Priti Patel – 2017 Speech at BICOM Jewish News Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Priti Patel, the Secretary of State for International Development, to the BICOM Jewish News conference on 2 November 2017.


Lords, ladies and gentlemen; distinguished guests and friends.

Theresa, thank you for your introduction. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be speaking here today, at this event to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, in the presence of esteemed colleagues. I am extremely grateful to BICOM and Jewish News for hosting this important event and for inviting me to speak – it is an honour.

100 years on from the Balfour Declaration, Britain is proud of the role we played in helping to make a homeland for the Jewish people – after so many centuries of persecution.

As the Prime Minister said last week in Parliament, we are proud of the role that we played in the creation of the State of Israel and we will certainly mark the centenary with pride. The Prime Minister said she is pleased about the good trade and other relationships we have with Israel which we are building on and enhancing.

She also said that we must be conscious of the sensitivities that some people have about the Balfour Declaration.

I agree.

It is also vital to look forward towards establishing security and justice for both Israelis and Palestinians through a lasting peace. We believe the best way to achieve this is through a two-state solution based on a negotiated settlement that leads to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state.

Today, the United Kingdom remains a close and reliable friend of Israel.

From the strong and enduring bilateral relationship, built on decades of cooperation in education, technology medical research, business, arts and culture to the trade relationship which between our two countries is at record levels.

Within the region in particular, Israel is an important strategic partner for the UK. Britain’s commitment to Israel’s security remains unwavering as is our support of Israel’s absolute right to defend its citizens. During meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu earlier this year, the Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s commitment to building on the strong ties that already exist between our two countries and to continue to build upon our people to people ties.

I believe there is great potential for our two countries to work together, as we work to set the foundations for a more stable and prosperous future.

A changing world

As International Development Secretary, I see and make decisions everyday about our changing world and about some of the poorest and most troubled places.

It is staggering but true that there are more refugees and displaced people now than at any time since World War Two – with over 15 million in the Middle East region in particular.

In fact, the Middle East and North Africa is the only region in the world where poverty rates are expected to rise in the coming years… if nothing changes, the number of people living in extreme poverty will continue to escalate.

There are already 29 million children living in poverty in the region and many countries in the region also have a poor track record on women’s rights; development is going into reverse.

The Middle East is therefore not just a security challenge, but a development challenge too.

Violence and conflict are pulling people back into poverty.

We are seeing the enormous potential of people squandered – because governments and leaders have failed to create the conditions for stability, opportunity and growth…conditions where fairness and human endeavour can flourish.

As a result some areas of the world have become fertile territory for extremist groups and organisations and their poisonous ideologies.

Extremist groups are seeking to control schools and what they teach by repressing all freedom of thought and a secular education.

Which is why we must invest in those people and communities so that we can end the hateful ideology that seeks to create division across countries, communities and people.

And let me say, that 100 years on from the Balfour Declaration, it is deplorable that anti-Semitism has once again raised its ugly head in our country.

We will fight it wherever it appears.

And speak out against intolerance, hatred and bigotry in all its forms.

And together we must ensure that it appears no more.

UK development

The UK has a critical role to play in development and in helping to tackle the root causes of terror and violent extremism.

Education is a critical part of this.

Education is critical to breaking down barriers, in attitudes, perceptions about people and cultures.

By investing in education and education systems we are able to go across boundaries, in a world where physical borders have less and less meaning.

Today across the Middle East in particular, we see over 10 million children out of school in a region that is experiencing the largest reversal of education progress in history.

In the Middle-East, Britain has led a global campaign to ensure there is no lost generation of Syrian children. Last year, we helped get over 700,000 children into formal education.

Protecting and educating a generation of vulnerable young people is critical to development to turn them away from the toxic messages of extremists and instead providing new opportunities through education, skills and work.

As believers in the two state solution, DFID’s work is focussed on building the institutions of a future Palestinian State through our work in education and in providing basic services from water to health.

This includes job creation through economic growth opportunities for women and young people.

But also to build and support people to people ties across communities through co-existence programmes and support.

And we are working across communities and across the region to support peace and stability.

I have seen for myself the very best of Jewish organisations and charities around the world including here in the UK doing such amazing work by investing in people.

Because education, skills and jobs are crucial to opening up opportunities and widening horizons… bringing hope and the possibility of a better future.

The case for open markets, private sector investment and technology has also never been stronger in development.

This is how we can transform the poorest and most unsecure parts of the world, and help countries stand on their own two feet.

It is to no country’s benefit if we leave millions of people without hope or aspiration… another generation locked into the vicious cycle of the politics of hate and repression.

Working with Israel

I have always been struck by the exceptional achievement that is the state of Israel.

A country that has turned desert into fertile and plentiful land.

A country that started with nothing, in a struggle for subsistence and survival and is now a world leader in technology and innovation.

A country that despite the challenges of a turbulent region has become a democratic success story.

A country that is at the forefront of the skills revolution, whether in technology, life skills, vocational skills and is creating the most practical solutions to enhance the lives of the poorest and most marginalised in the world.

The desire and responsibility to want to help others, coupled with a can do attitudes, is Ladies and Gentlemen, precisely the sort of Jewish Homeland that was dreamt by Herzl and was of course was supported by the historic letter – the Balfour Declaration.

I have long admired Israel’s extraordinary ingenuity and leadership in technology and innovation, and I am delighted that the UK is working so closely with Israel, in so many ways.

For example the Israel/UK Tech Hub helps the UK to ally with Israel’s status as the “Start-Up Nation” – with more start-ups per capita than anywhere but Silicon Valley – and with its incredible innovative and entrepreneurial culture.

