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<p>Prime Minister David Cameron made a statement on the situation in Libya to the House of Commons on Monday 28 February 2011.</p> <p><strong>Read the transcript:</strong></p> <p>[Check against delivery] </p> <p><strong>Introduction</strong></p> <p>Mr Speaker, I would like to update the House on the evacuation of British nationals from Libya, the actions we are now pursuing against Colonel Qadhafi and his administration and developments in the wider region.</p> <p><strong>Evacuation </strong></p> <p>Mr Speaker, we have been working intensively to get our people out. As of now we have successfully removed around 600 British nationals from Libya.</p> <p>The evacuation has centred on three locations – Tripoli airport, the port at Benghazi and the desert oil fields. At Tripoli airport, a series of six aircraft organised by the Foreign Office and an RAF C130 Hercules flight have brought out more than 380 British nationals and a similar number of foreign citizens. At Benghazi, HMS Cumberland has carried out two evacuations from the port, taking out 119 British nationals and 303 foreign citizens. </p> <p>The first of these evacuations took place in very difficult sea conditions. The second arrived in Malta earlier today. These evacuations were assisted on the ground by 5 rapid deployment teams, in total nearly 30 extra staff from the Foreign Office, who helped marshall British citizens in the midst of chaotic scenes in and around the airports and ports.</p> <p>The most challenging part of the evacuation has of course involved those British nationals scattered across over 20 different locations in the oil fields deep in the desert. On Friday evening I authorized a military operation to bring as many as possible out of the desert. On Saturday, two RAF C130 aircraft flew into the Eastern desert and picked up 74 British nationals and 102 foreign nationals at three different locations. A second mission took place yesterday, bringing out a further 21 British nationals and 168 foreign nationals. On this second mission, one of the aircraft involved suffered minor damage from small arms fire. This underlines the challenging environment in which the aircraft were operating.</p> <p>Indeed Britain has taken on a leading role in coordinating the international evacuation effort. Our AWACS aircraft are directing international aircraft involved. And Brigadier Bashall, who is commanding the operation, has established a temporary joint headquarters in Malta. </p> <p>I have thanked the Maltese Prime Minister personally on behalf of the country. Not for the first time in our history Mr Speaker, we must pay tribute to Malta and her people. </p> <p>In terms of numbers of British citizens remaining in Libya, this is of course difficult to ascertain precisely given the situation on the ground. Many of them will be dual nationals and not all of them will want to leave. </p> <p>I asked for urgent work to be done on accurate numbers in both categories – those who wish to leave and those who currently do not. Our current indications are that, as of today, there are fewer than 150 British citizens remaining in Libya of which only a very small proportion wish to leave. Clearly this can change at any time and we will keep the House regularly updated. We will continue to do all we can to ensure that those who wish to leave can do so.</p> <p>HMS Cumberland will remain in the area, together with HMS York which also stands ready off Tripoli to assist. And we have military aircraft including C130s and a 146 in Malta ready to fly in at very short notice. </p> <p>Mr Speaker, the Government will continue to focus on making sure our citizens are safe. COBR has met regularly to co-ordinate the effort and I personally chaired three meetings over the weekend. The National Security Council is looking at the overall strategic picture – meeting last Friday and again today – not least to look at other risks to British citizens in the wider region.</p> <p>As I said last week, there will be lessons we will wish to learn from this evacuation, including in respect of the hiring of charter aircraft, use of defence assets and the need for greater redundancy. </p> <p>Mr Speaker, clearly an important decision was when to extract the Embassy. This was taken at the COBR meeting on Friday and carried out on Saturday after the remaining civilians had been extracted from Tripoli Airport in parallel with the start of desert operations, which were of course planned from Malta. </p> <p>Our judgment throughout has been that the risk to British citizens has been growing and the Americans, French and Germans have similarly suspended the operations of their Embassies. </p> <p>Britain also retains a Consul in Tripoli and a consular warden in Benghazi. And we have arranged that Turkey – which still has several thousand of its own citizens in Libya – will look after British interests while our Embassy’s operations remain suspended.</p> <p>I’m sure the whole House will want to put on record its thanks to all those who have made the rescue effort possible to the skill of the RAF pilots and to all those involved from all three armed services, to our diplomatic service and to all those who put themselves in harm’s way to help our people leave safely.</p> <p><strong>Action to isolate the Qadhafi regime </strong></p> <p>Mr Speaker, let me turn to the pressure we are now putting on the Qadhafi regime. We should be clear. For the future of Libya and its people, Colonel Qadhafi’s regime must end and he must leave. </p> <p>To that end we are taking every step possible to isolate the Qadhafi regime, deprive it of money, shrink its power and ensure that anyone responsible for abuses in Libya will be held to account.</p> <p>With respect to all these actions, Britain is taking a lead. Over the weekend, we secured agreement for a UN Security Council Resolution which we had drafted and which is unusually strong, unanimous and includes all of our proposals. It condemns Qadhafi’s actions, and imposes a travel ban and assets freeze on those at the top of his murderous regime. It demands an immediate end to the violence and the killing of protesters, access for international human rights monitors, lifting of restrictions on the internet and media and an end to the intimidation and detention of journalists. And it refers Libya’s current leaders to the International Criminal Court to face the justice they deserve.</p> <p>Mr Speaker, we were also the driving force behind a Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council on Friday, which started work to eject Libya from the Council. And the Foreign Secretary is in Geneva today along with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to see this work through.</p> <p>With our European partners, we have today secured agreement on freezing the assets of a wider group of individuals and banning them from entering the European Union. And also imposing a wider arms embargo on the Libyan regime.</p> <p>Britain is also leading in implementing these direct measures against the regime. I can tell the House today that here in the UK a Special Privy Council session was held yesterday as a result of which we have now frozen the assets of Qadhafi, 5 of his family members, people acting for them or on their behalf, and entities that are owned or controlled by them. The Treasury has stepped in to block a shipment of some £900m in banknotes destined for Libya.</p> <p>The Government has revoked Colonel Qadhafi’s immunity as a Head of State and neither he nor his family may freely enter the UK any more. And we have also revoked the visas of a number of Libyans linked to the regime who are now on immigration watch-lists.</p> <p>We will look at each and every way of stepping up pressure on this regime. Further isolation of the regime by expelling it from international organisations and further use of asset freezes and travel bans to give the clearest possible message to those on the fringes of the regime that now is the time to desert it.</p> <p>And we do not in any way rule out the use of military assets. We must not tolerate this regime using military force against its own people. In that context I have asked the Ministry of Defence and the Chief of the Defence Staff to work with our allies on plans for a military no-fly zone.</p> <p>Mr Speaker, it is clear that this is an illegitimate regime that has lost the consent of its people. My message to Colonel Qadhafi is simple: Go now.</p> <p><strong>Humanitarian situation</strong> </p> <p>Mr Speaker, everyone hopes this situation will be resolved quickly but there is a real danger now of a humanitarian crisis inside Libya. </p> <p>We are acutely conscious of the risks of shortages and are monitoring the situation closely. We have dispatched technical teams to be in place at both the Tunisian and Egyptian borders. Currently the most pressing need is assisting the large numbers of migrant workers into Egypt and Tunisia to get home. </p> <p>Tomorrow, in response to a request from the UN, Britain will fly in tents and blankets from our stocks in Dubai for use at the Tunisian border.</p> <p>The International Development Secretary will be visiting the region later this week to assess the situation on the ground for himself.</p> <p><strong>Political reform</strong> </p> <p>Mr Speaker, North Africa and the wider Middle East are now at the epicentre of momentous events. History is sweeping through this region.</p> <p>Yes, we must deal with the immediate consequences, especially for British citizens caught up in these developments. But we must also be clear about what these developments mean and how Britain and the West in general should respond.</p> <p>In many parts of the Arab world, hopes and aspirations which have been smothered for decades are stirring. People, especially young people, are seeking their rights, and in the vast majority of cases they are doing so peacefully and bravely. </p> <p>The parallels with what happened in Europe in 1989 are not, of course, precise. But there is no doubt that many of those who are demanding change in the wider Middle East can take inspiration from other peaceful movements for change, including the Velvet Revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe or the peaceful transition to democracy in Muslim countries like Indonesia.</p> <p>Of course there have been many disappointments in the past. But those of us who believe in democracy and open societies should be clear: this is a precious moment of opportunity.  </p> <p>While it is not for us to dictate how each country should meet the aspirations of its people, we must not remain silent in our belief that freedom and the rule of law are what best guarantee human progress and economic success. Freedom of expression, a free press, freedom of assembly, the right to demonstrate peacefully: these are basic rights.  And they are as much the rights of people in Tahrir Square as Trafalgar Square. They are not British or western values – but the values of human beings everywhere.</p> <p>So we need to take this opportunity to look again at our entire relationship with this region – at the billions of Euros of EU funds, at our trade relationship, at our cultural ties. We need to be much clearer and tougher in linking our development assistance to real progress in promoting more open and plural societies. And we need to dispense once and for all with the outdated notion that democracy has no place in the Arab world.</p> <p>Too often in the past, we have made a false choice between so-called stability on the one hand and reform and openness on the other. As recent events have confirmed, denying people their basic rights does not preserve stability, rather the reverse.</p> <p>We should be clear too that now is not the time to park the Middle East peace process – quite the opposite. This is a problem that is long overdue for resolution, and we should use developments in the region to drive forward progress, not hold it up.</p> <p>In short, reform, not repression, is the way to lasting stability. No one pretends that democracy and open societies can be built overnight. </p> <p>Democracy is the work of patient craftsmanship – and it takes time, as we know from our own history, to put its building blocks in place. </p> <p>What is happening in the wider Middle East is one of those once in a generation opportunities, a moment when history turns a page. That next page is not yet written. It falls to all of us to seize this chance to fashion a better future for this region, to build a better relationship between our peoples, to make a new start.  </p> <p>As the inspiring Opposition leaders I met in Tahrir Square said to me last week: We now have the opportunity of achieving freedoms that you in Britain take for granted. I am determined that Britain will not let them down. And I commend this statement to the House.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Libya</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Middle East</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Prime Minister’s statement on Libya Monday 28 February 2011 Prime Minister's Office Libya to the House of Commons
<p>A transcript of the Prime Minister’s press conference in Kabul on 5 July 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p>[check against delivery]</p> <p><strong>President Karzai</strong></p> <p>In the name of God, members of the media you are most welcome. It is such a pleasure to welcome today His Excellency, David Cameron, the Prime Minister of Britain, a very close friend of Afghanistan, and I’m honoured to have also his personal friendship and I welcome him to Afghanistan. He is here after his visit with troops, British troops. Since taking over as the Prime Minister of Britain, he has made all efforts possible to strengthen the friendship with Afghanistan and he has made all efforts in order to enhance the efforts for security, stability and peace in Afghanistan.</p> <p>Today, I just want to say the Prime Minister and I spoke on a number of issues including the bilateral ties and relations between the two countries, the long-term partnership with the UK and the transition process of security responsibilities and economic ties, to enhance the cultural interactions and ties between the two countries, especially considering that after 2014 and 2015 the relationship between the two countries will continue, and will continue to be based on the foundations that we have laid.</p> <p>We also have made a number of agreements with the British government that we believe is in the interests of both our countries. And I once again welcome His Excellency to Afghanistan and I thank you for your very kind feelings towards Afghanistan and I thank you for the assistance that the British government and the people of the United Kingdom have given Afghanistan. And I express my condolences on the very recent loss of a British soldier and I hope you convey my condolences to your people. I hope that we can continue with this friendship, as strong as ever, and I thank you again, I welcome you again.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much indeed and it’s good to be back in Afghanistan. I think this is my sixth visit to your country and very good to be back with my close colleague and friend, President Karzai. We’ve had some very good talks this morning about a whole range of issues and I think the relationship between Britain and Afghanistan is very strong and our personal relationship is strong too.</p> <p>As the President said, yesterday we had the very sad news of the death of the soldier from the Highlanders, the Royal Regiment of Scotland. This was very sad news and I want the thoughts and condolences of everyone on my team here to be with the family of that soldier who received this very sad news. A reminder of the very high price that we have paid for the work that we do – vital work that we do – in Afghanistan and in Helmand Province.</p> <p>And today in my remarks I just wanted to address I think the three questions that I think people back at home have about our engagement in Afghanistan and with Afghanistan. First, why our troops are still here. Secondly, how we’re going to successfully complete this mission. And thirdly, as the President and I have discussed, what is the nature of the long-term relationship? And it is a long-term relationship between Britain and Afghanistan. Let me just say a word about each of those.</p> <p>We’re here because Afghanistan had become a broken state. It had become a home to terrorists and terrorist training camps and it badly needed to deal with that situation and to drive out the terrorists, the training camps and to build stability and security.</p> <p>Above all, our role is to help build Afghan security, to help create a situation where it’s no longer necessary to have British troops or indeed other foreign troops on your soil in order to keep terrorists and terrorist training camps out. That, above all, is our ambition. Of course there are many aspects to our relationship – support for your government, support for development, support for your economy, support in terms of trade – but above all this issue of security has to come first for the British people.</p> <p>And I would say, in wanting to reassure people back at home, that is because of the engagement of British troops over these past few years, and also because of the action we’ve taken working with the Pakistanis, that actually the level of and the number of plots and the percentage of plots coming out of this area and threatening our country has been radically reduced.</p> <p>Secondly, how do we complete successfully the mission that we are engaged in, particularly in southern Afghanistan? Well, it is to build up the capacity of the Afghan security forces. Today, the Afghan National Security Forces number 300,000. By 2012, there will be 370,000. Yes, of course, there’s a reduction, principally of US troops, following the ending of the surge, but if you think about it, over the next year, we will be training and equipping twice as many Afghan National Security Forces as there will be NATO forces being withdrawn from Afghanistan.</p> <p>Yes, of course, we have been here in a military sense for a long time, since 2001. But I think people need to remember that in 2001, there was no one to hand over to. There was no Afghan National Army; there was no Afghan police force. This was a country that had suffered 30 years of war, incredible and appalling poverty, and also the problems of the drugs trade. I believe we can build an Afghanistan that is capable of looking after its own security, and that is what the President is engaged in. And I believe this country can be a success story for the future.</p> <p>That brings me to the third question, which is the nature of our long-term relationship with Afghanistan. Because yes, we will be drawing down some of our troops this year and next year, and yes, we will be ending combat operations by the end of 2014, and we won’t have troops in anything like the number that we have now. But we will have a long-term relationship. We’ll have a relationship that will consist of our very large aid programme, and it’s quite right we have a large aid programme in your country, as we help you to build its future – a relationship based around trade, based around diplomacy, and yes, also based around military training.</p> <p>Today, the President and I have been discussing our plan to build an Afghanistan Sandhurst, a model academy for training the Afghan army officers of the future that will form the backbone of your already successful army. This will involve around 120 British troops. It will also involve funding from other nations, and the Americans themselves will be putting $38 million into this initiative. And our relationship will also always involve close and frank political contacts between me as Prime Minister and yourself as President. We do have a close relationship, but we also have a frank relationship where we are able to discuss all of the most difficult issues, including the Kabul Bank which we discussed today, and of course the situation between the executive and the parliament here in Afghanistan.</p> <p>I believe this has been a positive visit. As well as the meetings I’ve had with you, Mr President, and with troops, I’ve also met with General Petraeus, and was able to thank him for his incredible work here in Afghanistan. I also had a very good meeting this morning with former President Rabbani, in order to talk about the vital work of political reconciliation and also political reintegration at the local level of Taliban fighters who want to give up their armed insurgency and take up a political path.</p> <p>The President and I have also discussed the important relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It becomes, I think, ever more apparent that the Taliban are not just doing huge harm in Afghanistan; they are also doing huge harm in Pakistan. It has never been more in the interests of Afghanistan and Pakistan to work together and to build a peaceful future for both your countries. Britain’s role in this is to work with both of you, to have a long-term partnership with both countries, and to build the trust that inevitably will be required between everyone involved.</p> <p>So, thank you for making me so welcome again. Thank you for welcoming our teams. We have much to discuss at our lunchtime meeting. It has been very good to have this meeting this morning, and also some time, just personally the two of us, to discuss the challenges that we face in getting Afghanistan as you are, onto what I believe now is the right track. Thank you.</p> <p><strong>President Karzai</strong></p> <p>Most welcome, Mr Prime Minister.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>A question to you both, Mr President and Prime Minister: you spoke about the long-term relationship. As Britain begins to withdraw its troops, should Britain correspondingly raise the amount of aid it gives to Afghanistan?</p> <p>And, Prime Minister, if I could ask you a specific question: what is your reaction to the allegations that a News of the World investigator hacked into the phone of the missing girl, Milly Dowler? And in light of those allegations, do you think that the owners of the News of the World are a fit and proper company to take over BSkyB?</p> <p><strong>President Karzai</strong></p> <p>Well, before I go into assistance in the future, I would like to thank Britain for their assistance already delivered to the Afghan people, in both treasure and blood of the British people and the taxpayers’ money. Of course, Afghanistan would find it desirable if Britain could continue to help Afghanistan, continue building its infrastructure and civil services and delivery of services to the Afghan people.</p> <p>We are also engaging in an arrangement between the two countries on a long-term partnership that would, I hope, involve various aspects of relations between us, from economic to cultural to military relations, including the announcement that, just earlier, the Prime Minister made on the establishment of a Sandhurst-like military institution in Afghanistan, which we the Afghan people will welcome with great appreciation. Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Thank you. Let me just add to that, obviously our aid programme in Afghanistan is one of our largest aid programmes anywhere in the world and in the debate that we inevitably have in Britain about whether it is right to be spending money on aid, I would say that this is a great example of a country that if we walk away from and if we ignore and if we forget about, the problems will come visited back on our doorstep. How do we know this? Because we have done it before. We walked away from Afghanistan in the past and the problem of drugs got worse, the problem of terrorism got worse, the problem of extremism got worse, the problem of asylum and immigration got worse.</p> <p>So, even to people who are hard-headed and possibly even hard-hearted about aid, I would say the programme we have in Afghanistan of trying to help the people and government of Afghanistan to have a stronger, more secure, more stable country, is not just good for people in Afghanistan; it is good for people back home in Britain as well.</p> <p>Our aid programme is rising, as we meet 0.7% of GNI, and we have also said that we believe that one of the best ways of explaining our aid programme is to say that really there are two key priorities: the priorities of things like disease prevention and malarial bed-nets, where you are actually saving individual lives, and vaccinations; the second theme is very much putting money into states that were previously broken, that we want to help make stronger, so that they are able to provide for their own futures and their problems don’t come visited on our doorsteps.</p> <p>On the question of the really appalling allegations about the telephone of Milly Dowler, if they are true, this is a truly dreadful act and a truly dreadful situation. What I have read in the papers is quite, quite shocking, that someone could do this actually knowing that the police were trying to find this person and trying to find out what had happened. And we all now know the tragedy that took place.</p> <p>What I would say is that there is a police investigation into hacking allegations. The police in our country are quite rightly independent. They should feel that they can investigate this without any fear, without any favour, without any worry about where the evidence could lead them. They should pursue this in the most vigorous way that they can in order to get to the truth of what happened. I think that is the absolute priority as a police investigation.</p> <p>As for the issue of BSkyB and the takeover issue, that has to be followed in a correct legal way. The government on these processes is acting in a quasi-judicial way and it’s quite right that the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport carries out his role in that manner without any interference from anyone else in the government, and that is one of the reasons I have completely abstracted myself from this process and want him to carry out his role in the way that he should under the law.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>Thank you, Prime Minister. Mr President, it’s been a month since shellings have started from Pakistan into Afghanistan and the Afghan parliament summoned two of the ministers – of defence and interior – to respond to queries on the issue. Tthey said that they were ready to respond but it is pending your approval to respond and we also heard that Afghanistan may have been asked to cut its diplomatic ties with Pakistan. So when will your patience run out in letting your forces respond to the shellings from Pakistan?</p> <p><strong>President Karzai</strong></p> <p>The shellings and artillery rockets fired from Pakistani territory into Afghanistan have led to death and injury to a number of our citizens. I was very clear on the position of Afghanistan in my talks with the President of Pakistan in the sightline of an international conference in Tehran. And there I expressed our deep concerns of the people of Afghanistan and asked them for an immediate stop to those shellings from Pakistani territory.</p> <p>It was followed by talks by other delegations between the two countries. