Sajid Javid – 2018 Statement on Amesbury Nerve Agent Incident

Below is the text of the statement made by Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, in the House of Commons on 5 July 2018.

With permission Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement regarding the events that have been unfolding in Amesbury and Salisbury.

This morning, I chaired a meeting of the government’s emergency committee COBR covering the ongoing investigation in Amesbury.

I have been separately briefed by the Security Services and the counter terrorism police.

As many of you will now know, a 45 year old man and a 44 year old woman were found to be unwell at a property at Muggleton Road in Amesbury on Saturday.

Both are British citizens.

Paramedics attended the scene and admitted the pair to the A&E department at Salisbury District Hospital. Here they were treated for exposure to an unknown substance.

Further testing by expert scientists in chemical warfare at the Porton Down laboratory confirmed this to be the nerve agent of the type known as Novichok.

This has been identified as the same nerve agent that contaminated both Yulia and Sergei Skripal. The pair are currently in a critical condition and I’m sure the whole House will want to join me in wishing them a swift and full recovery.

I would also like to express my sincere thanks to the emergency services and staff at the Salisbury District Hospital for their tireless professionalism and for the dedicated way they are providing it. I understand that there will be some concerns about what this means for public safety. In particular, I recognise that some local Wiltshire residents will be feeling very anxious. Let me reassure you that public safety is of paramount importance.

Public Health England’s latest assessment is that based on the number of casualties affected, there is no significant risk to the wider public. Their advice is informed by scientists and the police as the facts evolve. Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer, has confirmed that the risk to the public remains low and has asked that the public follow the advice of Public Health England and the police.

She has also advised that people who have visited the areas that have been recently cordoned off should wash their clothes and wipe down any items they may have been carrying at the time. She has also urged people not to pick up any unknown or already dangerous objects such as needles or syringes. This is not new advice and it follows on from what was said in March.

We have a well-established response to these types of incidents and clear processes to follow.

All the sites that have been decontaminated following the attempted murders of Sergei and Yulia Skripal are safe.

All sites which have been reopened have undergone vigorous testing and any items that may have harboured residual amounts of the agent were safely removed for disposal.

We have taken a very robust approach to decontamination and there is no evidence that either the man or the woman in hospital, visited any of the places that were visited by the Skripals.

Our strong working assumption is that the couple came into contact with the nerve agent in a different location to the sites which have been part of the original clean-up operation.

The police have also set up two dedicated phone numbers for anyone with concerns relating to this incident.

Salisbury District Hospital remains open as usual and is advising people to attend routine appointments unless they are contacted and told otherwise. We are taking this incident incredibly seriously and are working around the clock to discover precisely what has happened, where and why.

Be assured that we have world-leading scientists, intelligence officers and police on the case. Local residents can expect to see an increased police presence in and around Amesbury and Salisbury. All six sites that were visited by the pair before they collapsed have been cordoned off and are being securely guarded as a precaution.

An investigation has started to work out how these two individuals came into contact with the nerve agent. Around 100 detectives from the Counter Terrorism Policing Network are working to support this investigation, alongside colleagues from Wiltshire Police.

Obviously this incident will invoke memories of the reckless murder attempts of Sergei and Yulia Skripal earlier this year. This is the leading line of enquiry.

However, we must not jump to conclusions and we must give the police the space and time to carry out their investigations. The police’s work will take time.

But we are ready to respond as and when new evidence comes to light and the situation becomes clearer. Following the events in Salisbury earlier this year, we rapidly worked with international partners at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to confirm our identification of the nerve agent used.

Through a process of extensive, impartial testing and analysis, our findings were confirmed correct beyond doubt. The use of chemical weapons – anywhere – is barbaric and inhumane.

The decision taken by the Russian government to deploy these in Salisbury on March 4 was reckless and callous. There is no plausible alternative explanation to explain the events in March other than that the Russian state was responsible.

And we acted accordingly.

The British government and the international community immediately and robustly condemned this inhuman action. In light of this attack, the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats from our shores. And we were joined by 28 of our closest international allies in this action – from the United States to Ukraine – who expelled over 150 of the Russian-state’s diplomats.

We have already seen multiple explanations from state-sponsored Russian media regarding this latest incident. We can anticipate further disinformation from the Kremlin, as we saw following the attack in Salisbury. And as we did before, we will be consulting with our international partners and allies following these latest developments.

The eyes of the world are currently on Russia, not least because of the World Cup.

It is now time that the Russian state comes forward and explains exactly what has gone on so that the most appropriate course of action can be taken. Let me be clear, we do not have a quarrel with the Russian people. Rather, it is the actions of the Russian government that continue to undermine our security and that of the international community.

We will stand up to actions that threaten our security and the security of our partners. It is completely unacceptable for our people to be either deliberate or accidental targets. Or for our streets, our parks or our towns to be dumping grounds for poison. We will continue our investigations as a matter of urgency, and I will keep the House and the public updated on any significant developments.

I commend this statement to the House.

Sajid Javid – 2018 Speech to Police Federation

Below is the text of the speech made by Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, at the Police Federation conference on 23 May 2018.

Good morning and thank you Calum.

Now this conference has quite a reputation.

A reputation for giving speakers a difficult time.

For asking questions that sometimes no one wants to answer.

For having the toughest crowd of any speech in the political calendar.

Anyway, at least that’s what the Prime Minister told me!

Now most Home Secretaries get a bit more run-up time than I’ve had before standing on this stage.

They have time to prepare themselves, cement their views, to hone their points and to maybe think of a few jokes.

I haven’t had that luxury.

I’m still in my first full month on the job.

So there’s still a lot for me to learn.

I know that you might be sceptical about what I’m about to say.

You’ve seen Home Secretaries come and go –

I think I’m the 40th Home Secretary since the Federation was founded 99 years ago.

They’ve come from every point on the political spectrum.

But one thing we’ve all had in common is that not one of us, not one Home Secretary, has ever served as a police officer…

Not one.

And I’ve been told I’m the first Home Secretary with a police officer in my immediate family.

Now I can’t blame you if you’re sitting there thinking to yourself –

“this guy may talk a good game, but he’s just like every other politician.”

And I’m sure some of you, right now, are thinking that there’s no way I can understand policing.

The work you do, the difference you make, the challenges that you face.

That I just don’t – and that I won’t – get it.

But that’s where you’re wrong.

My family grew up on a road in Bristol described by one national newspaper as “Britain’s most dangerous street”.

One journalist referred to it – and I quote – he called it a “lawless hellhole where murder, rape, shootings, drug pushing, prostitution, knifings and violent robbery are commonplace”.

But to us, it was just home.

All my parents wanted for me and my brothers was for their boys to do well – to work hard and to play by the rules.

But today I’ve got a confession.

When I was younger, I was in a gang.

A gang of two.

It involved me and one of my brothers.

I was ten, he was eight.

Our gang was called The Crime Busters.

Our mission was to find crime and to bust it.

Our equipment: two knackered old bikes and two cheapo walkie-talkies.

We had a passion to find and fight crime on Britain’s most dangerous street.

One of us used to patrol the streets the other one used to hang out at a phone box in case there was an incident and he had to call 999.

We didn’t get very far the walkie-talkie had a distance of about three metres.

