Theresa May – 2019 Speech at London Tech Week

Below is the text of the speech made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, on 10 June 2019.

Thank you. I am delighted to be at Here East to launch London Tech Week.

Of all the events I go to as Prime Minister few I think have the energy and excitement of the week ahead – and few tell us so much about the power of technology to transform the very world we live in.

How we harness that technological change and how we support you as pioneers of that technology is fundamental not only to the future of our entire economy – but the vision that I set out on my first day as Prime Minister – to build a country that works for everyone.

I profoundly believe that technology can change people’s lives for the better.

And indeed over the course of my own lifetime I have seen extraordinary advances.

A year after I was born, the first ever satellite – Sputnik 1 – was launched into orbit around the earth, and several years later President Kennedy declared the US mission for man to land on the moon. Now, we have left the outer edges of our solar system.

In the 1960s, computers were the size of rooms and not very fast. Now we all walk around with an incredibly sophisticated computer in our hands.

And when I was working at the Association for Payment Clearing Services in the 1990s, I remember we were looking at how great it would be, rather than cash, to use a single card to pay for everything.

It took a while for that technology to catch on – but last year there were 7.4 billion contactless transactions, up nearly a third from the year before.

As Bill Gates once said: “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.”

And we should not underestimate the scale of change over the next ten years, and the dramatic ways in which it is set to transform our world.

It will bring opportunities for high-skilled and high-paid jobs in new sectors and new industries – the like of which we can only begin to imagine.

And I am determined that we should seize these opportunities and spread the benefits of this future growth to every part of our country.

But along with the opportunities that technological change will bring, is also uncertainty.

We face profound challenges over the changing nature of work and what it will mean for the jobs of the future and the skills our young people will need to do them.

We face profound questions about how we generate our future energy supplies in a sustainable way; how we travel; and how we harness new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence while ensuring that it cannot be exploited by those with malevolent intentions. So that technology is the force for progress that we all know it can be.

And the only way to build an economy and country that works for everyone is to be at the forefront of working to answer those questions.

That’s why I have put harnessing the power of technology to seize these opportunities and meet these challenges at the heart of our modern industrial strategy.

It is a strategic long-term commitment – a partnership between business and government to make Britain the best place in the world in which to start or grow a business.

It gets the fundamentals right – investing in infrastructure at local and national level, delivering the biggest ever long-term increase in R&D in our history. With a 2.4% of GDP target for R&D that is not about a single parliamentary term, but rather a decades-long commitment meant to transform the whole economy, and harness the opportunities presented by emergent technologies and new industries.

It invests in equipping people with the skills they need – and the skills you need as dynamic tech-driven businesses – so you can succeed in an ever changing and ever more competitive global economy.

And crucially it seeks to get us on the front foot in seizing the opportunities of technology and meeting the four grand challenges of our time – driving clean growth, breaking new ground in methods of future mobility, meeting the needs of an ageing population, and leading the world in Artificial Intelligence and Data.

And that is why we have set defining missions:

To use new technologies and modern construction practices to at least halve the energy usage of new buildings by 2030.

To put the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles and for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040.

To establish the world’s first net-zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040 and at least one low-carbon cluster by 2030.

To ensure that people can enjoy five extra, independent years of life by 2035.

And to use Artificial Intelligence and Data to transform the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of chronic disease by 2030.

And we are backing these ambitions with action. Take Quantum as an example.

It is set to have a profound impact on our everyday lives.

Quantum devices might be able to see round corners.

Quantum processors could model chemical reactions that would be beyond any existing supercomputer. This technology could transform computing, imaging and communications. We cannot put a limit on its potential – just as we could never have estimated how far and fast the Internet would transform our lives.

The UK is already a global leader in Quantum, but I want to do more.

So today we are investing over £150m towards this new technology, including how we can unlock its commercial value, and secure the benefits for the UK economy.

In areas like this where the UK leads, we must also promote what we do around the world, and strike partnerships in research and best practice with key international partners.

Because while we are not alone in identifying the Challenges that every other country will also have to grapple with – we can be at the forefront in finding answers.

Delivering our Industrial Strategy internationally can have a real impact at home. It will drive UK exports, secure inward investment and mean local companies can expand into new global markets.

To support this, we will launch future economy trade and partnership missions to world regions, each focused on one of our Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges. The first four of these will take place this year and act as a catalyst for sustained engagement on issues of trade, cutting edge research and the future of public policy.

Because strengthening our knowledge networks will ensure we stay on the front foot.

This is about backing Britain for the long-term.

With Government playing an active role: working to provide the eco-system in which innovation can flourish.

