Karen Bradley – 2018 Statement on Northern Ireland

Below is the text of the speech made by Karen Bradley, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, in the House of Commons on 20 February 2018.

With permission I should like to make a statement about the current political situation in Northern Ireland.

Over recent weeks there have been talks involving the main political parties, particularly the two largest parties, the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein, to see if there is a basis for re-establishing the Executive.

The UK Government has facilitated and supported these intensive negotiations. We have been in close touch with all the parties, and responded to requests for advice and support

The Irish Government have also been involved in accordance with the well-established three-stranded approach.

And I would like to place on record my appreciation of the contribution made by the Irish Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney, and his team.

In addition my Right Honourable Friend the Prime Minister has been consistently and closely involved, speaking to party leaders and visiting Belfast last Monday. I have continued to give her up-to-date reports as the talks have progressed.

The aim of those talks has been very clear: to bring about the re-establishment of inclusive, devolved government at Stormont which Northern Ireland has effectively been without for over thirteen months.

In doing so, we have been able to build on the progress made by my predecessor, my Right Honourable Friend the Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup, who I warmly welcome back to this House today.

In the Government’s view, both the DUP and Sinn Fein participated in discussions seriously and in good faith.

And we believe that progress towards reaching agreement on all the key substantive issues has been made.

It became possible in the light of this progress to identify a basis for a possible agreement to allow an Executive to be formed, embracing how the parties ensured the Executive was sustainable, and how they reached a balanced and fair accommodation on the difficult issues of language and culture, and how this was reflected in a package of legislation. Many other issues were addressed too, if not always resolved. Unfortunately, however, by last Wednesday it had become clear that the current phase of talks had reached a conclusion, without such an agreement being finalised and endorsed by both parties.

As I said then, it is important for everyone to reflect on the circumstances which have led to this and their positions, both now and in the future.

What is important today is for me to give some direction as to next steps.

First, as our manifesto at the last election set out, this Government believes in devolution under the terms of the 1998 Belfast Agreement.

We want to see local politicians taking decisions over local matters accountable to a local Assembly.

We need devolved government to help deliver a stronger economy, to build a stronger society and to ensure that Northern Ireland’s voice is properly heard as we leave the European Union.

In addition we want to see all of the other institutions of the Agreement operating in the way that was intended.

I cannot reiterate too strongly that devolved government is in the best interests of all the people of Northern Ireland because it ensures their interests and concerns are fairly and equitably represented.

It is also in the best interests of maintaining and strengthening the Union, to which this Government remains fully committed, consistent with the principle of consent.

So we will continue to explore with the parties whether the basis for a political agreement still exists.

And as my Right Honourable Friend the Prime Minister has re-affirmed we stand ready to bring forward the necessary legislation that would enable an Executive to be formed at the earliest opportunity.

That is this Government’s clear hope and desire, something that I believe is shared widely across this House.

Second, however, things in Northern Ireland cannot simply remain in a state of limbo.

A number of challenging decisions will have to be taken.

Ultimately the Government has a responsibility to ensure good governance and the continued delivery of public services.

In particular, as the Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service has made clear, there needs to be certainty and clarity about a budget for Northern Ireland for next year as soon as possible.

And I intend to take steps to provide clarity on the budget and I will update the House as soon as I am in a position to do so.

This is clearly not where I want to be but in the absence of an Executive in Northern Ireland I will have no other choice.

Longer term the Government will not shirk its responsibilities to take whatever steps are necessary to provide certainty and stability for the people of Northern Ireland, while maintaining our commitment to govern with rigorous impartiality in the interests of all the people of Northern Ireland.

But we will only do that once we are sure that all other viable options designed to restore devolved government have been properly considered, including my statutory obligation to call an Assembly election.

In the absence of devolution it is also right that we consider the issue of salaries for Assembly Members.

At the end of last year my Right Honourable Friend for Old Bexley and Sidcup received recommendations on this from Mr Trevor Reaney, a former Clerk of the Assembly.

The Government will need to decide shortly on the next steps.

I acknowledge the public concern that while a number of Assembly members continue to carry out constituency and representative functions, current salaries are maintained while the Assembly is not meeting.

On the issue of addressing the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past the Government has manifesto commitments to consult on the implementation of the bodies set out in the 2014 Stormont House Agreement and to support the reform of inquests.

I would much prefer to do this in the context of an agreement that sees the restoration of a devolved Executive.

But I am conscious of the Government’s responsibilities to make progress in this area to provide better outcomes for victims and survivors, the people who suffered most during the troubles.

So we will continue to proceed toward a full consultation as soon as possible, so that everyone can have their say.

Mr Speaker, as the House will recognise this April marks the 20th anniversary of the historic Belfast Agreement.

That Agreement, along with its successors, has been fundamental in helping Northern Ireland move forward from its violent past to a brighter, more secure future.

And this Government’s support for the Agreements remains steadfast. As does our commitment to govern for everyone in Northern Ireland.

There is no doubt that Northern Ireland has taken huge strides forward in the past twenty years.

In my short time as Northern Ireland Secretary I have seen a place full of wonderful talent and huge potential.

Yet any commemorations this year will look decidedly hollow if Northern Ireland still has no functioning government of its own.

So everyone needs to continue striving to see devolved government restored and to build a Northern Ireland fit for the future.

That remains the clear focus and determination of this Government.

Karen Bradley – 2017 Speech at Children’s Media Summit

Below is the text of the speech made by Karen Bradley, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, at the Children’s Media Summit held in Manchester on 5 December 2017.

It’s a pleasure to be here at this Children’s Global Media Summit to discuss the future of children’s media in a digital world.

I’m in the fortunate position where I have two roles here: as the Secretary of State responsible for Digital and Media – the first Secretary of State to include Digital in my official title – but also as a mother to two boys.

So I really do appreciate the importance of this Summit, and of the new digital world for our children.

Like any mother, I want my children to be safe online, but at the same time I don’t want to smother them, or unduly limit their freedom. That is the balance I have to strike in my professional role too.

We all know that we’re living through a time of great change, and that digital is an ever-increasing part of everything we do, as we move more and more online – and that includes media.

For my generation, media used to mean the shows we watched, the music we listened to, the books and comics we read. And they’re all still relevant even in this digital age. Around a third of children have a radio set. Nine out of ten children still watch TV on a traditional set. Millions of families are hooked on Strictly, and I’m sure most of us here, not just our children, will watch history being made at Christmas when Jodie Whittaker becomes the first female Doctor Who.

But the media is changing, and children’s engagement with it developing at an incredible rate. It isn’t just about settling down in front of the television for whole evenings any more. I know this from personal experience. One minute my children are watching Horrible Histories on the iPlayer, the next they’re looking at a Youtube clip to help their homework on the iPad. The platforms, content and experiences the media offers them are far more varied than when I was their age.

That’s because in this digital era, media has taken on a broader meaning. Increasingly it is where children socialise, and how they experience the wider world, although that too is changing all the time – in fact the pace of change can feel relentless.

Once it was Myspace and Bebo, now it’s Instagram and Snapchat. Ten years ago neither of those existed. Now they have nearly one billion users combined. In the years ahead it will be something we haven’t even heard of yet – so it is vital that on all of this we continue to look forward and prepare for the next innovation.

As any parent will tell you, children understand how this technology works. Better than anyone. They were born into it. A fifth of 4 year olds in the UK already have their own tablet, and more than half of them are regularly online – and when you get to 12 to 15 year olds, my children’s age, that figure rises to 99%. They are completely at home in the online world. Or think they are. Because what children don’t necessarily understand is the level of risk involved.

Ofcom’s Media Attitudes Survey, published just last week, made the challenges clear. It tells us almost half of all 12 to 15 year olds have seen something hateful online in the last year. A quarter have been contacted online by someone they don’t know. And one in ten have seen something of a sexual nature that, as the report words it, made them feel uncomfortable. Something they weren’t emotionally or mentally prepared for. Something, frankly, they should not have seen.

Now as a parent, that really worries me. As Secretary of State, it’s my responsibility to do something about it. We don’t pretend this government can, on its own, solve this global challenge. But we are committed to taking genuine action and for the United Kingdom to lead the way.

That is why we are working hard in three ways: through our Digital Charter and Internet Safety Strategy; through our work to support children online; and through taking steps to help the media provide for our children in a global society.