I hope your equipment is a bit better.

Years later, that brother is still a crime buster, only this time, for real – as a Chief Superintendent – having started as a PC some 25 years ago.

Over the years, I’ve heard what he has to say about policing.

I know the tricky situations that he’s been in.

He’s been hospitalised more times by being assaulted on duty than I care to remember.

I remember him missing Christmas once after having his jaw dislocated.

I’ve seen the impact the job has on family life.

And as you would expect from a brother, he doesn’t shield me from the truth.

Long before I was a politician, he took me out on a ride-along in the back of his police car in Bristol city centre.

I thought it would be an interesting insight into his job.

But I wasn’t prepared for the abuse he and his colleague received that night:

Teenagers giving them the middle finger, swearing and spitting.

And worst of all, at one point when his car approached the lights and slowed down…

…one teenager leaned over and yelled at my brother –

“You Paki bastard”.

That was the first time it really hit me just how hard and horrible it can be being a police officer.

I asked my brother why the police spent so much time in that neighbourhood given that they clearly weren’t welcome.

And you know what he said?

“It’s where we’re needed most”.

Only five words…

…but five words that have summed up for me everything that makes our police officers so special.

That sense of duty is what drives you in everything that you do.

From physically taking on violent criminals, to breaking bad news to bereaved families.

You are there.

From handling tragedies like Grenfell, to providing security and peace of mind at events like the Royal Wedding.

You are there.

There is no greater testament to your bravery and the honour of police than the roll call of those who have fallen in the line of duty in the past year.

We are deeply indebted to these officers who made the ultimate sacrifice serving the public…

… and we must take this moment to remember them and the families they have left behind.

So, I would like to pay tribute to PC James Dixon and PC David Fields.

And PC Steven Jenkins who fell ill whilst on duty and then passed away.

This week, we also remember the extraordinary acts of bravery from police in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena terrorist attack.

We remember those officers who ran in to help and protect the many innocent people who found themselves caught up in that attack.

We remember DC Elaine McIver who lost her life in the attack whilst off-duty.

And we must also remember those officers who got to London Bridge following that attack in just eight minutes. Saving countless lives.

I am also hugely grateful to Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey…

…one of the first at the scene at Salisbury who put himself at great risk so that he could help others.

You see, every single day, you make the brave decision to pull on that uniform and go out to work….

… not knowing what you’ll have to deal with on your shift.

People call policing a ‘job like no other,’ but you simply call it ‘the job’.

For me, this world of policing yes it may be new – but this is my fifth job in government.

And in every single role that I’ve had in government I have seen the importance of the police.

When I was Culture Secretary, I saw how much harder the job was made because of social media.

As Business Secretary, I knew that a strong police force creates the environment that we need for our economy to prosper –

Everything from defending property rights to tackling fraud.

As Communities Secretary, I saw first-hand how you work in some of the most challenging places, where the underlying problems are not of your making.

And in my life before politics, I saw many places in the world where the public suffered from the absence of a professional police force.

I saw how bad things could become when the police are ineffective, corrupt, or too politicised.

That’s why I see the police as one of the institutions we can be – and are – most proud of in our country.

But I’m not arrogant enough to stand here today, stand in front of you, after three weeks in the job and tell you how to do yours.

What I will say is that I am listening and that I do get it.

I get that there’s increased demand.

Yes – traditional crime is down by a third since 2010 – a big credit to your hard work.

But more crimes – like hate crimes and sexual offences – are being reported than ever before.

There’s also been a recent increase in serious violence – including homicides, knife and gun crime.

I am absolutely determined to put an end to the appalling violence that is terminating young lives so soon.

The threat from terrorism has also escalated and evolved.

And crime is increasingly taking place online.

The internet has emboldened criminals to break the law in the most horrifying of ways…

… with platforms that enable dangerous crimes and appalling abuse.

Since becoming Home Secretary, I’ve spoken to frontline officers about your experiences of crime and policing.

You’ve told me that you feel stretched, overburdened and not sufficiently rewarded.

I know how frustrating it is when your days off get cancelled – at very short notice.

And I know your work can take its toll on your mental and physical health.

You deserve to be respected and valued, but all too often what you get is abuse.

So let me say this.

I want you to have the resources that you need.

Since 2010, we have prioritised strengthening the economy and this involves making some difficult funding decisions throughout government.

All of us have played our part in bringing down the deficit.

So we must all continue to live within our means…

…I recognise that we need to prioritise public investment in policing.

We’re giving PCCs the flexibility to increase council tax contributions to policing.

This has helped deliver a £460m increase in total police funding this year.

We’re now investing over £1bn more in policing than we did three years ago, including money raised through council tax.

But we need to think more about the long term funding of the police.

So, my pledge to you is this:

I will prioritise police funding in the Spending Review next year.

But this isn’t all about money.

You have a job like no other.

You never know what you’re going to be faced with.

It might be a murder case, child abuse or a serious car accident.

And it’s not surprising that dealing with all that takes its toll on you.

And has you have rightly said, throughout this conference, and as Calum rightly said, we need to protect the protectors.

The government has already pledged £7.5m for a new national police welfare service – it is a step, one step, in the right direction.

But together, I want us to totally transform the welfare provision for officers.

When you’re out in public trying to do your duty, you should be protected.

That’s why I’m backing the Assaults on Emergency Workers Bill…

…which will include tougher penalties for those who attack police officers and other emergency service workers. That’s why I’m supporting changes to the rules on police pursuits.

To make it clear that a criminal is responsible for their decision to drive recklessly, not the police.

That’s why I’m making sure that you have the right kit and the right technology to do your jobs effectively.

It makes no sense that where many of you change your personal mobiles every two years, at work you’re using some technology that dates back to the 1990s.

That’s why we’ve recently improved fingerprint technology…

… which will allow officers across the country to use smart phones to identify people faster than ever before. That’s why I also support the roll out of body worn cameras…

…which not only capture the evidence first hand but has also made people think twice before assaulting you. And I fully support those officers who want better protective equipment like spit and bite guards.

I find it absolutely ridiculous that anyone should object to you restraining those who physically abuse you.

And of course, tasers are also an important tactical option for officers dealing with the most serious and violent criminals.

If you don’t feel that you’re getting the tools you need to do your job, I want to know about it.

But you don’t just need kit – you need powers.

And to help you tackle violent crime.

I will be bringing forward new laws which will make it harder than ever before to buy and possess guns, knives and acid.

And as Home Secretary, I will continue to look at what other powers you need to do your jobs more effectively.

That means looking at Stop and Search.

Some of you don’t feel comfortable using it.

And that’s not how it should be.

I have confidence in your professional judgement.

So let me be clear,

I support the use of Stop and Search.

You have to do your job and that means protecting everyone.

Evidence shows that if you’re black, you’re more likely to be a homicide victim than any other ethnic group.

If Stop and Search can mean saving lives from the communities most affected, then of course it has to be right.

I am new to my job.

I don’t claim to be a policing expert and I’m not going to claim to have all the answers.

But as much as possible, I want to hear from you.

I want to hear about your experiences working on the frontline.

No doubt you’ll tell me much more about them as I get out and about and meet many more of you in the weeks and months, and hopefully years, that lie ahead.