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also summoned the Pakistani ambassador in Kabul for explanation. If we resort to counter attack or respond again – even if we respond that would lead to damage to people, to innocent lives on the border areas because the innocent people on the Pakistani side of the border and families would be hurt if we go ahead with our response. And due to the humanitarian nature of the damage that our response would lead to, we are holding back to see what other ways can succeed and I hope the same understanding will be there from the other side as well.</p> <p>So this is basically our position, but we’ve not waited to see what happens. We have been in very close contacts with our Pakistani friends on the stop of the attacks and whoever is behind this wants nothing but the destruction of our relations and the deterioration of the situation. We want an end to the problem but not through violence, but through western and wise measures to be taken. Thank you.</p> <p>And your question that I’ve not approved the response and that our ministers are ready, that’s correct. I have not allowed that and I have not approved it because we don’t the violence to be responded by violence. Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>Thank you. Prime Minister, you witnessed for yourself yesterday the volatility facing British soldiers in Helmand Province with the search and then discovery of a soldier’s body. When you announce your withdrawal plan for British troops tomorrow, are you confident it is the right time to do it, and it is the right thing to do?</p> <p>And Mr President, US numbers are coming down dramatically, a third in a year. How will your fledgling army do what the US Marines could barely do in Helmand Province, which is keep a lid on the Taliban, and ultimately is it not talks that are the answer between countries like the UK and the Taliban?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Well, first of all it’s worth remembering that Britain has more troops in Afghanistan than any other country aside from the Americans – an enduring number at the moment of 9,500. And I do believe that it’s right as we build up the Afghan National Security Forces, as we see a stronger and more confident Afghan National Army, stronger Afghan police, many of whom we’ve trained ourselves, and also the Afghan local police, I do believe it’s right to start planning the withdrawal of some of our troops. As I say, we start with 9,500; there are around 426 that are coming home this year – that’s over and above the 9,500 – and I’ll be making an announcement in the House of Commons tomorrow about a modest reduction which will take place next year.</p> <p>But it does mean we are still properly engaged in Afghanistan. We are still in one of the toughest parts of the country. I believe we are having some success in Helmand Province within this so-called fighting season so far, actually the number of violent incidents is down by around 40%. So I do believe it’s the right plan at the right time and I’ve worked extremely closely with our military including General Sir David Richards, who’s with me here in Afghanistan, to make sure we get this right.</p> <p>And to those who say it’s not right to have a deadline, I think it is right. I think the British people deserve a deadline because we’ve been in Helmand Province since 2006; we’ve been in Afghanistan militarily since 2001. I believe the Afghan government, the Afghan people, the Afghan army actually deserve to have a deadline so they can plan properly towards transition.</p> <p>I’m confident that we are on track for what we need to see happen. Of course this is a complex picture. We need to see the build-up of Afghan army and police. We need to see reintegration at the lower level of former Taliban fighters back into a political process and into society. We need to see successful reconciliation, as we’ve discussed this morning, and we need to see continued progress in terms of governance and the Afghan economy. Many things have to be got right to ensure that transition can take place successfully but I believe we’re on track; it can be done and we’re determined to make sure it happens in terms of the timelines that we have set out.</p> <p><strong>President Karzai</strong></p> <p>The responsibility of providing protection to the Afghan people, protecting the territorial and territory of Afghanistan essentially and quite rightly is that of the Afghan people. Now, the circumstances that led Afghanistan to where it was in 2001 is a different story but Afghanistan has to take ownership of its own protection, of its own security and of the progress we should be making towards a better future, a democratic future, a prosperous future relevant to our environment.</p> <p>Therefore while there will be a reduction of troops – some drastic, some not so drastic – the process of transition to Afghan authority must go on unhindered, unimpeded, where the Afghans begin to provide for themselves with the means that we have. This of course does not mean that there should be a sudden, immediate end to assistance to Afghanistan or to cooperation between Afghanistan and its allies like the United Kingdom, but a process in which Afghanistan increasingly becomes in charge of its own affairs – all of its affairs – and where increasingly we are no longer a burden on our allies, but where we engage in a relationship between states, where there is a give and take in which we benefit and out allies benefit.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>Thank you, Mr President. Mr President, looking at the ten-year, decade-long, war, a lot of lives have been lost, a lot of people have been injured, a lot of orchards have been destroyed, a lot of areas have been contaminated by the use of the poisonous weapons which will affect our future generations, the kids and infants born. This sight – the human losses, billions of dollars have been spent – how do you assess the result and the success of this war considering this? Has this war been worth it? Has this war been worth all the spending and human losses?</p> <p><strong>President Karzai</strong></p> <p>This is a very important question. Undoubtedly, this requires a deep analysis. We all, and our international community, have been talking and there are capitals on what we did and how we began. We are still in contact, we among ourselves – we are talking every day on that. We are analysing and assessing all the aspects and dimensions of this war that has cost us. This is happening both among ourselves and between Afghanistan and its international partners and studying, every day, the aspects and dimensions of this war.</p> <p>The truth could be balanced in two ways: one, Afghanistan has made considerable achievements, made sizeable progress, improved education, provided schools, has improved – you see, this is the expression of media that we see. This is one of the biggest achievements we have. The women are here, we see, the media has flourished. Of course, we had problems but health services are better, the economy is much better today. Afghanistan’s $1 billion reserve is now within the World Bank – this is Afghanistan’s foreign reserve.</p> <p>So these are all to name a few of the achievements we have secured over the past ten years. Our country has been recognised internationally, we are a legitimate government. We see the recent problem with the Supreme Court and the judicial system – you call it democracy. This is actually a democratic process, these things can happen, for example, in Britain with hundreds of years of its democratic history may have and may see such problems. Britain has past things even worse than what we see today, has seen a lot of ups and downs throughout its history of democracy and all that. So it took them long years to draft their constitution. And in the US we see a lot of problems they passed through until they reached this level.</p> <p>But look at Afghanistan: after President Bush was elected eight years ago and you see these elections in the US went to a deadlock and it found its way into the judiciary system to decide. Even hundreds of thousands of millions of votes were seen very closely, were counted very closely to see what would come out. Afghanistan too is a country; if it wants to experience democracy it would have to bear all this, it would have to pass through and go through all this.</p> <p>These are signs of maturity, I assure you. These are signs of maturity. We are maturing. Whoever it is, our relations with our neighbours, with the region, with the international community, with Britain, we are enjoying a very enhanced level of relations.</p> <p>But we do have problems of course, look at the situation in Afghanistan; we have unfortunately the conflict. This sometimes arises from such situations. A lot of families unfortunately are burning in the flames of the war and the conflict here in the country. We see – either it’s by rockets from NATO, or from us, or from Pakistan – these are the families that are burning in flames. We also understand this, but we go towards the better future with determination and with commitment. Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>To just say a few words in answer to that very important question. It seems to me that a decade ago Afghanistan was the home of some of the worst terrorist organisations in the world. It had a broken economy that had been getting poorer over the previous decades, and there was absolutely no chance of social progress not least because women weren’t allowed to go to school. There was no democracy to speak of. Never mind having as many television cameras at a press conference like this, you could be beaten up for listening to a radio. So, on all those fronts, there has been huge progress. Afghanistan is no longer the home of al-Qaeda. There is an economy that is growing, and growing quite rapidly. Obviously, it needs to grow even faster to build capacity. There is at least a chance of social progress as you’ve seen, and as the President has said huge growth in health and educational services. And, of course, democracy is a difficult plant and a delicate plant that has to be grown over time, but there is the progress of an Afghan constitution, an Afghan elected president, and an Afghan parliament.</p> <p>I think sometimes in Britain, quite understandably, we can have a very Helmand-central view of Afghanistan, and that’s right because that’s where our troops are, that is where we are putting so much effort, and actually we are seeing now success in Helmand, but we should also look across the rest of the country and see some of the progress that has been made in making sure, as we say, that our key goal – that Afghanistan is able to take care of its own security without the need for British troops – is put in place. So I do think that a huge amount has been achieved over the last decade, but we are still in for some vital years for the future of this country and for our engagement with it. Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>Thank you. I first welcome the Prime Minister of Britain and his delegation to Afghanistan. My question is the first way to end this violence is, of course, dialogue and talks with the oppositions. My question is what things and what efforts will you make and what cooperation will you give to the people of Afghanistan, to the government of Afghanistan, to facilitate those talks and to help those talks? Due to your close relations with Pakistan, what measures can you take to convince the Pakistani leadership to sincerely fight terrorism and to be honest in their fight against terrorism and extremists, so that the withdrawal of your forces could be facilitated even sooner than later?</p> <p>And my question to you, Mr President, is the problem with the legislature, and the judiciary, and the executive power because you are the head of the state? And the other question is that you, because of your concerns of damage to the civilians, you do not want to resort to response to attacks to Pakistan, but how do you think Pakistan is not considering this fact that you are considering?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>I will try to keep my answer as short as the question. In terms of the political process and political reconciliation, let me just say three brief things. Firstly, to the Afghans, we are with you, we want to help you. We know that if you look at insurgencies the world over, they have usually been ended by a mixture of military means and political means. It is very difficult to reconcile with people who have been killing your own soldiers or your own countrymen, but we are there to help you in the process of reconciliation.</p> <p>To the Taliban, the message is very clear: stop killing, stop bombing, stop fighting, put down your weapons, join a political process and you can be part of the future of this country. I have seen it in my own country in Northern Ireland, where people who were involved in trying to kill, maim and bomb civilians, police officers, army personnel and even politicians have actually become politicians themselves and are now involved in the governance of that country. It can happen and the message to the Taliban is you will not win this fight; you are losing this fight. You are seeing your fellow Taliban members being killed in ever larger numbers; this will only continue. The Afghan National Army now are alongside us in that work, so you should give that up and join a political process.</p> <p>And to the Pakistanis, we again have a very simple and straightforward message, which is the Taliban is killing your country as well as harming Afghanistan. So now is the time for the Pakistanis and the Afghans to sit, to meet, to talk, as they are now doing, about how we ensure that the Taliban do what I said they need to do and how Afghanistan and Pakistan can live in peaceful cohabitation as strong and growing and democratic neighbours.</p> <p><strong>President Karzai</strong></p> <p>Looking at the political issue in Afghanistan with the parliament and the judiciary, I consider this as part of a growing democracy, as part of a young democracy that is marching towards maturity. It’s a fledgling democracy; it’s so young and we need to bear with that. We need to be patient enough for this to grow and to grow up and to mature. Now that we are entering a new phase, we hope that this is not worrying anybody and this should not be a concern. As the Prime Minister pointed out, this is a fact for any other part of the world and any other democracy, and I’m sure this is going to help mature the system and this could add to the experiences that we have. I’m sure this is going to be resolved. The constitution will be even better implemented.</p> <p>Again on the question of Pakistan, shellings and rockets, I reiterate that if you think of peace, if you think of peaceful coexistence, that’s a situation that today would have been here. If one thinks of violence, the other needs to think of peace, because both can’t think violence. We should rather think of health, of prosperity and of peace. This is what we want from Pakistan and for the people in Pakistan. This is what we want for everybody in the world, and I hope Pakistan too will have this. I hope Pakistan does not get encouraged by whoever to continue to resort to death. The people of Afghanistan have proven to be patient enough; they are patient and they are exercising their utmost strength and patience. I hope they understand and I hope that no further damage could be given to either us or to the region, and I hope that we are not forced into taking a violent response. We won’t do this; we understand it’s not humanitarian.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Afghanistan</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Transcript of press conference in Kabul Tuesday 5 July 2011 Prime Minister's Office Kabul
<p>Prime Minister David Cameron has delivered a speech at the LGA conference on 28 June 2011.</p> <h3>Read the speech</h3> <p>[check against delivery]</p> <p>It’s great to be back at the LGA conference.</p> <p>And I want to congratulate Sir Merrick Cockell on his appointment as Chair of the Local Government Association.</p> <p>Today, I want to talk about the big issue of the week – the reform of public service pensions.</p> <p>But before I do that, let me say something about local government.</p> <p>I want it put on record: I think you are doing a brilliant job in challenging circumstances.</p> <p>I know it was a tough financial settlement.</p> <p>And I know you are all grappling with some really difficult decisions.</p> <p>When your budget is being cut, freezing council tax isn’t easy.</p> <p>But because of the action that’s been taken, by everyone in this room, a typical family in a Band D home will save up to £72 over the next year.</p> <p>You did that – and it’s something you should be proud of.</p> <p>But there will be many more tough decisions in the weeks and months ahead.</p> <p>And my job is to make your job less difficult, not more.</p> <p>And I believe, as a government, we’re going some way to doing that.</p> <p>So much of that bureaucracy that drove you mad and cost you so much time and money in administration – it’s going.</p> <p>The Comprehensive Area Assessments, the Place Surveys and Local Area Agreements – we’ve got rid of them.</p> <p>Quangos like the Audit Commission and Standards Board – we’re scrapping them.</p> <p>And regional Spatial Strategies, Regional Fire Control Rooms, Government Offices for the Regions – they’re going too.</p> <p>We don’t need regional government. The public want – you want, I want – local government.</p> <p>What’s more, we’re also phasing out that ring-fencing that made you spend money with one hand behind your back.</p> <p>In every way we can, we’re rooting out the red tape and regulation and freeing your hands from the grip of central government control.</p> <p>At the same time as this, we’re actively giving you new powers and freedoms – trusting you to get on with the job.</p> <p>I believe that our agenda of localism is one the most exciting things we are doing in government.</p> <p>For years, the default position of government has been to see a problem and suck more power to the centre.</p> <p>We want to be different. Very different.</p> <p>When we see a problem, we don’t ask what central government can do…</p> <p>…we ask what can local people do, what can councils do?</p> <p>It’s by asking those questions that you arrive at so many of our reforms.</p> <p>Our new general power of competence means councils can develop property, run new services and own assets.</p> <p>Our new Health and Wellbeing Boards mean you can take a leading role in developing a public health strategy for your local residents.</p> <p>And our new Local Enterprise Partnerships has seen many of you take control of your local area’s economic destiny.</p> <p>These are already gathering real momentum.</p> <p>Like in Tees Valley, where local councils have pooled their budgets and got together with business to draw up a plan to make that place a hub for green industry.</p> <p>This is what you do when you get more power – you get things done.</p> <p>Another way you’re doing this is through community budgets.</p> <p>We’re saying to local authorities and local public services: here is the freedom to put all your different strands of cash in one pot…</p> <p>…go and tackle some of most stubborn social problems the way you think is best.</p> <p>It’s already having an impact.</p> <p>In Islington, the council, NHS, Job Centre Plus, Probation, Police, housing and voluntary sector have pooled staff and over £6 million worth of resources to give the most hard-to-reach families the most intensive and personalized support possible.</p> <p>Again, we’re giving you the power – and you’re getting things done.</p> <p>So for me, it’s not a question of: should we give councils more power?</p> <p>It’s: how far and how fast can we go?</p> <p>And we are not stopping this power shift at the Town Hall.</p> <p>We are going even further, taking people power to the next level…</p> <p>…from councils to neighbourhoods, communities and individuals.</p> <p>Whether it’s letting people set up new schools…</p> <p>…take over the running of playgrounds, parks and post offices…</p> <p>…hold beat meetings so they can ask police officers what they’re doing…</p> <p>…or plan the look, size, shape and feel of local developments…</p> <p>…we believe in changing the way our country is run.</p> <p>But let me say this.</p> <p>Yes, we’re giving you this power. And yes, we’re doing that because we trust you.</p> <p>But no, that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a frank exchange of views between us.</p> <p>Of course, the only people you have to answer to are your voters.</p> <p>The same is true for us in Central government.</p> <p>But I’m happy for you to turn round and say so when you think we in central government have the wrong priorities.</p> <p>And if I see things you’re doing that I don’t like, I think you should be comfortable if I make my opinions known too.</p> <p>That doesn’t mean I want us locking horns on an ongoing basis.</p> <p>In fact quite the opposite.</p> <p>I hope our relationship can be as constructive and co-operative as possible</p> <p>But we live in a new world of council power…</p> <p>…and it’s time for a new relationship between central and local government, based on our new responsibilities.</p> <h3>Public Service Pensions</h3> <p>So I’ve said something about the great job you’re doing.</p> <p>I now want to turn to a job we’ve got to do together – and that is reforming public service pensions.</p> <p>Over the past few months, I believe we have been acting in good faith on this issue.</p> <p>We asked Lord Hutton, a Labour peer – and a former Work and Pensions Secretary with a brilliant understanding of the detail – to conduct the Review.</p> <p>We wanted him to build proposals that would be well thought through and maximise the chance cross-party consensus.</p> <p>And we have met with union leaders regularly to discuss the issues in a good, open, frank and respectful fashion – and will continue to do so.</p> <p>Of course, because it is a funded scheme, the Local Government Pension Scheme is different from other public sector pension schemes.</p> <p>That’s why we will have a more in-depth discussion with local government unions and the TUC about how we take this into account.</p> <p>But the broad thrust of the wider reforms we are proposing will affect people in this room and your workforces.</p> <p>So it’s right that I speak about this issue here – and it’s right that I speak about it now.</p> <p>In two days time, a minority of unions will go on strike in opposition to our proposals.</p> <p>Of course, in a democracy, people can go out and protest.</p> <p>But the people marching should know what they’re objecting to, and I believe there are some misconceptions flying around.</p> <p>So today, I want to tell you the three things people need to know.</p> <p>One – reform is essential.</p> <p>Two – our proposals are fair on the taxpayer.</p> <p>Three – our proposals are fair on public sector workers.</p> <p>Let me take each in turn.</p> <h3>Essential</h3> <p>First, reform is essential because we just can’t go on as we are.</p> <p>That’s not because, as some people say, public service pensions are ridiculously generous.</p> <p>In fact, around half of public service pensioners receive less than £6,000 a year.</p> <p>No. The reason we can’t go on as we are is because as the baby boomers retire – and thankfully live longer – the pension system is in danger of going broke.</p> <p>Here’s a key fact.</p> <p>In the 1970s, when a civil servant say retired at sixty, they could expect to claim a pension for around twenty years.</p> <p>Today, when they retire at sixty, they can expect to claim a pension for nearly thirty years – about a fifty percent increase on before.</p> <p>Now, obviously, more people living for longer is a great development for society.</p> <p>But more people claiming their pension for longer has a real life impact on our ability to pay for pensions.</p> <p>Indeed, we are already seeing the impact.</p> <p>In 2009, total payments to public service pensioners and their dependents were almost £32 billion – an increase of a third, even after allowing for inflation, compared to 1999.</p> <p>So what are we going to do?</p> <p>In the words of Lord Hutton, “the responsible thing to do is to accept that because we are living longer we should work for longer”.</p> <p>That’s why we are proposing to increase the age when public sector employees can take their pension.</p> <p>Now, I know some people say this change should only affect new entrants to the pension scheme.</p> <p>But I’m sorry, I just don’t think that’s right.</p> <p>It’s not just the people who are joining the workforce now who are living longer.</p> <p>We’re all living longer – so we must all play our part in dealing with this problem.</p> <h3>Fair for taxpayer</h3> <p>The second thing people need to know is that our proposals are fair on other taxpayers.</p> <p>Under the current system, the balance between what public sector employees pay in to their pensions and what the taxpayer contributes is getting massively out of kilter.</p> <p>Take, for example, the Civil Service Pensions Scheme.</p> <p>Today, employees contribute around 1.5 and 3.5 percent towards their own pension.</p> <p>The taxpayer, however, contributes nineteen percent.</p> <p>Indeed, in total, the taxpayer currently contributes over two-thirds of the costs of maintaining public sector pensions.</p> <p>That’s the equivalent of £1,000 a household.</p> <p>That figure is only expected to rise.</p> <p>Is that a fair?</p> <p>I don’t believe it is, especially when people in the private sector are seeing the value of their own pensions falling, their own pension age rise…</p> <p>…and when, according to the Office for National Statistics, the average gross pay in the public sector is now higher than in the private sector.</p> <p>So we need to rebalance the system.</p> <p>That’s why from April next year, we are proposing to increase the contributions public sector workers have to make to their pension.</p> <p>And because we really want to protect the lower paid, we propose not to increase contributions at all for those earning £15,000 or less a year.</p> <h3>Fair on public sector workers</h3> <p>Third, our proposals are also fair on public sector workers.</p> <p>Now I know a lot of people are hearing scare stories about our proposals…</p> <p>…about how we are closing defined benefit schemes and replacing them with defined contribution schemes.</p> <p>Well, here is the plain, irreducible truth: public service pension schemes will remain defined benefit.</p> <p>This means every public sector worker will receive a guaranteed amount in retirement…</p> <p>…not an uncertain amount based on the value of an investment fund like most people in the private sector.</p> <p>Any suggestion otherwise is completely untrue.</p> <p>And any suggestion that we are stripping workers of the benefits they have already accumulated is untrue too.</p> <p>With our proposals, what you have already earned, you will keep.</p> <p>We will protect, in full, the pension you have already built up, and we will maintain the final salary link for these benefits.</p> <p>What would this mean in practice?</p> <p>It means the ‘final salary’ which is used to calculate your pension will not be the salary you’re on now, will not be the salary you have when the new scheme comes in…</p> <p>…it will be the one you have when you eventually decide to retire or leave the scheme altogether.