Bill Wiggin – 2018 Commons Speech on Brexit

Below is the text of the speech made by Bill Wiggin, the Conservative MP for North Herefordshire, in the House of Commons on 6 December 2018.

It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Stephen Twigg), and, of course, my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Moor View (Johnny Mercer).

Let me first commend the Prime Minister’s determination, fortitude and persistence in her negotiations with the European Union and in her repeated statements to the House. I, like many, want to conclude Brexit as swiftly as possible and to fulfil the result of the 2016 referendum, but the withdrawal agreement contains enormous problems. The Northern Ireland protocol provides for an extension of the customs union that would keep the United Kingdom in the customs union and some aspects of the single market. The Attorney General confirmed to the House, both in his statement and in his published legal opinion, that the backstop had no unilateral exit mechanism. That means that leaving the backstop and the customs union could be more difficult than leaving the European Union. The people who voted for Brexit voted for independence, and the backstop prevents us from fully leaving the EU. The current withdrawal agreement therefore does not respect the will of the people to leave the EU.

If the Government are unwilling or unable to secure a better deal, the default position is trading on World Trade Organisation terms—no deal, or a clean global Brexit, as it should be known. People who say that that would be a disaster—the consensus on the Opposition Benches is that it might be—are, generally speaking, people with whom I disagree, usually because they are wrong. Our exports to countries with which we trade on WTO terms have grown three times faster than our trade with EU countries since the 1990s. We currently ​run a surplus on our trade with our biggest national export market, the United States. By contrast, we run a deficit on our trade with European single market partners. Anyone who is afraid of the WTO should simply look around their home and note the sheer volume of items made in China, America and the rest of the world in order to conclude that the WTO is not quite the demon that Opposition Members make it out to be.

On Tuesday, the Grieve amendment looked, at first, like it had put power back into the hands of the House of Commons. Although many of my colleagues and constituents tell me that anything for which the House votes will not be legally binding, we have seen this week that the Government cannot ignore Parliament. The purpose of the amendment was to put at risk the clean global Brexit, given that it will not be supported by Parliament, so I worry that extensions to article 50, or a second referendum, could win the support of MPs who do not respect the result of the original people’s vote. They should use this debating opportunity to remind the public that they will not seek to undo the result of the referendum, in exactly the way my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Sussex (Sir Nicholas Soames) did earlier.

Voting for the deal itself represents a threat to Brexit, but it also represents a threat to the Government. Ironically, the DUP, which will support the Government in a confidence vote if the deal is lost, would be closest to the hard border that the backstop seeks to prevent. Surely they must have their views respected above all else.

For our £39 billion, we deserve a proper arrangement with the EU that is mutually beneficial, as well as good value for our taxpayers. I fear that this deal does not open the door to positive trade negotiations. It hangs the threat of the backstop over the heads of our negotiators, which will force them to compromise and concede. Therefore, as it stands, I do not want to support the deal, but I hope that the Prime Minister will take our concerns on board and will act. I hope that she will return to this House with a deal that I and my colleagues can wholeheartedly support.

Stephen Twigg – 2018 Commons Speech on Brexit

Below is the text of the speech made by Stephen Twigg, the Labour MP for Liverpool, West Derby, in the House of Commons on 6 December 2018.

The city of Liverpool has been hit hard by austerity since 2010, with massive cuts in central Government funding hitting Liverpool City Council and its services and hitting the police service and the fire service, while benefit changes have hit the poorest hardest. Liverpool has also benefited enormously from membership of the European Union. Merseyside had Objective 1 status, which helped to bring significant investment to our communities. It is an outward-looking city, reflected in the heavy vote across the city two years ago to remain in the European Union—58% to 42%.

However, the divisions that we have discussed today nationally were reflected locally. My constituency saw a much narrower vote—the vote was not conducted by constituency, but my estimate is that it was probably about 52% remain and 48% leave. As we have heard rightly from both sides in this debate, some of the communities that have been hit hardest by poverty and austerity are those that had the highest leave votes. That was certainly the case in my constituency and that reflected many concerns—some about immigration and others about a sense of being left behind.

Those divisions clearly continue. They are reflected in my inbox, as I am sure they are in those of other Members. I have had constituents urging me in the last three weeks to vote for no deal because that would be better than this deal. Some want a people’s vote. Some people are coming to see me to support the deal, but a very clear majority view from my constituents is that we should reject this deal because it is bad for jobs, bad for rights and bad for living standards.

I voted remain and I campaigned hard for remain in my constituency, elsewhere in Liverpool, and in other parts of the north-west, but I accepted the result despite my great personal sense of disappointment. I voted in favour of triggering article 50 and I really wanted to see a serious negotiation to deliver on the referendum. I agree very strongly with my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn), who said on the opening day of this debate that

“history will record the Prime Minister’s red lines to have been an absolutely catastrophic mistake”.—[Official Report, 4 December 2018; Vol. 650, c. 800.]

It would have been perfectly feasible to take a pragmatic, inclusive and flexible approach and reach out across the Chamber to all parties. The Government’s failure to do that has resulted in a political declaration which is vague and uncertain, and which, crucially, tells us very little about the key issues of frictionless trade. As a result, it is almost certain not only that this deal will be defeated next Tuesday, but that it will defeated by a substantial margin.​
After that vote, we shall have an historic responsibility and opportunity to forge a new way forward. I have signed both amendment (a), in the name of the Leader of the Opposition, and amendment (i), in the name of my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds Central. Taken together, they could provide the basis for a way forward: rejecting the disastrous option of no deal, seeking instead a permanent customs union and a strong single market deal, and resolving to pursue every option to prevent no deal from happening.

It seems to me that there are two potential ways forward after the vote next Tuesday. Either we come together in the House, across party divides, and agree a position that can protect jobs, protect the rights of workers and standards in the environment and for consumers, and protect living standards. I believe we could achieve that with the good will of Government and Parliament working together. Otherwise, there will be no alternative but for us to take this back to the people, either in the form of an early general election or in the form of another referendum—a people’s vote.

The economic consequences of leaving without a deal could be disastrous. As others have said, they would hit the poorest areas hardest. I look at those areas of Liverpool’s economy, such as the car industry, health and life sciences, universities and the port. Those are the industries that would suffer most if we left without a deal, and regions such as the north-west would be hit hardest by a no deal Brexit. Yes, this deal is not the right deal, but let us come together and deliver the deal that really can protect jobs and rights across our country.

Tom Tugendhat – 2018 Commons Speech on Brexit

Below is the text of the speech made by Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative MP for Tonbridge and Malling, in the House of Commons on 6 December 2018.

I am grateful for the opportunity to speak in this important debate. I pay tribute to the hon. Member for Falkirk (John Mc Nally) for his dulcet tones and helping us get through the afternoon.

We find ourselves here because of a series of events. We must remember that the day after the referendum, the campaigns disappeared. When we got to the leadership competition, many of the competitors disappeared. When we got to the election, sadly many of our seats disappeared, and we found ourselves without a majority. Despite that, we have a Prime Minister who, thank God, has shown fortitude, devotion and duty, when so many others have, sadly, disappeared.