First, we announced our Digital Charter in June to establish a new framework to balance freedom with protection. Through the Charter, we will work with businesses, academics, charities and the wider public to build consensus on how technology should be used and how we act online. We announced our Internet Safety Strategy in October – the first major step towards achieving that goal – and the consultation on that closes this Thursday. The aim here is simple: behaviour that is unacceptable in normal life is not acceptable online.

These are, of course, global issues. Every country is being transformed by the rapid development of digital technology, so we are consulting with people from a whole range of backgrounds – other Governments, technology firms, content creators, schools, the voluntary sector, and ordinary people young and old – to make sure we get this right.

That includes consulting on a social media code of practice to tackle harmful conduct – including bullying behaviour – and an industry levy to support educational programmes and technical solutions.

Only a few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be able to join the Duke of Cambridge to support his Royal Foundation Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying. It is exactly this sort of action, which brings together tech companies and charities to set out effective industry-driven initiatives, that we need in order to make a real difference. I look forward to His Royal Highness’ keynote speech tomorrow, and to continuing to work together on this very important issue.

The second area Government is taking action on is around supporting children online. It is crucial that young people understand online risks, that they know where to get help, and that they’re able to recover when things go wrong.

Today’s generation is the first to learn about relationships and sex in an online world, and that isn’t always something their parents understand or can teach them about. So we’re bringing in new compulsory school subjects in England. For the first time, primary school children will be taught Relationships Education, and secondary school children will be taught Relationships and Sex Education.

And we are considering how we can best support children, and their parents and guardians, through industry-designed projects, peer to peer support schemes and partnerships with civil society organisations. It was great to see the BBC Director General today launching the “Own It” website to do exactly this, by giving children the information they need to minimise risks online.

And thirdly, we are taking steps to ensure that the media provides for and supports our children in a global society. While the distinction between TV and online blurs, it is so important that children have access to the content that helps them understand their place in the world.

So we are taking steps to strengthen the children’s TV sector in our country. We have introduced a tax relief. We have given Ofcom new powers to impose quotas on commercial public service broadcasters, taking into account the new platforms on which children watch this content.

And we are committed to establishing a contestable fund to stimulate new public service content, with children’s programming as potential area of focus. We want the children’s sector, a source of so much imagination and inspiration for all of us, to play its part in a media environment that provides for our children for years to come.

As I said at the outset, I’m in a fortunate position where I see the challenges first-hand, but I am also able to do something about it. When I’m much older, and grey-haired, I want to look back on my time in this role and say we helped to make the digital world a safer place for children.

For me that means protecting them without limiting their freedom, or putting barriers on their ability to learn and explore. If we get it right it is something that will benefit my children, their whole generation and their children after them.

Thank you.

Karen Bradley – 2017 Speech at the Cultural Relations Awards

Below is the text of the speech made by Karen Bradley, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to the Cultural Relations Awards on 24 November 2017.

Thank you for inviting me here this evening. It is a pleasure to join you, in this beautiful building, designed of course by the talented late Dame Zaha Hadid.

Where better to celebrate our two countries’ shared cultural heritage than in a British-designed building here in the heart of Rome?

The UK has rich and longstanding cultural ties with Italy.

Our ancient Roman heritage is found across the whole country, from Hadrian’s Wall to the baths of – well – Bath. Italy provides the setting – and in two cases the title – of some of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. I’ll let you remember which two yourselves. It inspired our great Romantic poets, Byron, Shelley and Keats – in fact the last two are buried here in Rome – and painters from Turner to Hockney.

And these strong ties continue today. One of the highlights of the modern London skyline – in every sense – is the Shard, by an Italian architect, Renzo Piano. The great Italian fashion houses shape what we British wear, filtering down from the catwalk to the high street.

Last year, more than three million Britons chose to holiday here in Italy, such is our love for this country and its people.

And I’m pleased to say it’s a two way exchange.

Two million of you visited the UK last year, and beyond that, over 600,000 Italians currently live, study and do business there.

I know much of British culture – from Shakespeare to The Beatles and beyond – is as well loved here as it is at home. Most recently, British design has shaped the tech you all use every day – particularly the iconic work of Sir Jony Ives for Apple.

Yesterday, I visited the Venice Biennale and was pleased to see the work of so many talented British artists on display.

I particularly enjoyed the work of Phyllida Barlow, selected as this year’s artist for the British Pavilion, and would like to congratulate the British Council on their excellent job in managing the British Pavilion in Venice, as they have since 1938.

I’d also like to thank Her Majesty’s Ambassador, Jill Morris, for such a wonderful concert at the residence last night, and for all her hard work in maintaining and strengthening cultural relations between the UK and Italy.

We want those ties to deepen. Britain may be leaving the EU, but we are not leaving Europe, nor our friends in Europe.

I met this morning with my counterpart in Italy, Dario Franceschini, and we confirmed how committed both our governments are to continued collaboration on matters of culture and heritage.

My own department in the UK has recently changed its name to become the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to reflect the growing importance of digital technologies to culture and the creative industries.

We are living through a technological revolution as profound as any that has gone before. We all know that new technologies can be disruptive, and that we need to stay aware of the challenges ahead, but this digital revolution offers enormous opportunities too, not least for the cultural and heritage sectors. For promotion, for collaboration, and perhaps most significantly to engage with a size and breadth of audience unimaginable only a few years ago.

I am well aware how privileged I am to have seen what I have seen on this trip, and that not everyone gets the chance. But there is less and less reason for our shared cultural heritage to only be available to the few.

Last year in the UK, we published a new Culture White Paper, the first comprehensive review of the sector in fifty years. It set out this Government’s vision for helping the arts and culture to thrive, and put particular emphasis on widening access for people from all walks of life.

Access to the arts can be so transformative. We all know it only takes one song to inspire a singer, one painting to inspire an artist.

But often – though, of course, not always – the most thoughtful, well crafted art is shut away in institutions that people believe are not for them, or that are simply too far away to visit.

Digitising museum collections and publishing them online opens them up to bigger, more diverse audiences than ever before. It brings once unreachable – or plain intimidating – art right to the phones people carry in their pockets.

And those who’ve done it, who’ve put their collections online, tell me that far from replacing physical footfall it actually drives up visitor numbers.

It’s great for curation too, particularly now academic collaboration is becoming the global norm. Put an image of an object online, and all the world’s experts can comment and share their knowledge.

So I see this as very much the road ahead. One of the greatest advantages of the digital age is better connectivity. Let’s use these new technologies to aid collaboration, and to open our shared cultural heritage to everyone in our societies, so a work sited in London can be easily enjoyed in Naples, and those in Rome can be accessed from Birmingham.

This award, which it is my honour to present, is a fitting celebration of the close and fruitful cultural collaboration between the UK and Italy. I look forward to helping to strengthen that bond and to building ever closer ties, and more effective collaboration between our countries.

Karen Bradley – 2017 Speech at Bazalgette Review Launch

Below is the text of the speech made by Karen Bradley, the Secretary of State for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport on 22 September 2017.

Thank you to Sir Peter for his hard work in completing such a broad, thorough and thought-provoking review – some really interesting and bold recommendations for both industry and government to pursue, and across a very wide range of areas. And made much more interesting than a normal review by the quotes across the document which are drawn from British creative life. I can certainly relate to Kate Tempest’s call to action – “move fast, don’t stop, you got things to do” – as I’m sure you all can too.

And thank you to you all for making time to be here at such short notice. Turnout at a few days notice shows how much passion and commitment there is in relation to this subject, and how much interest in hearing what Sir Peter has to say.

That we are here today is testament to the importance of the creative industries to the UK – increasingly recognised across government as a key sector of the economy. This is partly about a sector holding its own with more traditional industries such as manufacturing – industrial policy is no longer just about widgets and hardware. It is also too about a sector holding its own with tech and other celebrated growth sectors.

Now – as Business Secretary, Greg has to be even-handed across the economy. As Culture Secretary, I can be a little more partisan. To underline just how important creative industries are to the UK economy, Creative Industries Federation analysis of PwC data suggests that they deliver four times the GVA of the automotive industry, six times as much as life sciences and nearly 10 times that of aerospace. Between 2011 and 2015, the sector created three times more jobs than the economy as a whole. The UK is the third-largest exporter of cultural goods and services in the world – just behind China and the USA. I spend a lot of my time reminding my Cabinet colleagues of these kinds of fact.

But they matter too for Britain’s place in the world – our values, soft power and influence. Creative Industries are in many cases at the very forefront of how the world perceives us. Whether it be music, film or design, they strengthen the UK brand, adding impetus to our growing creative content and services presence around the world, strengthening trading links in key emerging economies and influencing wider perceptions of the UK.

