Maria Miller – 2011 Speech on the Child Poverty Debate

mariamiller

Below is the text of the speech made by Maria Miller, the then Minister for Disabled People, in the House of Commons, London on 28 March 2011.

Introduction

Good morning.

It is a great pleasure to see so many people here today focused on the issues of child poverty.

There are few more important – or emotive – topics in politics.

We all know that tackling the problem demands far more than warm words or political posturing.

We recognise that money matters whether it is measured in relative or absolute terms.

Yet we also know that dealing with child poverty demands more than just thinking about poverty in cash terms.

Poverty of aspiration… lack of life chances… and inequality of opportunity are all powerful factors too.

So let me say right now that this Government is determined to tackle the underlying causes of child poverty – not just the symptoms.

Indeed, this is already the starting point for so many of the actions we are taking to promote greater social justice across society.

It lies at the heart of our welfare reforms.

And in the long run, it is the only way we will deliver the fairer and more responsible society we all want to see.

Centre for Social Justice

Before he became Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith spent years examining exactly these issues with the Centre for Social Justice.

Under his lead, the Government fully recognises that far broader social issues are at play – debt, addiction, family breakdown, educational failure, and worklessness, to name but a few.

Any one of these topics represents a huge social challenge in its own right.

Every person in this room will have worked with families trapped in situations where they feel it is very difficult to break out and where benefits alone are not going to provide the answer.

Families where feeding an addiction has become a greater priority than feeding the children.

Working with people frightened about Payday loans hanging over their head.

Or picking up the pieces after a childhood spent in the care system.
These are the type of challenges many of you deal with day in, day out.

I am sure we can all agree, it is only by Government accepting that there are not going to be many quick fixes that we can start to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges – and then work together to find ways to meet them.

Accepting that there are a whole host of issues to tackle along the way also helps us to understand how best to deliver for the poorest.

If I take just one statistic, I could point to the fact that we have spent £150 billion on Tax Credits alone since 2003.

Yet despite the apparently vast resources being aimed mostly at families with children, real progress on child poverty all but stalled in the years that followed.

We all know what the results are today:

– 2.8 million children still living in relative poverty

– 1.6 million children still in absolute poverty

– and almost 2 million children living in workless households – one of the worst rates in Europe.

Clearly, simply throwing money at the problem has not worked.

I believe in the principles underpinning the Child Poverty Act and the Government is determined to meet the challenge it sets.

So we need a new approach.

That means moving away from the goal of getting every child one penny past an arbitrary income threshold.

And instead, it means focusing on helping each child to move out of poverty in the real-world sense.

That is why we need to start looking at child poverty through a sharper lens and start tackling the underlying issues of poverty such as education, debt and worklessness.

Work not welfare

This is also why the Government is so focused on tackling welfare dependency.

The benefits trap presents a very real barrier to many of the poorest in our country.

They become isolated from broader society.

They get stuck in a rut where aspiring to work and a better life actually represents a real risk to income levels.

And as if all that were not bad enough, it costs the taxpayer a fortune to maintain this broken benefits system.

This is why we are so committed to fundamental welfare reform.

Completely re-thinking our approach to people on incapacity so that we don’t abandon them to a life on long-term benefits.

Re-inventing welfare to work with one of the biggest work programmes this country has ever seen.

And just as importantly, re-writing the incentive base for jobseekers through the Universal Credit to make sure work pays.
The introduction of the Universal Credit on its own is forecast to lift some 600,000 working age adults and 350,000 children out of poverty.

Yet it is the long-term behavioural changes inspired by the three legs of these welfare reforms that we expect to have a bigger impact.

We will move toward a benefit system that is there to support people when they need it, but without trapping them in a cycle of inter-generational poverty.

We will move those who can work back toward employment so that we reduce the number of children who think it’s normal to have no-one in the house heading out to earn a living in the morning.

And at the same time, we will work to tackle some of the other big issues that too often leave children trapped in poverty.

Other interventions

One of those is educational attainment.

This is an area that has been flagged by both Graham Allen and Frank Field in reports commissioned by the Government to help us find new ways of making a positive impact on the life chances of children.

I think everyone here today can agree just how important education and early intervention are in tackling child poverty.

That’s why, for example, the Department for Education is targeting extra money at pupils from deprived backgrounds – pupils we know are at high risk of poorer outcomes.

This is a key priority for the Government, which is why we are increasing the funding available under the Pupil Premium to £2.5 billion.

At the same time, we recognise the huge role that Local Authorities play in influencing the life chances of children.

As a result, we are allocating £2.2 billion this year under the Early Intervention Grant to help local leaders act more strategically and target investment early, where it will have greatest impact. This will help fund new investments such as early education and 4,200 extra health visitors to build stronger links with local health services, which can make all the difference in early years.

And of course, we are also reforming the Child Maintenance system to ensure that we put child welfare firmly at the centre of our policy approach and prevent the State from exacerbating potential disagreements between parents.

Conclusion

These are just some of the many actions this Government is already taking to help children in the UK escape the poverty trap and the consequences that too often follow.

We have to make taking action on child poverty a continuing priority – just as we have in these first 11 months of Government.

The Child Poverty Strategy is a document that will bring together the details of all these policies and plans and it will be published very shortly.

What I can tell you is that the Government takes child poverty extremely seriously and we have quite deliberately waited to publish our Strategy at the right time – not some arbitrary deadline set by the previous administration.

Rather than rush the strategy out as just another piece of Government business, everyone involved has been determined to make sure it is right so that we can deliver the change that this country needs.

This reinforces just how highly child poverty features on this Government’s policy agenda.

As a new Government taking a fresh approach to child poverty, there is a real determination to do our best.

It is the only way we will achieve the joined-up approach we will need to make a real impact on children’s lives – in Central Government, at Local Authority level and across the Third Sector and civil society.

Clearly, we have a great deal to do. But I am convinced that by working together, we can deliver the right solutions for the children of Britain.

That is the challenge – and I look forward to meeting it with you.

Thank you.

Maria Miller – 2014 Speech at LGA Conference

marimiller

Below is the text of the speech made by Maria Miller, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, to the LFA Conference in Portsmouth on 3rd March 2014.