There is no part of that vision for our future success that does not involve the people in this room. Because even now it seems an anomaly to talk about a “tech” sector, as something separate from the rest of the economy. Digital technology – like earlier revolutions such as the printed word, or electricity – is rapidly becoming integral to everything else we do.

And I am incredibly proud that the UK is at the heart of that revolution.

Already we are one of the best places in the world to start and grow a tech business. British Tech is growing over one and a half times faster than the rest of the economy, adding more than one hundred and thirty billion pounds to our economy every year.

We have a first-rate financial sector eager to invest, and last year tech venture investment was the highest in Europe. Our regulatory environment is second to none.

We are home to extraordinary talent with the largest tech community in Europe. And when WhatsApp recently announced it will be opening a London office – it referenced the cosmopolitan nature of our workforce as a major reason in this decision.

One of the great attractions of our business environment here in the UK, is that our consumers are innovative and always keen to try new things out. That is why we lead the world in online commerce, and why contactless payment in this country has grown so quickly.

And of course, while we are here to celebrate London Tech Week, you can find tech thriving up and down the country: from gaming in Dundee and “Silicon Suburb” in Edinburgh, to fast-growing clusters in Manchester, Bristol, Bath and beyond.

Oxford and Cambridge have outperformed Paris in producing ten unicorns, while Manchester – with five – has produced as many as Barcelona and Madrid combined.

And it is fantastic that tech companies around the world are backing Britain today, with news of further investment totalling £1.2 billion. I am looking forward to meeting a number of these key investors later on, as well as the leaders of some of the UK’s biggest tech start-ups.

British tech is thriving.

But if we are going to maintain our position as a global leader, our challenge is how we develop British Tech and make it even better.

We want this to be the place everyone thinks of – and comes to – first when they want to develop their world-changing tech ideas.

This is a challenge shared between industry and Government.

You tell us what matters most is building a competitive environment where you can thrive, and access to talent.

I want to make sure Britain stays the best place in Europe to launch and grow a start-up.

So I am delighted that leading figures from the tech community – including Cindy Rose – have agreed to undertake an industry-led Tech Competitiveness Study, reporting later this year.

It will consider how to build on the UK’s competitive advantage, and what we can do better.

I’ve heard from businesses that we should set up a major new hub, or series of hubs, for tech – one-stop shops where international investors and UK businesses can connect effectively with the sector.

And the study will look closely at the case for this too.

On talent, we want the brightest and the best to come to the UK.

Our future immigration policy will clearly be at the heart of this.

So that’s why in the immigration White Paper, we committed to looking at how ambitious start-ups can bring in skilled workers, taking into account the particular needs and circumstances of the tech industry.

The Immigration Minister will use her roundtable this week to engage with you further on this issue, and we are also talking directly to countries like Canada and Denmark to understand best practice.

We also know that delays to hiring skilled migrant workers can hold back business – so that is why in the White Paper we set an ambition to significantly improve the overall processing time to 10-15 working days, up there with the best systems in the world.

But talent is more than just about mobility – it’s about home-grown skills too.

And that’s why we’ve made coding compulsory at primary school.

And it’s why we have invested £100 million for up to one thousand new AI PhDs and launched a new prestigious fellowship scheme for top AI researchers.

Today, I can announce we are going further.

We are creating up to 2,500 places in AI and data masters conversion courses around the country, starting next year.

These courses will help people who have originally trained in other degree disciplines to contribute to the ongoing AI revolution.

As part of this, we will fund up to 1,000 scholarships to ensure we open up these opportunities to everyone, no matter what your background.

And as Government opens up doors for people across the country, I want to see the sector do more to reach out to diverse groups, where I believe there is huge untapped potential.

Getting talent right is crucial for the future of the sector.

But, to be truly competitive globally, we need to look wider than talent too.

Creating the right conditions for growth also means we have a framework that inspires confidence. I firmly believe the right regulation is what makes capitalism work.

It’s been true of previous technological revolutions.

Both Government, and the sector as it becomes more mature, now see smart regulation as part of a thriving digital economy, rather than a threat to innovation.

There are two ways in which we need to make this technological revolution work in the UK – how we create a fair market, and how we protect citizens.

I want to thank Professor Jason Furman for his excellent work showing how we can boost competition in digital markets.

And I am pleased that Professor Furman has today agreed that he will advise on the next phase of work on how we can implement his recommendation to create a new Digital Markets Unit.

Building a strong environment for business also means ensuring we maintain the public’s trust in a rapidly changing environment.

We all agree there are legitimate concerns about how technology is used, and Government has a role to play in setting standards for industry.

Our Online Harms White Paper, published earlier this year, sets out our approach to protecting citizens, while maintaining an environment where business can thrive.