I have plenty of criticism to make of the way these negotiations have been conducted, and I am sure I am not alone in doing so. I think we started the wrong way round. Rather than negotiating our way down, as it were, from our existing membership, we should have admitted the truth, which is that we have left the European Union—we left when the votes came in—and we should be negotiating our way up towards the relationship we want to see in the long term. Sadly, that is not what happened.

We find ourselves now looking towards a transition. After 45 years’ membership—about the same time that Elizabeth I was on the throne or the German empire existed—it is hardly surprising that the transition to a new relationship is important. We must use this opportunity to focus on not only what the interim stage looks like, but what the future looks like. That is why I would welcome much more effort going into the future agreement. It is true that the political declaration sets out some aspects of interest, and the backstop supposedly is used as a building block, but we need to see much more than either of those.

So what are we looking at today? We are looking at a stage. We are looking at—let us be frank—the only deal on the table. We are looking at a temporary, imperfect compromise, and an uncomfortable one at that—one that, were we to ever enter the backstop, splits the four freedoms of goods, capital, services and people.

The option we have is pretty simple. It is threefold: either we agree with this compromise; or we push for a second referendum, which I think is a terrible idea, as it will simply lead to more uncertainty and more indecision; or we walk away. As I represent a community—I am blessed to represent one of the most beautiful communities in the country—that, sadly, is surrounded by motorways entirely reliant on the port of Dover, there is a danger for us that those motorways will become parking lots, as many hon. Members will have heard me say when I raised this with the Transport Secretary. I am afraid that I cannot go for the referendum and I cannot go for walking away, so I am left really with only one choice. I do not say this with any joy. However, it is not our role to shirk responsibility or to avoid decisions; it is our role to take decisions. When I have excluded the impossible, I am left with only one—and that I have to say with a very heavy heart.

The backstop is not, however, as final as many have said, and here I quote from Policy Exchange’s work by Professor Verdirame, Sir Stephen Laws and Professor Ekins, about what the best endeavours obligation in the withdrawal agreement puts on the EU. They say:​

“EU conduct in breach of such an obligation and indefinitely prolonging the application of the Protocol could thus amount to a material breach of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Protocol. Faced with this situation, the UK would be entitled to invoke this material breach as a ground for the suspension or termination of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Protocol.”

So there is a legal way out, and the legal way out is if the EU does not negotiate with best intent. I am confident that it will, because this is as bad for the EU as it is for us, though, frankly, it is not good for anyone.

I will end simply with a word about the referendum. It was legitimate. It did not go my way, but democracies do not always reflect the way we choose. When we get through this period, the next few years of this country’s history will be truly glorious. We are on the cusp of massive investment. We have companies sitting on cash and ready to throw it into the economy. We have a huge opportunity before us, and I look forward to our grasping it.

Kirsty Blackman – 2018 Commons Speech on Brexit

Below is the text of the speech made by Kirsty Blackman, the SNP MP for Aberdeen North, in the House of Commons on 10 December 2018.

I thank the Prime Minister for advance sight of the statement, and I thank you, Mr Speaker, for the benefit of your words on how we could proceed.

The events of the past few hours have highlighted that this is a Government in a total state of collapse. The Prime Minister has been forced to pull tomorrow’s vote in a stunning display of pathetic cowardice. The vote tomorrow night would have shown the will of this House, but this Government are focused on saving the Prime Minister’s job and her party. Instead of doing what is right for these countries, she is abdicating her responsibility.

The Prime Minister’s deal will make people poorer. It will lead to years of further uncertainty and difficult negotiation, with no guarantee that a trade deal can even be struck. It does not have the support of those on her Back Benches; indeed, it has no support from the majority of those on the Benches across this place, no support from the Scottish Parliament and no support from the Welsh Assembly. Why has it taken the Prime Minister this long to face up to reality? Her deal was dead in the water long before this morning. Last week, it was this deal or no deal. She now needs to be clear with this House about what has changed.

Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, but yet again our views are being ignored, as they have been throughout this disastrous and incompetent Brexit process. Back in 2014, Scotland was promised the strength and security of the UK, but the reality has been Westminster collapse and chaos. We were promised an equal partnership, but we have been treated with contempt.

The Prime Minister has lost the confidence of those on her own Benches, and she has failed to convince this House of her plan for exiting the EU. We simply cannot go on like this. It is clear that the Prime Minister is incapable of taking decisions about the future and that Downing Street cannot negotiate any more—either with the EU or with those on the Tory Back Benches. What the Prime Minister is really scared of is allowing this House to determine the way forward and allowing the public the opportunity to remain in the EU. She knows she has lost, but she is still wasting precious time. We need the Prime Minister to be clear about when the House will vote on this deal.

This Government and the Prime Minister have failed. It is time they got out of the way. Prime Minister, Members across this House do not want your deal. The EU does not want to renegotiate. Is not the only way to break this deadlock to put it to the people?

Jeremy Corbyn – 2018 Commons Speech on Brexit

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, in the House of Commons on 10 December 2018.

I thank the Prime Minister for providing a copy of the statement before we met here this afternoon. We are in an extremely serious and unprecedented situation. The Government have lost control of events and are in complete disarray. It has been evident for weeks that the Prime Minister’s deal does not have the confidence of this House, yet she ploughed on regardless, reiterating “This is the only deal available.” Can she be clear with the House: is she seeking changes to the deal, or mere reassurances? Does she therefore accept the statement from the European Commission at lunchtime, saying that it was the

“only deal possible. We will not renegotiate—our position has…not changed”?

Ireland’s Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, has said it is “not possible” to renegotiate the Irish border backstop, stating that it was the Prime Minister’s own red lines that made the backstop necessary. So can the Prime Minister be clear: is she now ready to drop further red lines in order to make progress? Can the Prime Minister confirm that the deal presented to this House is not off the table, but will be re-presented with a few assurances? Bringing back the same botched deal, either next week or in January—and can she be clear on the timing?—will not change its fundamental flaws or the deeply held objections right across this House, which go far wider than the backstop alone.

This a bad deal for Britain, a bad deal for our economy and a bad deal for our democracy. Our country deserves better than this. The deal damages our economy, and it is not just the Opposition saying that; the Government’s own analysis shows that this deal would make us worse off. If the Prime Minister cannot be clear that she can and will renegotiate the deal, she must make way. If she is going back to Brussels, she needs to build a consensus in this House. Since it appears that business has changed for the next two days, it seems not only possible but necessary that this House debates the negotiating mandate that the Prime Minister takes to Brussels. There is no point at all in this Prime Minister bringing back the same deal again, which is clearly not supported by this House.

We have endured two years of shambolic negotiations. Red lines have been boldly announced and then cast aside. We are now on our third Brexit Secretary, and it appears that each one of them has been excluded from these vital negotiations. We were promised a precise and substantive document, and we got a vague 26-page wishlist. This Government have become the first Government in British history to be held in contempt of Parliament.

