Philip Hammond – 2016 Speech on Global Uncertainty


Below is the text of the speech made by Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, at the Savoy Hotel in London on 4 February 2016.

It’s a great pleasure to address such a senior business audience.

Lloyds Business Leaders Meeting
I think it’s true to say that the business and political cycles don’t always coincide.

But I suspect right now is the exception that proves the rule: most of you will be watching developments as we enter the final stages of our EU renegotiation process just as keenly as most politicians.

And I will, of course, talk about those EU reforms later in my remarks: why they’re necessary for the future health of both the British and the wider European economy.

But our EU reform agenda is just one part of a much wider, more ambitious package of reforms, aimed at equipping Britain to compete and win in this 21st Century globalised economy.

As we enter 2016, the world is once again facing economic uncertainty; but this time, unlike 2008-2010, we are simultaneously dealing with a level of global strategic insecurity and instability that we have not seen since the end of the Cold War.

The start of this year of course has underlined just how uncertain the global economic outlook is.

You all know the key statistics.

The IMF estimates that the global economic growth rate in 2015 will be just 3.1% – the lowest for 7 years.

Oil prices dipping below $30 a barrel.

Stock markets around the world volatile, to say the least.

And there’s been significant speculation about the nature of the slowdown in the Chinese economy and the Chinese authorities’ ability to manage it, and what all that means for global growth prospects.

Combined with this economic instability, the global security environment remains extremely volatile.

Just four weeks ago, the DPRK announced the test explosion of what it claimed was a thermonuclear, or hydrogen, bomb, reminding us all of the ambitions of North Korea’s illegal nuclear programme.

And despite the cooperation with the international community that led to the nuclear deal, Iran has continued to test fire ballistic missiles, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

Meanwhile the old adversary, Russia, is rearming at an alarming pace, despite its economic difficulties, and challenging the international community with aggressive behaviour in Syria, Ukraine and indeed closer to home as Cold War-style probing flights test our defences on a regular basis.

The migration crisis in Europe, driven by the civil war in Syria and the rise of Daesh in Iraq and Syria, continues, and represents a real political threat to some of Europe’s Governments.

If we add to these challenges the spread of Daesh and its affiliates to North Africa and parts of Asia; the civil war in Yemen; continued tension across the Middle East; and recent terrorist outrages in Europe and elsewhere in world; and the strategic impact of oil prices on critical and / or fragile countries across the Middle East, it all adds up to a picture of serious instability across the world.

A potentially toxic mix of threats that represents a grave challenge to UK and to global security.

So what is the Government’s response to this broad ranging set of challenges?

You all know just as well as we know, that businesses, and thus, economies prosper when uncertainty about the long term business environment is minimised and confidence is maximised.

We, of course, cannot be immune from the international climate, but domestically we can and we will seek to insulate the UK economy as much as we can through our long-term economic plan. We are continuing the transition from a low skills, low wage, high tax, high welfare economy; to the higher skills, higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare country that we want to see.

In 2014, we were the fastest growing economy in the G7; and in ‎2015 we were up there again, as one of the two fastest-growing major advanced economies alongside the United States.

We’ve grown almost three times faster than Japan, twice as fast as France and faster than Germany.

We’ve backed business, cutting Corporation Tax from 28% to 20% over the last Parliament, one of the biggest boosts British business has ever seen – with further phased cuts to 18% by 2020 still to come.

And, despite the dire warnings about our austerity programme from the doom-mongers and those who wanted to spend and borrow more, there are now 2.7 million more private sector jobs than there were in 2010; and over 900,000 more British businesses.

Living standards are rising.

But as we’ve recovered from the recession, the old structural weaknesses that have plagued the British economy for decades have re-emerged into the limelight:

Failings in our education and training system;

A welfare system that has too often acted as a disincentive to work;

And an infrastructure deficit that will take decades to correct.

And I am proud to say that we are tackling these familiar challenges – starting during the Coalition, despite the economic and fiscal difficulties that we faced, and continuing under this Government.

And all the while reducing the public sector deficit steadily to our target of delivering a surplus in 2019-20.

Reforming our schools and our vocational training; transforming student finance to ensure our universities have the funding they need to compete in the global marketplace for talent.

Fixing a welfare system that politicians – of all parties – have talked about for years, but always shied away from reforming. We’re fixing that welfare system so that work really will pay, all the time, for everyone.

And investing in infrastructure, right through the difficult years of fiscal austerity, and now increasing by 50% our investment in roads and rail to give Britain the networks it needs – as well as facilitating massive private investment in Britain’s creaking power generation sector.

In short, and if I may coin a phrase, we are fixing the roof.

And when it comes to the global economy, we reject the advice from those who say we should cut ourselves off from the rest of the world – somehow isolate ourselves from the world’s problems whether they are economic or political.

In a globalised, interconnected economy, sustainable economic growth will not come from isolation.

We have to engage with the fastest-growing economies of the world, and the economies with the greatest potential, like never before.

And we are.

Through the Spending Review, we have protected the crown jewel of the Foreign Office – our global diplomatic network – and given it a mandate to lead the charge for British businesses across the globe.

Now I know that Diplomats can’t do your overseas business for you. And we won’t try to.

But what we can do is coordinate British business approaches to key opportunity sectors; lobby foreign governments for access and for fair treatment; and help to create the most benign environment possible for British business through advocating and supporting liberalisation and reform in the fastest-growing economies.

We’re reforming UKTI, as Francis Maude I suspect has already explained to you this morning, making it leaner and more focused on the markets where we, Government, can make the biggest difference to what you, business, are doing.

And I can’t mention UKTI without thanking Lloyds for your support for the GREAT campaign, which is has done huge amounts to boost Britain as a brand around the world.

With China, we’re forging a new, 21st Century partnership – demonstrating in deeds our stated intention to be China’s partner of choice in the West; and to do that by being the Western market most open to Chinese investment.

And we are also opening up new markets for British businesses back in China, creating greater access to the world’s fastest-growing consumer market.

And it’s not just China.

We’re building a closer relationship with India, building on Prime Minister Modi’s visit at the end of last year and the agreements reached by the Chancellor and Finance Minister Jaitley on financial services, infrastructure and technology.

We’ve seen exports to South Korea more than double since 2010.

We’re the driving force behind efforts to deliver an EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement that could deliver an extra £6 billion in UK exports.

And now, Britain is the leading advocate, working with the US and other like-minded EU partners, for a new Transatlantic Trade Deal – TTIP – that has the potential to add almost £100bn annually to Europe’s GDP, and £10bn to Britain’s, bringing huge benefits for particularly the City, but for British businesses in general and for the British people.

Reforming the EU to make it more competitive

And a core part of our plans to boost the international competitiveness of the UK economy is the package of EU reforms that were outlined in documents published by Donald Tusk on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister has said this is a deal that is far from done.

And some of the most important details are still up for negotiation in the run up to the February European Council.

But I believe that the framework represented in that package, if – and only if – we can get agreement on the details, has the potential to address the four most important areas of concern about our EU membership for the British people.

The text draft delivers substantial progress in each of those areas – welfare, sovereignty, competitiveness and governance of the Eurozone.

Now I know that not all of these baskets of issues are as important to business as they are to the British electorate and I won’t go through the detail of all of them.

But I do want to address the two baskets that business leaders tell me are of greatest concern to them: the arrangements for a fair settlement between the Eurozone and the non-Eurozone countries in the EU; and the competitiveness agenda.

First, competitiveness.

We all know the problems created by the over-regulation and bureaucracy emanating from the Commission in Brussels that imposes burdens on business, limiting growth and costing jobs.

Making the EU more competitive in the global economy is crucial to Britain’s continued membership.

And the good news is that, after many years of a, frankly, cavalier attitude to Europe’s declining competitiveness, most of our EU partners, and certainly the Juncker Commission – one very nasty recession and 7 years of persistent high unemployment later – do now get it. That we do need to be competitive if we are going to maintain our current position.

The separate draft Council Declaration on competitiveness that was published on Tuesday sets out the significant steps the EU will take to deliver progress in all the areas that we’ve been pushing:

– progress towards completion of the single market, including in energy, digital and services;

– on completing international trade deals, including TTIP;
and, for the first time, introducing sector-specific regulatory burden-reduction targets, with an accountability mechanism, which will be particularly important to small and medium-sized businesses.

Secondly, in the equally crucial area of ensuring that Britain – and in particular, our hugely important financial services industry – will not lose out as a result of our decision not to join the Euro, we have secured the protections that we need.

We want the Eurozone to succeed. The Eurozone countries are our biggest market, and we want to be able to continue to grow our trade with them.

But we cannot allow Britain to be bullied into changes to facilitate Eurozone integration that would be bad for Britain.

We cannot accept the British economy, British businesses and British workers losing out as a result of changes imposed on the EU by the Eurozone countries who now form a Qualified Majority in the EU.

Now, for the first time, in these texts we have proper recognition that the EU has more than one currency, with explicit recognition that further Eurozone integration must not discriminate against non-Eurozone members, like the UK; that any discrimination based on the currency of a member state is unlawful.

If we can deliver this deal as drafted, never again will Britain be forced to bail out Eurozone countries; and never again could the EU attempt anything as clumsy as its “location policy” seeking to limit the clearance of Euro-denominated financial instruments to institutions located in Eurozone countries.

And underpinning these measures is a new mechanism – a brake that we can pull – to ensure that if these safeguards are not being properly applied in accordance with this agreement, the issue in dispute will be addressed at the European Council.

Now as I said earlier, this is far from being a done deal.

And there will be some robust discussions with the EU institutions and with our EU partners on these two baskets – and on the sovereignty and migration issues that are of even greater salience with the British people – in the run-up to the February Council in two weeks time.

But we are confident that we can reach an agreement that delivers what we need. But we are clear that we’re in no rush to do this.

Getting the right deal is more important than getting a quick deal; if it can be done at the February Council, good. If it can’t be done at the February council we’ll continue working on it. And only when the deal is done will we decide the timing of the referendum that will put it to the British people. But whether it’s sooner or later, that referendum is a commitment we have made and a commitment that will be delivered.

And as the public debate on our EU membership reaches its crescendo, I would urge all of you as business leaders, on whatever side of the argument you come down, to please get involved in that debate.

And I know, from my many discussions with business leaders, the frustrations that many of you have with the EU and actions that have, in the past, seemed like an attack directed at the success particularly of the financial services sector in this city.

But I also know that most of you will regard access to the single market, and Britain’s unique position as the first point of investment for many foreign companies into the EU, as of paramount importance to your future success.