And they also matter intrinsically. They produce the things that enrich lives and give them meaning. That’s true of the ‘content’ sub-sectors of the Creative Industries – TV, film, games, music, publishing, fashion. It’s also true of the services side – the architecture that RIBA, our hosts today, do such fantastic work to promote, the design that creates our products, the advertising that influences our desires.

I hope it is clear to you that Government is committed to supporting the Creative Industries – for example, through the creative sector tax reliefs, which paid out over £600 million last year alone, securing in return nearly £2 billion. And more broadly in securing the best possible outcome for the sectors as the UK prepares to exit the European Union and looks to do trade deals around the world.

But there is still more to do – and that’s what today is all about. Creative industries in Britain and beyond face both real challenges and opportunities. Much of that is driven by technology and changing patterns of consumer demand. The “D” word – Digital – is now at the heart of the DCMS as the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. It is transforming the whole economy, but bears strongly on the Intellectual Property-rich, small and micro-dominated businesses that make up much of the creative industries. But change also arises from policy landscape – for example, the opportunities presented by the Government’s Industrial Strategy, and its clear focus on place, inclusive growth and rebalancing the economy.

And that’s where the sector deal comes in. As Greg has said, the Government has essentially asked business to make it an offer it can’t refuse. In the words of the IS Green Paper there is ‘open door challenge to industry’ to be ‘driven by business to meet the priorities of business’. It seeks ‘a clear proposal for boosting productivity’ in order to ‘drive growth right across the United Kingdom… creating more high-skilled, high paid jobs and opportunities’.

We have a once-in-a-Parliament opportunity to capitalise on this through the promise of a sector deal.

In devising a deal, the Creative Industries have made good progress so far thanks to the work of the sector and of course Sir Peter’s independent review, which we will hear about in a minute.

We have a down-payment today with the announcement of the AHRC funding for research and development partnerships across eight creative clusters.

The key challenge now is turning a lot of compelling ideas, at varying stages of development, into a tangible agreement. An agreement which is credible and has buy-in from both Ministers and the industry.

There is definite appetite in Government to land an ambitious deal and this review is a really valuable input. But there are also real constraints – not least financial. As you would expect in a time of continued austerity, the bar to new Government money is very high. The starting point is spending existing resources better.

There is also time pressure. As ever with these things it is more important to get it right than to get it fast. But we also want to get on and reach an agreement as quickly as possible, taking advantage of the platform the Industrial Strategy provides. Success will depend on the commitment behind the offer from industry, and how that fits with the strategic challenges set out in the Industrial Strategy Green Paper.

So I encourage Creative Industries leaders to continue to work together and wow Government with a compelling proposal. As the statutory sector body, the Creative Industries Council will lead negotiations on the deal – and I pay tribute to Nicola Mendlesohn who has done a fantastic job as chair – with critically important input from the Creative Industries Federation, under John Kampfner’s outstanding leadership, as well as from others across the sector. We are keen for those discussions to move forward.

Times are challenging but the prize is big so let’s be bold and ambitious; do what you do best – thinking creatively! – so we can deliver real change that takes the UK’s creative industries to the next level of success.

I am now delighted to hand over to Sir Peter to tell you about the detail of his review.

Karen Bradley – 2017 Statement on the Sky/Fox Merger

Below is the text of the statement made by Karen Bradley, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in the House of Commons on 12 September 2017.

I apologise for beginning my statement by correcting you, Mr Speaker, but I am now the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The Department has a new word in its name.

I am here to give an update on the proposed merger between 21st Century Fox and Sky plc and on my decision about whether to refer the transaction for a full six-month investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority. I should first remind the House that in my quasi-judicial role I must, first, come to a decision on the basis of relevant evidence; secondly, act independently in a process that is fair and impartial; and, thirdly, take my decision as promptly as is reasonably practicable. I am committed to transparency and openness in this process and have been clear that my decisions can be influenced only by facts, not by opinions, and that they can be influenced only by the evidence, not by who shouts the loudest.

I turn, first, to media plurality, and I can confirm that none of the representations received has persuaded me to change my position. Accordingly, I can confirm my intention to make a referral on the media plurality ground to the CMA. On the question of commitment to broadcasting standards, over the summer my officials reviewed the almost 43,000 representations received. A significant majority of them were campaign-inspired, arguing against the merger going ahead but generally without providing new or further evidence or commenting on Ofcom’s approach. Overall, only 30 of the 43,000 representations were substantive, raising potentially new evidence or commenting on Ofcom’s approach. Almost all were related to commitment to broadcasting standards.

In the light of those representations, I asked Ofcom to provide further advice. May I put on record my gratitude to Ofcom for its efforts to respond to the questions that were raised? I am, today, publishing the exchanges between my Department and Ofcom. In those exchanges, I sought clarification on, first, the threshold that Ofcom applied to its consideration of the commitment to broadcasting standards ground; secondly, the consideration made of broadcasting compliance; and, thirdly, the consideration made of corporate governance issues. I also asked Ofcom to consider whether any of the new, substantive representations that I received affected its assessment.

I have taken careful account of all relevant representations and Ofcom’s advice, and I have today, as required by the legislation, written to the parties to inform them that I am now minded to refer the merger to the CMA on the grounds of genuine commitment to broadcasting standards. I will now set out the technical reasons for that decision.

Questions were raised about the threshold for referral. The legal threshold for a reference to the CMA is low. I have the power to make a reference if I believe that there is a risk that is not purely fanciful that the merger might operate against the specified public interests. In its original report, Ofcom stated that​
“we consider that there are no broadcasting standards concerns that may justify a reference”.

At the time, Ofcom appeared to be unequivocal. Following the additional representations,

Ofcom has further clarified that

“while we consider there are non-fanciful concerns, we do not consider that these are such as may justify a reference in relation to the broadcast standards public interest consideration.”

The existence of non-fanciful concerns means that, as a matter of law, the threshold for a reference on the broadcasting standards ground is met. In the light of all the representations and Ofcom’s additional advice, I believe that those concerns are sufficient to warrant the exercise of my discretion to refer.

The first concern, which was raised in Ofcom’s public interest report, was that Fox did not have adequate compliance procedures in place for the broadcast of Fox News in the UK and that it took action to improve its approach to compliance only after Ofcom expressed concerns. Ofcom has confirmed it considers that to raise concerns that are non-fanciful but not sufficiently serious to warrant referral. I consider that those non-fanciful concerns warrant further consideration. The fact that Fox belatedly established such procedures does not ease my concerns, and nor does Fox’s compliance history.

Ofcom was reassured by the existence of the compliance regime, which provides licensees with an incentive to comply. However, it is clear to me that Parliament intended the scrutiny of whether an acquiring party has a “genuine commitment” to attaining broadcasting standards objectives to happen before a merger takes place. Third parties also raised concerns about what they termed the “Foxification” of Fox-owned news outlets internationally. On the evidence before me, I am not able to conclude that that raises non-fanciful concerns. However, I consider it important that entities that adopt controversial or partisan approaches to news and current affairs in other jurisdictions should, at the same time, have a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards here. Those are matters the CMA may wish to consider in the event of a referral.

I turn to the question of corporate governance failures. Ofcom states in its latest correspondence that such failures raise non-fanciful concerns in relation to the broadcasting standards ground. However, it again concludes that those concerns do not warrant a reference. I agree that corporate governance issues at Fox raise non-fanciful concerns, but in my view it would be appropriate for those concerns to be considered further by the CMA. I agree with the view that, in this context, my proper concern is whether Fox will have a genuine commitment to attaining broadcasting standards objectives. However, I am not confident that weaknesses in Fox’s corporate governance arrangements are incapable of affecting compliance in the broadcasting standards context. I have outstanding non-fanciful concerns about these matters, and I am of the view that they should be considered further by the CMA.

Before I come to a final decision, I am required, under the Enterprise Act 2002, to allow the parties to make representations on my proposed decision, and that is the reason why my decision remains, at this stage, a “minded to” one. I have given the parties 10 working days to respond. Following receipt of any representations from the parties, I will aim to come to my final decision in relation to both grounds as promptly as I can.​

I remind the House that should I decide to refer on one or both grounds, the merger will be subject to a full and detailed investigation by the CMA over a six-month period. Such a referral does not signal the outcome of that investigation. Given the quasi-judicial nature of this matter, my decision cannot be guided by the parliamentary timetable. If I come to my decision during recess, I will write, as I have done previously, and return to this House at the earliest possible opportunity to provide an update. I commend this statement to the House.