</p> <p>And for what you have already built up, the age at which you can claim those benefits is not changing.</p> <p>That part of your pension, those past entitlements…</p> <p>…what they allow you to have…</p> <p>…are yours and they will not change.</p> <p>So those people who are claiming otherwise…</p> <p>…are not just getting their facts wrong…</p> <p>…they are giving really bad advice to teachers, nurses and the police officers who are wondering whether to continue with their pension.</p> <p>Let me tell you how it is.</p> <p>Anyone with a public service career ahead of them who carries on contributing to their pension will be better off for doing so. Fact</p> <p>Defined benefit is staying. Fact.</p> <p>Your pre-reform entitlements are being fully protected. What you have earned you will keep. Fact.</p> <p>That’s why I can look you in the eye and say public service pensions will remain among the very best…</p> <p>…much better, indeed, than for many private sector workers.</p> <p>And it’s because we are determined to do what’s fair by people who work in the public sector that we are suggesting other changes.</p> <p>The public service pensions system today is inherently biased against some of the lowest paid workers.</p> <p>That’s because, under a final salary scheme, it’s the people who reach very high salaries at the end of their careers who benefit the most.</p> <p>Yes, these are talented people. And yes, they are hugely important to the running of our public services.</p> <p>But the way the system works, it’s not the community nurse who retires on a final salary of £28,000 who gets the benefit…</p> <p>…but the hospital consultant who leaves on a final salary of £110,000.</p> <p>Indeed, in some instances, for every £100 they put in their pension, higher earners can get twice as much out.</p> <p>Is this fair?</p> <p>No. It’s not.</p> <p>So again, in accordance with the recommendations of Lord Hutton, we are proposing to replace the final salary scheme with a Career Average scheme.</p> <p>This would mean that the lowest-paid do not subsidise those individuals who jump to higher salaries in the last few years of their career.</p> <p>And it would mean that everyone will get broadly the same amount for every pound they put in.</p> <p>This is not about saving money. It’s about doing what’s right and fair by you.</p> <p>As Danny Alexander recently set out, our proposals mean that low and middle income workers will receive a pension that is at least as good as what they have now.</p> <h3>Conclusion</h3> <p>Let me end by saying this.</p> <p>I know why people care so much about this issue.</p> <p>The provision of good, high quality public service pensions goes to the heart of the kind of society we are.</p> <p>It’s a vital part of the contract between all those who work in our schools and hospitals, fire stations and police stations, councils and prisons…</p> <p>…and the rest of the country.</p> <p>It’s about saying: you’ve spent your career serving others; so we will look after you in old age.</p> <p>And I am determined to not just meet that contract, but to strengthen it.</p> <p>But here’s the truth.</p> <p>That won’t happen if we delay action, or even worse refuse to act.</p> <p>All that will mean is a worse pension system in five, ten, fifteen years time as the obligations become unaffordable.</p> <p>The fact is we will only meet and strengthen that contract through change.</p> <p>And the changes we propose are a good deal.</p> <p>They are fair for the lower paid and fair on the taxpayer.</p> <p>They secure affordable pensions not just now, but for decades to come.</p> <p>And they mean public service pensions will remain among the very best available.</p> <p>So to those considering strike action, at a time when discussions are ongoing, I would say to you: these strikes are wrong – for you, for the people you serve, for the good of the country.</p> <p>It’s the changes we propose that are right.</p> <p>Right for the long-term.</p> <p>Right by the taxpayer.</p> <p>And most crucially of all, right by you.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Local Government</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Public Service Pensions</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Speech at the Local Government Association conference Tuesday 28 June 2011 Prime Minister's Office Local Government Association conference
<p>Opening statements between Prime Minister David Cameron and Chinese Premier Wen at a press conference at the Foreign Office on 27 June 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>It’s a great pleasure to welcome Premier Wen to Downing Street and to Britain today and to return the very kind hospitality that I enjoyed on my visit to Beijing last November. I’m particularly pleased that Premier Wen was able yesterday to visit Shakespeare’s birthplace at Stratford-upon-Avon. I know that, Premier Wen, you have a great knowledge of Shakespeare’s works and it’s greatly appreciated that you chose to make that visit.</p> <p>Since taking office in 2003, Premier Wen has been a friend to the United Kingdom and has sought to take the relationship between our two countries to a new level, and I warmly welcome what he has done to make that happen. I’ve made deepening and strengthening the UK’s relationship with China a priority for this Government.</p> <p>Today, we’ve reached important agreements on bilateral trade, on working together to address the big global policy issues of our time and on deepening the dialogue between our governments, but also between our peoples. Let me take each in turn. First, bilateral trade: compared with 30 years ago, China today exports more in one week than it used to export in one year. China has accounted for a third of the world’s growth in the last five years. This is just one indication of the extraordinary economic progress that China has made, progress which is obviously transforming China but is also reshaping the world. So trade with China is a huge opportunity for the United Kingdom and we have a lot to offer China too. As our economies become increasingly complementary, the UK has the goods and services, the experiences and the skills to match China’s ambition to move up the value chain – for example, our world leadership in areas like pharmaceuticals; education; green tech; oil and gas exploitation.</p> <p>Since my visit to China last November and the visit to Vice Premier Li Keqiang here at the start of the year, UK exports of goods to China have increased by more than a fifth. Building on this trade and investment will mean jobs, growth and prosperity for all of us, so I’m delighted that today’s summit has seen new deals signed worth another £1.4 billion. This includes BG’s Memorandum of Understanding with Bank of China to provide a credit facility worth up to £1.5 billion to expand their business in China. Projects like Diageo’s increased investment in China are an example of business success that we want to see more of in the future.</p> <p>But we’ve also agreed to signpost the best places for British business to invest in China’s regional cities, to increase infrastructure investment and bilateral trade and services, and to reduce the burdens on exporters through a double-taxation agreement. Our target is $100 billion of bilateral trade by 2015 – something we discussed and agreed again this morning. To achieve that, both countries must continue to make the case for mutual commitment to market access. The UK is one of the most open economies in the world – one of the easiest places to invest, to raise capital, to expand and to export from. We are the natural home for Chinese investment into Europe. We’re already home to over 400 mainland Chinese companies. Chinese investment in the UK has reached £1.2 billion. Now, there are some within Europe calling for measures to protect markets from Chinese competition.</p> <p>We profoundly believe that is the wrong approach. The breadth of deals agreed today shows that we can all gain from freer markets and that the EU and China should continue to open up to trade in both directions. We should also continue to make the argument for free trade internationally, including for a Doha deal.</p> <p>Second, global policy: from rebalancing the global economy to tackling climate change and promoting international development, China’s influence is vital. As partners for growth, we’ve agreed to work together in the G20 so the global economy can grow strongly without the economic and financial imbalances which led to previous crises. In this context, Premier Wen has spoken about the need for China to rebalance her own economy, and we welcome that. Recognising the complexity of our national economies, we are determined to cooperate to do all we can to ensure strong and balanced global growth. On climate change, I welcome China’s plans to test carbon pricing in six pilot emission trading zones, and I offered to share UK experience on this and also on carbon capture and storage, where we’re going ahead with a vast demonstration project. We agreed the need to work together for a positive outcome at the UN conference in Durban at the end of this year, and on international development today’s Memorandum of Understanding will expand our collaboration and enhance our annual development dialogue.</p> <p>Third: this summit has taken a real step forward in terms of developing the dialogue between our countries and our people. In addition to the annual UK-China summit, an economic and financial dialogue, a strategic dialogue and a development dialogue, we’ve established a new dialogue on economic growth strategies between Stephen Green and the National Development and Reform Commission. And, of course, we look forward to a further round of the UK-China human rights dialogue.</p> <p>China and Britain are different countries with different histories and we completely respect that, but we believe that the development of civil society – freedom of expression, the rule of law and respect for human rights – underpins stability and prosperity for us all. We applaud the economic transformation that’s taken place in China and we certainly do not claim that Britain has a monopoly of wisdom or is a perfect society, but as I said in Beijing last November, we do believe that the best guarantor of prosperity and stability is for economic and political progress to go in step together.</p> <p>We believe that being able to talk through these issues should be a sign of strength in our relationship, but the dialogue between our two countries is about more than relations between two governments – it’s also about the links between our people, so I’m delighted today that we’ve agreed to launch the first ever people-to-people dialogue. This will include our mutual interests in education, in culture, in science and, of course, in sport. Building understanding and trust between our people is vital for the long-lasting relationship that Premier Wen and I hope can be established for generations to come. Today’s summit has helped to lay the foundations for that future.</p> <p>Premier Wen, once again you are very welcome here today. Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Wen Jiabao, Premier, People’s Republic of China</strong></p> <p>[Speaking via interpreter] Dear friends from the press, good morning. This is my first visit to the United Kingdom since the coalition Government took office. The purpose of my visit is to promote communications, promote co-operation and promote development. Just now, I had productive talks with Prime Minister Cameron. We both agreed that China and the UK are countries of global influence. We face many global challenges and share many common opportunities. There is no big strategic conflict between us. Our common interests outweigh our differences. A sound China-UK relationship will not only serve our respective development, but also exert a positive impact on the evolution of the international landscape. We also exchanged views on how to upgrade our economic and trade co-operation.</p> <p>We are confident about meeting a goal of raising bilateral trade to $100 billion by 2015. This said, our trade still accounts for a small proportion of our respective external trade volume and its ranking in China-EU trade is slipping down, therefore we must do all we can to fully tap our potential and intensify mutually beneficial co-operation in such areas as trade, investment, SMEs, financial services, science and technology and infrastructure. To this end, China proposes the establishment of a working group: our investment promotion, a China-UK forum on SME co-operation and that the two countries will set up a giant fund for research and development centres and joint labs. And we established a working group for infrastructure.</p> <p>Just now, Prime Minister Cameron and I bore witness to the signing of economic and trade co-operation agreement worth a total of $4.3 billion. To vigorous advance people-to-people exchanges, we are going to establish a high-level people-to-people dialogue mechanism to integrate our co-operation in education, culture, media and youth. Here I wish to announce a piece of good news to you. China will provide a pair of giant pandas to the Edinburgh Zoo, and they will come to the UK before the end of this year. In addition, we exchanged views on human rights. On human rights, China and the United Kingdom should respect each other; respect the facts; treat each other as equals; engage in more co-operation than finger-pointing and resolve properly our differences through dialogue; enhance mutual understanding. Ladies and gentlemen, next year will mark the 40th anniversary of our diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level. London will play host to the Olympic Games.</p> <p>The China-UK relationship face a new opportunity for development. I hope the two sides will seize opportunities and work together to usher in an even brighter future, a new situation in our relationship. Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>Same question, perhaps phrased slightly different for both of you.  Prime Minister Wen, do you accept, as is often argued here, that if China is to continue its impressive economic progress, it will have to also make progress on both human rights and democracy?  And Mr Cameron, are you worried that in Britain’s eagerness to make a trading partner of China and move closer to it, you end up propping up a regime which is fundamentally inamicable [sic] to what you believe in?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Thank you.  Well, first of all, I would say that there’s no trade-off in our relationship.  It’s not about either discussing trade or discussing human rights.  Britain and China have such a strong and developed relationship that we have a dialogue that covers all of these issues, and nothing is off-limits in the discussions that we have, and we discuss human rights issues both at this level, but also we have a specific human rights dialogue with China as well, and that will be going ahead, as I said in my statement, in the new year.</p> <p>Clearly, as Premier Wen said, and as I said, and let me repeat again, you know, we’re different countries; we have different histories, different stages of development; we should show each other respect.  But we are very clear that political and economic development should go hand in hand, that one supports the other.  That’s what I said in Beijing when I visited in November and I’d say that again today.  But I think the test of a good relationship is when you’re able to discuss and speak about these things in the way that we have done and will always do so. </p> <p><strong>Premier Wen</strong></p> <p>Your question struck me that you may have not made very many visits to China.  I cannot help but recall one of your colleagues who made the remark in 1948 that one needs to travel more by the metro and buses if one is to fully understand a country and its people.  My country has a vast land expanse, it has 1.3 billion people and over 2800 counties.  Every year I take time out of my busy schedule to travel widely across this country, but so far even I have not been able to visit all the places in this big country.  So I’m afraid you have not visited as many places in China as I have.</p> <p>Well, I would like to say that China’s development is comprehensive in nature.  It covers not only development in the economic field but also development in democracy, the legal system, social fairness and justice and all-round development of the Chinese people.  I agree with Prime Minister Cameron that the ideas of human rights, democracy, freedom and equality have immensely emancipated the human mind, yet different countries and societies may realise these ideas in different ways and forms.</p> <p>Now China is not only pursuing economic development but also political structural reform and the improvement of democracy and the rule of law.  I am confident that tomorrow’s China will not only enjoy economic prosperity but also improved democracy and the legal system.  It will be a country based on the rule of law.  China’s development is not only about economic development, but also all-round development of the Chinese population.  We are working hard to address the social ills, including unfairness and the widening gap between the rich and the poor, so that the Chinese people will enjoy equal rights in the economic, political and other fields.</p> <p>We are committed to protecting human rights in China.  The respect and protection of human rights has already been incorporated into the Chinese constitution.  I agree with Prime Minister Cameron that countries have different social systems and histories.  Therefore we can enhance our communication and dialogue on a range of issues, including human rights, and I believe that is in the common interests of both sides.  As far as history’s concerned, China has a 5,000-year history, and in history the Chinese nation was once exposed to untold sufferings.  That has taught the Chinese never to talk to others in a lecturing way; rather we respect all other nations on the basis of equality.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>Prime Minister, when the coalition Government under your leadership took office, you said that you intend to pursue a partnership for growth with China, and you said in your opening statements that trade with China represents a tremendous opportunity for the UK.  However, the reality we have seen in recent years is that the trade between the UK and China has been falling, and the place of this trade in the list of China’s trade with European countries has dropped to the third, and the place of trade in technology between the two sides has dropped to the fifth.  Moreover the investment by the UK in China has also been overtaken by Germany last year in terms of its rank in place, and at the same time UK’s exports to China have been growing lower than the average pace of EU member states.  I would like to ask – what is your perspective on such a reality?  Do you think there is a need for a change rather than the reality of the UK being overtaken by other European countries?  And do you think the current British Government will be able to make that change, and what specific measures do you think the Government of the UK needs to take to make this change?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Well, thank you.  I mean, first of all, if you look at the figures of British exports to China, it actually grew by 40% last year, and actually since November, since my visit to China, have gone up by 20%.  So I don’t accept that Britain isn’t exporting more to China and isn’t on target to meet the very challenging target of $100 billion of two-way trade by 2015.  I think the performance is good; of course, I want it to be better.  In terms of investment into each other’s country, Britain is the second-largest European investor into China and Britain is the second-largest destination of Chinese investment into Europe.  One of the reasons, I think, why we will do even better in future – and the opportunities are so great – is if you look at the strengths of the British economy against some of other European economies, yes, of course, some economies like Germany have a larger share in manufacturing, and we want to grow our manufacturing, but one of Britain’s strengths is in areas like pharmaceuticals, insurance, retail, banking: many of the service industries which actually tend to grow in exports as economies open up and develop.  That’s why we call ourselves “partners for growth”, because as the Chinese economy develops, as it starts to buy more in the way of services and branded goods and things like that, I think the opportunities for Britain are immense, but they’ll only happen if both our countries continue to open up the trade and investment.</p> <p>One last point which we discussed this morning at our meeting: equally important, when you’re a country like Britain that is creating quite a lot of intellectual property, has great strengths in music, in television, in film; when you’re also inventive in terms of new products, it’s absolutely essential that intellectual property is respected and patents are respected.  And Premier Wen and I agreed today at his suggestion that we should have a symposium this year on intellectual property, so we can better understand any of the issues and difficulties and problems between us.  Just to take one example: Dyson, obviously a fantastic UK inventor; they’ve specifically mentioned problems and difficulties they want to get over.  So as I say, our economies are at a complementary stage of development: Britain an advanced economy with great strengths in advanced industries and also service industries; China: fast growing, fast developing, now beginning to consume more domestically the opportunities for Britain are very great.  And I’m quite convinced that this Government will help industry and business to make sure we take those opportunities.</p> <p><strong>Question [Unclear – summary below]</strong></p> <p>Should Chinese money be used to fund the next generation of British railways? Libya – hasn’t the international community done enough?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Thank you.  Well, let me first of all deal with the issue of railways.  Obviously there’s great complementarity between China and Britain.  China is seeing an enormous expansion of high-speed rail, and there are great opportunities for British companies like Arup and others to get involved in design and also in provision of those facilities.  Likewise Britain is an incredibly open economy: we welcome investment from around the world, and we don’t limit that investment to say you can only invest in plant and machinery; we welcome investment into infrastructure, into services.  This is probably one of the best places in the world to start a company, grow a company, raise finance, and that’s why I think we’re a very attractive destination for Chinese investment.  In terms of high-speed rail, there’ll obviously be a proper process for all these things and proper competitive tenders, but do I welcome Chinese investment into British infrastructure?  Yes, of course I do.  For the first time in a long time we’ve actually set up an organisation Infrastructure UK with a huge set of plans that we want to see funded.  We take that presentation to different parts of the world to make sure that we get international capital into our infrastructure as well as domestic capital. I think it’s a famous Chinese expression that it doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white as long as it catches mice, and that should be our attitude towards Chinese infrastructure into infrastructure.</p> <p>On the issue of Libya, what I would say is that Britain and our partners are acting absolutely within the ambit of a UN resolution that was passed without objection and without veto, UN Resolution 1973.  And our action in Libya is about protecting civilian life.  And that is why we’re taking the steps that we are to stop Gaddafi, who is still trying to kill, maim, murder, bomb, shell, snipe his own civilians, his own citizens, and we’ll continue to act under UN Resolution 1973.  That is our responsibility: to protect civilians.  Obviously it’s for the Libyan people themselves to decide how they are governed and who governs them, and I’m confident that the pressure is growing on Gaddafi – military pressure, diplomatic pressure, political pressure – and we should keep that pressure up.</p> <p><strong>Premier Wen</strong></p> <p>The position of the Chinese government on the issue of Libya is a clear-cut one.  We believe that the UN Security Council Resolution 1973 should be fully complied with by all countries concerned, including Libya.  We believe that the settlement of issues in a country should be based on the efforts of the people of that country concerned.  We hope that the issue of Libya will be resolved through political peaceful means to reduce the humanitarian harm; in particular, the harm of innocent civilians.  We respect the choice made by the Libyan people.  You may have noticed that recently China has had contacts with both the Libyan government and the opposition party in Libya.  That actually reflects the just position of China on this issue.  We place our hope on the Libyan people, and we believe that is the efforts of the people of that country who will eventually spur progress in the country.  Foreign troops may be able to win war in a place, but they can hardly win peace.  Hard lessons have been learned from what has happened in the Middle East and Afghanistan.  As to what position the UK Government should take on this matter, Prime Minister Cameron has made it very clear already.</p> <p>On the development of high-speed rail, I want to say that China has made tremendous achievements in development of high-speed rail in recent years, and that marks a big step forward in our efforts to boost the growth of strategic emerging industries.  We certainly hope to enhance co-operation with other countries in this field.  At the same time we fully respect the independent choices made by those countries.  The high-speed rail between Beijing and Tianjin, a city with a distance of 120 kilometres, will only take about half an hour, and that travel is safe, comfortable and convenient.  As to whether China’s high-speed rail will be able to meet the UK’s needs and demand, I think it’s up to the British people to make a final say.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>A question for Premier Wen.  Just now you said China and the UK have decided to establish a high-level people-to-people exchange mechanism.  I would like to ask in what more areas do we expect greater progress in China-UK co-operation?</p> <p><strong>Premier Wen</strong></p> <p>I started my visit to the UK by paying a visit to Shakespeare’s birthplace first.  I have long had great admirations for this great literary giant.  When I was a boy, I read the works written by William Shakespeare, including the Twelfth Night, King Lear and Othello.  I have been deeply impressed by the humanistic spirit that is demonstrated in all his works.  That is why we all call William Shakespeare one of the greatest geniuses in our world, and his achievements have transcended his own era but belong to the whole century and transcended the boundary of the UK and belong to the whole world.  I also watched a brief performance of one excerpt from Hamlet in the birthplace of Shakespeare, and it make me wonder whether foreign friends also cherish as keen an interest in China’s history and theatre as I do for Shakespeare.  And if they do, I believe they will be able to fully appreciate the long history of China in the past 5,000 years, the twists and turns the country went through, and the extraordinary course the country travelled in the past 30 years in particular since it pursued reform and opening up.  Through reform and opening up we transformed the backward Chinese economy and lifted the Chinese economy to the second-largest in the world today.  We succeed in providing the adequate food and clothing for over 200 million Chinese people, who used to live in poverty, and raised the average life expectancy of the Chinese population by five years.  Moreover, we have taken good care of some 80 million people with disabilities in this country.  I always believe that people-to-people exchanges are essential to a strong state-to-state relationship in particular exchanges between the young people, because such exchanges form the foundation of friendship and co-operation between countries.  I hope that in the future the leaders of all countries will better appreciate and respect cultures of each other, and that will contribute to stronger friendship between us.  You may also know that I visited Longbridge, a famous auto town with up to 100 years of history in auto making.  It has not only produced vintage cars but also very modern models of cars.  The co-operation model we have established in that factory can be summed up as designed by the UK, manufactured by the Chinese and assembled in the UK.  And through that model we have brought out the respective strengths of our two countries: that is, the UK’s strength in science and technology and China’s strength in human resources.  I believe that co-operation can be further enhanced, and that co-operation model has also contributed to the creation of local job opportunities.  These are the main points that have struck me most deeply in my visit to the UK so far.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Thank you.  Can I thank you all very much for coming, and thank you for those questions and thank you for our very good discussions today?  Thank you.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">China</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Press conference with Premier Wen Jiabao Monday 27 June 2011 Prime Minister's Office a press conference at the Foreign Office