And to get it right, we want to work with you – and I am pleased that industry has been working thoughtfully with both the Digital and Home Secretaries on the details.

Our response to online harms, though, is not just about how Government and business come together.

It’s also about how you work together as an industry.

I was struck at last month’s Extremism Summit in Paris at how powerful it was to have the world’s top companies coming together with a joint statement of action.

And I want to see this spirit of cooperation continue as we face both the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Because today as we sit on the cusp of the next great industrial revolution, we have the opportunity to work together and ensure that the advances we see transform our world for the better, and for the benefit of everyone.

Government will back you all the way.

But it will also take your talent.

And if ever we needed any more evidence of the energy and creativity that exists here in the UK – then we only need to take a look around us at where we are today.

A home to exciting businesses and innovative enterprises – at the very place which broadcast to the world the amazing success story of the 2012 Olympics.

Your ingenuity, your expertise and your vision are what are going to propel us to Britain’s success stories of the future.

You are the reason why Britain is home to some of the most exciting tech businesses in the world.

So let us work together, and create a Tech Nation that truly is worlds apart.

Theresa May – 2019 Statement on Grenfell Tower Inquiry Panel Members

Below is the text of the statement made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, in the House of Commons on 5 June 2019.

The fire in Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017 was an unimaginable tragedy that should never have happened. The Government set up the Grenfell Tower Inquiry to get to the truth about what happened, deliver justice for victims, survivors, bereaved families and the wider community, and to ensure that such a terrible tragedy could never happen again.

Section 7 (1)(b) of the Inquiries Act 2005 allows me to appoint panel members to the inquiry panel at any time during the inquiry. I have recently announced that Professor Nabeel Hamdi and Thouria Istephan will be appointed to the inquiry panel for phase 2 of the inquiry’s work.

Professor Nabeel Hamdi is a widely accomplished academic with an international reputation in housing and participatory design and planning. Thouria Istephan is an experienced and highly respected architect with a professional focus on health and safety. She is a partner at Foster + Partners and has a range of skills and experience directly relevant to the issues that the inquiry will be investigating in phase 2 of its work.

Given the extent of the tragic circumstances surrounding the fire, we should not be surprised by the scale and breadth of issues to be investigated that have emerged from the inquiry’s work. Phase 2 of the inquiry will be the largest phase in terms of the number and range of issues to be considered and I am confident that these appointments will ensure that the inquiry panel has the diversity of skills and expertise necessary for the scope and complexity of issues to be addressed by phase 2 of the inquiry’s work.

I wrote to the Chair of the inquiry, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, before recess informing him of my decision and to seek his consent to the appointments in accordance ​with section 7(2)(b) of the Inquiries Act 2005. Sir Martin replied on 29 May 2019 consenting to the appointment. Our exchange of letters can be found on 30-may-2019

Theresa May – 2019 Statement on the British Normandy Memorial

Below is the text of the statement made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, on 6 June 2019.

Thank you President Macron for your support to ensure a lasting monument to the service and sacrifice of those who fought in the Battle of Normandy – something which means so much to our veteran community and to the whole of the British nation.

It is incredibly moving to be here today, looking out across beaches where one of the greatest battles for freedom this world has ever known took place – and it is truly humbling to do so with the men who were there that day.

It is an honour for all of us to share this moment with you.

Standing here, as the waves wash quietly onto the shore, it’s almost impossible to grasp the raw courage that it must have taken that day to leap out from landing craft and into the surf – despite the fury of battle.

No one could be certain what the 6th June would bring. No one would know how this – the most ambitious – amphibious and airborne assault in all of human history, would turn out.

And, as the sun rose that morning, not one of the troops on the landing craft approaching these shores, not one of the pilots in the skies above, not one of the sailors at sea – knew whether they would still be alive when it set once again.

If one day can be said to have determined the fate of generations to come – in France, in Britain, in Europe and the world – that day was the 6th June 1944.

More than 156,000 men landed on D-Day – of which 83,000 were from Britain and the Commonwealth.

Over a quarter million more supported operations from air and sea – while the French Resistance carried out extraordinary acts of bravery behind enemy lines. Many were terribly wounded.

And many more made the ultimate sacrifice that day and in the fierce fighting that followed, as together our allied nations sought to release Europe from the grip of fascism.

Men like Lieutenant Den Brotheridge of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. 28 years old. Husband. Father-to-be. Thought to be the first Allied soldier to be killed in action after leading the charge over Pegasus Bridge.

Marine Commando Robert Casson of 46 Royal Marine Commando, who was killed on the approach to Juno Beach, three weeks before his brother Private Joseph Casson was also killed in Normandy.

