulatory toolbox in order to achieve that 95 per cent goal.

It is essential that the UK has the telecoms infrastructure to meet the growing demands of consumers and businesses. And promote the benefits of connectivity across the whole of the UK.

These are the opportunities that we need to seize, if we are to build on our world leading digital economy.

Our future prosperity and future productivity depends on it.


This is a very important conference, bringing together our creators and our innovators are what make our country great. And you are all doing crucial work to make life better, easier and more fulfilling for so many people.

A vibrant media means a vibrant democracy.

And strong infrastructure means a strong nation.

And we must have both.

Thank you very much.

Jeremy Wright – 2019 Statement on the Cairncross Review

Below is the text of the statement made by Jeremy Wright, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to the House of Commons on 12 February 2019.

Thank you Madam Deputy Speaker.

With your permission, I would like to make a statement about the publication of the Cairncross Review.

I would like to thank Dame Frances Cairncross for leading the Review, along with the expert Panel and officials who have worked with her to develop it.


Madam Deputy Speaker, this Review comes at an important time. In her report, Dame Frances paints a vivid picture of the threat to high quality journalism in this country.

There are now around 6,000 fewer journalists than there roughly a decade ago.

Print circulation of daily national papers fell from 11.5 million in 2008 to 5.8 million in 2018.

And in this same time period, circulation for local newspapers has halved.

As the Review makes clear, there are many reasons for this.

But the main driver is a rapid change in how we consume content. The majority of people now read news online, including ninety-one percent of 18 to 24 years olds.

And as this shift takes place, publishers have struggled to find ways to create sustainable business models in the digital age.

As the Review sets out, between them, Google and Facebook capture the largest share of online advertising revenue and are an increasingly important channel for the distribution of news content online.

They also hold an array of data on their users that news publishers cannot possibly hope to replicate, which further strengthens their position in the digital advertising market.

This combination of market conditions threatens to undermine the future financial sustainability of journalism. Even publications that have only ever been online are struggling.

And this should concern us all.

Dame Frances notes that while high quality journalism is desirable, there is one type of journalism that society and democracy cannot do without, and that is public interest journalism.

That is the type of journalism that can hold the powerful to account and is an essential component of our democracy.

It helps us to shine a light on important issues – in communities, in courtrooms, in council chambers and in this Chamber.

This type of journalism is under threat, especially at the local level.

The Review cites numerous examples of what happens to communities when a local paper disappears.

So Dame Frances’ report comes at a vital time, and I welcome her focus on public interest journalism.

Madam Deputy Speaker, this is clearly an important issue and I wanted to set out to the House today how the Government intends to respond.

There are many substantial recommendations in this Review. There are some areas where we can take them forward immediately.

And other, more long-term recommendations, where we will be consulting with stakeholders about the best way forward.

Immediate actions

Firstly, the recommendations we are able to progress with immediately.

Online advertising now represents a growing part of the economy and forms an important revenue stream for many publishers.

But this burgeoning market is largely opaque and extremely complex, and therefore it is at present impossible to know whether the revenue shares received by news publishers are fair.

The Review proposes that the Competition and Markets Authority conducts a market study into the digital advertising market.

The purpose of this study would be to examine whether the online marketplace is operating effectively, and whether it enables or prevents fair competition.

It is right that policy-makers and regulators have an accurate understanding of how the market operates, and check that it is enabling fair competition, and I have today written to the CMA in support of this study.

I will also urge Professor Jason Furman to treat the Cairncross Review as additional evidence as part of his ongoing inquiry into digital competition in the UK, which is due to be published in the Spring.

I also recognise that online advertising has given rise to a wider set of social and economic challenges. My department will therefore conduct a review on how online advertising is regulated.

Madam Deputy Speaker, the Cairncross Review also cites concerns from publishers about the potential market impact of the BBC on their sustainability.

They argue that the BBC’s free-to-access online content makes it harder for publishers to attract subscribers.

The Review also questions whether the BBC is straying too far into the provision of ‘softer’ news content, traditionally the preserve of commercial publishers, and suggests this might benefit from the scrutiny of Ofcom.

Let me be clear that Government recognises the strong and central role of the BBC here. As the review states, “the BBC offers the very thing that this Review aims to encourage: a source of reliable and high quality news, with a focus on objectivity and impartiality, and independent from government”.

