Matt Hancock – 2018 Speech at Launch of Tech Nation

Matt Hancock

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on 17 May 2018.

Good morning.

It’s a great pleasure to be here and it’s a very exciting day to mark Tech City UK and Tech North evolving into Tech Nation and the launch of this fourth Tech Nation report .

The name says a lot. This rebranding shows Tech Nation’s commitment to being the sort of dynamic organisation that we’ve got used to round here in east London, but also spreading the benefits right across the country as a whole.

I warmly welcome this move and the progress you have been making in recent years.

Today’s milestone is a great opportunity to step back and think about what we’re doing, and to keep up this momentum for the UK as a place to start and grow a tech business.

Because it is as vital now as it’s ever been. The impact over the last decade has been huge.

The tech sector has been growing over two-and-a-half times faster than the rest of the economy; but there is much more to do. There are challenges we must face and people snapping at our heels.

And along with Tech Nation, we are working regionally, nationally and globally so the UK is ready for these challenges that lie ahead.

Regional

Tech Nation and its predecessors, have been championing regional tech clusters since 2014.

And I am thrilled with the ambitious plans to help 40,000 entrepreneurs and 4,000 start-ups to scale and to deliver this support directly into a dozen key cities around the UK.

And the crucial Government aim, stated clearly in our Digital Strategy, is making sure that the benefits of growth and the tech sector work for everyone in our country.

We are committed to encouraging investment and developing tech clusters right across the UK.

It is easy, especially here in the centre of London, to focus on the prosperity that we see here in London, and of course this is mission critical. Nobody gains by doing down our world beating capital.

But we need to have a full-spectrum approach, so everybody can participate and get the benefits. And so far, there have been some brilliant results.

London is a fantastic haven for European tech investment. But did you know this? Nearly 70 per cent of investment into the UK tech sector last year was in regional clusters beyond the capital.

The benefits of digital for local economies are incredibly clear – 16 towns now show a higher proportion of digital tech employment than the UK average.

And over 1.5 million people across the country belong to more than 3,000 informal tech meetup groups.

That’s people up and down this country working together to develop their businesses, and as they do so, powering their local economies.

So I’m really encouraged that Tech Nation is going to take this work to the next level and provide some of that entrepreneurial juice to expand their programmes even further, to truly connect right across the cities of the UK.

National

As a nation, our digital tech sector is in great shape, supported by the fantastic work Tech Nation has done and the engagement with all of you here.

But to attract more investment and support, we need to fly even higher in the future, and we need to shout loud about this success.

After all, the tech sector nationally is booming and the numbers speak for themselves.

Over £100 billion added to the UK economy in 2016 and real opportunities for investment. After Silicon Valley, London ranks as the second most connected place for tech in the whole world.

And you can rest assured we are firmly committed to maintaining this thriving tech sector and this energy.

Because we want the UK to be the location of choice for tech innovation and investment – so we can build our world-leading digital economy.

Our Digital Strategy, launched about 15 months ago, sets out the key pillars of how we are putting that into practice.

It’s about making sure that nationally there’s great infrastructure. This means rolling out the existing infrastructure, but also unlocking the potential of full fibre and 5G.

Second, making sure the skills needed are there to fully engage with the digital world.

A full spectrum approach, from people getting on the internet for the first time, which now includes over 90% of the population, all the way through to the highest end skills and capabilities and beyond.

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

Third, making sure the UK is the safest place to live and work online. Not least through the National Cyber Security Programme and it is great to see people from the upcoming London Cyber Innovation Centre here.

All of these things mark us out as an incredible destination for tech.

Part of our task is to pull off the tricky balance between ensuring we make the UK a safe place to be online, whilst also being unambiguous about our enthusiasm and support for innovation.

And for making sure that we use the freedoms that this amazing technology brings.

And I want Tech Nation to be both conveners and cheerleaders – encouraging investment and also telling the world what our tech sector can do.

I want everybody here to talk to the Government about what more we can do to make the UK a great place to grow a digital business.

As someone who started in a tech company, I know that answers to this questions are not only to be found in Whitehall but are to be found in conversations with you as you grow your businesses.

Asking the questions. What can we do to make your lives easier? And how can we help you to expand?

Global

The Tech Nation report has quickly been established as an invaluable industry resource.

And this year’s report confirms we are well placed to achieve our goal of making the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business.

It has also been helpful in identifying where our strengths lie.

One of those important strengths is in Fintech and AI. We and Tech Nation are doing a huge amount to cultivate AI.

And travelling to America and India in the last couple of weeks, people have already noticed the effort and cold hard cash we have put into driving its development.

The nature of tech is collaborative. But having said all that I still want the UK to be the leader…

So we’ll work with you and Tech Nation to make sure this happens.

I’m sure you all know that research already ranks the UK as the most AI ready country in the world.

That’s to say we’re the best prepared to seize and exploit the amazing potential of this transformative technology.

But we are a medium sized country and the US, China, India and other larger countries are working hard to make sure they too are leading.

This is not an opportunity we are prepared to let slip. The investment from Government is deadly serious and crucially it can only be done in partnership, with you, in the private sector.

You may have seen last month brought the fantastic news that the British cybersecurity company, Darktrace, whose “immune system” is powered by AI, have become the latest unicorn, when they hit a valuation of over a billion dollars.

We should all take confidence from Darktrace and its success.

And we are seeing this dominance in FinTech too. There are now more people working in UK Fintech than in New York – or in Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia combined.

We have real strengths in bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and in crowdfunding.

And this spirit of innovation and enterprise is exactly what we need. To work with other nations at a time when agreements and frameworks on new technologies will become more important than ever.

And especially as we leave the EU, we are determined to seize many opportunities around the world, as part of becoming a truly Global Britain.

Open and outward looking. Engaging with the world and gregarious.

And to do that, we need the best tech talent from home and abroad. Making sure that we train people here at home, but also attracting the brightest and best.

We have doubled the number of exceptional talent visas. We have met with technology experts to make sure the processes are as efficient as possible.

While we are updating immigration rules so that world-leading scientists and researchers endorsed as ‘exceptional talent’ can apply for settlement after three years in this country.

The countries and economies that succeed in this digital world are those that are outward-looking and forward-looking and that is the approach we will take as we leave the EU.

Conclusion

I am determined that the UK will be the best place in the world to become a digital citizen.

Because tech is a real force for good.

It makes our services better and our products faster.

It creates wider benefits for communities across the UK.

We can’t do this alone in Government, just as private companies can’t do it alone either.

The answer lies in working together to create the conditions for success and that’s why Tech Nation is such an asset.

You’ve been driving the creation of jobs. The development of skills and improvement of productivity.

It’s great for our economy and it is great for our society too.

And every single person in this room has their part to play.

You’re part of a Great British renaissance and it’s a joy and honour to be part of it too.

Thank you very much.

Matt Hancock – 2018 Speech at Commonwealth Sports Breakfast

Matt Hancock

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on 20 April 2018.

Your Royal Highness, your excellencies, lords, ladies and gentlemen.

