Justine Greening – 2019 Comments on Brexit

Below is the text of the comments made by Justine Greening, the Conservative MP for Putney, in the House of Commons on 21 January 2019.

I wonder whether the Prime Minister and, indeed, the Leader of the Opposition recognise that with just two months to go, the past week has shown that party politics and Westminster will not deliver a resolution on Brexit, because party politics is not the same as Brexit—it is separate from party politics—so the situation will not change and the House will not find a route forward. The Prime Minister talks about social cohesion, but surely the most divisive thing to do would be for Members to vote through her deal knowing that our communities simply do not want it. Is it not time for us all to be honest about the fact that Parliament has run out of road? We have been debating for two and a half years; we could debate for another two and a half years and we still would not reach a resolution on Brexit. The only people who can do that now, surely, are the British people.

Justine Greening – 2017 Speech on Social Mobility

Below is the text of the speech made by Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Education, at the Reform social mobility conference on 14 December 2017.

Thank you for that introduction and thank you to Reform, KPMG and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation for bringing us all together today. I’m so pleased to have this chance to speak to all of you.

I’m going to talk about three things:

Firstly, the problem: why Britain has never cracked social mobility;

Secondly, solutions: my ambitions for helping everyone to become the best version of themselves through their education; and

Thirdly, everyone’s problem needs everyone’s solution – if we’re going to achieve anything then social mobility, equality of opportunity needs to be a common ambition – with schools, colleges, universities, but also businesses, civil society, local communities all playing their part.

The problem

So, firstly, setting out the problem. And I think of all the speeches I’ve made, this might be the most personal.

Because social mobility has been such an important part of my own life, I didn’t think I’d get to where I am now. Looking ahead as a child, I’m not sure I could ever have guessed I’d be doing what I’m doing.

I went back to my old school last month, Oakwood Comprehensive in Rotherham. We all start somewhere and that school was my start.

I spoke to some of the children who are there now, and met some of the teachers who taught me. It was a fantastic visit. And as I looked at the children there now, you can’t help ask a simple question: who could they be.

And that questions matters because too often in this country the answer to that question – for any child – is too much about where they happen to start.

The reality is that in modern Britain where you start still too often decides where you finish.

This is a defining challenge for us as a nation. We have talent spread evenly across this great country – the problem is that opportunity isn’t.

And for many people it’s a whole lifespan of missed opportunities. If you start school behind on your vocabulary and language skills, often you don’t catch up.

By the time you’re 11 you’re on a different path to your better off classmates, by the time you’re 16 and leaving school – you’re in a totally different place.

And once you enter the workforce, you may well have fallen too far behind to even think about competing for the most rewarding jobs. And, worst of all it’s always been like that for some people and some places in Britain.

But it doesn’t have to be.

And if we want to move things on from purely discussing the problem to articulating a real solution then we have to start by asking why haven’t we cracked it already? Why has social mobility been static for so long?

And I think it comes down to a number of things:

A simplistic search for the silver bullet policy, a magic wand that grants equality of opportunity at a stroke.

The fact that so many worthy social mobility initiatives have been driven by government alone. And that has meant chopping and changing on policy – with no longevity to any approach.

There’s been insufficient involvement from businesses, employers – who are, in any country, the opportunity makers.

Too often improving social mobility has been done to local communities rather than with them. We’ve had one size fits all policies, when what works in Derby is often, generally, going to be different to what works in Scarborough.
And for an individual, government’s attempts to improve their prospects have tended to come at sporadic moments in their life – sometimes when it’s already too late.

A new approach

So how do we move towards a solution?

I’m an optimist – I was optimistic about what I could achieve in my life and I’m optimistic about us changing the status quo in Britain today, and making sure that every child can go as far as their talent and hard work takes them.

To achieve this, I believe we need a new approach that’s:

Comprehensive – not just one silver bullet, but a portfolio, a strategy.

An approach that works across someone’s whole life.

A national strategy – but tailored for different local areas.

And a common mission that is shared not just by government but also by business, civil society and communities.

And today, I’m launching a plan which puts improving social mobility at the heart of all our education policy, for the first time. Schools and teachers are at the centre of this but they can’t tackle this on their own.

This will be driven by a Department for Education that finally now has all the right pieces under the same roof: from early years, to schools, to universities, to technical education, to apprenticeships, to adult learning.

And our plan doesn’t shy away from the complexities of tackling social mobility but it does put a structure, an architecture to it, to enable us to work in a more coordinated way.

So how does it fit together?

This plan is about education but it sits alongside wider Government efforts to create jobs, invest in housing and our new Industrial Strategy.

Crucially, the overarching ambition of this plan is to leave no community behind. We will relentlessly target effort and resources at the parts of our country where people have the toughest challenges and fewest opportunities.

I’m talking about those places where disadvantage builds and then accumulates. Where the schools and colleges struggle. Teachers aren’t attracted to work there, businesses don’t grow and invest there because there isn’t a ready-made skilled workforce on their doorstep.

And so talented young people, and these communities produce every bit as much talent as many others, have to leave to find opportunity elsewhere and the place stays as it was and local businesses still don’t do any better.

We need to reverse these negative cycles and that starts with education.

Right now we are now investing £41 billion in schools and that’s due to go up. Resourcing does matter. If we could buy our way out of this problem we’d have done it by now – but I’m determined to be more strategic about that investment and make sure our resources are targeted at those communities and schools that need them most.

So we’ll be targeting over £800 million of our current investment towards the more disadvantaged people and places.

I’m clear that this is the right thing to do – because everyone deserves a fair shot in life.

But unlocking Britain’s hidden talent is also the smart thing if we want to build a Britain that’s fit for the future. It’s an economic imperative as well as a social one.

Because if we could even just improve the attainment of disadvantaged children across the whole country to the same level as disadvantaged children in London, this alone would provide a boost of more than £20 billion to our economy.

And, ultimately, there is no question that if we’re going to make the most of ourselves as a country, and make Brexit a success then we need to make sure every person and every place is fulfilling its potential.

Lifestage ambitions

So all that means that no community left behind is our first overarching ambition. We will also take a whole life approach with four core life stage ambitions for overcoming disadvantage at every stage of someone’s life.

These ambitions are logical, they may seem obvious – but in the past we haven’t structured our work together like this. And if we achieve them, we can change this country for the better.

So, Ambition One starts at the beginning with the early years, improving early language and literacy so all children have the best start to their education, and can get on the right path, literally from day one.

And the research is clear – falling behind early on has a profound impact. Some children simply have less vocabulary, less reading ability, poorer language skills, so they can’t understand as much when they get to school and they can’t communicate as well as they need to.

And, actually, it is incredibly difficult for them to ever to catch up. If you’re not at the expected standard in language aged 5 then you’re eleven times less likely to achieve the expected level in maths at age 11.

That is why I am putting early language and literacy, closing the word gap, right at the top of my to do list.

We’re introducing new English hubs that will train specialist teachers in literacy and closing the word gap – these specialists will focus on the schools that need this most, in the most disadvantaged areas of the country.

Today I’m also announcing £50 million investment for nurseries in schools, which will be targeted at disadvantaged children so that the children who can benefit the most from high quality provision have more high quality places available.

We are also investing £20 million in the development of early years professionals.

And we will mobilise others who are in a position to help. We will train Health Visitors who routinely check on a child’s health at the age of two, on how to identify children who are already getting left behind on language skills – and how to support the parents who, overwhelmingly, want to do their best for their children but need to know better how.

Ambition Two and we move into school years, a more established part of the strategy. Closing the attainment gap, and making sure every child is at a good school where they can achieve their true potential.

We start here from a strong base – the reforms we’ve made over the last seven years have transformed much of the education system.

And standards are rising:

There are an 1.9 million more children in good or outstanding schools since 2010.

And thanks to our increased emphasis on phonics pupils in English schools are rising up the international league table in reading and literacy.
But it’s not everywhere and it’s not for every child.

In eleven London boroughs all children attend a good or outstanding secondary school; but only one in five pupils in Blackpool and Knowsley do.

This is a systemic problem and to change things we need to shift our focus. By investing in the teaching, the professionals on the frontline – developing the home grown teaching talent that’s already there and is the key to school improvement. And tomorrow I’ll be launching a consultation on strengthening Qualified Teacher Status.

And we will make schools in the more challenged areas real career hotspots by investing in the development of the teachers who go to build a career there.

And we’ll do more to make sure our strongest tools for school improvement are targeted towards the areas that need the most.

At the same time, we’re working on a new targeted approach for the most vulnerable children – Looked After Children, Children in Need, Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. It’s not acceptable that these children’s life chances are so much worse than their peers – they deserve a fair chance, like everyone else.

And for those bright children from less well off backgrounds who need a bit of extra help to fulfil their potential, I’m announcing a £23 million Future Talent programme, something I know the Sutton Trust has called for, for some time.

The attainment gap is closing but with our Ambition Two we need to work out how to close it once and for all.

Ambition Three is improving post 16 choices so all young people have the world class skills and qualifications to get on.

A key area here is technical education. We know that for too long, too many students going to Further Education colleges to gain a vocational or technical qualification have had to settle for second best.

They’ve had to navigate between thousands and thousands of possible qualifications – many of which hold little value to employers and don’t actually lead to the job they were hoping for.

And this, disproportionately, affects the most left behind places and people. Just under 75% of young people in Barnsley do Further Education – whereas in Kensington it’s 20%.

