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.

Jeremy Wright – 2019 Speech on the Value of Culture

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Wright, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, the Media and Sport, on 18 January 2019.

Thank you very much for that introduction Martin.

I couldn’t agree more about the importance of the UK City of Culture and the huge impact it can have on the cities that hold the title.

As some of you will know, during its year as UK City of Culture, the city of Hull added 300 million pounds to the local economy and created 800 new jobs.

But perhaps more remarkably, and perhaps more importantly, over 95 per cent of its population attended a cultural event in the course of that year as City of Culture.

And in two years time, it’s Coventry’s turn. What Hull’s experience showed and what I am convinced Coventry’s experience will show, is that culture really matters.

It matters to the wellbeing of us as individuals, it matters to the health of our communities and it matters to the strength of our nation.

So first, let me say something about us as individuals.

Recent analysis of the Understanding Society survey painted a compelling picture of the impact that the arts can have on our development and wellbeing.

It showed how engagement with the arts is linked with higher happiness and self-esteem in young people, helping them to foster feelings of personal pride and achievement.

Adults who make more frequent visits to libraries, arts events or cultural sites tend to have better health and well-being than those who visit infrequently.

So culture plays a big part in making us healthier and happier people. But it also provides some of the answers to complex questions around the future of employment and productivity.

Creativity is increasingly recognised as a vital skill by employers and educators alike. In many ways, it is the most future proof skill we can have.

Automation is set to further transform the way we live and work. And this means the attributes that can’t be replicated by machines, like creativity, empathy and ingenuity, will be at a premium.

Nobody has yet developed an algorithm that can create an Oscar winning film, or create a TV show that drives profound social change, like BBC’s Planet Earth.

And the UK’s cultural and creative industries are a vital and growing part of our economy.

They made a record contribution in 2017, more than a 100 billion pounds for the first time.

And they will be providing good jobs for a long time to come.

The challenge is how to help our young people to see the range of careers that culture has to offer.

And wherever they come from and whatever they look like, to help them see themselves pursuing those careers.

But we don’t have to make a living through culture for culture to change the way we live.

How we engage with culture of all kinds can change the way we see the world and the way we see ourselves, and that is particularly true when we are young.

When I was 13, the same age as my daughter is now, I was persuaded to act in the school play. Now I don’t remember the reviews, most of them anyway, but I still feel the benefit to my self-confidence.

So much so that I can still make the connection between standing on that stage then and standing on this stage now, not to mention the stages, real and metaphorical, I have stood on in between, performing in the courtroom and in the Commons.

And it’s not just me of course.

Look at the alumni of our world renowned National Youth Theatre.

They are not only celebrated actors like Helen Mirren, Daniel Day-Lewis and Idris Elba, but also writers, musicians and journalists who have been able to transfer the skills they learned to thrive in their chosen career.

Skills of self-confidence, teamwork and dedication are eminently transferable, and they are learned through the opportunities arts and culture can offer.

And I want more young people to be able to take advantage of these opportunities.

And so in September I was delighted to announce a 5 million pound pilot to create youth performance partnerships across England.

This scheme will bring arts organisations and schools together to teach practical performance skills, both on and off stage, to those who wouldn’t have the chance otherwise.

It will also link primary and secondary schools with playwrights to give children the opportunity to perform new works by up and coming writers, from diverse backgrounds and from across the UK.

I’m pleased to have seen some really strong bids and I’m looking forward to making the final announcement of the successful bidders in the Spring.

I know my colleagues at the Department for Education share our ambition in these areas. And I will be working with them to bring the benefits of drama, dance, art, music and more to a greater number of young people.

But culture of course can make all of us healthier, happier and safer.

My department is working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care, and NHS England, to support greater use of social prescribing, in particular to address loneliness and help people with their mental health.

Evaluation of existing projects in England has shown that prescribed arts and reading programmes can reduce anxiety, depression and lead to an increase in feelings of social inclusion – strengthening communities and giving people a sense of belonging.

And I very much welcome the Secretary of State for Health’s recent speech on the value of arts and health.

And I look forward to social prescribing becoming a mainstream part of NHS delivery, with 60 per cent of Clinical Commissioning Groups currently supporting the delivery of social prescribing projects.

So culture can offer us opportunities, teach us about ourselves and even help to keep us healthy.

But it can also help to offer us second chances. I had the privilege of serving as Minister for Prisons and Rehabilitation for two years.

In that time I came across offenders who painted, sculpted and even sang opera as part of their rehabilitation. And in many cases it worked.

It worked because those things provided an outlet, they offered a sometimes new experience of excelling at something, and for some, indicated a lawful way to make a living.

We can all benefit from access to the arts and we should all be able to.