I’m delighted to be here in Portsmouth today. As you might be aware it stood, partnered by its long-time rival Southampton, as a candidate for our 2017 City of Culture competition. And a very worthy candidate it was too.

And as the home of the Mary Rose, HMS Victory, three theatres and a football team that has seen its fair share of success over the years, it is an extremely appropriate venue for this conference.

It is a city which clearly understands the value and importance of culture, tourism and sport – which is the underlying theme to this conference.

The precise topic of the conference is actually ‘making the most of your cultural, heritage and sport assets’.

I think this topic reflects two things:

Firstly, it acknowledges that times remain tough. We all now have to think differently, plan differently and deliver public services differently. That is true both in central Government and local Government.

But secondly, on a much more positive note, I think it reflects the central importance of culture, heritage and sport in communities up and down the country. It reflects the fact that these activities really are the bedrock of our modern lives. And that we all care about them a great deal.

In local government, as you all know only too well, the arts… culture… sport… are not statutory services. But they remain essential services. Good local authorities recognise that fact. They realise that their local residents expect these services to be provided and provided well. And they realise the benefits which these services offer.

The same arguments apply in central Government as in local Government. We continue to prioritise these areas both because we know people care about them deeply… and because we know what activity in these areas can achieve.

Today I want to talk, if I may, about some of the arguments we have at our disposal when we argue for support for these areas. I want to talk about the balance between national and local government funding and what we have done to help these sectors. And I want to talk about the role of partnerships, in particular, as a means by which we can all make the most of our assets.

Intrinsic Value

I’d like to begin with a simple proposition.

I believe that culture – and I’m using the word in its very broadest sense… to include the arts… our creative industries… our built heritage… and also including the central role that sport has in our lives… is absolutely fundamental to who we are.

It has a privileged place in our lives. It is uniquely able to move us, inspire us… make us laugh and make us cry. As I said recently in a speech, it’s what makes our hearts sing. In my opinion this, in and of itself, is a compelling enough reason for any government – central or local – to continue to fund these sectors.

I feel proud and privileged to have responsibility for these sectors at a national level. And I am sure you feel the same in your local areas. Trips to the theatre… family kick-arounds in the park… visiting local heritage sites…these are a central part of Britain and being British.

So, undoubtedly, there is a powerful intrinsic argument to be made for support for the arts, heritage and sport. But the case does not start and stop there… we can also point to evidence of the myriad benefits that these activities can help secure.

Instrumental arguments

Whether we are talking about economic, educative, health or community benefits, there is a clear and compelling case to be made. If I may, I’d like to give you a few brief examples to illustrate this.

The economic case is captured here in Portsmouth. The new Mary Rose museum has only been open for nine months but has already attracted more than a quarter of a million people.

Similarly in Wakefield, the council has invested and has been rewarded by half a million people visiting The Hepworth Wakefield in its first year. This has contributed around £10 million to the local economy.

Yorkshire will also host the opening stages of this year’s Tour de France – an event which should bring millions of pounds in for the local area.

The educational benefits of both the arts and sport have been well demonstrated. Not only can sport be used as a hook to keep children engaged in education but sport programmes have been shown to improve the learning performance of young people. And recent survey data shows that those participating in the arts are much more likely to claim that they are ‘very likely’ to go on to further education.

In health, the sporting case is obvious but I’ve been struck by emerging evidence about the positive impact culture can have on physical and mental health.

A 2007 report from UCL, commissioned by my department and the Department for Health, showed that arts participation lead to mental health improvements.

Both culture and sport are proven to help increase motivation, inspire hope, provide relaxation and reduce the symptoms of depression.

And the case in terms of physical health is equally compelling. Physical activity is linked to a reduced risk of 20 illnesses, including cardiovascular disease and even cancer. Regular sports activity is estimated to save thousands of pounds per person in healthcare costs over a lifetime.

And an interesting piece of research to be published shortly – again commissioned by my department –shows that people who had engaged with the arts were also more likely to report good physical health than those who had not.

Again this can mean big savings for the NHS. In fact, taken together, this research suggests potential annual savings of more than £3 billion thanks to activity in the arts and sport.

And I am delighted that cCLOA (Chief Cultural and Leisure Officers Association) will publish guidance tomorrow on the vital role of culture and leisure in improving the health and wellbeing of local communities.

Communities

But perhaps the most compelling of the so-called instrumental arguments for culture – and one which I think clearly marries the intrinsic value with the instrumental benefits – is the way in which it can bring people and communities together.

A great example of this is to be found in the amazing work of East Lindsey, who have transformed Skegness through a cultural programme, centred on the now-regular SO Festival. Yes this has a big economic impact on the local area, but more importantly, it has helped bring the local community together and allowed them to get behind what they, quite rightly, see as their event.

This idea – that culture brings people together, instils civic pride and lifts the spirits – is one of the main reasons why the City of Culture competition has been such a success. .

We saw this take place in Derry-Londonderry last year and the omens are very good indeed for Hull when they take on the mantle in 2017.

I was delighted to hear that when Crystal Palace supporters recently travelled to Hull for a Premier League match, they were greeted by home fans chanting ‘You’re only here for the culture’.

And undoubtedly sporting success – whether that is through a local team or thanks to inspirational local stars such as Jessica Ennis Hill from Sheffield or Nicola Adams from Leeds – can have a huge impact on a local community.

Sir Tom Finney, who passed away just last month, is a perfect example of how sporting excellence, civic pride and loyalty to a local community can have a resonance long after a sporting career is over. Described by Bill Shankly as “the greatest player to ever play the game” he never thought of leaving his home-town club, Preston North End, and his funeral last week quite literally brought that town to a standstill.

So these factors – economic benefit, civic pride, educational achievement and health benefits – should be central to our case when we argue for investment in culture, sport and heritage.

But it is also important to remind ourselves of the intrinsic value of these activities. And to remember that making these instrumental arguments does not contradict a belief in an intrinsic value. Put simply, there can be instrumental benefits without compromising intrinsic value.

What we’re doing in Central Government

In central Government we believe in both the intrinsic and instrumental potential of the arts, heritage and sport. And we have therefore done all we can to protect these sectors despite the tough times we find ourselves in.