So in the greatest shake-up of Technical Education in 70 years we are introducing new T-Levels for 16 to 19 year olds, a proper, high quality alternative to A-Levels focused on routes to skilled employment. These will be backed by £500 million investment per year, and goes alongside our wider investment in apprenticeships and new Institutes of Technology.

And this is fundamental: unless we can strengthen post 16 education routes and make them gold standard for all our young people we won’t crack social mobility and we won’t make the most of our investment in those young people whilst they’re in schools and early years.

In summary – no more compromising on quality in Technical Education.

Ambition Four is making sure everyone can make smart career choices and progress in their careers so when young people do make the leap from education to the job market, it’s about more than just going into ‘work’. It’s about a career, not just a job.

In the past, this has been an area where we’ve essentially let people walk down a career of blind alleys – and not just at age 16 or 18. We haven’t offered enough guidance or support to people in work either.

And so too many people don’t get on the career path they’d like or that would suit or stretch them, because they lack the networks, the smart advice, the life skills and the confidence that employers look for.

So instead of careers with progression, these people end up trapped in low paying jobs.

We all lose from this.

Because Britain needs more skilled workers. We need more trained engineers, more modern construction workers, more coders.

But you can’t aim for an opportunity if you don’t know it exists – and that’s why we need businesses to show people the path forward into careers that they never thought were for people like them.

Alongside our Ambition 3, work on technical education, it’s why for the first time my department is building an unprecedented partnership with businesses up and down the country,

It’s why we held our first ever Skills Summit with major employers at the DfE two weeks ago.

And I believe business is up for this. In fact, we’ve got leading businesses and employers who are Skills Partners – committed to work with us.

And we will work together to create millions of career encounters for students, thousands of technical work placements, 3 million apprenticeships, many more in work retraining opportunities.

To achieve all this we must inspire, incentivise and also insist businesses of all sizes to reach out to the places that need the most support, following the example of businesses like KPMG who are second in the Social Mobility Employers Index.

All of this is a journey – but we have already made a start.

A common ambition

This leads me into my final point. This needs to be for everyone, everywhere, delivered by everybody.

This plan I’m launching today is a call to arms to join our national mission: to make a better offer to everyone growing up in this country,

To make life about what you can be – not where or how you start. For everyone to have the chance to become the best version of themselves.

I’ve said that social mobility initiatives in the past have had no longevity – that’s why this time we want to focus on building lasting success through partnership.

And so I’m asking employers, education professionals, communities, voluntary groups and many more to come together and join a united effort to put social mobility at the heart of your work.

This partnership is particularly vital at local level, and I believe we can already point to places where working in Partnership works.

I’ve established local Opportunity Areas in 12 of the places where poor social mobility is most entrenched, bringing together local schools, colleges, local businesses and local authorities to work with us and identify some of the key problems in their areas; be that the lack of good careers advice or too many children starting school behind on their vocabulary.

And they’re coming up with practical, concrete solutions and priorities. This is what we need – last mile politics, with national policy, but tailored at a local level and making sure it works in practice.

And it’s great to have some of the chairs and board members from Opportunity Areas here today. Thank you for everything you are already doing.


In conclusion, we all know what the prize is here. It’s every young person with opportunity on their doorstep – so they don’t have to move away from their roots to find it.

It’s communities feeling they have an actual stake in this country, an equal shot – no longer having to watch their best talent get up and go.

It’s businesses having the skilled workers they need to create prosperity and compete. It’s our economy finally operating to its true potential – a post-Brexit Britain that leads the world in skills, productivity and prosperity.

This is about lifting all of us up, smoothing the path for everyone – it’s all of us doing better. I believe, together, we can do something transformative.

I’ve said social mobility has been an important part of my own life. And one of the key things I’ve learnt is that optimism matters. A belief you can get to where you want to be.

I have optimism now that as a country we can crack this and get to where we need to be. It will take collective determination, persistence, single-mindedness, sheer bloody-mindedness. And an unbreakable conviction that things can change.

That’s how I think about this, that’s how I feel about this. If you care too, if you want equality of opportunity, now is the moment and you need to get involved.

I want everyone to get on board. But for those who want to stay focused on talking about the problem rather than helping with solutions, I ask just one thing – don’t complain change isn’t happening fast enough.

I want the widest coalition possible, one that goes way beyond government. It’s decision time if you want to play your part.

No country has got this right yet – but Britain can lead the way.

This should be what we stand for in the 21st century. A country like no other that has unlocked the talents of everyone for the benefit of all. It is possible, and it is now time to make it a reality.

Thank you.

Justine Greening – 2017 Speech at Skills Summit

Below is the text of the speech made by Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Education, at the department’s skills summit on 30 November 2017.

I’m delighted to welcome you all to this inaugural Skills Summit here at the Department for Education.

It’s fantastic to see businesses of all sizes and sectors, from up and down the country, representing all kinds of industries here today. As well as some key players from across the education sector.

I’d like to thank the CBI for their support in organising this event, and particularly to Carolyn Fairbairn for her leadership on the skills agenda.

On Monday, we launched an Industrial Strategy aimed at making a Britain that’s really fit for the future for our country and our economy, competing on the global stage, and thriving in the 21st Century.

This strategy recognises that while we must invest in machinery, in buildings, in roads and in technology…this will count for nothing unless we also invest in our biggest asset and that the investment works – for our own people, our home-grown talent that we have in this country.

Because, of course, in the end it’s the people who get in the cars on those new roads, who log on to the 5G network, who operate that high-tech machinery and it is their wherewithal that will make the difference to this infrastructure and as to whether the investment really counts or not.

It’s no secret that this country needs more skilled workers. And if you look at digital skills alone, businesses will need an estimated 1.2 million new workers by 2022. Whether that’s experts on cyber security, mobile and cloud computing or big data.

And, if we’re honest, this country’s historic failure to address these skills shortages has meant that too often we’ve imported talent and people – instead of building up our own.

And that has to change.

Because we’re not just talking about a skills shortage for the economy it’s more than that – it’s millions of opportunities missed for people.

And the real tragedy here is all those people who could have been that engineer, that doctor, that computer programmer…who, perhaps, could have been another James Dyson or Tim Berners-Lee. They’re not – not because they didn’t have that potential – they absolutely did, but because we didn’t have a country that connected them up with that opportunity.

The human story of what might have been is why the skills gap also matters hugely for the left-behind communities in this country, where young talent so often languishes or leaves.

Britain has talent and it’s spread evenly across the country – the problem is that opportunity isn’t.

Where you are born, live, go to school and work still directly affects where you get to in life and how well you do.

Like for many people, when I was growing up in Rotherham. My parents lived where their parents lived…I grew up with them being round the corner. But I always knew it would be difficult for me to stay in the same place to get the opportunity I wanted. But people shouldn’t have to move miles away from their families. That’s how it was for me, and worst of all that’s still how it is today. Again, that has to change. Opportunities have to be on people’s doorstep.

And if we’re going to make the most of ourselves as a country, and make Brexit a success then we have to make sure every person and every place is fulfilling its potential. It’s a social imperative as well as an economic one.

Social mobility. Equality of opportunity. This is my and my department’s guiding mission and we will soon be launching an overarching plan setting out the concrete, practical actions we will take on key areas.

I’m clear that, ultimately, we tackle the skills deficit when we tackle the opportunity deficit. This is how we build a Britain that is fit for the future and a Britain that works for everyone.

So we need to make a new offer to our young people – a universal offer on opportunity, so that everyone can reach their potential, regardless of their background or where they live.

And I feel the opportunity deficit is at its biggest on skills. Here in this room, I believe there is both the power and the intent to help deliver a much needed skills revolution for Britain…a revolution that could transform the social landscape of this country, by bringing opportunity to every doorstep and finally, at the same time, delivering the skills British business needs.

Of course, this is not something government can do alone… and we need business and education to form a new alliance – a deep, strategic, mutually beneficial partnership between business and education, educators and employers: this will be one team for skills.

This government is investing in education and skills, and in fact today there are new stats out that showed now 1.9million more children are in good or outstanding Primary or Secondary schools in England. Crucially, we have committed to building a first class technical education system for the first time in the history of Britain…

We kicked this off already with our major overhaul of the apprenticeship system. And in fact, even since May 2015, we’ve had 1.1million people starting on apprenticeships. They go right up the ladder.

We’ve introduced new degree-level apprenticeships where you earn while studying for a degree.

Through the levy we are also giving employers greater control over the training an apprentice gets, and we want employers to become demanding customers in the training market to develop quality candidates better and faster.

I want this government to continue to work closely with you to help you make the most of the opportunities the levy can bring for you and your workforces – but also to make sure that the levy works effectively and flexibly for industry, as we set out in the budget.

In the greatest shake-up of further education in 70 years we are introducing new T Levels for 16 to 19 year olds, an alternative to A Levels focused on practical, technical skills which will include a mandatory three month work placement.

Indeed, today we are also publishing a full consultation on the detailed design and implementation of these T Levels, and we’re also announcing the full list of our T Level panels, for the first 6 T Level routes.

Today we’re also announcing the launch of Institutes of Technology, with a funding pot of £170million pounds to draw on.

We want successful bids to be a successful collaboration between employers and education, as well as local further and higher education providers

We are also launching the first of our Skills Advisory Panels in regions across the country, they’ll be in Greater Manchester, West Midlands, Cornwall and the Scilly Isles, Greater Lincolnshire, Lancashire, Leeds and Thames Valley.

We are introducing a National Retraining Scheme and we have so far committed over £100million to career learning pilots and initiatives on digital and construction skills.