And so I welcome the Arts Council England’s clear indication that they want to use the next 10 year strategy to further increase participation.

The Creative People and Places programme has already been hugely important – reaching 2 million people who would not ordinarily participate in art and culture.

It gives local communities the chance to make decisions to shape the culture they want in their local area.

And I wholeheartedly support today’s announcement from the Arts Council that they will be investing an additional 27 million pounds in this programme.

Funding which will be targeted at places with the ‘least engaged’ population in arts and culture, and that will build on the success of other projects that have previously received funding.

I want every cultural organisation receiving public funding to have the objective of boosting participation.

Because culture is good for us all.

And it’s good for communities too, because our culture brings us together – through objects and experiences from which we can all take pleasure and pride.

And I am sure none of us can remember a time when Britain has needed that power to unite more.

So this week, of all weeks, I make the case for culture’s capacity to heal our wounds.

Whatever our views on the European Union, we are proud of…

Our film industry, which in the past five years has picked up 61 BAFTAs and 25 Oscars.

We are proud of the impact of our hit shows like Sherlock, which are being enjoyed in over 230 territories across the world.

And we are proud of our recording artists, who accounted for 8 of the top 10 artist albums in 2017.

We share our culture. It belongs to us all.

It can bring us together and we need it to do so now.

We are the same country that united to host the Olympics and Paralympics with such warmth, pride and passion only a few years ago.

A Games that not only showcased the world’s athletic talent but transformed attitudes to disability.

Its famous opening ceremony was a celebration not just of a great country but of a united one – proud of things we achieved together. We need to remind ourselves of that.

So this is a good time to make this case, and this is a good place to make it in.

The City of Coventry stands as an international symbol of reconciliation, of bridging divides.

It has achieved that not least through arts and culture.

From Philip Larkin to the Specials, this is a city that has helped to shape our nation’s cultural history.

And I am sure that record will be amplified in its year as City of Culture.

And of course it isn’t just in cities of culture where culture must thrive.

The year after Coventry’s year of culture we will hold a Festival that will celebrate the creativity that exists across the whole country.

More immediately, we announced in the Autumn Budget, we will be providing 55 million pounds as part of the Future High Streets fund, dedicated to support the regeneration of high street heritage assets.

Those much loved historic buildings that provide a sense of place, community identity and connectedness.

Another example is the Cultural Development Fund, which we launched as part of the Creative Industries Sector Deal.

This is an important part of the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy, which has seen over 150 million pounds jointly invested by Government and industry through the Creative Industries Sector Deal.

Designed to help cultural and creative businesses across Britain thrive and consolidate the country’s position as a global creative and cultural powerhouse, and further support the view that culture is an integral part of our society and economy.

And so this 20 million pound fund aims to strengthen our advantage as a creative nation by investing in culture, heritage and creativity to unlock economic growth and offer opportunities for regeneration.

In the bids we’ve had we’ve seen cultural and creative leaders joining forces with local authorities and higher education to form partnerships and create distinctive bids.

The quality of the bids was exceptionally high, and we should celebrate the fact that so many towns and cities are developing ambitions for investment in culture to drive growth.

And today I am delighted to announce the places that were successful in receiving funding.

The winning places are: Grimsby, Plymouth, the Thames Estuary in Kent and Essex, Wakefield and Worcester.

Together, these successful projects are set to create over 1,300 new jobs, train and upskill over 2,000 people and leave a lasting legacy in their local communities.

Take the Wakefield bid. Bringing together major and respected cultural organisations including Yorkshire Sculpture Park and The Hepworth, this project will help promote Wakefield to the world.

And this is just one of several transformative projects that will be created thanks to this funding.

Grimsby will focus on using public art to revive its historic town centre, alongside creating a new film, TV and music production facility.

Plymouth will be using cutting-edge digital and immersive technologies to help bring to life the celebrations to mark the 400 year anniversary of the Mayflower’s voyage.

The Thames Estuary bid will develop a world leading creative production corridor.

And Worcester will regenerate the city’s iconic railway arches, providing affordable workspaces and business support connecting local businesses with local creative talent.

I’d like to thank the Arts Council for administering this fund, and to all the expert panellists who helped us review the bids.

I hope the CDF will suggest to Local Enterprise Partnerships and to local authorities how they might focus their attention on cultural and creative investment as part of developing their local industrial strategies.

We also know that our libraries, leisure centres, historic buildings, museums and galleries help contribute to some of the healthiest and most vibrant communities up and down our country.

Through initiatives like the CDF and the recently launched Northern Cultural Regeneration Social Investment Fund, we can give the financial boost needed to help local communities grow and prosper.