The Government are in disarray. Uncertainty is building for business. People are in despair at the state of these failed negotiations, and concerned about what it means for their jobs, their livelihoods and their communities. The fault for that lies solely at the door of this shambolic Government. The Prime Minister is trying to buy herself one last chance to save this deal. If she does not take on board the fundamental changes required, she must make way for those who can.

Andrew Jones – 2018 Statement on Crossrail

Below is the text of the statement made by Andrew Jones, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, in the House of Commons on 10 December 2018.

The government, the Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) have today (10 December 2018) confirmed a financing package to deliver the final stages of the Crossrail project and open the Elizabeth line to passengers.

Crossrail Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of TfL, announced in August 2018 that the opening of the Elizabeth line through central London would be delayed. Work is ongoing to identify the remaining works required to complete the infrastructure and then commence the extensive testing necessary to ensure the railway opens safely and reliably. Crossrail is a nationally significant infrastructure project which will add up to £42 billion to the UK economy and will transform travel in, to, and across London.

The government remains committed to the rapid completion of the project, in a way that is fair to UK taxpayers, and that enables London – as the primary beneficiary of Crossrail – to bear the additional costs. Independent reviews into Crossrail Ltd’s assessment of ongoing funding requirements and governance arrangements are being undertaken by KPMG to ensure the right scrutiny and oversight are in place as the project enters its final phase.

The emerging findings of the KPMG reviews into Crossrail Ltd’s finances indicate the likely range of additional capital cost due to the delayed opening of the central section could be in the region of between £1.6 billion and £2 billion. That includes the £300 million already contributed by the Department for Transport and TfL in July 2018, leaving between £1.3 billion and £1.7 billion to cover the predicted additional costs of the project.

The government, the Mayor of London and TfL have agreed a financial package to cover this. The Department for Transport will provide a loan of up to £1.3 billion to the Greater London Authority (GLA). The GLA intend to repay this loan via London’s Business Rate Supplement (BRS) and from the Mayoral Community Infrastructure Levy (MCIL). The GLA will also provide a £100 million cash contribution, taking its total contribution for this package to £1.4 billion.

As the final costs of the Crossrail project are yet to be confirmed, a contingency arrangement has also been agreed between TfL and the Department for Transport. The Department for Transport will loan TfL up to £750 million in the event that further finance is required for the project.

This combined financing deal will replace the need for the £350 million interim financing package announced by the Department for Transport in October 2018.

The combined total of the financing arrangements outlined above, means that the overall funding envelope for the project is now £17.6 billion.

Crossrail Ltd appointed Mark Wild as CEO on 19 November 2018. Mark is now conducting an extensive review of the remainder of the programme and will provide clarity in the new year on the opening date of future phases. Crossrail Ltd are working to establish a robust and deliverable schedule to open a safe and reliable railway. This will also provide greater clarity on the level of additional funding required.

Furthermore, both the Department for Transport and TfL have recommended to the Crossrail Ltd board that they appoint Tony Meggs as Chair. Tony Meggs was previously Chief Executive of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority and Head of government’s Project Delivery Function, following a 30 year career in the private sector leading major projects at global, regional and local levels.

To further strengthen the Crossrail Ltd Board, the Department for Transport have accepted TfL’s nomination of Nick Raynsford as Deputy Chair. Nick is a former MP and served as Minister for London on two occasions between 1997 and 2003.

Matt Hancock – 2018 Speech on Dementia

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on 5 December 2018.

To get a sense of the challenge that dementia poses, I think about a man who, as a celebrated writer, gave such a clear account of the impact of dementia and stood determined not to let it stop him living his life.

Sir Terry Pratchett was a best-selling author of some of the most creative fantasy novels. He continued to write despite his diagnosis of dementia and would not let it stop him. In his words:

It’s possible to live well with dementia. And write best-sellers. Like wot I do.

There is not yet a cure, and as Terry himself described it:

There is no clearly plotted pathway to the course of these diseases. Dementia attacks those facets which make us who we are, and it’s a deeply personal attack that defies prediction.

Today we know much more about the challenge that dementia poses. But what are we doing to meet this challenge?

What have we achieved since the summit here in London in 2013, 5 years ago? Have we done enough to tackle stigma and raise awareness of this disease? Are we doing the research that will help us develop a treatment? Are we helping people to live well with dementia?

Today we’re gathered in London again, 5 years on from David Cameron using the UK’s presidency of the G8 summit to turn the spotlight on dementia.

Here we have a selection of the people who, working together in a common purpose, can bring change in our organisations, our countries and our world. We have eminent scientists, policy makers, innovators, academia, industry, people with dementia and carers, and politicians too. These are just some of the people that we need to bring together.

Without working across boundaries, without the collaborations and sharing of ideas we would not be able to make progress.

Today I want to reflect on some of the achievements we’ve made home and abroad. Let us together renew the call for action to defeat dementia.

In the UK alone, an estimated 850,000 live with dementia, with numbers projected to rise to over 1 million by 2022 and 2 million by 2051.

225,000 people will develop dementia this year, that’s roughly 1 every 3 minutes. And an estimated 1 in 5 people over the age of 85 have dementia. Furthermore, there are over 45,000 people under the age of 65 living with dementia in the UK.

Numbers are rising now. As we make progress in tackling the other major killers, then the numbers will rise more so.

Globally, nearly 50 million people were living with dementia in 2017. Research commissioned by Alzheimer’s Disease International highlights that the global cost of dementia will double by 2030, to $2 trillion.

I want to talk about what we are doing in 4 areas:

care and treatment
early diagnosis
prevention
technology

On care and treatment, we have made significant progress on staff training to help them care for people with dementia better. This year we reached one million NHS staff receiving dementia training since 2013 and around a million social care staff will have learned about dementia.

And we are investing in dementia research for better care approaches and new treatments. To that end, we are spending £300 million on dementia research between 2015 and 2020.

Through the Dementia Research Institute, Dementia Platforms UK, and through international efforts such as the Dementia Discovery Fund – which stands at a staggering £250 million so far – we are creating an environment to develop new approaches to tackling dementia.

On diagnosis, one of our central achievements has been the improvement in the dementia diagnosis rate. Today, over two-thirds of people living with dementia receive a diagnosis, compared with 2 in 5 in 2010 to 2011.

A timely diagnosis enables an individual and their loved ones to think about the care and support they need. It means they are able to access support and receive treatment quicker.

But things move on. As the science improves we are now thinking about even earlier diagnosis informed by understanding of ‘biomarkers’ to ensure that novel medicines and treatments stand the best chance of success.

On prevention, there is growing recognition that brain health is just as important as heart health: dementia isn’t an inevitable consequence of ageing. Around one-third of Alzheimer’s disease cases may be preventable through improving lifestyle, especially in midlife.

That is why we have now have dementia messages in our NHS health checks. In England everyone between the ages 40 to 74 years who goes for a health check will be given advice on how to reduce their dementia risk.