Today we’re announcing £10 million for a set of pilots in areas including Leeds, Devon and Somerset, Lincolnshire, Stoke-on-Trent and the West Midlands, to test the best ways of incentivising adults to train in the skills that their local economy needs.

I think all of this is adding up to a fundamentally different offer to young people and to everyone in the workplace – to develop the skills they need and we need to play their part in Britain’s high tech future.

I know that this isn’t the first time a government has promised to solve Britain’s perennial skills problem.

So why have these well-intentioned efforts always failed?

Well, maybe part of it’s been too much chopping and changing on policy. But most of all, I think it’s because previous efforts never fully got employers on board…and there were too many employers who were happy to let government try to fix the skills problem and didn’t want to be part of the solution as well. That approach didn’t work, and couldn’t work.

And this didn’t, couldn’t, work.

So that’s why we are putting you, the employers, at the heart of the reform.

To be frank, everything I’ve set out today and the discussion we have today lives or dies on the strength of your involvement and commitment, to work in partnership.

It’s businesses – big and small – that can uniquely motivate and inspire people in our schools, its businesses that can show people the path into careers, like Mamuda set out, that never thought were for people like them. All are crucial for the skills revolution and our policies need to help the global multi-national and the one-man start up.

Today is your chance to help us do that. Our workshops will focus on: how we can make T Levels work for business, delivering the important T Level work placements, Further Education teaching we want you to look at how you can work with us and improve that quality and consistency, and of course we do what workshops on apprenticeship reforms and adult learning. This is your chance to challenge and offer ideas, as our Permanent Secretary just said, on how we can do better.

But in return I want you to make a commitment – to work with us, to sign up to a new skills partnership and to make a better offer to young people, whatever their background.

So far 36 leading companies have done this and I hope that more will follow and sign up to our statement of action. We recognise that partnership can’t just be about words though, it has to be about actions. What I want to see is a race to the top, companies showing leadership on skills.

Actions like GF Tomlinson who give children in Derby insight into careers in construction through mock interviews, site visits and work experience.

Actions like Kier who have an army of more than 200 volunteers working with young people to help them decide what career path they want to follow.

This is about a culture change for business, a mindset shift. And if we really are to have a skills revolution it cannot be business as usual.

It’s about providing high quality apprenticeship,

It’s about providing high quality work placements. We talk to them and they are crying out for this. Many of you are the converted already, but we want to talk to you to have that discussion and debate. I want young people to see business as the solution to get the education and opportunities they want.

Employers always say practical work experience – but not enough businesses offer it. How can we work together to change that? Today is your chance to tell me and my team.

Later this year we will publish our new careers strategy to help young men and women get practical advice and experience of the widest possible jobs and workplaces so their choice of a career is really based on what they know and experiences, not some wrong preconceived notion of what they are and what they aren’t capable of. I never thought I could be a lawyer or do a law degree, as I had never met a lawyer. You are the credible voices that can bring this to life for them.

This is how you can get the biggest and the brightest candidates. Take engineering – according to Engineering UK, just one in eight roles are filled by women – you won’t plug the skills gap in this industry without tapping into the other half of the population. It’s probably one of the easier way to get more people into that job where there is a shortage.

I’d also like to see more industry experts actually going into colleges and teaching. What more credible voice is there for a young person in a college that a person who is part of the industry they are interested in. That’s what the skills training and T Levels is all about – bringing those things together.

Finally, we need every business to instil a culture of lifelong learning through their organisation, to invest in learning and development, from the people already at the top all the way down the organisation. We all know the changes the economy and technology will have. Which is why we must look at the national training scheme – and that starts with businesses. From people at the top right through the way down. It’s a lot isn’t it, what I’ve set out? And this is out of the comfort zone of many. I get that as much as anyone sat round the Cabinet table – and I know that has to change, and businesses have to step out of the comfort zone if we’re really going to plug the skills gap for good.

In conclusion, I wanted to bring you here to Sanctuary Buildings today to send a direct message to employers –at DfE, our doors are open to you.

This government believes in business – we see you as the solution. Business has helped to make our 21st century lives longer, more connected, more convenient. We see you as the solution and we want more young people to see you as a solution.

So we’re throwing down the gauntlet to you today: Come with us on this journey. Bring the innovation, the creativity, the commitment that has made British businesses the best in the world and help us develop apprenticeships, T Levels, careers advice schools and adult learning…

Join a skills partnership to create the workforce this country needs.

This is about people, it’s about places – it’s about all of us doing better and ending the opportunity deficit in this country.

We all have a part to play in that – and we all need to rise to the challenge.

Thank you.

Justine Greening – 2017 Speech at Teach First Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Education, at the Teach First conference on 24 October 2017.

I very much share the common mission that you have today, which is social mobility – and it’s something that has very much shaped my own life.

You’ve just heard from the ComRes poll, and the problem is that poll is correct. Where people start still overwhelmingly does define how the rest of their life will play out, and today is all about tackling that head-on and saying that none us should accept a country that works that way.

But also, I think you can challenge the impossible because I think we can change and we can shift the dial and I think we can, finally, make our country a country where there really is equality of opportunity for young people wherever they’re growing up.

Of course, I started off my journey in Rotherham. I went to my local comprehensive and I had amazing teachers that really did help me to think that I could aim high, that I could possibly make something of the opportunities that were waiting for me in the rest of my life if I was able to study at school and work hard.

The thing that I have never forgotten, and that I passionately believe, is that talent in our country is spread evenly. There isn’t this one community that is creating these amazing children that are going to go on and do brilliant things – those young people are all over, and we have to have an education system that allows them to make the best of themselves wherever they’re growing up.

So I want to talk briefly today just about some of the things that we’re doing, to be clear with you about how important social mobility is for me and for the Department for Education now, and perhaps to start off by saying I agree with the speaker that introduced Muzoon [Almellehan, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador] – we do need to go for it. But I think part of the problem is that it’s very hard to aim for an opportunity and to go for it if you don’t really know what that opportunity is and what it looks like.

For me, growing up I never thought about becoming a lawyer or doing law at university because I’d literally never met a lawyer in my life. I’d heard about lawyers, but I’d no idea what that job entailed, what the career would be like. And I think this isn’t just about education. It’s about connections, aspirations and I think the session after me will help really get into how that is absolutely vital, alongside what we’re doing in our education policy.

We know, as Russell [Hobby, Teach First] said, that for some communities poor social mobility has become entrenched. So people are growing up in parts of the country where actually they’re likely to have worse outcomes and then they’re likely to have worse career opportunities for them, even when they leave school.

There are some people for whom those opportunities are there, for whom that education is there, for whom those networks are there. For them, they’re pushing at open doors. But for other young people, other children, they don’t even know that the doors exist in the first place.

I think that teaching and the teaching profession is one of the biggest levers we’ve got to level up opportunity in our country. It’s part, of course, of the solution. Not the whole solution, but it’s a crucial one and it’s probably why many of you are here today as people who went into the teaching profession and I remember, just after I got elected, being approached by Teach First to come into parliament and to talk to me about all the work that this still quite new charity was doing, even then. I remember being blown away by how fantastic it sounded.

I can also remember, I have to be honest, thinking that had it been there at the time when I was thinking about doing my career choices after going to university that actually it’s something really would have appealed to me.

I think the early days, that first stage, of Teach First where you really ran towards some of the burning education issues of the time, which were often the plight of underperforming inner city comprehensives, many of them right here in London. And these were schools that, for those children in them, just weren’t getting the start that would mean they could benefit from a better education and more than that, they were disproportionately young people coming from more disadvantage backgrounds. So this sense of an education system that was actually exacerbating people being able to get on, in some respects, rather than levelling up the opportunity.

But schools like Hackney Downs and the rise of new academies that Labour actually first brought in then, of course, championed and pushed forward by us in government, like Mossbourne. Those sorts of reforms really started, I think, a race to the top and were very much pushed forward by an amazing teaching profession.

You’re going to hear from another amazing head, David Benson of Kensington Aldridge Academy – a school that has faced huge challenges over recent months but risen to them incredibly and is inspiring.

So, Teach First teachers are making a huge difference but they’ve gone beyond just teaching to setting up their own schools. I think alongside much of the work that has happened in cities like London, in particular, we’ve seen the real fruits of those benefits for levelling up opportunity. And now London and its education results probably give Singapore a run for its money because of the changes that have come in.

But they’ve been changes that have been pushed forward and pulled through by amazing teachers and I think we’re here today because this was almost phase one. But there’s a much bigger phase that we now need to really get into because if the task before was around inner city comprehensives and looking at places like London, actually now it’s about looking at the regional disparities that we have still in our education outcomes and the fact that if you’re a child in London, the fact that you want to look at how many children in London have got, say, three outstanding primary schools that are within three miles of their homes, in other words outstanding schools and great choice, that’s actually 90 per cent of children growing up in our city here.

But if you go to Bradford, do you know what the percentage is? It’s three. And I think that statistic, if nothing else, really shows how we now need to take all of the learnings – and all of your learnings in many respects – that we’ve seen over the years in education, particularly how we’ve changed things here, and make sure that we now lift up the results for children in many other different parts of the country.

I personally think that, as we go through Brexit, one of the things that we need to change in our country is that it needs to feel different in terms of opportunity and we need to make sure that we tackle the opportunity deficit that exists for far too many of our young people that are growing up around Britain today.