Earlier this week we announced that 4 million pounds from our partnership with the Wolfson Foundation will go towards improving 35 museums and galleries across England, with over 80 per cent of this funding going outside London.

All these investments and improvements matter because strong communities make for a strong country.

And we are a nation that is renowned for its cultural heft. We are a soft power superpower.

The UK recently reclaimed top position in the Global Soft Power Index, driven by our artists, our writers and our cultural institutions. Now we are back on top, we need to stay on top.

And thanks to the great work of our creators, our culture is in demand all across the world.

UK creative and cultural sectors export 27 billion pounds worth of services to the rest of the world.

The exciting growth of digital culture means that our traditional creative institutions have been able to reach new global audiences, for example through live streams of theatre productions.

But they bring huge benefits to our tourism and heritage sectors as well, when people decide that they want to come here and see it for themselves.

One in five visitors to London go to the British Museum.

One Ed Sheeran track is thought to be responsible for 100,000 extra visitors to Framlingham Castle.

And Downton Abbey has helped Highclere Castle, Sherlock Baker Street, and Emily Bronte the moors of West Yorkshire. Our culture and our heritage reinforce each other.

And these cultural exports allow us to break down barriers and reach those that we may not be able to reach with traditional diplomacy.

Our culture and civilisation are our calling card to the world, saying loud and clear that we are committed to equality, tolerance and freedom.

And so I am proud that we are working hard to ensure the protection of cultural assets across the world.

For instance the DCMS funded the 30 million pound Cultural Protection Fund to help preserve and protect heritage in 12 countries in the Middle East and Africa.

And we have been joining the international effort to make sure that buildings, monuments and works of art threatened by Daesh can be given a new lease of life and can be seen and enjoyed by the whole world.

We will maintain these values of openness and cooperation.

And our close cultural links with our friends and partners in the EU, as shown by the agreement for the Bayeux Tapestry to come to England for the first time in 1000 years.

And we can develop new and enduring partnerships.

Only last week we announced that some of the masterpieces in the National Gallery, including van Gogh’s famous sunflowers, will go to Japan for the first time as part of Japan’s Olympic year.

As we equip our country for the future, a strong arts, heritage and cultural strategy isn’t just an afterthought, but rather central to our plans.

In a modern and interconnected world, the places that will be successful are those which can attract and retain highly skilled and talented people.

And places will not attract those people without a strong cultural and heritage offer.

That means our culture isn’t just a cause of our soft power and a great export product, although it is both of those things, but also a factor in inward investment decisions, at a local and national level.

Culture is one of the greatest pull factors. Build it, or stage it, and they will come.

China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors at the World Museum in Liverpool drew 600,000 visitors, and in turn brought in a staggering 78 million pounds to the local economy in just eight months.

We all see so many examples of culture proving its worth. But we need to make sure that we keep shouting about it.

Some of you may know there is a Spending Review coming up and so it is more important than ever that we all give the most robust possible evidence about the impact of what we do.

And I don’t just mean evidence of economic impact. But demonstrating that the superb experiences that you provide are benefiting all parts of the United Kingdom.

In terms of geographical spread, but also race, gender and social backgrounds.

Proving the social and cultural impact of our work will be an important part of our argument and I know it is an argument that we can make with real force.

The UK is already leading the world in our work to understand and properly measure the impact that culture can have.

I have asked my department to build on this, and DCMS will bring together academia and policy makers at a forthcoming summit on the measurement of cultural value.

So that we will be better placed to make fully rounded arguments about culture’s true value to society.

Because culture shows humanity at its best and the United Kingdom’s culture shows our country at its best.

Our capacity to create new experiences that transcend boundaries and make life more fulfilling for all of us.

Our capacity to make and do things that make us all laugh, cry, sing, dream or ponder together.

And what better moment than now to remind ourselves of what our culture can do.

Thank you very much.

Jeremy Wright – 2018 Speech on the Centenary of the Armistice

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 6 November 2018.

I beg to move,

That this House has considered the centenary of the Armistice.

In May 1915, my grandfather arrived in France to fight for his country. Three years later, he came back. Millions of others did not or, if they did, came back terribly damaged, visibly or invisibly. They went to fight in what they knew as the great war: four years of blood, mud and misery in which humanity found new ways to kill and injure on a previously unimagined scale. When the cost and enormity of it could be better grasped, they came to call it, in shock, horror and, sadly, unrealistic optimism, the war to end all wars.