In the last 5 years, 7 million people attended a health check. That’s a fantastic opportunity to get the message out.

Which brings me to the role of technology. Since 2013 we have a deeper understanding of how technology can transform the lives of those with dementia and their carers.

Launched by the University of Oxford and the Alzheimer’s Society, the ‘GameChanger’ app contains a collection of memory and thinking games that test specific parts of the brain as well as the memory and thinking abilities believed to be affected during the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

A fantastic example of using new technology is the Dementia Education and Learning Through Stimulation 2 (DEALTS) programme, which uses virtual reality to help staff understand the challenges someone living with dementia faces in their everyday lives, from shopping to going to the cinema.

Or Paro the robotic seal. Paro uses artificial intelligence to learn from its surroundings and interact with people. Soft and cuddly, yes. And studies show its potential as a therapeutic intervention for people with dementia – it has been shown to improve socialisation for people living with dementia.

In all these areas, there are examples of good progress. It will take time. But there are still things we can do now. We are seeing a change in the way people think, talk and act on dementia.

The Dementia Friends initiative has been successful in raising awareness. We have over 2.7 million people who have become Dementia Friends, and over 400 communities committing to becoming dementia friendly in the UK.

Supported by my department, the Alzheimer’s Society co-ordinates the Global Dementia Friends Network, which now has 44 countries developing similar programmes, with nearly 16 million Dementia Friends across all continents.

In Brighton, the Dementia Action Alliance is partnering with Chess in Schools and Communities to give free chess lessons to older people, helping them keep their minds active while giving them opportunities to socialise.

Participating in music can help bring people together and stimulate memories – through Singing for the Brain for example.

Or simple ideas like the Southbank Centre using working poets to run a poetry course for people with dementia and their families.

Common-sense interventions like these are simple yet effective. And I want to see more of them.

Change is happening. Today’s event is a way of sharing all this great practice. It’s a way of restating our determination to make even more progress towards that goal of transformed care and support, of vastly improved social awareness and the first treatments by 2025.

I will work with any nation, any partner who has innovative solutions to defeat dementia. We must not become complacent, we must all keep an open mind to embrace the new opportunities offered by technology and science.

But let’s not lose sight of the simple message from Sir Terry Pratchett:

“It’s possible to live well with dementia”.

Chris Grayling – 2018 Speech on the Withdrawal Agreement

Below is the text of the speech made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, in Birmingham on 5 December 2018.

Opening remarks

Good morning everyone.

It’s a pleasure to be here at Birmingham Airport today (5 December 2018).

The global gateway to the Midlands…

Which had a record year in 2017…

With nearly 13 million passengers travelling on flights to over 150 destinations.

And which has also just announced a £500 million expansion plan to boost capacity and improve passenger facilities.

Thriving airports say a lot about the places they’re serving.

They are tangible evidence of business confidence.

Of ambition to expand into overseas markets.

To attract inward investment from other countries.

And to take advantage of opportunities opening up in the global economy….

As clearly we see here at Birmingham.

Global outlook

Yet this is what our island nation has been doing for centuries.

We’ve always been an outward-facing country.

It’s part of our DNA.

Reaching out to markets abroad.

Investing in transport links.

To help us strike trade deals around the world.

And in the post-Brexit world, we’ll need these strengths more than ever.

It’s why we are expanding Heathrow.

Why we’ve given regional airports like Birmingham greater freedom to grow.

And why we’re prioritising new aviation agreements with other nations to prepare for life outside the European Union.

Just last week – for example – we signed a deal with the US cementing flights across the Atlantic once we leave the EU.

The deal secures existing air connections, and sets out ways in which new operators can enter the market in future.

We have worked closely with airlines in both countries to make sure we get this deal right.

Then at the weekend we also concluded an agreement with Canada, sorting out the last significant non-EU aviation destination after Brexit.

But of course, maintaining flights to European markets is critical too.

Within Europe, both the European Commission and other member states have been clear that arrangements will be put in place for the aviation sector – regardless of the broader agreement.

This will ensure flights between the UK and EU can continue and that passengers have certainty about travelling.

Supporting the current deal

Clearly, these deals are in the national interest.

We’ve reached a stage in the Brexit journey where acting in the national interest takes precedence over all other considerations.

That’s why it’s imperative we get behind the Prime Minister’s agreed deal with the European Union now.

I campaigned for Brexit in 2016, and have not changed my view that it’s the right choice for Britain.

But I’m also a pragmatist.

It’s equally important that we remain good friends and neighbours to our EU partners, while also deepening ties around the world.

I believe that the vast majority of the British population want a mutually beneficial deal with the EU, and a smooth transition.

That’s precisely what the Prime Minister’s agreement will deliver….

While also delivering the vast majority of benefits that pro-Brexiteers asked for at the Referendum.

It will give us full control of our money….

Of our laws ….

And our borders – ending the free movement of people.

While maintaining security.

And protecting the union of the United Kingdom.

Transport and the PM’s deal

We’ll benefit from a free trade area with the EU, while also pursuing trade deals with other countries outside Europe.

And we have agreed ambitious transport arrangements with the EU.

Not only will we have a comprehensive Air Transport Agreement….

Visa-free travel for short-term visits, including tourists and business travellers…

And co-operation where it makes sense – on aviation security, safety and air traffic management….

But we’ll also have comparable access for hauliers, buses and coaches travelling between the UK and the rest of Europe.

Bilateral arrangements will allow cross border rail services to continue – such as between Belfast and Dublin, and through the Channel Tunnel.

And ships will continue to serve ports here and across the EU, protecting vital imports and exports routes.

And our thriving tourism industry.

This is a good deal for business and for jobs.

The best deal for business and jobs.

It will help us keep our connections with Europe….

While providing a springboard to pursue new agreements around the world.

And it will keep Britain moving.

That’s why transport industry leaders have come out today in support of the agreement….

Urging the country to get behind a deal that will provide much needed certainty.

And that’s why as Transport Secretary, I am strongly in favour as well.

If I had been offered the current deal before the Referendum in 2016, I would have seen it as an obviously better alternative to the status quo of remaining inside the EU.

But today, when we know that we will not get an improved deal if this one is rejected, then the decision to back it now is even more clear cut.

No deal

Of course, we’ve been working hard to prepare for all eventualities after our exit.

Including no deal.

As any responsible government would.

We are making provision to ease the pressure on Dover and Calais if there are customs hold ups after we leave.

And we are making sure British motorists have easy access to International Driving Licences if they are needed.

These are just two of the many transport implications of failing to reach a deal with the EU.

Implications which we set out in detail for each transport mode earlier this year…

Along with relevant advice for the public.

But none of us want them to actually happen.

No-one wants to sever ties with our European neighbours, and leave on bad terms.

So now our focus is to get on delivering the broader exit agreement.

And making progress with our withdrawal plans so we leave the European Union in March, while maintaining good relations.

Conclusion

We have an historic opportunity here.