I think you know how hard this will be because actually if we could all fix it by talking and doing speeches it would have all been sorted a very long time ago. I think if it had just been about goodwill we’d have fixed it a very long time ago, but in the end my view is that you’re not going to shift the dial on social mobility with some grand visions.

Actually fixing social mobility, delivering on equality of opportunity is something that’s more complex, more gritty, quite local in many respects, very long-term. It requires a persistence that I think sometimes is hard to deliver in government and I think you need to build a strategy brick by brick – and that’s precisely what we’re determined to do.

We’re going to start in early years. We’re going to work with you in schools. We’re going to make sure that young people post-16 for the first time really have outstanding choices, not just on academic routes but on technical, applied education routes too. And we’re going to make sure that our young people going into university really know what the outcomes are after they invest in those courses.

I think underneath all of that needs to be two things. Firstly, a willingness to work in in partnership together – which I’ll come onto in a second – but secondly, something that I think Teach First is all about, which is innovation. When you look at what Teach Firsters have gone on to do, whether it’s Frontline, Brilliant Club, The Access Project, Jamie’s Farm, the Institute for Teaching, Right to Succeed. These are all programmes that are doing so much now to create opportunities for young people.

That innovation and willingness to challenge and change needs to come from government as well. I think when you look around our country there are so many areas where we know what works, not just in London, but outside too. And it’s now time to capture to what works, to have an evidence-based approach on that, and really spread it to the areas that can benefit from in the most.

The Education Endowment Foundation, I think, is a lynchpin in enabling us to make sure that we catch that evidence – that we marry it up with things like research schools and we really use it to drive policy and policy development over the coming years. But at the heart of all of this, for me, is teachers and an amazing teaching profession. It’s teachers that changed my life for the better, like most people at school if you point to the people that shape you most in life, it will almost certainly be your parents and your teachers.

So what we’re going to be doing is investing in home-grown talent in the parts of the country and the communities where we really want to lift up our teaching and lift up our schools, the teachers who are already there, who work in these challenging schools, who have already got the close connections with the communities. But I also think it’s about attracting more great teachers into those areas as well. I think this is an instinct that many, many teachers already have.

Teaching is a vocation and I think that’s why all of you have gone into it – you want to make a difference and I think we’ve got to make it easier for you to follow the grain of your human nature, to follow your gut instinct, to be able to go into those schools and really work as teams and lift them up. So, yes, we want to have a look at this in a much more systematic way because it requires a more systematic approach if we’re really going to make things different.

I want to make sure that teachers know that when they go into more challenging schools that they will get the full credit for having done that rather than simply going to a school where they’re brilliant but maybe it’s with children who are already able to access great teaching. I think that means we’ve finally got to get a grip on managing workload, we’ve got to have an accountability regime that doesn’t create barriers for teachers going to work in those schools where they’re needed most.

The reason that it’s so crucial to me to put this in place is that I want to carve out some space to really focus much, much more on teachers’ professional development. I realise that until we crack the workload nut that’s much, much harder.

Of course, the work that Amanda Spielman and Ofsted is doing in this area is also absolutely vital if we’re going to shift the system so that you can do what you want to. Our number one goal, I think, is lifting teaching as a career and I think helping shout about the fact that actually it’s probably one of the most rewarding careers anyone can go into.

We want to make sure that the best graduates think seriously about it as an option when they come out of university but that does mean, I think, improving the offer for existing teachers and that starts with strengthening QTS [Qualified Teacher Status]. For me it’s about making sure that as our teachers leave Initial Teacher Training that, when they finally get into the schools that they’re going to be teaching in, that actually that’s the next stage of their development not just the end of it.

Focusing on CPD [Continued Professional Development] in the early stages of a young teacher’s career is absolutely critical. That’s why I want to strengthen QTS. We’ve had a fantastic group of people, many of them teachers, all of them education experts, working with us at the DfE to pull together how we can do this best and we’ll be launching a consultation shortly to what all of you think good looks like.

I really do want to see this move on and I want it to be a stronger, better, more powerful QTS that can really turbocharge teacher’s development and beyond that, then making sure that the National Professional Qualifications and the reforms there. We’ve set aside £10 million to really incentivise those being taken up in the areas where we think we want to work hardest on improving leadership.

It’s about steadily building a whole career path and there’s much, much more of course to do on all of this but it’s fantastic for me to see the role that Teach First is going to play in all of that and certainly you will be one of the first 42 providers of those new, reformed NPQs.

All of that work sits alongside the broader work that’s underway on using an evidence base to really understand how we can help develop, professionally, teachers in our more challenging areas. Whether it’s the Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund, including programmes from that – one of which is also led by a Teach First ambassador. Those programmes are launching in schools next year.

I’m keen to look at how we can strengthen the pipeline of teachers going into parts of our communities that would most benefit from great new teachers. That’s why we’ve announced that we’ll be piloting the teacher loan reimbursement scheme in more difficult parts of the country so that we can really improve not just retention, through a stronger career path, but critically recruitment as well.

That pilot scheme will focus on new science and modern foreign language teachers. We’re going to launch it in 25 very different local authorities whether it’s Derby, Oldham, Northumberland, Middlesbrough, Norfolk, and it will cover those early years of student loan payments.

Of course, Russell mentioned Opportunity Areas, and we’ll continue all of the work that’s well underway there. And I think what we were trying to achieve with the Opportunity Area strategy was to have, again, a more systematic look and recognise that many of the challenges that are faced inside schools, and faced by teachers trying to do their role inside schools, actually need solutions not just within the schools themselves but to work much more broadly with communities, with charities, with businesses outside schools too.

That’s precisely what we’re doing. And the second piece of this really, for me – I talked about innovation – is partnership. I think the knowledge that Teach First will be on that next stage of the journey with us, looking at how we can really shift the dial on tackling the regional disparities that are still there in our education system, I think is a huge prize for all of us to aim for.

Teach First was never called just Teach London, or Teach south-east, and for me I think it’s going to be fantastic for you to be so clearly on this next phase of our journey of raising education standards across our country.

Just to finish, I think absolutely everybody wants the same objective here. There are 4,000 people in this room but one objective, which is raising social mobility. Achieving a country where we have equality of opportunity, finally. I think we should recognise that Britain’s never been a place where there has been equality of opportunity. We’re not alone, that’s pretty much the same for overwhelmingly pretty much every single country in the world.

But I think if you believe, as I do, that any country – whether it’s Syria, or whether it’s Britain – any country’s greatest asset is people. Enabling those people, every single individual, to be able to flourish and reach their potential and thrive, surely is the biggest step we can take to making sure that our country’s a successful one in the long-term – but also a happy one too where people can truly feel fulfilled.

We’re looking across my department at how we can tilt our programmes, how we can focus our efforts, how we can make sure that across all of our policy areas and teams things are joined up. How we can make sure that all of those things are joined up with organisations, including Teach First, that are doing so much work every single day on exactly the same issue.

I believe that things can absolutely be different in our country in the future than how they’ve been in the past. I think it will take huge effort. I think it will take long-term effort. But I really do believe that if we work together we can achieve a first for Britain – and that’s a Britain that really does have equality of opportunity for all. Thank you.

Justine Greening – 2017 Statement on National Funding Formula for Schools

Below is the text of the statement made by Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Education, in the House of Commons on 14 September 2017.

In my statement to the House on 17 July, I set out my Department’s plans to increase spending on schools by £1.3 billion over the next two years, on top of our existing plans. I said that that would mean that we could press ahead with introducing a national funding formula for schools and high needs from April 2018 that would provide a per-pupil cash increase in respect of every school and every local area, and would also maintain the overall budget in real terms, per pupil. I promised to return to the House in September to set out the Government’s final decisions on introducing fairer funding in full, and today I am doing just that.

This is an historic reform. It means that, for the first time, the resources that the Government are investing in our schools will be distributed according to a formula based on the individual needs and characteristics of every school in the country. Not only will the national funding formula direct resources where they are most needed, helping to ensure that all children can receive the high quality education that they deserve, wherever they live; it will also provide that money through a transparent formula, which will mean greater predictability. By clearly setting out the sums that we are directing to different aspects of the formula—to the basic amount per pupil, or to children with additional needs—it allows for properly informed debate on this vital topic, something that the existing opaque system has held back.

The need for reform has been widely recognised across the House and beyond. The National Association of Head Teachers has said:

“A revised funding formula for schools is essential”.

The Association of School and College Leaders believes:

“The way in which funding has been distributed to schools has been flawed for many years… Reform of the school funding system is vital”.

The case is so strong because there is manifest unfairness when Coventry receives £510 more per pupil than Plymouth despite their having equal proportions of pupils eligible for free school meals, and Nottingham attracts £555 more than Halton, near Liverpool in Cheshire. Addressing those simple but damaging inequalities will represent the biggest improvement in the school funding system for decades. It is a step that previous Governments have failed to take for far too long.

It has been vital for us to take account of a broad range of views when making such a significant reform. Our wide-ranging consultations, both in 2016 and earlier this year, allowed us to hear from more than 26,000 individual respondents and representative organisations. I am grateful to everyone who took the time to share their views and respond to the consultations, including many Members on both sides of the House. We have considered all those responses carefully.

As I said to the House in July, I am putting an additional £1.3 billion into core funding for schools and high needs, so that the overall budget will now rise by about £2.6 billion in total, from almost £41 billion in 2017-18 to about £42.4 billion in 2018-19 and £43.5 billion in 2019-20. Building on this firm foundation, I can today set out the final funding formulae we will introduce, which, over the next two years will mean we will deliver ​on our manifesto pledge to make school funding fairer and ensure that we deliver higher funding as well in respect of every area and school.