On Sunday, the nation will come together as one to pause and remember all those who died during this conflict and all those that have happened since. This year’s act of remembrance will be particularly special and poignant, however, as we mark the centenary of the end of the first world war. We have sought to commemorate the war in many ways over the past four years. For everyone, different events will stand out, but I will always remember the commemoration of the battle of Amiens at Amiens cathedral, which I was fortunate enough to attend. I sat in that magnificent cathedral with representatives of many countries that fought on both sides of the battles that marked the beginning of the end of the war, and I listened to the words of those who experienced them. Their emotions were deeply felt by those in the cathedral and, I am sure, by the millions watching on television and online.

Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) (Con)

I remember that I prepared a scrapbook of cuttings at the 50th anniversary for my grandfather who had fought in the first world war, but I was rather embarrassed in front of him because the coverage in the 1960s was relentlessly negative. Will my right hon. and learned Friend confirm that historiography has now changed? Most people realise that it was a sacrifice worth making, that the alternative would have been militarism and that the soldiers were actually well led in 1918.

Jeremy Wright

It is undoubtedly right that the vast majority of people in this country will come together on Sunday, as they have come together on many occasions over the past four years, to remember the sacrifice of those who gave their lives and who did so without a thought to their own interests and in the service of their nation.

Mr Jim Cunningham (Coventry South) (Lab)

Many Members will have had a family member who was involved in the first world war in one way or another, and some of us will have family memories of different battles. Like the Secretary of State’s grandfather, my grandfather took part in the battle of Loos, which is not ​as well remembered as other battles. Does the Secretary of State agree that we should not forget such battles and the people who fought in them?

Jeremy Wright

I agree with the hon. Gentleman. We have not remembered every single battle over the past four years, but we have tried to remember a number of them. However, our collective effort to commemorate what happened is designed to encompass all battles and all those who fought in them.

Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury) (Lab)

I thank the Secretary of State for his generosity in giving way. In common with many other Members, I will be joining remembrance events in my constituency on Sunday. I understand that the event held at Mirfield is the biggest and most well attended outside of London, so will he join me in welcoming the people in Mirfield who attend that event?

Jeremy Wright

I join the hon. Lady in welcoming that occasion. I am sure that it will be a particularly special year for her and for all those who attend.

The high-profile ceremonial events that I mentioned have been complemented by an extensive and engaging programme of cultural and educational activities. In 2012, the Government established the 14-18 NOW cultural programme to work with artists to tell these important stories through the mediums of culture and art. There has been a particular focus on engaging children and young people, with events including the great war school debate series and school battlefield tours, in which nearly 6,000 students and teachers visited the battlefields of northern France.

The groundbreaking 14-18 NOW programme has used its remit to enthral people from all walks of live. More than 35 million people have engaged with the centenary, including 7.5 million young people under the age of 25. It has clearly demonstrated that contemporary artworks in public places can attract large, diverse audiences. Whether it was turning the country dark as part of the “lights out” programme or the ghost soldiers that appeared across the country to mark the centenary of the battle of the Somme, these events have all captured the public’s imagination and have given remembrance prominence in our daily lives.

The ceramic poppies at the Tower of London were another moving tribute, bringing the programme to one of our most popular and cherished attractions. The poppies have since travelled to 19 locations, from Belfast to Southend and from Orkney to Plymouth, and have been visited by more than 4 million people. From next year, they will be part of the collection of the Imperial War Museum, where they can be viewed for many years to come.

As part of our programme, we have sought to highlight the enormous contribution made by those who came to our nation’s aid from across the world. Some 2.5 million men and women from the Commonwealth answered the call to fight, with 200,000 laying down their lives. They left their homes thousands of miles away to serve the allied cause with unstinting bravery, often in unimaginable conditions, and they must not be forgotten or overlooked.

Works by an extraordinarily diverse range of artists from the UK and abroad have helped us to highlight those contributions. Poets from the Caribbean diaspora, visual artists from India and Bangladesh, performers ​from South Africa, musicians from Syria and many more have all highlighted the global reach and impact of the war. That was shown vividly in March 2015, when an event commemorating the second battle of Neuve Chapelle took place at the Imperial War Museum North. The event was co-ordinated by British Muslim, Hindu and Sikh organisations, supported by the Government. It compellingly showed the partnerships and friendships that we hold so dear and that were so instrumental during the war.

We have seen all too well how history can divide, but one clear and ambitious goal throughout this centenary period has been to seek to use history to bring us together. The Government have worked closely with the Irish Government, for example, over the past four years to mark these events. That was most clearly demonstrated in the shared approach to the battle of Messines Ridge commemoration in June 2017, which was attended by both His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge and the then Taoiseach, Enda Kenny. The battle has considerable historic and symbolic significance for the UK and Ireland, as it was the first time that the 36th (Ulster) and 16th (Irish) Divisions fought alongside each other during the great war. The event provided a valuable opportunity to remember the service and sacrifice of those who fought, as well as to explore our shared history and support efforts to build a peaceful future.