It is a real pleasure to be here to celebrate the Commonwealth, which is as relevant and important today as it has ever been.

The Commonwealth is an enduring bond that exists between us all and stands for our shared belief in the beacons of democracy and freedom.

The phenomenal Gold Coast Games showed the strength of this connection and the powerful role of sport in bringing people together.

Over the past two weeks we have seen world-class sport, enthusiastic crowds and a record number of Commonwealth nations celebrating medals.

And it was wonderful to see so many success stories from the Home Nations.

Duncan Scott’s six medal haul in the swimming pool. Northern Ireland’s Rhys McClenaghan on the Pommel Horse.

Hollie Arnold making Wales proud with her World Record Javelin throw to win Gold.

And Team England’s last-minute victory in the Netball – I’m thrilled to welcome Eboni and Kadeen here today from that gold winning team.

You may think that this is a joke but Kadeen and I are actually going to play netball right after this breakfast. I haven’t played netball for twenty years and I was inspired to get back onto the pitch by your performance.

Just as the Gold Coast Games has brought people together, this Breakfast gives us a real opportunity to come together and reflect on how we can spread the benefits of sport far and wide.

Sport as a social good
Sport is a social good. It brings us together. It can improve physical and mental health, provide valuable leadership skills and promote social integration.

It is also an important way of promoting equality, through giving the spotlight to positive role models for under-represented groups.

I have always loved watching para-sports, especially as Owen Pick, one of England’s promising para-athletes, hails from my constituency.

I am thrilled by this year’s largest ever para-sport programme, a shining example of the diversity of the Commonwealth sports movement.

But for sport to remain a social good we need to make sure it is open to all.

What a fantastic opportunity today to reaffirm our commitment to casting aside barriers to taking part in the sports we love.

Louise – you outlined the important work the CGF has been doing in this area.

We need to maintain this focus. And we need to keep sharing information and knowledge across the Commonwealth on how to use sport to bring people together.

So that everybody can have the opportunity to represent their nation on the global stage.

Sport reflects our common values
Sport at its best is a reflection of our common values.

In the past six years we have welcomed the world to the UK for some enthralling events.

For the Olympics, the Paralympics, the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in Scotland, the Rugby Union World Cup, the Rugby League World Cup, the Athletics World Championships and many more.

All of these successful and memorable events had something in common. They showed our nation at its best. Welcoming, open and enthusiastic host cities and exhilarating celebrations of talent from across the world.

And this will be the case in Birmingham too, when it gets the chance to tell its story in 2022.

Birmingham is England’s most diverse city outside London, reflecting the kaleidoscope of cultures that can be found across the Commonwealth.

And believe it or not Birmingham is one of the youngest cities in Europe, at a time when 60 per cent of the Commonwealth is aged 30 or under.

And as we saw at Birmingham’s brilliant handover performance on Sunday, youth engagement will be a major theme of the Birmingham Games.

The Games will aim to promote young people on the world stage – whether they are athletes, performers or volunteers.

Because sport reflects our common future. And the Birmingham Games is about the future too.

It’s about a bright future for the region, and the nation, as a first class destination for education, tourism and trade.

The Games will boost regeneration in the area, with exciting plans being developed for new housing projects and a lasting legacy for culture and sport.

And it will drive an outstanding cultural programme, reaching out to the Commonwealth whilst telling the story of one of its most vibrant cities.

Sporting events aren’t just about what takes places on the pitch, the track or in the pool. They also present a fantastic opportunity to spark new trade relationships and forge new trade deals.

We are committed to building strong and enduring trading partnerships with our friends across the Commonwealth.

As part of this mission, there will be a trade Expo before the Birmingham Games and a four year programme to build business links with Commonwealth nations.

The Expo, and the Commonwealth Games, will be an important milestone in the rich and colorful history of Birmingham.

This is Birmingham’s chance. To show its place as the heart and the soul of the Commonwealth, as it brings together athletes and supporters from across the world.

Not just for the Games, but also for a wider mission. Promoting the power of sport to help change lives for the better.

And making sure we give everyone the opportunity and inspiration to go for gold, across the whole Commonwealth of our nations.

Matt Hancock – 2018 Statement on Sky/Fox Merger

Matt Hancock

Below is the text of the statement made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in the House of Commons on 3 April 2018.

Mr Speaker, I am here in my new capacity as the quasi-judicial decision-maker in relation to the proposed merger between 21st Century Fox and Sky Plc to update the House regarding the CMAs interim report that they issued today.

The decision-making role is one that my Rt Hon Friend, the Member for Staffordshire Moorlands discharged having met her commitment – given many times on the floor of this House – to the greatest possible transparency and openness the process allows.

And while I come to this fresh I intend to follow that process of being as open as possible while respecting the quasi-judicial nature of the decision.

Background and referral

As this House well knows, after the proposed acquisition was formally notified to the competition authorities last year, my Rt Hon Friend the Member for Staffordshire Moorlands issued an Intervention Notice on media public interest grounds – namely of media plurality and genuine commitment to broadcasting standards. This triggered a Phase 1 investigation of the merger, requiring Ofcom to report on the specified public interest grounds and the CMA on jurisdiction.

Having received advice from Ofcom and from the CMA, in September she referred the proposed Sky / Fox merger to the CMA for a Phase 2 investigation on both grounds.

CMA’s final report

The original statutory deadline for the final report was 6 March but the CMA has, today, confirmed that this will be extended by a further eight weeks and that the revised deadline is 1 May.

Once I have received that final report I must come to a decision on whether – taking into account the specified public interest considerations of media plurality and genuine commitment to broadcasting standards – the merger operates or may be expected to operate against the public interest.

Following receipt of the final report, I will have 30 working days in which to publish my decision on the merger – so if I receive the CMA’s report on 1 May that would be 13 June.

CMA’s provisional report

To be clear the publication today is the CMA’s provisional findings. I have placed a copy in the House Library.

With regards to the need for a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards – the CMA provisionally finds that the merger is not expected to operate against the public interest.

On media plurality grounds the CMA provisional finding is that the merger may be against the public interest. It cites concerns that the transaction could reduce the independence of Sky News and would reduce the diversity of viewpoints available to, and consumed by, the public. It also raised concerns that the Murdoch Family Trust would have increased influence over public opinion and the political agenda.

The CMA has identified three remedy approaches and seeks views from interested parties on them. These remedy approaches are:

Firstly, to prohibit the transaction.

Secondly, undertake structural remedies – either to recommend the spin-off of Sky News into a new company, or to recommend the divestiture of Sky News.

Thirdly, behavioural remedies which could for example include enhanced requirements around the editorial independence of Sky News.

The CMA also recognises that the proposed acquisition of Fox by Disney could address concerns set out in the provisional findings; however the uncertainty about whether, when, or how, that transaction will complete means the CMA has also set out potential approaches which include introducing remedies which would fall away subject to the Disney / Fox transaction completing.

The CMA has invited written representations on the provisional report’s findings, and the potential remedy approaches, with 21st Century Fox and Sky – as well as other interested parties – before producing a final report.