Building on our consultation proposals, as I set out in the House prior to the summer recess, I am increasing the basic amount of funding that every pupil will attract. We recognise the challenges of the very lowest funded schools so will introduce a minimum per pupil funding level. Under the national funding formula, in 2019-20 all secondary schools will attract at least £4,800 per pupil. Today I can announce that all primary schools will attract at least £3,500 per pupil through the formula in 2019-20. And the formula will provide these levels of funding quickly: secondary schools will attract at least £4,600, and primary schools £3,300, in 2018-19, and then the full amounts the following year.

I will also provide a cash increase in respect of every school. Final decisions on local distribution will be taken by local authorities, but under the national funding formula every school will attract at least 0.5% more per pupil in 2018-19, and 1% more in 2019-20, compared with its baseline. Many schools will, of course, attract significantly larger increases under the formula: up to 3% per pupil in 2018-19, and a further 3% per pupil in 2019-20. And the minimum per pupil funding level will not be subject to this gains cap, delivering particularly fast gains in respect of the very lowest funded schools.

Our consultation confirmed the importance of funding for additional needs—deprivation and low prior attainment. We know that these factors are our best way to identify the children who are most likely to fall behind, and to remain behind, their peers, and it is only right that we provide the greatest resources to the schools that face the greatest challenges. As I said in July, we will protect the funding the formula will direct towards additional needs at the level proposed in our consultation, and I can therefore confirm today that total spending on additional needs will be £5.9 billion.

As we proposed in December, we will distribute that funding more fairly, and in line with the best available evidence. We will use a broad measure of deprivation to include all those who are likely to need extra help, and we will increase the proportion of additional needs spending allocated on the basis of low prior attainment, to give additional support to those who might not be economically deprived but still need help to catch up.

I can also confirm today that, as we proposed in December, the national funding formula will allocate a lump sum of £110,000 for every school. For the smallest, most remote schools, we will distribute a further £26 million in dedicated sparsity funding. Only 47% of eligible schools received sparsity funding in 2017-18 because some local authorities chose not to use this factor. Our national funding formula will recognise all eligible schools.

Our formula will rightly result in a significant boost directed towards the schools that are currently least well funded. Secondary schools, which would have been the lowest funded under our December proposals, will now gain on average 4.7%. Rural schools will gain on average 3.9%, with those schools in the most remote locations gaining 5%. Those schools with high numbers of pupils starting with low attainment will gain on average 3.8%.​

As I set out in my statement in July, to provide stability for schools through the transition to the national funding formula, each local authority will continue to set a local formula which will determine individual schools’ budgets in their areas in 2018-19 and 2019-20, in consultation with local schools. This mean that the school-level allocations from Government I am publishing today, alongside this announcement, are notional allocations which we will use to set the total funding available for schools in each area. As I set out in the House, schools’ final actual funding allocations for 2018-19 and 2019-20 will be based on that local formula agreed in their area by the local authority, and schools will receive that allocation ahead of the new financial year, as normal. I will put copies of both documents in the House of Commons Library, and the Lords.

Our objective to provide the best education for every child places a particular focus on the support we offer to the children who face the greatest barriers to success, and on the high-needs budget that provides that support. The case for reform of high-needs funding is every bit as strong as the case for school funding reform, and therefore the move to a national funding formula is every bit as important. We set out full proposals for the introduction of a high-needs national funding formula last December, alongside our schools formula, and I am today confirming that we will proceed with those proposals.

Thanks to the additional £1.3 billion investment I announced in July, I can increase funding for high needs so that I will also be able to raise the funding floor to provide a minimum increase of 0.5% per head in 2018-19 and 1% per head in 2019-20 for every local authority. Underfunded local authorities will receive up to 3% per head gains a year for the next two years, to help them catch up. That is a more generous protection than we proposed in December, to help every single local authority maintain and improve the support it offers to some of our most vulnerable children. It means that local authorities will see a 4.6% increase on average in their high-needs budgets.

The additional £1.3 billion we are investing in schools and high needs means that all local authorities will receive an increase in 2018-19 over the amount they plan to spend in 2017-18. Local authorities will take the final decisions on distributing funding to schools within local areas, but the formula will provide for all schools to see an increase in funding compared with their baseline.

In conclusion, the new national funding formulae will redress historical inequities in funding that have existed for far too long, while also maintaining stability so that schools and local areas are not disadvantaged in the process. After too many years in which the funding system has placed our schools on an unfair playing field, we are finally making the decisive and historic move towards fair funding.

The national funding formulae for schools and high needs and the increased investment we are making in schools will help us continue to improve standards and create a world-class education system. No one in this House should accept the system as it has been; it has perpetuated inequality and that is unacceptable. I am proud that it is a Conservative Government who are now putting that right. On this firm foundation, we will all—Government and schools, teachers and parents—be ​able to build a system that finally allows every child to achieve their potential, no matter what their background, or where they are growing up.

Justine Greening – 2017 Statement on School Funding

Below is the text of the speech made by Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Education, in the House of Commons on 17 July 2017.

This Government believes that all children should have an education that unlocks their potential and allows them to go as far as their talent and hard work will take them. That is key to improving social mobility.

We have made significant progress. Nine out of 10 schools are now good or outstanding, the attainment gap is beginning to close and we have launched 12 opportunity areas to drive improvement in parts of the country that we know can do better. But all this has been against a backdrop of unfair funding. We know that the current funding system is unfair, opaque and out of date and this means that, although we hold schools against the same accountability structure wherever they are, we fund them at very different levels. In addition, resources are not reaching the schools that need them most.

School funding is at a record high because of the choices we have made to protect and increase school funding even as we faced difficult decisions elsewhere to restore our country’s finances, but we recognise that at the election people were concerned about the overall level of funding for schools as well as its distribution. As the Prime Minister has said, we are determined to listen. That is why I am today confirming our plans to get on with introducing a national funding formula in 2018-19. I can announce that will now be supported by significant extra investment into the core schools budget over the next two years.

The additional funding I am setting out today, together with the introduction of a national funding formula, will provide schools with the investment they need to offer a world-class education to every child. There will therefore be £1.3 billion for schools and high needs across 2018-19 and 2019-20 in addition to the schools budget set at spending review 2015. This funding is across the next two years as we transition to the national funding formula. Spending plans for the years beyond 2019-20 will be set out in a future spending review.

As a result of this investment, core funding for schools and high needs will rise from almost £41 billion in 2017-18 to £42.4 billion in 2018-19. In 2019-20 it will rise again to £43.5 billion. This represents £1.3 billion in additional investment: £416 million more than was set aside at the last spending review for the core school budget in 2018-19, and £884 million more in 2019-20. It will mean that the total schools budget will increase by £2.6 billion between this year and 2019-20, and per pupil funding will now be maintained in real terms for the remaining two years of the Spending Review period to 2019-20.

For this Government, social mobility and education are a priority. The introduction of the national funding formula — from which previous Governments shied — backed by the additional investment in schools we are confirming today, will be the biggest improvement to the school funding system in well over a decade.

I said when I launched the consultation last December that I was keen to hear as many views as possible on this vital reform. I’m grateful for the engagement on the issue of fairer funding and the national funding formula. We received more than 25,000 responses to our consultation, including from members from across the House. We have listened carefully to the feedback we have received and we will respond to the consultation in full in September, but I can today tell the House that the additional investment we are able to make in our schools will allow us to do several things, including:

Increasing the basic amount that every pupil will attract in 2018-19 and 2019-20;

For the next two years, this investment will provide for up to 3% gains a year per pupil for underfunded schools, and a 0.5% a year per pupil cash increase for every school;

We will also continue to protect funding for pupils with additional needs, as we proposed in December.

Given this additional investment, we are able to increase the percentage allocated to pupil led factors, something I know honourable members were keen to happen. This formula settlement to 2019-20 will provide at least £4,800 per pupil for every secondary school, which I know Members in a number of areas will particularly welcome.

The national funding formula will therefore deliver higher per pupil funding in respect of every school, and in every local area. These changes, building on the proposals that we set out in December, will provide a firm foundation as we make historic reforms to the funding system, balancing fairness and stability for schools. It remains our intention that a school’s budget should be set on the basis of a single, national formula, but a longer transition makes sense to provide stability for schools. In 2018-19 and 2019-20, the national funding formula will set indicative budgets for each school, and the total schools funding received by each local authority will be allocated according to our national fair funding formula and transparently for the first time.

Local authorities will continue to set a local formula to distribute that funding, and to determine individual schools’ budgets in 2018 19 and 2019-20, in consultation with schools in the area. I will shortly publish the operational guide to allow them to begin that process. To support local authorities planning, I am also confirming now that in 2018 19, all local authorities will receive some increase to the amount they plan to spend on schools and high needs in 2017-18. We will confirm gains for local authorities, based on the final formula, in September.

The guide will set out some important areas that are fundamental to supporting a fairer distribution through the national funding formula. For example, we will ring-fence the vast majority of funding provided for primary and secondary schools although local authorities, in agreement with their local schools forum, will be able to move some limited amounts of funding to other areas, such as special schools, where this better matches local need.

As well as this additional investment through the national funding formula, I am confirming our commitment to doubling the physical education and sports premium for primary schools. All primary schools will receive an increase in their PE and sports premium funding in the next academic year.