And I say this to you: Business has a crucial role to play in this debate. These are complex economic issues and people who work for you will expect that you understand these issues better than they do, that business is in a position to make an objective, dispassionate judgement about the balance of advantage for Britain staying in the EU versus leaving it. And they deserve to hear it from those who are qualified to opine on all sides of this debate before they make up their minds, so that when they come to cast their votes, however they choose to vote, they have done so in full possession of the facts.

Delivering reform in the future

For my part, the most significant part of this deal is not the detail.

It’s something more fundamental.

It’s the fact that this negotiation has happened at all and that, if we get agreement at the Council meeting later this month, we will have delivered significant and enduring change to the way in which the European Union operates.

Because for the last forty years the European Community, now the European Union, has operated on a one-way ratchet.

It has accrued more and more powers from the Member States’ Governments, extending its areas of competence far beyond our membership of the single market that was the basis of the last European referendum in this country in 1975.

But if this deal is agreed and implemented we will have passed the peak of European Union interference in the UK.

The tide will be running in the right direction – and we see more and more people across Europe aligning themselves with our views on competitiveness, burden reduction and subsidiarity.

More and more governments being elected in the European Union countries that agree with our vision of the future of Europe.

The ratchet will have been broken – in favour of a more balanced, less ideological, more pragmatic, two-way mechanism.

Other countries, particularly those in the Eurozone, will wish – and will need – to integrate further in the future.

But Britain and the British people have never been signed up to ever closer union.

We have never believed in the one-way ticket to economic, social, fiscal and political union – the inevitable destination of the Eurozone, if it is to succeed.

And we have never believed that the key decisions affecting how this country is governed should be made in Brussels rather than just up the river, in Westminster.

The draft text presented this week demonstrates that powers can flow back from Brussels to the Member States; that restrictions can be applied to new migrants; and that the powers of Eurozone Member States can be fettered to protect the interests of the non-Eurozone Member States.

But let us be clear: whatever agreement is reached will not be the end of the process.

No-one is asking, no-one is suggesting, that Britain should stop fighting for open markets and free trade if we stay inside the European Union.

No-one is asking us to endorse as “final” or “perfect” any part of the EU arrangements.

Britain can, and will, continue to fight for an outward-facing, open-market, non-interventionist EU from the inside as we have done for years and, if I let you into a secret, as many of our fellow Member States would want us to carry on doing in the years ahead.

Britain is the second largest economy in the EU; and may well become the largest in the next 20 or so years.

And if the British people decide that our future is in the EU, that should be a future of leadership, a future in which Britain shapes the European Union for the future not grumbles from the sidelines about the direction of travel.

So Ladies and Gentlemen, I return to the theme I set out at the start

With a potentially toxic mix of instability in the international markets and a particularly volatile global security environment, charting a clear and certain course is vital to maintaining our economic security, the foundation upon which our national security is built.

Whether it’s the reforms to our tax system, to our welfare system or to the business environment here at home, the crucial international trading relationships we’re strengthening abroad, our commitments on Defence spending and the overseas aid budget or the renegotiation of the terms of our membership of the EU, we are taking the actions needed to ensure Britain’s prosperity.

And to ensure Britain’s national security.

We can’t be immune from external shocks.

And we cannot isolate ourselves from global threats.

But by enacting our bold reforms, backing business, backing job creation, strengthening our Armed Forces, boosting our competitiveness and building up global trade we will maintain and grow Britain’s position as one of the most competitive and dynamic developed economies in the world, and one of the most capable partners in defending the Rules-Based International System.

Business, and business leaders, are and will be a vital part of that success.

And I and all of my colleagues in Government look forward to continuing working with business to deliver it.

Thank you.

Philip Hammond – 2012 Speech to the Royal College of Defence Studies


Below is the text of the speech made by Philip Hammond, the then Secretary of State for Defence, to the Royal College of Defence Studies on 23 July 2012.


Thank you for inviting me here to speak to you.

And as you approach the end of your course I know you will have made the most of the opportunity presented here at the Royal College of Defence Studies to get to grips with some of the very complex issues facing defence and defence diplomacy.

Many of which are common to the United Kingdom and its allies and partners.

The international nature of this course is one of its strengths.

And your generation of leaders will have a key role in addressing these challenges; and in forging the bilateral and multilateral defence relationships that the defence and security arrangements of every country, even the United States, is likely to rely on in the future to protect its national security.

So I want to talk this morning about some of the strategic challenges we’re facing in UK defence and more widely.

And pose you some of the questions that will have to be answered during your generation’s tenure in the top jobs.

Strategic picture

Strategically, the world is a far less certain and, in some ways, a less threatening place than it was 25 years ago.

Then we faced an adversary with the means and the intent, if an unpredictable and paranoid leadership.

Nowadays at least the paranoid leaderships are still struggling to obtain the means!

More broadly technology is racing ahead; changing the way we protect critical infrastructure more likely to be rendered inoperable through a computer virus than a bombing raid, requiring multi-level C4ISTAR; capabilities which are not as obvious to the public as an aircraft carrier, a tank or a jet.

The rise of ‘invisible’ capabilities like this presents a challenge to politicians who need to demonstrate to the public who are paying for them, how we are spending their money and how we are keeping them safe.

At a geo-political level, the dispersion of power that began as the Berlin Wall crumbled has gathered pace with the emergence of new potential military powers and greater strategic competition between growing economies, both regionally and globally.

Alongside this, the impact of globalisation means there are diminishing levers available to individual national governments to effect change, manage their economies, and protect their national security.

The economic realities facing the mature economies show how linked we are; how easily contagion can spread.

In the medium term, those charged with the task of protecting national security, in economies set for relative decline as the pattern of wealth adjusts, will have to do so in an environment of constrained resources

This is the future in which you will lead in your respective services and in your respective countries.

And although this future will be unpredictable and volatile, we can clearly see some of the issues that will dominate.

Economic means

First, the economic backdrop.

Economic strength underpins national security.

It is a requirement for generating military capability.

Look at what is driving the changed pattern of military power today.

Look at what settled the Cold War.

Without strong economies and public finances it is impossible to build and sustain, in the long-term, the military capability required to project power and maintain strong defence.

That is why, today, the debt crisis should be considered the greatest strategic threat to the future security of western nations.

And it is also why, although NATO has often talked of distributing the burden of collective defence more equitably, in the current fiscal climate, it is essential that we no longer talk, but begin to act.

The reality is that too many member states are failing to meet their financial responsibilities to NATO, and so failing to maintain appropriate and proportionate capabilities.

Too many are opting out of operations or contributing but a fraction of what they should be capable of.

But we have to be realistic.

The economic and fiscal circumstances in which most developed countries find themselves makes this problem difficult to fix in the short term.

Across the alliance, aggregate defence expenditure is certain to fall in the short term and, at best, recover slowly in the medium term.

So more money is not going to be the answer.

So, the challenge is to maximise the capability we can squeeze out of the resources we have available.

Political will

Which brings me to my second point: alliance structures are only as strong as the political will of individual nations to meet their responsibilities.

It matters that NATO countries meet their commitments on funding defence, to ensure the means to protect our collective security.

But it is no good having the means if you lack the will to use them.

Libya showed what can be achieved when many of the stars are in alignment:

The UN Security Council, NATO, regional powers, the political will of those with the capabilities to act, and of course the will of the majority of the Libyan people.

But it also showed quite starkly the imbalances in NATO.

Imbalances in the hardware (and increasingly software) available to the alliance from national contributions.

But also imbalances in the will to act, the will to deploy, the determination to take part and commit nationally owned capabilities that have absorbed many billions of taxpayers’ cash in order to make us all collectively safer.

There are untapped reserves of resource in European NATO which need to be tapped to support our collective security.

Over the next few years, the United States will put into practice its ‘tilt’ to the Asia-Pacific theatre, a focus that is very much in our interests as the US rise to meet the strategic challenge set by the emergence of China.

The US will expect Europe to do more to of the heavy lifting to ensure security in our own region, and our near abroad: the Middle East, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa.

How European nations respond to this pivot will set the context for the multilateral environment British armed forces and others will operate in.

This brings me to my third point: cohesion of purpose.

Meeting threats

We need to confront, head on, a real tension within the NATO alliance: basically to answer the question, what is NATO for in the 21st century?

The threat from a monolithic Soviet Union no longer exists.

And the approach to Russia differs across the alliance.

For those of us further back, west of the old iron curtain, the threat is no longer territorial, but global terror and rogue states.

So a passive defence of national territory is no longer adequate protection for our citizens.

We are starting from a reality that it is much better to fight in the space of our adversaries rather than at home.

Of course this is relatively easier to do if your adversary is a terrorist, rather than a state.

And this requires rapidly deployable, adaptable, agile, flexible, expeditionary forces.

So this is what the UK’s strategic defence and security review was all about; responding to these 3 drivers: the economics, the evolving alliance pattern, and the evolving threat pattern.

Shaping the spread of capabilities we will maintain, in the face of fiscal restraint, to the future character of warfare, and to maintain national security by acting at distance.


The future posture of Russia is by no means certain.

And with political change sweeping across North Africa and the Arab world, change that is far from at an end, far from predictable, and has the potential to leave a less secure and less safe neighbourhood, we cannot rule out the return of a strategic threat to territorial Europe.

So this has been about striking the right balance between our own direct national needs and those of the NATO alliance upon which we continue to rely for collective security.

And recognising the likely future shape of operations in that context.

The future shape of operations

You will have had the opportunity during your course to look at current operations and to draw lessons from them for the future character of warfare.

Libya showed the utility of precision weapons in an era where minimising collateral damage and civilian deaths will be part of the strategic objective.

And it also exposed shortfalls in the European contribution to NATO.

But Libya has tested another concept.

The utility of air power as an alternative to ‘boots on the ground’.

Libya has shown how air power can provide politicians like me with political choices short of intervention on the ground.

But I have not drawn the conclusion that ground intervention will be unnecessary in the future.

There was a ground campaign in Libya;

It could not have proceeded without NATO airpower support.

But it was decisive.

And it was undertaken by Libyans, not NATO troops.

After 10 years of enduring campaigns, you do not have to be a political sage to recognise that the public’s future appetite for open ended interventions is limited.

Of course, we do not yet know the end outcome of the Libya intervention.

Displacing the old regime was, relatively, the easy bit.

And what comes after is not yet completely clear.

So modern warfare requires firepower and political sensitivity;

And that requires a deep understanding of the situation on the ground.

In Afghanistan, our troops have had to wear the face of both the warrior and the diplomat, fighting one moment, and taking tea with the elders the next.

The political dimension of warfare is crucial to success.