<p>A transcript of the Prime Minister’s press conference in Brussels on 24 June 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong> Good afternoon and welcome. There were four issues that particularly concerned me coming to this European Council in June: the first, the future of the euro and the situation in Greece; the second, the need for stronger economic growth in Europe; the third, the issue of migration; and fourth, our position with respect to the Arab spring. And I just want to say a word about each of them.</p> <p>First of all, on the euro, let me just repeat Britain is not in the euro, Britain is not going to join the euro, but we do want a successful eurozone and a growing eurozone, not least because 40% of our exports go to the eurozone. So we want the eurozone to sort out its problems and its difficulties and we’ve been constructive in trying to help make that happen.</p> <p>Specifically on Greece, we were not involved in the first Greek bailout, we haven’t been involved in talks about potential Greek bailouts, so I believe it is absolutely right not to use the European Financial Stability Mechanism (the EFSM) for future payments in terms of Greece and I wanted to seek assurances at this European Council that Britain won’t be called on to do that. I sought those assurances, I have received those assurances, but nevertheless I will continue to be vigilant on this issue.</p> <p>I don’t want to speculate about another country in the eurozone, a fellow member of the European Union and I recognise that Georgios Papandreou is taking great steps forward to try and deal with the problems in that country. What I do believe though is important is that I think all European countries need to use the time that we have to strengthen banks and banks’ balance sheets and make sure they are meeting all of the requirements, so that they are strong and can withstand any problems and difficulties. In particular, we shouldn’t be watering down in any way the Basel requirements and I made sure that some language went into the communiqué at this European Council to that end.</p> <p>Second point: European growth. The point I repeatedly make at these European Councils is there is no further monetary stimulus we can give our economies. Interest rates in the UK are as low as they possibly could be. There is no further fiscal stimulus that we can give to our economies. Most of us have got large budget deficits and the whole key at the moment is to get those budget deficits down rather than radically increasing them through irresponsible tax reductions or huge spending increases.</p> <p>Given you can’t have a monetary stimulus and you can’t have a fiscal stimulus, the best stimulus we can give to our economies is to make sure we are promoting competition, deregulation, supply-side reform, innovation, structural changes and also promoting both trade within Europe and also trade with the rest of the world. So I use these meetings to press for the completion of the single market, the completion of the single market in services, getting rid of unnecessary barriers and making sure we promote small businesses and innovation. Again, I’ve secured into the communiqué, the Council conclusions, some strong language about deregulating on small businesses and particularly micro businesses, trying to exempt them from classes of regulation as we’ve done in the UK. Once again, I’ve also secured strong language on world trade and Doha.</p> <p>I do believe there’s growing support for this agenda. Britain produced an excellent pamphlet on choosing growth. A number of other member states have backed that and have said how much they want to work on that agenda and make sure these European Councils give that agenda a boost. One of the problems often is we have pages and pages on processes in Europe, but not enough about what the European Commission itself is actually going to do to help drive the growth agenda and I’ve been pushing that very hard.</p> <p>The third issue is migration and the pressures of immigration and migration in Europe. Let me be clear again Britain is not in the Schengen Area. We’re not going to be joining the Schengen Area. We have, by and large, proper and sustainable borders and I want us to have proper and sustainable border controls. I was worried before this European Council about potential proposals to suspend the Dublin arrangements that allow us to return asylum seekers to the country from which they have come. I’m glad to report that Britain and Germany together made sure that those proposals aren’t even referred to in any way in the Council conclusions. I think that is important. We want controlled migration in Europe and we want controlled migration, above all, in Britain.</p> <p>Fourthly, on the Arab spring, I believe it’s good that we have achieved, after perhaps a difficult start some months ago, but we’ve achieved real unity in the European Union, real unity of purpose and political will when it comes to the vital issue of Libya and that was clearly expressed in the Council discussions today. I believe that we must be patient and we must be persistent, because I think that the time pressure is on Colonel Gaddafi and his regime, it is not on us. I believe we need to show real support for the Transitional National Council, who I believe are demonstrating that they’re not extremists, they’re not Islamists, they’re not tribal, they want a united Libya but a more democratic Libya. And I also think we should push ahead with the measures that Europe has taken in terms of sanctions and travel bans and asset freezes, all of which have been effective and show that Europe can actually make a difference on an issue like this.</p> <p>Above all, I think we have to remember what we’re doing in Libya and why we’re doing it and it’s about protecting civilian life. It is about stopping Gaddafi and his evil regime shelling, killing, maiming, murdering his own citizens. I think we have been effective at doing that and I think the pressure on Gaddafi is growing. I think you can see that when you consider his foreign minister’s left him, his oil minister has left him, many of his generals are departing him. A month ago, I think many people thought, ‘Well, the Misrata pocket, that won’t hold, what’s happening in the west isn’t sustainable.’ You now see a growing rebellion in the west of the country and the growing strength of the Transitional National Council. The pressure and the time is telling on Gaddafi. We must keep that up and make sure this comes to a good and satisfactory solution.</p> <p>We also discussed, obviously, Syria and other issues in the Middle East. What is happening in Syria is quite appalling. Thousands of people have been killed; tens of thousands have been interned. Britain and France together are leading the charge at the United Nations, drafting and proposing a resolution. We need to build more allies and more support for that and, again, I think the European Union has been effective and can be more effective in terms of the asset freezes, the travel bans and other steps that should be taken. I specifically made sure that in the communiqué we mention the current problems on the Turkish border and the concerns about what the Syrian troops are doing close to the Turkish border.</p> <p>Finally, we also welcomed the prospect of a new member to the European Union, Croatia. I think we are getting very close to Croatian accession and the Council conclusions will reference that. I am extremely enthusiastic about membership by western Balkan countries of the European Union. I think it’s absolutely the right thing to do.</p> <p>I have to say I am less enthusiastic about the presentation we were given for a new building for the European Council. This is a decision that was taken many years ago and I pressed that if we are to go ahead with this project – and it seems, I’m afraid, unavoidable – we must make sure it is done with economy and with efficiency, because at a time when we’re having to make spending reductions at home I think our voters, our constituents, our publics want to see the European Union saving money, not spending money.</p> <p>We didn’t discuss the budget at this European Council, but I’m absolutely determined to keep making progress on the budget issue and winning allies and support for doing just that.</p> <p>Thank you very much indeed. Very happy, as ever, to take your questions.</p> <p><strong>Question: </strong>You say that you’ve prevented a move to get Britain to help with the Greek bailout, but Mervyn King today is warning that there is a real risk of contagion, that if the Greeks default the problem will be for the banking system in European as a whole and British banks. How worried are you that you may have won very small victory here, but actually, overall the signs are very ominous?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong> Well look, I thought, first of all, it’s just important, as I said, Britain did not contribute to the first Greek bailout, we haven’t been involved in the discussions about it, we’re not in the eurozone and so, as a result, I think it would be wrong for us to be drawn into the European element of a future payment. And I sought assurances on that, I got assurances on that, I think that is important for Britain. Clearly, we’re a leading member of the IMF. We sit on the IMF board. We have a responsibility when countries get into difficulty and that’s one we’ll always discharge.</p> <p>In terms of what Mervyn King said, of course, banks right across Europe have exposure to Greece because they hold Greek debt, Greek government bonds. Every bank needs to make absolutely clear what its exposure is, has to do that work and, as I’ve said and secured in these Council conclusions, we need to make sure all our banks are being strengthened in terms of their capital reserves and what they can withstand. I’m confident that that is taking place in the UK. We need to make sure it takes place right across Europe and I think that’s absolutely vital and what Mervyn King has said is right.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong> Thank you, Prime Minister. I just wonder if I might take you back to the building. What’s your reaction when you saw this glossy pamphlet being handed out, which they appear to have spent tens of thousands of pounds on at a time when issues of austerity are on the agenda?</p> <p>And secondly, apparently Tony Blair has given an interview saying that he still wants to join the euro. What’s your reaction to that?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister: </strong>Well, first of all, on the euro, I think it would be a dreadful idea for Britain to join the euro for a very simple reason: I think there are times when different countries need different interest rates and you need to have that flexibility. And I think now is exactly that sort of time. Britain, outside the euro, does have greater flexibility. Yes, of course, we’re having to get on top of our budget deficit and we’re doing that, but we’ve actually been able to see our interest rates come down because we’re taking the right action in terms of our budget. So I think Britain is out of the euro, I believe we’ll stay out of the euro and certainly as long as I’m doing this job there is no prospect of Britain even contemplating joining the euro.</p> <p>In terms of the building, I just, I hope as I’m demonstrating, I think this is my seventh European Council, I do believe in being positive, in being practical, in actually working with allies and trying to get things done in Europe. And whether that is prosecuting what we’re doing in Libya, whether it’s putting pressure on Syria, whether it’s completing the single market, whether it’s trying to create jobs across Europe, I’m a practical, positive person and I come to these meetings with a practical, positive agenda. But sometimes when you’ll see a document being circulated with a great glossy brochure about some great new building for the European Council to sit in it is immensely frustrating and you do wonder whether these institutions actually get what every country and what every member of the public is having to go through as we cut budgets and try and make our finances add up.</p> <p>I’ve only been to this building seven times in the last year, but it seems to me to do a perfectly good job of housing the European Council. The microphones work, there’s plenty of room, we could fit many more people in the great room where we all sit round and discuss, and the food isn’t bad either. ‘What’s the problem?’ would be my question, but this decision was taken years ago, as I understand it, the money has already been spent, most of it, but I just wanted to press my colleagues even at this late stage can we please try and do this with economy and efficiency, recognising that every country in Europe is having to take those steps.</p> <p>And I do think this comes back to the budget debate. The European Commission, the European institutions have got to demonstrate that they get the austerity measures that every member state is having to make. And if you rewind to when we became the government, we did, you know, freeze the pay of MPs, cut the pay of ministers, reduce the size of the House of Commons, radically reduce the size of central government, because I wanted to be able to look the British public in the eye and say, ‘Yes, I am asking you to do difficult things and there is a pay freeze in the public sector, we’re going to have to reform public-sector pensions, there are areas of public spending that will have to be reduced, but the reductions have to start at the centre and start with us’. And I think the European Union, in my view, if it wants to build confidence, because it does do good things, as I’ve just said, but if it wants to build confidence it’s got to demonstrate it gets that.</p> <p><strong>Question: </strong>Prime Minister, you say you want to a successful euro. Almost every economist believes that Greece will have to default sooner or later. Do you therefore believe it is wise lending Greece further money?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister: </strong>Well, the point I would make is this: first of all, we do genuinely want the euro area and euro members to succeed. Fifty percent of our exports go to Europe; 40% go to the eurozone. It’s not in our interests for the euro to falter or fail. It’s not in our interests for members of the euro to falter or fail. That would have bad consequences for the UK – I’m absolutely clear about this.</p> <p>Second point is, I don’t think it is responsible to speculate about another European country and its economy and what’s going to happen next either politically or economically. I don’t think that is a sensible thing to do. What I do think is sensible is you should always make sure that you’ve prepared for all eventualities and that’s why I think it is important that banks strengthen their balance sheets right across Europe and that needs to be done now and it needs to be done properly.</p> <p>I would say, looking at a fellow politician and fellow Prime Minister who is trying to do the right thing for his country, who’s taking difficult steps, I do recognise that the Greek government are doing difficult things to try and make sure they can deal with their issues and problems. And the dinner last night and the communiqué that was put out showed, I think, real support and solidarity for what the Greek government is trying to do. But I think for Britain, very clear that we weren’t involved in this bailout; we shouldn’t be involved as a non-euro country in anything that might happen subsequently and also we should be making sure that we strengthen our banks at home.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong> I just wondered if you could give us some insight into your decision to send Sir Jon Cunliffe to Brussels. What are the qualities you see in him? And isn’t it a bit of a poke in the eye for the Foreign Office that you’re sending a career Treasury man to Brussels?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister: </strong>First of all, Jon Cunliffe is a hugely accomplished civil servant, I think, with a great grip and grasp right across all European issues. Now we have a National Security Council and we brought together Whitehall, brought the Foreign Office, Number 10 and the Cabinet Office much closer, I don’t see this great divide between having a Treasury man or a Cabinet Office man or woman or a Treasury person. I don’t see it like that.</p> <p>A lot of what Europe does – as you can see from the communiqué today – is about the economy and about economic issues. What I’ve seen of Jon Cunliffe over the last year – because he’s been my Sherpa effectively for G8s and G20s and for all European Councils apart from sadly this one as he’s been unwell – is that he’s got great grip of European issues. He’s got a huge understanding of the financial issues; he’s tough and he’s strong and he’ll stand up for Britain’s interests which is absolutely what you need.</p> <p>I’d like to pay tribute to Kim Darroch, who I think has done an excellent job here at UKREP and who I’ve really enjoyed working with for the last year, and obviously he’s going to be playing a key role in the National Security Council back at home. So it’s probably some football analogy about how I’ve swapped Beckham and Rooney or something like that but I can’t think of one right now. They’re both very good and they’re going to be in the right jobs.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong> A lot of people here are saying this is one of the worst crises the EU has faced, or perhaps the worst crisis. Aren’t you missing a huge opportunity here, as many in your party are saying, to reshape Britain’s relationship with Europe and reshape the European Union – that you should be showing bolder leadership here? Or is this perhaps one of those areas where you don’t feel you can be bold because of the Liberal Democrats?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong> I don’t accept that. I think first of all, I think it’s very important to come here and recognise you have a job to do to defend Britain’s interests. Now it’s in our interests that the eurozone sorts itself out and we haven’t stood in the way of the Euro-Plus Pact and other things like that. We’ve been thoroughly constructive.</p> <p>But it’s also right that where we haven’t been involved in a previous Greek bailout, we haven’t been involved in discussions, we aren’t a member of the eurozone, I think it’s right to stand up for the interests of British taxpayers and say ‘well, this isn’t something we should be contributing to’ and I don’t regret in any way putting a lot of negotiating capital into that effort. I also think it’s been right, as I inherited a situation where there was this European Financial Mechanism that we are subject to – under qualified majority voting – I put quite a lot of capital into getting us out of that from 2013 when the new arrangements come in, and again I don’t apologise for that. That was a good move for Britain; I’ve cut off the chance post-2013 of us having to contribute to these situations in future, a very good deal for Britain.</p> <p>Third point, I actually think that what the British are pushing for here in the European Council is actually in all of Europe’s interests and that is saying if we want to get the European economies going, we’ve got to promote trade, deregulation, completing the single market, less of the grandiose gestures and communiqués, more of the real rolling up your sleeves and making sure that actually Europe has got a strong economy.</p> <p>Let me just give you one tiny example. Here we are a single market, the biggest single market in the world – we don’t even have a digital single market, I’m sure you use iTunes like I use iTunes – only 15 of the 27 member states you can use iTunes in. So we haven’t yet completed the single market, so I don’t accept that Britain is not taking a leading role. I think we are. We’re pushing for things that will make a real difference. But we have to accept this point: we’re not in the euro so we’re not in all those discussions about what the euro will do in the future.</p> <p>Now, I personally believe that being out of the euro is so advantageous for us that it far outweighs any advantage of being in those discussions. And so I don’t have any worries or concerns that somehow we’ve lost some influence there because if we were in the euro I think we’d be in a pretty drastic position in Britain having had an 11% budget deficit. Because we’re out of the euro we have the chance, difficult though it is, to roll up our sleeves, sort out our problems and be one of Europe’s success stories.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong> But what about all those euro-sceptic things you were saying in opposition? I mean, is it the Liberal Democrats that are holding you back?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong> Well, I don’t accept that. I said in opposition that we’d stay out of the euro – we have. I have said that we would stay out of Schengen – we have. I said as soon as I became Prime Minister I’d examine the situation we had; we had to get out of the European Financial Stability Mechanism for the future. We’ve achieved that. I think actually I can point to quite a good list of achievements in Europe, and also I’d point as well to the budget where I think we are going to make progress in terms of cutting back what the Commission and the Parliament have been suggesting.</p> <p>So I think on all those areas, and more besides, you can see a real British influence here. We are not in the euro, we are not in Schengen but we have real influence here in Europe on the things that we care about. And for instance on the issues of Libya and Syria, it is very often the British and the French together who are leading the argument and the debate and getting things done. So plenty of political will here in Europe by the British, by actually emphasising and concentrating on those things that will make a difference for us.</p> <p><strong>Question: </strong>Will Sir Jon Cunliffe be taking his trusty Treasury slide rule and looking at such long-term issues as reforming the Common Agricultural Policy and will he be defending the British rebate?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong> Look, of course the British rebate is essential and of course that will be key to our whole approach to the future financing of Europe. I think what Jon will bring – of course we want to reform the Common Agricultural Policy; it’s been a long-standing aim of the UK. I think it’s important we go into this whole examination of future financing with some pretty clear ideas about what we want to get out of it. We want to keep the rebate; we want to stop Europe’s budget going up by more than inflation and we secured that very good letter signed by many European Council leaders. And we want to reform what Europe spends its money on so actually it spends money on things that can make a difference in terms of growth rather than just spending so much money on agriculture.</p> <p>As I say, I think he’s got a very good grip and not just on economic issues. You can ask him about any number of things from rabies to horse passports and Jon will give you a good answer. There you go, I’m putting him to the test; I’m raising the bar for him.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong> Thank you, Prime Minister. Could you broaden out on what you were saying about the EU institutions and whether people get it? I mean, isn’t one of the most worrying things about Greece that huge swathes of the population there just don’t buy into the argument that’s coming down from political leaders such as yourself about the need for thrift and austerity? Do you – would you – agree that you haven’t actually yet won that argument?</p> <p>And I must ask you about the circus-animals story: what was that all about? That you’ve got one of your own backbenchers saying that you’re throwing your weight around and bullying him.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong> Right, okay, let’s do circus animals first as we’ve certainly, as it were, been through the hoops, walked through the tightrope and possibly sent in the clowns as well. Look the point is this: I think actually there wasn’t a great difference between the government’s position, which is minded to have a ban, need to clear some legal obstacles out of the way, because the view that’s been come to is it’s not right to have wild circus animals in Britain in 2011 and beyond. So the gap between the government position, minded to have a ban but needing to clear these obstacles out the way, is not a million miles away from the backbench motion, which was slightly faster and harder. I thought we’d be able to find a compromise where everyone would be able to support language which would be more easily achievable by the government. That wasn’t possible so in the end the backbench motion went through unopposed; nobody voted against it and so that’s what’s happened. So I’m profoundly relaxed about the whole thing.</p> <p>All I can say is my Downing Street operation – it’s not everyone’s absolutely like Mother Teresa, but that’s the sort of default setting. They’re very gentle, reasonable people so I don’t entirely agree with all the things I’ve read that there’s a sort of slathering rottweiler sitting by my desk. That’s absolutely not the case. As I understand, very gentle and reasonable conversations were had all round. As I say, a pity we couldn’t close the gap between two groups of people who wanted to see a ban take place, but just some arguments over technicalities and timings.</p> <p>Yes, on that general point. I think that actually people right across Europe do understand the need for countries to live within their means. I find that if you take in the UK or elsewhere, of course there’s always opposition to individual proposals, but generally speaking people understand that governments, like households, can’t endlessly borrow and live without their means. They have to live within their means. I think that’s understood right across Europe and I’m sure it’s understood in Greece too. Clearly the challenge in Greece is very great because the deficit’s so big, the debt ratio is so big, people are being asked to do a huge amount. But, you know, we want the government to succeed in Greece, we want the euro to succeed and so these challenges have to be overcome. I do think it’s important as we do that that we show – whether it’s at the national level or the European level – that the politicians aren’t sitting in some gilded cage asking everyone else to take responsibility and that’s why I think it is important that in the UK the pay cuts and freezes at the centre, the difficult decisions made about Whitehall and Westminster, I think that has to be repeated here in Brussels.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong> Prime Minister, you’ve been stressing very much that you sought and received assurances on the EFSM last night and indeed it will be reflected in the Council conclusions. I just wanted to ask whether at the dinner Chancellor Merkel actually asked for the EFSM to be used.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong> Obviously I can’t – even if I could remember everything that happened at the dinner it wouldn’t be right to repeat it, so I won’t comment on what other countries did or said. All I would say is that I came here wanting to make sure that Britain wouldn’t be called on to contribute as part of an EFSM package for Greece and so I sought those assurances and I’ve had those assurances. As I say, you have to be eternally vigilant in all matters European and I will go on being vigilant and standing up for Britain’s interests because I think that is a very important part of my job.</p> <p>On that, thank you very much and look forward to seeing you at another European Council soon.</p> <p>(END OF TRANSCRIPT)</p> <p>See: <a href="">PM attends European Council</a></p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Circus animals</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Euro</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">European Union</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Greece</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Libya</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Transcript of press conference in Brussels Friday 24 June 2011 Prime Minister's Office Brussels