The £1.3 billion additional investment in core schools funding which I am announcing today will be funded in full from efficiencies and savings I have identified from within my Department’s existing budget, rather than higher taxes or more debt. This of course requires difficult decisions, but it is right to prioritise core schools funding, even as we continue the vital task of repairing the public finances. I am maximising the proportion of my Department’s budget which is allocated directly to frontline headteachers – who can then use their professional expertise to ensure that money is spent where it will have the greatest possible impact. I have challenged my civil servants to find efficiencies, just as schools are having to.

I want to set out briefly the savings and efficiencies that I intend to secure:

Efficiencies and savings across our capital budget can release £420 million. The majority of this will be from healthy pupils capital funding – from which we will make savings of £315 million. This reflects reductions in forecast revenue from the soft drinks industry levy. I will be able to channel the planned budget, which remains in place, to frontline schools, while meeting our commitment that every pound of England’s share of spending from the levy will continue to be invested in improving child health, including £100 million in 2018-19 for healthy pupils capital.

We remain committed to an ambitious free schools programme that delivers choice, innovation and higher standards for parents. In delivering the programme, and the plans for a further 140 free schools announced at the last Budget, we will work more efficiently to release savings of £280 million up to 2019-20. This will include delivering 30 of the 140 schools through the local authority route, rather than the free schools route.

Across the DfE resource budget – which is over £60 billion per year – I will also reprioritise £250 million in 2018-19 and £350 million in 2019-20 to fund the increase in core schools budget spending I am announcing today. I plan to redirect £200 million from the Department’s central programmes towards frontline funding for schools. Although these projects are useful, I believe strongly that this funding is most and more valuable in the hands of head teachers.

Finally, alongside this extra investment in our core schools budget, it is vital that school leaders strive to maximise the efficient use of their resources, to achieve the best outcomes for all their pupils and best promote social mobility. We already provide schools with support to do this, but we will now go further to ensure that support is effectively used by schools.

We will continue our commitment to securing substantial efficiency gains over the coming years. Good value National Deals, that procure better value goods and services on areas all schools spend money on and purchase goods in can save significant amounts. They are available under the deals based on our existing work such as on insurance or energy. Schools can save an average of 10% on their energy bills if they use a national deal. We will expect schools to be clear if they do not make use of these deals and consequently have higher costs.

Across school spending as a whole, we will improve the transparency and usability of data, so that parents and governors can more easily see the way funding is being spent and understand not just educational standards in schools, but financial effectiveness too. We have just launched a new online efficiency bench-marking service which will enable schools to analyse their own performance much more effectively.

We recognise that many schools have worked hard up to this point to manage cost base pressures on their budgets, and we will take action this year to provide targeted support to those schools where financial health is at risk, deploying efficiency experts to give direct support to these schools.

The significant investment we are making in schools and the reforms we are introducing underpin our ambition for a world-class education system. Together, they will give schools a firm foundation that will enable them to continue to raise standards, promote social mobility, and give every child the best possible education and the best opportunities for the future.

Justine Greening – 2017 Speech on Social Justice

Below is the text of the speech made by Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Education, at the Guildhall in London on 21 June 2017.

Thank you very much Alan [Milburn – Chair of the Social Mobility Commission] and to both of you for doing what I think is a very important piece of work.

Clearly our country does face many challenges but we will meet them by building up our people together.

I grew up in a working class family, I was one of those working-class kids.

There were two things I really believed in from the word go.

One was a fundamental fairness in the link between effort and reward and wanting to understand that if I was willing to put that time in, put the persistence in, that I would be able to see some results for that.

The other thing I believed in was a meritocracy.

Because I think talent is spread evenly throughout our country, throughout our communities; and fundamentally our country would be better the more we can unlock all of that.

When you put those things together, a strong link between effort and reward, a real meritocracy, then you have empowered people.

And when you have empowered people you have an empowered country.

And I think when you’ve got empowered people you have stronger productivity and that’s something that all of the organisations that are part of this Index today have fundamentally understood.

It’s a virtuous circle in the end.

I happen to think, as well, that this isn’t just the smart thing to do.

It’s not just about a business case for companies or for organisations.

It is the right thing to do.

A more socially mobile Britain will be a happier place. Communities will be stronger when we achieve that.

I think we can change the internal plumbing of our country to make it more socially mobile.

We don’t have to accept where our country has come from and where it is today and see that as the only course that we can take in the future.

But that’s going to be up to all of us to make the future different from the past and from where we are now.

We do need to recognise that there are a myriad of barriers – some of them big but some of them small – that stack up against people who are starting perhaps from further behind.

People who, when we talk about a level playing field, are the ones furthest away from having it.

I certainly remember from my own childhood growing up in Rotherham it was a very difficult time, actually.

Many of the children growing up in that town, including myself, saw our parents lose their jobs and you felt like you were a long way from seeing opportunity on your doorstep.

This steady realisation as quite a young child for me, that to get opportunity I was going to have to work a long time, and very hard, just to get myself into a position to be able to start to have some opportunities.

I knew also that the beginning of that was education and probably being able to go university.

Which is why the fact that so many more disadvantaged children are now getting into university for the first time, why people like me back in the 80s and 90s are no longer the norm and actually it’s pretty normal for people from those backgrounds to get to university now, why that’s so important.

But it’s clear that it’s not just government, it’s not just education that plays a role in driving social mobility.

I like to think that I’ve got the best job in government and I think that it’s the most important job because it’s the one that helps people develop our country’s human capital.

But what we want to see are companies and organisations in our country using and developing that further when those people become adults and get into the workplace.

We don’t want people to just be going into jobs.

We want them to be going into careers where they can continue to develop themselves and their ideas and their potential throughout their whole life, not just at the beginning of it.

That’s where business comes in.

That’s also where communities and civil society comes in.

The launch of this Index today is about starting to put some numbers and evidence around how we can do that systematically and at scale.

I’d like to congratulate all of the organisations that are in this first Index and achieving a score.

Because you are showcasing what some of that best practice, that can take very different forms, can look like.

It will be the evidence that you are gathering that helps other organisations get further and faster over the coming months and years.

Some of you are doing blind recruitment on CVs.

Some of you are looking at different ways of assessing candidates when they present for job interviews.

I think that some of the work that’s been done in my own profession of accountancy in widening the routes of people into that profession in particular have really helped open it up to a brand new generation of different sorts of people – and all for the better.

Alan talked about how it’s not just about some of these crunchy changes we can make on process, it’s all about changing attitudes.

Again, I can draw on my own experience of being confronted with receiving the sharp end of unconscious bias.

I remember interviewing to go into an investment bank after I became qualified at PwC – and it’s fantastic to see PwC in this Index.

Part of that time spent at that company was being taken out to lunch.

I did the interview and the interview was fine and I got taken out to lunch by 2 of the junior mangers in this investment bank.

We sat down in a little Italian restaurant and they handed out the menu and the waitress came to take our order.

I remember trying to work out whether I should order the meal in Italian, which was the prime name in this menu alongside each meal, or whether I should read the English translation underneath.

In a split second I decided that I’m not a pompous person, I thought I’d just read the English.

And I could tell with the body language that I’d just failed a test, because I was meant to have had the confidence, apparently, to have just said it in Italian.

Now it wasn’t that I didn’t have confidence, I absolutely had lots of confidence as a person but I just had a different attitude to how I felt it was appropriate to behave.

And frankly, did it really matter either way?

Probably not, anyway.

But the point is you had a sense of it being part of a test.

And I had a sense of it being a test I failed not because I wasn’t going to do a great job at that company but just because I came from a different place and had a different attitude to that situation.

These are the small things that add up to big differences in terms of whether or not, in the end, people get opportunities.

I should say the great news is that company is also in this Index today, so again I think that’s fantastic progress.

There are real benefits for all of the organisations in today’s Index. I think they will simply do better.

There is evidence that says that companies that are more diverse, that crack these issues of social mobility, do better.

Because when they are taking decisions they are having broader discussions, they consider a variety of different things from different angles, and the decisions they take are better, the outcomes they achieve will be better.

And, actually Alan is right that doing this isn’t always easy but there are some things that companies did that scored in this Index that are straightforward and that can actually be done tomorrow, if organisations and businesses want to do that.

That’s what we want to see.

We want to see people getting on with change that removes the barriers that are holding some of our most talented youngsters back.

It doesn’t always cost a penny.

It’s just about changing how we approach these issues, changing how you approach processes, changing how you then develop people when they’re in your companies.

It’s also about changing hearts and minds.

I think if all organisations were able to do this, if they were all able to have that business case that social mobility brings, the advantages from it, it would be one of the biggest rocket boosters that we could put under the UK economy in coming years.

And it would be one of the biggest advantages the UK could have globally as an economy in the coming years, if we were to systematically make more out of our human capital than other countries around the world.

That’s why it’s so important.

This Index also matters not just because it starts to give us the evidence – and I love the evidence to help us develop policy – it gives us the transparency as well to see who’s doing what.

And I want to increasingly use these sorts of evidence bases to help us drive government policy.

We looked very closely at the work that the Social Mobility Commission did in relation to place; the communities and parts of our country where things were most stacked against young people doing the best for themselves.

We fundamentally took that as our starting point for where we would set up our Opportunity Areas.

I want us to look equally hard across Government and how we can see these companies as exemplars and how we can work to help make sure that what they are learning and what they are demonstrating is spread far more broadly, far more widely and far faster across our whole country.

I know that all of this means working in partnership, and I really do hope that, as Alan said, we can start to achieve a true, meaningful cross-party consensus on driving forward on social mobility.