And twins Robert and Charles Guy, 21, who both served in the RAF and were shot down and buried separately. Their names will now be reunited here.

These young men belonged to a very special generation, the greatest generation. A generation whose unconquerable spirit shaped the post war world. They didn’t boast. They didn’t fuss. They served. And they laid down their lives so that we might have a better life and build a better world.

The memorial that will be built here will remind us of this. Of the service and sacrifice of those who fell under British Command in Normandy, of the price paid by French civilians – and of our duty, and our responsibility, to now carry the torch for freedom, for peace and for democracy.

I want to thank all those involved in this memorial. George Batts and the veterans who have campaigned so hard to make it happen. The people of Ver-sur-Mer, and Phillipe Onillon the town’s mayor.

Here in Normandy, the names of those British men and women who gave their lives in defence of freedom, will forever sit opposite their homeland across the Channel.

Here, in Normandy we will always remember their courage, their commitment, their conviction.

And to our veterans, here in Normandy, I want to say the only words we can: thank you.

Theresa May – 2019 Press Conference with US President Donald Trump

Below is the text of the press conference between Theresa May, the Prime Minister, and Donald Trump, the President of the United States, in London on 4 June 2019.

This week we commemorate the extraordinary courage and sacrifice of those who gave their lives for our liberty on D-Day, 75 years ago.

As leaders prepare to gather here from across the world, it is fitting that we begin with a celebration of the special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States – enduring partners who stood side by side on that historic day – and every day since.

For generations, at the heart of the transatlantic alliance has been our shared democratic values, our common interests and our commitment to justice.

It is that unity of purpose that will preserve the deep-rooted ties between our people and underpin our nations’ security and prosperity for the next 75 years and beyond.

So I am very pleased to welcome the President of the United States of America on this State Visit to the United Kingdom.

For the past two and a half years the President and I have had the duty and privilege of being the latest guardians of this precious and profound friendship between our countries.

As with our predecessors, when we have faced threats to the security of our citizens and our allies, we have stood together and acted together.

When Russia used a deadly nerve agent on the streets of our country, alongside the UK’s expulsions the President expelled 60 Russian intelligence officers – the largest contribution towards an unprecedented global response.

And, in Syria, when innocent men, women and children were victims of a barbaric chemical weapons attack, Britain and America, along with France, carried out targeted strikes against the regime.

Since we spoke about NATO during my first visit to the White House we have maintained our support for this crucial alliance.

Thanks in part to your clear message on burden-sharing, Donald, we have seen members pledge another $100 billion, increasing their contributions to our shared security. And I’m pleased to announce that NATO will soon be able to call on the UK’s Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and F-35 fighter jets to help tackle threats around the world.

Today we have discussed again the new and evolving challenges to our security, our values and our way of life.

We share the same view about their origin and our objectives in meeting them.

But – like Prime Ministers and Presidents before us, and no doubt those that will come after – we can also differ sometimes on how to confront the challenges we face.

I have always talked openly with you, Donald, where we have taken a different approach – and you have done the same with me.

I have always believed that cooperation and compromise are the basis of strong alliances, and nowhere is this more true than in the special relationship.

Today we have discussed again the importance of our two nations working together to address Iran’s destabilising activity in the region and to ensure Tehran cannot acquire a nuclear weapon.

Although we differ on the means of achieving that – as I have said before, the UK continues to stand by the nuclear deal – it is clear we both want to reach the same goal.

It is important that Iran meets its obligations and we do everything to avoid escalation which is in no-one’s interest.

Recognising our nations are safer and more prosperous when we work together on the biggest challenges of our time, I also set out the UK’s approach to tackling climate change, and our continued support for the Paris Agreement.

And we also spoke about China, recognising its economic significance and that we cannot ignore action that threatens our shared interests or values.

As we have deepened our cooperation on security – including our joint military operations, and our unparalleled intelligence-sharing – so our economies too are ever more tightly bound together.

Every morning 1 million Americans get up and go to work for British companies in America. And 1 million Britons do the same for American companies here.

Our trading relationship is worth over £190 billion a year and we are the largest investors in each other’s economies – with mutual investments valued at as much as $1 trillion.

Mr President, you and I agreed the first time we met that we should aim for an ambitious free trade agreement when the UK leaves the EU.

And from our positive discussions today I know that we both remain committed to this.

I am also sure that our economic relationship will only grow broader and deeper, building on the conversations we had and the ideas we heard from UK and US businesses when we met them earlier today.

Tomorrow we will sit down in Portsmouth with our fellow leaders to reaffirm the enduring importance of the western alliance and the shared values that underpin it.