And in turn Israel is partnering with the UK’s world-leading science, research and the fast growing tech sectors.

In my role as Development Secretary I am keen that we continue this collaboration and work together to help create jobs and opportunities in the poorest parts of the world and also to provide essential support to the most vulnerable and marginalised in society.

The UK is also committed to deepening our partnership – across trade, security, and cultural interests – and working together to tackle pressing global issues.

This is important for security and stability in the UK, and across the world.


On this Centenary, it is fair to say that the Balfour Declaration was indispensable to the creation of a great nation.

In the decades since its birth, Israel has prevailed over what has sometimes been the hostility of neighbours to become a liberal democracy and a dynamic hi-tech economy.

In a region where many have endured authoritarianism and misrule, Israel has always stood out as a free society.

Britain will stand by these values and stand by Israel.

And by doing so we stand up to tackling this region’s challenges in the short-term and for the long-haul – working to build a more prosperous, more stable future for us all.

These values were precisely the sort of values that were central to the historic letter we commemorate today.

Priti Patel – 2017 Speech at Conservative Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Priti Patel, the Secretary of State for International Development, at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester on 3 October 2017.

Conference, good afternoon.

Britain has always been a bold and confident nation.

We are unafraid to stand up for what we believe in.

In our history, we’ve helped to end the slave trade, defeat dictators, and champion democracy around the world.

And today, we are leading the fight to end poverty, eradicate disease and help refugees survive brutal conflicts.

Influence is about knowing what you believe in.

Having the confidence to project British values internationally.

Looking outwards not inwards and utilising our unique history and our position as a force for good.

Using British values to shape a better world and create hope and optimism for the future.

When people across the globe see UK aid supplies arriving in their village or refugee camp – proudly marked with the Union flag – they know that Britain is on their side.

Our heroic Armed Forces forces and aid experts are serving around the world, from Nigeria, to Afghanistan, to South Sudan and the hurricane relief efforts across the Caribbean.

They are providing a badge of hope to millions, shaping a better and safer world.

Each and every one of them deserves our thanks.

We all know that money spent by Ministers and civil servants does not belong to them.

It belongs to you – the very taxpayers who have worked hard for it.

As Margaret Thatcher once said: “Pennies do not come from heaven. They have to be earned here on earth.”

The public are right to be angry when they hear stories about wasted aid.

They naturally think that their Government is throwing away their hard-earned cash.

That is why under my leadership, my priority is to make sure that aid delivers value for money.

My Ministers have scrutinised every aspect of DFID’s spending

I have removed programmes which did not stand up to scrutiny.

Where partnerships weren’t working, I have ended them.

Where legitimate concerns have been raised over poor spending, I have taken action.

And where other Government Departments need to improve their aid spending, I am challenging them to raise their game and be accountable to UK taxpayers.

I am delivering close to £500 million pounds of savings.

And I have been ruthless in closing programmes that did not meet the standards I have set.

I am expanding the use of Payment by Results.

That means performance based funding.

If they don’t deliver, we won’t pay.

I am taking back control of our spending and decision-making.

Making sure we use British values to bring hope and optimism to millions across the world.

I would like to thank the Ministers who are supporting this improvement: Michael Bates, Rory Stewart and Alistair Burt.

I also want to pay tribute to James Wharton, my former Africa Minister, who until the General Election, helped to drive essential change across DFID.

He was an outstanding Minister, and I know that he’ll be back in frontline politics again.

When it comes to getting value for money, the job is not yet done.

Today, I am announcing the conclusion of a comprehensive review of DFID’s relationships with suppliers.

I am setting out tough reforms that will encourage the private sector to work with DFID and end the appalling practice of fat cats profiteering from the aid budget.

I am introducing a tough Code of Conduct, with legally enforceable sanctions for non-compliance, to root out unethical behaviour.

I‘m taking the toughest approach in Whitehall to crack down on contract costs.

I‘m cutting red tape and simplifying the bidding process to help small British firms win with DFID and create jobs up and down the UK.

On my watch I will end the crony-market where a handful of suppliers, would win contract after contract, which blocked innovation and competition.

I will always put the interests of taxpayers and the world’s poor ahead of consultants and middle-men.

I am leading global efforts to reform the way the whole world does development and aid.

Two weeks ago I announced a new regime of performance-related funding for the United Nations and its agencies.

From next year 30% of our funding will be conditional on improved results and reform.

But that’s not all.

For years the United Nations has ignored the shocking scandal of sexual abuse and the exploitation of children.

This must end.

I have told them that all future funding is subject to them implementing the highest standards of child protection; investigating all allegations; and securing prosecutions of those responsible for these crimes.

If they don’t make the grade, believe me, they won’t get the aid.

I will continue to challenge the aid system to ensure that the international rules remain relevant to our changing world.

As Hurricane Irma graphically demonstrated, they need to be flexible, so aid gets to the right place at the right time.

That equally applies to our British citizens in our British territories.

In today’s world of new threats and extremist ideologies – and I’m not just talking about Mr Corbyn – we must be bold and unapologetic in standing up for our values.

Conservatives do not talk Britain down.

We are the party that raises horizons, transforms lives and secures a better future.

We know that trade, investment and free markets provide the route out of poverty.

And as we look to support prosperity in developing countries and growth in the UK, Brexit is the opportunity to secure our place in the world.

Britain can reassert itself as a global beacon for free trade, enterprise and free markets.

Earlier this year I launched DFID’s first-ever Economic Development Strategy and set out a vision for how the private sector can boost jobs, growth and development.

My objective is clear.

I’m not here to endlessly hand out money.

I will help people and countries stand on their own two feet.