However, it is right that the role of the BBC, as a Public Service Broadcaster, is appropriately transparent and clear.

The Review recommended that “Ofcom should assess whether BBC News Online is striking the right balance, between aiming for the widest reach for its own content, and driving traffic from its online site to commercial publishers, particularly local ones.”

Of course, some of these questions were addressed as part of the Charter Review process.

But I have written today to ask Ofcom to look carefully at the Review’s recommendations, and identify if there are any new concerns deserving attention.

For instance, there may be ways in which the BBC could do more to drive traffic to commercial sites, particularly the local press.

Another recommendation from the Review was a proposal for two separate forms of tax relief for news publications, one of which is intended to bolster the supply of local and investigative journalism by enabling it to benefit from charitable status.

The Review noted that in the USA, philanthropic donations provide on average 90 per cent of the total revenues of non-profit news publishers.

Although we have a different media landscape, as the Review sets out, charitable status could reduce the costs for those producing this essential public interest reporting, and pave the way for a new revenue stream through philanthropic donations.

I recognise that this avenue has been explored previously, and that some hurdles will have to be cleared, but I believe we should pursue it.

So I have written to the Charity Commission and look forward to hearing how they can help move this forward.

Longer term work

Madam Deputy Speaker, as I set out earlier there are also areas where we will need to consult further, and respond in further detail.

First, Dame Frances recommends the establishment of an Institute for Public Interest News, to promote investigative and local journalism.

The Review proposes that this Institute would act as a convener for those organisations with the means to support public interest news, including the BBC and online platforms.

It would also be tasked with generating additional finance for the sector, driving innovation through a proposed new fund, and supporting an expansion of the BBC’s Local Democracy Reporting Service.

This BBC funded scheme is a shining example of what can be done. The first of its kind in the industry, it is embedding 150 journalists within local publishers to produce local democracy reporting, particularly relating to local councils.

I met some of these reporters last week and they have produced 50,000 stories so far between them, all stories that may not otherwise have been heard.

The Government will explore, with others, what more can be done here.

The Review also calls upon Government to do more to incentivise the publishing industry’s transition to digital.

It proposes the introduction of an extension of the current scope of VAT exemptions so that they apply to online payments for all news content and not simply print news content, and new tax relief for public interest news providers.

I am aware that there is passionate support for this within the publishing sector and we share their ambition for a healthy and sustainable industry.

As this House knows, the Government always keeps taxes under review, and any decision to amend the UK tax regime is of course a matter for the Chancellor of the Exchequer as part of the annual fiscal cycle.

I will be discussing this matter further with industry and my colleagues at the Treasury.

I also wanted to highlight two recommendations in the Review that cover similar ground to work already taking place within Government.

One is the Review’s sensible proposal that the Government develops a media literacy strategy, working with the range of organisations already active in this space.

Evidence suggests that there is also a correlation between media literacy and greater propensity to pay for news. So, improving media literacy will also have an impact on the sustainability of the press.

Making sure people have the skills they need to separate fact from fiction is the key to long-term success in tackling this issue and I welcome the focus that Dame Frances has placed on it.

We welcome this recommendation, which relates closely to the Government’s ongoing work to combat disinformation.

My honourable friend the Minister for Digital and Creative Industries last month hosted a roundtable on media literacy and the Government is actively looking at what more we can do to support industry efforts in this area.

The other is the Review’s call for the creation of new codes of conduct between publishers and the online platforms which distribute their content.

These would cover issues relating to the indexing of content on platforms, and its presentation, as well as the need for advanced warning about algorithm changes likely to affect a publisher.

The development of these codes would be overseen by a regulator.

The Review also proposes that regulatory oversight be introduced as part of a ‘news quality obligation’ upon platforms.

That would require that platforms improve how their users understand the origin of an article of news and the trustworthiness of its source. Dame Frances recognises that platforms are already starting to accept responsibility in this regard.

These two proposals deserve Government’s full consideration, and we will examine how they can inform our approach. That includes our work as part of the Online Harms White Paper, due to be published shortly.


Madam Deputy Speaker, this report sets out a path to help us put our media on a stronger and more sustainable footing.

However, Dame Frances is clear that her Review is just one contribution to the debate.