Mr Gregory Campbell (East Londonderry) (DUP)

Will the Minister join me in welcoming the changing attitude, particularly in the Irish Republic, where for many decades there was little or no appreciation of that contribution? Does he agree that that should continue and, in fact, increase over the coming years?

Jeremy Wright

I agree with the hon. Gentleman. The co-operation and full support we have received from the Irish Government has been most welcome, and I hope it will set a new tone for future commemorations. It is deeply appreciated by those on both sides of the border who have been involved in these commemorations.

Albert Owen (Ynys Môn) (Lab)

Another way to commemorate the shared interest between Ireland and the UK is through the merchant navy. Many vessels sailed constantly through the great war between Ireland and Welsh ports, and there were many casualties. We have had commemorations of that this year, so will the Secretary of State put on record his thanks to the merchant seafarers of Ireland and Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom?

Jeremy Wright

I will certainly do that. I am sure the commemorations that will take place in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency will make particular reference to those people, and that is entirely as it should be. It is also important to say that the German Government have been hugely supportive of our commemorations. Germany has been represented at very senior levels at all our events, and German military representatives have participated extensively.

One hundred years ago, the news of the Armistice was celebrated on these shores. On Remembrance Sunday this year, out of respect for living veterans, and the service’s wider purpose in remembering the fallen of all conflicts, we will share our usual sombre moment of ​remembrance, with the customary two minutes’ silence. Wreaths will be laid at the Cenotaph, including, uniquely, one by the President of Germany. In recent months, there has been an unprecedented amount of commemorative activity up and down the country, leading up to that day. The nation is truly coming together, because 11 November 1918 is a significant day in our history. In dispatches from the frontline, soldiers often struggled to articulate how they felt when the guns stopped firing. They reported a mixture of joy, relief, numb disbelief and grief. For many, there was also a sense of achievement and justice.

Bob Stewart (Beckenham) (Con)

Let me remind my right hon. and learned Friend of the words of Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy—“Woodbine Willie”:

“There are many kinds of sorrow in this world of love and hate but there is no keener sorrow than a soldier’s for his mate”.

Jeremy Wright

Those words put it well. It is evident in all the commemorations we have witnessed how much of what was done and sacrificed by those who fought was done in fellowship for those they went to fight with. I agree with my hon. Friend.

After the service of remembrance this year, we will give our thanks for the end of the war and show our support for those who returned. The traditional Royal British Legion parade of veterans will this year be followed by an additional procession of 10,000 members of the public paying personal tribute and giving thanks to the generation who served then. The procession will be complemented in the afternoon by the nationwide ringing of bells, across the UK, and throughout the rest of the world, echoing the bells that rang out after many years of silence 100 years ago. In the evening there will be a national service of reflection and thanksgiving in Westminster abbey, with similar services taking place across the UK. This will be a moving and inspiring day that will unite us all.

I am sure we will hear plenty more reflections on these events during this debate. Many people have been involved in making these commemorations a success: charities, including, of course, the Royal British Legion; civil society groups; officials from across the Government, including, in particular, those from my Department; and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. They all deserve our thanks and congratulations. I would also like to thank the first world war advisory group for its guidance throughout this process. I want to make special mention of my hon. Friend the Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison), who has acted throughout this period as the Prime Minister’s special representative for the first world war. I hope the House will hear from him this afternoon, and I think it true to say these commemorations would not have had the same shape and resonance as they have had without his considerable efforts. I would also like to pay tribute to the work of the hon. Member for Barnsley Central (Dan Jarvis), whom I am also delighted to see in his place this afternoon. I know he has also been passionate in wanting these commemorations to have the widest possible reach.

The first world war started more than a century ago, yet these commemorations have brought that war to life in ways that feel tangible and within our grasp. It is so ​important that future generations have the opportunity to hear these stories. This was a war not about monarchs or generals, but about people like us. In fact, 264 Members of this House served in that war, 22 of whom were killed. We remember the remarkable challenges faced by all those who fought, but we also remember that they came from our cities, towns and villages. They were people like us, and that should give us hope, as well as pride and sadness, because in those whom we remember, we see the huge capacity for service, for sacrifice, in people just like us, just when history needed it. They went off to war with friends and neighbours and workmates, or contributed in other ways, not because they thought they were special, but because they thought they were ordinary. They did what they thought everyone did for their country in its hour of need, but we remember them, and honour them, 100 years later, not because we know they were ordinary but because we know they were special.

Over the past four years, we have done our best to remember them all. I believe that we have done it well and that we can be proud not just of the people whom we have remembered, but of the way in which we have remembered them, and this House, and this nation, will always remember them.