You can win the battle but lose the war unless you are focussed on what you really want to achieve.

And it will usually be the case that force of arms alone cannot deliver victory.

That is certainly the case in Afghanistan.

That is why the comprehensive approach, marrying politics, finance, military capability, diplomacy, development, not just across national government, but internationally too, will be so important in the future.

So, against that backdrop, let me bring this discussion closer to home and say something about the future shape of the UK’s armed forces.

The future shape of UK armed forces

Afghanistan is still very much the priority in terms of operations.

But the end of the combat mission is now in view.

And, intellectually, we have moved on to look beyond 2014 at the shape of the forces we will need for the future.

The needs of the mission in Afghanistan, and before it Iraq, have dominated for a decade.

For all the dangers and complexities of those missions they have provided some predictability.

People have known, often 2 years in advance, when they are going to be deployed; they know how long they are going to be deployed for; often they have known exactly where they are going to be deployed to before they go.

We have bent our military, our army in particular into the shape required for this 6 month rotational enduring conflict in Afghanistan.

But, in the process, we have lost some contingent capability.

Post 2014, the move from enduring campaign to contingency signals an end to the predictability of the roulement cycle;

It heralds a future force geared toward being ready to deal with the unexpected and unplanned.

And we make this change against a background of fiscal constraint driven by the economic health of the country as a whole, and the legacy of mismanagement in the defence budget in particular.

The transformation we are undertaking is challenging, probably the most complex change programme being undertaken anywhere in the western world at the current time.

The black hole that existed in the defence budget, the weakness of the equipment programme, and the shape of the country’s finances, have militated against simply bailing the budget out.

It would be hard to justify excluding the defence budget, the fifth largest call on the public purse, from the programme to exert fiscal control.

Balancing the books and creating a sustainable forward defence programme has meant reducing personnel numbers, retiring some capabilities, and taking some calculated and managed risks.

But as I told an audience in Washington last week, it is far better to have a smaller but well-equipped and well-trained force; with an equipment programme that offers a high level of confidence that we will deliver it; giving our armed forces the ability to plan for the future.

With the announcements I have made over the last couple of months on the defence budget, the equipment programme, army 2020 and the reserves we have put in place the vision set out in the SDSR of sustainable armed forces, equipped with some of the most capable and most technically advanced platforms in the world, configured to respond to the unexpected and to go anywhere to do it.

And we have also set out a blueprint for the reform of the management of defence:

Renewing the way strategic direction is provided;

Pushing authority and accountability down the chain of command;

Encouraging innovation and budgetary responsibility;

And developing a new strategy for the procurement of defence equipment.

Seeking to instil private sector skills and disciplines to our acquisition process, driving up productivity, by bringing a private sector partner into the process.

And creating clearer and harder relationships between the different functions in the defence procurement chain.

To read some of the comment in the media, often fuelled by retired officers whose view of the world was shaped in the Cold War era, you would think that Britain was getting out of the force projection business altogether.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Even when this programme is complete, we will still expect to have the fourth largest defence budget in the world;

Exceeding the NATO standard of 2% of GDP;

Spending £160 billion on our equipment programme over the next 10 years;

Delivering the next generation of military technology and platforms that will help provide a battle-winning edge;

So this is the picture:

Smaller armed forces, but better equipped and confident that they will receive the equipment that has been promised;

Agile, high-tech, capable of conducting the full spectrum of operations;

Structured to allow rapid reaction and expeditionary warfare;

Able to deploy overseas and sustain a brigade-sized force indefinitely, or a division-sized force in time of need.

Able to command in the coalition context and more interoperable with our main allies;

Fully integrated between regular and reserves, with predictable obligations for the reservists that will require a real commitment to service;

And a more systematic use of contractors for support and logistics; allowing greater focus of military manpower on fighting tasks;

And, crucially, structured to be able to generate mass and capabilities if the threat picture changes or the fiscal position eases.


These are the British armed forces that some of you will be leading in, or for our partners overseas, the British armed forces you will be operating with.

And many of you who are from overseas will be seeing similar transformations in your own militaries over the next few years.

All of you are here because you have been identified as having the qualities needed for top level responsibilities.

You know that the moral component of leadership is one of the most important.

If this transformation is to be realised, and national and collective security to be guaranteed, you will need to be focussed, positive, full of ideas, prepared to change, to challenge convention, and willing to drive change in others, inspiring those around you.

And there is a challenge at a political level too, for people like me.

As Secretary of State, I have responsibility for defence but as a cabinet member, I have responsibility to look wider and help to balance national priorities.

When an immediate or existential threat shrinks, the public appetite to fund defence shrinks with it.

We are lucky in the UK, particularly compared to other European nations, that the public feels a strong affinity with our armed forces and has a greater inclination to give defence a higher priority than many of our neighbours.

But the legacy of Iraq and Afghanistan has undoubtedly left us a public which is without appetite for enduring campaigns.

And politicians need to think carefully about how we are going to maintain public support for defence spending in the years ahead;

Especially when more and more of the capabilities we are investing in will not be traditional military assets, and indeed will often be invisible to taxpayers.

There are many actions in hand to manage the transition from a period of enduring campaigns to one of contingent readiness; and I have described a few today.

But we have answered by no means all the questions:

Questions about the future focus of NATO;

About how we maximise the military effect that we get from limited budgets across the alliance;

About the balance of capabilities between traditional kinetic effect and investment in C4ISTAR, cyber and space;

About the type of warfare we need to prepare to fight;

And about the future of European defence industries in the face of rapidly changing export markets and shrinking domestic purchasing power.

These, and many other questions, will form the challenges that the next generation of military and political leaders will face over the coming years.

And I look forward to hearing your thoughts on them!

Philip Hammond – 2015 Speech on Somali


Below is the text of the speech made by Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, in New York, United States on 9 November 2015.

It is an honour to follow the Prime Minister of Somalia who is working so hard to rebuild his country. Let me also thank the Secretary-General, and you Ambassador Antonio for all the African Union has done to ensure that the United Nations and African Union are working together to bring peace and prosperity to the people of Somalia.

Our purpose today is to discuss what more we can do to defeat Al Shabaab and deliver a better future for Somalia. But before we do, I think it is helpful to remind ourselves of the past.

Just four short years ago, inside Somalia, Al Shabaab controlled major cities, including Kismayo and the capital, Mogadishu. The security environment made trying to run a business a high risk venture, where owners risked their goods, their property and, sometimes, their lives.

And this affected all of us directly too. In 2010 alone, there were 174 pirate attacks and Somali pirates held 404 hostages.

Fortunately, there has been much progress.

Al Shabaab is on the back foot, with AMISOM and the Somali National Army now controlling 80% of Somali territory. And Somalia’s economy is reviving, with GDP growth on the increase and shops and businesses opening at ever increasing rates.

And off the of shores Somalia, there have been no successful pirate attacks for over 2 years, as the Prime Minister said.

I am pleased to be able to describe this progress, as the UK has long recognised the need to build enduring peace and security in Somalia.

Our commitment is clear and we have invested heavily. We are Somalia’s second biggest bilateral donor. We have opened an Embassy in Mogadishu: the only EU member state to do so. And we have strong personal links, with a thriving Somali diaspora in the UK.

But we must today take time to recognise and pay tribute to the bravery and sacrifices made by the AMISOM and Somali National Army troops on the frontline of this fight.

And we should pay tribute to the Federal Government of Somalia for the commitment they have demonstrated in helping to steer Somalia towards completion of the federal map and a permanent, sustainable, political settlement.

I also commend the vital role of the UN. Nick Kay has worked tirelessly since July 2013 as the SRSG to ensure the UN has been at the centre of international coordination and support for Somalia under difficult conditions including the tragic loss of seven UN civilians. We are very grateful to him and his team for everything they have done.

I am also grateful to UNSOA, the UN’s most direct and tangible contribution to countering terrorism and extremism in the Horn of Africa. The successes of AMISOM and the Somali National Army in combating Al Shabaab would have been impossible without the essential logistical support the Mission provides.

It is clear that UNSOA has been under-resourced; that it has been operating at the very edge of its capabilities. And so I’m pleased that today, we have all agreed on the importance of putting that right: and I thank you for supporting the Resolution that was put before us today.

But the challenge for all of us, Somali and non-Somali alike, is to sustain effort and momentum. And to be fully coordinated as we do so.

On security, that work has started. The President has committed to significant security sector reform and I urge him and his Government to press forward with the implementation of those reforms. The UK will continue to play its part. As our Prime Minister announced here in September, we will deploy UK military logistical, engineering and training expertise to reinforce UNSOS in support of the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

Building security and stability are key, but the foundation on which they rest is political progress. And in 2016 the eyes of the world will be on Somalia. Conducting a credible electoral process in 2016 is critical. Failure to do so would risk undermining the collective effort to defeat Al Shabaab and all that has been achieved so far. It would risk undermining the international community’s support for Somalia. But most importantly, it would undermine the right of the Somali people to hold their leaders to account.

Ensuring a credible electoral process will allow Somalia to show the world just how much progress has been made since 2012. It will quieten the remaining sceptical voices who say political renewal can’t be achieved. And it will help in ensuring the international community remains committed to supporting Somalia on the right path: a path towards a more secure, peaceful future.

The UK remains committed to supporting progress in Somalia. I urge the Council, and other international allies to continue their commitment to Somalia. Unity of purpose and effort will ensure success.

Over the coming year, our commitment must be shared by all across the political spectrum in Somalia. Personal differences and vested interests must be set aside, for the good of the whole nation. As this Council has set out in Resolution 2232, all key actors and institutions in Somalia, including Parliament, should engage constructively to ensure progress. Only then can we truly say Somalia has turned a corner.

Thank you.

Philip Hammond – 2015 Speech on Syria


Below is the text of the speech made by Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, at the United Nations Security Council in New York, United States, on 18 December 2015.

Thank you Mr. President.

Let me begin by thanking the Secretary-General, and his Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura for all that they are doing to bring the Syrian parties together.

And let me also thank you Secretary Kerry for the characteristic drive and energy that you have brought over recent months to this process in establishing the International Syria Support Group. This has given new international momentum towards the resumption of Syrian-led talks and has brought us to this important occasion today.

The resolution we have adopted today is a further step in this work. Sadly, it is far too soon for any of us to predict an end to the Syria conflict, but I hope that we will look back on today as a significant step in that direction. Frankly, on Syria this Council has too seldom found the unity it needed to live up to its responsibility for delivering peace and security, despite some useful but only partially implemented Resolutions. This has to change.