<p>A transcript of the Prime Minister’s press conference in Prague during his official visit to the Czech Republic on 23 June 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p><strong>Question:</strong> A question for Prime Minister Cameron: Mr Cameron, British media informed about a likely clash between Germany and Britain at the EU summit. The German government is, according to the press, signalling that Britain would need to contribute to the bailout for Greece. Are you sure that your coalition, together with the Czech Republic and Slovakia, is strong enough that you maintain your position?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong> Our position is very clear: Britain is a board member of the International Monetary Fund so of course we are involved in any of these situations anywhere in the world through the IMF, and let me be clear about that. What we are also absolutely clear about is it would be wrong to use the European Financial Mechanism, the ESFM, for a second bailout of Greece for a number of very good reasons.</p> <p>First of all, Britain was not involved in the first bailout of Greece; that was something done by eurozone members, and done after discussion of eurozone members. The second point is that it is eurozone members who have been discussing the Greek situation and the British, as we are not members of the eurozone, have not been involved in these discussions at all, so it would be quite wrong now to ask us to contribute.</p> <p>So I think the situation is absolutely clear: we want a successful eurozone; we want the eurozone to sort out its problems. We have contributed: in the case of Ireland we made a bilateral loan; in the case of Portugal, we contributed. But this is a different situation, a different country, and I do not believe the European Financial Mechanism is appropriate. We have support for that from many other countries and also I have received assurances from other countries, including from the Germans, that this won’t be the case.</p> <p>I am sure that they will stick to those assurances and whatever arrangements are reached in Europe and the eurozone for Greece will not include the European Financial Mechanism.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong> I have two questions, one concerns Mr Obama’s speech on Afghanistan where he said that the US forces will leave the country in the next year. Can both gentlemen say what your countries will do in that respect? The other one is have you discussed the army deals, the Gripen deals in the past and in the future? Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong> Thank you. I spoke with President Obama yesterday and he talked to me in advance of his speech to the American people about his plans in Afghanistan. His plans involve what he promised some years ago which was to put a surge into Afghanistan and then, from July 2011, progressively remove that surge. What President Obama explained and I think it is important to understand is that of the 30,000 some 10,000 will be removed this year and the remainder by the end of the summer of 2012, and so what this means is that there will be no let-up in the pressure on the insurgency in Afghanistan because of what the Americans are planning to do.</p> <p>I think the surge has been effective. I’ve seen that first-hand in Helmand province where British troops are and the enormous difference that the arrival of American troops working with British troops together has made, so I’m satisfied that the removal of the surge will still enable us to keep up the pressure on the insurgency as we transition to Afghan control between now and the end of 2014, and I believe that that is on track. And Britain has been very clear that after the end of 2014, we will not have troops in combat in Afghanistan and we won’t have troops in any large number as they are today. We may be in some training role with a small number of troops but nothing like we have today.</p> <p>In terms of our own plans, I announced some weeks ago that we were taking around 430 people out of Afghanistan in the current period. That really effectively removes the surge that Britain contributed, a small surge itself, a year or so ago, and that removes effectively that surge. That leaves us with an enduring number of 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, the second-largest contributor, and we’ll be looking to make further reductions as we move towards the end of 2014, but I don’t have anything further to say about that today.</p> <p>What I would say is just put on record how much I admire the fact that, as another NATO country, the Czech Republic is making a significant contribution and I think it’s important that all of us work together to ensure real pressure on the insurgency this year and also a stepped-up political process so that we bring this conflict effectively to an end.</p> <p>In terms of the issue of the Gripen issue, I’ve said to my friend and ally Prime Minister Nečas that the British will make sure that the Serious Fraud Office responds to any and all requests that it receives from the Czech Republic and we’ll do our best to respond to those enquiries. I believe there are some new enquiries that we’ve received and we will obviously look at those carefully and see what we can do to help for you to bring this issue to a close.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong> Prime Minister, you mentioned Britain’s status as a member of the board of the IMF, but a number of people, even the acting head of the IMG, says the answer to Europe’s sovereign debt crisis is greater financial integration, i.e. more Europe, not less. What would be your answer to that? And secondly, on Libya, do we have an open-ended commitment to Libya that we’re going to be able to fulfil?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong> On the first issue, let me give you an answer that might surprise you. I agree with that. I think the eurozone countries, they probably do need to take further steps to coordinate and to make sense of the arrangements. That was one of the reasons why I’ve always opposed Britain’s entry into the eurozone. I think that once you have a single currency it’s very difficult to stop the march towards more of a single country and I think the eurozone is taking tentative steps to do more, to be coordinated and frankly they need to be, and what I’ve said is Britain shouldn’t stand in their way as they try to do that. We must be clear about our own national interest and I think that is to be part of the 27, part of a single market, competing, cooperating, working with all our partners in Europe, but we shouldn’t be in the eurozone. And so that is the position that I take, but clearly we have a big interest in the eurozone sorting its problems out and I hope that they will.</p> <p>On the issue of Libya, the point I’d make is this, that the alliance of countries that is taking part in these operations includes some of the richest and most powerful and best-equipped nations on earth. I spoke about this to President Obama last night, who was saying that he thought that things were going well in Libya and the US commitment continues. As well as having those countries, we also have the machinery of NATO, we have the backing of the United Nations, we have the support of the Arab League, we have a number of Arab countries as active participants, we have a growing number of countries in the contact group coming together, and so time is on our side. Time is not on the side of Colonel Gaddafi, who is losing his leading military commanders, he’s lost his foreign minister, he’s lost his oil minister, he’s lost most of his country, he’s losing in the west of the country where the rebellion is growing, the sanctions are hurting him, the sands of time are running out for him, and so we need to be patient and persistent, and while there are countries in the European Union who clearly are not being part of the active military campaign, I hope that at the European Council we’ll have continued very strong support for the mission that we’re engaged in, because what this is all about is putting in place UN Resolution 1973. It’s about protecting the Libyan people from a brutal dictator. It’s about giving them the chance to choose their own future.</p> <p>And it is – standing here in Prague, that had its own incredible spring – it is about the Arab spring. If there is success in Libya, in Tunisia, in Egypt, then we will see a genuine Arab spring and not an Arab winter. That is what I think is in the interests of everyone in Europe, that our neighbourhood is made up of countries that are people, prosperous, have been growing in their democracy, and that will enhance not only our own prosperity, but also our security and our safety as well.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Afghanistan</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Greece</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Gripen</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">IMF</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Libya</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Transcript of press conference in Prague Thursday 23 June 2011 Prime Minister's Office Prague
<p>A transcript of the press conference given by Prime Minister David Cameron on sentencing reforms in London on 21 June 2011.</p> <p><strong>Read the transcript:</strong></p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>This is a very proud day for me.  I’m looking forward to welcoming Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, to Downing Street for a lunch to celebrate the Duke’s 90th birthday today.  I know everyone in the room will want to send him their very best wishes and to pay tribute to the decades of service that he’s given to our country.</p> <p>This morning I want to explain how we’re reforming the broken criminal justice system to fight crime and improve punishment.  Before I go into details, let me just put this in context.  I want to make one thing very clear.  My mission is to make sure that families can feel safe in their homes and they can walk the streets freely and without fear.  Our policies are about making sure that is the case.  We want the police to focus on local people’s concerns and priorities, so we’re going to make them accountable to the public and we want prisons to be places of punishment with a purpose.  So instead of prisoners sitting in their cells we will require them to work hard and reform themselves.</p> <p>The system today is failing and badly needs reform.  Each prison place costs nearly £45,000 a year, but half of prisoners reoffend within a year of leaving.  Half of them are on drugs.  Over 10% are foreigners, many of whom shouldn’t be here at all.  And prisoners are often in their cells for 23 hours a day, not doing anything valuable or anything to reform themselves.  So we inherited a hugely expensive system that doesn’t work.  Let me be clear.  We will always pay the costs necessary to protect the public and to punish criminals and we will not reduce the prison population by cutting prison sentences.  We must do it by making prison work.</p> <p>For me, there should be three clear principles.  First, our whole approach needs to be built around the recognition that the first duty of government is to protect the public and ensure that those who play by the rules are kept safe.</p> <p>Second, serious and dangerous offenders must go to jail and stay there for a long time, while community sentences must be clearly punitive, making greater use of elements such as curfews and travel bans and we must be tougher on confiscating the assets of criminals as well.</p> <p>Third, breaking the cycle of reoffending needs to be right at the heart of the criminal justice system.  This requires a completely new approach.  It means a much tougher view of prison as a real place of punishment and reform with a proper focus on addressing the causes of offending, so when prisoners are released they are much less likely to offend again.  And it means those who run prisons or community sentences should be paid according to their success in reducing reoffending at every stage of the criminal justice system, from sentences in the community to prisons and probation.  Anyone who thinks that action to reduce reoffending is somehow going soft on crime could not be more wrong.  Whether people feel safe on the streets is a direct result of how good we are at stopping reoffending.  And whether it’s safe to let serious offenders out of prison will depend crucially on how good we are at addressing their potential to reoffend.  Protecting the public, properly punishing serious offenders and cutting reoffending, that is how we plan to transform the criminal justice system.</p> <p>The legislative proposals that Ken Clarke is setting out today are one part of that approach.  They include a tough package to fight crime, putting the system on the side of the victim.  So, first, tough action on knife crime, which has been the cause of so many tragedies in our communities.  Even after all these tragedies far too many people still think they can go out armed with a knife.  We need to send the clearest possible message that this simply has to change.  So we will introduce, for the first time in legislation, a compulsory jail term for anyone threatening someone with a knife.</p> <p>Second, anyone who’s had squatters in their property will know how incredibly difficult it is to get them out, so we are proposing and will briefly consult on a criminal offence of squatting, to be introduced in this forthcoming Bill.</p> <p>Third, the public have rightly been outraged by some prosecutions of home owners defending their property from criminals.  So we’ll put beyond doubt that home owners and small shop keepers who use reasonable force to defend themselves or their properties will not be prosecuted.</p> <p>Alongside the Bill we’re publishing our response to the consultation on sentencing which we published last December.  Discounts for early guilty pleas have been part of the criminal justice system for some time and it’s quite right that this should be so.  They can help to speed up justice and can mean that victims do not have to relive their ordeal in the court room.</p> <p>In the Green Paper we consulted on a proposal to increase the current discount available for an early guilty plea at the earliest possible stage to 50%.  For the most serious crimes we have concluded this would certainly not be right.  The sentence served would depart far too much from the sentence handed down by the judge and this is simply not acceptable.  We also looked at whether the 50% discount could only be applied to less serious crimes, but again we reached the same conclusion: the sentence would be too lenient, the wrong message would be sent out to the criminal and it would erode public confidence in the system.  What’s more, in reaching our conclusions we considered the strong views expressed by serious people working in the criminal justice system that 50% was just too high and that we needed to find better ways of speeding up the process for victims and witnesses and for the police and the courts.  So there will be no change to the current position on early guilty pleas for any category of case.  The money that would have been saved through this proposal will be saved through greater efficiency in other parts of the Ministry of Justice budget.</p> <p>The consultation also raised significant concerns about the effectiveness of indeterminate sentences – so-called ‘IPPs’ – introduced by the last government.  We have inherited a system that is unclear, inconsistent and uncertain.  Unclear because actually a large proportion of the public don’t really know what indeterminate sentences are or how they work.  Inconsistent because they can mean that two people who commit the same crime can end up getting very different punishments.  And uncertain because victims and their families don’t have any certainty about the sentence that will be served or when their assailants will be let out.  So we’re going to review the existing system urgently with a view to replacing it with an alternative that is clear, tough and better understood by the public.  Let me set out what this alternative would involve.</p> <p>First, there’d be a greater number of life sentences, including mandatory life sentences for the most serious repeat offenders.  I think life sentences are well understood and liked by the public.</p> <p>Second, instead of serious sexual and violent offenders being released half way through their sentence, we propose they should spend at least two-thirds of that sentence in prison and that such offenders should never again be released early without the parole board being satisfied that it’s safe to let this happen.</p> <p>Third, we also propose there should be compulsory programmes for dangerous offenders while they’re in prison to make them change their ways and not commit more crimes when they are eventually released.  And we will re-examine the parole board arrangements for the rehabilitation of those with indeterminate sentences to ensure that real work is done to reform offenders while they’re in prison.</p> <p>Now, the review I’m announcing today will assess these changes and consider how such a new sentencing framework would allow us to replace the existing regime.  We’ll come forward with legislation in the autumn.  In the meantime, indeterminate sentences will continue to be available to the courts as they are now.  And let me be clear.  The changes we propose will need to maintain or strengthen the protection of the public so they can have full confidence in the system.  This is a non-negotiable red line for me and for this government.  The public need to know that dangerous criminals will be locked up for a very long time.  I’m determined that they will be.</p> <p>Before I take your questions, let me just say this.  I’ve always believed the following: in a civilised society people give up their right to seek vengeance or act violently when they are done wrong to in return to protection from the state, and if this order is to be maintained it is absolutely vital that the public have confidence in the system the state puts in place.  Public confidence isn’t a side issue in this debate; it is the issue and that’s what our reforms are about: returning confidence to the system, making sure the police answer to the public’s priorities, making sure justice is done and seen to be done, and making sure offenders are reformed, so we do everything possible to cut the levels of crime and reoffending in our country.</p> <p>Thank you for listening.  I’m very happy to take some questions.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much, Prime Minister.  You may feel that it’s terrific to be a government that consults and listens and all the rest of it, but presumably you’d like sometimes to get it right first time.  Your administration has made a series of unforced errors on issues that people really care about.  Do you bear some responsibility for that?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p><strong></strong>I bear responsibility for everything the government does.  That is what the Prime Minister does.  But I don’t really accept what lies behind your question.  We produced a consultation paper, a Green Paper on sentencing.  We’ve listened to views about it and we’ve now come up with a very tough and robust set of changes to the criminal justice system.</p> <p>But I think people looking at this government more broadly, even our harshest critics I think would say this government has an incredibly clear view about what is necessary in terms of reducing the deficit, getting the economy going, getting Britain back on track, bold and longstanding reforms to thinks like public sector pensions and public sector pay, hugely radical programme in terms of reforming welfare, areas that previous governments haven’t touched.  Hugely bold reforms to education, where we’ve already created more academy schools in 12 months than the last government did in 12 years.  So I don’t really accept the idea that this government isn’t extremely strong, resolute and determined.  It is, it’s seen as such and it will go on being seen like that.</p> <p>But I think it’s right when you’re making policies and when you’re delivering changes if you consult, if you listen, if you think you can improve on your plans.  The weak thing to do is just to keep ploughing on and say, ‘I can’t possibly change, because I might have a difficult time at a press conference.’  The tough, strong thing to do is say, ‘Yes, we can make these plans better’.  Well, let’s do that and that’s exactly what we’ve done in this case; I think a much more robust set of plans than were in the Green Paper.  And it’s also what we did in the case of the health service, where I think it was right to get back on board the reform of the NHS a whole series of people who ought to support reform, who work in the NHS, who support the NHS, and that’s what we’ve done.  Absolutely the right thing and I don’t for one minute think that somehow it is weak to listen and then to act.  It’s a sign of strength and confidence.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong><br> Prime Minister, why did you get the sentencing policy so wrong in the first place, or is it all Ken Clarke’s fault?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>The whole government produced a Green Paper, and a Green Paper with ideas in it for trying to reform a broken system.  I think you do have to sort of stand back and say: what are we dealing with here?  We are dealing here with a prison system where each place costs £45,000, half of all prisoners reoffend within a year, half of them are on drugs, 10% are foreigners, and a court system that doesn’t work very well, where you do have 10,000 cases getting to court where at the last minute the offender pleads guilty.  So, there’s all sort of inefficiencies and bad arrangements in the system that we need to change.  The Green Paper was about trying to address some of those.</p> <p>The idea of a greater sentence discount – it was right to put that forward, to see whether that might bring forward more early guilty pleas.  I think the proof during the process of consultation was that actually the 50% reduction was far too much about cutting the level of sentencing rather than speeding up the court process.  As an idea, it failed, and it rightly failed.  It wasn’t just condemned by a number of victims, but also a number of people involved in sentencing, including judges, who didn’t think it was the right approach.  The right thing for the government to do is say: right, okay, we are not going to go ahead with that.  We will actually save the money in a different way.  We will press ahead with trying to make sure the court processes work better and we will also produce a range of measures that will actually mean we get a tougher response to crime.</p> <p>I think that’s the right thing to do.  There would be no point in having – why would you have Green Papers or White Papers if you never listened to anything anybody said after you had published them?  I think we have gone through a good process.  I think we now have a good set of reforms, and we can take those forward in the Bill published today.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p><strong></strong>Was it the judges that changed your mind, or the papers?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>What changed my mind was actually looking at the figures that showed that too much of the reduction in terms of the 50% – that was really about reducing sentences, including sentences for some dangerous offenders, rather than speeding up the court process.  If you like, I think the real clarification that comes through what I am saying today, compared with where we were in the Green Paper, is I think as a country we have got to cut the growing costs of the prison system.  We have got to stop this massive acceleration in prisoner numbers.  But the right way to do that is to reform prison and make it work better, not to cut sentences, particularly sentences for dangerous offenders.  That is a very clear statement about what the government wants to do.  