We cannot turn back the clock and there is no magic formula to address the systemic changes faced by the industry.

But it is the role of any responsible Government to play an active part in supporting public interest journalism.

We will consider this Review’s contents carefully, and engage with press publishers, online platforms, regulators, academics, the public and members of this House, as we consider the way forward.

And I remain open to further proposals that may go beyond the recommendations or scope of this Review.

Madam Deputy Speaker, I know that this is an issue that is of great concern to honourable members all across this House. And today’s Review is an important milestone.

At the heart of any thriving civil society is a free and vibrant press.

The Government, and I, have no doubt the House, is committed to supporting it through changing times, and ensuring it can continue to do its job.

I commend this statement to the House.

Jeremy Wright – 2019 Speech at the British Library

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Wright, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on 31 January 2019.

Good morning everyone.

The British Library is a monument to ingenuity, to knowledge and to creativity.

If you go to the excellent Treasures exhibition here you can see manuscripts from Mozart, sketches from da Vinci and lyrics handwritten by the Beatles.

Fragments of paper showing how a germ of an idea can turn into something that has a lasting impact on the world where we live in.

But the British Library is also a symbol of how rapidly technology can transform everything we take for granted.

Thirty years ago the British Library was one of the world’s largest collections of human knowledge, because of its millions of printed books.

Now it has embraced digitisation and has been partnering with tech firms to bring their collection to more and more people, for the public good.

The tech for good movement is critically important. Important to the future of the tech sector and to harnessing its potential to help us solve the major issues facing us all.

And today I wanted to talk about four areas I see as vitally important if it is to keep going from strength to strength.

Safety and ethics

The first is making sure safety and responsibility are central as these new technologies develop and evolve.

One of the primary roles of any well-functioning society is to protect those within it.

As a policymaker and as a parent, I welcome efforts by the industry to embed features that protect against harm into their products and platforms.

Last year, Government came together with Microsoft and engineers from some of the world’s biggest tech firms to develop a prototype tool that can be used to automatically flag potential conversations taking place between child groomers and children.

As more and more of our interactions move online, it is imperative that technology companies are designing systems that are safe, secure and that protect privacy from the very start.

In October we published a Code of Practice, a set of guidelines to help ensure that the Internet connected products we use in our homes are built to standards that protect our privacy and safety.

And recent events have confirmed what we already knew. That technology companies need to do more to keep people safe online.

We have all heard about the tragic case of Molly Russell and we will all feel condolences for her family.

And I am sure we all feel huge respect and admiration for the dignified way her in which her father has not just borne his family’s loss but also sought to see something good comes of it.

And you will know too that the Government will soon bring forward a White Paper which will in essence set out the responsibilities of the online companies, how these responsibilities should be met and what should happen if they are not.

Every new technology creates its own debates around ethics, from the Industrial Revolution raising questions about working conditions, to the motorcar leading to formalised rules of road safety.

Although we are thinking about the newest technologies, this is an age old question.

How can we maintain the exhilarating flow of ideas and information that we love about new technologies, whilst developing the necessary rules of the road?

Especially as the rise of artificial intelligence driven products and services has posed new questions that will impact us all.

Our Digital Charter is a rolling programme of work to agree norms and rules for the online world and put them into practice.

As part of this work, the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation will help us confront these critical issues.

This pioneering body has been established to help government understand the challenges and opportunities presented by AI, and the steps we need to take to ensure those technologies deliver for the good of society.

Talking to all those who have a stake in the way these technologies are developing – citizens and consumers; industry and regulators; civil society and research centres – the Centre will identify how and where we need to regulate to ensure AI is safe, ethical and trusted.

This programme of work is critical. Because trust is the lifeblood of any digital economy. And building that trust should be a shared objective.

Trust is increased if people can see the work done to ensure the risks of technological development have been mitigated, but just as importantly if people can see the good tech can do.

Incentivising responsible technology

And so the second area I want to speak about is the need to incentivise those who want to use their skill and scale to tackle weighty social issues.

It is no coincidence that DCMS has responsibility for both digital policy and for civil society. The intersections between the two are great and the rewards are vast.

We already know how much digital infrastructure like broadband, and 4G and 5G contribute to the growing economic health of the places where we live and work.