Karen Bradley – 2016 Speech on the Arts


Below is the text of the speech made by Karen Bradley, her first keynote as the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, in Liverpool on 9 August 2016.

Thank you – it’s fantastic to be back in Liverpool, this wonderful world city.

World city? Liverpool is not even in the top 250 or even 500 by some measures of cities by population.

But two years ago the Rough Guide said it was one of the three cities you MUST visit. Along with Sarajevo and Rio.

That’s because Liverpool – like the UK – punches way above its weight for Culture, Media and Sport.

The waterfront is a World Heritage site. There is gorgeous architecture. World-class performing arts. Amazing museums, and galleries.

I am really looking forward to visiting Tate Liverpool and the Museum of Liverpool later today.

And what a privilege it is to be here at the Philharmonic.

As the new Culture Secretary, I am already getting around the country – and the world – to demonstrate how culture, media and sport are all key parts of the Government’s overall industrial strategy.

On my first day in my department, I received two things. One was the most amazing warm welcome from the team. The other was a briefing pack, stuffed full of facts and figures.

Particularly striking were the statistics on the economic heft of the DCMS sectors. They account for a big chunk of GDP and lots of jobs.

You will hear me make liberal use of these statistics. But today I want to focus on something else.

Because everything DCMS covers has a value that goes beyond the economic.

They matter in and of themselves.

Watercolour painting, playing a sport, visiting ancient and beautiful places, drawing, writing poetry, mastering a musical instrument – all of these lead to a life well lived. They raise the human condition and cheer our spirits.

Simply put, they make us happy.

This is just as important as the positive impact that DCMS sectors can have on educational attainment, physical and mental health, community cohesion, and crime reduction.

In fact, treating the personal, individual benefits to a 12 year-old girl from learning the piano as wholly distinct from the overall benefit to society of music is a false dichotomy.

For it is precisely the aggregate effect of these individual experiences that will bring about a healthier, smarter, more peaceable, more cohesive, and happier society.

And so they must be available to everyone, not the preserve of a privileged few.

And how we make sure we reach everyone is what I want to talk about today – the scale of the challenge and what we are doing about it.

The challenge

The challenge is how do we make sure culture, media and sport fit into everything we do? How do we give them their rightful place as part of our civil society?

In today’s speech I will be concentrating on the arts and culture.

A determination to widen access to the arts is not new. It animated John Maynard Keynes – the first Chairman of the Arts Council – and Jennie Lee – the first minister for the arts – whose 1965 white paper said, “the best must be made more widely available”.

In the intervening half century since Jennie Lee’s paper, access to the arts has remained unequal, and some specific pursuits still appear to be for a privileged minority.

That is not to say there has been no progress. Throughout the United Kingdom one can find examples of incredibly successful projects.

When In Harmony Liverpool began at Faith Primary School in 2009, 84 children took part. Now more than 700 hundred young people and their families take part in orchestral music every week, for free.

I know that In Harmony concerts are the talk of the town. That is only possible thanks to expert tuition – a violin sounds wonderful in skilled hands but sometimes challenging in unskilled ones!

You can’t get better than the Liverpool Philharmonic, and their teachers and musicians have made a huge difference. I am sure that they find it rewarding too. Nothing can beat the joy of watching a child accomplish something they didn’t think they could do.

I would love to play an instrument, but because I wasn’t very good at the recorder at school, I was told I wasn’t musical at all. I was good at maths though, and that influenced my early career.

As Professor Brian Cox has said, no-one thinks they can simply pick up a violin and play but they think maths is a natural talent. But in truth, both music and maths take time – and hard work makes all the difference.

Music will now be a part of the lives of hundreds – and soon thousands – of Liverpudlian children who might not otherwise have had that chance. This is a gift beyond measure.

So how big is the challenge we face in making arts and culture a central part of everyone’s life?

The Government runs a survey called Taking Part. Arts engagement is nearly 82 per cent among adults from the upper socio-economic group – compared to just over 65 per cent from the lower socio-economic group.

The gap in arts engagement between white adults and adults from a black or minority ethnic background has widened. And people with a long-standing illness or disability are significantly less engaged in the arts.

Small wonder that people from disadvantaged backgrounds are poorly represented in the artistic professions – or that young people from such backgrounds are less likely to play an instrument and are underrepresented at conservatoires compared to higher education in general.

So we know what the problem is – what are we going to do about it?

Well earlier this year my department brought out its own Culture White Paper, and I want to pay tribute to the energy and resolve of the brilliant Ed Vaizey, who led this work.

But the short answer to the question is that we are going to pilot different schemes and expand and replicate the ones that work and do more of what we know works already.

Here is the longer answer:

In January David Cameron announced the Cultural Citizens Programme. It is a fantastic initiative which could give thousands of children the chance to take part in a range of cultural activities, such as free visits to local plays, behind the scenes access to museums and galleries, and exclusive trips to world class venues, so they realise that culture is just as much for them as for anyone.

It will be led by Arts Council England, with support from Historic England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

We are going to begin running pilots from next month, with 600 disadvantaged young people. The idea is to provide fun experiences that increase confidence and lead to permanent engagement.

I am delighted that one of these pilots will take place here in North West England, in Liverpool and Blackpool, partnering with Curious Minds.

To support that aim of getting culture into everyday life, we are looking at how to incorporate it into the National Citizen Service, in which more than 200,000 young people have taken part since 2011. I’ll be visiting an NCS centre in Liverpool later today.

I hope that many of the kind of the kind of organisations here today and across the DCMS portfolio will want to take part. The deadline is tight and bids must be in by this Thursday. But Liverpudilans have never been shy of creativity, so please do get involved!

My department received a massive injection of talented staff and brilliant ideas – as well as a great minister in Rob Wilson – when we assumed responsibility for the Office for Civil Society.

OCS has a plethora of projects designed to help everyone, no matter what their background, to thrive. Art and culture can play a central part in most of them.

An £80 million fund will help local commissioners create Social Impact Bonds to address deep-rooted social problems. The Bonds will focus on six key themes: drug and alcohol dependency, children’s services, early years, young people, older people, and healthy lives.

The Affordable Lending portal – a partnership between private and social sector bodies – will make it easier to access loans from responsible lenders.

Big Society Capital is a social investment fund that has already helped hundreds of organisations.

The Centre for Social Action has to date supported more than 80 organisations in expanding opportunity, specifically for young people.

And by the end of this Parliament the number of Community Organisers will be increased from 6,500 to 10,000.

So, these are some of the things DCMS is going but it really is a challenge for the whole of government.

That is why I will be working closely with the new Education Secretary Justine Greening to make sure that no child is left out of this country’s magnificent and extraordinary cultural inheritance. Education is, of course, vital to expanding people’s horizons and developing lifelong passions.

I will also work closely with Liz Truss at the Ministry of Justice to see how arts and culture can be part of prison reform.

This is really part of being a government that works for everyone.

And the arts can do wonders for mental and physical health as well as for people with long-term conditions like dementia and Parkinson’s.

Arts Council England is already helping make culture available to all by making a fundamental change in its approach to diversity.

Every organisation it funds is now expected to make their work better reflect the communities they serve. Under a banner called The Creative Case for Diversity, Arts Council England will monitor progress and this will influence their funding decisions.

The Government is also looking at how we can tear down the barriers to a career in the arts.

A new experience that reaches someone who would not otherwise enjoy a rich cultural life changes that person’s world. That sort of experience has immeasurable value, but can also have a cumulative impact that can effect change on a local and even national scale.

Culture can help regenerate villages, towns and cities.

Places are not simply somewhere to build a factory. To have heart and soul, they need galleries, music centres, cherished heritage sites, libraries, and museums and sports facilities. They need to be like Liverpool.

The Government is working hard at rebalancing funding between London and the regions. The Great Place Scheme will bring together national arts and heritage Lottery funders with councils, cultural organisations and universities to ensure that culture forms a core part of local authorities’ plans and policies.

Next year, Hull will be UK City of Culture.

That status helps bring communities together, attracts visitors, raises the profile of culture, and develops lasting partnerships.

And the Great Exhibition of the North in Summer 2018 will showcase the exceptional art, culture and design of the North of England.

So places can be regenerated by culture – but only because of the effect on individuals. Culture, media and sport have real, lasting impacts that benefit all of us.

Let me end by quoting a Liverpool parent who I hope would support that view. They said,

“… an event like going down to the birthday concerts and taking family, you know? This year’s one, oh I was in tears. You’d have to be pretty cold to say it didn’t make you well up, or make you proud, because it does, it really, really does.”