To take back control of our borders and finances.

To retain a positive working and free trade relationship with our closest neighbours in the EU….

With no tariffs, fees, or charges across all sectors.

And no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

While keeping the Common Travel Area, ensuring everyday life continues as now.

This will ensure the smooth movement of transport and people….

By road, rail, sea and air.

Continued access to European markets….

Yet also the freedom to grow globally…

Providing airports like Birmingham with the momentum to invest for the future.

I believe the overwhelming majority of the country now want us to get on with Brexit….

And turn our attention to what comes next.

That’s what this agreement will do.

The deal on the table is also the best deal.

Best for transport.

Best for business.

Best for Britain.

So let’s get behind it.

Thank you.

Damian Hinds – 2018 Speech on Technical Education

Below is the text of the speech made by Damian Hinds, the Secretary of State for Education, on 6 December 2018 at Battersea Power Station, London.

Introduction

Good morning ladies and gentlemen… Thank you all for joining us here in Battersea… And thank you to Battersea for providing this very striking venue.

I once came here as Minister for Employment and met some of your apprentices…

I remember speaking to them about what they were doing…their future plans…and being struck – as I often am when talking to someone on a good quality apprenticeship – by their enthusiasm, their ambition, their optimism… the sense of what is possible in the future.

Young people know when they are genuinely on a path to a good job, a great career – just as they know when they’re on a route to nowhere.

And, unfortunately, for too long, we’ve had too many of our young people leaving school without the necessary skills or direction – and ending up on a dead-end route…getting in to work but not able to get on in work and progress to something better.

I am determined now to change this.

Everyone must be given the chance to get on a clear path to a skilled job. That could be an academic path – but it could also be a more practical, technical path, as I’ll be setting out today.

Productivity problem

There is, of course, one dominant theme in any conversation about the UK economy right now… leaving the European Union. Getting the right deal for our country…the best future trading relationships… ensuring the stability that businesses need to keep growing and investing…and sustaining this unparalleled record we have had on job creation.

But there is another crucial issue that pre-dates Brexit and should be focusing minds just as much… Our great unsolved issue in our economy of the last fifty plus years: productivity.

Clearly, productivity matters…higher output per hour means the economy grows, firms can raise wages…and when people earn more, they have higher living standards, higher quality of life.

…And that goes for everyone’s quality of life, not just those at the top.

Productivity is also how we afford our public services. When people earn more they can pay more. It’s how we afford the best education for our children, the best care for our parents.

So what’s the problem?

Today Germany, France, the US – all produce over 25% more per hour than the UK. And, actually, this productivity gap with Germany and France first opened up in the late 1960s, further back still with the US.

It is a longstanding problem.

And this gap really matters. Matching German productivity would allow government to spend tens of billions of pounds a year more in our public services.

What has kept our economy growing this last decade, is our growing working age population and our buoyant jobs market.

But… As the OBR point out, we cannot rely on a growing number of workers keeping our economy growing – employment is already at record levels and we’re seeing less inward migration.

Our high employment rate is a great strength of our economy…

But the challenge now is more people working in highly productive industries, in rewarding jobs with the opportunity to progress and earn more…not just in work, but getting on in work.

Skills and people

So what’s the solution?

A year ago today, this Government set out our first modern Industrial Strategy for boosting our nation’s productivity…setting out our ambition to put the UK at the forefront of the AI and data revolution…increased investment in Research and Development…a major upgrade to the UK’s infrastructure…

My colleague Greg Clark will be speaking about many aspects of this strategy later today.

Clearly, there is more than one factor associated with low productivity…but today I want to focus on a critical one that I believe underpins everything else…

Skills.

Yes you need to invest in high-tech machinery and in the latest technology; but you still need people who are trained to use it.

That’s why our Industrial Strategy also promises a major upgrade on the nation’s skills.

Right now, when it comes to skills we have an hourglass shaped problem in this country…

By that I mean that at the top of our hourglass, we have a large number of well-educated people, often with degrees from good universities… They tend to be in the high skilled, high paid jobs. This is worth celebrating.

But at the bottom of the hourglass, we have a large number of people who either never progressed beyond GCSEs or gained low level vocational qualifications… They are too often ending up in low skilled, low wage jobs.

If we’re ever going to close the productivity gap then we need more people getting into the top half of the hourglass, and essentially we need to change the shape of the hourglass so it bulges out in the middle…with more skilled jobs for people doing high quality training when they finish school.

In brief: more skilled workers, more skilled jobs.

At the moment, the UK benefits from a growing economy and low unemployment, but it suffers from a skills shortage…

In 2017, employers reported difficulties finding the right skills, qualifications or experience for 42% of skilled trades vacancies.

Our country needs more computer programmers…more engineers…more electricians and chefs… We need more technicians in fields from advanced manufacturing to healthcare …construction to telecommunications.

Brexit and automation

This shortage is becoming more urgent…for two reasons in particular.

First, the movement of people.

Our businesses, and our society as a whole, has hugely benefited from our diverse workforce, the fantastic contribution of EU nationals and people from other parts of the world… Everyone working in the UK today, wherever we come from, has an equal stake in our nation’s future.

As the Prime Minister has set out, once will leave the EU we will be able to set our own immigration policy…a skills based system…

In the past the easy availability of ready trained labour coming from abroad has led to some reliance, some might say an over reliance, on importing our skills needs. In future, I want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to develop the complex skills needed to play their part in a vibrant, growing economy…

Secondly, automation…

It is impossible to predict the timing or the way automation will impact us – although we see various predictions when it comes to the numbers of jobs at risk or may change, no one really knows.

But we must assume it is those with more training that will do better…

And by more training I mean better literacy, better numeracy, continuing improvement in general primary and secondary education, as well as practical, technical skills…

Ultimately, it is about how well our whole workforce can adapt to rapid technological change and a changing job market…the challenges and the opportunities.

The educational divide

What does all this mean for our education system?

Now, let’s be clear: there is a lot to be proud of – standards have risen and, since 2011, we have narrowed the attainment gap between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their better off peers by 10%.

That’s a fantastic achievement from teachers and leaders across the country.

And we should also be proud of our strong higher education sector…students from all corners of the world compete for a place at our top universities.

But the truth is that while we can boast that our young people have an excellent and clear academic route to a job…A Levels and then university…

Our vocational, technical routes tell another story. For many, the route is not clear, the expectations are not high enough and the links to a skilled job are too weak.

In fact, around a quarter of all 16 year olds in the education system are essentially churning around – switching between course types, dropping back to lower-level learning, or repeating study at the same level.

In recent years we’ve done a lot of work to improve apprenticeships – but before then they’d fallen out of favour with employers… They were too short, with too little off-the-job-training… The apprentice stayed the apprentice rather than mastering the skills needed.

Behind all of this has been a bit of an attitude problem: as a nation I’m afraid we’ve been technical education snobs.

We’ve revered the academic but treated vocational as second class – when we do it well, law, engineering, medicine – then we don’t even call it vocational.