And I know that Nick Hurd the Policing Minister has already spoken to all 43 forces, officers in all 43 forces and will be continuing to do that.

I’ll also be setting up a much more formal Frontline Review to get your feedback and learn what you really think. Your ideas and responses will inform what actually happens in policing.

Because I so understand that no-one knows more about policing than you do.

But I also know that the public demand – and quite rightly expect – a high standard of support from their local police.

And ultimately, I want to reach a place where every member of the public is served by a force which is at least rated ‘good’.

But currently, nearly a third of forces are not.

And there is a big gap in efficiency between the top and the bottom.

So I want standards to be raised and to be more consistent.

I want any bad behaviour to be rooted out.

I want victims to get better treatment.

I want to see more collaboration and sharing best practice – at whatever level makes the most sense.

And I want the Federation to lead by example.

Showing greater transparency in the publishing of accounts and expenses, and continuing to show leadership on implementing reforms.

And I don’t want any of you to believe that some changes belong in the “too hard to do” box.

I want you to be bold and ambitious and to change the bits which don’t work – or put pressure on your bosses to make it happen.

It’s often said that British policing is the envy of the world.

Everyone in this room wants to keep it that way.

Let’s reset the relationship between the government and the police.

I will give you the tools, the powers and the back-up that you need to get the job done.

For those of you who stand on the frontline, be in no doubt, I will be standing with you.

Thank you.

Sajid Javid – 2018 Statement on Windrush

Below is the text of the statement made by Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, in the House of Commons on 30 April 2018.

I am honoured to have been asked this morning to become Home Secretary. I start by making a pledge to those of the Windrush generation who have been in this country for decades and yet have struggled to navigate through the immigration system: this never should have been the case, and I will do whatever it takes to put it right.

Learning about the difficulties that Windrush migrants have faced over the years has affected me greatly, particularly because I myself am a second-generation migrant. Like the Caribbean Windrush generation, my parents came to this country from the Commonwealth in the 1960s; they too came to help to rebuild this country and to offer all that they had. So when I heard that people who were long-standing pillars of their communities were being impacted for simply not having the right documents to prove their legal status in the UK, I thought that that could be my mum, my brother, my uncle or even me. That is why I am so personally committed to, and invested in, resolving the difficulties faced by the people of the Windrush generation who have built their lives here and contributed so much.

I know that my predecessor, my right hon. Friend the Member for Hastings and Rye (Amber Rudd), felt very strongly about this too. Mr Speaker, please allow me to pay tribute to her hard work and integrity and to all that she has done and will continue to do in public service. I wish her all the very best. I will build on the decisive action that she has already taken. A dedicated taskforce was set up to handle these cases; more than 500 appointments have been scheduled, and more than 100 people have already had their cases processed and now have the necessary documents. We will continue to resolve these cases as a matter of urgency.

We have made it clear that a Commonwealth citizen who has remained in the UK since 1973 will be eligible to get the legal status that they deserve: British citizenship. That will be free of charge, and I will bring forward the necessary secondary legislation. We have also been clear that a new compensation scheme will be put in place for those whose lives have been disrupted. We intend to consult on the scope of the scheme and we will appoint an independent person to oversee it. I hope that I can count on the full support of all hon. Members to make this happen as soon as possible. I end by making one thing crystal clear: we will do right by the Windrush generation.

Sajid Javid – 2018 Speech at the Design Quality Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on 26 April 2018.

Winston Churchill famously said: “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”

That’s certainly true for me.

As you may know, I grew up above the family shop.

I lived on a road that has been labelled by one newspaper as “Britain’s most dangerous street”.

Those experiences taught me a lot.

The value of family and hard work.

How few things are more important than feeling safe in your own home and your your own neighbourhood.

And – crucially – how to hold your own against 5 siblings.

Now I know that I’m not alone.

Our homes, for all of us, are the making of us.

That is why today’s event is so important.

And why I’m delighted that so many of you could be here today.

And why I want to say a massive thank you for your interest and support.

I can’t recall when a government last held a conference on design quality.

It’s a measure of our commitment on this vital issue – as not just something that is nice to have.

A bonus that if you are lucky enough to be able to afford it.

But as something that’s fundamental to everyone’s quality of life – regardless of whether you’re buying or you’re renting a place, or whether you’re in the private sector or the social sector.

It’s very fundamental to the way we feel when we get up in the morning and when we go to bed.

To the opportunities that we have and the futures that we can imagine for ourselves.

To people coming together to create, quite simply, great places to live.

Which is why there’s absolutely no question of having to choose between quality and quantity when it comes to building the homes that our country so desperately needs.

As you will have no doubt have heard many times today, the 2 – quality and quantity – go very much hand in hand.

With communities that are much more likely to welcome new development, if it’s attractive, thoughtful and in keeping with the local area.

But the gains are, of course, much bigger than just somewhere that looks good.

It could be a quiet place to study that means you get a better chance at school.

Parks and other outdoor spaces will be good for your health and your mental health.

And public spaces that design in opportunities for people to come together across generations can end up designing out isolation and helping to build those strong communities.

To achieve this, to really raise the bar on design quality, we need to see stronger collaboration right across the whole sector – which is what today’s event is all about.

It sounds like you’ve had a busy and interesting day, with lots of great speakers lots sharing their ideas and expertise.

And excellent examples, such as the University of North Cambridge development, that where they aren’t just aiming to meet short-term targets, but are very much taking that long-term view that we all want to see.

Something that’s crucial for creating homes that are a much-loved part of the fabric of our local areas not just now, but, potentially, well into the next century and beyond.

I’m also pleased to see that today’s conference has thrown up another positive variation of NIMBY – BIMBY or Beauty In My Backyard, from The Princes Foundation.

I’m looking forward to that phrase catching on!

The new technologies on display at the exhibition are also hugely impressive – as are the new technologies highlighted by the Farmer Review that address the need to build at pace and scale whilst still promoting quality and consumer choice.

And it was especially inspiring to see that we focused on the views, talents and aspirations of young people.

We’re remembering one of those young people this week – Stephen Lawrence.

An aspiring architect, whose murder 25 years ago, is still hard to bear.

The work of the Stephen Lawrence Trust – who we heard from today…

…which gives young people the opportunities which he was denied, to pursue a career in architecture…

….is a fitting tribute to his memory.

And I’m deeply grateful for all the efforts of everyone involved.

Their work is a poignant reminder that, in shaping homes, we’re also shaping lives.

And we owe it to this and the generations to come to leave a legacy of places that, whether you’re putting down roots or just passing through, lift the human spirit.

Inspired by a strong vision of what we want for our villages, our towns and cities, what we want them to look like and feel like in the future.

In doing so, we can draw on a rich history of British housing and urban design that is the envy of the world.

The elegant terraces and town houses, squares and crescents of the Georgian period.

Victorian terrace houses, avenues and parks.

Edwardian mansion blocks and flats.

The detached and semi-detached homes and garden suburbs of the 20th century.

What will our legacy be like for the 21st century?

What design approaches are we pioneering that will become the original features of the future?

What new built environments are we developing that meet the challenges of our age?

What trails are we blazing?

Are we truly drawing on the talents of all our people – with their diverse backgrounds and their perspectives – as we build that modern, global Britain?