As such, and given the quasi-judicial nature of this process, I hope the House will understand that I cannot comment substantively on the provisional report before us and I must wait for the final report before I comment.

Debate

I am, however, aware of the keen interest of the House on this important matter. I know that Right Honourable and Honourable Members will be closely scrutinising the CMA’s provisional findings and will have views on them.

The CMA’s investigation will continue over the coming weeks – it has set out the process for making representations on the remedy options outlined, and on the provisional findings, with deadlines of 6 February and 13 February, respectively. I feel sure that today’s debate will provide helpful context for that work.

Next steps

What I am able to confirm today is that – I will undertake to keep the House fully informed, and follow the right and proper process considering all the evidence carefully when the time comes to make my decision on receipt of the CMA’s final report.

I commend this statement to the House.

Matt Hancock – 2018 Speech at DCMS Diversity Forum

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on 28 March 2018.

It’s brilliant to be here at this incredible venue.

We look around at the great artists that are on the walls. I can just imagine the Fab Four right in front of me. It is electric to be here.

Of course, it’s not just The Beatles. This place is associated with Elgar, Pink Floyd, Amy Winehouse, Elton John, Kanye West, Kate Bush, Stevie Wonder – anyone who’s anyone in music, from Adele to Zucchero.

And the reason I mention all of these is because of the range. The range of genders, of ethnicities, of sexualities and people from all parts of Britain and all parts of the world.

I just want to introduce this morning’s session and say why I care about this, and why I’m so glad that so many of you have given up your time to come here.

You can be forgiven for being sceptical as to why a straight, white man in a suit cares so much about diversity. But this is a moral imperative for everyone, from whatever background.

I have always thought that talent – in music, in sport, in tech, in the arts, in design – can be found anywhere.

And we need to look for the thing that everyone can do as an achievement. Look into every human heart for what they can bring to the party. And unless we look for that everywhere, and open up opportunities to everyone in this country, then we all risk losing out.

It’s not just that we miss out on amazing ideas and amazing work and that people miss the chance to shine. As well as a moral imperative it’s a business imperative too.

I have never been in a room making a decision where a less diverse group could make a better decision.

Diversity of thought improves the way things are done, and the way things are run, and creates the spark of creativity that makes for progress.

Anything, whether it’s a TV script or a business plan for a sports team, can be improved by discussion with a diverse group.

And then there’s the national debate – the mood music of our country – which is impoverished when we don’t have a wide range of voices contributing, reflecting the rich diversity of our nation.

Some of our most exhilarating creative moments have been when diversity takes centre stage.

Take the first lesbian kiss on Brookside or Channel 4’s groundbreaking, brilliant coverage of the Paralympics.

One of my passions is grime and one the great strengths of it is that it’s produced by people demanding to be heard.

I apologise for saying this in a Universal venue… But grime climbed its way up the outside of the music business, not through the traditional record labels. But demanded to be heard.

Now, having said that, not everyone is Skepta and not everybody can make that climb. Some people need help and encouragement to make the most of their gifts. We’ve seen some great progress in the last few years years, but there’s much more to do. The Arts Council has announced millions of pounds to develop work by disabled and BAME talent and address the lack of diverse leadership in the arts. The Tech Talent Charter that Margot is championing has seen hundreds of tech firms sign a pledge to improve gender diversity. And there’s millions of pounds been allocated through Sport England’s investment funds, with a specific focus on under represented groups. I’ve just come from the Roundhouse, another legendary music space, and we launched a Creative Industries sector deal.

And as part of this, announced 2 million pounds of support to encourage a more diverse intake of talent and more routes into the creative industries.

But there is much, much more to do. Not just in the workplace, but in participation. It is a truth that participation in culture and sport is consistently below the national average for those with disabilities, those who are not white and those on lower incomes.

And that needs to change. And the Diversity Forum is a crucial step in putting these concerns right.

What we want to do today is bring together the leading organisations – like you in this room – to share best practice, to find new ways to make the industry more diverse.

We’ve all got the same objective, and we all gain when we work at it together.

So we are as much enthusiasts, as also in listening mode.

We are saying, with a resounding voice, from the bully pulpit of Government that a lack of diversity will not stand. And everybody has a role to solving the problems that we face. And we want to do this working together, and listening, and making sure that we come forward with solutions that work.

Our digital, our creative, our sporting industries are world leading and they showcase our country at its best.

But they will be so much stronger, and better represent who we are as a nation, when they are open to all. When they are not just opening the door but inviting people in and actively recruiting from across our whole society.

One our greatest authors wrote: “To thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

And Shakespeare was right. Everyone has the right to be themselves and tell the world their story.

And we need to do our part in supporting everyone to do that. Thank you very much.

Matt Hancock – 2018 Speech at Cultural Industries Sector Deal

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, at the Roundhouse in Camden on 28 March 2018.

It’s great to be here at this iconic venue, which has attracted the cream of creative talent for years – Bob Dylan, The Clash, The Rolling Stones.

So it is the perfect venue to be celebrating the creative industries, which contribute over £90 billion to the UK economy every year.

And it’s great that this is a combination of initiatives between Government and the industries as a whole.

I was just on the Today programme, talking about this launch today and the first question I was asked was “Why do we need Government to help an industry to grow?”

I said that at the core of our Industrial Strategy is the insight that if we in Government get alongside industry, in a sensible way, where we don’t get in the way but we help to underpin them, then we can all do better together.

And it’s Greg Clark’s insight, in this modern Industrial Strategy, that the way to do that is through individual sector deals. Where we don’t say what we think ought to happen, and we don’t say “Here is the Government funding”, we say “What can we do together?”.

And we challenge you. And we say “Between us, what rules do we need to change and what expert investment can we bring to bear?”

I want to pay tribute, very directly, to Greg’s leadership on this. Because his insight that we must do this together, even though that’s not the traditional way of how Government operates, has been absolutely core to its success.

So for instance we have Josh here from Warner Brothers, breaking ground on two new sound stages at Leavesden, just one example of the Government and the private sector making things better.

This is about making sure our creative industries are successful right across the UK.

Whether it’s making the agreement with Channel 4 to have a new National HQ outside London, or building on the success of the BBC’s move to Salford, we want to make sure that the benefits of our creative industries are shared right across the country.

The new Cultural Development Fund will allow towns and cities to bid for a share of £20 million, specifically where we know that cultural investment and cultural institutions strengthen communities and strengthen local economies.

We’ve seen the transformative impact this investment can have. For example, in the Bristol Temple Quarter, Government funding got it going but it has delivered thousands of jobs – far in excess of what Government funding could have done on its own.

And in today’s Strategy, we’ve also announced that the British Business Bank is setting out a major commercial investment programme to unlock finance for IP-rich small businesses outside London and the South East.

But this extra money is no use if it can’t be accessed. So we’re also announcing support for new business support for high-growth creative firms.

And this will in turn create jobs. And we can’t do all this without a diverse mix of talented people to fill them.

We don’t want organisations limiting themselves to a smaller pond of talent or input, because then they’re missing out and can’t possibly reflect, represent or serve the country as a whole.