At the last Spending Round, we only passed on a five per cent reduction to the arts, museums and sport. This was a far lower reduction than for many other sectors.

And, we increased the shares of Lottery income going to the arts, heritage and sport from 16 per cent to 20 per cent.

This means hundreds of millions of pounds of extra Lottery funding for these sectors over the course of this parliament.

I am proud of this record. But I don’t agree with those who seem to think funding is the be all and end all. After all, it is true that – in real terms – funding has fallen for arts over the last few years. Yet participation in the arts has gone up over the same period. It is currently at an all-time high with almost 4 in 5 adults participating in the arts last year.

And since London was awarded the Olympics in 2005, the number of people participating in sport has gone up by 1.5 million.

If we can do more for less, we always should….. In local government you know that better than most.

The important role of local authorities

The role you play in providing cultural, heritage and sporting services up and down this country is vital. You are the largest funders of culture. In fact, you spent almost £4 billion on cultural and related services – including sport – last year. Clearly, you are the backbone of support for these areas.

But you, like us in central Government, are having to think differently these days. Budgets are tight and choices have to be made – prioritisation is the name of the game.

But what local authorities have also proved is that reduced spending doesn’t have to mean public dissatisfaction. In fact, the LGA’s own research shows that overall satisfaction amongst the public with the way their local council runs things remains high, with almost three-quarters of people fairly or very satisfied. This, I think, is a pretty clear indication that customer satisfaction is not just a matter of funding – it is also about how things are done and how services are provided.

Partnerships

As I have travelled the country, I have been really encouraged to see how local authorities are innovating to reduce costs and to deliver services more effectively.

These innovations include establishing charitable trusts, creating mutuals, outsourcing, and sharing services across a number of LA areas.

For example Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery have joined forces with Thinktank and Birmingham Science Museum, to form ‘Birmingham Museums’, the UK’s largest independent museums trust.

Luton Cultural Services Trust – a registered charity – who manage 12 venues and provide cultural services across Luton. And Hampshire County Council, with Winchester City Council, have developed a new charitable trust to support arts and museums in the county.

So partnerships are being established. And I think they spell a very exciting way forward, working within the grain of how culture works in this country.

After all, culture is not a monolithic, state-controlled entity. It is delivered by many organisations. These partnerships reflect that.

Arts Council England and the national tourist board, VisitEngland, work together to boost cultural tourism in England making £3 million available to local culture and tourism partnerships.

Universities are forming partnerships with cultural organisations. For example, “Evolve” at the University of Derby offers support and space to new and growing businesses, and the University is a vital supporter of the theatre in Derby.

And I’m very pleased to see so many of our National Cultural institutions, including those funded by central Government, working in partnership across the country.

National institutions reaching out

Digital technology, in particular, is providing new ways to extend the reach of our national institutions. These days the amazing productions that are thrilling audiences at the National Theatre on London’s South Bank are also being broadcast to cinemas all over the country. Barn-storming performances like James Corden’s in ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’, or Adrian Lester’s stunning handling of ‘Othello’ can now be enjoyed by audiences right across the UK.

Then there’s the Plus Tate network which aims to support the development of the visual arts across the UK. Tate contributes resources to help create a network of organisations – 18 so far – who share ideas and expertise, as well as programmes and collections for the benefit of the wider public.

This is good for Tate because it expands its reach and expertise, and great for people outside the immediate orbit of Tate’s main galleries by increasing public access to the national collection of British and international modern and contemporary art. More than 3.5 million people have visited the shared collections since it began.

Tate also administers the spectacularly successful ‘Artist Rooms’ programme which has reached almost 30 million visitors in scores of exhibitions at museums and galleries in all corners of the UK. This programme means these works can dazzle… inspire… and make hearts sing in so many more places.

Tate is not the only national institution operating nationally, of course. To take just one other example The Roman Empire: Power and People is a British Museum touring exhibition developed with Bristol Museum and Arts Gallery, which is visiting Norwich Castle, Coventry, Leeds, Dundee and Wallsend.

This is the way of the future and I believe this sort of activity will help extend regional organisation’s reach far wider than ever before.

The balance of regional cultural funding

I know that the current balance of funding is being questioned at the moment – in particular people ask if the capital gets more than its fair share?

Well my view is that London’s international reputation for excellence in both culture and sport, and its appeal to tourists from around the globe, is extraordinarily valuable

There is a debate to be had about the relationship between the capital and the regions but it’s worth remembering that London is a gateway to the UK and it benefits all of us, no matter where we live.

I would rather people outside London did not see themselves as competing with the capital. Instead, I would prefer it if people think of London’s cultural offer as providing a rising tide which carries all ships.

This includes the partnership work that the capital’s institutions should focus on round the country.

It is true that half the inbound visits to the UK are to London, but this last year has seen big increases in visitor numbers and spending in other parts of England and the rest of the UK by overseas visitors.

So the evidence suggests that we are seeing more and more visitors going through the gateway and seeing what the rest of the country has to offer.

The GREAT campaign has played a big part in this. It showcases the very best of our country. And it won’t surprise any of you here today that the imagery the GREAT campaign consistently uses is from your sectors. The worlds of culture, the creative industries, heritage and sport.

Conclusion

So, when you campaign to the public – and to central Government, of course – on behalf of the arts, heritage, sports and tourism, you are doing so very much within the grain of our thinking. We believe that these sectors are at the heart of a free and dynamic society. We believe they are the cornerstone of what central and local government do. And what people care about. The public’s appetite for these sectors is obvious and shows no sign of diminishing,

Whilst public finances remain extremely tight, central Government’s support for these sectors is assured. And I know the same is true for all good local authorities.

What we need to do now, and in the future, is to keep forging partnerships…to continue championing the intrinsic value of the arts…. as well as the amazing things culture and sport can help achieve…and to take pride in the fact that we are all working in some of the most exciting, creative and valuable areas that this country has to offer.

Maria Miller – 2014 Speech at Oxford Media Convention

marimiller

Below is the text of the speech made by Maria Miller, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, on 26th February 2014.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web, and it is truly extraordinary – I think – that it was only such a short time ago that Sir Tim Berners-Lee and his colleagues at CERN made that first thought connection that changed the world.