This is what I want us to be thinking about and aiming for – with all of us doing our bit.

For our part, in government, we’ve strengthened the expectations for design quality and community engagement in the planning system.

This doesn’t, in any way, involve the government dictating what good design looks like, but it makes it clear that it must be rooted in and it must be backed by the local communities.

Of course, local authorities, they too have a leading role to play in setting a vision for their areas and their plans.

And it’s the job of developers and their designers to respond positively to these expectations; harnessing the talents of skilled professionals – urban designers, architects, engineers and landscape designers.

The great projects we’ve heard about today show that we’re already achieving this in many places and creating beautiful, safe, healthy neighbourhoods that command local support.

The challenge, now, is to deliver this consistently right across the country, so that high quality design is the norm rather than the exception.

I’m confident – from the ambition and wealth of talent I see before me – that that prize is very much in our grasp.

It only remains for me to thank you all, once again, for attending and contributing – particularly our speakers and sponsors at the event. Thank you all very much.

Sajid Javid – 2018 Statement on Northamptonshire County Council

Below is the text of the statement made by Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in the House of Commons on 27 March 2018.

Mr Speaker, with permission, I wish to make a statement about the independent inspection report on Northamptonshire County Council.

Everyone in this House, regardless of party, appreciates the crucial role that local government plays as the frontline of our democracy.

Delivering vital services on which we all depend and helping to create great places to live.

And, in doing so, making the most of every penny they receive from hard-pressed taxpayers to secure better outcomes.

All of which builds confidence and trust between local authorities and those they serve.

Which is why the situation in Northamptonshire is of such concern.

Prior to my instigation of the report, there were signs that Northamptonshire’s situation was deteriorating.

External auditors at Northamptonshire had lodged adverse value for money opinions in audit reports…

…suggesting that the council was not managing its finances appropriately.

The former leader resigning in May 2016, also signalled the need for change.

As late as last year, the Local Government Association conducted a financial Peer Review…

…which concluded there were issues with delivering the Next Generation reforms and, again, with the mismanagement of its finances.

The then Chief Executive Paul Blantern resigned in October 2017.

These reports, along with the concerns raised by district councils in Northamptonshire…

…and by Hon Members of this House with local constituencies…

…prompted me to act, as I was concerned that there were potentially fundamental issues within the authority.

On 9 January 2018, I informed the House that I had concerns regarding the financial management and governance of the council.

I therefore decided to exercise my powers under section 10 of the Local Government Act 1999 to initiate a Best Value inspection of the council.

And I appointed Max Caller, an experienced former Chief Executive and Commissioner, to conduct this…

…and report on whether the council was complying with its Best Value duty.

Mr Caller submitted his report on 15 March.

And I placed a copy in the library of this House so that everyone could see what he had found and see his recommendations.

And before I go any further, I would like to thank Mr Caller, and his assistant inspector, Julie Parker…

…for their dedication and focus in conducting such a thorough and prompt review.

When I commissioned the Best Value inspection, I asked the Inspector to consider 4 things in particular:

First, whether the council has the right culture, governance and processes to make robust decisions…

…on resource allocation and to manage its finances effectively.

Second, whether the council allowed adequate scrutiny by councillors.

Third, whether there were strong processes and the right information available to managers and councillors…

…to underpin service management and spending decisions.

And fourth, whether the council was organised and structured appropriately to deliver value for money.

Mr Speaker, I have reflected on the contents of the Caller report.

It is balanced, it’s rooted in evidence and compelling.

The Inspector has identified multiple apparent failures by Northamptonshire County Council in complying with its Best Value Duty.

Failures on all counts.

Whilst I recognise that councils across England have faced many challenges in recent years, the Inspector is clear that…

… Northamptonshire’s failures are not down to a lack of funding or because it is being treated unfairly or is uniquely disadvantaged compared to other councils.

In fact, his report says that:

“for a number of years, NCC has failed to manage its budget and has not taken effective steps to introduce and maintain budgetary control”.

Furthermore, the complex structure of financial support meant oversight was difficult and accountability blurred.

This report says that Northamptonshire’s Next Generation approach – which envisaged outsourcing many of the council’s functions – had no:

“hard edged business plan or justification to support these proposals”.

This “…made it difficult to ensure a line of sight over costs and operational activity”…

…and “made it impossible for the council, as a whole to have any clarity or understanding as to what was going on”.

Similarly, the inspector found that Northamptonshire County Council used capital receipts to support revenue spend…

…without documentary evidence demonstrating compliance with the Statutory Guidance and Direction.

Furthermore, until this February, there was no report to full council on the proposed projects and their benefits.

He says that “Savings targets were imposed without understanding of demand, need or deliverability…

…and it is clear that some Chief Officers. did not consider that they were in any way accountable…

…for the delivery of savings that they had promoted.”

On the question of scrutiny, the report says that:

“The council did not respond well, or in many cases even react, to external and internal criticism…

…Individual councillors appear to have been denied answers to questions that were entirely legitimate to ask…

…and scrutiny arrangements were constrained by what was felt the NCC executive would allow.”

Mr Speaker, I want to emphasise that the report also indicates that the hardworking staff of Northamptonshire County Council…

…are not at fault and have worked hard to provide quality services.

With all of this mind, it is clear that I must consider whether further action is necessary to secure compliance with the Best Value duty.

In doing so, I want to reassure the residents of Northamptonshire that essential services will continue to be delivered.

The Inspector is clear that “the problems faced by NCC are now so deep and ingrained that it is not possible to promote a recovery plan…

… that could bring the council back to stability and safety in a reasonable timescale.”

He recommends that “a way forward, with a clean sheet, leaving all the history behind, is required”.

I am therefore minded to appoint Commissioners to oversee the Authority…

…using my powers under section 15 of the Local Government Act 1999.

From day 1, I propose that they take direct control over the council’s financial management and overall governance.

Getting these basics right must be the first step in stabilising this authority.

I also propose giving them reserved powers to act as they see fit across the entirety of the authority’s functions…

…if they consider that they must step in.

My officials are writing to the council and district councils today to this effect and they can make representations on my proposal.

I will consider any representations carefully before reaching a final decision.

The Caller report makes a clear recommendation on restructuring, and notes there are a number of options available.

So, in addition, I’m inviting Northamptonshire County Council and the district and borough councils in the area…

…to submit proposals on restructuring local government.

I would like those councils to think about what is right for their community and the people they serve…

…and to come forward with proposals.

This invitation and the letter to Northamptonshire that I mentioned earlier have been published today and copies placed in the Library.

It is clear to me that any proposals from the councils should seek to meet the criteria for local government restructuring…

…that I have previously shared with the House.

Namely, that proposals should:

improve local government

be based on a credible geography

and command a good deal of local support

I will be particularly interested in hearing how the councils have consulted with their communities…

…to ensure that Northamptonshire’s future is truly locally-led.

Mr Speaker, the findings of Mr Caller’s inspection report on Northamptonshire County Council are extremely serious.

Which is why this government is prepared to take decisive action…

…to ensure that local people receive the high quality services they need and deserve.

And to restore faith in local government in Northamptonshire.

I commend this Statement to the House.