Jeremy Wright – 2018 Speech at Society of Editors

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Wright, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on 5 November 2018.

Good morning.

Appearing at the Society of Editors is a challenging prospect for most politicians.

But I was keen to come here today both to celebrate our press and to contribute to this critical debate about its future.

Today’s theme is ‘The Trust Factor and how to fund it’, and every day in my role I see the importance of trust in our communities.

And I see the vital work that all the different elements of our civil society do to reinforce it.

Our press has a level of trust and freedom that is rightly envied and respected across the world.

But a free and trusted press must also be a sustainable press.

A benefit of the digital revolution is that so many people from around the world can now see your content.

But I recognise there is a real problem in converting that interest into revenue.

And the strength and sustainability of our press is something that should concern us all.

Especially when we look at this in a global context.

Across the world, we are seeing journalists under threat and state sponsored disinformation drowning out the free and open press.

And the risks of a diminished press are very real. A less informed public, a democratic deficit and less of a spotlight on vital public institutions. Institutions like the courts.

In my previous role as Attorney General, I was always impressed by the diligence of the journalists who informed the public about complex and challenging cases.

And the careful way in which they, most of the time, combined accurate reporting with respect for the law so everyone is able to get the fair trial they deserve.

It is a good example of the importance of a healthy and sustainable free press.

A Press that gives people not just what they want to read but what they ought to read, makes our society is stronger.

And helping you to deliver that is one of my big priorities in my new role as Secretary of State at DCMS.

Cairncross Review

As many of you know the Government has set up a Review under Dame Frances Cairncross in recognition of the pressing need to sustain high quality news.

Thank you for your engagement with it, whether it’s through our expert panel or through sharing your views in the consultation. We are on course to publish the review early next year.

Now, this is an independent review and it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to speculate on or pre-judge its findings.

But it is clear that the days of print sales and print advertising meeting the costs of producing quality journalism are largely behind us.

And that the trend for consumers to seek news content online will not be reversed, but will, if anything accelerate.

But I am confident that the review will show there are ways for quality journalism to go from strength to strength in the digital era.

It is undeniable that the digital revolution has led to a world in which the value of quality content is not sufficiently rewarded.

This means an understandable but harmful trend towards cheaper to produce content, which endangers the investigative journalism that needs time and resources to do well.

There is an urgent need to turn this around. On the one hand, I firmly believe that technology is a force for good and that social media platforms have brought great opportunities.

But many of these platforms are powered by the sharing of news, and it is vital that the producers of this news are recognised and rewarded.

I have urged Dame Frances to look carefully at this point.

Of course, whilst I believe the Cairncross Review will be an important step in setting out a new future for our quality press, it will not be a silver bullet. Nor will it produce one single model for every publisher to follow.

And so it is important that we all look at what is within our gift to change, as we strive to strengthen our free press and democratic engagement.


The government is thinking long and hard how to support a vibrant press industry in the years ahead.

But the press must also look at itself. Not only in terms of testing new business models, but in terms of remaining relevant to our discourse as a society in representing and reflecting the communities that you serve.

In Edinburgh I spoke of how our Public Service Broadcasters are national institutions, and today as I speak to another group of institutions that are vital to the fabric of our nation, my message is the same. The transfer of trust from generation to generation can no longer be taken for granted. But neither is it unachievable.

The shift to online presents opportunities to engage new audiences. And proper representation is vital to winning and maintaining their trust.

That means greater ethnic and gender diversity and greater diversity in the background of those who work in the press industry, and drawing on the talents of more of the country’s geography.

We are currently in Manchester, where the BBC and ITV now produce much of their output.

And whilst it will of course be disappointing for this great city that it was not announced as the new home for Channel 4’s National Headquarters, I must congratulate Leeds, and indeed Glasgow and Bristol for securing new Channel 4 creative hubs.

And I congratulate Channel 4 for seeing the value of getting beyond the capital and using the creativity that can be found in all parts and communities of the UK and I am delighted that they have committed to commission more content outside London too.

Proper representation can be achieved in a variety of ways. And I would urge you, just as you ask probing questions of others, to ask probing questions about the make up of your own organisations.

Not simply because it is the right thing to do, but because it makes good business sense.

A more representative press is more likely to reach more people.

Investigative journalism

And there are some areas in which we should all want more people to read what you produce.

And finally I want to touch on an area in which I think our press is the best in the world – the exceptional quality of investigative journalism.

Some of this has been through traditional sources, like the Guardian and Channel 4’s excellent work on Cambridge Analytica.

Standing side by side with first class investigative journalism online.

Like BBC Africa’s excellent online investigation into the killing of civilians by soldiers in Cameroon, which went viral worldwide on Twitter, showing there is still appetite for dogged and forensic investigative journalism.