So said a parent whose child played at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall thanks to In Harmony.

I am incredibly privileged to have this role because it means that I can do my bit to ensure that many, many more people have cause to shed tears of pride.

I expect every organisation and individual that DCMS supports to put their shoulder to the wheel – and I invite anyone else who can help to join us on this journey. I will be making sure the whole of government is involved.

The prize is huge: massive benefits for society, which will stem from thousands upon thousands of individual experiences of the joy of arts, culture and sport – a joy that no-one should be denied.

Thank you.

Karen Bradley – 2016 Speech on Hate Crime


Below is the text of the speech made by Karen Bradley, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office, in the House of Commons on 29 June 2016.

Hate crime of any kind, directed against any community, race or religion, has absolutely no place in our society. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister told this House today, we are utterly committed to tackling hate crime, and we will provide extra funding in order to do so. We will also take steps to boost reporting of hate crime and to support victims, issue new Crown Prosecution Service guidance to prosecutors on racially aggravated crime, provide a new fund for protective security measures at potentially vulnerable institutions, and offer additional funding to community organisations so that they can tackle hate crime.

The scenes and behaviour we have seen in recent days, including offensive graffiti and abuse hurled at people because they are members of ethnic minorities or because of their nationality, are despicable and shameful. We must stand together against such hate crime and ensure that it is stamped out. Over the past week, there has been a 57% increase in reporting to the police online reporting portal, True Vision, compared with this time last month, with 85 reports made between Thursday 23 June to Sunday 26 June compared with 54 reports in the corresponding four days four weeks ago. However, I would urge caution in drawing conclusions from these figures as a guide to the trend, as they are a small snapshot of reports rather than definitive statistics.

Much of the reporting of these incidents has been through social media, including reports of xenophobic abuse of eastern Europeans in the UK, as well as attacks against members of the Muslim community. However, we have also seen messages of support and friendship on social media. I am sure the whole House will want to join me in commending those we have seen stand up for what is right and uphold the shared values that bring us together as a country, such as those who opposed the racist and hateful speech shown in the recent video taken on a tram in Manchester.

These recent events are shocking, but sadly this is not a new phenomenon. Statistics from the Tell MAMA report, published today, show that in 2015 there was a 326% increase on 2014 figures in street-based anti-Muslim incidents reported directly to Tell MAMA, such as verbal abuse in the street and women’s veils being pulled away, with 437 such incidents reported.

Worryingly, the report also finds that 45% of online hate crime perpetrators are supportive of the far right. In recent days, we have seen far-right groups engaged in organised marches and demonstrations, sowing divisions and fear in our communities. We have also seen far-right groups broadcasting extreme racist and anti-Semitic ideology online, along with despicable hate speech posted online following the shocking death of our colleague Jo Cox. Her appalling death just under two weeks ago shocked and sickened people not only in communities up and down this country, but in many other countries around the world. As we heard in the many moving tributes paid to her in this House, her loss is keenly felt, and we will always remember that a husband is now without his loving wife and two young children will grow up without a mother.

The investigation of hate crimes is of course an operational matter for the police. I would urge anyone who has experienced hate crime to report it, whether directly to the police at a police station, by phoning the 101 hotline, or online through the True Vision website. In this country, we have some of the strongest legislation in the world to protect communities from hostility, violence, and bigotry. This includes specific offences for racially and religiously aggravated activity and offences of stirring up hatred on the grounds of race, religion, and sexual orientation. It is imperative that these laws are rigorously enforced.

The national police lead for hate crime, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, has issued a statement confirming that police forces are working closely with their communities to maintain unity and prevent any hate crime or abuse. Police forces will respond robustly to any incidents, and victims can be reassured that their concerns about hate crime will be taken seriously by the police and courts. Any decisions regarding resourcing of front-line policing are a matter for chief constables in conjunction with their police and crime commissioner.

Since coming to office, the Government have worked with the police to improve our collective response to hate crime. The Home Secretary has asked the police to ensure that the recording of religious-based hate crime now includes the faith of the victim—a measure that came into effect this April. We have also established joint training between the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to improve the way the police identify and investigate hate crime. Alongside this training, the College of Policing, as the professional body for policing, has published national strategy and operational guidance in this area to ensure that policing deals with hate crime effectively.

But we need to do more to understand the hate crime we are seeing and to tackle it. That is why we will be publishing a new hate crime action plan covering all forms of hate crime, including xenophobic attacks. We have developed the plan in partnership with communities and with Departments across Government. It will include measures to increase the reporting of hate incidents and crimes, including working with communities and police to develop third-party reporting centres. It will work to prevent hate crimes on transport, and to tackle attacks against Muslim women, which we recognise is an area of great concern to the community. The action plan will also provide stronger support for victims, helping to put a stop to this pernicious behaviour.

We appreciate that places of worship are feeling particularly vulnerable at this time. That is why we have established funding for the security of places of worship, as announced by the Prime Minister last October. This will enable places of worship to bid for money to fund additional security measures such as CCTV cameras or fencing. We have also been working with communities to encourage them to come forward to report such crimes, and to give them the confidence that those crimes will be taken seriously by the police and courts. My noble Friends Lord Ahmad and Baroness Williams have today visited the Polish cultural centre in Hammersmith, which was a victim of disgusting graffiti, to express their support.

We are working closely with organisations such as Tell MAMA and the Community Security Trust to monitor hate crime incidents and with the police national community tensions team to keep community tensions under review.

The Government are clear that hate crime of any kind must be taken very seriously indeed. Our country is thriving, liberal and modern precisely because of the rich co-existence of people of different backgrounds, faiths and ethnicities, and we must treasure and strive to protect that rich co-existence. We must work together to protect that diversity, defeat hate crime and uphold the values that underpin the British way of life, and we must ensure that all those who seek to spread hatred and division in our communities are dealt with robustly by the police and the courts. I commend this statement to the House.

Karen Bradley – 2016 Speech at International Crime and Policing Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Karen Bradley, a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Home Office, at the International Crime and Policing Conference on 23 March 2016.

We have heard many powerful speeches over the last 2 days about how crime is changing, and how crime prevention needs to change as a result.

Throughout the conference, but especially today, speakers have considered ways to prevent crimes against the most vulnerable and voiceless people in our society. Many of these crimes have too often been hidden, with victims scared to come forward for fear they won’t be believed or will suffer repercussions.

This afternoon I want to outline some of our work to tackle these crimes – in particular, violence against women and girls, child sexual abuse and slavery.

I also want to talk about some of the factors that contribute to vulnerability. As Minister for Preventing Abuse, Exploitation and Crime, I am acutely aware that addressing those factors is crucial to preventing crime.

In England and Wales 77,000 children and young people were recorded as missing or absent in 2014/15.

The reasons why people go missing are as varied but we know that in many cases, children and young people who repeatedly go missing are at serious risk of becoming victims of crime and in many cases, horrific forms of abuse like sexual exploitation and trafficking.

It is therefore essential that government, statutory agencies and the voluntary sector collectively do all we can to tackle the factors which lead to people going missing.

The government’s missing children and adults strategy published in 2011 is updated with proposals to better protect and support missing people and their families. One key element of our strategy is prevention – ensuring all agencies have a targeted, proactive plan in place to respond to instances where a vulnerable child or adult goes missing. The links between missing people and other forms of vulnerability are quite apparent but it is clear we need to do more to ensure everyone takes this symptom of a problem more seriously.

Similarly, since 2010 we have delivered a series of measures to tackle violence against women and girls, and Ministers across government are determined to ensure everyone is providing greater protection to victims, and in turn bringing more perpetrators to justice.

We have criminalised forced marriage and revenge pornography; introduced 2 new stalking offences; rolled out domestic violence protection orders and the domestic violence disclosure scheme across the country; and recently commenced the new offence of domestic abuse to recognise coercive and controlling behaviour.

We have also seen an increase in reporting and recording of what are often hidden crimes; and prosecutions and convictions for violence against women and girls are at their highest ever levels.

But as more of these crimes are identified and reported, and their true scale is revealed, we need to strengthen our work to change attitudes, to improve prevention, and ensure victims and survivors get the support they need, and where possible rehabilitate offenders to stop reoffending.

Earlier this month we published the refreshed violence against women and girls strategy, setting out a package of measures to support our ambitious vision of eliminating these crimes.