Sajid Javid – 2010 Maiden Speech in the House of Commons

Below is the text of the maiden speech made by Sajid Javid in the House of Commons on 8 June 2010.

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to make my maiden speech. I speak with a particular sense of humility after so many hon. Members have given such admirable maiden speeches, including that just made by the hon. Member for Stretford and Urmston (Kate Green).

I have some worthy predecessors. My immediate predecessor was Miss Julie Kirkbride. She was first elected in 1997, and she was a fine constituency MP. I will never forget the spontaneous tributes that people paid to her, when I knocked on their doors during the campaign, for all the work that she had done on their behalf. I should also like to express my gratitude to her two most recent predecessors, Mr Roy Thomason and Sir Hal Miller, who both helped me in my campaign with great advice.

Bromsgrove is a beautiful, traditional beacon of middle England. I know that many hon. Members have described their constituencies as beautiful, but Bromsgrove truly has breathtaking countryside. It is an old market town which was originally a bit of an industrial hub for the west midlands industrial complex. It still has a very active, traditional court-leet, with lovely traditions. In the east of the constituency we have many beautiful picture-postcard villages, including the glamorously named suburb of Hollywood.

Over the centuries, we have had many heroes from Bromsgrove. I should like to pay tribute on this occasion to two of the most recent-both teenagers, both soldiers in the 2nd Battalion, the Mercian Regiment. The first, Private Robert Laws, was aged 18 when he lost his life fighting for our country in Helmand province last year. He had passed his training only six months previously. The second, Private Alex Kennedy, also aged 18, earlier this year became the youngest soldier since the second world war to receive the military cross. He fought hard to save the life of his commanding officer during a fierce battle with the Taliban. We must never forget the sacrifices that our soldiers-those who have served and those who are currently serving for us-make on our behalf.

A notable person from Bromsgrove is A. E. Housman, whose stirring prose reflected the rural beauty of the heart of England. In Bromsgrove we have a wonderful heritage in the English countryside, and that is why I want to make sure that it is the people who are most affected by planning decisions who make those decisions. That is why I welcome the recent announcements of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on that issue. They have been most welcomed by my constituents.

Perhaps at this point I should say something about my own background, as hon. Members may be able to tell from my appearance and my name that I can hardly be of traditional Worcestershire stock. My parents were both born in British India. Although my father was just six years old in 1947, he remembers full well the tragedy that occurred upon the partition of India-12 million people were displaced and almost a million lost their lives. If we need an example of how political failure can lead to great human tragedy, surely that is one of the most heart-wrenching, and an example of how politics can really make a difference. That is what I say to people who ask me why I gave up a lucrative career in finance to enter this House.

To the dismay of the right hon. Member for Holborn and St Pancras (Frank Dobson), I have to tell him that for 19 years I have been an investment banker. In my case, this is one brain that was sucked up by the City and has now come to serve the people in this Parliament. I worked in London, Singapore and New York. I readily admit that being seen as an investment banker was not the most useful thing on the campaign trail, but it helped prepare me for a profession not well liked by the general public. Let us hope that all of us, on both sides of the House, can work together over the coming years to help restore the nation’s respect for our great Parliament.

In view of my background in finance, I am particularly pleased to give my maiden speech during this debate on economic affairs. There are many global economic uncertainties at the moment, and they have potentially grave consequences for our economy. First, the euro is only just beginning to have problems. It was always a political contrivance that had virtually nothing to do with economics. Secondly, the world’s largest emerging market economies, which have buttressed global demand since the onset of the credit crisis, are about to go through a period of monetary tightening, and we can no longer rely on them for global growth.

Thirdly, industrialised nations, including our own, that have issued vast amounts of sovereign debt over the past three years in particular can no longer go on that way. We have to make sure that when we look at these issues, we never forget the traditional disciplines that have stood Britain in good stead-sound public finances, low and simple taxation, and light and flexible regulation. It is when we forget these disciplines that we put our future prosperity at risk.

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity, and thank you to the people of Bromsgrove for allowing me to serve them in this Chamber.

Sajid Javid – 2018 Update on the Grenfell Tragedy

Below is the text of the statement made by Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in the House of Commons on 22 March 2018.

With permission, Mr Speaker, I will make a statement to update the House on support for those affected by the Grenfell tragedy and on the second report from the independent recovery taskforce. This report will be published in full on gov.uk and placed in the Library of the House.

Nine months on, the shocking and terrible events of 14 June continue to cast a long shadow. I know that it cannot have been easy for the survivors and the bereaved to hear last week about the failure of a fire door from the tower, which was tested as part of the Metropolitan Police Service’s investigation. I am confident that the police and the public inquiry will, in time, provide answers. But, having met survivors and heard their stories, I know that that does not take away from the pain and loss being suffered now by those left behind. Their welfare remains our highest priority, and we see that through our continued work supporting the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and through the valuable work of my right hon. Friend the Member for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner (Mr Hurd), the Minister responsible for the Grenfell victims. We are ensuring that the voices and concerns are heard right across Government. That work is supported by my Department and, more widely, by the NHS, by local government and by the voluntary sector.

I give my thanks to everyone who has gone that extra mile to be there for a community that has gone through so much. I also thank the taskforce for its work in helping us to ensure that, after the slow and confused initial response to the disaster, the people of North Kensington are receiving better support from RBKC to help them to recover and to rebuild their lives.

I was clear when I reflected on the taskforce’s first report in November that, while progress was being made, I expected to see swift, effective action to address all the issues that were highlighted, particularly the slow pace of delivery and the need for greater empathy and emotional intelligence—two things that are vital if RBKC is to regain the trust of the people that it serves.

My Department has been working closely with RBKC throughout to provide the support and challenge necessary to drive this work. I am pleased to see, from the taskforce’s second report, that some important progress has been made. RBKC, alongside the Government, has put in significant resources and increased its efforts to provide those affected with greater clarity about the support that is available to them. We have also seen a stronger focus on implementing new ways of working to drive much needed cultural change across the council in collaboration with external stakeholders, and a greater candour about the improvements that still need to be made. But there is much more to do to ensure that residents can see and feel that things are getting better on the ground. Nowhere is this more important than the vital task of rehousing those who lost their homes—a task that I have always been clear must be sensitive to individual needs, but not use these needs as an excuse to justify any type of delay.

Five months on from the fire, at the time of the taskforce’s first report, 122 households out of a total of 204 had accepted an offer of temporary or permanent ​accommodation. Only 73 households had moved in, and only 26 of those had moved into permanent homes. Today I can report that 188 households have accepted an offer of accommodation. Just over two thirds of these—128 households—have already moved into new accommodation, including 62 into permanent homes. This is welcome news but, as the taskforce’s second report highlights, progress has been far too slow.

It was always going to be a challenge to respond to an unprecedented tragedy on this scale and to secure new accommodation in one of the country’s most expensive locations, but progress has not been made as quickly as it should have been. There are still 82 households in emergency accommodation, including 15 in serviced apartments, with 25 families and 39 children among them. This is totally unacceptable. The suffering that these families have already endured is unimaginable. Living for this long in hotels can only make the process of grieving and recovery even harder. As the taskforce has said, it is unlikely that all households will be permanently rehoused by the one-year anniversary of the fire. This is clearly not good enough. I hoped to have seen much more progress. It is very understandable that the people of North Kensington will feel disappointed and let down, even if there are encouraging signs that the pace of rehousing is speeding up.