It has been encouraging to see new outlets like Buzzfeed working with traditional media to break headline hitting stories, and I am sure we will see more of these in the coming years.

I really wanted to come here today and applaud the importance of what you do.

British journalists regularly produce stories that drive major changes for the better in politics and society more broadly.

And you have been sharing your investigative skills with others too. There has been some excellent work on media literacy by publications represented in this room, helping young people to develop the critical thinking skills they need.

These initiatives are so important, especially in an era where disinformation is prevalent, and often commercially lucrative.

Thank you for this work, and the Government is looking at how we can complement it to help people of all ages separate fact from fiction.

Because high quality investigative journalism holds our institutions to account and makes our country, and public life, a much better place.

And it’s the kind of journalism that can and must be part of the antidote to so called ‘fake news’.


So, at a time when trust is in short supply, our media is as important as it has ever been.

The fight against disinformation and the sustainability of our press are two sides of the same coin.

You help guarantee a society with rigour and accuracy at its core. And you do excellent work. We might not always like what you write about us. But your right to report and publish freely is critically important for us all.

Thank you very much and I’m looking forward to taking your questions.

Jeremy Wright – 2018 Speech to Conservative Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Wright, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the Conservative Party Conference held in Birmingham on 1 October 2018.

It’s a pleasure to be here in Birmingham, the city that gave me my first job, to talk about the job I am privileged to have now.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is a very wide-ranging portfolio and I can’t cover all of it in this speech. To cover it in Government needs an exceptional team of ministers and I’m lucky to have just such a team in Margot James, Michael Ellis, Tracey Crouch and Henry Ashton, along with our whips Mims Davies and James Younger and our PPSs Nigel Huddleston and Andrew Bowie. I’d like to thank them for all they do.

It may not be immediately obvious what connects the different elements of my Department’s title, but I think what connects them is what connects us – as individuals, as communities and as a country. The ties of Civil Society that bind us – the sports clubs and youth clubs, the churches and the charities, the arts projects, the libraries and the community groups of all sorts that bring people together and bind our nation.

The ties that help us to reflect together as we do in the Centenary of the end of the First World War, and in commemorations that move us all.

And of course there are the digital links needed to get the most out of 21st Century life. As Conservatives we should be proud of the fact that we have made superfast broadband available to 95% of premises as we said we would. But the truth is that is not much comfort if you are in the 5% not covered.

So we can and we must do more. By 2020 everyone will have the right to minimum speeds of 10 megabits per second, and mobile coverage must expand further across the UK.

But technology is changing all the time and we must have infrastructure that can support whatever we will need in the future. That’s why we are investing in 5G mobile technology and developing what it can do, including in an urban setting right here in the West Midlands.

It’s also why our focus will now be on a fibre optic network for broadband that will really make us fit for the future. That is sensible planning.

But we must also make sure that everyone can benefit from what these technologies offer. So as we build a fibre network, we will identify the places the market won’t reach on its own and we will connect them – not as an afterthought but in parallel with the places it’s profitable to connect.

Because if technology has the power to connect us all, nobody should be left behind.

Technology is changing our lives in many ways, and we can be proud of the fact that many of those changing the world are here in the United Kingdom.

Our digital technology sector is worth nearly £184 billion and employs 2.1 million people.

Last year, venture capital investment in London’s tech sector was more than in Germany and France combined.

The internet is an amazing resource, and social media lets us reach others faster and more easily than we ever have before.

But these things have a dark side too. There are those who use social media to bully or intimidate, to isolate rather than to include. And it is having an effect – 16 to 25 year olds are the most connected generation of all, but they are lonelier than the over 65s.

There are also those who use the internet to abuse children or promote terrorism, and I don’t believe there is anything so special about the online world that the normal rules of human behaviour, and the law, should not apply there too.

So the time has come to define those rules and how they should apply online, and if that needs new law, that is what we will do. Britain can lead the world on this, and we should.

Of course, there are many other things that connect us – our heritage, our history, our art and performing arts, film and television. The creative industries more broadly add a huge amount to our economy and to our identity.

They don’t just enrich our lives, they help to make us who we are – as individuals, as communities and as a nation.

They are strengths we will celebrate in a festival of national pride and international impact in 2022.

Our culture and heritage are vital aspects of the Britain we project to the world, the ingredients of the soft power we are so good at, and need to stay good at, through Brexit and beyond.

And while we’re on that subject, some of you may have heard that I might be delivering this speech as a hologram. To those of you who have spent the last 5 minutes thinking this is the most realistic hologram you’ve ever seen, I should make it clear that I decided not to.