And as we look to the future – in the years and in the generations ahead – we will continue to work together to preserve the alliance that is the bedrock of our shared prosperity and security – just as it was on the beaches of Normandy 75 years ago.

Theresa May – 2019 Comments on D-Day Commemorations

Below is the text of the comments made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, on 5 June 2019.

The Normandy landings 75 years ago were a moment of historic international cooperation.

And it is right that at the heart of today’s commemorations are the veterans who fought to secure the liberty and the peace that we now enjoy.

The global challenges we face today are different in their origin and nature. But as we confront new and evolving threats to our security it is more important than ever that we continue to stand together in upholding our shared values and way of life.

That’s why the UK has this week committed our Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and F-35 fighter jets to support the efforts of NATO forces to preserve the security and collective defence of our allies.

As I host leaders from around the world today to mark this significant moment in our shared history, we will together reflect on the continued importance of the western alliance for all our countries’ security and prosperity.

And as we unite to pay tribute to those whose bravery and sacrifice on the beaches of Normandy marked a turning point in the Second World War, we will vow never to forget the debt we owe them.

Their solidarity and determination in the defence of our freedom remains a lesson to us all. And we will continue to stand up for the values of democracy, justice and tolerance that so many died to preserve.

Theresa May – 2019 Statement on Ireland with Leo Varadkar

Below is the text of the statement made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, with Leo Varadkar, the Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland, on 2 June 2019.

In our statement of 26 April, we announced a new phase of political talks in Northern Ireland.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley and the Tánaiste Simon Coveney have updated us on progress since then.

We welcome the constructive engagement shown by all parties to date. It is clear to us that the Northern Ireland political parties wish to see the institutions of the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement restored, but operating on a more credible and sustainable basis. While broad consensus has been reached on some issues, other areas remain to be resolved.

The Secretary of State and Tánaiste believe that there is a genuine but narrow window of opportunity to reach agreement in the immediate period ahead and that it is essential to continue and intensify talks to this end.

As Prime Minister and Taoiseach, we will continue to monitor this progress closely. We believe it is imperative that the parties now move without delay to engaging substantively on the shape of a final agreement.

Theresa May – 2019 Statement on Visit of US President

Below is the text of the statement made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, on 3 June 2019.

This is a significant week for the special relationship and an opportunity to further strengthen our already close partnership.

During his State Visit to the UK the President and I will be taking part in an historic commemoration of the D-Day landings and the sacrifice our armed forces made 75 years ago.

And as we reflect on our shared history and honour those who fought so bravely on the beaches of Normandy, we also look to the future.

Our relationship has underpinned our countries’ security and prosperity for many years – and will continue to do so for generations to come.

We do more together than any other nations in the world. We are the largest investors in each other’s economies and our strong trading relationship and close business links create jobs, opportunities and wealth for our citizens.

Our security relationship too is deeper, broader and more advanced than with anyone else. Through joint military operations, unrivalled intelligence-sharing and our commitment to NATO, our global leadership remains at the heart of international peace and stability.

So I look forward to welcoming President Trump to the UK and to building on the strong and enduring ties between our countries.

Theresa May – 2019 Speech at Eid al-Fitr

Below is the text of the speech made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, on 4 June 2019.

I want to send my very best wishes to Muslims at home and around the world celebrating the festival of Eid al-Fitr.

For more than three million British Muslims, the joyous occasion of Eid, spent with family and loved ones, marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Over the last month, many British Muslims have shared the holy practices of Ramadan with neighbours of all faiths and none – from doing charity work in the local community to preparing meals for the elderly or coming together to break the fast at the end of the day.

During Ramadan, as at many other times of the year, I see the very best of the values which unite us all: of tolerance, of respect, and of selflessness.

Sadly, there are those who only seek to sow division and to spread fear and hatred in our communities. This year we have seen despicable acts of terrorism targeted against Muslims both abroad and on UK soil, on innocent people attending their place of worship or going about their daily lives.

There can be no place in our societies for the vile ideology that incites hatred and fear, and I stand with Muslims here in the UK and around the world against those who seek to destroy our values.

So as we come together in celebration this Eid – to share meals and gifts with families, friends and colleagues – let us remain steadfast in the values we share.

A happy and peaceful celebration to you all.

Eid Mubarak.

Theresa May – 2019 Speech at Launch of Augar Review

Below is the text of the speech made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, on 30 May 2019.

Thank you, Philip, for that introduction, for all the work you and your panel have undertaken over the past year, and for sharing some of your findings with us this morning.

Your report is a ground-breaking piece of work, because it is one that sets out in compelling detail the challenges confronting all of us who care about post-18 education in all its forms.

It’s a sector that, since 2010, the Government has consistently supported.