The council now has over 300 properties that are available to those who lost their homes, so each household can now choose a good quality property that meets their needs, with the option of staying in the area if that is what they wish. To ensure that these homes are taken up, I expect all households, regardless of their level of engagement, to be given whatever support they require to be rehoused as quickly as possible. The Government will continue to play their part, providing help with rehousing and other support for survivors, including financial support currently worth more than £72 million. The weeks ahead will be critical for ensuring that efforts to rehouse survivors go up a gear. I will be closely monitoring progress and will of course keep the House updated.

As I said earlier, if the council is to regain trust it is paramount that the Grenfell community is not just being told that things are changing, but can see that its views and concerns are being heard and acted on. A good example of this, as highlighted by the report, is the transfer of responsibilities from the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation to RBKC on an interim basis. This happened after residents made it clear that the tenant management organisation could no longer have a role, not only on the Lancaster West estate but more widely in housing management throughout the borough.

Residents have been engaged in the process of refurbishing the Lancaster West estate, with the Government matching the £15 million that the council is investing in this programme. Alongside this, the council will shortly be consulting residents on the long-term delivery of housing management needs across the borough. The voices and needs of the residents will also be at the heart of the process to determine the future of the Grenfell site and the public inquiry, which has just begun its second procedural hearing.

There must be an even stronger focus on needs as we step up efforts not just to rehouse survivors, but to help them to rebuild their lives and, vitally, to rebuild trust. ​It is a process that will clearly take time and unstinting commitment on all sides. As the taskforce has noted, some progress has been made, but there is no room for complacency. I expect the council to take on board the taskforce’s recommendations and do more to listen to the community, improve links with the voluntary sector and act on feedback that it gets from those on the frontline.

I thank the members of the taskforce once again for their valuable contribution, which will continue for as long as it is needed. As they have noted, despite the many challenges, there is

“a level of community spirit and attachment not often seen in local communities in London”.

It is a dynamic and diverse community spirit made stronger during the darkest of days—a spirit that is determined to secure a brighter future for the people of North Kensington. We share that determination and will continue to work with the bereaved, survivors and others. I commend this statement to the House.

Sajid Javid – 2018 Statement on Local Government Finance

Below is the text of the statement made by Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in the House of Commons on 20 March 2018.

The current 50% business rates retention scheme for local government is yielding strong results. Local authorities estimate that in 2017-18 ​they will keep around £1.3 billion in business rates growth, which we expect will be at least maintained into 2018-19 and 2019-20. On top of the 50% business rates retention scheme which is in place for all local authorities, in 2017-18 the Government established pilots of 100% business rates retention in five areas of England and extended business rates retention to 67% in London. The pilot programme will be expanded further in 2018-19 to cover an additional 10 areas.

My officials have worked through the necessary calculations to prepare for the extension of the piloting programme in 2018-19. In doing so, an historic error has been identified in the methodology used to calculate the sums due to pilots. An adjustment is therefore required to the methodology, which will reduce the amount due to these local authorities for participating in the pilot programme to the correct level. This adjustment does not affect the local government finance settlement nor the core spending power of the local authorities concerned. The relevant local authorities have been informed today.

Background

Under the business rates retention system, local authorities retain a percentage of the business rates they raise locally. Since 2014-15, locally-raised business rates have been lower than they would have been because Government have under-indexed the business rates multiplier in each of 2014-15, 2015-6 and 2018-19. To compensate local authorities for their loss of income, therefore, the Government have calculated the extent of the loss caused by under-indexation and paid that amount as a grant under section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003.

The compensation to be paid to local authorities is paid on account during the course of a year, based on estimates made by authorities before the start of that year. It is then adjusted once outturn figures are available, following the end of the year.

When on account compensation payments were calculated for the six 2017-18 pilot areas, the methodology used to adjust tariffs and top-ups contained an error. This resulted in 27 local authorities and the Greater London Authority being over-compensated by £36 million.

These local authorities will have been operating on the understanding that this funding has already been secured and, at this this late stage in the year, a sudden reduction in their funding could potentially have an impact on the delivery of the objectives agreed as part of their devolution deals. Therefore, although the rules of “Managing Public Money” indicate that the Department should recover the overpayment, I have issued a direction requesting that the permanent secretary does not do so in this extraordinary circumstance. My correspondence with the permanent secretary will be published on the Department’s website.

In respect of the payments due to 2018-19 business rates retention pilot authorities, my Department will use the corrected methodology to calculate the section 31 grant compensation due to authorities. Local authorities will shortly be notified of these amounts.

Review

In recognition of the importance of the business rates retention system to the sustainability of local government, I am also today announcing an independent review of the internal processes and procedures that underpin the ​Department’s oversight of business rates and related systems. This should include modelling and analytical work, how officials manage the interface with policy decision making, and resourcing and skills.

Sajid Javid – 2018 Speech on Housing

Below is the text of the speech made by Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on 5 March 2018.

Everyone remembers their childhood home.

Mine was the flat above the family shop.

With my parents – who had come to Britain from Pakistan with almost nothing – and my 4 brothers.

Nothing fancy, but an important rung on the ladder for our family.

I won’t lie.

It was a struggle at times, with the 7 of us sharing 2 bedrooms.

And my mum and dad – like so many immigrants before and since – working all hours to make our money go further.

But it was nonetheless a stable, loving home that gave us all a great start…

…a start that’s undoubtedly the reason that I’m standing here today.

And I never forget that.

We didn’t have many luxuries, but I could count on having a safe, warm place to play – and fight! – with my brothers.

Do my homework. Enjoy family meals and fun times together.

I know how lucky I am.

And how, today, there are many families and other people who are not so fortunate.

Who are growing up without that strong foundation because, over the years, we’ve simply failed to build enough homes.

The result – soaring house prices and rents – has effectively locked a generation out of the housing market.

Which is why – as the Prime Minister has just said – this government is taking urgent action on all fronts to turn this situation around.

Work that is starting to pay off.

Since 2010, we have delivered more than a million homes.

And thanks to your efforts, we’ve seen 217,350 homes added to our housing stock last year.

The highest level of net additions in all but one of the last 30 years.

We’ve also helped hundreds of thousands of people on to the housing ladder through Help to Buy.

We’re cracking down on rogue landlords, abuse of leaseholds, taking steps to make renting fairer and tackle homelessness through earlier intervention.

We’re working to encourage landlords to offer longer, family friendly tenancies.

We’ve launched a new, more assertive national housing agency, Homes England.

And we are putting billions into affordable housing and delivering essential infrastructure through the Housing Infrastructure Fund.

But there’s still a long way to go to deliver 300,000 homes a year in England by the middle of the next decade.

Your role as planners and developers is absolutely vital in helping us get there.

I often say that local government is the frontline of our democracy.

If that’s true, then you, as planners, are in many ways the frontline of our housing challenge.

Informing crucial decisions that give the go ahead for new homes.

Ensuring that these are supported by the right infrastructure.

Doing the best for your local areas and creating, quite simply, great places to live.

Places that will still be here in a hundred years’ time as well-established and much-loved parts of the community.