Market towns and coastal communities apparently left behind by changes in our economy are reviving because people are able to live there and stay in touch with the big cities, and indeed with clients around the world.

Churches are finding new ways of becoming literally beacons of social connection – by fixing broadband transmitters to their spires.

Government alone cannot achieve thriving communities and social value, but government can help to bring together and support civil society to do so.

And one way of doing this is through using the convening power of Government to support those organisations that are really making a difference.

That is why the UK’s Industrial Strategy set four Grand Challenges to harness the power of innovation to benefit society.

Our technology and civil society sectors are, at their core, all about shaking up established conventions and solving problems.

And there are so many social issues where technology can play a part.

Take loneliness, one of the greatest public health challenges of our time.

Up to a fifth of all UK adults feel lonely most or all of the time. And there is evidence showing loneliness can be as bad for our health as obesity or smoking.

We have already seen some fantastic work here.

For example, Goodgym, which matches regular runners with isolated older people who they can visit as part of their daily exercise.

And Activage, a pilot led by Samsung, which aims to reduce social isolation through using the latest Internet of Things technology to monitor falls and vital statistics, so older people can live independently in their homes and communities for longer.

To keep this momentum going, we are investing a million pounds to drive social tech innovation in civil society, to help develop solutions to tackle loneliness and bring communities together.

This Tech for Good Challenge Prize will set inspiring targets to focus the efforts of industry, civil society and government.

Successful participants will be rewarded with a cash incentive and ongoing business support.

I am also proud that we will be supporting this year’s Digital Agenda Impact Awards as its official government partner.

These awards, taking place in London on 7th March, will showcase the best innovations in responsible ‘Tech for Good’ from across UK businesses, government and non-profits.

And we don’t just incentivise tech pioneers through grants and awards.

But also through showing the world that we have the best possible environment for businesses to succeed.

And one way of doing this is through embracing innovation friendly regulation.

The Financial Conduct Authority’s Green Tech Fintech Challenge is a strong example of that.

It supports a number of firms, including many of our dynamic start-ups, in developing products and services to help our transition towards a greener economy.

The challenge provides guidance and live market testing, which can be essential in helping a product overcome the hurdles faced by businesses that want to try something different for the greater good.

And while investment in UK tech continued to be the highest in Europe in 2018, social tech ventures can often find it challenging to raise appropriate capital at the right time.

We need to encourage greater access to capital as these ventures scale and grow their social and environmental impact.

So we are supporting the foundation of a fund of up to 30 million pounds of equity investment in social tech ventures.

This fund will be run by the Social Tech Trust who have almost ten years of experience in supporting socially-transformative technology.

It will focus on three key areas; communities, health and financial inclusion, where the targeted funding has the potential to transform society.

It is imperative that we get our top talent working on solutions to these issues, and the big social challenges that concern us all.

And if we succeed, responsible technology can be seen as an attractive pathway for those who want to stay at the cutting edge.

Breaking down barriers

The third way we will support tech for good firms is through breaking down barriers.

Data is a good example of that. The flow of data sits behind all of our online interactions.

Of course, not all data can, or should, be made open. But there are lots of untapped opportunities here.

Currently organisations looking to access or share data can face a range of barriers, from trust and cultural concerns to practical and legal obstacles.

To address them, we are exploring new mechanisms for data sharing, in particular data trusts, which were recommended by the AI Review and committed to in the Industrial Strategy AI Sector Deal.

The Office for AI is working with the Open Data Institute to explore how data trusts can help organisations increase access to data while retaining trust in its use.

Data trusts operate by allowing multiple individuals or organisations to give some control over data to a new institution – the trust – so that it can be used to deliver benefits, for themselves or other people.

That benefit might be to create new businesses, help medical research or empower a community.

By reducing the friction costs of data sharing, we can encourage the safe, fair, ethical and legal sharing of data.

And I am pleased to announce today that we are exploring the use of data trusts to help us make an impact on major social issues. And let me give you two examples.

In partnership with the WILDLABS Tech Hub and conservation charities, we are investigating if a data trust can help make wildlife data from across the globe more accessible, to help us tackle the illegal wildlife trade.

This is ranked as the fourth most lucrative transnational crime after drugs, weapons and human trafficking with an estimated annual revenue of up to 17 billion pounds.