Our creative industries are the fastest growing sector of the UK economy. The internet is a key part of this fastest growing sector. We have to get the internet right if we’re going to get the creative industries right. We have to foster the internet we want.

For most of us, the internet is now an intrinsic part of our lives. And for your industry in particular, it has had and will continue to have a transformative impact. It is revolutionising the business models for how content is created, shared and monetised. The future of the internet matters, so we want to foster the sort of internet that adds value to content and that adds value to our creative industries.

I want to reflect this afternoon on the transformative impact the internet has had for freedom of expression. Be that political, cultural or personal – the internet has given us all a voice and an audience.

That is a powerful change. A force for good. A force for liberation. A force for democracy. We have to protect that. So I also want to talk about the responsibility we all have for nurturing this phenomenal technology – to ensure it remains a force that improves and enriches peoples lives.

The responsibility we have for protecting the openness, innovation and security – that underpin it.

Open, so everyone can access the internet and enjoy the opportunities it provides.

Innovative, so technological development can keep pace with human creativity.

Secure, so that the infrastructure is robust and our data – whether personal or IP – is protected and we keep the most vulnerable people safe. I am sure we have all been struck by the role the internet and social media has played in world affairs from the Arab Spring to bringing to light the horrors in Syria.

The internet has made the world accessible and given every individual the possibility of access to a global audience. The internet has provided enormous opportunities in delivering public services such remote education and e-health, or even just renewing your car tax.

Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) are opening up education to the world. Farmers in Ghana are saving time and money by using their smartphones to trade their products before they go to market. None of this would be possible without the internet.

An internet for life

And it is not only at the high-end of human endeavour that the internet has changed our lives. For our children it is fundamental part of their world. Fewer than one in ten children in the UK do not use the internet at all. Most research and do their homework online. They watch TV or films, play games and use social media. The devices they use and location for these things may change, but the constant is the role of the internet.

This is no different for adults. Many of us also choose to spend leisure time on social media, gaming with friends, downloading or streaming films and music or sharing our own content.

So for the avoidance of doubt, let me make my starting point clear – and perhaps Government doesn’t say this enough – the internet and all that it has done for us in the past, and all that I think it will do for us in the future is – overwhelmingly – a very good thing indeed.

The internet is one of the great enablers for Freedom of Expression. It is the equivalent of the invention of the printing press many hundreds of years ago.

This freedom is the cornerstone of British democracy. And it drives our creativity, our culture, our economy and equality.

Rights and Responsibilities

But Freedom of Expression doesn’t just happen because the technology allows it. It is in our DNA. It is something that we must all actively nurture and protect through our actions and behaviour.

We have a responsibility to work together to ensure that everyone can approach the internet excited about what we can learn, what we can find, not frightened of where it might lead us.

So how should we approach this responsibility?

The starting point, I would suggest, is a straightforward principle.

The internet isn’t a ‘Second Life’, it isn’t something where different rules apply, where different behaviour is acceptable – it isn’t the wild west.

To put it simply the rules that apply offline are the same rules that apply online.

The same rules offline also apply online.

This is at its most clear when it comes to the law. If something is illegal offline, it is illegal online. We have laws in this country to protect our freedom… it is no different online.

Whether it is images of child abuse or terrorist material we will use the full force of the law, national and international, to take down that content and pursue the perpetrators.

If you have vilely insulted, or threatened to attack someone in person on the street, you do so expecting to be arrested and probably charged.

The same already applies on social media.

The legislation is already in place. And we have the guidelines by the Attorney General on contempt of court – and the Director of Public Prosecution’s on prosecutions involving social media communications – put together they present a strong and durable framework.

As the recent imprisonment of two people for the abuse suffered by Caroline Criado-Perez shows, being online does not mean the law doesn’t apply to you. And the law is being used. Last year 2000 people were prosecuted for sending electronic communications that were grossly offensive or menacing.

In tackling child abuse online, the new National Crime Agency is bringing greater resources to bare. Last month Operation Endeavour resulted in 46 arrests across 14 countries, demonstrating the NCA’s global reach. And yes, of course, there will be challenges of jurisdiction on the internet. But the internet is not the only space where working across borders presents legal challenges.

There are many countries that have sought to regulate the internet in ways that we would not consider, but I think you’ll agree that the debate has moved on from whether it can be done, to what is the responsible way for all of us – individuals, industry and state – to foster the web we want.

In other areas we don’t argue the law should not apply because it is difficult. And we will continue to work with other Governments and law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrators of serious online crime to justice, where ever they are.

The Sensible Consumer

But society is not only governed by laws.

We have social and ethical responsibilities for our own behaviour as well -online, just as we do offline. Freedom of Expression, creativity, entrepreneurship – these are repressed, not enhanced, by failing to treat people fairly, or with respect. We want the reassurance of knowing we are protected online, but equally we must be responsible for our own actions. The veil of anonymity the internet provides may be valuable but does not give licence to insult, cheat or exploit.

And the responsibility we take for our own and others’ belongings equally apply online.

You wouldn’t leave your front door unlocked with a handy map pinned to it, showing where you kept your valuables. So why use the word ‘password123’ as your on-line banking password?

If you wanted to see a film or listen to a CD, you wouldn’t sneak into a shop and steal it off the shelf, so why do the online equivalent and download it illegally?

It’s about good citizenship… as well as what’s legal and what’s not.

Changes can be made

And we already know that when the industry and Government work together we can make changes. We know that work can be done to enhance the protections that we see online. An example of this is the steps forward we have made with child internet safety.

The work that ISPs have done since last summer to deliver on filtering is a great example of a responsible industry supporting the people who use it to have the confidence in the internet.

And it works, not least because we’ve been able to demonstrate that the solutions to these problems are not always best arrived at through more regulation. But I am also clear that technological tools, can only ever go so far. Parents have – and understand that they have – a responsibility to know what our kids are up to, and help guide those choices. As parents, we know that when it comes to our parental responsibilities there is no substitute for talking to our children about the difficult challenges and the difficult decisions they have got to make. Industry must help us take responsibility and give us the information and tools to navigate this landscape. To allow us to make sensible choices about where we go and what we do and help to guide our children too.