So the part that you play in helping us turn the consultations we’re launching today…

… on the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the reform of developer contributions…

…into more homes and stronger communities could not be more important.

These measures implement the planning policy reforms in:

– last February’s Housing white paper

– in the Planning for the right homes in the right places consultation in September

– those announced at Budget

– and some further reforms

And set out a bold, comprehensive approach for building more homes, more quickly, in the places people want to live.

Homes that embody quality and good design.

That people are happy to live in – and happy to live next door to.

Knowing that there’s the infrastructure to support them.

As we all know, this point about getting communities on board is vital if we’re to deliver homes at the scale and pace that’s needed.

So how are the proposed changes going to help us achieve this?

And what are they going to mean for you in practical terms?

I know that many of you have been keenly anticipating the answers to these questions.

And have wanted greater clarity and certainty, so that you can make a real difference in your communities.

And that’s exactly what our reforms deliver.

A simpler, more robust system that sets much clearer expectations – for local authorities and developers alike…

…about meeting your commitments – unlocking land, fulfilling planning permissions and providing essential infrastructure.

And a system that, frankly, tolerates fewer excuses for failures to deliver.

Starting first with the revision of the National Planning Policy Framework…

This implements around 80 reforms announced last year.

There’s still quite a lot in there that you’ll recognize, with a continued emphasis on development that’s sustainable and led locally.

But the changes it does propose are significant.

Offering councils flexibility to build more.

But also greater responsibility for really delivering for their communities.

Which means, firstly, working with your communities to get plans in place as quickly as possible…

…so that development is dictated by what local people want and not by speculative applications.

In many ways, these proposals will make this process of putting together a plan much easier.

For the first time, all local authorities will be expected to assess housing need using the same methodology…

…a big improvement on the current situation where different councils calculate housing need in different ways…

…with expensive, or time wasting consulting and opaque methodology.

I know that this issue – of how we establish what numbers of homes we need and where – has become muddied at times.

Ultimately, we must be guided by where people want to live.

And a standardized approach will help us do this – by establishing a level playing field and giving us a much clearer…

…more transparent understanding of where the need for housing is most acute.

Areas will also be able to agree a 5-year land supply position for a year…

…reducing the need for costly planning appeals involving speculative applications.

But perhaps one of the biggest shifts is a change in culture.

Towards outcomes achieved – the number of homes delivered– rather than on processes like planning permissions

And as it becomes easier to make plans more streamlined and strategic…

…this culture change will also encourage authorities to work together to meet their communities’ needs.

I know that many of you will already be doing this – and you are to be commended for it.

It’s now time for others to follow your example.

The standardised formula is a guide to planning the minimum number of homes that are needed.

But ambitious councils, who have clear and robust plans for growth, may want to plan for more.

Indeed, this kind of ambition is key to unlocking housing deals that support growth at a strategic level so that they’re not just delivering new homes but creating communities.

And it’s because we want to champion this ambition that we’re going further.

Councils will have much more scope to make the most of existing land, thanks to extra reform beyond those previously consulted on.

These include an even stronger drive for increasing density -particularly in areas where housing need is high…

…and supporting authorities to build upwards.

But not, I must stress, at the expense of quality – with high design standards that communities are happy to embrace remaining a priority.

You only have to look at mews street developments such as The Echoes in Thurrock and Goldsmith Street in Norwich…

…or urban mansion blocks and traditional terraces to see that well-designed homes with high densities come in all shapes and sizes.

These reforms also include more flexibility to develop brownfield land in the Green Belt…

…to meet affordable housing need where there is no substantial harm to the openness of the Green Belt.

Now I know that even the mention of the words “Green Belt” may cause some concern in some quarters.

This is about building homes on sites that have been previously developed – not about, in any way, undermining the Green Belt.

Our green spaces are precious and deserve our protection.

Which is why for example the government is delivering on its manifesto commitment to give stronger protection to ancient woodland.

Safeguarding assets that cannot be replaced for generations to come.

And ensuring that planning policies promote net gains for biodiversity, including strengthening networks of habitats.

So there are unprecedented opportunities here – to not only improve the environment, but to deliver the homes we need.

With ambitious planners and local authorities leading the way.

And with developers also stepping up – to help close the gap between planning permissions granted and homes built.

Knowing what contributions they’re expected to make towards affordable housing and essential infrastructure…

…and, vitally, knowing that local authorities can hold them to account.

Unfortunately, we all know of instances where developers make these promises and later claim they can’t afford them.

This is totally unacceptable.

It cheats communities of much-needed housing and infrastructure and gives new development a bad name.

Which is why we’re addressing this issue head on in our consultations, with proposals for reforms to the system.

These include a new approach to developer contributions – so that everyone is clear about what affordable housing and infrastructure will underpin new development.

More standardised viability assessments and greater transparency.

Leaving developers in no doubt of what’s expected to them

In no doubt that councils will hold them to their commitments.

And leaving communities in no doubt that that their needs will be met.

We will also be looking at what more we can do to support build out informed by Sir Oliver Letwin’s independent review…

…into the gap between planning permissions granted and homes built – which is due to report by this year’s Autumn Budget

And there’s the potential, over the long term, for more, significant reform of developer contributions.

And there are also other areas in which we’re ready to go further to take the delivery of housing up a gear.

Including a new permitted development right for building upwards to provide new homes.

Finding more effective ways of bringing agricultural land forward for housing.

And ensuring that swift and fair decisions are made at appeal.

That’s why I will shortly announce an end-to end review of the planning inquiries process.

This review will have one objective: to determine what it would take to halve the time for an inquiry on housing supply to be determined…

…ensuring swift and fair decisions are made

So with a strong focus, throughout, we’re leaving no stone unturned to meet everyone’s housing needs.

Be that:

– implementing an exception site policy to help more people onto the housing ladder

– promoting Build to Rent

– giving older people a better choice of accommodation

– encouraging local policies for affordable homes catering for essential workers, such as nurses and police

So with all these tools at your disposal, there’s no time to lose in getting your plans in place and really delivering for your communities.

You’ll have heard me express my frustration about some local planning authorities that are still lagging behind on this score.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: these plans are absolutely key to helping us build the right homes in the right places.

So it’s vital that you get them in place quickly and keep them up to date to ensure that permissions turn into homes.

The alternative – speculative development and neighbourhoods that are poorly planned, lacking strong communities – is something that none of us want to see.

The truth is that, for too long, we’ve failed to plan for the future.

To really get to grips with the number of homes we need.

Whether we’re building them in the places where people want to live.

Whether they’re of the right type – and serving the families, young people, older generations…

And whether they’re of the right quality and in keeping with the local area.

We need to think big about the kind of communities we want to live in, not just now, but for years to come.

That changes today with the reforms we’re proposing to the NPPF and developer contributions.

Measures that raise the game in every regard to get Britain building as never before.

Starting this summer, when we’ll begin implementing the new Framework.

Help us build a better system.

A system that ensures that everyone – councils, developers, local communities – knows where they stand.

Knows what’s expected of them.

And knows what they need to do to deliver the great homes and the stronger communities that the people of this country need and deserve.

Thank you.

Sajid Javid – 2018 Speech at Midlands Engine Investment Fund

Below is the text of the speech made by Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on 22 February 2018.