We have increased the funding flowing to universities, delivered more high-quality apprenticeships and developed brand new technical qualifications on a par with A-Levels.

Yet, as we have just heard, there remains much to be done.

The UK boasts some of the finest universities in the world, universities that we can proud of and that all governments should pledge to support and protect.

But in technical education we have fallen behind other leading nations.

Our further education colleges have the potential to transform lives and grow our economy, but the FE landscape can be confusing to navigate.

Too many students, parents and employers see further education as a second-best option.

And successive governments have failed to give it the support it needs.

For nearly 20 years there has been a relentless focus on getting 50 per cent of young people into higher education.

Yet most have lost sight of the fact that the original target referred not just to university degrees.

It, quite rightly, covered the whole higher education spectrum – including vocational and technical qualifications.

That is why, in February last year as you’ve just heard, I set Philip a clear and ambitious challenge.

To break down the false boundaries between further and higher education.

To look at all the options open to young people.

And to say how they could be improved, and how the state should support students, so that every school-leaver – and indeed every adult learner – can follow the path that is right for them.

With today’s report, Philip and his expert panel have provided a blueprint for how those improvements and changes could be carried out.

As we’ve heard, it makes many recommendations across further and higher education.

The proposals on adult and lifelong learning are also important.

Decisions about whether and how to implement these recommendations will not fall to me, but to the next Government.

But regardless of the debate to come, there can be no doubt that this report represents a major landmark.

And that the data, analysis and insights it contains will help us to deliver a post-18 education system that truly works for everyone.

That needs to begin with Further Education.

Our FE and technical colleges are not just places of learning.

They are vital engines of both social mobility and of economic prosperity, training the next generation and helping deliver our modern industrial strategy.

But for too long, further education has been allowed to stagnate, with student numbers falling.

With MPs, civil servants and, yes, even journalists overwhelmingly coming from university backgrounds, it’s no surprise that attention has drifted away from other post-18 options.

I found it rather telling that, despite the wide-ranging remit of the panel, in the year since the review was launched the debate has concentrated almost exclusively on what it will mean for universities.

As the panel argues, this focus on academic routes at the expense of all others has left further education overlooked, undervalued and underfunded.

Routes into and through our colleges are confusing and opaque, with no equivalent of the clear, straightforward and comprehensive UCAS system.

And this situation isn’t just bad for students – it’s bad for our economy.

By failing to equip more of our young people with the technical skills they will need to compete in the jobs of the future, we have hampered our ability to compete on the world stage.

Businesses here in the UK regularly tell me that they struggle to find workers with the technical qualifications they need – but that their rivals overseas have no such problems.

As the report says, in Germany 20 per cent of the workforce holds a higher technical qualification.

Here in the UK, just four per cent of 25-year-olds can say the same.

Behind that statistic lies an immeasurable number of opportunities missed and potential wasted, both for individuals and employers,

So reinvigorating FE is vital if we are to help all our young people develop the skills they need to get on – and if we are to truly make a success of our modern industrial strategy.

As Prime Minister, it’s something I’ve worked hard to do.

This Government has made sure there is an education or training place for every 16- to 19-year old who wants one.

We’re rolling out T Levels – new, high quality technical qualifications on a par with A-levels – to give students a clear choice at 16.

We’ve committed to launching Institutes of Technology in every major English city, and this year announced the first 12.

And we’re creating more high-quality apprenticeships that deliver for students and employers alike.

But while these reforms have made a real difference, the report is clear that if the half of young people who do not go to university are to have the skills they need for the future then we must go further.

It’s not enough to simply say that FE and HE should be seen as equals.

As the report argues compellingly, to make that happen we will have to invest much more in further education – in the buildings, in the equipment and of course in teachers who are expert in their field.

And making a success of FE is not just about increased funding – it’s about giving these young people a genuine choice about their education.

So more also needs to be done to ensure that further and technical options are every bit as attractive a path for students as more academic options – including by reforming the sector so that colleges can thrive.

That will mean more specialisation and collaboration – while also continuing to make sure all young people have access to a college in their local area – and reforms to ensure the courses offered by colleges deliver the skills that are needed by local businesses.

And of course we also need to make sure that only high-quality qualifications are on offer.

That FE students are appropriately supported by Government.

And that the route to Further Education is as streamlined and clear as possible – just as it is for universities.

Now of course, for many young people, following the path to university is absolutely the right option.

And prospective students in this country are blessed with many of the best universities in the world – four of the top 10 and almost a fifth of the top 100, according to the latest rankings.

Our reforms since 2010 have been designed to ensure that success continues.

We’ve given universities the long-term funding they need, removed the cap on student numbers, and made the system fairer – with the students who will benefit from a university education contributing more and the taxpayer contributing a little less.