Through sharing image data, we can train algorithms that could help border control officers around the world identify illegal animal products from their smartphones.

Whilst audio data can be used to train algorithms to detect sounds, like gunshots, our the noise of illegal fishing vessels, and share real-time alerts with field rangers.

We will also be working to address another critical issue – that of food waste.

It is estimated each year 100,000 tonnes of food from retailers and food manufacturers – equating to 250 million meals – is edible and readily available but goes uneaten each year in the UK.

We will be working with WRAP and leading food and drink businesses to investigate if a data trust can improve the ability of organisations to track and measure food waste.

This will support global food waste reduction efforts and delivery of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal. It would also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water usage.

This is exciting, innovative work, where the Open Data Institute will be working in the open with a wide range of interested organisations to design something that is ethical, fair and innovative.

The aim of this first stage is to work with these partners to develop a blueprint for a data trust and then decide how best to take forward the development of the actual trust itself.

These partnerships encapsulate the approach we need to take when it comes to new technologies.

Bringing together government, technology and civil society, to pioneer new approaches to making the world around us safer, cleaner and more fulfilling.

A strong foundation of digital skills

My final point today is about our people. After all, our people are our greatest tech resource.

And the best way to futureproof our economy amidst a time of unprecedented change is to to make sure we have a digitally skilled workforce.

Digital technology is continuing to transform the nature of work and the skills that are valued by employers.

Digital skills are not only essential for those who want to work in our thriving tech sector.

But they are essential for everyone.

Britain needs stronger digital skills at every level, from getting people online for the first time, to attracting and training the world’s top coding talent.

Our Digital Skills Strategy has made huge strides in this area.

This month we announced the beneficiaries of our new Digital Inclusion Innovation Fund.

That 400,000 pound fund focuses on tackling digital exclusion amongst disabled and older people, two of the groups most excluded and slowest to adopt basic digital skills.

One pilot project that the fund will support is creating ‘smart homes’ in rural West Essex.

This innovative project will see home owners trained to help their peers improve their digital skills.

They will receive a digital assessment, before having their homes kitted out in the latest tech.

Supported by younger digital ‘buddies’, they will then teach their peers how to make the most of this smart technology.

But there is always more we can do.

If we are to make technology a force for good, we need to make sure that everyone has access to these skills, whatever their background.

Just as we encourage diversity in public life, as it improves decision making and leads to a greater diversity of thought, the same applies for technology.

This was the thinking behind the Tech Talent Charter, which gives organisations tangible actions and principles to adopt to help them change their hiring practices.

The Charter has recently celebrated its first anniversary with the publication of its first report, benchmarking diversity in tech roles across industries.

We now have over 290 signatories, from international tech giants right through to start-ups, SMEs and charities. All UK Government departments have signed up.

So change is underway. And it is moving fast.

Automation will have a profound impact on the nature of work, but it will also create new jobs in every sector.

In November, we announced a fund to improve digital leadership skills in the social sector through awarding grants from our one million pound Digital Leadership Fund.

Doteveryone is one of the recipients and there are many more too.

Digital leadership will grow the resilience of the social sector so that charity leaders up and down the country can make informed digital choices and understand the impact of tech on their beneficiaries.

And we are also working with the Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology and its wide network of cross-sector partners.

Through this partnership, we will explore how we can best provide charities with the support they seek to embed digital in their strategy, services and culture.

By doing so, we can ensure that social sector organisations are able to harness the huge opportunities that tech provides, so they can become more resilient, collaborative and responsive to their users.

Because it is essential for the social sector to play a fundamental and leading role in the digital revolution.


From creating the next generation of digital leaders to developing solutions to tackle loneliness, we are supporting the tech pioneers who will chart our new path.

Tech for good isn’t a nice-to-have, a beneficial byproduct of the fourth industrial revolution.

This is the revolution.

So we need to work with new technologies, to maximise its awesome potential, whilst protecting its users from emerging harms.

It is not an easy balance to strike.

But in this country, we are blessed with a pioneering tech sector and thriving civil society.

And forums like this, bringing together people who care about technology and its positive impact, will be crucial.

So thank you for all the work you are doing and for the leadership you have shown on this.

Please keep investing, innovating and inspiring so we can all make the world a better place.

Thank you very much.