We have arrived at that through a good process: publishing proposals, listening to what people have to say, and then coming to a conclusion as a government.  I think that’s, funnily enough, what governments ought to do.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>Thank you, Prime Minister.  I hear what you say, that you were consulting, but Ken Clarke clearly told the Commons this policy was likely to survive.  Therefore, do you not agree that U-turning too often, caving in in the face of some bad newspaper headlines, is a sign of weak government, indecisive government, and the public will take that conclusion from all of this?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>I don’t accept that for a moment.  I think if you look at what this government is doing in terms of a very bold, multi-year plan to reduce the deficit, you look at what the government is doing in terms of reforming long-term problems that the country faces, like the cost of public sector pensions, if you look at the very swift action we took, reducing the budget deficit in-year in 2010, look at the welfare reforms going through Parliament, look at what we are doing expanding the number of academies, look at what we are doing at reforming the criminal justice system.  People’s criticism of this government, actually when you go out on the streets, is very often: you are trying to do too many things, you are trying to do them too quickly, or you are too obsessed by the deficit.</p> <p>Actually, people don’t tend to come up to me and talk about U-turns.  They talk about, ‘You’re taking on a lot.’  We are taking on a lot.  We need to as a government, but I do not make any apology for listening as you go along, and making sure you are getting things right.  Where you can improve them, and where you can make them better – as I say, it’s a sign of strength to say: I am going to make this better.  I am going to make that change.  I don’t mind if people say, ‘That’s not what you originally proposed,’ or ‘You’ve made a change.’  Being strong is about being prepared to admit you didn’t get everything right the first time, but you are going to improve it and make it better.  That’s exactly what we are doing with this.  I think that’s the right process to follow.  If you think of putting it the other way round, if you heard of a way to make your policy better, but you did nothing about it, that’s not strength, that’s not leadership.  That is actually living in fear of being criticised.  We must never do that.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong><br> Is the lesson that you’re taking from the experience of the last few months, when you have looked again at these policies, that essentially, you have given your members of your Cabinet too much freedom and you need to be more on top of what’s happening inside your government?  Is that a conclusion you are drawing?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>I don’t think it’s that so much.  The way I put it is this.  If you remember what this government inherited and what we had to do, as we came into office, we needed to put in place very rapid deficit reduction measures and cost savings right across Whitehall.  We had to make a number of very difficult decisions and very difficult calls, right at the beginning.  I am absolutely convinced that was the right thing to do.  You look at your television screens today, you see what is happening in a country like Greece; the reason that we’ve got such low interest rates and we have economic confidence in Britain’s plans to pay its way out of debt, is because we took those steps.</p> <p>Inevitably, when you take that many steps that quickly, you are building up for yourself a whole series of things you have got to do: reforming legal aid over here; making the police more efficient over there; making sure that local government can deliver more for less.  We have set ourselves a huge number of challenges, and I think the impressive thing is we are meeting those challenges, but as we go along, we make sure we are meeting them absolutely in the right way.  Now, the money that won’t be saved from the sentencing reform, £130 million, we will be able to save in other parts of the Ministry of Justice, not least because it’s an £8 billion budget, and we have a four-year programme of savings in that budget.  That is the right thing to do.</p> <p>So, of course, if you are trying to do as many things as this government, because of the economic situation you inherited, you are always going to have a series of difficult policy choices as you go forward.  The question is: do you make the right choices?  I think today is another example where we have made the right choice.  Let’s make sure our system is more affordable by reforming prison and making it work better, not by cutting sentences to dangerous and violent offenders.  That would be the wrong thing to do, and we are making the right decision.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong><br> Two questions on protection.  Really important point you made on reasonable force, defending your home and property.  How is that different to the law as it is at the moment, because we currently have reasonable force?  Also, on personal protection, last Tuesday, that oaf of a consultant disrespected, to my mind, the office of Prime Minister.  What on earth was he thinking?  I know you cannot criticise his professionalism, but will you tell us that he was ultimately professional, and if you don’t we will draw our own conclusions?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Firstly, on reasonable force, what the law will do will put beyond doubt not just the issue of reasonable force, but reasonable force in defending your home or your premises.  That is what is new and being put into the law properly for the first time.</p> <p>As for the consultant, I have been visiting hospitals for a few years, and this was the first time this had happened.  Obviously, for some reason, the consultant hadn’t been told a visit was taking place, and he was, quite fairly, concerned about levels of hygiene – not amongst the politicians; we had all wiped our hands and rolled up our sleeves.  I think he was a bit more worried about some of the people who were filming us.</p> <p>The great thing was, I turned to the patient, a charming man, and his daughter was there, and I turned to the daughter and said, ‘I’m very sorry about this.  This has never happened before.’  She said, ‘I thought that was all part of the act.’  She thought we had laid on some exquisite drama, including a consultant in a bow tie in a state of high excitement.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong><br> Probation services are going to play an important part of your efforts to stop reoffending.  Have you explicitly agreed that none of the extra cuts will hit the probation service, or will they be included in the search for savings?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>We haven’t made that agreement.  Obviously the probation service is a part of the Ministry of Justice’s bill.  The proposed efficiencies in the probation services are less at the moment than the efficiencies we are making, for instance, to the police service.  As I say, there is a £8 billion budget that the Ministry of Justice have, and I think if you are looking for what has actually changed in this, I think the key change is this: that we want to make savings through making the services, including prison, more efficient and more effective, and cut reoffending rates.  We are not going to save money by cutting sentences.  That is the key change that comes out of this consultation and this process.</p> <p>I think it is a very important thing, and I think the public will be right behind that.  They know that prison could be more efficient and effective.  They know that the police do a fantastic job, but actually there are efficiencies we can make in terms of making sure civilians are doing jobs that frontline officers should be out on the streets, and all the rest of it.  They understand those points, and I want to take the public with us as we go through this process of making our services more efficient.  But we are not proposing to save money by cutting prison sentences.  That is the key point.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>Several of the things you have announced this morning, Prime Minister, are going to add to the Ministry of Justice’s costs: the mandatory sentences for threatening with a knife, for instance; the decision to no longer allow 50% remission for violence and sexual offenders.  That will add to the costs in addition to the savings from efficiencies that you’ve told Ken Clarke to go and find to cover the 50% discount scheme.  And isn’t this a huge kick in the teeth for a minister who came along and gave you a very generous settlement at a very early stage in the spending round and now you’ve made him go away and find more savings?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>No, I mean Ken and I have had some very good discussions about this.  We had a very good discussion at Cabinet this morning.  Ken knows more than many ministers about how possible it is to reform public services and get value for money – that’s exactly what he’s doing in his department.  I mean for instance there was the recent market testing of one prison on the prison estate and the savings that can be had, even if actually the existing operator continues to run it, can yield very great savings for his department.  Ken is happy with the proposals that we’re both publishing this morning, that he’ll be explaining to the House of Commons this afternoon as the right way forward.  And as I say, it’s an £8 billion budget and it’s possible to make these savings without cutting the sentences particularly for the most dangerous offenders.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong><br> Will legal aid be cut?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>You’ll see in the Bill that’s published there’s big plans for reducing the cost of legal aid.  We do have the most generous system anywhere in the world for legal aid in the United Kingdom and I think that it’s right that we make these savings.  We’re not proposing further savings on top of what has already been announced but there are other large parts of the budget that Ken will be addressing.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong><br> A couple of questions.  Damilola Taylor’s father, Richard Taylor, has this morning asked for you to sack Ken Clarke.  He said ‘Ken Clarke does not know what is going on in the streets; he does not know what criminality is about.’  What is your message to him?  And secondly, have you now dropped your manifesto commitment to imprison anyone who commits a knife offence?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Well, first of all on the knife crime, I think this is a good measure.  I think what I’ve always wanted to see is greater certainty and a clear message sent out about knife crime and I think this proposal that anyone caught threatening someone with a knife goes to prison on a mandatory sentence is a really helpful step forward. I think the criminal justice system does have a role in sending these sorts of signals so I think that is a step forward; it’s better than the status quo, it’s an improvement.  Of course one would often like to do more in these things but I think it is a very good step forward for the system and for having safe and peaceful streets and sending that message out particularly to young people and to gangs.</p> <p>I have every respect for Richard Taylor, a man I have met with several times.  Everyone knows not just how he’s suffered as a father but also how much he has put back into wanting to make Britain a safer and better place and I’ve huge respect for him.  I don’t agree with him about Ken Clarke.  I think Ken is an extremely effective minister.  He’s a very tough Secretary of State who’s got a hugely difficult job to do in trying to deliver more for less through his department.  He’s making great steps forward to do that.  Like me he’s quite robust and prepared enough to put forward proposals, to listen to what people say and then to come up with something better.  I think that is a strength in politics, not a weakness, and it’s certainly something that Ken has no problems doing.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong><br> I wondered if you could clarify your comments on the radio yesterday that you can’t go as far as you’d like to in controlling immigration because you’re in a coalition.  Did this mean that you’ve abandoned your hope of bringing figures down to below the figures of the 1980s, and if you can’t control it to the extent that you would like to what does that mean for community cohesion?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>I think we have a very good coalition policy on immigration, which we are delivering and it is tough immigration control and it includes a cap on immigration that we’re delivering and I’m very positive about what we’re doing.  I don’t want to go into detail about every discussion we have in Cabinet or quad meetings where one party will want a bit more of this, and another party will want a bit more of that.  But the point I was making – I’m very personally keen and attached to this issue.  It’s something that I want to see solved by this government.  It’s an issue that I would like to see drop off the political agenda because I think when the public see proper immigration control in place they will stop worrying about that issue and they will turn their concerns to other issues and we can get back to the situation frankly that we had in the 1980s where it wasn’t an issue, it wasn’t a front-ranked political issue because immigration was at a reasonable level.  But I’m very satisfied with the coalition policy that we’re delivering and it’s agreed cross party.  Damian Green’s doing a fantastic job as the minister.  I think he’s one of the unsung heroes who’s in his department beavering away, making sure we close off a number of different routes that have been abused over recent years and I’m sure he’s going to have more to say in the weeks to come.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>On the euro issue, do you think that Britain would suffer if Greece was forced to leave the euro?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>I think that Britain suffers when the eurozone struggles.  I mean, 40% of our exports go to eurozone countries.  Our interest is in a healthy eurozone, a stable eurozone, a eurozone that addresses its problems and I think we should be clear that turbulence in the eurozone is not good for Britain and the consequences of severe turbulence could be bad for Britain.  I think everybody who’s studied this knows that.</p> <p>The point about Greece that the Chancellor and I have both made is that we were not involved in the first bailout of Greece.  We don’t believe the European Financial Mechanism should be used in any way, for a number of reasons.  First of all, we weren’t involved in the initial bailout; we shouldn’t be involved in subsequent bailouts.  Second of all, this has been discussed at a eurozone level, not at a level of the 27, so I think it would be quite wrong now to bring Britain into this bailout. That’s why I said very clearly last night that of course we have a role as a member of the IMF, of course we wish the Greek government well, but I don’t want to see the European Financial Mechanism involved in bailing out Greece because I don’t think Britain should be participating in that bailout and we’ve set that down pretty clearly.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>I spoke to President Barroso yesterday who told me that Greece should never be allowed to go bankrupt, or any country, and that it would be more disastrous than the Lehman Brothers crash.  Do you agree with that?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>As I’ve said, I think turbulence in the eurozone is bad for Britain.  Countries struggling in the eurozone is bad for Britain.  I think it is wrong to speculate about another country, another partner country in the European Union; I don’t propose to do that.  I think I’ve set that out very clearly.  We are prepared to play our part to help the eurozone to become healthier, but not prepared to take part in this in terms of the Greek situation because we don’t believe the European Financial Mechanism should be used.  And indeed we have actually bought an end to the use of the Financial Mechanism from 2013, through the negotiations that I held in the European Council.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>Considering the theme of Greece, are you confident that the British banking system will be able to withstand any consequences of the flow from what’s happening in Greece?  And a question your City minister refused to answer yesterday, do you think the eurozone can survive?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>First of all on the eurozone, look, I was passionately opposed to Britain joining the Eurozone.  I’m very clear that as long as I’m Prime Minister there’s no prospect of us even contemplating joining the euro.  I’ve always believed that a country the size of Britain, with our economy and our situation, it’s much better if you have your own currency, are able to set your own interest rates because sometimes different countries in Europe need different interest rates and different circumstances.  That’s the reason for staying outside.  What I would say though is that the countries that joined the euro have an enormous amount invested in it and do not want to, and will not let it, fail.  They see it as an absolutely key part now of their national interests and identities and I wouldn’t doubt their resolve in any way.  I just happen to think that it’s not right for Britain to join for the reasons that I gave.</p> <p>In terms of the British banks, look, the British banks have done a huge amount to strengthen their capital ratios and their situation.  I think everyone accepts that.  Clearly all banks across Europe need to make the same sorts of considerations and calculations to make sure they’re as robust as they can possibly be.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p><strong></strong>Thank you very much.  Back in opposition when you were detoxifying the Tory brand, you gave a speech that was reported as the ‘hug a hoodie’ speech.  Today you’re –</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>I never used those three words.  If anyone can find them –</p> <p><strong>Question</strong><br> ‘Show a little love’ was the spirit of the thing.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>I’m all for showing love.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>And here you are today with a much harder message on punishment.  Which is the real you?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>If I go back to that speech, I can almost quote it word for word.  What I said in that speech was that when people cross the line and break the law, I want an incredibly tough response because I think the state has to do the right job so that the public have confidence that if you break the law, if you smash up someone’s home, if you destroy public property, if you’re a burglar or a robber or a mugger or a knife criminal, I want to see a really robust response from the state, from the police, from the courts.  Whether it’s a community punishment or whether it’s a prison sentence, you’ve got to have public confidence in what happens.  But what I went on to say in that speech is inside the pale, inside the line, before you’ve crossed it, yes we should be recognising that there are too many young people that grow up without the love of a father, without the sense of family, without the sense of community.</p> <p>It is true, as Iain Duncan Smith was talking at Cabinet today, that 1% of our children are in care and yet they make up 30% of the prison population.  Now clearly there is a problem of a lack of love, of a lack of parenting.  The state is being a bad parent and our children effectively are ending up in prison.  So I’ve never seen any contradiction between the idea of talking about the importance of the love a family needs to give to its children and the love that a community needs to give to children and bringing up children, and having a very tough response to crime when crimes are committed. I think that is what I would say a modern compassionate Conservative should believe in and that is absolutely what I stand for.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>The First Minister has made clear he wants two questions on the ballot paper in the forthcoming independence referendum, the second one being about extra powers for Holyrood as an insurance policy.  He’s also made clear that Scots will have to wait at least three years before the referendum takes place.  Is it right that Scots have to face two questions on a ballot paper and is it right they should have to wait three, if not four, years?  Is it possible you might consider short-circuiting this process?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Well, what I worry about is that the government of Scotland is going to be too much about how to bring about the right circumstances for his referendum and whether he wants two questions or four questions or six questions or whatever, rather than actually trying to do the right thing by people in Scotland.  Now, I genuinely believe in the Respect agenda.  I respect the mandate that Alex Salmond has as First Minister.  The government here in Westminster will work with him and talk with him about how we can amend the Scotland Bill, how we can make sure everyone benefits from the policies of the UK government and the two governments work well together.  But what I won’t have is just an endless situation where this isn’t about the health and wealth and wellbeing of people in Scotland, it’s just about trying to get to a referendum situation to satisfy his needs.  That’s not right at all.</p> <p>So, I’ve always said that if the Scottish Parliament votes to have an independence referendum, that’s a vote that we’d have to respect and we’d have to allow that and enable that to happen.  I don’t believe in Scottish independence, I believe in the United Kingdom. I want to keep the United Kingdom together and I’m not going to play a game with Alex Salmond about the how’s and when’s and wherefores.  I think he should get on delivering good government to people in Scotland and working with the Westminster government to make sure we join with him in that endeavour, but I’m not going to play games over independence.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>In recent days, some very senior military figures, the commander in chief of the air and the head of the navy, have questioned openly how long we can go on in Libya.  What’s your expectation of how long this conflict will last and how much should taxpayers be prepared to pay to complete the mission?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>There are moments where I wake up and read the newspapers and think, ‘Well, look, I tell you what, you do the fighting and I’ll do the talking,’ but generally speaking, when I spoke to the CDS and spoke to the First Sea Lord, they are absolutely clear that we are able to keep up this mission for as long as is necessary and that time is on our side, not on Gaddafi’s side.  We are allied to some of the richest and most powerful and most militarily capable countries in the world.  We have the backing of the UN, the backing of NATO, the backing of many Arab League countries; we have the Libyan people on our side.  Time is on our side, and we will keep going with this and the pressure is turning up all the time.  I think you can see that with the desertions from Gaddafi’s regime.  You can see it with the pressure he’s under in the west of the country where pockets of resistance that I think people assumed would be snuffed out are growing and growing in strength and challenging his authority.</p> <p>So I’m absolutely confident that we can keep this pressure up, we can maintain this mission for as long as is necessary.  Our allies are equally staunch.  We’re growing in strength in terms of the Transitional National Council in Benghazi and we’ll keep working with them to make sure we bring this to a happy conclusion, and I’m very content of the support that I’m getting from Britain’s military.  They’re performing magnificently.  I went myself to go and see the RAF pilots and crews in Gioia del Colle in Southern Italy and, I have to say, I found the state of their morale and their enthusiasm for the job they’ve been asked to do extremely high, because they know that right is on their side and time is on their side and the British government and the British military is on their side too.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>Why are the top brass expressing their views repeatedly and so publicly?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Well, all I can say is what they say to me and we have National Security Councils on Libya on a very regular basis.  I chaired one yesterday and the Chief of Defence Intelligence and the Chief of Defence Staff were there, and were hugely enthusiastic about what we’re doing and about our abilities to bring this to a conclusion.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p><strong></strong>Prime Minister, the NHS Bill is going to come back to committee in the House of Commons.  It looks like it’s going to be set down for just 10 days’ debate.  Do you think that you risk all that goodwill you’ve tried to garner in recent weeks with the amendments by suggesting there isn’t enough time for those amendments to be considered in the House?  And a slight corollary, which is you’ve said it’s a sign of strength to reconsider policy.  Isn’t it a sign of strength for you to reconsider the ministerial make-up of your government and can we look forward, at non-Cabinet level, to a reshuffle this summer and with Crispin Blunt maybe not having much fuel in his tank?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>You love reshuffles, and I’m sorry I’ve disappointed you so far and plan to continue disappointing you for a while yet.  10 days.  I don’t want to misquote the Monty Python sketch, but when we were in opposition we used to dream of 10 days to debate a government bill.  I mean, I remember sitting on Standing – if that makes sense – sitting in a Standing Committee looking at criminal justice legislation where whole parts of the bill would just go rushing through because the guillotines had fallen.  I think 10 days is actually a significant amount of time.  We’ve recommitted this bill, so it goes back into the committee stage.  It then has a report stage.  I think I’m right in saying we’re going to have two days on report stage.  I don’t remember two-day report stages.  Maybe it’s all gone in a haze of times gone by.  I don’t remember us having two-day report stages for many bills.</p> <p>I think what you see in George Young is a genuine parliamentary reformer and parliamentarian who wants to give the House of Commons proper time to consider the legislation and I think, frankly, we don’t really get any credit for that.  You know, we’ve got elected select committees and select committee chairmen.  We’ve got the backbench committee making sure the House of Commons has more control over its timetable and I think very generous in the allotment of time for debates and, as I say, two-day report stages, so I think it will be well aired and well discussed and I think it will get a warm welcome.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>You talk about longer prison sentences, harder work and reform in prison.  It sounds expensive and it sounds like the chain gang as well.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>That’s not what I’m proposing, but I do think community sentences – don’t worry, I’m not about to announce chain gangs if everyone was about to have a heart attack, but there is a serious point here.  If the public can see that community sentences are strong and meaningful and are actually putting back into the community, they will have confidence in them as alternatives to short prison sentences and also, crucially, the sentencers, magistrates’ courts, crown courts, will see there is an alternative to the short prison sentence, which is expensive and often doesn’t work because there’s not much you can do with someone in prison for a short amount of time.  So I do want to see community sentences that have an element of punishment in them where the public can see, ‘Yes, this person is getting their just deserts, I feel confident so therefore I don’t feel they have to go to prison.’ I don’t think we have enough of that at the moment.  In some cases it’s working better but I’d like to see more of that.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>The Welsh government is requesting power over energy policy, particularly in planning.  Is this something that you’re minded to do?  And also there’s the question of legal jurisdiction for Wales and devolution of criminal justice powers.  Would this be a good time to look at that?  And is there any hope of reform of the Barnett Formula in the lifetime of this Parliament?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Well, first of all, we’ve just had a referendum.  On the Respect agenda, I think people are pleasantly surprised that a new government with a packed agenda and a huge amount to do has already held that referendum, carried out the referendum, a positive result for those who wanted legislative devolution, and that is going ahead, and so I think the first thing is to make sure that works properly.  But, as with all these issues, we will look at a case-by-case issue where, under the Respect agenda, where if the devolved administrations want greater power we’ll have a look at those arguments and if they can be done in a way that is good for Wales and right for the United Kingdom we can go ahead, but we’ll look at the case on a case by case basis.</p> <p>As for Barnett, this is a hugely complicated and difficult issue.  We made some particular promises about a Calman-like process for Wales and we will be putting forward proposals for how to start that ball rolling and to start that process.</p> <p>Thank you all very much for coming.  It’s good to see you all, but as I’ve got my very exciting lunch guest I’m going to have to ask you all to leave.  Thank you very much indeed.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">prison sentencing</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">sentencing</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron PM’s press conference on sentencing reforms Tuesday 21 June 2011 Prime Minister's Office London