Like Mary in Ethiopia who now works full-time in the new industrial zone in Hawassa.

Thanks to DFID, she can now provide for her family.

Also millions of girls around the world are now able to go to school.

And the job of everyone working in development must be to end aid dependency.

We are offering a hand-up, not a hand-out.

That’s why I’m working with colleagues across Government to promote economic development.

In Nigeria, we are working to create real jobs and tackle the scourge of modern day slavery.

Our trade Department is creating new trading links in some of the poorest countries in the world.

I want the countries who receive aid today be our trading partners of tomorrow.

We made a clear commitment on aid in our manifesto.

We will honour it.

The money I’ve saved from closing programmes, is going on projects such as the fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases.

We will deliver over a billion treatments to fight cruel, avoidable infections such as trachoma, Guinea-worm and river blindness.

Britain is leading the way on clearing landmines globally.

And I am placing a new international emphasis on improving the lives of people with disability.

That’s not all.

Across this country there are thousands of small charities led by inspirational people, doing amazing work around the world.

But for years, they have found it impossible to access UK aid, because the aid budget supported big international charities.

That is why I’m opening up the aid budget to the Best of British charities up and down the country.

Using British values and expertise to shape a better world.

This Conservative Government is leading the way in eradicating polio from the face of the earth, forever.

And I want to pay tribute to the thousands of Rotarians across the world – and in this audience – who have led the fight against polio.

Earlier this year, the world faced the terrifying prospect of four famines.

We succeeded in getting the rest of the world to pull their weight.

It was Global Britain that raised the alarm and pushed the international community to step up and deliver a life-saving response.

That saved millions of lives, and I will continue to challenge others to do more.

Compare that with Labour’s approach to the world.

Last week, at their conference, Mr Corbyn failed to condemn North Korea for abusing human rights and flouting international rules by launching missiles.

He failed to condemn Venezuela – where the regime he has held up as a beacon for others to follow, is viciously stamping out all opposition.

He failed to condemn the terror his friends in Hamas have unleashed upon the Israeli people.

And not once did he confront or condemn his supporters who have launched a wave of anti-Semitism, bullying, and abuse against anyone who does not subscribe to their extremist views.

And as he stood in Brighton, of all places, he once again failed to apologise for standing side-by-side with the IRA terrorists who brutally murdered and maimed. Disgraceful.

Our approach is different from Labour’s, because our values are different from Labour’s.

They believe that wealth is created by governments and bureaucracies.

We believe that wealth is created by people and enterprise.

I believe in people, markets and freedom.

This is what will genuinely serve the interests of the many and not the few.

The Labour Party, despite what they say, does not stand for the many.

It stands for the vested interests and narrow dogma of the few.

Exploiting the hopes and fears of young people, only to go on and lie to them.

Celebrating the state-sponsored theft of the property held by private citizens.

And when it comes to international relations, they have just one principle.

To turn a blind eye and refuse to speak out as their socialist friends and comrades unleash violence and repression against people and communities.

Shame on them, shame on the Labour Party and shame on their vile brand of socialism.

It is our responsibility to stop them from getting anywhere near the door of Number 10.

They are not fit to represent Britain or the British people.

That is why what you do is so important.

From me, from all of my colleagues in Cabinet and Parliament, I want to say a huge thank you.

Because it’s your hard work and campaigning that made all the difference.

You delivered us the highest Conservative vote for many years – some 13.6 million people who backed us at the ballot box.

So, we know what we need to do.

We must set out the positive case for Conservative values across all areas of policy.

Explain why our ideas will create the society that we all want to see and live in.

Not just for us, for our children and for their children.

One which is open, tolerant and extends opportunity for all.

British Conservative values are my values.

And I will use them to shape a better country and a better world for all.

Thank you.

Priti Patel – 2017 Speech at Family Planning Summit

Below is the text of the speech made by Priti Patel, the Secretary of State for International Development, at the Family Planning Summit in London on 11 July 2017.

Good morning ladies and gentlemen and friends. I’m really delighted to be here today and also to welcome you all. I know it’s a bit of a late welcome this morning. Because we have been taking the message externally.

You heard from Melinda earlier on, she and I were doing some media this morning and really talking about the virtues of what we are doing and, of course, making the case.

So I am just thrilled that you are all here – you heard me say a bit of this last night.

But also I really want to give my thanks to Melinda, Natalia but all of you – all of you who’ve been such powerful and passionate advocates of this very, very essential issue.

We are here because of the nature of the issue and the nature of the challenges that family planning brings to all countries around the world. But, also, because of the ability that it brings to save lives and change lives and, of course, because it’s so fundamental to development.

Family planning enables women to take control of their futures, so that they can finish their educations. get better jobs, but also to plan for their families – rather than being trapped in that cycle of grinding poverty and deprivation.

Which we have to keep on saying. And I was quite struck this morning when undertaking some media interviews just the fact that we have to state that, re-state that again and again. Because we all take it for granted. In the west we all take this for granted.

So we have to be out there and really drive the case and be the advocates for this.

But we also know that these women have fewer children, and later. And these children, of course, then grow up to be healthier, they have better outcomes in terms of their own life chances and opportunities.

And that’s exactly what we need to keep on speaking about.

And, of course, that has much more, in terms of positive outcomes, for local economies, countries to grow, the prosperity agenda.

It’s exactly what we saw in Asia. The World Bank attributes one-third of economic growth in South Korea over a 40 year period to the demographic dividend, where family planning programmes have of course enabled the fertility rate to fall, alongside education programmes, awareness programmes but of course comprehensive economic plans and policies as well.

And, frankly, we know that family planning, from a development perspective, is one of the smartest and savviest tools that we have out there. And it’s a clear investment any country can make when it comes to poverty reduction.