At this moment, and especially on a subject like Brexit, I don’t think our political debate needs more virtual reality, it needs more actual reality. And the reality is we are leaving the European Union.

We are leaving because Parliament decided to ask the people of this country as a whole to make this choice and they made it.

However they voted in the referendum two years ago, I believe the vast majority of them now want us to get on with it.

And to all those who can’t get over the referendum result, to those who seek to avoid it or ignore it, and to those who want to do it all over again, I say it’s time to move on.

Leaving the European Union in a way that gives us the best possible platform for the future is something we can do, but it is one of the most complex and challenging things the United Kingdom has ever had to do, and we don’t have a single talent or intellect to waste in that effort.

So however you voted then, help to build our future now.

But we should recognise that the Brexit process has divided us, and recognise too those things that can bring us back together, as the England football team did with character, skill and real heart this summer.

And they weren’t the only ones to lift our spirits this year. We have seen the best ever medal haul in a Winter Olympics, a wonderful European Championships in Glasgow and all 3 Grand Tours in Cycling won by Britons, not to mention the Ryder Cup.

Sport has always had the power to inspire us, most of all when we can see our heroes and heroines do amazing things.

That’s why, over 20 years ago, a Conservative Government legislated for a list of sporting events you shouldn’t have to pay a subscription to watch. That principle is just as important today, and making sure it still applies as viewing habits change is work the independent regulator Ofcom is doing now.

But some of the finest sporting moments of the last few years have been in womens’ and disability sport – the Paralympics and Invictus Games, Netball Gold at the Commonwealth Games, and England and Scotland womens’ football teams qualifying for the 2019 World Cup.

Equality means visibility, and I recognise the progress that has been made in broadcasting more of these events. But whoever we are, we have the right to be inspired by diversity in sport that shows the best in all of us. So we will work with sports bodies, broadcasters, and the wider media to do better. It’s 2018 and it’s about time.

And we have the capacity not just to put in great sporting performances, but also to put on great sporting events. We showed the world that with the 2012 London Olympics and we will show them again with the 2022 Commonwealth Games here in Birmingham.

And wouldn’t it be great to put on a World Cup in style in the UK and Ireland in 2030? If the FAs are ready to bid, we are ready to make it happen.

Because we don’t just need to project the United Kingdom to the world, we need the world to come here and see it for themselves. Last year the UK attracted record numbers of visitors and we are predicted to do even better this year.

And, crucially, tourists are going beyond London – record numbers for example going to Scotland, to the North West and here to the West Midlands.

And as hosts of the Great Exhibition of the North and described by the Rough Guides as the number one place in the world to visit in 2018, Newcastle Gateshead welcomed more than 4 million visitors over the summer, including the Cabinet.

But in truth tourism has gone almost unnoticed for years as a major employer and as a major contributor to our economy.

For the sake of the communities up and down our country for whom tourism is essential, I intend to change that, and we will work with the tourism industry to find practical ways for Government to help.

So for the international community, and for our local communities, our culture has a lot to offer. But it also has a lot to offer us as individuals.

When I was 13, I was shy and didn’t much like being the centre of attention. I’ve changed. But that year I was persuaded to take a large part in a school play.

The effect on my self-confidence, on what I felt I could do, was significant and long-lasting – so much so that I feel able to say to you that if I had not stood on that stage then, I would not be standing on this stage now.

I want more young people to have that feeling.

There are many schools and youth theatre groups doing a great job of providing those opportunities, but there are still too many young people, in too many places, who don’t have the chance to be part of a production, on stage or behind the scenes.

So working with the Secretary of State for Education, we are going to give them that chance.

In 5 different areas across the country, we will spend £5 million to give thousands more young people the chance to perform on stage at school.

And what they perform matters too. Britain has a remarkable theatrical heritage, the names of our famous playwrights are known the world over. But there are also great British playwrights the world does not yet know, from different parts of the country and from different backgrounds.

I want our young people to know their cultural past, but also to get to know their cultural future – to meet the people, who come from where they come from and who are writing great plays today. So we will help to promote the work of these new playwrights, and help young people to perform their plays.

Because our culture belongs to us all and it is as strong as it has ever been.

We are proud of our past, but we are prouder still of who we are now and of what we will do next.

We Conservatives are in Government at this pivotal moment in our history. What a challenge, certainly, but also what an opportunity – the chance to design our future.

For centuries Britain led the world in exploration, invention and imagination.

For centuries in the arts, in the written and spoken word, the world looked to these islands for thought and feeling on what it means to be human.

And now, in a century where success will be defined by innovation and creativity, we still lead the world in these things.

So this is not a moment to lose our self-confidence. This is a moment, our moment, to show the world that just as Britain shaped the past, Britain can shape the future.