And, as this report shows, those reforms have been broadly successful.

But I agree with Philip and his panel that, while the core structure of the system is sound, there is room for improvement in the way it functions.

For example, we need to look again at the level of tuition fees.

We’ve already frozen the maximum level of tuition fees and raised the threshold at which graduates have to start paying back their loans.

But when, in 2012, the tuition fee cap was raised to £9,000 most predictions were that the full amount would only be charged by the top universities for the highest quality and most prestigious and potentially lucrative degrees.

That is not what has happened.

The vast majority of degrees are now set at the maximum fee – and the panel’s report rightly questions whether that is acceptable.

After all, plenty of courses do not cost the full current rate of £9,250 per student per year to teach.

And while the majority provide good outcomes for students, we know that is no longer true across the board.

Indeed, the report rightly calls for further action to drive out the minority of degrees that are of poor quality – and I hope to see the Office for Students using the powers we have given it to do just that.

So there is much to be said for the panel’s proposal to cut fees and top up the money from Government, protecting the sector’s income overall but focussing more of that investment on high-quality and high-value courses.

The top-up funding would come from an increased teaching grant, with funding distributed in a way that reflects each subject’s reasonable cost and value.

Scrapping fees would also lead to worse outcomes.

It would, as we have seen in Scotland, force Government to reintroduce a cap on student numbers.

An arbitrary annual limit that, far from opening the door to opportunity, slams it in the face of thousands of young people.

And, worst of all, it would be socially regressive – disproportionately benefiting students who go on to earn the most.

It simply cannot be fair to expect people working hard in low-paid jobs to fully fund the education of students from well-off families who will go on to earn much more as a result.

All the evidence shows that scrapping fees would simply be the wrong approach –unaffordable, unsustainable and unfair.

But reducing the cost of higher education would make a real difference to many students.

And we should also be more upfront about what that cost will actually be.

When the Office for National Statistics announced that it would be reclassifying student loans as part-government spending, most people focussed on the £12 billion it will add to the deficit upfront.

But this piece of technical accounting also made clear to the world what the architects of the system already knew: that many students never pay off their loan in full, with taxpayers covering 45 per cent of the cost.

I believe we should be much more transparent about this.

Prospective students who are put off university by the idea of borrowing large sums for their tuition bills should know that, in reality, they are unlikely to have to pay back the full amount.

But tuition fees are not the only bills students have to deal with – the cost of living can also be prohibitively high for students from less well-off families who are living away from home.

Going to university was one of the biggest privileges of my life, opening the door to so many opportunities that followed.

And I want this to be a country where every young person, regardless of which school they go to or what their parents do for a living, is able to follow a similar path if they so choose.

Nobody should feel they have to go to university – and that applies to children from middle class backgrounds just as much as anyone.

But nor should anybody feel that, because of who they are or where they are from, the world of HE is one that is not open to them because it will cost too much.

Thanks to this government, universities are legally required to improve access – and if you’re an 18 year-old from a disadvantaged background, you’re now more likely to go to university than ever before

But improvements are slow and the challenge remains large – the number of young people from working class families who apply to and take up places at universities is still a long way from reflecting the country in which we live.

That’s why I made access one of the key areas of focus for the Augar Review, asking Philip and his panel to look at the lingering barriers that prevent some young people from applying for university, taking up a place, or completing their course.

That included the issue of maintenance grants.

In 2015 the decision was taken to replace maintenance grants with loans, allowing us to raise the maximum level of maintenance support for students in England to among the highest in the world.

These loans are not like ordinary debt, and are only paid off when you are earning a good salary.

But talking to young people from less well-off backgrounds, I’ve heard too often how this financial outlay can deter them from applying for university at all.

I’ve spoken to parents and grandparents forced to scrimp and save to fund their children and grandchildren through university.

And I’ve seen how young graduates starting out in their adult lives feel weighed down by the burden of student debt.

So I was not surprised to see the panel argue for the reintroduction of means-tested maintenance grants both for university students and those studying for higher technical qualifications.

Such a move would ensure students are supported whichever route they choose, and save those from the poorest backgrounds over £9,000.

It will be up to the Government to decide, at the upcoming Spending Review, whether to follow this recommendation.

But my view is very clear: removing maintenance grants from the least well-off students has not worked, and I believe it is time to bring them back.

Securing the right education for every child and every young person is an aspiration that drove me in my earliest days in politics, when I was chair of the local education authority in the London Borough of Merton.

It drove me from my first day as an MP – indeed, it was the subject of my maiden speech in the House of Commons more than two decades ago.

And it has driven me throughout my time in Downing Street.