No country, no person who has been involved in Syria’s destruction in the last four years can take any satisfaction from what has happened. On the Syria dossier we have to concede we have all failed; we have all been losers; but by far the greatest losers are the people of Syria themselves. We have to do better and we have to do better fast if there is not be still more suffering.

The participants in the ISSG came together behind a single aim: to support the Syrian parties to find an end to the conflict and tackle the terrorists currently operating in their country. We all share the sense of urgency which comes from witnessing the continuing deterioration of the humanitarian and security situation in Syria. The Syrian population, over 250,000 of whom have been killed and millions more forced from their homes, have borne the brunt of this conflict. This is not a humanitarian disaster; it is a humanitarian catastrophe.

The ongoing indiscriminate use of weapons on civilians, especially artillery and aerial bombardments, including barrel bombs, continues to cause terror, destruction and civilian deaths. And while Daesh poses a real threat to Syrians as well as to the wider region, it is Asad who bears the responsibility for the majority of the deaths in Syria.

Mr President,

I commend Saudi Arabia for convening a broad cross-section of representatives of the Syrian opposition in Riyadh earlier this month. The agreement reached at that meeting in Riyadh and the formation of a high negotiating committee showed the determination of the Syrian Opposition groups to come together, whatever their differences, to play a crucial, constructive role in talks. They reaffirmed their commitment to implementation of the Geneva Communique, working towards a managed transition away from Asad and a pluralistic future for Syria.

I welcome too Jordan’s efforts to build consensus on identifying terrorist groups operating in Syria. Whilst it is for this Council ultimately to decide to designate any such groups, the ISSG is in a privileged position to provide information, analysis and advice to the Council to assist it. We believe that it will take time to mature that view and we are able to test which groups are willing to commit to a political process and a ceasefire.

Mr President,

I would like to turn to the content of the Resolution and highlight the areas that will be critical to the progress of talks.

First, all of us – both in this Council and in the broader international community – want to see a national ceasefire established. To have a realistic chance of success, a ceasefire must be closely aligned to progress on political transition and talks between the Syrian parties and under UN auspices. We’ve seen previous attempts to end the conflict in Syria undermined by a lack of determination by the parties to contribute productively to talks.

It is critical that the voices of all Syrians are heard in this process, including Syrian women and members of Syrian minorities.

Second, there needs to be confidence amongst the parties that the political process will deliver real results, without which neither the talks nor the ceasefire will be successful. This will not be easy: 5 years of conflict has eroded confidence.

Therefore all parties must undertake Confidence Building Measures, some of which are identified in the resolution we’ve passed today. We welcome the work being undertaken by the UN to this end, and towards modalities for a ceasefire as mandated by this Resolution.

All parties have a duty to take care in their military actions not to cause the death of civilians whether by deliberate or by reckless targeting. The indiscriminate use of weapons, especially the use of artillery and aerial bombardments including barrel bombs, must stop. Medical facilities and schools have increasingly become a target for aerial bombardment, something that is abhorrent to all of us and must stop.

All parties must adhere to their duties under International Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. They must allow humanitarian agencies rapid, safe and unhindered access throughout Syria by most direct routes. There are 13.5 million Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance. These people need to see a change to their lives if they are to have confidence in this political process and to feel its benefits. The UK is the second largest bilateral donor to the humanitarian effort in response to the Syrian conflict after the United States. But let us all do more on this front.

This resolution also repeats a commitment to political transition in Syria, following the principles of the Geneva Communiqué in full, and leading to free and fair elections under a new Syrian constitution within 18 months. This will involve the establishment of a Transitional Governing Body with full executive powers and representative of all Syrians, which provides the framework for talks and an end to the conflict.

This process necessarily involves the departure of Bashar al-Asad. Not only for moral reasons, because of the destruction he has unleashed upon his own people, but also for practical reasons, because it will never be possible to bring peace and unity to Syria as long as he remains in office. But we must and will protect the institutions that are necessary for the future governance, and that will be possible with a representative Transitional Governing Body and with the support of the ISSG.

Mr President,

Whilst we must seek to end the conflict in Syria, especially the violence that is directed against civilians, we must also join in confronting the threat posed by Daesh and other extremist groups in the country. An end to the civil war in Syria is critical to tackling Daesh in the long term. We are all clear that terrorist groups must not and will not benefit from ceasefire we are promoting.

A key consideration for the Syrians in the establishment of the Transitional Governing Body will be the fight against terrorism. In this fight they will have the full support of the ISSG and of the Global Coalition. Following the appalling attacks in Sinai, Beirut, Ankara and Paris, this Council unanimously decided to adopt resolution 2249 which calls on countries to use all necessary means to combat Daesh. The UK responded to this resolution by extending the airstrikes we were already carrying out in Iraq against Daesh into Syria.

In this regard it is vital that those countries that claim to be fighting Daesh do what they say, rather than directing the bulk of their attacks against non-extremist opposition groups. There is clear evidence over the last weeks that the weakening such groups has created opportunities for the expansion of Daesh in some areas, the very opposite of the stated objective.

Mr President,

As well as focusing on the immediate threats, we must also prepare for the future in Syria. We must affirm our commitment to assist in the post-conflict reconstruction of the country. Next February, in close partnership with Germany, Norway, Kuwait and the UN, the UK will co-host a conference in London on humanitarian support for Syria including a focus on civilian protection as well as planning for stabilisation. Of course Mr President, that conference will seek to raise the funding that is necessary to meet the United Nations appeal to support those displaced by the humanitarian crisis. But the UK is also committed to support post-conflict reconstruction efforts in Syria and has already committed to provide at least 1.5 billion dollars to this work in the long term in addition to the over 1.64 billion dollars we have so far given in humanitarian aid and I hope in February we will see others committing to both the immediate challenge and to the long term challenge of reconstruction.

In conclusion Mr President,

The conflict in Syria is now almost 5 years old. In that time more than 250,000 Syrians have been killed. We all have a duty to prevent further slaughter.

Despite the important step we have taken with today’s Resolution, despite the progress we made in Vienna, despite the important steps forward made at the meeting in Riyadh the week before last, there is still a very long way to go.

And to have a chance of success, the United Nations will need the clear and continued support of the International Syria Support Group and I know that I can say that it will have the support of that group.

But above all, we need Syrian leaders of all persuasions to take responsibility for the future of their country and to take the tough decisions needed to bring about a lasting political settlement and an end to the conflict.

Because we can help, but only Syrians can bring an end to Syrian suffering.

Thank you.

Philip Hammond – 1997 Maiden Speech in the House of Commons


Below is the text of the maiden speech made by Philip Hammond in the House of Commons on 17 June 1997.

I am delighted to make my maiden speech in the debate on this short but important Bill, which will have a significant effect on many of my constituents.

A number of my hon. Friends who are new Members have already made their maiden speeches. My tardiness owes something to Disraeli’s advice to a new Member: “It is better they wonder why you do not speak than that they wonder why you do.” It must be said that if I were looking for support from my colleagues, my timing has not been perfect; but Conservative Members are not so numerous that we can afford to carry passengers indefinitely and, for better or worse, the time has now come.

I have the privilege to represent the new constituency of Runnymede and Weybridge, which was formed largely from the former Chertsey and Walton constituency, with a piece of North-West Surrey attached to it. The boundary commission seldom wins friends when naming new constituencies, but that much-maligned body has surely got it right this time in including the historic name of Runnymede in the title of a constituency for the first time.

I am sure that many hon. Members envy me a constituency which stretches from the Wentworth golf course in the west to the St. George’s hill course in the east, by way of another five first-class courses. It is, perhaps, in the interest of diligent pursuit of parliamentary duties that such a constituency should return a non-golfing Member.

I follow in the footsteps of a number of eminent Members who have represented areas that are now part of my constituency, but it is my immediate predecessors in Chertsey and Walton and North-West Surrey to whom I now pay tribute. Both Sir Geoffrey Pattie and Sir Michael Grylls did excellent work on behalf of their constituents over the years, in their different ways. My special thanks are due to Sir Geoffrey Pattie for the superb apprenticeship that he bestowed on me during the 18 months before my election. He served Chertsey and Walton for 23 years, becoming a Minister and a vice-chairman of the Conservative party. I can honestly say that, if at the end of my parliamentary career I have made half as many friends and admirers in my constituency as Sir Geoffrey has, I shall regard that career as having been a great success.

Runnymede and Weybridge comprises two local authority areas, the borough of Runnymede itself and part of the borough of Elmbridge. The constituency straddles the M25 and the M3; indeed, in those road atlases that tend to exaggerate the width of roads my constituency appears to contain little other than the intersection of those two motorways. It also comprises the ancient town of Chertsey, where the Romans first crossed the River Thames, Egham, Addlestone and Weybridge, as well as the historic site of Runnymede and that of the Tudor royal palace of Oatlands. Those historic locations, together with a selection of smaller towns and villages and the garden estates of Wentworth and St. George’s Hill, are set in the beautiful Surrey countryside, which many people are surprised to find so close to London.

Most, if not all, hon. Members will recognise the name of my constituency and may even be able to locate it geographically through their knowledge of the events in 1215. The basis of constitutional government in England began to emerge when Magna Carta was signed in the meadows by the Thames, between Staines and Windsor, near the town of Egham. We can trace the origins of our modern freedoms to that event which took place in my constituency. It was on 15 June that year when the King and the barons first met at Runnymede. During the next few days, they negotiated the charter. I am delighted to be able to commemorate this week, the 782nd anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta, by making my maiden contribution in the House in the name of Runnymede and Weybridge.

Rather more recently, Brooklands, in Weybridge, has been renowned as the home of British motor sport and the birthplace of the British aviation industry. It spawned an engineering industry in the area, which provided an important part of the country’s aviation resource during the second world war. It has also created a surprisingly diverse economy in our constituency.

The Brooklands museum is an extraordinary tribute to the men of vision and spirit who built those twin industries on Hugh Locke-King’s race-track during the 1920s and 1930s. I strongly recommend hon. Members to take the time to visit that museum when passing through my constituency.

Like people in many similar areas of the home counties, my constituents enjoy the benefits of material prosperity, which are due primarily to our proximity to London and the excellent communications that we enjoy because of the motorway network and Heathrow airport. We also suffer because of that proximity from traffic, noise, pollution and the inexorable pressure for further development. The challenge for my constituency as we move into the new millennium will be to get the balance right. We must achieve the correct balance between continuing prosperity and maintaining the quality of life in the area. That will not be an easy task, but I look forward to playing my part, together with the elected local authorities in the constituency, in achieving it over the years to come.

It will be a pleasure to work with those local authorities, especially Surrey county council, now returned to Conservative control by a substantial majority, and Runnymede borough council, which is also Conservative controlled. Whatever other messages the electors of Surrey may have sent out on 1 May, they clearly voted yes to sound Conservative principles and good management in local government.