We have pledged £80 million to help deliver our goal and will work with local commissioners to ensure a secure future for rape support centres, refuges and female genital mutilation and forced marriage units. At the same time, we will look to our partners to drive major change across all services so that early intervention and prevention, not crisis response, is the norm.

Working with the voluntary sector, we will help local areas go further and faster to develop new and more integrated approaches that facilitate earlier intervention, and swifter, pre-emptive action through multi-agency specialist teams that help all members of a family at the same time.

We will ensure that women can seek help in a range of everyday settings as they go about their daily lives – for example through interactions with Citizens Advice, housing providers, and employers – and secure appropriate support from specialist victim services. Every point of interaction with a victim is an opportunity for intervention and should not be missed.

We are now also shining a light on child sexual exploitation. It remains difficult to ascertain its true extent, but here too we are seeing more victims and survivors feeling confident in reporting abuse; more offenders being charged and more successful prosecutions.

Last year the Home Secretary set out a national response to the failures we have seen in Rotherham, Manchester, Oxford and elsewhere, where children were let down by the very people who were responsible for protecting them.

We have made significant progress in delivering a range of measures including prioritising child sexual abuse as a national threat in the Strategic Policing Requirement, which sets a clear expectation on police forces to collaborate across force boundaries to safeguard children, to share intelligence and to share best practice; and as Baroness Shields said yesterday, we have rolled out to all UK police forces a single, secure database of indecent images of children. We are piloting joint official health, police and education inspections as well as launching a new national whistleblowing helpline for any employee to report bad practise within their organisation in relation to child safeguarding.

But again, more can be done and that is why we are legislating, in the Police and Crime Bill, to amend the definition of sexual exploitation to include streamed or otherwise transmitted images, ensuring our laws keep pace with technological changes.

We have also made significant progress to tackle modern slavery, culminating in passing the Modern Slavery Act last year. As Professor Bales said earlier this afternoon, slavery is a terrible, hidden crime that affects some of the most vulnerable people in society. The fact that individuals around the world, including here in the UK, are still being forced into lives of slavery and servitude in the 21 century is appalling.

The Modern Slavery Act is a landmark piece of legislation which gives law enforcement the tools to tackle modern slavery, ensures that perpetrators can receive suitably severe sentences and enhances support and protection for victims. Crucially, the act emphasises prevention and I’m delighted that a year after the act received Royal Assent it is beginning to have a real impact: we have already seen 12 Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Orders issued, restricting the activity of those individuals who have been convicted of modern slavery offences.

We are the first country in the world to bring in legislation requiring businesses to be open about what they have done to prevent modern slavery themselves and in their supply chains. I want this to create a level playing field, in which responsible businesses who are acting to eradicate slavery are recognised for doing so. I commend the businesses that have already published their statements, especially those who are being open about the slavery-related challenges they are facing. Just this week I hosted representatives from around 80 businesses, in the Home Office, to share good practice. I also want customers, investors and shareholders to have the information that they need to pressurise businesses that are not acknowledging the issue or taking action to address it.

Whilst government and law enforcement can tackle criminality against vulnerable people, we also must focus on some of the causes of vulnerability.

Mental ill health is a huge issue. One in 4 British adults experiences at least one diagnosable mental health problem.

But in too many cases, people suffering mental health crises have ended up in police cells instead of getting the support and health care they need.

A significant proportion will have committed no crime and simply need urgent help because they are vulnerable or may pose a risk to themselves or to others. We are committed to ensure proper provision of health and community based places of safety; police cells are not the place for people in need of medical interventions.

We have an overarching Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat with 27 national signatories involved in health, policing, social care, housing, local government and the third sector. It includes a focus on prevention and intervention, stopping future crises by making sure people are referred to appropriate services.

We have increasingly seen ambulances replace police vehicles to transport the mentally ill with dignity. And we have seen engagement with community and voluntary groups to establish places of refuge or calm where those on the brink of a crisis can go to receive support, and referral to appropriate services.

We are reinforcing recent advances by legislating to further limit the use of police cells for those in mental health crisis, banning their use altogether for those under 18, reducing detention time limits, and increasing the ability to use locations outside of traditional health settings as places of safety to help increase local capacity.

Legislation alone, however, cannot provide the best outcomes for those in need of care. We will continue to rely on our local partnerships to work collectively to achieve the most beneficial outcomes for the individual in need.

Another important factor in vulnerability is drug misuse, which cuts across our society at every level. It can cause unimaginable pain and suffering for individuals and their families, and sits behind the violence, exploitation and serious organised crime that drives drug markets. And it is both a cause and consequence of a number of other problems including poor physical and mental health, employment, housing and crime issues.

Our approach to tackling drugs in 2010 fundamentally changed the delivery landscape and put our focus on recovery. We have seen a reduction in drug misuse among adults and young people over the last ten years and more people are recovering from their dependence now than in 2010. It is with a renewed commitment to tackling these issues that we will be launching a revised drug strategy later this year.

Finally I would like to touch on alcohol. Alcohol is strongly associated with crime and is a factor in almost half of all violent crimes, particularly at night-time.

As the Home Secretary outlined this morning, the Modern Crime Prevention Strategy sets out the approach that we believe that local authorities, together with the police, health partners and the alcohol industry, should take in order to prevent alcohol-related crime: improving local intelligence to enhance the level of data that is available to local decision makers; fostering strong and sustained local partnerships with the ability to devise local solutions; and equipping the police and local authorities with the powers they need.

We have already come a long way in protecting vulnerable people, shining a light on abuses that have for too long been suffered in silence, and preventing further crimes. But as more victims come forward, we owe it to them to do more to protect the vulnerable, bring perpetrators to justice and prevent these crimes from happening in the first place.

We can all learn from each other to understand how crime, and crime prevention, is changing.

So, as we come to the end of this year’s conference, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for attending, especially those who have travelled from overseas. I hope that what you have heard here provokes further thought, helps to influence your future work, and fosters a collaborative approach to modern crime prevention going forward.

Karen Bradley – 2014 Speech on Cyber Risk


Below is the text of the speech made by Karen Bradley, the Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime, at the BBA Conference on 10th June 2014.

Verizon reported last year that most cyber attacks on a system take a matter of hours. Many take minutes or even seconds. Taken alone, that is concerning. But consider then that the same report found that 2 out of 3 attackers stayed in the system for months before discovery, and it took weeks, even months for the victim to be able to get rid of the hacker.

That is absolutely staggering. Think of the damage that can be done by that attack, in that time. Think of the loss caused by that attack, and the potential impact on reputation and prosperity.

This is why cyber security, including cyber crime, is a top threat to UK national security. It is up there with international terrorism. Today, I will tell you about what this government is doing to counter these threats.

For those who don’t know me, I am Karen Bradley, the Minister responsible for Serious and Organised Crime, and my job is to oversee our national approach to the threat of the cyber crime.


Cyber crime is a global threat. Cyber criminals operate across international borders. The UK is threatened from many locations in many countries, which makes it extremely complicated to tackle.

And that is why you are all here today, to discuss the threat, to think about how best to protect yourselves against it, and take action against those who commit it. Throughout today you will hear many facts and figures on the cost of cyber crime to your industry. I’m not going to repeat them here. Not because I do not think they are important.

Of course you need to know what cyber crime costs you, and I hope you already do. And the figures are astonishingly large. But what I want to focus on is what cyber crime means for economic and social prosperity.

We know that cyber crime undermines confidence in our communications technology and online economy.

One report estimated that internet based companies are worth 7-8% of UK GDP. That means that cyber crime is affecting our economic prosperity. Cyber criminals are not only taking money from business through their attacks, but attacks have a terrible impact on consumer confidence in using internet businesses.

Think about the recent attack on Ebay. We should applaud Ebay for putting information into the public domain, and managing the situation as they did. But I wonder how many users will have been concerned about using the site and other sites in the days after the attack?

We all rely on the internet. We are conducting an increasing amount of our professional and personal lives online whether its our supermarket shop, or ordering a last minute father’s day gift. We’re sending our personal data out into cyberspace all day every day, through emails, passwords and via our bank accounts. More and more people are using the internet.

In 2012, 33 million people in the UK accessed the internet every day. That is more than double the level six years before.

And the methods for access are also rapidly changing, with those using a mobile device to go online more than doubling over the two years from 2010 to 2012 [24% to 51%].

So we’re accessing the internet more and more, using a variety of different methods to do so. This provides new opportunities for cyber criminals, and a challenge as to how we protect ourselves from attack, and pursue those who commit the crime.