<div> <p>A transcript of a statement given by Prime Minister David Cameron and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on 15 June 2011.</p> </div> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Well, I’m delighted to welcome Secretary General Rasmussen back to Number 10 Downing Street.  The last time you were here I think you addressed the whole of my National Security Council, very good to have you back.  We’ll be talking about Afghanistan; we’ll be talking about a range of issues but above all, we’re going to be discussing the situation in Libya where I think the NATO forces are doing an excellent job with our allies, making sure that we’re keeping the pressure up on Qadhafi. </p> <p>I think there is a very clear pattern emerging, which is time is on our side because we have the support of NATO, the United Nations, the Arab League, a huge number of countries in our coalition and in our contact group.  And the pressure is building militarily, diplomatically, politically and economically on Qadhafi who is running out of time, running out of friends, his ministers are leaving him – his oil minister has gone, his foreign minister has gone, the pressure is building.  I want us to keep up that pressure and I believe that we can help and allow the Libyan people to choose their own future.  We can bring about Resolution 1973 and we can make sure that the Arab Spring continues rather than comes to a halt.  Secretary General.</p> <p><strong>Secretary General Rasmussen</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much, Prime Minister.  I am really pleased to meet with Prime Minister Cameron once again.  Britain is a pillar of NATO.  You are a key contributor to our operations, a great example of commitment and co-operation, and I want to pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the British troops in Afghanistan and in other NATO-led operations.  NATO is more needed and wanted than ever.  During a period of economic austerity we need co-operation, collective solutions to make the most of the money we spend on defence and security. </p> <p>Many countries want to join NATO and benefit from membership of a strong defence alliance and we are more engaged and busier than ever before.  In Afghanistan we help the Afghans to take responsibility for their own security; in Kosovo we keep peace and stability in the Balkans.  Our vessels operate along the coast of Somalia to keep sea lanes open and protected against pirates, and in Libya we protect civilians against attacks from their own government.  And we are making steady progress in Libya since we took responsibility for the operation two and a half months ago.  We have carried out more than 10,000 sorties; we have destroyed or damaged more than 2,000 important military targets.  We have considerably degraded Qadhafi’s war machine, prevented a massacre on the Libyan people, saved numerous lives and we have just a few weeks ago decided to extend our operation for a further three months and allies and partners are committed to provide the necessary resources and assets to continue operations and see it through to a successful conclusion.  And a successful conclusion would be a peaceful transition to democracy and this is also the reason why NATO foreign ministers have endorsed the international call on Qadhafi to leave power. </p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Afghanistan</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Libya</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">NATO</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Statement between the PM and NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen Wednesday 15 June 2011 Prime Minister's Office unknown
<p>Prime Minister David Cameron has delivered a speech in response to the NHS listening exercise on 14 June 2011.</p> <h3>Read the speech</h3> <p>[check against delivery]</p> <p>Ten weeks ago we pressed pause on our NHS reforms.</p> <p>We wanted to speak to professionals, patients and everyone who cares about the NHS…</p> <p>…and make sure our proposals were absolutely right. </p> <p>Now there were those who said this was a humiliating U-turn, that we were back-tracking and ditching all our plans.</p> <p>And there were those who said the opposite…</p> <p>…that actually we weren’t going to change anything – that this was all a big PR stunt.</p> <p>Today we show that both are wrong.</p> <p>The fundamentals of our plans…</p> <p>…more control to patients, more power to doctors and nurses, less bureaucracy in the NHS…</p> <p>…they are as strong today as they’ve ever been.</p> <p>But the shape of our plans…</p> <p>…the detail of how we’re going to make all this work…</p> <p>…that really has changed – as a direct result of this consultation. </p> <p>We listened to what professionals and patients told us.</p> <p>You wanted us to make clear that competition isn’t there for its own sake, but to make life better for patients – done.</p> <p>You wanted us to get specialists – not just GPs – on commissioning groups – done.</p> <p>You wanted us to join up the different parts of the NHS, to put integration right at the heart of our reforms – done.</p> <p>We have listened, we have learned, and we are improving our plans for the NHS.</p> <p>We come here today with a substantive package of changes…</p> <p>…and for that I want to thank Steve Field, the Future Forum and everyone who took part.</p> <p>In a moment Nick and Andrew are going to say something about those changes…</p> <p>…but first I want to remind people why we’re doing this.</p> <p>Because behind all the talk about processes and policies there are people saying: ‘what’s the point of these plans?’ ‘What do they actually mean for me?’</p> <p>Today I want to answer that.</p> <p>I want to set out the five big things these reforms mean for you.</p> <p><strong>Free Health Service</strong></p> <p>One, they mean the NHS you know and love is safeguarded and secured for the years ahead.</p> <p>We all know about the pressures on our health service.</p> <p>A population ageing so fast that the number of people over 85 is set to double over the next two decades.</p> <p>New drugs and treatments that are so expensive they add hundreds of millions to the bill each year.</p> <p>This is a monumental challenge for the NHS.</p> <p>Fail to reform now and we could see a bigger and bigger black hole opening up in the budget.</p> <p>Fail to confront this and the founding principle of the NHS – health care available to everyone who needs it, free at the point of use – would be in danger.</p> <p>I refuse to let that happen.</p> <p>Because of what we’re doing today, the NHS will continue to thrive tomorrow…</p> <p>…it will continue to be free at the point of use, based on need and not ability to pay…</p> <p>…and our children and grandchildren will be able to rely on it – just as we have done.</p> <p><strong>Choice</strong></p> <p>The second thing these reforms mean for you is greater choice…<br>  <br> …the choice to get treated where you want, the way you want.</p> <p>So if you’re being treated for cancer and you want to have your drug treatment at home at a time that suits you – you should have that choice.</p> <p>If your child needs a wheelchair and you want to choose the supplier – you should that choice.</p> <p>If you’ve got problems with your heart and need regular tests – you should be able to decide when and where.</p> <p>This is your National Health Service, and we are going to put you in the driving seat.</p> <p><strong>Access to the best</strong></p> <p>Three, they mean you’re going to have access to the best.</p> <p>Because as well as giving you more choice, we’re giving you more information.<br> Information on how hospitals are performing, on survival rates from operations, on patient satisfaction…</p> <p>…all there online for you to see.</p> <p>In this non-bureaucratic, patient-driven, clinician-led, open and transparent system…</p> <p>…you’re going to be able to seek out the best treatments there are.</p> <p>Of course what’s important to people isn’t just how and where they get treated but when they get treated.</p> <p>That’s why waiting times are online too.</p> <p>We are keeping the 18-week limit – and we will keep on measuring how long people have to wait in A&amp;E.</p> <p>Be in no doubt that this government is pledged, determined, committed to keeping waiting times low.</p> <p><strong>Breaking down barriers</strong></p> <p>Four, these reforms will mean a smoother, more seamless journey through the health service.</p> <p>If there’s one big frustration a lot of people have, it’s that the NHS can seem a bit disjointed.</p> <p>You see different doctors at different appointments, all to talk about the same thing.</p> <p>Or your mother gets stuck in hospital when she wants to come home, because social services and the NHS aren’t properly joined up.</p> <p>Our plans are about breaking down these barriers…</p> <p>…with specialists from across the NHS talking to each other to get the best for you.</p> <p>And we’ll be exploring ways to bring the different pots of money together across health and social care.</p> <p>This might sound dry – but it’s going to make a real difference to people’s lives.</p> <p><strong>Long-term conditions</strong></p> <p>And five, these reforms will mean a big improvement in the way people with long-term conditions are treated.</p> <p>Today one in three people has a condition like asthma, arthritis or diabetes.</p> <p>They account for 70 per cent of spending on health.</p> <p>They are the biggest users of the NHS…</p> <p>…but frankly, the NHS hasn’t caught up.</p> <p>People routinely end up in hospital when their condition could have been managed at home.</p> <p>Patients have to check in with specialists when they’d quite happily monitor themselves.</p> <p>These reforms change all that.</p> <p>Putting spending power into the hands of doctors and nurses is going to make a radical difference to millions of lives.</p> <p>Why? Because together with your GP you’ll be able to design a package of care that fits into your life.</p> <p>So say you’ve got diabetes.</p> <p>With our changes, as part of your care planning you can talk to your GP about access to education and support so you can manage your own blood sugar levels…</p> <p>…something we know works, and which will help you reduce your chances of winding up in hospital to be stabilised when it gets too late.</p> <p>That’s good for you – giving you more independence and more control.</p> <p>And it’s good for our NHS – as we start to manage these long-term conditions much more effectively and efficiently.</p> <p><strong>Conclusion</strong></p> <p>So this is what we’re doing this for.</p> <p>Putting power in patients’ hands.</p> <p>Making sure everyone has access to the best.</p> <p>Making the whole system more seamless.</p> <p>Treating long-term conditions the right way, not the old way.</p> <p>Above all – safeguarding our NHS and everything it stands for.</p> <p>Ten weeks ago, we paused our legislation.</p> <p>Today, we show how we are improving it.</p> <p>Ten weeks ago, some of the people who worked in our NHS were sceptical of our changes.</p> <p>Today, we are taking people with us.</p> <p>It’s in this spirit of unity that we want to continue.</p> <p>We’re going to carry on listening and we’re going to carry on working together – for the good of our NHS.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">NHS</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">NHS funding</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">NHS reform</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Prime Minister's speech</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron PM’s speech on the NHS Tuesday 14 June 2011 Prime Minister's Office NHS listening exercise
<p>Prime Minister David Cameron has delivered a speech to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation conference on 13 June 2011.</p> <p>The transcript includes the Q&amp;A following the speech.</p> <h3>Read the speech</h3> <p>Thank you, Andrew, and can I add my very warm welcome to everyone today at this vital conference?  Vital because of the subject that we’re addressing, vital because of the urgency of the issue, and also vital because I believe we’re going to succeed in raising the necessary money to make sure that we save the millions of lives that Andrew has spoken about. </p> <p>Tabitha Muikali is 32 years old.  She lives in Kibera, a slum in Nairobi.  Last year, her eldest son John contracted pneumonia.  For a month, he lay in agony battling the disease, but it was a fight that ultimately he didn’t win.  He died aged just one.  Someone like John dies every twenty seconds.  Three times a minute a mother like Tabitha will see her entire world fall apart. </p> <p>Today we have the chance, right here, right now, to change that.  That is why the UK is hosting this conference together with Bill Gates, whose foundation has done so much to lead the fight for vaccines and immunisation across our world, and also Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, whose leadership in turning her country around in just eight short years is inspirational.  Doubling your economy, bringing such success after so many difficult years, we are full of admiration for what you have done.  And it’s also why we have invited you: countries pledging money for the very first time, like Brazil and Japan; companies like GSK and the Serum Institute who have such a vital role in producing vaccines at low cost. </p> <p>GAVI is quite simply a great organisation.  It was set up by people who wanted to do aid in a different way and to my mind that is exactly what it’s achieved.  GAVI was one of the very top performers in our root-and-branch review of the agencies that deliver British aid.  Why?  Well, because it delivers tangible results – saving lives with excellent value for money.  How does it do this?  First, it brings together national governments, private companies and donors, with the mechanisms they need to deliver vaccines to children.  Second, GAVI uses innovative finance to generate additional sources of revenue for vaccines.  And third it pools demand – creating strong buying power to drive down the cost of vaccines.  Only last week the Serum Institute and Panacea Biotec agreed to lower prices for the life-saving pentavalent vaccine, which protects against five deadly diseases.  GlaxoSmithKline offered the rotavirus vaccine to GAVI at $2.50 a dose – cutting the lowest available price by more than two-thirds.  As a result of all this, over a decade, GAVI has helped prevent 5.4 million deaths and has helped immunise more than 288 million children in 72 of the world’s poorest countries.  That, in my view, is a record worth investing in.</p> <p>So today we come together, because we have the chance to save another four million lives by funding vaccines against diseases like pneumonia and diarrhoea.  Frankly the idea of children dying from pneumonia and diarrhoea should be absolutely unthinkable in 2011. </p> <p>And for most of us, thankfully, it is.  But for many parents in the developing world – parents like Tabitha – it is a devastating reality.  Nelson Mandela once said, ‘Life or death for a young child too often depends on whether it’s born in a country where vaccines are available.’ </p> <p>Today we can help end that cruel lottery and I am delighted to say that Britain will play its full part.  In addition to our existing support for GAVI we will contribute £814 million of new funding up to 2015.  This will help vaccinate over 80 million children and save 1.4 million lives.  That is one child vaccinated every two seconds for five years.  That is one child’s life saved every two minutes.  That is what the money that the British taxpayer is putting in will get.  And £50 million of our contribution is matched funding to incentivise further private-sector donations.</p> <p>Now I want to put today’s announcement in the context of this government’s approach to tackling poverty.  In the long term I know we are not going to help countries develop by just giving them money.  At home we don’t tackle poverty by state hand-outs; we help people get into work, to stand on their own two feet and to take control of their own destiny.  The same should be true of development.  No country has ever pulled itself out of poverty through aid alone, so this government will take a new approach.  The same conditions create prosperity the world over.  They include access to markets, property rights, private-sector investment and they make up what I see as the golden thread of successful development.  Ultimately it’s the private sector that will be the engine for growth and that’s why this government’s efforts will increasingly focus on helping developing countries achieve that growth with the jobs and opportunities it will bring.</p> <p>Already, Andrew Mitchell has created a new private-sector department in his department to bring private-sector DNA into government.  We will also use all of our diplomatic and aid levers to help the creation of an Africa Free Trade Area, one of the most significant potential achievements that this government can help with.  Our embassies will do far more to support trade in Africa.  We will use some of the DFID budget to make Africa an attractive place to trade and invest in by professionalising cross-border customs services, investing in projects that will provide roads, the internet, and infrastructure, and by helping companies do business in ways that are not only good for profits but good for development too.  Because I don’t want to see the people of Africa as recipients of charity; I want to see them as trading partners, as partners in economic opportunity.  That’s what I believe in and that’s what this government will help achieve.</p> <p>We want people in Africa to climb the ladder of prosperity but of course when the bottom rungs of that ladder are broken by disease and preventable death on a massive scale, when countries can’t even get on the bottom rung of the growth ladder because one in seven of their children die before they reach their fifth birthday, we have to take urgent action.  We have to save lives and then we can help people to live.  So that’s where today’s announcement fits in.  Because there cannot really be any effective development – economic or political – while there are still millions of people dying unnecessarily. </p> <p>Now, at a time when we are making spending cuts at home, what we’re doing today, and the way we’re protecting our aid budget, is controversial.  Some people say we simply can’t afford to be spending money on overseas aid right now; that we should get our own house in order before worrying about other people’s problems.  Others see the point of helping other countries to develop, but they don’t think aid works anyway, because corrupt dictators prevent it from reaching the people who really need it.  I want to briefly address both these arguments this morning.</p> <p>Let’s start with those who think we shouldn’t be tackling poverty in other countries right now.  Many of these people are genuinely concerned about the problems in other countries, but just think we can’t afford to help.  So they believe we have to focus on ourselves right now and if that means breaking promises on aid spending then they’re sorry, this just has to be done.  Well I’m sorry, but it doesn’t.  I think that argument is wrong.  I think there is a strong moral case for keeping our promises to the world’s poorest and helping them even when we face challenges at home.</p> <p>When you make a promise to the poorest people in the world you should keep it.  I remember where I was during the Gleneagles Summit and the Live 8 concert of 2005 and I remember thinking at the time how right it was that those world leaders should make such pledges so publicly.  For me it’s a question of values; this is about saving lives.  It was the right thing to promise; it was the right thing for Britain to do and it is the right thing for this government to honour that commitment. </p> <p>So to those who point to other countries that are breaking their promises and say that makes it okay for us to do the same, I say no, it’s not okay.  Our job is to hold those other countries to account, not to use them as an excuse to turn our back on people who are trusting us to help them.  And to those who say fine but we should put off seeing through those promises to another day because right now we can’t afford to help, I say we can’t afford to wait.  How many minutes do we wait?  Three children die every minute from pneumonia alone; waiting is not the right thing to do and I don’t think that 0.7% of our gross national income is too high a price to pay for saving lives.</p> <p>But there’s not just a strong moral argument for keeping our aid commitment, there’s a strong practical one too.  If we really care about Britain’s national interest, about jobs, about growth, about security, we shouldn’t break off our links with the countries that can hold some of the keys to that future.  If we invest in Africa, if we open trade corridors, if we remove obstacles to growth, it’s not just Africa that will grow but us too.  And if we invest in countries before they get broken we might not end up spending so much on dealing with the problems, whether that’s immigration or threats to our national security. </p> <p>Take Afghanistan.  If we’d put a fraction of our current military spending on Afghanistan into helping Afghanistan 15 or 20 years ago just think what we might have been able to avoid over the last decade.  Or take Pakistan.  Let another generation of Pakistanis enter adult life without any real opportunities and what are the risks in terms of mass migration, radicalisation, even terrorism?  That’s why UK support over the next four years will get four million more children in Pakistan into school.  This could be life changing for those children and it can be part of the antidote to the extremism that threatens us all.   So it’s not just morally right to invest in aid, it’s actually in our own interests too.</p> <p>And let me say one more thing to this group of critics.  I actually think that most people in our country want Britain to stand for something in the world, to be something in the world.  And when I think about what makes me proud of our country, yes, I think of our incredibly brave service men and women that I have the honour to meet and see so often; and yes, I think of our capabilities as an economic and diplomatic power; but I also think of our sense of duty to help others.  That says something about this country and I think it’s something we can be proud of.</p> <p>Now a second group of critics makes a different argument: they see the point of aid, but think that, as it stands, it’s a waste of time because corrupt governments use it to prop up their regimes, sometimes even making the poor poorer.  Now I totally get this argument.  It is right to be angry when aid is badly spent and let me tell you: I’m not prepared to see a single penny of hard-earned money wasted on corrupt governments or on badly spent aid.</p> <p>But the answer isn’t to walk away from aid; it’s to change the way we do development, so we get really great results and real value for money.  That’s why we’ll increase our use of direct channels to give money directly to the world’s poorest.  It’s why we’ll focus aid on measurable results – things that people can clearly see make a difference.  By 2015, UK aid will secure schooling for more people than we educate in the UK but at one fortieth of the cost.  We will vaccinate more children against preventable diseases than there are people in the whole of England.  Measurable, cost-effective, live-saving aid, and it’s why we put such a focus on improving the transparency and accountability of our aid programme.</p> <p>Incredible as it may seem, just 12 months ago government did not publish details of how our development money was spent.  We’ve changed that.  Today, people all around the world can go online and see every item of DFID spending over £500 and see evaluations of the impact of that spending.  Over the next 12 months, we’ll go even further.  From the beginning of the next financial year, any NGO that receives funding from the UK must publish what they do, where they get their money and where it goes.  