Runnymede has the lowest council tax in Surrey while, by general consensus, delivering a high standard of services. It has no statutory obligation to do so, but it is the highest spending authority on services for the elderly in Surrey. Its programme of upgrading and improving council-owned housing stock has the widespread support of tenants. Its private sector partnerships have attracted interest across the country. A key factor in achieving that enviable combination of low council tax and high service provision has been the careful management of its capital receipts. Runnymede is debt-free and it has chosen to invest its capital receipts to produce a substantial income to supplement the council tax for the benefit of all the people of Runnymede.

When the Labour party first promoted the idea of the release of capital receipts, it was presented as some kind of cost-free option. The idea was to take out from under the bed the pot of gold that the wicked Tories had squirrelled away and to spend it to good effect. It is now generally understood that there is no pot of gold. To the extent that set-aside capital receipts are cash-backed, the cash is largely in the wrong places. In public sector borrowing terms, the receipts have already been taken into account. Any increase in the aggregate supplementary credit approvals issued will result in an increase in the public sector borrowing requirement. There is no offsetting effect on the PSBR from any notional release of set-aside capital receipts. There was no mention earlier of the Revenue effects of the increased housing provision that the Government are seeking. If the Government achieve anything by the Bill it will be only by robbing Peter to pay Paul.

The reference in the Bill to capital receipts is a smoke-screen. It does not detail the methodology that will apply in determining the supplementary credit applications. If it is to increase the amount of investment in social housing, it must envisage an increase in the aggregate amount of borrowing by local authorities for that purpose.

The Bill provides a thin cover, through the mechanism of taking total capital receipts into account when determining the supplementary credit approvals, for a transfer of borrowing power from authorities with capital receipts to those without. In many cases, that will mean a transfer of borrowing power from authorities that have managed their housing stock well; taken a forward-looking, innovative approach to housing; and undertaken large-scale voluntary transfers to those that have succeeded in frustrating their tenants’ right to buy and which have eschewed the opportunities of the large-scale voluntary transfers that have brought such a welcome diversity to the social housing sector. Incidentally, such transfers have also attracted £4 billion of private sector money, which otherwise would not have been available. The Bill represents the worst kind of subsidy—a subsidy from the efficient to the inefficient.

The implementation of the Bill represents an unjustifiable penalisation of thrifty, well-managed councils such as Runnymede and an erosion of the principle of local autonomy and accountability, which the Government purport to favour. It will also lead directly to the imposition of higher council taxes and higher rents as receipt-rich authorities are forced to run down their balances and forgo the considerable income that those balances currently generate. No less an organisation than Shelter, hardly a well-known supporter of the Conservative view of the world, has calculated that council house rents will rise by £6 a week if all the receipts are released. It is clear that council taxes will rise or services will be cut as prudent councils find that the dice are loaded against them and are forced to liquidate investments.

The Bill is an attack on thrift and good management. It represents a thinly veiled transfer of borrowing power to Labour’s friends in local government. I fear that my constituents may expect more of the same when the local government settlement is announced.

The Bill attacks the capital balances of prudent authorities and an attack on their revenue support will not be far behind. It is the new Government’s double whammy for the council tax payers of Surrey.

When the Bill is stripped of the smokescreen of capital receipts, it is clear that it paves the way for either an increase in the PSBR or for the reallocation of borrowing power away from receipt-rich authorities. It would be better if it said so plainly without hiding behind the fig leaf of capital receipts. It represents an inefficient way of achieving the Government’s legitimate manifesto commitment to higher investment in social housing.

The Bill is unfair in its effect on prudent local authorities. It is lacking in detail. It confers excessive discretion on Ministers. In short, it is an ill-conceived piece of legislation and I urge the House to vote against it on Second Reading.

Philip Hammond – 2015 Speech on Climate Change


Below is the text of the speech made by Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, on 10 November 2015 at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington DC, USA.

Thank you very much Dr Brooks for your kind introduction. I’m delighted to be here at the American Enterprise Institute.

You are rightly regarded as one of the most influential think tanks. The work that you do here has a real-world impact. Papers become policy. In Republican and Democrat administrations.

I also welcome the AEI board members who are here today. The fact that so many influential and busy individuals regularly take the time to hear not only from external speakers, but also from AEI scholars, is testament to your reputation for high quality and relevant work.

I haven’t come here by chance. I have come here by choice – because I want to make an argument to a conservative audience: first, that it is wholly consistent with conservative values to tackle the challenge of climate change; and second, that those conservative values can show us how best to deal with that challenge.

As I said in my speech in Boston last year, for too long, we’ve allowed the debate about climate change to be dominated by purists and idealists – many of whom operate on the left of the political spectrum – who actively promote the notion that they and only they, have the answers to the climate challenge; and that we have to sacrifice economic growth and prosperity in order to meet it.

I reject those arguments. I reject them first of all because wanting to protect the world we inherit, to pass it on intact to the next generation is a fundamentally conservative instinct. As long ago as 1988 former Conservative Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher said, “the last thing we want is to leave environmental debts for our children to clear up… No generation has a freehold on this earth. All we have is a life tenancy – with a full repairing lease.”

And I reject those arguments secondly because I do not accept that we have to choose between our future prosperity and safeguarding the future of our planet. This is not a zero sum game. As conservatives, we choose both.

The starting point for any discussion on climate change must be the threat it poses. Now of course, no-one is 100% certain of every aspect of the science. And no-one is 100% certain of the precise effects of man’s activity on our climate. But the evidence in favour of taking action to curb carbon emissions has been steadily mounting for decades. Uncertainty about the exact effects of climate change, or the role of man’s activity in delivering it, is not an excuse for inaction. In every other facet of life, we assess the risks and where the risk of occurrence is high and the impacts are potentially catastrophic, we act to mitigate and to prevent. Our approach to climate change should be no different.

That is exactly the precautionary approach that President Reagan took decades ago when the world faced a similar challenge.

In the 1980s, the majority of the world’s scientists were deeply concerned about the environment: in that case, about the depletion of the Ozone layer.

There were some doubters, but President Reagan concluded that the risks of doing nothing were too great. It was a core part of his conservative principles to take bold action when necessary. He displayed leadership, galvanising business and the international community to agree what became the Montreal Protocol, to phase out the use of damaging CFCs.

President Reagan described it as a “magnificent achievement”. And he was right to do so: we now know the worried scientists were right; and as a result of the Protocol, the ozone layer is now recovering.

I recognise the concerns of those who worry that the costs of tackling climate change will prove too great; that the attempts to do so might ruin our economy.

This is a reasonable concern.

And if it really was a choice between economic growth on the one hand, or lower greenhouse gas emissions on the other, then I too would be cautious.

But I shall argue that it is not.

And in doing so, the first thing I need to stress is that the cost of doing nothing is not … nothing.

Nearly a decade ago, the then UK government commissioned a review by one of our leading economists, Nicholas Stern, to ask what the cost of doing nothing might be. That Review estimated it could be equivalent to losing 20% of global consumption.

Since then, as our knowledge has developed, we have come to see this as not only an underestimate, but also a narrow way of looking at the problem. Many of the losses caused by climate change could be irreversible, regardless of our resources.

Unchecked climate change, even under the most likely scenario, could have catastrophic consequences – a rise in global temperatures similar to the difference between the last ice-age and today, leading in turn, to rising sea levels, huge movements of people fuelling conflict and instability, pressure on resources, and a multitude of new risks to global public health.

The worst case is even more severe: a drastic change in our environment that could see heat stress in some areas surpass the limits of human tolerance, leaving as the legacy of our generation an unimaginably different and more dangerous world for our children and grandchildren.

So the costs of doing nothing are, potentially, catastrophic – beyond anything that can easily be quantified in economic terms.

But even that argument would be vulnerable if the immediate cost of taking the necessary actions was economically ruinous. So the second thing we need to consider is what really are the costs of the necessary action?

And we should be honest. We should not pretend that acting on climate change does not involve hard choices. Even as the economy as a whole has more to gain than to lose from embracing the low-carbon agenda, there will be losers. Some sectors – particularly coal – are in for a difficult time, and we will need to think carefully about how we manage the impact on communities that have depended on these industries for generations. Their contribution to our economies has been a great one, and we should not abandon them now.

However, the more we learn, the more the evidence is shifting in favour of action. Because that evidence is showing that many of the measures to reduce climate risk will, in fact, stimulate economic growth.

Our experience in the UK bears this out. We have already reduced our emissions by more than a quarter since 1990. And over the same period of time, our economy has grown by more than 60%. Just last year, we registered a reduction in the carbon intensity of our economy of more than 10% – the steepest drop achieved by any country in the last six years. At the same time we had the fastest economic growth rate in the G7.

Not only that, but the growth in the low carbon sector of the UK economy is now outpacing the growth rate of the economy as a whole. In the UK, firms engaged in low carbon goods and services employed over 460,000 people and contributed 45 billion pounds to the UK economy in 2013. This is an increase of almost 30% in just 3 years.

And the global trends are in the same direction. The global low carbon economy is already worth 6 trillion US dollars, and is growing at between 4 and 5% a year. In 2013, additions to the world’s renewable energy generating capacity exceeded those to the fossil-fuelled capacity for the first time ever.

And the price of renewable generation is falling fast: the price of solar panels has fallen by 80% since 2008, and the price of wind turbines has fallen by more than a quarter since 2009. This is increasingly allowing these energy sources to compete on cost with fossil fuelled power generation, without the need for subsidy.

Our businesses in the UK are looking at these trends, and telling us that we should be a leader, not a back-marker; that we should be at the forefront of these developments, taking advantage of the opportunities.

The final argument against tackling climate change that I want to address today is the argument that if we take action, it will put us at a disadvantage to competitors who don’t.

Again, this is a perfectly reasonable concern. But, with countries representing 85% of the world’s emissions signed up to national contribution targets ahead of COP 21 in Paris, the reality is, all significant potential competitors are now headed in the same direction. And in any case, the UK’s experience so far is that a robust climate policy, even during a period when others have been uncommitted, has had no noticeable impact on our overall competitiveness. Businesses remain attracted to the UK’s openness to investment, flexible labour market, and highly skilled workforce.

In fact, it is increasingly clear that the economy of the future will be a low carbon economy. Studies suggest that by stimulating greater innovation and efficiency, climate policies will increase our economic competitiveness.