I have always believed and I still truly believe that, if this is to be a country that works for everyone, then we have to make education work for everyone.

Because the solutions to so many of the burning injustices that plague so many lives can be found in our schools, our colleges and our universities.

So as we look ahead to the spending review and beyond, I believe the Government will need to take very seriously the report’s proposals to boost Further Education spending and put right the errors of the past…

…To restore higher education maintenance grants, so students from the poorest backgrounds no longer leave university with a higher level of headline debt than the richest…

…And to cut tuition fees, so students pay a fairer price for their education.

Now of course, it is always necessary to prioritise when it comes to choices on public spending.

These decisions will need to be taken in the round, as part of the balanced approach to the economy and public finances that has allowed us to make long-term investments in public services like the NHS.

But only by taking action now will we be able to deliver the lasting change and improvements we need in further and higher education…

Give every child and young person in this country the education they need to reach their true potential…

And ensure that everyone, whatever their background, can go as far as their talent and hard work will take them.

Theresa May – 2019 Resignation Statement

Below is the text of the statement made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, in Downing Street, London on 24 May 2019.

Ever since I first stepped through the door behind me as Prime Minister, I have striven to make the United Kingdom a country that works not just for a privileged few, but for everyone.

And to honour the result of the EU referendum.

Back in 2016, we gave the British people a choice.

Against all predictions, the British people voted to leave the European Union.

I feel as certain today as I did three years ago that in a democracy, if you give people a choice you have a duty to implement what they decide.

I have done my best to do that.

I negotiated the terms of our exit and a new relationship with our closest neighbours that protects jobs, our security and our Union.

I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal.

Sadly, I have not been able to do so.

I tried three times.

I believe it was right to persevere, even when the odds against success seemed high.

But it is now clear to me that it is in the best interests of the country for a new Prime Minister to lead that effort.

So I am today announcing that I will resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on Friday 7 June so that a successor can be chosen.

I have agreed with the Party Chairman and with the Chairman of the 1922 Committee that the process for electing a new leader should begin in the following week.

I have kept Her Majesty the Queen fully informed of my intentions, and I will continue to serve as her Prime Minister until the process has concluded.

It is, and will always remain, a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.

It will be for my successor to seek a way forward that honours the result of the referendum.

To succeed, he or she will have to find consensus in Parliament where I have not.

Such a consensus can only be reached if those on all sides of the debate are willing to compromise.

For many years the great humanitarian Sir Nicholas Winton – who saved the lives of hundreds of children by arranging their evacuation from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia through the Kindertransport – was my constituent in Maidenhead.

At another time of political controversy, a few years before his death, he took me to one side at a local event and gave me a piece of advice.

He said, ‘Never forget that compromise is not a dirty word. Life depends on compromise.’

He was right.

As we strive to find the compromises we need in our politics – whether to deliver Brexit, or to restore devolved government in Northern Ireland – we must remember what brought us here.

Because the referendum was not just a call to leave the EU but for profound change in our country.

A call to make the United Kingdom a country that truly works for everyone. I am proud of the progress we have made over the last three years.

We have completed the work that David Cameron and George Osborne started: the deficit is almost eliminated, our national debt is falling and we are bringing an end to austerity.

My focus has been on ensuring that the good jobs of the future will be created in communities across the whole country, not just in London and the South East, through our Modern Industrial Strategy.

We have helped more people than ever enjoy the security of a job.

We are building more homes and helping first-time buyers onto the housing ladder – so young people can enjoy the opportunities their parents did.

And we are protecting the environment, eliminating plastic waste, tackling climate change and improving air quality.

I know that the Conservative party can renew itself in the years ahead. That we can deliver Brexit and serve the British people with policies inspired by our values – security, freedom, opportunity. Those values have guided me throughout my career.

But the unique privilege of this office is to use this platform to give a voice to the voiceless, to fight the burning injustices that still scar our society.

That is why I put proper funding for mental health at the heart of our NHS long-term plan.

It is why I am ending the postcode lottery for survivors of domestic abuse.

It is why the Race Disparity Audit and gender pay reporting are shining a light on inequality, so it has nowhere to hide.

And that is why I set up the independent public inquiry into the tragedy at Grenfell Tower – to search for the truth, so nothing like it can ever happen again, and so the people who lost their lives that night are never forgotten.

Because this country is a Union.

Not just a family of four nations.

But a union of people – all of us.

Whatever our background, the colour of our skin, or who we love.

We stand together.

And together we have a great future.

Our politics may be under strain, but there is so much that is good about this country. So much to be proud of. So much to be optimistic about.

I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honour of my life to hold – the second female Prime Minister but certainly not the last.

I do so with no ill-will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.