Every pound spent on family planning can save governments over four pounds which can be spent on other public goods – on health, housing, sanitation and other public services.

So, today, we are saying that family planning is not a nice-to-do, it isn’t an add-on if you are a politician, a minister anywhere around the world – it is crucially essential. Because we cannot beat poverty, we cannot tackle the scourge of poverty unless we get on top of this issue.

And for the 214 million girls and women in the developing world right now who don’t want to get pregnant and aren’t using modern contraception – we need to give them hope, we need to give them the ability to change this, we need to give them the ability to change their circumstance and their outcomes.

And of course that’s the purpose of why we are here, the urgency as to why we need to move fast.

And right now 1.2 billion adolescents are at the start of their reproductive years –most of them don’t know about or aren’t even allowed to get access to contraception.

And every year there are 6 million unintended pregnancies amongst adolescent girls in developing countries – and 2.5 million, as we know, tragically and completely unnecessarily as well, end up in backstreet abortions. So, together, pregnancy, childbirth, HIV are the leading killers of adolescent girls in Africa.

And we can change that, we can absolutely be at the front of the queue in changing that.

And the story of a typical girl in a poor community is that she has her first, often coerced, sexual experience at a very young age, very early teens, and of course that means her first child is going to arrive at a very early age as well. And that leads to that cycle of dropping out of school. And then of course it’s that cycle, that vicious cycle, where she then goes on to have more and more children – on average around 6 children in her lifetime.

And, of course, if that young girl’s story doesn’t change, neither will that story about her own country…the prospects of her own community and her country.

And it’s simple, if we can give girls and women the chance to own their bodies, they can own their future.

And that’s why the United Kingdom feels so strongly about this. On working with many friends that I can see here, on working across the political but also public policy landscape as well.

We know that we want to make this a stronger and firmer pillar when it comes to family planning and that comprehensive approach to sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls.

We absolutely put this on the agenda five years ago, alongside both Bill and Melinda Gates, by hosting the inaugural Family Planning Summit here in London.

And the progress that has been made has been immense, supported by the FP2020 partnership work.

And, of course, within the UK as well, much of the work that we have focused on has been on helping nearly another 8.5 million additional women to take up modern contraception.

So we are steadfast, absolutely steadfast, in our support, unwavering in our determination. And I think that’s how we all must be as well – not just as the advocates but absolutely calling others out that need to do more in this space as well.

So it gives me tremendous pleasure to say today that the British Government will boost our support for family planning around the world by 25%.

So we are going to increase our funding as well.

And that 25% increase is an additional £45million a year. We are also extending the timeframe of our support by an additional two years – committing ourselves right up to 2022.

Which means we’re going to spend £225million on family planning every single year over the next five years…cementing our place as the leading European donor to family planning.

We’ve got to walk the talk – and that’s what this is absolutely about. Be the advocate and also call upon others to do more as well.

But the fantastic thing about this support, we can talk about money but then we have to speak about people and what this means –

We will be providing through that money contraceptive support for 20 million women and girls every year…and prevent 6 million unintended pregnancies…but also prevent the trauma of over 75,000 still births.

So that is a very comprehensive package of measures.

And what I would like today is for some of us just to hold some of those numbers, not just about the money, but the people who are associated…the 20 million women and girls, the 75,000 mothers that are involved in still births and the psychological traumas, the physical and health traumas as well.

Because behind every one of those numbers is a story. And they are the women and girls that we are here to speak up for today.

And of course this new support and the initiative, and the working together today, the partnership work in particular…is helping to bring together and knit together all of us – civil society organisations, our NGO partners, but also private sector and businesses, to tackle and unblock those supply chain issues and to reach women and girls in those rural communities through new technologies.

And actually this is the exciting aspect of what we are doing. Yes we are providing a lifeline, yes we are helping so many more women and girls, but technology is a front-runner here as well.

And we are absolutely at the front in terms of pioneering much of the research and development that’s taking place.

And of course our partners here are rolling out the new injectable contraceptive, Sayana Press, at the newly agreed reduced price; and this is the first time in more than a decade that a new contraceptive method is being introduced – but importantly being globally scaled up. We are here really as the pioneers in new technology and new methods as well.

And at the same time, supporting safe abortion and working to prevent the horrors of backstreet abortions that kill so many women and girls.

Now this can never be done in isolation. And of course we have to link this and knit this together with the wider investment when it comes to education for girls, maternal health, women’s economic empowerment, preventing HIV/AIDS, ending violence against women and girls including FGM and child marriage.

And we are the community in this room. Many of us have already been the champions and the advocates on this. And that gives us a great sense of pride and a great sense of purpose.

And we demonstrate once again that our call to action means that we can carry on with the global commitment on family planning, the global commitment that we all have for women and girls.

And we know that we can do more within the international community, as well, to bring others to the table.

In developing countries – and I know that I interrupted the country programme session – that’s exactly where the change is going to start to happen.

So we know we can’t sugar-coat some of the challenges that we are all here to address and deal with.

We know that we can work with all our partners at a macro-level in the international community – but also within countries as well.

Because we know that it’s not just about the money, it’s about the ways of working, we know that it’s about the technology. But, importantly, focusing on the efforts where we are falling short and looking through today in particular how we can pick up those challenges and step up to meet those challenges,

Work with other donors obviously – because I know many others are going to make great contributions,

But I think, importantly, being the change that we want to see and being the powerful voice in this space is effectively what this is about.

So thank you very much, have a fantastic day, I look forward to talking to so many of you throughout the day as well.