Two weeks ago, I was in the United Arab Emirates giving a speech on climate change as it happens. They have the world’s seventh largest reserves of gas and oil. Despite this, they are already planning for a future without hydrocarbons. They are investing in some of the world’s largest solar power plants, and are at the forefront of innovation in technologies such as high-efficiency solar-powered desalination.

And that is not only happening in the Middle East. China is now the world’s leading investor in renewable energy. In the next five years alone, it will add more wind power than the entire generating capacity, from all sources, of the UK. China has efficiency standards for its vehicles similar to those of Europe and America, and woe betide the Chinese official who rigs the test, and is increasingly planning its cities to be low carbon and resource efficient. Seven regions of China are already putting a price on carbon and in another two years, this will spread to cover the whole of the country.

So in summary, the world is moving towards a low carbon economy; I would suggest that there may now be more risk in being left behind than there is in taking the lead.

The threat is great, and the costs of dealing with it are now manageable. But the question remains: how best to respond to the challenge?

What are the appropriate mechanisms?

What are the conservative solutions?

How best can we tackle the principal cause of climate change: carbon emissions?

Of course there are those on the left who have seen the need for action on climate change as a justification for large scale “mobilisation”; for a regulatory bonanza and a bigger state. And, if a purely regulatory approach was the answer, I have no doubt that economic growth would suffer.

But it isn’t. The answer, as even the Chinese have realised, is to harness the power of the marketplace. To let the “hidden hand” of market forces loose on the challenge we are facing. And watch it deliver solutions – as it has delivered solutions to every other problem we have faced and resolved in our history.

We should be well placed in this regard. Free markets have shaped both our countries. New York and London host the world’s two most important stock exchanges; London, New York and Chicago the world’s most important commodity exchanges.

And it’s my confidence in markets that drives my approach to the economics of climate change.

In the UK we placed a price on carbon. This is completely in line with conservative economic values: a carbon price corrects a market failure: that we have allowed CO2 emissions to be a “free good” to the polluter even though they impose costs on society. With any other waste, we pay for it to be taken away. We don’t let people just dump it in the street.

Moreover, a market solution is simple and gives business the certainty that they’re asking for. Alongside 70 governments, over 1,000 businesses signed a declaration calling for carbon pricing last year. And rather than waiting for government, many businesses are taking matters in to their own hands by bringing in an internal carbon price to guide their investment decisions. The number of multinational businesses taking this approach has tripled over the past 12 months, tripled. Even oil companies, including BP, Shell, Statoil and Total, have come out in favour of carbon pricing. Major US companies that either already use internal carbon pricing, or intend to introduce it within the next two years, include Google, Microsoft, American Express, Coca-Cola, Monsanto, Wal-Mart, and Yahoo.

And fundamental to a market-based approach is letting our entrepreneurs and our innovators show the way.

Your organisation is dedicated to preserving and strengthening the foundations of a free society, including “competitive private enterprise”.

I agree wholeheartedly with that aim. Far too often, business is cast in the role of villain when it comes to climate change. But as Margaret Thatcher said in her speech to the UN General Assembly back in 1989:

“We must resist the simplistic tendency to blame modern multinational industry for the damage which is being done to the environment. Far from being the villains, it is them on whom we rely to do the research and find the solutions.” And she could have added: “make the investments”.

And again, the UK and US are well-placed to lead. We have some of the most innovative businesses, and our entrepreneurs are already leading the way. For example, UK firms build more Formula 1 racing cars than any other country, and they are pushing the boundaries of technology to harness the energy from braking, and release it back into acceleration through electric motors. The US firm Tesla is leading the world in developing battery technology for road cars, and increasingly for homes too – giving them independence from the grid, and moving us closer to the time when renewable generation is matched by effective storage to give round-the-clock access to renewable power.

We have the best research institutes in the world. If you look at a list of the top universities in the world, you will find that last year all of the top 10 were either British or American. (And, by the way, we think the 4/6 split UK/US is pretty reasonable, given your population is five times ours!).

The UK leads the world in offshore wind energy: we have installed more capacity than any other country in the world, and this is increasingly creating jobs as firms export their products and services. Meanwhile, companies such as Google are leading in developing the big data capabilities which will allow the supply and demand for energy to be matched more intelligently, reducing waste and cost.

I believe that our countries need to accelerate the pace of innovation in all of these technologies. In particular, we should focus on crossing the critical frontier of large-scale, high efficiency energy storage – giving the prospect of cost-effective renewable storage, not just round-the-clock, but through the seasons. If our innovators and entrepreneurs can solve this challenge, and bring the cost of clean energy with storage below the cost of fossil fuelled power generation, then the need for intervention will have passed and we can step back and leave the market to do the rest. Renewables will become the energy of choice – clean, competitive and secure.

If we take all of this action, we will reduce the cost of energy and the risks of climate change. We will create jobs, and enhance our energy security.

So if Britain and the US move ahead, we can reap the rewards. But of course, we cannot solve climate change alone. Only effective global action will achieve that.

That’s why the international community is negotiating right now what I hope will be a strong, effective and binding deal at the Paris meeting next month.

The Paris deal is important because it will give all countries confidence in the direction of travel. It will level the playing field, confirm once and for all that climate action does not create competitive disadvantage, catalyse investment, and spur innovation.

Over 150 countries have already made commitments to reduce their emissions over time ahead of the Paris meeting. It is likely that every significant country in the world will have done so, by the end of this year. These are not just rhetorical commitments. Many include strong substantive elements, such as China’s commitment for clean energy sources to make up a fifth of its energy consumption by 2030. Independent analysis estimates that this commitment could give China a renewable energy capacity of a thousand gigawatts by 2030 – roughly equivalent to the United States’ total electricity generating capacity today. This huge increase will fundamentally change world energy markets by expanding economies of scale, and accelerating technological innovation.

Our history shows us that when the US and the UK take a lead, we can persuade the world to follow. And we must take that lead.

Through our world-beating innovation, our trust in markets and our leadership on the world stage, we can show the world how to counter the threat of climate change at the same time as growing our economies.

As conservatives, we know the responsible thing to do is tackle threats when we see them, and to do so in ways which preserve our future security and prosperity.

And we know the smart thing to do is harness the power of the market to tackle the challenges of climate change.

Because if we do not lead, others will decide the way forward. And their solutions may not be conservative ones.

But if we do take the lead, we can ensure the global response is founded on the force of markets, the power of technology, and the institutions of capitalism.

To get there, leadership is required and not just that of Government. Think tanks, academia, businesses – all have a crucial role to play. The papers you write here at AEI; the policies you promote; the investments business make: all of these things together will determine whether and how we choose to address the challenge of climate change.

Taking action to combat climate change is the right thing to do;

The conservative thing to do.

And we have the power to ensure that as the world embraces the challenge it does so by harnessing the power of markets and the institutions of capitalism – the very things that have delivered for us time and time again throughout history.

I look forward to working with you to seize this opportunity.

Thank you.

Philip Hammond – 2014 Speech on Defence and Scottish Independence


Below is the text of the speech made by Philip Hammond, the Secretary of State for Defence, in Thales on 15th April 2014.


In this series of speeches I’ve made setting out the case for Scotland to remain part of the family of nations of the United Kingdom, there has been no shortage of support from defence companies with significant interests in Scotland.

Employing, as you do, many hundreds of people here in Glasgow, I’m grateful for your support.

I know that the debate we’re engaged in about Scotland’s future, and the future of its defence industrial base, has a direct impact not just on your business, but on your employees and their families too.

And the referendum debate is really hotting up.

Significant interventions from the Governor of the Bank of England and the Chancellor on the economy and currency…

…and from the Presidents of the European Commission and Council on membership of the European Union, have helped clarify a number of the nationalists’ claims about what an independent Scotland would look like.

Listening to Alex Salmond last week, ahead of the SNP’s conference, I couldn’t help but be struck by how much of his independence proposition is predicated upon being able to dictate, either to the rest of the UK or to the European Union or to NATO, what their policies should be.

His entire economic policy rests upon trying to dictate to the rest of the UK that Scotland could keep the pound, when the UK government has already made absolutely clear that it will not agree to that:

…it’s not an item up for negotiation; a currency union without fiscal and political union simply doesn’t work, the only way to keep the UK pound is to keep the UK together.

And he also wants to dictate the timescales for removing our nuclear deterrent, within the first term of a Scottish Parliament following independence.

But Alex Salmond knows, as I know, that the future of our naval base at Faslane would be just one of many defence issues that would be the subject of long and protracted negotiations if there were to be a “yes” vote in the referendum.

Because if they insist that it has to go, there would have to be complex talks about the costs and timescales involved.

Any notion that it would be quick and easy is just plain wrong.

But my purpose in making this speech today is not to attack the Nationalists or make dire warnings about the future prospects of an independent Scotland.

Today, I want to set out what is at stake in this debate on defence and security…

… to renew the positive case for the Union…

…and to say why I believe, as Defence Secretary for the whole of the UK, that Scotland is stronger within our United Kingdom and the UK is stronger with Scotland within it.

Why defence matters in the independence debate

I approach this debate not, you’ll be shocked to learn, as a Scot.

But as an Englishman who has, over many years, spent much happy time in Scotland; who has always regarded Scotland as part of my home, not some foreign place.

And as someone who is a proud and whole-hearted believer in the success of our unique partnership of peoples.

Forged more than three centuries ago, and tested on countless occasions, it has not only withstood the test of time, but of domestic rebellion, continental revolution and two world wars.

This year, of all years, is a time to remember and to commemorate the millions of men from all parts of the United Kingdom who stood together in the trenches in France and Belgium…

…many of whom never returned…

…but who, together, English, Scots, Irish and Welsh, protected our freedom and our way life, as would the next generation just over two decades later.

Defeating fascism, fighting communism, building the most successful and enduring democracy in the world, and one of the strongest economies…

…the partnership between our peoples has been an economic, social and military success in which we should all take great pride…

…and which I believe can go on to achieve even greater, success in the decades to come.

And the reason that defence matters in this debate is not just because of our proud history of joint endeavour.

It’s because defence provides the security and the peace of mind that underpins almost every single other area of this debate.

And as recent events in Eastern Europe remind us all too clearly, the ability to protect your people, defend your borders and safeguard your national interests is fundamental to the successful functioning of any state – old or new.

Scale of UK forces delivers greater security

As Defence Secretary, it is clear to me that the size and scale of our armed forces, the broad spectrum of capabilities they can deliver, the high calibre of the men and women who serve in them, and the consequent influence we are able to wield upon the global stage…

…all backed up by one of the world’s largest defence budgets…

…deliver for people in all parts of this United Kingdom…

…a far greater level of safety and security than could two separate forces.

That is true now.

And it will only become more so in the future.