Why has this has been tolerated for so long? I think the reason is the “O.P.C” problem. For so many opinion formers, commentators and, yes, politicians: vocational courses are POC courses: for ‘other people’s children’.

As the Prime Minister has been very clear – this has to change.

Young people not on the A-level route have two years of government funded education when they turn 16…precious time, precious investment in the future… And all too often it’s time and money used to train them to a low level in a skill the economy doesn’t need.

Let me be clear, the answer is not just encouraging more and more people to go to university…

It is introducing clear, high quality, technical paths to skilled jobs… Paths that are as respected and as easy to understand as the A-level-to-degree route.

Partnership

If we’re to achieve this, there are two vital partners for government.

The first is Further Education Colleges. For too long, Further Education has been something of a neglected sector, playing second fiddle to Higher Education… That needs to change.

Colleges will play an essential part in delivering the modern Industrial Strategy… They will be our key national infrastructure for technical education.

Of course, colleges do many important things for their communities… But their core purpose is to help people to move into and thrive in work. And providing world-class technical education – the knowledge and skills people need for the jobs of today and tomorrow – is central to that.

The second partner is, of course, employers. We can’t guarantee young people that a qualification is a clear path to a job unless we’re working side by side with the people who have the vacancies and the skills needs. That’s why we’re putting employers at the heart of every reform we’re making to technical education.

Ambition

I’m not promising an overnight revolution. This is a ten-year project. But in a decade’s time I want us to have a completely different perspective on technical education in this country…

The core test of our reforms will be this:

Today, in the UK, just 65% of our working population have completed upper secondary education, with qualifications at what, in the jargon, we call a Level 3 standard – the equivalent of A levels.

So one third do not; they have only GCSE-level qualifications, or below.

In Germany, that 65% is 87%…meaning a better chance at a skilled job, a higher wage, a career taking you where you want to go.

What does that mean in practical terms? Well, the difference to your wages from reaching a Level 3 or A-level equivalent qualification is about £40 a week – more than £2,000 a year.

I don’t think our young people are less talented, less ambitious or less capable than those in Germany …

In ten years time we should be able to look back on all the reforms we’ve made, and be able to say, yes, our young people now have the same – or ideally better – training opportunities than they do in Germany, or Holland, or Switzerland, or other leading systems.

Matching skills with the labour market need

How do we make this vision a reality? I believe there are four key elements.

The first is overcoming our system’s failure to match skills with the labour market need…

Right now, we have a training market that is driven by the choices colleges and other training providers make… For the people putting on the training there is good reason to go for cheap, popular courses that are easier to put on, easier to pass.

We need a strategy that means both the individuals choosing their courses and the colleges putting the courses on are incentivised to develop skills that match the labour market needs of the future… With the number of people training in proportion to the number of opportunities likely to be available.

We know, for example, that Germany trains around 11,000 hairdressers per year – in England, around 40,000 people train in hairdressing each year, in a country with fewer actual heads.

At the same time, employers in the construction sector struggle to fill over a third of their vacancies because they are unable to recruit people with the required skills.

We need a plan to better ensure supply matches demand…a plan to make sure people are going to be able to find productive, remunerative jobs at the end of their courses.

A big part of our Industrial Strategy is tailoring policy to local needs, the same goes for skills.

Simply put – there’s no point in training lots of people to be web designers if a town needs electroplaters.

So, when it comes to our new T Level qualifications, which I’ll be talking more about in a moment…

…Our T Level funding consultation proposes that colleges must have regard to local skills plans and strategies before deciding which T levels to offer.

I want to go further. All areas will have Local Industrial Strategies…. And I’m determined that employers should have real influence over what kind of courses colleges in their area are putting on.

Some great colleges are already making this happen – let’s make it universal.

As a starting point, today I’m publishing guidance on the role of our Skills Advisory Panels – local partnerships between public and private sector employers, local authorities and colleges and universities – setting out how they will work together to decide what skills are really needed in each local area.

I want this done well – so today I am announcing new support for every local area to fully understand and assess their skills needs now and in the future… Each Panel will get £75,000 to analyse their local skills needs, which could include employing a labour market analyst.

Clear paths to a job

The second element is the lack of clear, simple path for young people choosing technical study at 16.

Britain is unique worldwide in offering thousands upon thousands of training courses to our 16-year-olds, more than 10,000 in total.

But it’s hard to know for sure which course is actually valuable in the job market.

Often we find that these training courses teach about a broad sector, but they don’t help someone develop the depth of skills they need to succeed in the job.

Our new T Levels will change this… 25 high quality courses, with a clear line of sight to actual job roles …

We’ve worked with employers such as Fujitsu, IBM, EDF, GlaxoSmithKline, the Bank of England, KPMG, and the British Army to design rigorous content…

Crucially, both in the classroom and during the industrial placement, T Levels will focus on developing the skills needed to get, and perform well in, an actual job.

So looking at the first three T Levels being offered by around 50 colleges in 2020…

Pass your Education T Level then go and work as a teaching assistant or in an early years setting…

Pass Digital, Production and Design and apply to be a software development technician…

Complete the Design, Surveying and Planning T Level and become a civil engineering technician…

Clear paths to a skilled job.

And we will make sure that we’re not letting people who need a little more support fall through the gaps…

By making a ‘transition offer’ available to a number of young people who are not quite ready to do a T Level at 16… extra training so they’ll be ready to start by 17.

I’ll be setting out more details of this offer in the new year.

Today, as part of our T Level Action plan, I am also announcing the next set of T Levels we will roll out in 2021…

A Health T Level…
A Healthcare Science T Level…
And a Science T Level…
An Onsite Construction T Level…
A Building Services Engineering T Level…
A Digital Support and Services T Level…
And a Digital Business Services T Level.

When fully rolled out, we’ll be putting hundreds of millions of pounds in additional money behind T Levels every year…

Crucially, this will allow us to support the intensive 3 month industrial placements for every T Level student, so they can put into practice what they’ve learnt…developing their confidence and skills.

Already this year employers large and small are offering pilot placements to students…

But as T Levels are fully rolled out in the coming years we are going to need more and more employers to step up in every town and city, across the country. For businesses – this is your opportunity to build up the skills pipeline of the future.

As we roll T Levels out, we’re also reviewing the qualifications currently on offer…we don’t simply want to add 25 to the 10,000 plus that already exist…

There are going to be some tough decisions ahead as we think carefully about what we take away from the system as well as what we add – we’ll consult before deciding on the nature of qualifications needed. But I think we’d all agree – better to see young people with a smaller number of high quality choices rather than a plethora of often mediocre ones.

A clear path to higher skills

The third element I want to look at is the issue of ¬what comes after your vocational qualification…

A-level students, of course, often progress to a degree, but what’s the next step on your journey once you’ve completed a T Level or an initial apprenticeship?

Yes, many will now be wanting and, crucially, will be ready to step straight in to a skilled job.