And I really just want to give a genuine and heartfelt thank you to everyone, not just for being here – but for being at the forefront of the change that we want to work together to achieve. Thank you.

Priti Patel – 2016 Speech at Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Priti Patel, the Minister of State for Employment, on 28 April 2016.

It is a privilege to be here today and speak to and meet so many representatives from our licensed retail sector.

Coming from a family business background,

I believe passionately in the vital role that businesses and entrepreneurs play in supporting investment, growth and jobs in our economy.

A strong, dynamic private sector creates wealth and opportunity for all.

So I want to pay tribute to everyone here today for the tremendous work you do and the tireless efforts you put into supporting our economy.

The 200 companies that are members for the ALMR have an amazing and powerful economic footprint.

22,000 outlets supporting 650,000 jobs gives you a voice in every part of the country

– And that number is growing at a fast and impressive pace.

And I particularly welcome the employment opportunities provided to young people, starting out in their chosen careers and getting their first taste of employment.

The skills and responsibilities that they learn and the training and apprenticeships that this sector provides gives them an invaluable start in life.

I also welcome the lead your members are taking with supporting apprenticeships, with over two-thirds of your members giving young people the chance to earn and learn through this career path.

Your success and entrepreneurial spirit is very much appreciated and welcome.

I also welcome the opportunity to be able to speak to you about the big choice that Britain faces in the forthcoming referendum on our membership of the European Union,

The economic benefits of standing tall as a free, independent and sovereign country,

And to set out the positive case for Britain to Vote Leave on 23 June.

EU Referendum

I am a firm believer in setting business free to innovate and invest,

I know how much red tape and regulation acts a barrier to your businesses.

I know that every pound you have to spend complying with rules and regulations is a pound taken away from investment on the frontline of your business;

And as a result you expect and demand action from Government on delivering supply-side reforms and reductions in red tape.

But Government and Parliament can only go so far –

There is a limit to what they can do to cut red tape

And that limit is there because we are a member of the European Union.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a fact that while we remain a member of the European Union, our hands are tied and we are powerless to act on reducing the burdens of red tape.

Britain is a proud nation of entrepreneurs, and small businesses, including in your sector, are the backbone of our economy.

I want us to be able to do everything we can to support them to thrive, but EU membership prevents that.

Unaccountable and unelected bureaucrats with no clue how to run a business and no local knowledge of this country dictate the rules that we all must follow.

British Ministers and MEPs are left to plead our case but all too often their views are over-ruled.

The UK has not managed to block a single proposal from becoming law through the EU Council, costing this country £2.4 billion each year.

We have opposed 72 measures in the EU Council, all of which have gone on to become law with the British interest ignored.

While our success rate at standing up for the Britain interest in the EU Parliament is also almost as bad.

During the last full term of the EU Parliament (2009-2014), 1,936 motions were passed, of which 576 were opposed by a majority of British MEPs.

But 485 of those – 84% – were still passed.

That means that when the British national interest is at stake,

Government Ministers in the EU Council have always been outvoted by the rest of Europe,

And five times in every six votes, European MEPs block our national interests.

Not only does this undermine our democracy as we are unable to hold European decision-makers to account,

Our lack of power over these matters is worrying because new rules and regulations from Europe cost you and our country money.

Research from Open Europe has shown that there are dozens of regulations imposed by the EU with the costs on British business totalling over £33 billion.

In 2010 the British Chambers of Commerce put the total cost of EU regulation on British business at £80 billion per year.

In 2005, the Treasury, estimated that the costs of the ‘single market’ could be over £125 billion per year, which is the equivalent of 7% of GDP, £4,639 per household, or £23,236 per company.

Other research shows that while every single business is bound to the EU’s ever-increasing rulebook, the percentage of businesses exporting to the EU are 6% and 12.5% of the British economy is exports to the EU.

Just think of the jobs that you could create and the investments you could make in expanding your businesses if you were not bound by these burdens.

Just think of the freedom you would have to innovate if we were no longer forced to compel with every diktat from Brussels.

Just think that by getting rid of some of the EU rules that make it so difficult to create employment, we could deliver a £4.3 billion boost to our economy and 60,000 new jobs.

The evidence from business of the consequences to our economy of EU regulations is damning.

CBI members list cutting back EU regulatory burdens as a priority, and 49% of their members report that EU employment law has a negative impact on their business.

Similar findings from the English Business Survey found that 46% of businesses affected by EU red tape said the impact was negative.

Bureaucracy from the EU does not have the confidence of British businesses.

Businesses, growth and jobs have all been sacrificed to satisfy the dogmatic march towards greater integration and a federal European superstate.

The only way we can liberate ourselves from these burdens is to Vote Leave and take control over our laws on 23 June.

Red Tape Cuts for Small Business

If this country Votes Leave, we can have a strong and positive future as an independent, free and sovereign country.

By being able to take back control of the laws that we make, we can begin the process of auditing and untangling our laws from the Brussels red tape from that hits our businesses hardest.

This is categorically not about rolling back workers’ rights

– this is about releasing businesses from unnecessary and meddlesome red tape

– which will in fact benefit working people by helping businesses create more jobs.

Cutting EU red tape on business – starting with small and medium sized businesses business – will be a valuable boost to productivity, growth and job creation.

We know that we can only safeguard business from EU red tape by leaving the EU because attempts to reform from within have failed.

Despite those wanting to remain in the EU stating that they want to “exempt Europe’s smallest entrepreneurial companies from more EU Directives.”

The renegotiation deal has given no guarantees of red tape cuts.

But if we Vote Leave on 23 June, we will not need to negotiate and lobby the EU,

Or beg Commissioners and other Governments for favours.