Now right after this event, I’m going to the DCMS Diversity Forum at Abbey Road Studios, which was set up to share best practice and find ways to solve some of the issues that exist around promoting diversity.

So it seems a fitting moment to announce that two million pounds of support will be made available through the Deal, to encourage a more diverse intake of talent and a greater number of routes into the creative industries, which is something that we really care about and where more needs to be done.

It’s also, of course, about us having the right environment for creative firms to show that the UK is a place where they can flourish and where they will get value for what they produce.

Anybody who knows me knows that I care deeply about this. Property rights underpin a strong and healthy market economy, and in the twenty-first century intellectual property rights underpin a strong market economy. And that is more important in the creative industries than anywhere else.

Because it’s making sure that the creativity can be paid for is, of course, really critical to making sure that you can produce more of it.

So in the Deal we set out measures to strengthen further intellectual property rights. As technology advances, the property that really matters is the ideas, the designs, the art and the concepts.

And so the Deal includes £2 million towards ‘Get it Right’ campaign to tackle online piracy and educate consumers on the value of copyright.

And also a crackdown on copyright infringement. Last year, we brokered a code between main search engines and the industry to reduce the prominence of illegal sites. I want to pay tribute to everybody from both sides who worked on that.

Now we want to work with rights holders and platforms, towards a similar approach to online advertising, social media, and online marketplaces.

And the measures in this Sector Deal will strengthen our world-leading creative industries, to make sure that we can thrive both here and around the world.

There is one final thing I want to say. This is not a document, it is a process.

This is only the beginning. We want to build on it and the make the deal even more ambitious over time. Because our creative industries show our country at its best.

And as the Minister not just for Culture but also for Digital, I know that ensuring we have the jobs of the future is really critical.

You can’t get a machine to write a play, or to direct a film. And you can’t code empathy and creativity, and that’s what lies at the heart of everything you do.

So this is the industry of the future, and that’s why we’re going to back it every step of the way.

Matt Hancock – 2018 Statement on Cambridge Analytica

Matt Hancock

Below is the text of the statement made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport, in the House of Commons on 19 March 2018.

The revelation this weekend of a serious alleged privacy breach involving Facebook data is clearly very worrying. It is reported that a whistleblower told The Observer newspaper that Cambridge Analytica exploited the Facebook data of over 50 million people globally.

In our increasingly digital world, it is essential that people can have confidence that their personal data will be protected. The Information Commissioner, as the data regulator, is already investigating as part of a broader investigation into the use of personal data during political campaigns. The investigation is considering how political parties and campaigns, data analytics companies and social media platforms in the UK have used people’s personal information to micro-target voters. As part of the investigation, the commissioner is looking at whether Facebook data was acquired and used illegally. She has already issued 12 information notices to a range of organisations, using powers under the Data Protection Act 1998. It is imperative that when an organisation receives an information notice, it must comply in full. We expect all organisations involved to co-operate with this investigation in whatever way the Information Commissioner sees fit. I am sure that the House will understand that there is only so far I can go in discussing specific details of specific cases.

The appropriate use of data is important for good campaigning. Canvassing someone’s voting intention is as old as democracy itself. Indeed, we do it in the House every day. But it is important that the public are comfortable with how information is gathered, used and shared in modern political campaigns, and it is important that the Information Commissioner has the enforcement powers she needs. The Data Protection Bill, currently in Committee, will strengthen legislation around data protection and give her tougher powers to ensure that organisations comply. The Bill gives her the powers to levy significant fines for malpractice, of up to 4% of global turnover, on organisations that block the investigations by the Information Commissioner’s Office. It will enhance control, transparency and security of data for people and businesses across the country.

Because of the lessons learned in this investigation and the difficulties the Information Commissioner has had in getting appropriate engagement from the organisations involved, she has recently requested yet stronger enforcement powers. The power of compulsory audit is already in the Bill, and she has proposed additional criminal sanctions. She has also made the case that it has become clear that, in order to deal with complex investigations such as these, the power to compel testimony from individuals is now needed. We are considering those new proposals, and I have no doubt that the House will consider that as the Bill passes through the House.​

Data, properly used, has massive value, and social media are a good thing, so we must not leap to the wrong conclusions and shut down all access. We need rules to ensure transparency, clarity and fairness, and that is what the Data Protection Bill will provide. After all, strong data protection laws give citizens confidence, and that is good for everyone.

Matt Hancock – 2018 Speech on the Future of the Media

Matt Hancock

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, at the Oxford Media Convention on 12 March 2018.

We meet at a time of great change. Over the past generation, we have lived through some of the most radical changes since the invention of the printing press.

At the heart of the digital revolution is an unprecedented collapse in the cost of gathering and transmitting information.

And since gathering and transmitting information is at the heart of what you do, it’s little wonder the media is probably affected more than anything else.

Not everyone thought that this would be the case. Take the American commentator Clifford Stoll, who wrote in Newsweek magazine in 1995: “Try reading a book on disc. At best, it’s an unpleasant chore: the myopic glow of a clunky computer replaces the friendly pages of a book. And you can’t tote that laptop to the beach. Yet some predict that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Internet.”

He said “The truth is no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher, no computer network will change the way government works… and no online database will replace your daily newspaper”.

Newsweek, of course is now digital only.

But he wasn’t the only one who underestimated the transformative effect of technology on our media and on our society.

And last time that the change was this big, the invention of the printing press brought about the fall of the established feudal order, the Thirty Years War, the end of the power of the church, and then ultimately paved the way for the Renaissance and the Enlightenment.

And I just hope we can make the path smoother this time round.

The world has changed, and today I want to look to the future.

I only hope my speech will fare a bit better than Clifford Stoll’s article.

But Stoll was not all wrong. He went on to say:

“What the Internet hucksters won’t tell you is that the Internet is one big ocean of unedited data, without any pretence of completeness. Lacking editors, reviewers or critics, the Internet has become a wasteland of unfiltered data. You don’t know what to ignore and what’s worth reading.”

Sound familiar?

There are a multitude of challenges facing our media today. Falling newspaper circulations, declining advertising revenues, changing consumption and wholesale disinformation.

Trusted, sustainable, high quality media is needed now more than ever.

Yet the established media also face urgent challenges to reflect and represent the citizens they serve.

I want to take a moment to examine these challenges, through three lenses:

Accuracy. Sustainability. And diversity.

And to ask “what is the role of Government in a liberal democracy as we navigate these turbulent times?”

Accuracy

The first area I want to look into is accuracy, where we’re seeing real threats to our media; to our society as a whole; is disinformation, also known as ‘fake news’.

Now let us not pretend that journalism has always been an error free business.

News is fast paced and mistakes can happen as stories change and new facts emerge. We all know the strapline for over-enthusiastic journalists: not wrong for long.

But there is a difference between a mistake under the pressure of a deadline and deliberate disinformation designed to disrupt.

According to last year’s Reuters Institute Digital Survey, only 43 per cent of the UK population felt they could trust the news most of the time.

We know that some of the problem is state-sponsored. Russia, for instance, persistently deploys its state-run media organisations to manipulate democratic institutions.