But, equally, some will also be ready for the next level of training that can take them to an even higher skilled job…

The kind of training that helps you step up from being a cook to a chef…a bricklayer to a construction site supervisor…an aircraft maintenance fitter to an aircraft maintenance engineer…

According to the CBI, the biggest growth in jobs in the years ahead is expected to be in management and professional and technical roles –

And these roles will require the specialist skills which a higher technical training course could provide.

At the moment, people in the sector describe these training courses as ‘level 4 and 5’…

But a lot of people will look blank at this description – which is part of the problem.

Colleges and universities don’t offer much training at this level… Very few students do it compared to the numbers doing a degree or a lower level of technical training – partly because it’s not available and partly because they’re not aware of it.

And employers are also less aware of these training courses…which means recruitment is often either focused below the level needed or above…with some jobs being unnecessarily inflated to degree level. Which, it’s worth noting, can mean some people are paying for a degree they might not need.

It’s not just the lack of college courses that’s a problem here either…in recent years, we have not had enough apprenticeships that train people for more highly skilled jobs. When I visited Germany earlier this year I saw for myself how apprenticeships can be a ladder to more and more specialist, well paid occupations.

But in this country…last year more sixth form and college leavers went to Oxbridge than went on to do a higher level, that is to say a Level 4 or 5, apprenticeship…

I’m determined to properly establish higher technical training in this country – so that it’s recognised and sought after by employers and young people alike.

Right now, with dozens of different qualifications, courses and brands on the market, it’s baffling for employers and students alike.

But we do know there are good quality higher technical qualifications on the market already… What is missing is widespread clarity and confidence that these qualifications deliver the skills employers need.

That’s why I intend to establish a system of employer-led national standards for higher technical education which will be set by employers themselves. Through the Institute of Apprenticeships, we plan to identify and recognise existing and new qualifications that meet the knowledge and skills needed by employers.

I mentioned that Level 4/5 doesn’t mean a lot to most of us… I want us to start calling these courses what they are: higher technical qualifications …and develop clear national recognition…

Ensuring these qualifications are clearly badged and easy to recognise, meaning that employers are able to start looking for them on CVs and application forms, and advertising for them when recruiting to jobs at that level.

This process will be overseen by the Institute for Apprenticeships, who will soon become the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education… and we will have the first recognised qualifications in place from 2022 – ready for those first T Level students who will just have completed their course.

We will be consulting next year on how to deliver this new approach.

I expect higher training to be offered by high performing colleges and universities, alongside our National Colleges focused on specific industries such as High Speed Rail and Nuclear… And by the new Institutes of Technology we’re establishing across the country, which will specialise in delivering higher technical training.

Of course, it is essential that different bits of the technical education system also fit together – our reformed apprenticeships, T Levels, higher technical training…

The Institute of Apprenticeships have documented all the skilled jobs and occupations that you can get to through an apprenticeship or T Level…showing how you can progress from one job to another…that mapping should now extend to Higher Technical qualifications and beyond as well.

In this way, it will be clearer to everyone – young people, parents, employers and training providers – how, through high-quality technical education, you can get into and can progress to the top of your chosen profession.

Parity of esteem

Time to look at the fourth and overarching element: the issue of esteem. As I’ve said, we’ve long been technical education snobs in this country…

But our ultimate goal is to deliver parity of esteem when it comes to technical and academic routes…equally valid choices.

In order for technical education not simply to be something for other people’s children, it has to be something you want your child to do as well. That means it’s high quality and leads to a well-paid, rewarding skilled job.

Government can’t endow esteem on technical education, you can’t legislate for parity in this way…it’s our job to make it high quality, then employers and young people themselves will genuinely value it. Quality has to come first. Get that right and esteem will follow.

We also need to make clear to young people, and their parents – that a degree is not the only path to a great job.

When it comes to our schools and colleges, although we have published performance tables where destinations to further education, apprenticeships and employment are all counted…

We show how many students go to specific universities… without also showing how many students progress to higher technical training…

So we inherently imply that university is valued more highly than other routes.

This will end. In the future, our performance tables will lead with publishing a new measure…one measure: young people doing higher learning on either route.

And this could be a degree at university or higher technical training through an apprenticeship or a Higher Technical qualification.

I’m clear that the school that gets a young person onto a higher apprenticeship deserves as much praise as when it gets someone to university.

To be clear, the message here is not don’t do a degree – the message is simply you don’t have to do a degree.

With the growth in the knowledge economy and the demands of business – we will need a high number of graduates in the future, but we also need more people with higher technical skills.

We want young people to acquire the higher qualifications that lead to high skilled, more rewarding jobs – whether through a degree, a higher apprenticeship or higher technical qualifications.

And no longer should schools and colleges feel that they must push students down one route in order to be judged a success.

We also need to make sure that all young people get the advice and guidance they need to make choices about their future. Just over a year ago we published our careers strategy, setting out our plans to build a world class careers system.

Thanks to the hard work of our partners like The Careers & Enterprise Company, we are now seeing real changes in schools and colleges, with over 2000 business volunteers helping to connect young people with employers and I commend them for what they do.

Finally, I want us to break down some of the false barriers we’ve erected between academic and technical routes…

I don’t see any reason why higher technical training shouldn’t be open to certain A-level students as long as they have the prerequisite knowledge and practical skill –

Equally, I want T Level students, that want to, to be able to go to university to do relevant technical degrees.

This will of course depend on the T Level subject, but there will be an obvious path for, say, a Design, Surveying and Planning T Level student to then do a surveying degree or for an Accountancy T Level student to then do an accountancy degree. We will identify and work with specific universities well placed to lead the way on this.

And I’m pleased to be announcing today that UCAS has agreed to give a T Level UCAS tariff points in line with 3 A-levels. This reflects the size and complexity and demands of the qualification.

T Levels will be graded Pass, Merit or Distinction…and we are now discussing with UCAS exactly how points will be awarded per grade.

Conclusion

What does all this ultimately boil down to?

A clear quality technical path to a skilled job. More young people gaining higher skills. A more productive economy.

This won’t all change overnight – this is a ten year project to upgrade our nations’ skills…colleges playing their part as the national infrastructure for technical education, industry playing their part, creating and investing in the workforce of the future…

And we must see this through…

Even without the imperative of Brexit, productivity and skills are historic problems that need solving.

We have a modern Industrial Strategy that is all about making Britain fit for the future, in a world of rapid technological change… But it’s people that are at the heart of this strategy. It’s people that will make it live.

By investing in our technical education now, we can make sure that everyone is qualified for the jobs of today and tomorrow… That all our young people have the opportunities they need to succeed.

Thank you.

Robert Jenrick – 2018 Speech at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association Trustee Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Robert Jenrick, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, at the the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association Trustee Conference on 6 December 2018.

Introduction

Thank you, Caroline, for that kind introduction.

And thank you to the PLSA for inviting me here today.

As a former commercial lawyer, there are always mixed feelings about coming to a place like Allen & Overy.

I certainly don’t miss some aspects of the old job.