We can crack-on and free business from the shackles of regulation.

EU laws will be replaced by laws made in the UK by politicians accountable to you.


During the campaign so far, those in favour of remaining in the EU have played up the so-called risks of leaving the EU.

We’ve heard all sorts of scare stories about the economy,

And British business has been talked down.

But the biggest risk and uncertainty does not come from leaving the EU.

The biggest risks to business come from remaining in the EU.

Leaving business exposed to face the consequences of the future burdens that the EU can unilaterally impose on them is playing Russian Roulette with peoples’ livelihoods.

With all the damage and costs from the EU, it is astonishing to see that those who want the UK to remain in the EU have put so much faith in its failing institutions.

It is simply not plausible to claim that the EU is ‘good for jobs’ when there is over 20% unemployment in Spain and Greece, with youth unemployment in some parts of the EU over 40%.

And there’s over 10% unemployment – some 3.6 million people – across the Channel in France.

In fact, 3 of the 4 European countries with the highest employment rates – Norway, Switzerland and Iceland – are not in the EU,

While Japan and the USA also have much lower unemployment rates.

Membership of the EU is no guarantee of a strong healthy jobs market.

In fact, with the plans from Brussels to harmonise more of our employment, social and other laws with countries that have a terrible jobs record, like Greece and Spain,

We can see that the big risk to peoples’ jobs is staying in the EU.

Outside of the EU, we can set the sensible and flexible employment policies that suit employers and employees and offer secure employment.

History also tells us that the prosperity of our businesses cannot be left in the hands of the EU.

I remember the devastating consequences that the ERM had on businesses, including my parents’.

And just imagine the utter carnage that would have affected our economy had we listened to the EU elite and joined the Euro.

More recently, the EU has forced up insurance prices for female drivers.

Last year they turned their fire on small scale cider producers demanding the removal of tax exemptions.

And they’ve put obligations on housebuilders, set limits on the maximum energy of appliances like vacuum cleaners, and limited the size of containers that olive oil can be sold in.

Remember, at any time bureaucrats from the Commission and judges in the Court can strike.

And your business and your interests could be next.

That is a risk that to business that I cannot stand by and accept.

And this is why we are safer and more secure as a free, independent, and sovereign country.


If we vote to leave the EU, we will be better off from being liberated to cut red tape to boost productivity.

We will also be better off as a result of no longer needing to send a £350 million per week membership fee to Brussels.

Those costs are forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility and the Treasury to be a contribution to the EU of £19 billion in this financial year,

And a total of £96.5 billion by 2021.

As our economy grows stronger compared to the rest of the EU, we could end up paying even more in.

That money does not come out of thin air.

It comes from the tills of your businesses from the taxes that you pay.

It comes from the fruits of your labours and from the rewards for the risks that you take.

And what does the EU do with your money?

It does not spend it on your priorities.

It spends it on its own self-serving schemes, wasteful bureaucracy, and on projects in far-flung parts of Europe.

By leaving the EU, that money can be spent in this country on your priorities.

We can use it, for example, to support businesses by investing in new infrastructure, or by cutting the tax burden.

I am sure you will agree with me that your hard-earned taxes can be put to more productive use in this country.


I spoke earlier of the importance of business and your sector to our economy,

And it is because I am determined to see business succeed that I believe we will be better off voting to leave the EU.

We have the fifth largest economy in the world, with growth outstripping Germany for the past four years.

We are bursting with innovators, entrepreneurs and wealth-creators who bring in investment, create growth, and support jobs.

We have a workforce that is upskilling.

We have more children learning in good and outstanding schools being equipped with the skills needed for the modern workplace.

We have record numbers of people in work.

And we have more people starting their own businesses.

But I want us to do better,

And we can only do better if we vote to leave the EU and take back control of our laws and our money.

Our choice on 23 June is a clear one.

We can choose to remain in an unaccountable, unreformed EU,

– that damages British business,

– takes our money,

– and puts our future prosperity at risk.

Or we can vote for a positive and secure future as a free, independent and sovereign country,

Where we can spend our money on our priorities,

Make our own laws,

Take an axe to EU red tape to free enterprise,

And make the most of the potential and talent that our great country has to offer.

Let’s Vote Leave on 23 June and take control of our destiny.

Thank you.

Priti Patel – 2015 Speech at ERSA Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Priti Patel, the Minister of State for Employment, at the ERSA annual conference on 8 December 2015.

Thank you for inviting me to speak at this flagship event.

You have played an important role in the success of the labour market over recent years – around half a million job outcomes across the Work Programme and Work Choice. Thank you.

I’m grateful for your work and look forward to continuing to work closely with you.

I welcome and share the sentiment of this conference: ‘Ambitious Futures: upping our collective game’.

It is right that we are ambitious and my message to you today is that the focus should be on outcomes, not just inputs.

My challenge is for you to think outside of the traditional approaches of provision – and to think innovatively.

There is much we need to do, but it is worth reflecting on what changed over the last Parliament.


Since 2010, we have made great strides reforming the welfare system – ensuring it better supports the people who need it, and remains affordable to the taxpayer in the long term.

The labour market is in a much stronger position than it was 5 years ago:

  • the claimant count is nearly 700,000 lower and is at its lowest level since 1975
  • the unemployment rate is close to pre-recession levels
  • long-term unemployment has fallen by 274,000
  • 1 million fewer people on the main out-of-work benefits since 2010
  • the employment rate and number of people in work are at record highs

I appreciate the role you have played in this….

….helping to deliver our shared goal of supporting those who need help back into work, and helping to drive performance improvements across our key provision.

Building on success in this Parliament

So, we’ve seen huge progress, but we know there is more to do.