Because the equipment and the capabilities we require to retain our cutting edge and to keep this country safe are becoming ever more sophisticated and expensive.

And the range of threats we face is becoming ever more diverse and complex.

In the past, the threats we faced came only from the sea, from land and, more recently, from the air.

Now, they also come from two new domains, space and cyber space, and from non-state protagonists as well as from nation states.

For countries that lack the scale of our forces and the size of our defence budget…

…difficult choices have to be made about the threats against which they can afford to defend; and those against which they cannot.

But thanks to a £34 billion annual defence budget, supporting some of the most capable, agile and deployable forces in the world we, as the United Kingdom, can defend ourselves against the broad range of potential security threats we face.

At the same time as we are constructing new aircraft carriers here in Scotland, building new submarines in Barrow, test flying new Joint Strike Fighters in the United States, and trialling new unmanned surveillance aircraft in Southern England…

…we are also investing hundreds of millions of pounds in defensive and offensive cyber capabilities…

… to protect against the new and growing threat from cyber space.

Frankly, that is a position in which many of our international partners and allies would like to be; but very few of them are.

Scale: recruiting high calibre people

Of course, being able to buy and sustain military hardware is one thing.

But it is the people that operate that hardware that turn it into a military capability.

And it is the people in our armed forces that I believe are our greatest asset.

Drawn from the four corners of these islands, nothing epitomises more the strength we derive from being a United Kingdom than the men and women in our navy, army and air force…

…coming together with a common purpose, to keep our country and our people safe and secure.

And it’s precisely because of the scale of our armed forces that we can offer some of the most demanding, exciting and adventurous career opportunities available, the chance to serve in a wide variety of roles, including the chance to train and deploy overseas on operations…

…combined with the status that comes from serving in some of the best respected and most capable armed forces in the world…

Precisely because of that, we are able to recruit and retain some of the highest calibre young men and women our country has to offer to keep us safe.

Scale: supporting the UK industrial base

Scale is also critical when it comes to the size of the defence industrial base we can sustain in the UK, including here in Scotland.

On current estimates from Scottish Development International, the defence industry in Scotland employs around 12,600 people, and generates sales in excess of £1.8 billion.

The navy’s flagship project, the construction of the two new Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers, has sustained thousands of jobs in shipyards around the country.

When HMS Queen Elizabeth is floated out of her dock in Rosyth in 3 months’ time, she will be the biggest ship the Royal Navy has ever had…

…and one of the greatest feats of marine engineering this country has ever delivered, a ship of which the entire United Kingdom can be proud, and which embodies the strength of the Union, working together:

with her individual blocks built in Devon, Tyneside, Merseyside, Portsmouth and not far from here on the Clyde…

…with suppliers based across the country, from Pontypridd to Plymouth and from Ipswich to Inverness…

…taking final shape on the Firth of Forth, she is testimony to the United Kingdom’s combined manufacturing and engineering strength.

A reminder of what this great country is capable of when we work together as one.

Those who are working, or have worked, on HMS Queen Elizabeth are proud of the project in which they are involved…

…and we should all be proud of them.

And as the United Kingdom, we have in the Royal Navy the critical mass of warships to generate an order book of sufficient size to maintain a sovereign warship building capability.

Rather than placing orders for our surface ships with potentially cheaper yards overseas, successive UK governments have deliberately chosen to sustain our sovereign capability, albeit at a financial premium.

As a result, no complex warships for the Royal Navy have been procured from outside the UK since the start of the 20th Century, except during the 2 World Wars.

Today, that policy, and the Royal Navy’s scale, delivers billions of pounds of investment and sustains thousands of Scottish jobs, directly and indirectly.

And I believe it is neither in Scotland’s interests, nor the rest of the United Kingdom’s, to put that at risk.

Scale: UK global influence

And there’s another area in which the scale of the United Kingdom brings direct benefits to our collective safety and security.

And that’s through our influence on the world stage.

Exercised through the use of a Soft Power which is second to none…

…but which derives its strength from being backed by the hard power of our defence capability.

The size of our armed forces, the scale of our defence budget, the breadth of our military capabilities and the reputation of the men and women of our armed forces significantly increases the UK’s influence with our international allies and partners.

Our national security is underpinned by the international partnerships and alliances of which we are a central part…

…and it is through our high level of influence that we are able to shape those organisations and alliances in our own strategic interests.

The UK is one of just five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

We are the largest contributor of deployable forces to Nato, the cornerstone of our defence policy, after the United States.

We have deep and wide ranging bilateral relationships with our most capable Western military allies, the United States and France.

And, together with the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, we are part of the world’s largest and most successful intelligence sharing community.

Being a member of those organisations is not an end in itself.

But it is the access to information on the latest security threats, the opportunities to collaborate on equipment programmes; and the ability to generate joint forces, such as the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force with France, to deter our adversaries and extend our global reach…

…that act as a force multiplier for the United Kingdom as a whole, allowing us to punch above our weight…

…and that means we are able, together, to deliver the highest level of security for all of the British people.

A strong defence presence in Scotland

And the truth is, Scotland’s contribution to the collective security of the United Kingdom is absolutely vital.

Scotland is at the very heart of the UK’s defence effort and, at a time when we have had to make reductions in the overall size of our forces to bring the defence budget back into balance…

…we will actually be increasing the size of our defence presence in Scotland:

…from a Regular force of some 11,000 personnel today, to 12,500 by 2020.

At Faslane, Scotland will be home to one of the Royal Navy’s three main bases and its entire fleet of submarines.

At RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland will host one of the Royal Air Force’s three main fast jet bases and one of our two Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon forces.

And around Edinburgh and Leuchars, Scotland will be the home to one of the Army’s seven adaptable force brigades.

With a total of 50 defence sites across Scotland…

…from Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides to Kirkcudbright in Dumfries and Galloway, where part of the international Exercise Joint Warrior is taking place right now…

…Scotland is as integral to the United Kingdom’s security as the rest of the United Kingdom is to Scotland’s.

Fundamental questions about independence remain unanswered

So what of the separatists’ alternative?

What would defence and security look like under an independent Scotland?

Standing here, 5 months before the Scottish people go to the polls, I would have expected to be able to answer that question.

But the truth is, I can’t.

So fundamental are the uncertainties regarding the Scottish government’s defence proposals …

…and so basic are the unanswered questions…

…that they are almost impossible to analyse in any meaningful way.

It’s hard to avoid drawing the conclusion that the SNP want to keep the Scottish people in the dark until after polling day.

Where, for example, is the detailed costing of the Scottish government’s defence proposals?

To have any credibility, the Scottish government has to be able to show that their proposals add up.

Where, to take another, is the assessment of risks and threats that Scotland will face?

Endnote 261 to the White Paper refers to an analysis of Scotland’s geopolitical context, threats and risks – upon which the Scottish government’s entire defence and security policy is apparently based.

And yet it remains unpublished.

Do the Scottish people not deserve to see these documents before they cast their votes?

Do the welders and fitters and electricians and draughtsmen in the shipyards not far from here not deserve to know how much the Scottish government would be able and willing to invest in warship building?

And do the young people considering a career in the Forces not deserve to know what security tasks Scottish defence forces would fulfil, and what opportunities and experience they would have as members of them?

There are question marks, even, over the size the defence and security budget would be.

The white paper states that there would be £2.5 billion for defence and security.

But we know from the Finance Secretary, John Swinney, and his secret memo leaked last year, that actually “a much lower budget must be assumed”.

So do the Scottish people not deserve to know what that “lower budget” would be; and what it would mean for an independent Scotland’s ability to defend itself?

The SNP’s defence force plans lack coherence

Finally, what of the capabilities that the Nationalists say the Scottish defence forces would have?

Would they be credible? And are they coherent?

It’s tempting to go through the whole lot, but time is short, so let me just take one example.

Fighter jets.

The White Paper asserts that, at independence, Scotland’s air forces would consist of [a minimum of] 12 Typhoon jets.

And even that 12 is two more than the SNP’s logic of a population based share of the UK’s current Typhoon fleet would give them.

Since the Scottish government regularly makes comparisons with Norway and Denmark, it’s worth noting that the Royal Danish Air Force has a fleet of 45 fast jets… …and the Royal Norwegian Air Force has 57, putting them in a completely different league to the Nationalists’ proposals for Scotland.

But even that does not tell the whole story.

Anyone who knows anything about modern defence will tell you that owning 12 jets does not mean that you have 12 jets available to deploy.

Even in a fleet as efficient as the RAF’s, roughly a third of the force will be in deep maintenance; and only a third will be at full readiness.

So even on the assumption that a Scottish air force could achieve the same levels of efficiency in maintenance and aircraft servicing as the RAF, despite its much smaller size…

…under the Nationalists’ plans, the number of jets they could expect to have available to deploy at any one time is just four.

Just four, to defend and protect the whole of Scotland’s skies and air approaches, which represents a huge proportion of the UK’s current area of responsibility.

And to police that area properly would require those few jets to be capable of flying well out over the North Atlantic and the Irish Sea.

To be capable of staying up in the air for prolonged periods, as our quick reaction alert Typhoons do today.

But that requires air to air refuelling capability.

Inexplicably, there is no provision for air to air refuelling aircraft in the Scottish government’s plans.

It doesn’t even get a mention.

A vital enabling capability not even considered.

So in fast air, at least, we have a policy proposition that falls apart at the first scrutiny, revealing that, in practical terms, large parts of Scotland’s airspace would be undefended.

That, to me, is a totally irresponsible proposition.


So, with 5 months remaining until the referendum on September 18th, it’s clear that on one of the most important topics of all, their future safety and security, the separatists owe the Scottish people a lot of answers.

In place of fact, we have assertion.

And in place of certainty, we have doubt.

But against the doubt and uncertainty of the separatist proposition, the case for remaining part of the family of nations of the United Kingdom is clear.

For more than three centuries, our nations have worked together to deliver a safe and secure United Kingdom.

Our armed forces, drawn from the four nations of our union, have proven themselves, time and again, to be the finest armed forces in the world.

The combination of our scale, our critical mass and our reputation allows us to punch above our weight in security terms…

…and enables a diplomacy that is second to none…

…ensuring that the people of these islands are safer and more propserous as a result.

Over the last two and a half years as Defence Secretary, I’ve had to take often difficult decisions to provide UK defence with a stable forward plan while making a contribution to rebuilding Britain’s fiscal stability after the financial crash.

Because rebuilding our economy is vital to our ability to sustain defence in the years to come.

And now at the very point that there is light at the end of what has seemed like a very long and dark tunnel…

…do we really want to turn in on ourselves to focus on the consequences of a difficult and painful divorce…

…rather than facing outwards, together, to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of our changing world?