The internet is now an integral part of our lives, and I think most would feel lost without the benefits it affords. But we need to make every internet user aware of the need to be careful and intelligent about they way they act online.

What we need to do is to work together to make sure business online is safe and secure, and that people doing business online are protected.

National Cyber Security Programme

We know that government has a key role to play in tackling cyber crime, and improving cyber security.

The National Cyber Security Strategy was launched in 2011. And one of its four objectives is to make the UK one of the most secure places in the world to do business in cyberspace.

The National Cyber Security Programme underpins the strategy and delivers its objectives. We have dedicated £860 million over five years to deliver a real change in the UK’s cyber capabilities.

The Programme is in its fourth year and has made significant steps.

Notably, the creation of the National Cyber Crime Unit, (the NCCU) within the National Crime Agency; the launch of CERT-UK, the UK’s first single computer emergency response team for national cyber incident management; and, the launch of the Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership, the first secure government-industry forum for information sharing on key cyber threats.

Serious and Organised Crime Strategy

On 7 October last year we launched the new Serious and Organised Crime Strategy.

We have taken the framework of our Counter-Terrorism Strategy, CONTEST, and refined our approach to tackling serious and organised crime into four areas of focus: Pursue, Prevent, Protect and Prepare.

PURSUE – prosecuting and disrupting organised crime gangs. In others words, catching the bad guys.

PREVENT – stopping people from becoming involved in and remaining involved in, serious and organised crime. In other words, stopping the bad guys from being bad guys.

PROTECT – reducing our vulnerability to harm from these groups by strengthening our systems and processes and providing advice to the private sector and the public. In other words , helping you not to become a victim of the bad guys.

And PREPARE – reducing the impact of serious and organised crime when it happens. So, helping victims and wider communities to recover when the criminals strike.

I will focus today on the PURSUE and PROTECT areas of our work.


We are changing the way we pursue cyber criminals. We know that law enforcement needs to have the right skills to respond to the changing ways in which crime is being committed.

To successfully tackle cybercrime, law enforcement needs to have the knowledge and skills that cyber criminals are equipped with.

The National Crime Agency leads the crime fighting response to the most serious incidents of cyber-dependant and cyber-enabled crime through its National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) and Commands including the Economic Crime Command.

The NCA is working with regional and local policing, in particular through the network of Regional Organised Crime Units , or ROCUs, which have been set up to work across local police force boundaries to provide new ways of working.

Through increased investment, dedicated cyber and fraud units are being developed within these regional teams. And through the College of Policing, we are also working to improve cyber knowledge in local police forces with a dedicated training programme.

There are real opportunities for industry and law enforcement to work together to build skills to tackle cyber crime, and to understand the changing threats. The ROCUs are establishing relationships with businesses in their regions, and the NCA’s NCCU is sharing information on cyber attacks with the private sector. But this is just a start.

In addition to increasing law enforcement capabilities, we want to make the legislative response stronger. We published the Serious Crime Bill last week. This contains amendments to existing legislation, which will mean that those who are found guilty of committing cyber attacks which cause serious damage, including to the economy, face lengthy prison sentences.

Pursue International

However, the UK cannot tackle cyber crime alone. We need to work with our international partners in order to find a global solution. That is why at the heart of NCA’s approach to cutting cyber crime is international collaboration, through its relationship with the European Cyber Crime Centre in Europol, and working closely with other international law enforcement agencies.

I hope you saw the NCA’s alert last week on the two week window to protect yourself and your business against two variants of malware, known as GameOverZeus and Cryptolocker. And I hope you protective yourself as a result of this alert, and encouraged your customers to do the same.

This NCA alert is part of one of the largest industry and law enforcement collaborations attempted to date. This is a fantastic example of how we work with our international partners to pursue cyber criminals across borders, and to protect the public and private sector from attacks.

You will hear much more about the NCA’s international work on cyber crime from Andy Archibald, head of the NCA’s NCCU, this afternoon.


I am sure you would agree that it is better to protect ourselves and our systems from an attack than wait until our data, finances and confidence is stolen and compromised. That is why Protect is a fundamental part of the government response to the threat of cyber crime.

GCHQ estimates that 80% or more of successful attacks could be defeated by implementing simple best practice cyber security standards. We all have a responsibility to ensure we understand what can be done to protect ourselves at an individual and company level.

And there is some good work taking place. This year PWCs Global State of Information Security Survey shows that the number of companies which have adopted an overall information security strategy has increased by 17.5%.

Almost 64% of security professionals in the UK report directly to the board or CEO, only 54% of European organisations do the same. This is great news, but there is clearly more to be done.

Last week we launched the Cyber Essentials Scheme, an industry-led organisational standard for cyber security, which gives a clear baseline to aim for in addressing cyber security risks to your companies. It is available on the Gov.UK website.

Cyber Essentials is relevant to all your organisations. It applies to all businesses of any size, and any sector. We want to see all organisations adopt the requirements to some degree. And this is not just for the private sector. It applies to academia, charities and the public sector.

Cyber Essentials sits alongside other existing products to help business build their protection against cyber crime. We have guidance for industry Chief Executives and board members, and last year we published tailored guidance for SMEs.

I encourage you all to use the guidance available. They are simple steps that can make a considerable reduction to your cyber vulnerability.

We are listening to what industry needs. We are helping industry to ensure that they have competent cyber security professionals, and that internal cyber security courses are consistent with government standards. GCHQ’s Communications-Electronics Security Group (or CESG) Certified Professional scheme is building a community of recognised cyber security professionals from both public and private sectors. Over 900 professionals have been certified so far, and we intend to develop the scheme further in line with industry requirements.

And the CESG certified training programme enables training providers to have their cyber security courses assessed against approved standards. This provides assurance to organisations and individuals that they have a quality course.

We are also supporting the growth of the UK cyber security industry, with an emphasis on increasing exports. We have set a target to increase cyber security exports to £2bn by 2016. We have a programme of initiatives to support this including help to overcome barriers for entry into key markets.

And work is also underway with industry to jointly develop a cyber security showcase, offering industry a Central London venue to demonstrate their products.

Awareness Raising

The public are the users of your products and services and their cyber security vulnerabilities can increase the threat to your business. And we all should take responsibility for reducing our personal cyber vulnerabilities.

We are helping to do this, by raising awareness of how to stay safe online.

Be Cyber Streetwise is the government’s first national cyber security awareness campaign, helping individuals and small business to understand what they should do to enhance their security online. We are continuing to promote this with a further phase of the campaign later this year to reach as many people and as many small businesses as possible. We want people to know the key things to do in order to act safely online, and to make it second nature to do these things.

Information Sharing

Protection is vital in the fight against cyber crime, but attacks will unfortunately still happen. So what can you do if you are attacked? We need you to share what you know.

The information about that attack is important. It could help to protect another company from suffering the same. Sharing that information will help law enforcement to understand the evolving threat picture, and take the appropriate action against the criminals.

The NCA has a dedicated intelligence capability, which produces threat assessment and targeted alerts and disseminates these to industry.

But the private sector holds a huge amount of information that will help to build a better threat picture. We need you to help.

We want companies to share information with each other. And we have developed a platform to do this.

The Cyber Security Information Sharing Platform (or CISP) provides a secure space for companies to share information on cyber threats, and to work together to protect their systems, which means business can take action to mitigate their vulnerability to attack.

CERT-UK, the UK’s national Computer Emergency Response Team, launched this year, and now houses CISP. This will further build on the success of CISP, and add in an international element for its information and analysis function.

And CERT-UK will be working collaboratively with industry, government and academia to enhance UK cyber resilience. It will be working closely with critical national infrastructure companies, providing guidance and advice as well as helping those companies to respond to cyber incidents.

Cyber criminals are organised, highly skilled and numerous. But look at the wealth of resources we have in front of us, in business, law enforcement and across government.

As a group we have incredible expertise, thousands of highly skilled individuals and a vast amount of information. We can get ahead of cyber criminals. We can stop them. We just need to work together to share what we have and what we know.


What I want you to take away from this is to know that we, the government, see tackling cyber crime as a top priority. We are committed to working closely with you to reduce the threats from cyber crime.

We will continue to build our law enforcement capabilities to pursue cyber criminals, and disrupt their activities. We will work with our international partners to tackle the global threat.

We will provide you with alerts and threat assessments. But we need your help. We need you to share what you can with each other so you can protect yourselves. And we need you to share it with us so we can understand the evolving problems and work with you on how to protect your business.

We need you to protect yourselves and your customers. Promote the guidance that is out there.