The government is committed to moving this country to a higher wage, lower tax and lower welfare society.

So, we will press ahead with our reforms over this Parliament and we will continue to be ambitious.

The overall position following the Spending Review is that the funding for employment support will remain broadly stable.

However, within this, we have aimed to improve the effectiveness of our spending, reflecting our key priorities.

That means:

  • continuing the roll-out of Universal Credit and extending the same support that Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants get to around a million more people by 2020
  • improving support for people with health conditions and disabilities through a real terms increase in funding
  • and ensuring value for money, with interventions that we know work

This approach focuses on what our labour market most needs today whilst retaining flexibility for the future.

I want to deal with each of these in turn.

Universal Credit and refocusing employment offer

Firstly, Universal Credit – the key plank of our welfare reforms.

It marks a distinct shift in our approach and is transforming lives through more personalised support and by making sure work always pays.

Under Universal Credit, people can expect early and continued support looking at what work they can do and what support they need to do it.

Unlike in the past, Universal Credit stays with someone when they enter work and continues to support them until they leave the benefits system.

Today we have published Universal Credit at Work.

The independently reviewed research shows that Universal Credit is making a real difference.

It shows that people who are on Universal Credit are:

  • more likely to be employed in the first nine months of their claim, spending twice as much time looking for a job than under the legacy system
  • work on average 12 days more than Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants
  • and are more likely to be earning more

This is welfare reform in action, making things simpler, ensuring the right incentives are in place – and ultimately, changing culture and changing lives.

The report also shows we are on track in terms of roll out.

Universal Credit is now available in three quarters of all jobcentres, and by April next year it will be available across the country.

Building on this, we are testing a digital service in 3 London jobcentres.

This will expand nationally from May next year, initially to 5 jobcentres every month, as part of the gradual, safe and secure delivery plan.

Health and disability focus

Secondly, this renewed approach also represents the start of genuine integration between the health and work sectors, with a focus on supporting people with health conditions and disabilities return to and remain in work.

Your input has been invaluable in helping us to set out our strategy here.

I firmly believe that the perspective from the frontline – the perspective from people and organisations like you all who are helping people into work day in and day out – is essential to developing successful interventions.

That’s why I so value the input you have been providing on the development of future employment support, and that’s why we’ll be taking those views on aboard as we design the new programme over the next few months.

In particular you’ve told us that we need to target support more effectively.

So, I have asked my officials to develop better ways of targeting and preparing people for employment programmes so that we can ensure that you have a good chance of supporting every person that walks through your door.

Once people are with you, you should have enough resources to give them the support they need to make a difference to their lives.

We will make sure the right incentives are there for you to deliver a first class service to everyone on the future programme, not feel the need to pick winners.

You’ve also said that it is really difficult to find a way through the maze of services offered through different government departments and agencies.

That is why my priority is to remove these roadblocks and prompt genuine integration of services across government, so you can better integrate services on the ground.

Nowhere is this more important than in how we support people with health conditions and disabilities, which is why we have set out such an important programme of reform in this area.

This work includes:

  • the launch of the new contracted Work and Health employment provision in 2017
  • an expansion of Access to Work, enabling up to 25,000 additional disabled people to receive support through Access to Work
  • and at least £115 million of funding for the Work and Health Unit, including a Work and Health Innovation fund

The government will publish a White Paper next year setting out more detail of our plans to improve support for people with health conditions and disabilities.

Good value for money for contracted employment

Thirdly, we need to build on the success of current contracted employment provision and design support that helps today’s labour market and delivers good value for money.

The decision on the level of central government funding to employment programmes in the recent Spending Review followed comprehensive consideration of our strategic direction against the current market; the economic climate and our manifesto commitments.

Work has started on the design and structure of the new programme and draws heavily on all the best experience and consultation work we did over the summer.

Senior officials also met with many of our prime providers last week and held an open, constructive dialogue around how we can continue to work in the spirit of partnership to ensure the most effective delivery of the Spending Review announcements and the best possible support for claimants.

We will be working closely with providers both individually and collectively in the coming weeks and months.

Devolution deals and integration

We will also be capitalising on the expertise of local authorities.

Local authorities know their local labour market and often have access to services which claimants may need alongside employment support. Help finding accommodation for example, or advice on budgeting and debt management.

We have already collaborated with Manchester, Glasgow and Clyde Valley, and London to develop the Working Well, Working Matters and Working Capital programmes. And we will be looking carefully at whether the localised key worker approach being delivered in those areas improves outcomes for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants.

We know that providing holistic support can be key to supporting the hardest to help claimants into work. It is therefore crucial that the design of the new programme supports providers, local authorities and other local organisations to better integrate services.

So all local authorities will have the opportunity to comment on the national design of the new programme. And we will be testing different approaches to jointly designing and commissioning programmes across the 7 devolution deal areas – Greater Manchester, London, Sheffield, Tees Valley, Liverpool, West Midlands, the north-east.

This approach will enable us put integration at the heart of the new programme. And accordingly, we will expect providers to demonstrate how they will forge strong partnerships with local organisations to deliver the integrated support that claimants need.


More often than not, we know that providing claimants with the support they need entails equipping them with the skills that local employers demand.

It is the job of everyone in this room to engage with local employers, employer representatives and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to understand that demand. This means working in partnership with them to: to:

  • identify sustainable job opportunities
  • create and support apprenticeships
  • nurture skills that aid progression
  • and improve the way that the labour market works in low employment areas

Together, we must listen to what employers in varying local labour markets need.

Together, we must understand their skills and progression challenges.

And together, we must be innovative in reaching out to new employers and engaging with those who may have overlooked the employment services we can provide.