That is why I so welcome the industry’s £25 million a year awareness campaign to help parents keep their children safe online.

Common Media Standards

Many of you are working at the cutting edge of these issues and realise you are facing more technical and legal challenges.

The advent of new technology from smartphones to tablets is changing the way we access media content online – from news, to celebrity gossip, to our favourite TV shows.

Different media are governed by different rules –we expect impartial news coverage on a TV news bulletin, but not so on social media where people are actively seeking personal viewpoints.

We expect traditional broadcast television to meet a ‘gold standard’ of accuracy and quality, whereas when we view a user-generated video online we know to be more circumspect.

But with people old and young alike increasingly able to access not only broadcast channels on their TV, but hundreds of YouTube channels, as well as videos on social media, in just a few presses of the family remote, it can be unclear to consumer which standards apply and to parents what broadcasting controls apply, if any.

It is important that viewers can be confident about what they are getting at the press of a button.

This works both ways. If the viewer is confident, then businesses can be too, and that can only be a good thing, which is why so many of you – from the BBC to YouTube – are already active in signalling to consumers – for example, the age appropriateness of material.

I think there is a responsibility to help make this clearer still.

I would like industry and regulators to come together to assess how they can most effectively give consumers clarity about the standards that apply across different platforms, and how they complain if those standards are not met.

That is why I have asked Ofcom to kick-start this work, and I look forward to seeing how that progresses.

Transparent media standards will help deal with the world as it is today rather than the world pre-internet.

Setting the standard

Your industry is at the cutting edge too, of demonstrating how behaving responsibly online can be rewarded. The standards and sensibilities that the media industry brings to creating content on line – whether news, kid’s entertainment or programming – is setting the bar for quality and driving consumer confidence online. Far from being a race to the bottom, the high standards of broadcasters become a valuable selling point for online content in the future.

Brands such as the BBC are becoming an important navigation tool for consumers looking for sources of content they can trust, and I know many of you here have worked hard to develop your reputation and relationship with consumers. For instance the work Channel 4 has done to create an award-winning data strategy that has allowed it to evolve its business model through a deeper understanding of its customer base, but with a ‘Viewer Promise’ that gives viewers transparency and control over their data.

This leads me onto the next area of challenge for industry.

Data as Currency

Information – or data, if you prefer – is the currency of the internet. Part of what I’m talking about today – quite a large part, actually – is the need for all of us to have clarity about the impact of the choices we make. This includes choices we make about our personal data when it comes to the internet

Understanding the value we and others place on it, how we spend this currency, what we are being sold, and at what cost.

Of course commercial broadcasters have been doing something similar for decades – viewers accept TV advertising as the trade for programmes they want. Personal data is the next evolutionary step.

The explosion of data as currency is not necessarily a bad thing. It delivers tremendous choice to consumers, allows us to access a huge range of content free at the point of consumption, and provides a level of convenience we could not have dreamed of a few years ago. I think of the App that tells where the nearest bus stop is, which buses go there and when the next one will arrive. Amazing.

But we must be intelligent consumers. We must understand the price we are paying for this extraordinary service. We’ve all experienced it. Ads for restaurants popping that seem spookily close where we are. Spotify or Amazon suggesting songs or books we might like. And we do!

We need to recognise that a commercial transaction has taken place – that our details, location and preferences, have been bought and sold and that is the cost of the convenience we want.

Using data intelligently has the capacity to transform how the public sector delivers services and reaches the most hard to reach groups, to drive medical research and inspire market-changing products and services – such as the work by Channel 4 I mentioned earlier.

What’s more, this virtual marketplace creates thousands of new jobs.

But, I go back to the principles of openness, innovation and security. If we are going to reap the benefits that an open, innovative internet can deliver, we must have confidence that our engagement with it is secure.

Data is a driver for growth and creativity. I believe that transparency is essential if consumers are to feel safe and empowered by the use internet, and the data that flows across it.

Good progress is being made here. For example the Ad Choices self-regulatory work on transparency means consumers can now not only see which advertising networks use their data, they can opt out of targeted behavioural advertising if they wish. Just as TV advertising sits within a proportionate regulatory framework, so too must the use of personal data.

We must continue to negotiate solutions. In the EU we are negotiating a new data protection framework which must reflect the realities of modern enterprise if they to deliver economic growth, promote the use of open data and protect citizen’s rights.

Conclusion

Let me conclude where I started, by saying that the internet is an incredible invention that has opened up our world.

But we are wrong to say this is a different world, where different rules of personal behaviour apply. The opportunities an open, innovative and secure internet have given us are precious. We must not crush it with thoughtless, harmful behaviour, the naked pursuit of profit, or overly burdensome regulation. And I am confident that our approach – self regulation first, regulation only where necessary – is the right one.

I look forward to working with you to promote an environment that preserves what we value, both online and offline – Freedom of Expression, creativity and prosperity.

Maria Miller – 2013 Speech to the Advertising Association Conference

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The below speech was made by the Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, on 31st January 2013 in London.

Thank you Cilla Snowball and to the Advertising Association for putting on this event and asking me to speak to you today. With my background in the industry, this is a particularly special moment for me, addressing so many influential people from across the advertising world.  You’ve heard already today from companies that advertise, agencies that create ads and the media in which the ads appear. Clearly, the Government has a strong interest – and an important role to play – in the success of all those parts of the chain. There can be no doubt as to the value that advertising has, as a driver of investment, tourism and growth.  Making this case is something that I am personally committed to. I believe it is vital that we enable the advertising industry to maximise its impact on the UK economy while at the same time, loosing none of its reputation for originality and creativity. I want to talk to you today about what we can do together to make the most of the huge potential for economic growth driven by the advertising sector that Deloitte have identified in their new report for the Advertising Association ‘Advertising Pays: How advertising fuels the UK economy’.

UNIQUELY BRITISH ADVANTAGE

It won’t surprise you to hear me say that the biggest problem facing this country is how we get the economy growing again.  I have the great responsibility of running a department which has a key role to play in that. Often you hear people talking about manufacturing or the financial sectors in regards to boosting economic growth. However, I firmly believe that we need to look in another direction, towards creative industries like advertising which have a holistic benefit to the economy and to Britain.