Some of this disinformation comes from people who simply see a business opportunity.

A recent MIT study showed that falsehoods are 70 per cent more likely to be retweeted than stories verified by fact-checking authorities.

Clicks of course mean money and so there are financial incentives to publish sensational stories, with little regard for their accuracy.

A Buzzfeed report showed that two of the most widely shared fake news stories in the whole of 2016 originated from the same small town in Macedonia, where fake news can be a primary source of income.

Commercial clickbait is in some ways easier to deal with, and the platforms have taken action.

This toxic combination of political and financial motives is not just concerning, but can also be downright dangerous.

We saw a number of widely shared fake news stories after the Manchester terrorist attack, including reports of another attack at Oldham Hospital. This caused panic and alarm and added unnecessarily to the workload of our fantastic emergency services.

We reap massive benefits in this country from our free, open and accessible media. But we must act to deter those who want to take advantage of this to cause harm.

And this ultimately matters to anyone who believes in our way of life in a liberal democracy.

From Cicero to Rousseau, thinkers throughout history have underlined the importance of a successful democratic discourse.

And we should aim for a discourse in which all sides accept objective facts, and then we can dispute what to do about the world we live in. To quote the legendary Guardian editor C.P. Scott “Comment is free but facts are sacred.”

And this is why fake news is corrosive. It both allows a discourse in which uncomfortable facts are dismissed as fake news, and allows fake news – in other words lies – to underpin political opinions and decisions, even having been debunked.

Of course fake news has always been around. There’s a quote that Mark Twain is said to have said – “a lie gets half the way round the world before the truth gets its shoes on”. Although even that quote is disputed, so maybe that’s fake news as well…

But this inherent human behaviour is multiplied by technology, and it corrodes our democratic discourse.

It’s no good just complaining about it. We must act.

First things first, this impact of technology underlines the need to support some existing institutions.

I firmly believe that for all its faults, if we didn’t have the BBC, today we would want to invent it. My God it can be infuriating, and bureaucratic, and desperately in need of more diversity of thought.

But the BBC is our best bulwark against fake news and I celebrate its role in British public life, and I pay tribute to the stewardship of Lord Hall of Aunty.

And I want to see the BBC do yet more around the world. I’m delighted at the World Service expansion. We strongly support its foreign language services, like Persian, Pidgin and Pashto, and we want to see it do more.

Like the civil service, the principle of objectivity is drilled into its culture, and I want public service broadcasters to be more muscular in asserting their judgement and objectivity.

While more reflection is needed domestically on the BBC’s institutional and subconscious biases, this objectivity is vital. And let’s be clear what objectivity means.

Objectivity means stating this fact is wrong, and that fact is true, and not giving any airtime to total nonsense at all. Where facts can be established, your duty is to tell the truth.

Objective reality exists. Your job is to find it and tell it. Have confidence, broadcasters. Your country needs you!

But our existing institutions are not enough. We must work on technological solutions.

I welcome recent moves by Facebook and Google to use technology to prevent the spread of fake news online, through algorithms that promote trusted news rather than dubious sources.

I applaud solutions, like we’ve seen from Twitter, to tackle the use of online ‘bots’ that aim artificially to boost fake news.

Tech companies are starting on their journey to maturity. The adolescents who moved fast and broke things now accept that they have a responsibility to society, a duty of care to curate an online world of trust, not fakery. But we are in the foothills, and there’s a lot of growing up to do.

Part of the solution also lies in education. Our schools and our curriculum have a valuable role to play so students can tell fact from fiction and think critically about the news that they read and watch.

But it is not easy for our children, or indeed for anyone who reads news online. Although we have robust mechanisms to address disinformation in the broadcast and press industries, this is simply not the case online.

Take the example of three different organisations posting a video online.

If a broadcaster published it on their on demand service, the content would be a matter for Ofcom.

If a newspaper posted it, it would be a matter for IPSO.

If an individual published it online, it would be untouched by media regulation.

Now I am passionate in my belief in a free and open Internet. But freedom does not mean the freedom to harm others. Freedom can only exist within a framework.

Digital platforms need to step up and play their part in establishing online rules and working for the benefit of the public that uses them.

We’ve seen some positive first steps from Google, Facebook and Twitter recently, but even tech companies recognise that more needs to be done.

We are looking at the legal liability that social media companies have for the content shared on their sites. Because it’s a fact on the web that online platforms are no longer just passive hosts.

But this is not simply about applying publisher or broadcaster standards of liability to online platforms.

There are those who argue that every word on every platform should be the full legal responsibility of the platform. But then how could anyone ever let me post anything, even though I’m an extremely responsible adult?

This is new ground and we are exploring a range of ideas…

including where we can tighten current rules to tackle illegal content online…

and where platforms should still qualify for ‘host’ category protections.

We will strike the right balance between addressing issues with content online and allowing the digital economy to flourish.

This is part of the thinking behind our Digital Charter. We will work with publishers, tech companies, civil society and others to establish a new framework…

…that protects users and their rights online, and offers opportunities alongside obligations for businesses and platforms.

Trusted brands will help us to tackle this important issue.

Everyone in this room, whether print, broadcast or online, has a part to play in providing reporting that everyone can trust.

People are increasingly looking for trust in the midst of a sea of uncertainty.

A sustainable, healthy and trusted press is a beacon for our democracy and that it is what we must keep in our sights.

Sustainability

This brings me on to sustainability, the second lens on the future.

The Internet has been an immense force for good, connecting people around the world.

And in so doing, it has turned the established order on its head and raised real questions about the sustainability of high quality journalism.

UK newspaper circulations have halved since 2001. And although digital ‘clicks’ are rising, the average revenue per digital media user is only 8% of a reader in print.

Local newspapers are particularly under threat, with over 200 closing since 2005. They play a vital role in binding together communities and holding local politicians and authorities to account.

We need to make sure the fourth estate can survive and thrive in the face of rapidly developing technology, and that it’s appropriately rewarded for the content it creates.

The role for Government is to work out what’s a public policy goal, and what is the natural impact of a disruptive new technology.

And I’m clear about this:

Sustaining high quality journalism is a vital public policy goal. The scrutiny, the accountability, the uncovering of wrongs and the fuelling of debate is mission critical to a healthy democracy.

After all, journalists helped bring Stephen Lawrence’s killers to justice and have given their lives reporting from places where many of us would fear to go.

And while I’ve not always enjoyed every article written about me, that‘s not what it’s there for.

I tremble at the thought of a media regulated by the state in a time of malevolent forces in politics. Get this wrong and I fear for the future of our liberal democracy. We must get this right.

I want publications to be able to choose their own path, making decisions like how to make the most out of online advertising and whether to use paywalls. After all, it’s your copy, it’s your IP.

The removal of Google’s ‘first click free’ policy has been a welcome move for the news sector. But I ask the question – if someone is protecting their intellectual property with a paywall, shouldn’t that be promoted, not just neutral in the search algorithm?

I’ve watched the industry grapple with the challenge of how to monetise content online, with different models of paywalls and subscriptions.