So think about how you currently work with employers, and consider how you can engage with them more effectively to ensure the support you deliver to both claimants and employers reflects local labour market demand.


Today’s challenges are different to those of 2010.

We have largely overcome the issue of long-term unemployment.

Our focus now is on the nearly 3 million people who are on ‘inactive’ benefits.

The majority of sick and disabled benefit claimants want to work, but there is a large gap between the proportion that want to work and those that feel able.

We worked effectively together on the labour market challenges of 2010 and witnessed significant improvements in the labour market.

I see ERSA and its members being key partners to support people that can work into work. This is a shared challenge – delivering more integrated support to those with some of the most significant barriers to work, particularly those with health conditions and disabilities.

Our role is to embrace that challenge….to integrate and innovate… support people into sustainable jobs.

Thank you.

Priti Patel – 2015 Speech on Apprenticeships


Below is the text of the speech made by Priti Patel, the Minister of State for Employment, at the 5% Club event, 1 Sail Street, London on 3 December 2015.

Thank you for inviting me here today.

Everyone should be talking about the 5% Club. This is a fantastic initiative to ensure companies have the next generation of skilled workers, through high-quality apprenticeships and graduate schemes.

You have made a commitment to ensure that 5% of your workforce is on an apprenticeship or graduate programme. Business has a vital role in enabling young people to find lasting work through an apprenticeship.

The government too has made a pledge. To deliver 3 million apprenticeship starts in England by 2020. Through these, we can deliver the skills that business and the economy need for growth.

State of the labour market and youth unemployment

On the whole, the labour market is in a good position. Employment levels continue to rise.

We have 31.2 million people in work, a record high of 73.7%. Unemployment as measured by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) fell again this quarter.

There are nearly 740,000 vacancies at any one time, slightly below the record high but still above levels seen before the recession.

Young people too have gained from the recovering labour market. The claimant count for unemployed 18- to 24-year-olds has fallen over the year and in October stood at 183,000.

Government measures to tackle youth unemployment have helped to reduce the number of young jobseekers by a quarter of a million since 2010.

Yet this still means that there remain young people who have not been given the chance to realise their potential and prove their worth.

This is where you come in.


Apprenticeships offer young people a chance to reach their potential. Through an apprenticeship, they can achieve a successful career and secure finances in the years ahead.

Apprenticeships should not been seen as the poor relation of academia. Higher and degree apprenticeships are widening access to skilled trades and professions. They provide the higher-level technical skills employers need to improve productivity, whilst giving young people an equally valid career route as going to university.

This year we increased the apprentice National Minimum Wage to £3.30 an hour. Furthermore, from April 2016, employers will not be required to pay employer National Insurance contributions for apprentices under age of 25 on earnings up to the upper earnings limit. Eligible employers can currently also receive a £1,500 grant for up to 5 new young apprentices.

There was just short of half a million starts to an apprenticeship in the 2014/15 academic year. We are taking action to support the growth of apprenticeships to meet our 3 million commitment by 2020.

Government is ready to work with businesses large and small to introduce and expand apprenticeship programmes. We are also setting new expectations for public sector bodies and through public procurement.

A levy will be introduced to help fund the increase in quantity and quality of apprenticeship training.

High-quality apprenticeships are essential if Britain’s economy is to prosper in the years ahead.

Routes into apprenticeships

Young people face many challenges. We all remember thinking about what we would like to do when we left school. Many of us may have been lucky enough to be surrounded by friends and family who had wonderful, interesting jobs to inspire us.

But what about those who are not so fortunate? The young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, whose friends and family have themselves struggled with unemployment? These are the young people who need a helping hand to realise their potential.

This is where business has a vital role to play. Employers can open their doors and show them the possibilities. Business can help young people obtain the experience and skills they need to succeed.

Not everyone will be ready to step straight into an apprenticeship. Schemes such as work experience and traineeships can offer a great stepping stone.

Work experience is a deceptively simple idea but opens the door to so many possibilities. Young people get a real taste for a possible career, while you get to see them in action.

Two years ago, some of the UK’s biggest companies announced Movement to Work, an initiative to encourage employers across the country to do more to help unemployed young people.

Over 200 UK employers are now committed to the Movement. To date, together they have delivered over 25,000 opportunities. Early reports show over half of participants have gone into paid work, including apprenticeships.

Jobcentre Plus work coaches in schools

Many young people leave school not understanding the full range of options open to them and unsure how to progress into employment.

This can lead to missed opportunities and wasted potential. Only 5% of 18-year-olds enter an apprenticeship.

Jobcentre Plus will soon be helping young people at school get the support they need to progress into employment or training. This will supplement schools careers advice and be targeted at those in danger of becoming NEET – not in employment, education or training.

Jobcentres will coordinate this support with the new Careers and Enterprise Company. The aim is to offer support and advice on work experience, apprenticeships and traineeships, the labour market and the world of work.

Jobcentres have a role, but better still is for employers and others to take the message out to schools and colleges about the opportunities available.

We want young people to progress onto bigger and better things. There is no substitute for quality opportunities that allow people to learn and to grow.


Employers have a lot to gain from taking young people under their wing and giving them the chance to prove themselves. And we can support you in that.

Some people need a little extra help to find a job. This may be training, the support of a mentor, work experience or even something as simple as a new suit for a job interview.

Jobcentre employer teams are ready to help you find new apprentices and support young people in your area.

Employers have a vested interest in making sure the next generation of workers has the skills to succeed. You know what works best for your business and the sort of talent you need to thrive.

Together we can open more doors to the 5% Club and help young people forge the skills for Britain’s future.

Thank you for your time.