To me, the choice is clear..

Weakening our economic strength by dividing it with a border…

… or using our UK market of 60 million people as a springboard for success in a fiercely competitive global marketplace.

Diminishing our diplomatic reach and our unrivalled soft power by breaking up the union…

…or confidently building on our centuries of achievements, admired around the world, as we face the future together.

Dismantling the joint achievements of the last 300 years…

… or working together to deliver those of the next three hundred.

I have no doubt:

Unpicking centuries of shared security and prosperity would damage both Scotland and the rest of the UK.

It would leave us all weaker.

It would leave us all less secure.

It is our shared history, our common values and our unity of purpose which make us what we are today.

It is Scotland which makes the UK united, and adds the Great to Great Britain.

What we have is precious.

It has taken many years to build.

It works, and works well.

So let us ensure that come September, the message goes out so that there can be no doubt…

… our family of four proud and successful nations is safer, stronger and better together.

Thank you.

Philip Hammond – 2011 Speech on the Strategic Framework for Road Safety


Below is the text of a speech made by the Secretary of State for Transport, Philip Hammond, on road safety, held at Great Minster House on 11th May 2011.

Each year an incredible 1.3 million people are killed and 50 million are injured on the world’s roads. Politicians often use words like incredible, but when I saw those figures I asked someone to check them. They are correct and they are mind-numbing figures. Equally chilling is the fact that, on current trends, road fatalities could become the world’s fifth biggest killer by 2030. These facts and figures demonstrate that road safety is a truly global issue. They also remind us of the motivation for the UN Decade of Action – a decade in which, with the right focus, action and policies, countless lives will be saved in the years ahead.

Britain is rightly proud of its road safety record. Our highways are among the safest roads in the world and we have seen significant decreases in our casualty figures. But, in spite of all we have achieved, we still lose six or seven people to road accidents in this country every day of the week. Every road death is a grim statistic – but it is also a personal tragedy. And, as well as the terrible human cost, there is a heavy economic price to pay. Again, I had to have these figures checked – in Britain, the economic welfare costs are estimated at around £16 billion a year, while insurance payouts for motoring claims alone are now over £12 billion a year.

So there is no room for complacency – and that’s why today the Government has launched its new Strategic Framework for Road Safety. The core principle underpinning our new strategy is that, with limited resources available, we need to target the most dangerous behaviours: focusing police and court time on those who deliberately engage in anti-social and dangerous driving behaviour, while supporting the generally law-abiding motorist to address poor driving skills or lapses of behaviour that could put him or her and other road users at risk.


The strategy will be delivered both nationally and locally. The new Framework sets out those measures that we intend to take nationally, together with the areas where policy and delivery will reflect local priorities and circumstances. The national measures focus on two key strands – education and enforcement. Let me take each of them in turn. As I’ve said, we want to support basically law-abiding road users to address poor driving skills – to nudge their behaviour in the right direction. That means more educational options for drivers who make genuine mistakes, display poor skills or commit occasional low level offences – to improve their driving, support to develop safer skills and appropriate attitudes to driving. In appropriate cases, low level offenders will be offered a place on a police-approved education course (at their cost) instead of a fixed penalty charges and licence points. We know from experience that properly designed education courses can have a positive impact on driving behaviour. But our education initiative will go further: we will reform the regime for rehabiliting disqualified drivers – so that the most serious offenders who are disqualified from driving have to complete re-training and a mandatory new test before they regain their licence.

We will also continue to build on the recent improvements we’ve made to our driving and motorcycle tests And we’ll develop a new post-driving test vocational qualification – designed to help newly qualified drivers gain the necessary skills and experience to be safe and responsible road users – and to demonstrate that they have gained those skills to would-be insurers. The better the education and the better the training, the more we can enhance the safety of all road users, whether they are pedestrians or cyclists, drivers or motorcyclists. I also want to correct what I believe has been an overly narrow emphasis on automatically-detected speed-related offences, at the expense of tackling other equally or more risky behaviours such as tailgating, under-taking and weaving.

Since 1985 the number of prosecutions for careless driving has plummeted by three-quarters as time-consuming prosecution through the courts has been deemed a lower priority by police. So we will introduce a new fixed penalty notice for careless driving to help the police to tackle risky behaviour, such as tailgating, that currently tends to go unenforced, in an efficient and effective manner. Freeing up police and court resources to focus on the most dangerous drivers. This will also enable careless driving offenders to be diverted to the new educational courses offered where appropriate to those receiving fixed penalty notices. At the same time, we will increase the level of fixed penalty notices for many road traffic offences from £60 to £80-£100 plus penalty points. The current levels have fallen behind other fixed penalties offences and the lower levels for traffic offences risk trivialising the offences.


Sadly, it isn’t just about educating the well-intentioned. Alongside those who make genuine mistakes or have poor skills, but who want to do the right thing, there are also a minority hard-core of dangerous road users who commit serious, deliberate and repeated offences. Not because of poor skills, but because of bad attitude – and a reckless disregard of risk. These people are a danger to themselves and to others and, in order to tackle their negligence and target their recklessness, we will enhance the enforcement and sanctions regime. An effective deterrent requires credible sanctions. So, in addition to using innovative ways to recover unpaid fines, we will also work to make full use of existing powers for the courts to seize and crush an offender’s vehicle.

I’m also determined to increase the effectiveness of drink and drug drive enforcement and cut reoffending, as set out in our response to the North report on Drink and Drug Driving in March. One of the great successes of road safety over the last 40 years has been the extent to which drink driving has become socially unacceptable – and largely in consequence, the number of people killed in drink driving accidents has fallen by more than 75% since 1979. But sadly, people are still losing their lives because of drink driving – in 2009, 380 people were killed in drink driving collisions – about 17% of all of the fatalities on the road for that year. So we need to take tough action against the small minority of drivers who don’t give a second thought to the law and who put their lives in danger by drink driving and also the lives of others. They have ignored the shift in social attitudes; they ignore the risks they are taking and they ignore the drink driving limit. Shockingly, 40% of those who fail the alcohol breath test are more than two and a half times the permitted limit. A lower limit would not make this reckless minority change their behaviour. Their behaviour is entrenched– and so we have concluded that improving enforcement will have more impact on these dangerous people than lowering the limit.

So we are toughening up the enforcement regimes. We are revoking the right for drivers who are over the limit on a breath test to request a blood or urine test – eliminating the opportunity for delay that over the years has allowed countless drink drivers to get away with their offence. We will also be launching a more robust drink-drive rehabilitation scheme, providing high quality education courses, and requiring drink-drivers who were substantially over the limit to take remedial training and a linked driving assessment – as well as a medical examination – before recovering their licence.

Drink driving kills. But it is just as dangerous for people to drive impaired by drugs, and it is quite wrong that it is easier at present to get away with one than the other. So there needs to be a clear message that drug-drivers are as likely to be caught and punished as drink-drivers. We are working to approve drug testing devices and we will change the law to speed up the testing process, ensuring the police can bring drug drivers to justice. We are also exploring the introduction of a new offence – alongside the existing offence – which would relieve the need for the police to prove impairment case-by-case where a specified drug at a specified level has been detected in the blood stream. We are determined, over time, to make drug-driving as socially unacceptable as drink-driving has become.

There is also a significant correlation between uninsured driving and other road traffic offending. While we believe we will now make progress against uninsured drivers – with the introduction of Continuous Insurance Enforcement – we are clear that this is an area that requires further work to arrive at a fully effective package of measures. The rising cost of insurance will surely tempt more and more to take the risk. So we will consider introducing proportionate penalties for uninsured driving, to ensure that the cost of offending is better matched to the cost of insurance, while continuing to work with the insurance industry on measures that help to reduce the cost of motor insurance to make it more affordable over time.


Our new Strategy we are publishing today makes it clear that, while targets sometimes have their place, we do not consider over-arching national targets to be the most appropriate means of improving road safety in Britain. None-the-less, government at the national level has a crucial part to play in improving road safety – from delivering better driving standards and testing, to enhancing enforcement and education, right through to the way it manages the country’s strategic road infrastructure. So yes, we recognise the positive difference that central Government can make. But we also believe in the potential and possibilities offered by localism. And that’s why our Strategic Framework acknowledges that local communities also have a vital role in making roads as safe as they can be. Local service deliverers do not need civil servants in Whitehall to tell them how important road safety is. Nor do they need central diktats that constrain their local ambitions and priorities.

Instead of more suffocating bureaucracy and top down government, we will devolve decision making and empower people at the local level. Enabling the creation of local solutions tailored to meet local challenges – recognising that the road safety challenges we face are different in different parts of the country – whether it is setting local speed limits, or choosing the most appropriate traffic management schemes. By giving local authorities more freedom to assess and act on their own priorities, we will see better targeted, more effective local action. We will provide an economic toolkit to assist local authorities in assessing the full costs and benefits when considering speed limits – helping them to ensure that their decisions on speed limits are consistent and transparent to the communities they serve. And we will move to a more sophisticated method of monitoring progress through a Road Safety Outcomes Framework, which will help local authorities assess and prioritise their action as well as showing the impact of central Government measures.

We also want citizens to play a more active role in championing the cause of road safety in their areas. So we will ensure that more information is made available to help them to hold their local authorities and service providers to account and to enable them to compare the performance of their area against other similar areas. And that ability to compare is critical, the gap between the best and worst performing authorities is very significant. If the bottom half of highway authorities upped their game to the mid point authority, the number of killed and seriously injured casualties could decrease by 14%….that’s 3,500 fewer deaths or seriously injured every year. Our localism agenda is a radical transfer of power and information from Whitehall to the town hall and from Downing Street to the local High Street. It helps to build capacity, increase transparency and strengthen accountability. And it will enable local people to come together, to work together and build the types of neighbourhoods and communities that they want to live in.

Concluding remarks

Road safety is everybody’s business – we all have a stake in making our highways as safe as they can be. And in spreading our best practice in the UK to the many parts of the world with road safety records that are very far behind. That’s why the UN Decade of Action is so important. It’s also why road safety is a first order issue for me and for this Government. Britain has made great progress down the years in making our roads safer. We want that progress to continue and the Strategic Framework we are publishing today will take that agenda forward. My very clear message today is that we will work with the grain of human nature: encouraging and assisting drivers who occasionally lapse or who suffer from poor skills – the basically law-abiding majority – to become a safe and responsible motorists. We are not against them, we are with them and we will work to help them. But on those who wilfully and recklessly put themselves and others at risk, we will focus the resources of law-enforcement with a new determination.

Thank you.