Some of these have been successful, and all of them have evolved over time. I’ve been interested in recent ideas to take this further and develop new subscription models for the industry.

Our job in Government is to provide the framework for a market that works, without state regulation of the press.

We have launched an external review to examine the sustainability of this country’s press, to propose solutions to protect the future of high quality journalism.

The review will be led by Dame Frances Cairncross. Frances will bring her experience as a journalist, in business and in academia to bear on the thorny and complex questions at the heart of press sustainability.

Panelists include Peter Wright, a former editor of the Mail on Sunday.

Polly Curtis, Editor in Chief at the Huffington Post.

And Geraldine Allinson, who is chair of the KM Media Group.

The Cairncross review will…

take a clear-eyed view of how the press is faring in this new world…

explore where innovation is working well…

… and explore whether intervention may be required to safeguard the future of our free and independent press.

The review will take evidence, report and publish recommendations within a year. We’re confident that we will find solutions that can help both the industry and the Government tackle these issues.

This is not about Government regulating the media, and nor is it about propping up old business models that have stopped being viable.

Rather, it is about making sure that we don’t wake up in five years’ time to find that high quality journalism has been decimated and our democracy damaged as a result.

It may be that the market will create new, viable business models for high quality journalism, and indeed some of those new models have already started to appear.

Just look at the FT, the Spectator and the Economist. Three publications, all founded in the 19th century, reinventing themselves and attracting new readers at a phenomenal rate.

But high quality news is so important to our democracy that we need these success stories across the board, and to have the right market structures to do so. This is about acting in time, before irreversible damage is done to our news industry.

Our nation has a distinguished history of a fearless and independent press. I made the decision not to reopen the Leveson Inquiry and not to commence Section 40, so we could focus on these big questions of the future.

But I do want to see high standards. I want to see IPSO’s low cost arbitration system working, so anyone, of whatever means can get redress. It can’t be right that, in some places, a large front page mistake can still get a tiny page 18 correction.

For high standards of ethics and high quality media of all forms is critical to our democracy.

Our broadcasters are also being impacted by these seismic changes. And as Sharon White said last week, young British teenagers recognise the name YouTube more than they do the BBC. That is a striking fact.

So broadcasters also need to be on a sustainable footing. As we leave the EU, and the relevant directives, we are exploring options for mutual recognition.

Our goal is to allow for continued transfrontier broadcasting, which is good for Britain, and good for the rest of the EU too. And I look forward to working with all our broadcasters to make this happen.

Diversity

This brings me to the third lens through which I want to look at the future of our media: diversity.

For our media to thrive, be relevant and trusted in the years to come, it needs to serve all of our communities and all parts of our country.

The future of our media must have diversity at its heart.

Diversity of gender, of race, of sexual orientation. Of social background and of region. Diversity when it comes to attitude, and disability, and personality type.

In the inspiring words of Idris Elba, diversity of thought.

The media has a special responsibility to reflect the nation it serves. There was a time when an Oxford Media Convention could have doubled up as a university reunion.

Likewise, I could forgive you for being sceptical when you see a white, middle-class man in a suit talking to you about diversity. But this is a moral imperative for everyone.

And I care about it not just because it is right.

I care about it because it’s good business sense too: I’ve never seen a decision that can’t be improved by discussion with a diverse group.

And I care because I care about my country. And a media with one set of assumptions based in one postcode in the capital can’t possibly reflect, represent or serve the country as a whole.

High quality media is public service, and it’s got to serve the public.

We’ve seen some good progress in recent years.

For the first time, diversity, both on screen and off screen, has been enshrined within the BBC Operating Licence. This diversity will help fulfil the BBC’s Charter commitment to distinctiveness.

We are taking action to make sure people with disabilities affecting sight or hearing can have equal access to video on demand platforms.

And we have seen the launch and development of Project Diamond, to capture a range of diversity data directly from TV programmes.

But there is so much more to do. Publishers and broadcasters should be a mirror for their communities, and represent the wide variety of views and perspectives that make this country so great.

The publication of gender pay gap data has shown that transparency can shine a light on inequality and bad practise.

I would call on all broadcasters and publications to publish your data on all diversity characteristics, not just those you are compelled to by law.

Because this isn’t going away.

Diversity is about regional representation as well.

Local papers play a crucial role in this and we are working hard to give them the support and sustainability that they need.

And there is also a role for publicly owned broadcasters, who need to do more to share their considerable benefits more widely across the UK.

As the BBC has shown with the successful relocation of 2,500 roles to Salford, public service broadcasters can transform communities and build new creative hubs across the UK. BBC Breakfast and Five Live have had a markedly different tone and feel since their move.

But more than two thirds of UK producers are based in London and the South East, while the vast majority of people live elsewhere.

This limits the spread of jobs, prosperity, and opportunity outside the capital, and limits the representation of local views and interests on TV.

I’m delighted that Channel 4 is creating a new National HQ, outside London, and increasing its out-of-London commissioning to over 50%, stimulating our creative economy across the country.

There’s a huge swathe of interest, and I’m sure they will see some fantastic bids from across the UK.

This will lead to a greater reflection, both on and off-screen, of the regional diversity of the country, and will support creative clusters across the UK.

It’s what the public want, and I pay tribute to the vision and leadership of Alex Mahon in making it happen.

And I hope that others will look to follow her lead.

Conclusion

So, our media faces challenges like never before.

Each way we turn, long held assumptions are turned on their heads.

But the solutions are within our grasp.

Technology will not slow down; it will get only faster and smarter.

Yet the essential human yearning for truth; for a story; for belonging and understanding, will surpass this technological age and endure.

We face many hurdles. Yet among this turbulence I tell you this:

There is no place on Earth with more of a chance, with more rich depth or more capability.

More able to make this work and shape the future.

The choices we make; the decisions we take as we face foursquare the new challenges and new chances of the age we live in will shape our country and our world for generations to come.

So let us face them together. And let us rise to the task.

Matt Hancock – 2018 Speech on Digital Culture

Matt Hancock

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on 7 March 2018.

Thanks Gabriele (Finaldi – Director National Gallery).

It’s a great pleasure to be here and see so many of you at the launch of this important report. And the next step in our exciting journey, linking the great cultural institutions of Britain and our great cultural life, with the most cutting edge, most impressive technology that there is.

I think that the wonderful view all around us shows how broad, how encompassing culture can be. Here, Venetian paintings from the 15th and 16th century are side by side with innovative digital content.

We all know from our daily lives that digital technology is breaking down silos within the cultural sector and blurring lines between disciplines in the same ways as in many other parts of the world.

Increasingly, theatre blends with film; computer programming merges with sculpture.

We have virtual reality curatorship as a crucial new skill, animated artworks and video games scored by classical music composers.

If you go to some of the video game development studios they will have fine arts students and computer engineers sitting next to each other, understanding and learning from each other about their deep talents, in order to be able to make a better representation of reality using the best of technology.

Of course art has always used the latest technology, whether it is Michelangelo investing time and money understanding and analysing the very basis of paint, or the brilliant exhibitions we’ve got in the modern day, using cutting edge virtual reality or computer programming in order to get their art to a wider audience.