DCMS estimates that advertising directly contributed £6bn to the economy –  a very sizable portion of the total £36bn the creative industries contribute to GVA altogether, ahead of TV and film and more than design and architecture combined.

Deloitte’s report looks deeper than this and asks: what’s the wider role that advertising plays in the economy? The answer the report comes up with is impressive – £16bn of annual expenditure on advertising in the UK adds £100bn to UK GDP by raising the level of economic activity and boosting productivity.  In other words, according to Deloitte, for every £1 spent on advertising, £6 is generated for the economy.

More of that in a moment, but reading these eye-popping figures, it struck me that a really significant part of what makes our ad industry so successful all over the world is its very Britishness.

Whether its Burberry reaching out to new markets in Russia, Hong Kong and India on youtube or international computer giant Acer choosing the UK agency ‘Mother’ to create an exciting new European campaign harnessing the power of the latest animation technology, the UK is leading the world. We lead because of our history, culture and arts, because of what the world associates with being British. There isn’t any better example of what we did than last summer, when Britain was marketed to the world.  Global brands come to Great Britain to get the best market for their products, and Great Britain brands gain a global market through the strength of our advertising talent. This adds up to an export business for advertising services worth at least £2bn.  And this doesn’t include the huge value advertising adds to economy in terms of selling Britain – as a GREAT tourist destination and GREAT place to do business.

I hope it’s becoming clear that I am hugely proud of our ad industry, the impact it has on our economy and on our reputation abroad.  I am determined to be its champion and cheerleader. And I think one way to do that is to identify what gives us a special British advantage and challenge you to maintain it.  I would argue that a key part of the domestic and international success of the British ad industry is that is reflects our unique culture.  The industry’s direct connection with the diverse UK population and a culture of openness and tolerance allows us to engage creatively with people all over the world.  I expect the strong tradition of robust self-regulation to continue and that you will all play a part in upholding the UK ad industry’s worldwide reputation for decency and honesty – as well as creativity.

ADVERTISING AS A DRIVER OF GROWTH

What’s really eye-catching in Deloitte’s report is their claim that that increasing spending on advertising leads to a beneficial impact on GDP.  So advertising could be the oil in the machinery of a recovering market economy. The levers work in a number of ways:

Advertising promotes innovation and differentiation within a market;

It drives price competition;

It encourages overall market growth;

It funds media and the creative industries (I want to come back to that one);

And it supports a wide range of employment.

Deloitte’s estimate puts the number of jobs supported directly and indirectly by the £16bn of advertising spend at 550,000.

It’s clear that advertising has a significant potential part to play in the future growth of the economy.  The challenge I want to put to you is, what should we be doing to unlock that potential?

I was pleased to see in IPA’s 2012 census that of the nearly 20,500 people employed in UK ad agencies, 50 percent are female.  I was slightly more concerned by the fact that women occupy only about a 5th of senior positions in the industry.  This might not be bad compared to many other industries, where women are lucky to find a seat round the Board table at all.  But in a world where the majority of advertising is aimed at women, is it sustainable to have most of that created by men?  I think there’s work to be done here to ensure we retain that critical British advantage.

I know that some of you feel that there’s potential for the Government to offer more help to small and medium sized businesses.  As a government, we are committed to ensuring that SMEs get the best possible chance to do business, but we want to hear from you about what else we can do.

Others may feel what you really need to grow is better access to consumer data. It’s absolutely crucial that we strike the right balance between the protection of consumers and the ability of business to use data to deliver products and services that people want.  I know we face challenges with the EU Data protection proposals and I will work hard with our colleagues at the Ministry of Justice to ensure our approach to negotiations reflects your concerns. We must ensure that the impact and the practical effect of the current proposals is clearly understood by our friends in other Member States and indeed by members of the European Parliament. If we can achieve this I am confident that we will have a data protection framework that is both practical for business and delivers real safeguards for consumers.

ADVERTISING IS THE KEY TO UNLOCKING THE DIGITAL AND CREATIVE ECONOMY

One of the things I loved about working in advertising was the feeling that we were both feeding-off and driving creative and technological innovation.  In my view, advertising, like many of the other creative industries, is an important landmark in the UK’s cultural and artistic landscape.

The creative talent that makes Britain a breeding ground for great films and TV, amazing special effects and wonderful music is the same creative talent that inspires and makes our advertising.  Would Tom Hooper, director of the Les Miserables film, be the toast of Hollywood today without his grounding in making ads? The same could be said of Ridely Scott or Sam Mendes, two great talents to come out of your industry.

What’s more, the benefits flow in both directions.  The advertising industry is absolutely critical to funding the creative industries and promoting them to as wide a market as possible.  Deloitte show the UK cinema box office could have lost out on £300m in 2010 – 27 percent of total revenues– without advertising getting audiences through the doors.  Almost 30 percent of TV revenues come from advertising.  As David Abraham showed this morning, broadcasters like Channel 4 still have a symbiotic relationship with advertisers – yes, one that is changing and evolving – but still as critical as ever. 68 percent of newspapers’ revenue comes from advertising and over 500 local and community radio stations around the country are supported by advertising.

The Creative Industries are at the heart of economic growth, they are what makes Britain unique, they inspire investment and tourism and growth. I hope I have outlined the crucial role that advertising has to play in that.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, let me say again that I personally take very seriously my responsibility to fly the flag for the British advertising industry.  The value that I seek to make around the importance of advertising to the economy is not a new case, but it is perhaps a case that hasn’t been made loudly enough before. There is a critical role for you to  play in the future growth of the economy.  Now, I just ask you to retain that critical British edge by representing our unique, diverse culture; and to keep telling me and government what we need to do to help you prosper.

Maria Miller – Speech to 2011 Capita Conference

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Below is the text of the speech made by the Minister for the Disabled, Maria Miller, made at the Capita Conference on 5th April 2011.

It is a great pleasure to see so many people here today focused on the issues of child poverty. There are few more important – or emotive – topics in politics. We all know that tackling the problem demands far more than warm words or political posturing. We recognise that money matters, whether it is measured in relative or absolute terms.