This event is a great opportunity to strengthen partnerships, and take stock of what more needs to be done. I hope you have a very productive day.

Thank you.

Karen Bradley – 2014 Speech on UK Cyber Security


Below is the text of the speech made by Karen Bradley, the Minister for Organised Crime and Modern Slavery, at the IA14 Conference on 16th June 2014.

Last year Verizon reported that most successful cyber attacks take a matter of hours to breach a system. Many take minutes or even just seconds.

The frightening fact for me, was that in some cases it is over a year until the compromise is discovered and in a large proportion of specific cases the victim discovers the compromise only through a third party for instance, the police, a security firm or even a competitor tells them.

We rely on the internet. We all conduct an increasing amount of our professional and personal lives online. A survey last year found that the average family owns six devices that provide access to the internet. Smart phones, tablets, laptops and TVs.

We’re sending out personal data into cyberspace all day every day, through emails, passwords and via our bank accounts to name a few.

Combined with the fact that 72% of all adults in Great Britain bought goods or services online in 2013 , up from 53% in 2008, that presents the breadth of opportunity for cyber criminals.

This is why cyber crime, is a top threat to UK national security. It is up there with international terrorism.

This evening, I am delighted to be here today to talk to you about how the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy is prioritising work with our key partners to ensure that the UK is a safe place to do business online, and what more we can do together. For those who don’t know me, I am Karen Bradley, the Minister responsible for Serious and Organised Crime and I head the team that is responsible for our work on cyber security in the Home Office.


As you heard from the Ciaran Martin earlier, Cyber crime is a global threat, operating across international borders.

Cyber crime is beginning to transform criminality in almost every country. And worse, it enables organised criminals to operate on a scale and at a pace which has previously been unthinkable.

Elaborate online markets are used to exchange information and skills that were once niche are now being exploited in the real world.

For example, last year a drugs trafficking network hired cyber criminals to alter cargo manifests at Antwerp, in an attempt to smuggle their goods in containers to the UK. It was particularly brazen since when the initial breach was discovered and a firewall installed to prevent further attacks, hackers broke into the premises and fitted key-logging devices onto computers.

Ultimately cyber crime is crime like any other. It occurs in the virtual world rather than the physical world but still impacts us directly. So how do we stay one step ahead of the cyber criminals and protect ourselves from attack, and pursue those who commit the crime?

I want to set out for you the priorities in the new Serious and Organised Crime Strategy and how it underpins activity to protect ourselves from attack, and pursue those who commit cyber crime.

Serious and Organised Crime Strategy

In October last year we launched the National Crime Agency and published the new Serious and Organised Crime Strategy.

We have refined our approach to tackling serious and organised crime into four areas of focus: Pursue, Prevent, Protect and Prepare. This follows and reinforces the previous framework of our Counter-Terrorism Strategy, CONTEST.

PURSUE – prosecuting and disrupting organised crime groups. In other words, catching the bad guys.

PREVENT – stopping people from becoming involved in, and remaining involved in, serious and organised crime. In other words, stopping the bad guys from being bad guys.

PROTECT – reducing our vulnerability to harm from these groups by strengthening our systems and processes and providing advice to the private sector and the public. In other words, helping you and others to not become a victim of the bad guys.

And PREPARE – reducing the impact of serious and organised crime when it happens. So, helping victims and wider communities to recover when the criminals strike.

I will focus today on the PURSUE and PROTECT areas of our work.


We are changing the way we pursue cyber criminals. Law enforcement needs to have the right skills to respond to the ever evolving ways in which crime is being committed.

But crime is still crime.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) leads the crime fighting response to the most serious incidents of cyber-dependant and cyber-enabled crime through its National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) and Commands including the Economic Crime Command. The NCA now works with regional and local policing.

Through increased investment, new dedicated cyber and fraud units are being developed in our network of Regional Organised Crime Units, or ROCUs. And the College of Policing, now has a dedicated training programme to drive up cyber skills in local police forces. We will see a significant increase in the numbers of police officers and staff who have been trained by 2015.

There are real opportunities for industry and law enforcement to work together to build skills to tackle cyber crime, and to understand the changing threats.

The ROCUs are establishing relationships with businesses in their region, and the NCA’s NCCU is sharing information on cyber attacks with the private sector. CERT UK is playing a vital role in sharing information through its CISP [Cyber-security Information Sharing Partnership] platform. But this is just a start.

In addition to increasing law enforcement capabilities, we want to make the legislative response stronger. We published the Serious Crime Bill this month. This amends existing legislation, which will mean that those who are found guilty of committing cyber attacks which cause serious damage, including to the economy, face lengthy prison sentences. The Serious Crime Bill currently before Parliament, amends the Computer Misuse Act 1990, including to create a new offence of unauthorised acts in relation to a computer that result, either directly or indirectly, in serious damage to the economy, the environment, national security or human welfare, or creates a significant risk of such damage.

The offence will carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for cyber attacks which result in loss of life, serious illness or injury or serious damage to national security and 14 years’ imprisonment for cyber attacks causing, or creating a significant risk of, severe economic or environmental damage or social disruption.

Although pursuing cyber criminals is important, we need to remember that behind statistics reporting billions of pounds lost from cyber attacks, are individual tragedies and victims. Whether it’s a single individual or a large corporation. A large company may be able to absorb a loss of a few thousand pounds from a cyber attack. But for an SME, that could be the difference between folding or surviving. And these businesses will form part of your supply chains, and are an integral part of the industries we all depend on.

Pursue International

The UK cannot tackle cyber crime alone.

We need to work with our international partners in order to pursue the criminals and prevent this crime. That is why at the heart of NCA’s approach to cutting cyber crime is international collaboration.

Through its relationship with the European Cyber Crime Centre in Europol, and working closely with other international law enforcement agencies.

You will have seen the NCA’s alert recently on the two week window to protect yourself and your business against two variants of malware, GameOverZeus and Cryptolocker.

This NCA alert is part of one of the largest industry and law enforcement collaborations attempted to date. This is a fantastic example of international collaboration to pursue cyber criminals across borders, and to protect the public and private sector from attacks.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of how we are strengthening our response to pursuing criminals who commit cyber crime. Working together with law enforcement is an important part of our work.


Although it is important to ensure we pursue criminals and their crimes, I am sure you would agree that it is better to protect ourselves and our systems from an attack than wait until our data, finances and confidence are stolen and compromised.

That is why Protect is a fundamental part of the Government response to the threat of cyber crime.

To quote from Sir Iain Lobban [Director of GCHQ] “about 80% of known attacks would be defeated by embedding basic information security practices for your people, processes and technology.”

Building on that message, this month, on 5th June we launched the Cyber Essentials Scheme, an industry-led organisational standard for cyber security, which gives a clear baseline to aim for in addressing cyber security risks to you and is designed to help combat cyber threats to SMEs in particular.

As Francis Maude has said, the Cyber Essentials scheme introduces good basic cyber security practices for businesses of any size, and in any sector. It applies to academia, charities, private and the public sector.

We want to see all organisations adopt the requirements. They are simple steps that can make a considerable and important reduction to cyber vulnerability.

Awareness Raising

Of course, no matter what you do, users of online products and services are exposed to risk and their cyber security vulnerabilities can increase the threat to your business. We are helping to reduce the vulnerabilities presented by individuals by raising awareness of how to stay safe online.

Cyber Streetwise, funded through the National Cyber Security Programme was launched earlier this year and is the government’s national cyber security awareness campaign. It is helping individuals and small business to understand what they should do to enhance their security online. We will continue to promote this with a further phase of the campaign later this year to reach as many people and as many small businesses as possible. We want people to know the key things to do in order to act safely online, and to make it second nature to do these things.

Strength in numbers

Cyber criminals are increasingly organised, highly skilled and numerous. But as I look around the room tonight I see the expertise, the commitment and the access to thousands of highly skilled individuals we need to outwit the criminal gangs and shut them down.

What I want you to take away from this is to know that we, the government, see tackling cyber crime as a top priority. We are committed in our Serious and Organised Crime Strategy to ensure that the UK is one of the most secure places in the world to do business in cyberspace. But we need your help.

We need you to share your knowledge and experience and encourage others to do the same. And we need you to share it with us so we can understand the evolving threats problems and work with you on how to protect your businesses.

We need you to protect yourselves and your customers. We need you to promote the guidance that is out there. This event is a great opportunity to build on existing partnerships, and take stock of what more needs to be done. I hope your time at this event today and tomorrow is worthwhile and productive.

Thank you.