In my previous role as the Minister for Digital and Culture I was very interested in this nexus.

I firmly believe, and some of you might have heard before, that Britain’s bread will be buttered at the link between cultural brilliance and technological excellence in the years to come.

And because I was the Minister for Digital and Culture and lots of people used to say to me ‘Why are you the Minister for Digital and Culture?’, I wanted to demonstrate in a very tangible way the links between the two.

That it’s about the connectivity and the content. Creating the future using the best cutting edge technology: the creativity and the technology and bringing them together.

I can’t tell you how absolutely thrilled I am to be back in charge of Digital and Culture as well as Sport as Secretary of State, and able to launch the report of this project.

The other brilliant thing about this project, which I find brilliantly exciting, is that it has been truly consultative in the very best possible way.

Helen Williams – one of the finest Civil Servants of her generation – she has led the project and not just tried to do the project herself but rather gone and found people who can add value to the project and bought them into DCMS.

Half a dozen people came to work in DCMS and I want to say thank you to each and every one of them and all the institutions who have lent people: the BBC; the Arts Council England and others.

A couple of other shout outs. I want to pay a special tribute to Jeremy Silver at the Digital Catapult, because the Digital Catapult is at the digital end of this project and understands the technology side and is a great incubator and a great place for bringing together digital and culture.

A big thank you to Darren Henley and the Arts Council England. The Arts Council holds the budget, and he has skewed the Arts Council’s budget in the direction of supporting projects that use digital technology to reach new audiences.

I think that is important because, as the National Gallery has led the country and the world in showing, you can use digital technology to reach new audiences.

There are many other shout outs that I could give. I acknowledge Tristram Hunt, the Director of the V&A museum, who has also bought this to bear.

What I hope that this report shows is just what the opportunities are. That it is a ‘how to guide’ for cultural organisations in using the very latest technology.

And it is a ‘how to guide’ for people involved in technology like Amazon and Cisco, who I can see in front of me, for how to support the nation’s cultural development.

These two worlds have so much to gain from talking to each other, engaging and supporting each other, in bringing the very best out of each other by linking the creativity with digital technology.

So a big thank you to organisations, big and small, involved in the digital project. From the National Gallery and Royal Opera House who are setting up collaborative opportunities, all the way to the Royal Shakespeare Company partnering with the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to share assets and support smaller organisations.

The future of Digital Culture is reliant on digital partnerships. It’s reliant on you in this room, going out making the case and crucially breaking down boundaries, so that we can forever be using the very best of technology to showcase the very best of British culture and British creativity. And we need to do that more now than ever.

Thanks very much.

Matt Hancock – 2018 Statement on Leveson Consultation

Matt Hancock

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in the House of Commons on 1 March 2018.

Mr Speaker,

With your permission, I wish to make a statement on the Leveson Inquiry and its implementation, and the freedom of the press.

Over many centuries in Britain, our press has held the powerful to account and been free to report and investigate without fear or favour. These principles underpin our democracy and are integral to the freedom of our nation.

Today in a world of the Internet and clickbait, our press face critical challenges that threaten their livelihood and sustainability – with declining circulations and a changing media landscape.

Mr Speaker, it is in this context that we approach the Leveson Inquiry, which was set up seven years ago in 2011, and reported six years ago in 2012, in response to events over a decade ago.

Progress made

The Leveson Inquiry was a diligent and thorough examination of the culture, practices and ethics of our press in response to illegal and improper press intrusion.

There were far too many cases of terrible behaviour and having met some of the victims, I understand the impact this had.

I want, from the start, to thank Sir Brian for his work.

The Inquiry lasted over a year and heard evidence from more than 300 people including journalists, editors and victims.

Three major police investigations examined a wide range of offences, and more than 40 people were convicted.

The Inquiry and investigations were comprehensive.

And since it was set up, the terms of reference for a Part 2 of the Inquiry have largely been met.

There have also been extensive reforms to policing practices and significant changes to press self-regulation.

IPSO has been established and now regulates 95% of national newspapers by circulation. It has taken significant steps to demonstrate its independence as a regulator.

And in 2016, Sir Joseph Pilling concluded that IPSO largely complied with Leveson’s recommendations. There have been further improvements since and I hope more to come.

In November last year, IPSO introduced a new system of low-cost arbitration.

It has processed more than 40,000 complaints in its first three years of operation; and has ordered multiple front page corrections or clarifications.

Newspapers have also made improvements to their governance frameworks to improve internal controls, standards and compliance.

And one regulator, IMPRESS, has been recognised under the Royal Charter.

Extensive reforms to policing practices have been made.

The College of Policing has published a code of ethics and developed national guidance for police officers on how to engage with the press.

And reforms in the Policing and Crime Act have strengthened protections for police whistleblowers.

So it is clear that we have seen significant progress, from publications, from the police and also from the newly formed regulator.

New challenges and the future

And Mr Speaker, the media landscape today is markedly different from that which Sir Brian looked at in 2011.

The way we consume news has changed dramatically.

Newspaper circulation has fallen by around 30 per cent since the conclusion of the Leveson Inquiry.

And although digital circulation is rising, publishers are finding it much harder to generate revenue online.

In 2015, for every 100 pounds newspapers lost in print revenue they gained only 3 pounds in digital revenue.

Our local papers, in particular, are under severe pressure. Local papers help to bring together local voices and shine a light on important local issues – in communities, in courtrooms, in council chambers.

And as we devolve power further to local communities, they will become even more important.

And yet, over 200 local newspapers have closed since 2015, including two in my own constituency.

There are also new challenges, that were only in their infancy back in 2011.

We have seen the dramatic and continued rise of social media, which is largely unregulated.

And issues like clickbait, fake news, malicious disinformation and online abuse, which threaten high quality journalism.

A foundation of any successful democracy is a sound basis for democratic discourse. This is under threat from these new forces that require urgent attention.

These are today’s challenges and this is where we need to focus.

Especially as over 48 million pounds was spent on the police investigations and the Inquiry.

During the consultation, 12% of direct respondents were in favour of reopening the Leveson Inquiry, with 66% against. We agree and that is the position that we set out in our Manifesto.

Sir Brian, who I thank for his service, agrees that the Inquiry should not proceed on the current terms of reference but believes that it should continue in an amended form.

We do not believe that reopening this costly and time-consuming public inquiry is the right way forward.

Considering all of the factors that I have outlined to the House today, I have informed Sir Brian that we will be formally closing the Inquiry.

But we will take action to safeguard the lifeblood of our democratic discourse, and tackle the challenges our media face today, not a decade ago.

During the consultation, we also found serious concerns that Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 would exacerbate the problems the press face rather than solve them.

Respondents were worried that it would impose further financial burdens, especially on the local press.

One high profile figure put it very clearly. He said:

‘Newspapers…are already operating in a tough environment. These proposals will make it tougher and add to the risk of self-censorship’.

‘The threat of having to pay both sides’ costs – no matter what the challenge – would have the effect of leaving journalists questioning every report that named an individual or included the most innocuous data about them.’