Not just a debate where we recognise where we agree on this, but a debate that goes beyond that to say ‘well what are we going to do about it?’

A debate that focuses on the 80% that we can agree on, rather than the 20% that we don’t agree on, that we seem to spend our time dysfunctionally arguing about instead of getting on with things that we can make progress on instead.

That’s what I want to see happen as a change in Parliament.

We all need to realise that we will only move forward on social mobility and only make a change on it if we can set aside some of the areas where we don’t quite see eye-to-eye but instead focus on the areas where we absolutely have common ground and then work together, tirelessly and persistently, on that – whether it’s the government, in politics, or whether in our communities, whether in schools, in businesses, in civil society.

I think we can change things in our country but it is going to take a mammoth effort of people coming together and working together and making this a true movement, as Alan said.

The path to success isn’t going to be glamourous.

No one thing is going to be that silver bullet that changes everything overnight.

It’s going to be thousands, probably hundreds of thousands, possibly even millions of people doing things differently in their own lives, in the sphere of influence that they’ve got in their own organisations, day to day.

It’s as much as anything a change of heart in our country that we need to really drive social mobility.

We need people who recognise that they already have opportunity to understand that they too absolutely have to play a role in making sure that those who do not now get it as well.

That’s our task, and I think that’s the task also of British business, the ultimate opportunity-giver in our country.

It may not be glamourous but if we can make progress on this it will be transformational.

Because I believe that using all of the talents of people in our country is no longer an optional extra in Brexit Britain. It’s absolutely essential.

And I think the sooner that we can win this argument to put social mobility right at the heart of everyone’s agenda – including in government, in Parliament – the better.

And I think the more united, fundamentally, our country will be.

We do want a positive movement for change on social mobility. And it should be hope and social mobility that is the real antidote to today’s ‘day of rage’.

Thank you.

Justine Greening – 2016 Statement on School Funding


Below is the text of the statement made by Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Education, in the House of Commons on 21 July 2016.

The government is firmly committed to introducing fairer funding for schools, high needs and early years. This is an important reform, which will fairly and transparently allocate funding on the basis of schools’ and children’s actual needs, rather than simply on historic levels of funding tied to out of date local information. Along with the record levels of funding for schools announced at the spending review, and our commitment to the pupil premium for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, a fairer funding system will set a common foundation that will enable schools – no longer held back by a funding system that is arbitrary, out of date and unfair – to maximise the potential of every child. It will provide a crucial underpinning for the education system to act as a motor for social mobility and social justice.

The first stage consultations on national funding formula for schools and high needs, which were published in March, have been met with an overwhelmingly positive response from headteachers, teachers, governors and parents.

There is also a strong sense in the response to the first stage of the consultation that this is a once in a generation opportunity for an historic change and that we must get our approach right. I will therefore publish the government’s full response to the first stage of the schools and high needs consultations and set out my proposals for the second stage once Parliament returns in the autumn. We will run a full consultation, and make final decisions early in the new year. Given the importance of consulting widely and fully with the sector and getting implementation right, the new system will apply from 2018 to 2019. I will set out our full plans for a national funding formula for early years shortly.

In the meantime, I understand the need for local authorities to have sufficient information to begin to plan their schools and high needs funding arrangements for 2017 to 2018. Many of those who responded to the first stage national funding formula consultations emphasised that schools and local authorities need stability, and where there are changes need early notice, as well as a fair system.

In that context, I am confirming that in 2017 to 2018 no local authority will see a reduction from their 2016 to 2017 funding (adjusted to reflect authorities’ most recent spending patterns) on the schools block of the dedicated schools grant (per pupil funding) or the high needs block (cash amount). As usual, we will apply an uplift for high needs later in the year. I am also publishing today detailed funding tables so that authorities can see exactly how this funding has been calculated.

Final allocations for schools and high needs blocks will follow in December on the basis of pupil numbers recorded in the October census.

I am setting this out now so that local authorities can begin the process of setting the budgets of schools in their area and that this can be concluded in time for the start of the coming financial year.

I am also confirming that, for 2017 to 2018, we will retain the current minimum funding guarantee for schools, so that no school can face a funding reduction of more than 1.5% per pupil next year in what it receives through the local authority funding formula. To ensure that local authorities can start planning their budgets for next year with certainty, I do not intend to proceed, for 2017 to 2018, with proposals to create a new central schools block, allow local flexibility on the minimum funding guarantee or to ring-fence the schools block within the dedicated schools grant. These will be covered, for 2018 to 2019 and beyond, in my response to the first stage consultation in the autumn.

I will shortly publish the Education Funding Agency’s operational guide to schools funding in 2017 to 2018, and send the draft Authority Proforma Tool to authorities.

Justine Greening – 2016 Speech on Tackling Corruption


Below is the text of the speech made by Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for International Development, at Marlborough House in London on 11 May 2016.

Introduction: the cost of corruption

Thank you for that introduction and thank you to our hosts the Commonwealth Secretariat and Baroness Scotland.

I’m delighted to be able to join you today. This conference is an absolutely critical precursor to tomorrow’s Anti-Corruption Summit. I know there have already been some important and wide-ranging discussions over the course of today.

I’m not going to take this opportunity to make a long and detailed argument about why corruption is a bad thing…

We know corruption is propping up failed and failing regimes, and providing cash for criminals and terrorists. We know how corruption is bad for global economic growth – and adds about 10% to business costs globally.

We also know how, behind all the statistics, there are people… people being robbed of the life they might have had…women being sexually exploited when they try to get basic services like water and electricity. People who then have no chance to get justice from corrupt law enforcement officials.

Corruption hurts the poorest most – but in the end it is a threat to the national interests of every country.

The brilliant ‘Leaders Manifesto’ published by Transparency International today is an extraordinarily powerful call to arms for why we must take action now.

Corruption is bad for people. Bad for development. And bad for business.

And yet – despite knowing how much it costs us – as a global community I believe we have been far too hesitant about getting to grips with corruption. It’s too often been seen as too entrenched, too widespread, just too subsuming to knock down.

So the questions we’re left with are not whether corruption should be fought but whether corruption can be fought and whether we – as a global community – are prepared to fight it?

Growing momentum

The answer to the first question is yes – yes, we can fight corruption and secondly yes, we can defeat it.

Many brilliant examples of civil society, citizens, businesses and governments fighting corruption have been showcased here today.

And for the last few years there’s been growing momentum around this agenda.

The Open Government Partnership, strongly championed by the UK and others as part of our role in driving forward a global movement on transparency, has grown from 8 to 69 countries since 2011. Greatly welcome President Buhari’s commitment that Nigeria will join.

The Sustainable Development Goals agreed by the world last year acknowledged the vital importance of tackling corruption for defeating poverty – with Global Goal Number 16 committing us to reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms.

I’m very proud of how the UK, led by our Prime Minister David Cameron, has seized the initiative on this these last few years. The government’s 2010 Bribery Act introduced some of the world’s strictest legislation on bribery – making companies corporately liable to prosecution if they fail to prevent bribery. We are first major country in the world to establish a public central registry of who really owns and controls companies that will go live next month.

But we need to do more – and do more together. Which is of course the theme for today, and indeed for tomorrow, tackling corruption together – all of us, civil society, business, government leaders and citizens.

The Summit: exposing, punishing and driving out corruption

So is the world really prepared to take the comprehensive actions needed to stamp out corruption?

Tomorrow’s summit, hosted by our Prime Minister, is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to show that we are. The summit brings together world leaders from Afghanistan to Colombia to Nigeria to Norway, multinational companies, civil society groups, law enforcement bodies and multilaterals like the UN and the World Bank.

But whether or not this summit will truly be a turning point in the fight against corruption depends on whether this unique coalition will commit to practical, transformative steps that will expose corruption, punish the perpetrators and drive out entrenched corruption wherever it exists.

We all know the world we want – countries’ resources being used to improve people’s lives not stolen and squandered domestically or hidden abroad – the international legal system effectively recovering stolen funds and the perpetrators being punished – citizens being able to report and expose the corruption if they encounter it in their daily lives – businesses operating in a level playing field.

So what needs to happen tomorrow to ensure that we get there?

Firstly, tomorrow’s summit is about developed countries including the UK getting their own house in order and making key commitments.

In critical areas such as:

– Lifting the veil of secrecy over who ultimately owns and controls companies

– Denying the corrupt the use of legitimate business channels and ensuring anyone who launders the proceeds of corruption feels the full force of the law

– And ensuring the necessary laws are in place to expose and punish corruption, including working together across international borders to pursue and prosecute the corrupt.

Secondly, and just as crucially, tomorrow is about supporting change in developing countries, because tackling corruption is a two-way street – it’s not ‘us and them’ or ‘here and there’, it’s about sharing expertise, information and best practise – for our shared interests.

And that’s why it’s so important that developing countries, like Kenya, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Ghana and Nigeria will have a voice at the table tomorrow, so that we can work together, in partnership, to stamp out corruption in all its forms.

And let’s be clear – supporting these countries to fight corruption should be an absolutely key priority for everyone working in development. In many of the poorest countries, the resources lost through corruption often far outstrip the aid flows they are receiving.

It’s a key priority for the UK, as set out in our new UK Aid Strategy. I’ve ensured that my Department for International Development has anti-corruption and counter-fraud plans for every country we give bilateral aid to.

And we’ll be saying more tomorrow about our commitment to boost partnerships between UK institutions and their counterparts in the developing world.