Yet we also know that dealing with child poverty demands more than just thinking about poverty in cash terms. Poverty of aspiration, lack of life chances and inequality of opportunity are all powerful factors too. So let me say right now that this Government is determined to tackle the underlying causes of child poverty – not just the symptoms.

Indeed, this is already the starting point for so many of the actions we are taking to promote greater social justice across society. It lies at the heart of our welfare reforms. And in the long run, it is the only way we will deliver the fairer and more responsible society we all want to see.

Before he became Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith spent years examining exactly these issues with the Centre for Social Justice. Under his lead, the Government fully recognises that far broader social issues are at play – debt, addiction, family breakdown, educational failure, and worklessness, to name but a few. Any one of these topics represents a huge social challenge in its own right.

Every person in this room will have worked with families trapped in situations where they feel it is very difficult to break out and where benefits alone are not going to provide the answer:

families where feeding an addiction has become a greater priority than feeding the children

working with people frightened about payday loans hanging over their heads

or picking up the pieces after a childhood spent in the care system.

These are the type of challenges many of you deal with day in, day out. I am sure we can all agree, it is only by Government accepting that there are not going to be many quick fixes – that we can start to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges, and then work together to find ways to meet them. Accepting that there are a whole host of issues to tackle along the way also helps us to understand how best to deliver for the poorest. If I take just one statistic, I could point to the fact that we have spent £150 billion on Tax Credits alone since 2003. Yet despite the apparently vast resources being aimed mostly at families with children, real progress on child poverty all but stalled in the years that followed.

We all know what the results are today:

2.8 million children still living in relative poverty

1.6 million children still in absolute poverty, and

almost 2 million children living in workless households – one of the worst rates in Europe.

Clearly, simply throwing money at the problem has not worked. I believe in the principles underpinning the Child Poverty Act and the Government is determined to meet the challenge it sets. So we need a new approach. That means moving away from the goal of getting every child one penny past an arbitrary income threshold. And instead, it means focusing on helping each child to move out of poverty in the real-world sense. That is why we need to start looking at child poverty through a sharper lens and start tackling the underlying issues of poverty such as education, debt and worklessness. This is also why the Government is so focused on tackling welfare dependency.

The benefits trap presents a very real barrier to many of the poorest in our country. They become isolated from broader society. They get stuck in a rut where aspiring to work and a better life actually represents a real risk to income levels. And as if all that were not bad enough, it costs the taxpayer a fortune to maintain this broken benefits system.

This is why we are so committed to fundamental welfare reform:

completely rethinking our approach to people on incapacity so that we don’t abandon them to a life on long-term benefits

reinventing welfare to work with one of the biggest work programmes this country has ever seen

and just as importantly, rewriting the incentive base for jobseekers through the Universal Credit to make sure work pays.

The introduction of the Universal Credit on its own is forecast to lift some 600,000 working age adults and 350,000 children out of poverty. Yet it is the long-term behavioural changes inspired by the three legs of these welfare reforms that we expect to have a bigger impact.

We will move towards a benefit system that is there to support people when they need it, but without trapping them in a cycle of intergenerational poverty. We will move those who can work back toward employment so that we reduce the number of children who think it’s normal to have no one in the house heading out to earn a living in the morning. And at the same time, we will work to tackle some of the other big issues that too often leave children trapped in poverty. One of those is educational attainment. This is an area that has been flagged by both Graham Allen and Frank Field in reports commissioned by the Government, to help us find new ways of making a positive impact on the life chances of children.

I think everyone here today can agree just how important education and early intervention are in tackling child poverty. That’s why, for example, the Department for Education is targeting extra money at pupils from deprived backgrounds – pupils we know are at high risk of poorer outcomes. This is a key priority for the Government, which is why we are increasing the funding available under the Pupil Premium to £2.5 billion. At the same time, we recognise the huge role that local authorities play in influencing the life chances of children. As a result, we are allocating £2.2 billion this year under the Early Intervention Grant to help local leaders act more strategically and target investment early, where it will have greatest impact. This will help fund new investments such as early education and 4,200 extra health visitors to build stronger links with local health services, which can make all the difference in early years.

And of course, we are also reforming the child maintenance system to ensure that we put child welfare firmly at the centre of our policy approach and prevent the state from exacerbating potential disagreements between parents. These are just some of the many actions this Government is already taking to help children in the UK escape the poverty trap and the consequences that too often follow. We have to make taking action on child poverty a continuing priority – just as we have in these first 11 months of Government. The Child Poverty Strategy is a document that will bring together the details of all these policies and plans and it will be published very shortly.

What I can tell you is that the Government takes child poverty extremely seriously and we have quite deliberately waited to publish our strategy at the right time – not some arbitrary deadline set by the previous administration. Rather than rush the strategy out as just another piece of Government business, everyone involved has been determined to make sure it is right so that we can deliver the change that this country needs. This reinforces just how highly child poverty features on this Government’s policy agenda.

As a new Government taking a fresh approach to child poverty, there is a real determination to do our best. It is the only way we will achieve the joined-up approach we will need to make a real impact on children’s lives – in central government, at local authority level and across the third sector and civil society. Clearly, we have a great deal to do. But I am convinced that by working together, we can deliver the right solutions for the children of Britain.

That is the challenge, and I look forward to meeting it with you.

Thank you.

Maria Miller – 2011 Speech on Equality for Disabled People

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Below is the text of the speech made by Maria Miller, the then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Disabled People, in London on 20th October 2011.

It’s important to recognise the practical work the Mayor is doing to support disabled people in London to live more independently.

The Government wants to support disabled people to make their own choices, to have full control over their own lives and to reach their full potential.

In part this is about taking practical measures, like those the Mayor has mentioned, to remove the physical barriers to independent living.

This could involve making some basic adaptations so disabled people can live in their own homes, making transport facilities more accessible and ensuring public buildings are accessible to everyone, including disabled people.

There is, of course, a requirement, in law, for organisations to anticipate necessary reasonable adjustments for disabled people to access their services.

This not only encourages service providers to proactively consider how to make their businesses more accessible – it also provides disabled people with the right to challenge if the legal requirement is not met.

But changes to legislation and improvements to physical accessibility can only go so far.

We have not yet seen these changes translate into complete equality and independence for disabled people in their everyday lives.