He went on to say that Section 40 risks ‘damaging the future of a paper that you love’ and that the impact will be to ‘make it much more difficult for papers…to survive’.

These are not my words Mr Speaker, but the words of Alastair Campbell talking about the chilling threat of Section 40. [political content removed]

Only 7 per cent of direct respondents favoured full commencement of Section 40. By contrast, 79 per cent favoured full repeal.

Mr Speaker, we have decided not to commence Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 and to seek repeal at the earliest opportunity.

Action is needed. Not based on what might have been needed years ago – but action now to address today’s problems.

Our new Digital Charter sets out the overarching programme of work to agree norms and rules for the online world and put them into practice.

Under the Digital Charter, our Internet Safety Strategy is looking at online behaviour and we will firmly tackle the problems of online abuse.

And our review into the sustainability of high quality journalism will address concerns about the impact of the Internet on our news and media.

It will do this in a forward looking way, so we can respond to the challenges of today, not the challenges of yesterday.

Conclusion

Mr Speaker, the future of a vibrant press matters to us all.

There has been a huge public response to our consultation. I would like to thank every one of the 174,000 respondents as well as all those who signed petitions.

We have carefully considered all of the evidence we received. We have consulted widely, with regulators, publications and victims of press intrusion.

The world has changed since the Leveson Inquiry was established in 2011.

Since then we have seen seismic changes to the media landscape.

The work of the Leveson Inquiry, and the reforms since, have had a huge impact on public life. We thank Sir Brian Leveson for lending his dedication and expertise to the undertaking of this Inquiry.

At national and local levels, a press that can hold the powerful to account remains an essential component of our democracy.

Britain needs high-quality journalism to thrive in the new digital world.

We seek a press – a media – that is robust, and independently regulated. That reports without fear or favour.

The steps I have set out today will help give Britain a vibrant, independent and free press that holds the powerful to account and rises to the challenges of our times.

I commend this statement to the House.

Matt Hancock – 2018 Speech at the CBI Annual Chinese New Year Dinner

Matt Hancock

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, at the CBI Annual Chinese New Year Dinner on 22 February 2018.

尊敬的刘晓明大使各位来宾大家晚上好!

Or, as I hope translates to English: good evening Ambassador Liu and honoured guests.

It’s a real privilege to be here tonight to celebrate Chinese New Year with you all and mark the arrival of the Year of the Dog.

I was born in the Year of the Horse; apparently Horses like me ‘are either naturally good public speakers or have a habit of talking too much’.

I’m not sure which one applies to me – let me know in a couple of hours after I’ve finished….

It’s an exciting time for relations between our two countries. As we open the next chapter in our golden era, look at the breadth of the cultural, political and economic partnership just over the past two months.

The V&A Museum has opened a brand new design gallery in Shenzhen, the first branch of a national British museum outside the UK.

The historic Terracotta Warriors are on display in Liverpool.

And the Prime Minister visited China to meet President Xi and Premier Li, signing over 9 billion pounds worth of commercial deals, building on the vast rise in trade over the past decade.

And as we look forward to the Year of the Dog, I want to take a moment to look at this vital relationship.

And especially, talk about how we can use the transformational power of new digital technology to make this golden era even more golden.

Making the most of change

The world around us is changing faster than ever before. And yet the blistering pace of change we’re currently seeing is probably the slowest that we’ll see in the rest of our lifetimes.

And it’s down to the incredible potential of new technologies, especially AI, which are constantly learning and getting exponentially better every single day.

Both China and Britain understand the potential of this fourth industrial revolution – and the need to relentlessly pursue new technology.

This forward thinking approach has been at the heart of our strengthening relationship over the last decade, and we’ve seen some remarkable hi-tech success stories over the past few months.

Huawei has recently announced a new commitment to 3 billion pounds of procurement from the UK. Gordon – thank you for your personal commitment and Huawei’s vote of confidence in our world-leading tech industry. You provide the sort of leadership which is crucial forging this sort of relationship.

Cambridge-based Astra Zeneca and Chinese tech giants Alibaba have announced they’re coming together to build smart health systems, to help chest patients in China get vital treatment more quickly.

And the futuristic driverless pods used at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 will soon be appearing in China thanks to a recently signed Memorandum of Understanding.

And it’s not just tech firms and start-ups that are making the most of these opportunities.

Tech is revolutionising all sectors, whether through autonomous vehicles helping us drive more safely or machine learning making it easier for doctors to find cancerous cells, saving and improving lives.

The question that matters is how we can seize these opportunities of change to expand the potential to make both our nations more prosperous and better places to live.

Looking forward

We share this ambition and determination. AI pioneer and founder of Google China Dr Kai-Fu Lee recently said the UK is home to the ‘hottest AI companies in the world, producing breakthroughs of global significance’.

Here, we’re investing heavily in AI and robotics and are working hard to attract the best and brightest research talent from all over the world.

We are determined to be one of the leading places in the world for the development and deployment of AI. And we will share that global leadership with China.

Our universities – the second biggest destination for Chinese students – lie at the heart of this revolution.

But we cannot do this solely from our shores. To make the most of these opportunities we will need to reach common understanding and co-operate on a wide range of issues. We must do this together.

And let’s be frank. China and the UK come at some of the questions around, for example data protection, from very different philosophical backgrounds.

This makes it more important than ever that we understand each other – and respect each other’s point of view – so we can come to the right solutions and work together.

We, for instance, have stronger protections for data and intellectual property. And while we ask China to respect these protections, we also respect China, and the progress we have seen in mutual understanding.

I was delighted that in December, we partnered with you in the first bilateral science and innovation strategy that China has developed jointly with another country.

This outlines, in the most advanced way yet, shared principles for intellectual property.

Agreements like this are crucial to unlocking the vast opportunities of co-operation and harnessing this technology for good.

We want to work ever closer with China, and other tech-minded countries around the world.

And I was delighted that during the Prime Minister’s recent visit, agreements were signed on emerging technologies across the board – twelve in total, including space, smart cities and autonomous vehicles.

For this is the future. Countries that work with, not against, technology, will be the ones that flourish.

Flourishing as two vibrant, prosperous nations using technology to drive growth and make life better for our citizens and people across the world.

For if we have learnt one thing this past generation, then we have learnt this.

Free markets, in a proper framework, have been the most powerful force for good the world has ever seen – underpinned by the protection of property, openness to trade and sound finance.

China’s journey is testament to this fact. Britain may have pioneered the market economy but, by God, China is proving it works.

You have lifted people from poverty more quickly than ever before in human history. We salute you.

And what’s more, the free market rests on an understanding that business, done right, is a force for good in the world.

You can’t run a good business unless you’re solving problems for someone else. Solve them so well that they’re prepared to pay you.

This is how prosperity is built. Our nations both understand this.

Conclusion

The UK and China are no strangers to changing history through our innovation and enterprise.

And as we celebrate the Year of the Dog, let’s channel this spirit and just imagine what more we can do when we work together in the years ahead.

恭祝各位中国朋友狗年大吉!