Of top concern to me is effective and transparent tax systems.

I believe the Addis Tax Initiative (ATI) launched at Financing for Development last year has the potential to be really transformative. Countries like Ghana, Ethiopia and Tanzania are signing up to put a priority on developing their own sustainable tax administrations – while donor countries like the UK are providing the right support, we’re doubling our support whether financial or technical assistance. It means as growth happens, these countries are better placed to reap the financial rewards.

To date, 31 countries have committed to the ATI and over the course of this summit we want to see many more step up and make a public commitment to this crucial initiative.

Thirdly, this summit is not just about governments – we also want to see businesses really seizing the initiative on this.

To me this is about much more than corporate responsibility – it’s in businesses’ best interests to join the fight against corruption. Corruption is bad for business.

And in a recent survey of business attitudes to corruption – carried out the by business risks consultancy Control Risks – 34% of respondents from Africa reported losing out on deals to corrupt competitors. That’s why having a level playing field is so important.

So governments will play their part but the onus is also on businesses themselves to take action on transparency, on procurement and who they’re working with – and it’s crucial that we see more and more businesses adding their powerful voice to the anti-corruption agenda. And I want to see businesses engaged in a race to the top in terms of standards.

Fourthly, and importantly, tomorrow’s summit must be about empowering citizens to fight corruption – with civil society playing a key role in this.

This summit needs to offer new hope for citizens – a guarantee that when the dust settles it won’t be business as usual and that corrupt leaders and officials will not have impunity.

That means commitments for more opening up of government data to citizens, using the latest technology to make it accessible and it means protections for whistleblowers.

Civil society will continue to have a vital role helping to mobilise citizens to monitor their governments using all the new data available. And I hope that even more civil society groups can play a role in changing attitudes, and changing public expectation over what can be achieved in the fight against corruption.

I also want to see civil society organisations building innovative partnerships with other players…in particular working in partnership with businesses to stop corruption.

I look forward to hearing from you on how this could work in the next session.


So, in the end, this issue of tackling corruption is for everyone.

Tackling corruption is not only morally the right thing to do – it’s in our national interest, it’s in every country’s national interest.

This week is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for developed countries to get their house in order and for developing countries who suffer the most from corruption – and have the most to gain by stamping it out.

There is no question that corruption matters wherever you are in the world, whoever you are and whatever field you represent.

That’s why this Anti-Corruption Summit needs to stick – it can’t be a one-off, it has to be the start of a truly global movement to stamp out corruption.

Governments need to live up to their promises – and civil society and businesses need to hold governments to account but also commit to learning and adapting from each other.

We won’t eradicate all corruption at the summit tomorrow, but we are taking a crucial step in the journey. And I firmly believe that, with the right global effort, we can turn back the tide of corruption.

We owe this to the poorest people in the world – we owe it to ourselves. The world and our global economy can’t afford not to tackle corruption. The world needs to look very different by 2020. Let’s make sure tomorrow’s summit is the crucial step to driving just that.

Thank you.

Justine Greening – 2016 Speech to European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Meeting


Below is the text of the speech made by Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for International Development, to the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development annual meeting in London on 11 May 2016.

I’m delighted to be here with you at the EBRD’s 25th Annual Board of Governors meeting.

Over the last quarter of a century the EBRD has played a unique and powerful role on the world stage, helping countries transition towards market orientated economies and democratic principles.

More than 30 countries, from Bulgaria, to Mongolia, to Jordan, to Tunisia now benefit from the Bank’s investment and expertise.

My key message today is that in our age of crisis, with all the challenges the world is facing, a strong and effective EBRD – an international institution with a European heart – has never been more important. More than ever we need the private sector to be centre stage in tackling the global challenges we face – and the EBRD’s leadership on this remains absolutely essential.

We know the world is facing unprecedented challenges to our global prosperity and global security.

Uncertainty in the markets, the threat of climate change, the impact of protracted displacement crises such as we are seeing in Syria and the region.

And the reality is we have a shared responsibility for meeting these challenges. If we choose to neglect the problems beyond our borders today – they become our own tomorrow.

So we must work together to tackle the root causes of poverty and instability.

The past 25 years have shown us that trying to build development and to help transition in any country without a solid foundation of peace and stability simply doesn’t work.

Stability is not only about war and conflict – it’s about countries having strong economies, a strong private sector, healthy and educated populations and, crucially, it’s about the strength of their institutions.

Today, we are gathered in the City of London – the world’s leading financial centre and home to many multinational firms. And not too far from this building you will also find the sites of many of Britain’s great institutions from the London Stock Exchange, to the Bank of England, to the Royal Courts of Justice.

These institutions were vital to Britain’s own development. Without rule of law, without parliamentary democracy, without open markets – Britain would never have prospered in the way we have – and that’s true for so many of the countries represented here.

So institutions matter – to citizens and to businesses as well. And it’s not only national institutions that matter – the strength of our international institutions is critical as well. The UN, the World Bank, the IMF and, of course, the EBRD.

Twenty-five years ago when this Bank was formed, just after the Berlin Wall had fallen and with it, symbolically, Europe’s Iron Curtain. It was a time of great hope but also great uncertainty. There were no guarantees that former Soviet bloc countries could easily transition into democratic, market orientated economies.

But in response the world’s leaders did not sit back and wait to see what happened. Just as they had once forged new alliances after the Second World War – the end of the Cold War paved the way for new and enduring partnerships, and ultimately a more stable, more peaceful, more prosperous Europe.

The EBRD was formed with a unique economic and political mission – that focused on the creation of open market economies in countries committed to multi-party democracy and pluralism.

And the Bank has played a critical role supporting: banking systems reform; the liberalisation of markets; replacing inefficient state monopolies with greater competition; and the creation of proper legal frameworks for property rights.

This has helped foster the kind of open societies and open economies where jobs, growth and enterprise can thrive – and individual rights to liberty and property are safeguarded. All of which, in turn, opens the door to greater private sector investment and a virtuous circle of growth.

Of course the challenges of 25 years ago are different from the challenges we face today. The EBRD has to evolve and adapt in a changing, and often turbulent, world.

And under Sir Suma’s leadership the EBRD is rising to this challenge.

In response to the Arab Spring, the EBRD rapidly expanded into the Southern and Middle Eastern Mediterranean countries region – with support from the UK and others.

In light of the economic and financial challenges facing Ukraine, and in recognition of the new government’s resolve to undertake comprehensive reforms and combat corruption, the EBRD has reconfirmed its commitment to support Ukraine in this reform process. In fact the Bank is the largest international financial investor in Ukraine.

And I’m pleased that the EBRD and the UK will be collaborating on our response to the refugee crisis in Jordan.

At the London Syria Conference earlier this year, the international community took its first step in recognising the global public good that neighbouring countries like Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey are providing by hosting the vast majority of Syria’s 4.6 million refugees.

Together the world pledged vital, record-breaking billions to meet the urgent humanitarian needs – and made historic commitments to provide education, jobs and, in doing so, hope for refugees stuck in a permanent emergency situation.

Again, the EBRD will play its part and has already engaged with government agencies, donors and other stakeholders to identify where and what investment is needed. As a result the UK has agreed a £30 million grant to the EBRD to support a series of investments in Northern Jordan. This will focus, firstly, on improving overstretched infrastructure in refugee-hosting cities.

And, following the crucial commitments at the London Syria Conference to open up work permits to up to 200,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, the EBRD will help deliver some of these opportunities by identifying skills and engaging with the private sector to offer training and work based learning opportunities and routes into jobs.

I also want to commend the EBRD and Sir Suma for your work promoting inclusion, in particular the Bank’s strategy for the promotion of gender equality.

It is now increasingly recognised that women’s economic empowerment is one of the biggest potential levers we have for boosting global prosperity. That’s why the UN Secretary General has set up the UN’s first ever High Level Panel to kick-start a global movement on women’s economic empowerment – and I’m proud to be one of the founding members of this Panel.

The EBRD has a crucial role, working with businesses, to create new opportunities for women’s economic participation. As much as any other reform law, it is how we underpin and unlock growth.

I believe it’s critical that all of us working together – including the EBRD – continue to up our game on this and break down the remaining barriers that prevent girls and women from fulfilling their potential and contributing fully to the global economy. We can’t afford not to.

In today’s world, with all the challenges we face, the EBRD’s mission is as relevant and as important as ever.

Aid alone will not be enough for delivering sustainable development and global prosperity – we need business, more jobs, growth and enterprise. And that means dramatically increasing and improving our performance in leveraging private sector financing.

The UK believes that the EBRD with its in-depth knowledge, experience and expertise must be at the heart of helping to solve some of the most difficult and urgent challenges we face – whether that’s the displacement of people and the refugee crisis or helping countries transition to low carbon economies or empowering women economically.

The EBRD, by committing to its private sector mission, by continuing to concentrate more of its efforts and resources in the poorest and most fragile areas it works in, and by focusing on inclusion, gender equality and results, can and must play a fundamental role in delivering sustainable, inclusive development over the next 25 years, working alongside other multilateral organisations.

A quarter of a century ago investing in former soviet bloc countries was morally the right thing to do – but it was right for our national interests too.

Today we have a fresh set of complex global challenges but we need to show the same determination, innovation and ambition.

Then, as now, our best chance of rising to the challenges we face is by working in partnership – working together to build the more stable, peaceful and prosperous world we all want. With the EBRD continuing to play a central, unique role on behalf of our continent.

Thank you.