Thanks, Nick, it’s a pleasure to be here.

In the very heart of the Midlands Engine.

And a nearly a year on from the launch of our Midlands Engine Strategy.

We’ve achieved great things over the last 12 months, including:

– announcing a new East Midlands Manufacturing Zone pilot
– agreeing a second devolution deal with the West Midlands Combined Authority
– launching an ambitious Industrial Strategy – with opportunities for the region to boost productivity and skills

But there’s much more to come.

We’re committed to making the Midlands a powerful engine for economic growth.

When we say we’ll build an economy that works for everyone; we mean it.

But, to just step back a bit, if you can put your money into anything, anywhere in the world – why would you invest in the UK today?

Why the Midlands?

Well, we all know that Midlanders are very grounded people.

It’s where Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity after all.

And very sensible.

It’s where John Cadbury invented my favourite chocolate.

And if there’s anywhere that shows that something small can be mighty.

It’s the Midlands.

Where the Mini Cooper was invented.

Where Tolkien dreamed up the hobbits.

Where 27,000 Midlands business – many of which are small enterprises – exported £47.5 million of goods globally.

It’s an exciting time for the Midlands Engine.

In December, Coventry was awarded UK City of Culture 2021.

And Birmingham announced as the hosts of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Derbyshire, too, is set to showcase the marvels of Midlands’ manufacturing at a new museum where it all started…

…on the site of the world’s first ever factory.

We want to harness its huge potential and help give small firms across the Midlands that much needed boost to grow their business.

To generate jobs to benefit the whole Midlands and, ultimately, the British economy.

Which continues to confound the pessimists.

With growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019 upgraded to 1.9%.

More people in work than ever before.

And interest rates remaining low.

Giving British businesses a great opportunity to grow – and those who invest in them, a great return.

Investing in the UK, and The Midlands Engine, is a no-brainer.

Because the ‘heart of England’ is just that – the lifeblood powering this country’s prosperity…

…not to mention innovation, culture and even cuisine.

And I’m not just saying that because I’m a proud Midlands’ MP. It’s the land of Shakespeare and the steam engine.

Charles Darwin and Rolls Royce.

Newton and Nightingale.

Wedgwood and Walkers Crisps.

And, of course, that most English of dishes – the balti!

Yet, too often these strengths go unsung and are overshadowed by our preoccupation with the North / South divide.

But it’s Birmingham – where we are today – not somewhere in the North or the South – that is England’s second city.

And it’s the Midlands’ regional economy that’s worth more than £230 billion – larger than countries such as Denmark.

An economy that boasts over 14% of the UK’s high-growth businesses.

That’s underpinned by a prime central location – within easy reach of London and the UK’s Northern heartlands.

And by excellent transport links.

A road and rail network that connects the Midlands with the rest of the country…

…with the new HS2 route set to cut journey times dramatically.

As well as 2 international airports that connect the region to Europe and the world.

Then there are its many universities, with their cutting-edge research and teaching excellence.

And with people under 20 making up a quarter of the region’s population, its young, dynamic workforce.

So the economic case for the Midlands is clear.

Which brings us to the Midlands Engine Investment Fund.

Why this fund and why now?

Because it’s not just the small businesses in line for funding who’ll benefit.

The growth and the jobs they generate, as a result, will benefit the entire Midlands – and, ultimately, the British economy.

So we all have an interest in supporting them and seeing them succeed.

And ensuring that every single part of the UK can play to its strengths and spread prosperity …

…something which is absolutely central to our Industrial Strategy and creating a country that works for everyone.

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund is doing just that…

…which is why, as the Midlands Engine Ministerial Champion, I’m proud to give it the government’s full backing.

As you know, the fund is the result of investment and collaboration involving many players…

– my department and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
– the British Business Bank
– Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs)
– the West Midlands Mayor and business leaders
– and also European funding

And I want to thank everyone involved – many of you who are here today…

…who have helped forge these strong partnerships at a national and local level.

We can see these efforts starting to pay off…

…with the first companies to receive small business loans and debt finance under phase one of the fund already reaping the rewards.

These include Direct Digital Controls, in the West Midlands.

A business that specialises in installing and maintaining energy and environmental control systems.

Thanks to investment from the fund, it’s expanding. It’s now set to take on four new employees and train an additional apprentice.

There’s Olberon, a medical devices company, based in Nottingham.

Finance from the fund will have a huge impact on its international commercial sales…

…by allowing the firm to develop existing links with distributors and market its products more effectively.

And also BCME, owner of specialist education provider – Echo Factor – in Leicester…

…which will use the fund’s support to maximise student numbers and become more self-sustaining.

And, Renewable ON Ltd, a clean energy lighting specialist, from Milton Keynes.

The loan funds it has received will go towards cash flow including stock, wages and marketing to fulfil initial orders.

Many of these sorts of small companies struggle to access the financial support they need from mainstream lenders…

…because they don’t meet conventional criteria on security or risk.

The Midlands Engine Investment Funding ensures that they will finally get this help…

…and be able to grow, generate jobs and realise their untapped potential.

But, as I said earlier, these ripples of prosperity will spread far beyond those who receive the funding.

And we can already see evidence of this, with an increased buzz around business start-ups…

…stronger SME growth and improving business confidence.

All of which are fuelling a greater demand for external finance.

And I expect this momentum to build following today’s launch of the Fund’s remaining equity and proof of concept funds.

Funds that will back the Midlands’ most innovative small companies – start-ups, scale-ups and everything in between – to succeed.

That will support them to work with our top universities.

That will help them develop and test pioneering technologies, processes and products and bring them to market.

And provide venture capital to realise the ambitions of our high-growth companies.

Having spent 19 years in finance – including in private equity and investments…

…I know, first-hand, what a difference this investment in ground-breaking ideas and technology will make.

Putting the Midlands on track to create the word-class companies of the future.

So, with over £250 million now available – and these funds being matched pound for pound by investment from the private sector…

…there’s a huge prize at stake.

A boost for around 1,500 SMEs across the Midlands.

An estimated 3,800 jobs created as a result.

And, vitally, a return that will be ploughed back into the region to drive growth in years to come. I know that these companies’ ambitions – and those of the Midlands’ business sector, as a whole – know no bounds.

And neither do ours.

Which is why Sir John and I undertook a trade mission to China last November to promote closer business links with the Midlands Engine.

This was a great success, with 18 Midlands’ companies from a variety of sectors taking part.

And lots of interest and enthusiasm generated among Chinese businesses and potential investors…

…some of whom are in active discussions about future trade and investment prospects in the Midlands.

We’re now looking to follow this up with a Midlands Engine trade mission to India later this year.

I know that you’re thinking…

…but this is not a showdown between whether Birmingham or Mumbai does the best curries!

There can only be one winner in that contest – clearly those that my mum makes!

We’re going all out to spread the world overseas about the Midlands Engine and the endless opportunities it offers.

Because the Midlands…

…it’s dynamic businesses and talented, hard-working people…

…are, without doubt, up there with the best in the world.

With an illustrious past that few countries can match, never mind regions.

And, with the Midlands Engine Investment Fund delivering more jobs, growth and productivity…

…an even more exciting future ahead.