The Mayor and I know for disabled people to enjoy truly independent lives we must transform attitudes and support aspirations, as well as transforming buildings and buses.

Too often it is societal barriers rather than the person’s impairment that prevents disabled people living independently.

Findings on public perceptions of disabled people, published by the Office for Disability Issues (ODI) earlier this year, revealed that out dated attitudes about disability still exist.

Worse yet, we know very well that prejudice exists. ODI’s findings showed that eight in ten people believe there is prejudice in society towards disabled people.

This prejudice may not be expressed openly. Although we know from some of the dreadful hate crime cases we have encountered over the last few months that too often it is and in the most awful terms.

Thankfully it is a minority who behave this way. But ODI’s research shows that prejudice about disabled people exists within many more people.

Three quarters of people believe disabled people need caring for.

This “benevolent prejudice” is perhaps the most prevalent. There are still many, well-meaning people, who believe disabled people need to be looked after, protected from the world, and supported in a way which means they are detached from mainstream society.

It must be addressed because whilst well-meaning, it is harmful, holding disabled people back and preventing them from realising their full potential.

This is particularly clear in education.

We know that the aspirations of young disabled people are the same as those of young non-disabled people.

But too often these aspirations go unfulfilled.

The ODI findings discovered four in ten people admitted they thought disabled people could not be as productive as non-disabled people.

We have a responsibility to support disabled young people to overcome the lack of expectation that surrounds them.

The role of society should be to inspire young people, whether disabled or not, to achieve their full potential in life.

I want to make sure that at every stage of their lives disabled people are encouraged and supported to make the most of the opportunities that are available to them.

One of the things I am particularly interested in is developing a really clear route for disabled people through the education system and into work.

In education – we know that the experience of disabled young people at school and beyond has an enormous impact on their ability to fulfil their potential.

In the right environment, aspirations are encouraged and young disabled people will flourish.

I want to ensure we create more of the “right kind of environments”.

The Department for Education has recently consulted on how to support young disabled people at school and beyond to achieve their ambitions.

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Green Paper set out far reaching changes to improve the support that young disabled people get from birth to adulthood.

Proposals include a single assessment process andcombined education, health and care plan from birth to 25 years old.

For the first time people with special educational needswill have one plan that follows them through from birthto adulthood.This is a really radical idea that many people have been talking about for a long time.

Early intervention is of course key. A child’s early experiences can have such a powerful impact on their lives we cannot leave this to chance.

We must ensure young disabled people are getting the right messages about what they are capable of from a young age. And for many disabled people, the short answer to that is anything they put their minds to.

Following a recommendation from the Sayce Review, I have formed a new cross-government ministerial group on employment.

One of the issues this group will be considering is how we can ensure young disabled people have the support they need to identify their path in life, achieve in education and move on into work and be the best they can be.

But our philosophy is not just about making sure disabled people are able to do well at school, or even about smoothing the route into employment.

It is about ensuring disabled people are able to fully take part in life – that means forming friendships and relationships, being spontaneous with friends, enjoying the freedoms many of us take for granted.

And that means we have to really transform attitudes.

The public perceptions research revealed that one in six people still feel discomfort and embarrassment around disabled people. This is a real barrier to equal participation in society.

Changing such attitudes is difficult and takes place over a long period of time.

But we have some real opportunities coming up to challenge out-dated perceptions of disabled people – as well as celebrating our sporting heroes, and inspiring new ones.

London 2012 is the first Games to bring together the Olympics and the Paralympics.

More than 100, 000 people applied for 1.14 million Paralympic Games tickets.

Sixteen sports were oversubscribed in at least one price category, including athletics, swimming, and track cycling. Tickets for these events will be balloted.

Having some sessions already oversubscribed a year before the Games, has never been seen before in the history of the Paralympic Games. To have such interest and hunger in the Games really is unprecedented.

The Government wishes to build on the inspirational power of the Games by using this opportunity to encourage more disabled people to take part in sport and become involved in their communities and to challenge the perception of disabled people in society.

The Paralympic Games will enjoy more UK airtime than ever before thanks to Channel 4 and BBC Radio, and overseas the Games will be broadcast in more territories than previous years. These Games will show disabled athletes performing at their best.

And it’s not just the mainstream media and sporting worlds that have a role to play in changing attitudes towards disabled people.

Government is responsible for setting the public agenda and has an important role to play in driving change.

But it would be entirely wrong for Ministers alone to be at the forefront of this change – disabled people must lead change by telling us what they want, and of course, wider society has an integral role to play.

Government departments are increasingly involving disabled people in developing government policies and services.

We want more disabled people to be involved in taking the decisions that affect all disabled people.

The Government is serious about this involvement. We want to ensure it is meaningful and representative and that disabled people have the tools they need to influence and engage in the right way.

That is why we are investing £3 million in User Led Organisations (ULO) – groups that are run by disabled people, for disabled people.

These organisations have a unique insight and are a powerful voice for the disabled people they represent both locally and nationally – as well as providing important support to disabled people.

We want to secure their continued role by supporting them to develop their skills and build their experience.

We want every disabled person to have access to a good ULO in their area so we will work with disabled people to improve coverage across the UK.

We also want to see more disabled people in positions of influence.

Direct, meaningful contact with disabled people plays a major role in promoting positive attitudes and this is why the participation of disabled people in public life and at work is so important.

We want to support disabled people to become MPs, councillors, other elected officials. To put them at the heart of the decision making process.

We recently asked disabled people what would make the biggest difference to them if they were to run for elected office.

On the basis of their answers we have developed the Access to Elected Office strategy which includes practical measures such as training and development and funding to provide additional support with disability related costs.

The change we want will be hard won.

You cannot change attitudes overnight.

But we have a very clear sense of what we are trying to achieve.

Working alongside disabled people we want to create a completely accessible world – in every sense of the word.

One in which disabled people have the adaptations they need to live in their own homes, are able to spontaneously go out with friends without having to make complicated travel arrangements and check accessibility as a matter of course.

One in which society’s attitudes and expectations do not prevent disabled people from participating fully in every aspect of life.

A world in which disabled people are able to live truly independent lives, achieve their aspirations, fulfil their potential and be the very best they can be.