The late nights and long negotiations…

…The seemingly intractable arguments over the finest details of complex written agreements.

Actually, come to think of it, it was all good grounding for a career in politics.

Now we meet at an important moment for our country and our economy with critical decisions to be taken in the days ahead and the present debates can understandably all-consuming.

But I want to talk about the long-term direction of our economy and ask you to consider what you can do to define this country’s success, not in the next few years, but for generations to come.

To create the high-tech, high-skilled, productive and competitive economy that we all desire.

One that attracts, supports and rewards enterprise, entrepreneurship and innovation.

With a climate that inspires a new generation to succeed, to prosper and to excel.

Today, I want to talk about how we can work together to achieve that goal.

The guidance the PLSA are launching today shows that pensions have the potential to achieve more for everyone.

…Better long-term returns for the savers who invest…

…And better long-term impacts for the economy and for society.

The importance of patient capital

The UK is home to some of the world’s most innovative companies.

Harnessing the intellectual might of our great universities, and the strength of our financial services industry…

…Start-ups are created at a rate greater than anywhere in Europe.

And we are seeing many of these companies grow into the global brands of the future…

…With at least 13 unicorns, more than any of our European neighbours, and more than a third of the total number across the continent.

In government, we have prioritised investment in innovative companies.

In this parliament, levels of public investment will be at their highest sustained levels in my lifetime.

And the last Budget gave further support for new technologies, and help for firms to grow.

Last year we unveiled a patient capital action plan to unlock over £20 billion in innovative firms over the next 10 years.

Since last year the British Business Bank has launched ‘British Patient Capital’ – a £2.5 billion fund to invest in innovative firms.

And we ploughed £1.6 billion into our research and development base…

…to strengthen the UK’s global leadership in science and innovation.

But there’s a limit to what government can and should do.

Ultimately, it is the sum of private investment in the engine of the economy that will define our success.

Britain’s venture capital investment sector is maturing…

…With 4x more VC investment in tech companies than Germany, and more than France, Ireland and Sweden combined…

But neither should we be complacent about these favourable comparisons with Europe, nor let that be the limit to our ambitions.

Last year, the Chancellor identified a £4 billion patient capital gap between American firms and British firms.

UK firms receive fewer rounds of private investment before an IPO than their equivalents in the US.

We have to work harder to keep that talent in the UK and to attract international entrepreneurs to the UK who might otherwise go to the US.

So that those businesses can put down roots here, can thrive and grow here.

And pension funds have a crucial role to play in achieving this.

How pension funds could help

Auto-enrolment has led to a new cohort of younger savers…

…And an expansion in the amount of money in defined contribution schemes.

By 2025, we expect the overall pot will swell to £1 trillion…

…This has the capacity to drive strong and sustainable growth in the UK economy.

Pension funds are suited to patient capital

…They accrue gradually over a lifetime…

…And with this long-term investment horizon comes a greater appetite for investing in things with somewhat higher risk…

…and a higher reward.

The next generation of young pension savers have the chance to invest in the next world-changing technology, whether that’s AI or a life-saving cancer drug…

…Or social impact investment in the infrastructure that underpins the economy – whether that’s housing or health or transport.

…Investments that generate returns, while also having a positive effect on society or the environment.

All in all, this type of investment gives people the chance to shape the society they want to live in and to leave to the next generation.

As the youngest member of the present government and notionally a millennial, I believe the investors of today and those following them will demand that their savings include such investments, and be surprised if they do not. I also believe that technology will rapidly increase transparency. The pensions dashboard will enable savers to view their pensions and in time make choices to amalgamate them…

…But I want to see technology harnessed, in time, to bring data on a pension to every savers smartphone including informing savers of how their pension is invested. This seems inevitable and will force the question of the industry- would our investments inspire our savers?

So the vision is clear…

Pension schemes of the future being able to invest appropriate amounts in patient capital as part of a diverse portfolio…

…benefiting from the rewards of innovative companies with significant growth potential.

It happens in America and Australia, where pension pots are more regularly invested in illiquid assets such as private equity and infrastructure.

We want the same opportunities here. We believe we could even be more innovative.

And that’s what we’re working towards.

Some in the field are showing true leadership and invention.

Strathclyde started a Private Equity programme in 1990.

And over the years they have invested £2.7 billion, with total returns of more than 13% per annum.

Others, like Hermes and USS, have also demonstrated the value of investing in patient capital.

The barriers we face

To make investment in patient capital the norm…

…and to close the gap with the likes of the USA and Australia.

…we have some barriers to overcome.

At the moment, our pension system is strong in terms of transparency, freedoms with a highly skilled and knowledgeable industry operating within the pre-eminent financial centre.

But still, defined contribution funds invest very little, if at all, in patient capital.

There are regulatory reasons for that, which we identified through our Pensions Investment Taskforce… …which some of us in this room were involved in.

First, there’s the FCA’s permitted links rule, which restricts patient capital type investments that are typically held for the long-term.

Second, there is the pensions charge cap, which protects savers from high costs.

We are absolutely committed to retaining protections…

…but we also know that the way firms are required to confirm compliance can actually prevent savers from accessing the expertise needed for patient capital investment.

Throughout the year, we have been working with the industry, including the PLSA, the Investment Association and the ABI among others, to open up these avenues.

The path ahead

And at the Budget, we laid out a clear plan for progress.

first, we announced that the FCA will be carrying out a consultation on reforming their permitted links rules, and will publish by the end of the year

second, we announced that the DWP will consult next year on making the pension charge cap flexible enough to accommodate performance fees, often associated with patient capital investment. The aim will be to follow this up with regulation later in the year.

third, we announced funding to make pensions dashboards a reality. These will allow people access to information on their multiple pensions in a single place online, helping them to have a clearer picture of their overall financial position
And we know from polling data how much people are looking forward to having this tool, particularly young people.

DWP published their consultation on pensions dashboards earlier this week, and are keen to hear from you on their proposals.

finally, we announced that some of the largest DC pension providers in the UK –Aviva, L&G, HSBC, NEST, The People’s Pension and Tesco Pension Fund – are working with the BBB to develop a blueprint for pooled investment in patient capital

Global trends suggest that pooling investment could help make investment in patient capital more cost effective for pension schemes.

The TPR have updated guidance to reflect the growing interest and appetite for patient capital investments as part of a diversified portfolio.

Conclusion

So thank you all for your interest so far and for the commitment many have shown.

But this is just the end of the beginning – we have so much work to do.

Thanks to the PLSA’s new published guidance and the work of the Pensions Investment Taskforce and DWP we know the path ahead.

The ultimate decisions are yours as pension trustees, independent governance committees and advisors to them However, I believe if we work together, we can be responsible managers of others’ savings, and ambitious custodians of capital, seeking to achieve higher returns for pension funds….

… use the latent potential in our pension pots…

drive the companies and ideas of the future…

Private investment…

Building wealth and security for private citizens…

Doing public good, building an enterprising economy and society for everyone.

Thank you.