This will enable people in the developed and developing world to hold them to account for the way they spend their money and, over time, we will apply this principle to recipient governments too.  Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and we’re shining the spotlight on aid funding like never before.</p> <p>I know in this debate figures can become meaningless, but I want to leave you with some.  If, as I hope and expect, we reach or exceed GAVI’s target of $3.7 billion over the next five years, we will protect at least a quarter of a billion children against killer diseases and save 4 million lives.  Think about that: a quarter of a billion children protected from disease; 4 million lives saved. </p> <p>In this world, where countries are tackling deficits and, more than ever before, the emphasis is quite rightly on getting value for money, what greater value for money can there possibly be?  Thank you very much for listening.  Thank you very much for that reception.  You’re very welcome here for what I’m sure is going to be a successful conference.</p> <p>QUESTION<br> Thank you, Prime Minister, for your extraordinary leadership here this morning.  I just wanted quickly to ask what question you might pose to other leaders from around Europe you’ll be meeting next week at the European Council of Ministers, and also to countries like Finland, Switzerland and Austria which, I believe, were asked to make a contribution to GAVI and yet have been silent?</p> <p>PRIME MINISTER<br> We had this discussion at the G8, where we had many visiting African leaders.  I’m sure we’ll have discussions at the EU as well.  I find the right approach is not to lecture and hector people.  Britain has made its choice.  We made a promise; we’re going to keep our promise.  We’re going to work extremely hard to make sure every penny of that aid is well spent.  We’re making the argument, and it’s a vigorous argument as you’ve just heard, about why it’s the right thing to do, morally and practically, and we make that argument with others.  I hope that the strongest way of getting this point across to other countries is to demonstrate that actually you can take these steps and it enhances your reputation in the world, your ability to get things done and, at the same time, delivers demonstrable results about things we all care passionately about.  And you can take your own public with you.  If we can demonstrate that, then that is the best argument to the French or the Italians or the Swiss or the Finns. </p> <p>As to GAVI itself, in making the argument about why Britain’s keeping its aid pledge, one of the easiest arguments to make with the British public is to say, ‘Look, this is an organisation backed by Bill Gates.  He’s someone who knows a little bit about value for money, a little bit about business efficiency.’  80% of GAVI’s money goes on vaccines.  It doesn’t go on bureaucracy.  It doesn’t go on middlemen.  It doesn’t go on lobbying organisations or the rest of it.  Absolutely, the money’s in the teeth and not in the tail, and you can see the results about the millions of lives saved over the past few years, and you can have a guarantee, if you like, about the millions of lives that will be saved in the future years.</p> <p>My argument with those leaders will be: keep your promises about aid; it’s the right thing to do morally.  You can argue it politically and win that argument, as I believe we are here in Britain.  At the same time, when you’re going to do that, why not put money into great multilateral organisations like GAVI, which are not bureaucratic, which are effective and deliver results?  I think that’s a good argument to make and I’m very happy to make it here in the UK.</p> <p>QUESTION<br> Mr Cameron, the UK’s commitment to GAVI up to 2030 actually amounts to a third of GAVI’s budget.  Whilst many will praise that, is the UK really doing too much compared to other countries, if we’re standing to commit ourselves, even before what you announced today, to a third of GAVI’s spending by 2030?</p> <p>PRIME MINISTER<br> We’d obviously like other countries to do more, and that is a matter for them.  The fact is we’ve made our choice.  If you like, we’ve made two choices.  One is to keep our promise of 0.7% of our gross national income by 2013.  We’ve made that promise; we’re going to keep to that promise.</p> <p>The second thing we’ve decided is, within that promise, one of the best ways to get results that people can have real faith in is to invest in organisations like GAVI.  While other countries may choose to do different things with their aid budget, we’ve made a self-conscious choice that actually there’s probably no better aid programme in the world than immunising children against preventable diseases.  Others will have to make their own argument about whether their aid is bilateral or how much they do through NGOs, how much through direct government support, what parts of the world they support.  That is for them to make their own argument, but Andrew Mitchell, the Cabinet and I have discussed this and we really think there are two principal channels for our aid budget.</p> <p>One is the measurable, the deliverable, the practical – things like vaccinating children.  The second is a focus on broken states.  We think there’s a very important argument to make here, an argument that we can win, that actually if you help to mend countries like Afghanistan or Somalia you save yourself vast amounts of money in the long run.  I’m a complete fan of all those who point to the links between war and conflict, and broken states and deep and entrenched poverty.  Those two avenues for our aid are the principal ways we should be spending money in the years to come.</p> <p>As I say, I’m a politician.  I believe that changing things and delivering things is not only about taking the right decisions; it’s about trying to take your people with you.  I think we’re doing the right thing and I think we’re doing it in a way where we can take people with us at the same time.</p> <p>QUESTION<br> I think we’re really proud that the UK is giving such leadership in this way and has made such a commitment to GAVI.  I just wanted to make the point that this is to catalyse expanding immunisation, but it needs the health workers in these countries and these governments need to expand the number of health workers as well.  They’re going to need that support as well.  If GAVI does get its money, then we also need the UK to carry on showing a lot of leadership in helping to build health services in the poorest countries. </p> <p>PRIME MINISTER<br> I completely agree with that.  Having said, as I did, that 80% of GAVI’s money goes on vaccines, and that’s why people can have such faith that their donations are going right into the frontline, if you don’t have the capacity to deliver things in country, you can’t get the vaccination done.  Bill and I were talking earlier about the excellent Polio Eradication Initiative, which is doing a superb job but, in the countries where we’re still struggling, the problems are problems of capacity and access.  I completely understand the point that you’re making.</p> <p>QUESTION<br> It strikes me that the corporate sector is not doing enough.  It’s very good that we have this £50 million matched funding, but I think that we need to put far greater effort into cajoling industry to stand up and do something like Mr Gates has done.  I also facetiously just thought about the banking industry.  We actually own most of the banking industry as a country, so perhaps you can have somewhat more success with this programme than you can with the bonuses. </p> <p>PRIME MINISTER<br> I’m frequently reminded about how many banks I own – not something I expected to be able to say.  What I would say to any corporate that is thinking about this whole issue of whether to donate, how to donate, what public causes to get involved in, I would just give them one piece of advice: go to a primary school anywhere in the UK.  Go and sit with the children as they’re being taught about business, they’re being taught about the economy.  Watch what they do when they go online.  I did this several times, and they immediately go and look at the companies they’ve heard of.  They look immediately at what causes those companies support. </p> <p>I think we are going to see an enormous change in our country, where people will not just look up to companies that are good corporate citizens; they will absolutely expect it from those companies, just as a baseline.  I think there’s a big change that’s taking place about how people look at business.  We’re big supporters in this country of free enterprise, of go-getting entrepreneurs, of open-market economies and the rest of it, but we also want to know that our companies are good corporate citizens, and that sense is growing all of the time.  The businesses that don’t understand that will suddenly find that, actually, their brand and their business are not as powerful as they thought they were. </p> <p>I think this is an issue where, yes, we should give it the odd shunt from government and I do.  As a politician, I’ve spoken about this for all of the last five years I’ve been leader of the Conservative Party, often to the surprise of some people in business.  I think they are all waking up to understanding that this isn’t now something you do that’s special; this is part of the mainstream work of being a good company in Britain today.</p> <p>Can I thank you all very much indeed for coming?  I wish you well for the rest of this conference.  I hope we’re going to meet and surpass the money that needs to be raised to do the work that GAVI does.  I think it’s an excellent organisation; it’s proved its track record, and I would urge all other political leaders and countries to get behind something that works, that saves lives and doesn’t just save lives for the here and now, but gives those countries and economies – as I argued in my speech – the ability to grow and succeed, and make our world not just more prosperous but also safer for all of us as well.  Thank you very much indeed.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">UK aid</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Vaccination</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Speech at Vaccine Summit Monday 13 June 2011 Prime Minister's Office Vaccine Summit
<p><img class="size-medium wp-image-64651 alignright" style="margin: 5px; border: black 1px solid;" title="PM meets Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor. PA Copyright" src="" alt="PM meets Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor. PA Copyright" width="300" height="254">A transcript of a statement given by Prime Minister David Cameron and the Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor on Friday 10 June 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Thank you.  It’s with great pleasure that I warmly welcome the Croatian Prime Minister to Number 10 Downing Street for the very important talks that we are going to be having this morning. </p> <p>Clearly, today is a historic day for Croatia, and Croatia in my view belongs in the European Union and I think it is very exciting for Croatia and for Europe that this day is getting ever closer. </p> <p>We have watched with admiration the economic, political, and social growth of Croatia over the last decade and look forward to warmly welcoming you as a member of the European Union where we will have many challenges to share: the challenge of getting our economies growing, of getting on top of our debts and our deficits, making sure the internal market works properly, and making sure that Europe speaks strongly for freedom, for democracy around the world – particularly in Libya, where we are doing such important work: a very warm welcome to you today.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much, Mr Prime Minister, for this opportunity and this honour.  This is indeed a great day for Croatia.  We have just received information from the European Commission that Croatia has fulfilled all the benchmarks and thereby fulfilled all the obligations.  So, I am personally also extraordinarily pleased, in particular with the fact that we have received this very good news in London.  I am convinced, my dear colleague, that you will also invest your personal leadership to help Croatia, that indeed on 24th June we, at the session of the Council, will close negotiations so this will be a historic day for Croatia and also the European Union.  I am sure that today we are going to have an extraordinary opportunity to discuss first of all our economic cooperation, but above all, also our partnership as members of NATO and for the European Community.  I am so pleased to be in London in the midst of the celebration of the Queen’s birthday.  My best wishes on behalf of the government and the Croatian people, Croatian nation, men and women.  Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Statement between the PM and Croatian Prime Minister Friday 10 June 2011 Prime Minister's Office unknown
<p>Prime Minister David Cameron has delivered a speech to the Northern Ireland Assembly during his visit on 9 June 2011.</p> <h3>Read the speech</h3> <p>[Check against delivery]</p> <p>Mr Speaker,</p> <p>Thank you for your kind invitation to address the Assembly today and for the very generous welcome you have given me.</p> <p>It gives me great pleasure to congratulate you on your re-election as Speaker, a role that you exercised with such distinction over the past four years.</p> <p>The fact you will hand over the Speakership to a representative from a different tradition stands as an example of co-operation between parties that will be widely welcomed.</p> <p>I know the calendar can have its own sensibilities in this part of the world, but it is an honour to address you on such an auspicious day, the ninth of June.</p> <p>This is the feast day of St. Columba, who very specially symbolises the historic linkages and deep bonds between Britain and Ireland.</p> <p>Born a Prince in Donegal, exiled in Iona, and honoured today in the Central Lobby of the Palace of Westminster…</p> <p>…his monks provided not just an Irish national treasure, the Book of Kells, but also a British national treasure, the Lindisfarne Gospels.</p> <p>And can I also say what an honour it is to stand here and speak in this historic chamber.</p> <p>Of course I recognise that this is not a place without controversy.</p> <p>In the past it was for some a guarantee of their place within the Union; for others a symbol of a state and a system from which they felt excluded.</p> <p>I don’t intend to ignite that debate, but I am reminded of the words of King George V when he opened the Northern Ireland Parliament in 1921 and his appeal to all Irish men and women:</p> <p>‘to stretch the hand of forbearance and conciliation, to forgive and forget, and to join in making for the land which they love a new era of peace, contentment, and goodwill.’</p> <p>Nobody suggests that we have finally reached that point yet and that there aren’t significant challenges still to overcome.</p> <p>But few can argue that we have not moved a long way towards it over the past two decades.</p> <p>Two events last month stand testament to that.</p> <p>The first was The Queen’s extraordinary and historic state visit to the Republic of Ireland.</p> <p>Nobody who was with her could have been in the least doubt as to the genuine warmth of the welcome she received and also Her Majesty’s joy in being there.</p> <p>Unthinkable just a decade ago, the visit was a hugely symbolic act of reconciliation and indicated the normalisation of relations between our two countries.</p> <p>The second was the Assembly election itself, which passed off peacefully and in a relatively good-natured manner.</p> <p>Indeed when I spoke to Peter Robinson and Martin McGuiness to congratulate them on their re-election….</p> <p>…they both pointed out that it was rather more peaceful and good natured than the referendum on the Alternative Vote that we had just had.</p> <p>That in itself is surely a sign of just how far Northern Ireland has come.</p> <p>None of this could have happened without the extraordinary courage and commitment of people here, from all parties and all parts of the community, over many years.</p> <p>I’d also like to pay tribute to successive Irish Governments without which the progress that has been made here would simply not have been possible…</p> <p>…to successive American administrations for their positive contributions at vital times…</p> <p>…and to my predecessors as Prime Minister, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and also to John Major who took some great risks to begin the process in the early 1990s.</p> <h3>My commitment</h3> <p>Mr Speaker, our task is to move Northern Ireland even further forward.</p> <p>And today, I want to speak about what we must all do to achieve that.</p> <p>There are some things you as Assembly Members here are responsible for.</p> <p>There are some things Westminster is responsible for.</p> <p>And there are things we must do together, working with our colleagues throughout Britain and Ireland.</p> <p>I’d like to say a few words about each.</p> <p>But before I do, let me say that my commitment to the health and well-being and to the success of Northern Ireland is heartfelt and sincere.</p> <p>I am passionate about this part of the United Kingdom…</p> <p>…deeply mindful of history….</p> <p>…and deeply determined to work with you towards a better future.</p> <p>In my first week as Prime Minister, I visited Northern Ireland to reassure people of my support, and our coalition government’s support, for the devolved institutions and for all the agreements that have been signed to make sure we have peaceful progress.</p> <p>When the Saville Inquiry reported its findings on the events of Bloody Sunday, I did not hesitate to apologise for the misdeeds that were carried out on that day which were unjustified and unjustifiable.</p> <p>I did so in part to close a chapter on one the sorriest episodes in our country’s history.</p> <p>But also because I knew we do not honour all those who have served with distinction in keeping the peace and upholding the rule of law in Northern Ireland by hiding from the truth.</p> <p>And I have also held Cabinet discussions on tackling terrorism here…</p> <p>…because I share the determination of this Assembly to defeat this threat and defeat all those who do not respect the democratic will of the people of Northern Ireland.</p> <p>However, I do not view Northern Ireland through the prism of past and present security issues.</p> <p>The linkages and connections between our peoples are so strong.</p> <p>I love coming here…</p> <p>…whether it’s to see the opera, with, of course, Opera Northern Ireland launching their new season in Belfast today …</p> <p>…or to walk through the beautiful Glens of Antrim…</p> <p>…to swim off the Atlantic coast…</p> <p>…or to hold Cameron Directs.</p> <p>Indeed, I believe I am the first politician from Great Britain to hold that kind of public meeting here.</p> <p>I will always be a great advocate of what Northern Ireland and the people who live here have to offer.</p> <h3>Shared future not shared out future</h3> <p>But Mr. Speaker, being an advocate of Northern Ireland, and wanting to see it progress, does not mean remaining silent on the problems that remain, and the responsibilities of the members of this Assembly.</p> <p>I think I have a duty to give you my honest view.</p> <p>Whether you serve here as a Minister, a member of a committee or as a backbench member, all of you carry the responsibility over the next four years of delivering real improvements to people’s lives.</p> <p>Politics here is now more stable than for over a generation.</p> <p>But as the institutions mature people will look for more than survival; there is now an ever greater expectation of delivery.</p> <p>As in other parts of the UK, political institutions need to deliver or they will lose popular support.</p> <p>So to match expectations, politics here will need to move beyond the peace process and a focus on narrow constitutional matters to the economic and social issues that affect people in their daily lives.</p> <p>It doesn’t matter if people are from Coleraine or Cardiff, Birmingham or Ballymena, Arboath or Antrim…</p> <p>…they all want the same things in life: the self-confidence that comes with work; the security that comes from safe streets, free from anti-social behaviour; the happiness and joy that comes from a stable home life.</p> <p>And against a background of greater political stability there is a greater opportunity than ever before to put normal, mainstream politics first.</p> <p>But if politics is about anything, it’s about public service on behalf of the whole community, not just those who vote for us.</p> <p>And a crucial area where I believe we need to move beyond the peace process is in tackling the causes of division within society here.</p> <p>Given the history of Northern Ireland I don’t for a minute underestimate the scale of the challenge.</p> <p>But it is a depressing fact that since the 2006 St. Andrews Agreement the number of so-called ‘peace walls’ has increased from 37 to 48.</p> <p>And it is disappointing that in too many places Protestant and Catholic communities remain largely segregated, sharing the same space but living their lives apart.</p> <p>According to one survey the costs of division through the duplication of public services alone is around £1.5 billion a year.</p> <p>But this not just about the economic cost, it’s about the social cost too.</p> <p>It’s these divisions that help to sustain terrorism and other criminal activities particularly within deprived communities.</p> <p>I acknowledge the work that the previous executive began on this through the Cohesion, Sharing and Integration Strategy, and welcome the fact that the new executive is committed to taking it forward.</p> <p>Clearly, more needs to be done.</p> <p>Most of the responsibilities for this, such as community relations policy, are devolved.</p> <p>We will support you in whatever ways we can.</p> <p>But this is something that’s mainly in your hands.</p> <p>I am clear, though, that we cannot have a future in which everything in Northern Ireland is shared out on sectarian grounds.</p> <p>Northern Ireland needs a genuinely shared future; not a shared out future.</p> <h3>Truth, respect, devolution</h3> <p>If that is your task, let me say something about mine.</p> <p>I take my responsibilities for this part of the United Kingdom seriously, and I will stand by and stand up for you in every way I can.</p> <p>I’ll always stand up for the truth, and be prepared to face up to difficult realities, however uncomfortable that might sometimes be for the UK Government.</p> <p>I knew that dealing with the Saville Report would be one of my most important early responsibilities as Prime Minister.</p> <p>And I did not put it off.</p> <p>Through Saville, we’ve shown that where the State has acted wrongly, we will face up to, and account for, what we have done.</p> <p>Others too must think about how to face up to their part in the mistakes and tragedies of the past.</p> <p>In the memorable words of The Queen, we can all think of “things that might have been done differently, or not at all”.</p> <p>But she also said that whilst we must respect this history, “we are not bound by it”.</p> <p>We must all think about how together we can move on.</p> <p>We owe it to the people of Northern Ireland to face forwards, and not endlessly examining events from before.</p> <p>That does not mean I rule out any public inquiries in the future; but I stand by my pledge that there will be no more costly and open ended inquiries into the past.</p> <p>I’ll stand by Northern Ireland in respect of your constitutional future too.</p> <p>My views on the Union are well known.</p> <p>And as I said at the election, as Prime Minister I will never be neutral in expressing my support for it.</p> <p>For me what we can achieve together will always be greater than what we can do apart.</p> <p>But as the Agreement makes very clear, the constitutional future of Northern Ireland does not rest in my hands, or those of the UK Government, whatever our preferences might be.</p> <p>It rests in the hands of the people here.</p> <p>So we will always back the democratic wishes of the people of Northern Ireland, whether that is to remain part of the United Kingdom, as is my strong wish…</p> <p>…or whether it’s to be part of a united Ireland.</p> <p>That is my absolute guarantee and a clear message to those who still seek to pursue their aims by violence.</p> <p>I will also stand by the devolution settlement.</p> <p>I want devolution to work, I believe in it heart and soul.</p> <p>Neither I nor Owen Paterson have any desire to interfere in those matters that are rightly run by locally accountable politicians.</p> <p>They are for you to decide according to your priorities.</p> <p>The same applies to the future of the institutions here and how they might evolve.</p> <p>The Government’s view is that, over time, we would like to see a more normal system, with a government and opposition, consistent with power-sharing and inclusiveness.</p> <p>We agree with Bertie Ahern who said in 2008:</p> <p>‘there will come a time when people say “you need an opposition, you need us and them”’.</p> <p>But as I made clear at the General Election, we will make no changes without the agreement of the parties in this Assembly.</p> <h3>Economic realities</h3> <p>Mr. Speaker, standing by and standing up for Northern Ireland means something else: being realistic about the economic challenges faced by this part of our country. </p> <p>Every time I come to Northern Ireland and see the great cranes of Harland and Wolff I’m conscious of your proud industrial past – even more so a week after the centenary of the launch of the Titanic.</p> <p>Yet today, like many other parts of the UK and for reasons we all understand here, Northern Ireland is simply too dependent on the state for economic activity.</p> <p>According to one report, around three-quarters of your GDP is accounted for by state spending.</p> <p>At a time when we are dealing with the biggest budget deficit in our peacetime history, that is unsustainable and has to change.</p> <p>We recognise the difficulties facing Northern Ireland as you chart a new, more sustainable, economic future requires us in Westminster to act responsibly.</p> <p>That’s why we made sure Northern Ireland did proportionately better than other parts of the UK in the Spending Review.</p> <p>By the end of this Parliament, the Northern Ireland resource Budget will have gone down by 6.9 per cent – or 1.7 per cent a year…</p> <p>…far less than the 8.3 per cent UK average, or the cuts to most departments averaging nineteen percent.</p> <p>And Northern Ireland continues to receive 25 per cent more per head in public spending than England.</p> <p>But the days are over when the answer to every problem is simply to ask the Treasury for more money.</p> <p>That applies here as much as it does in other parts of the UK.</p> <p>So, like you, the Government is looking at new ways to revive the private sector and turning Northern Ireland into a dynamic, prosperous enterprise-led economy for the 21st century.</p> <p>Don’t get me wrong. Northern Ireland is already a great location for investment.</p> <p>You’ve got excellent transport connections to the rest of the UK, Ireland and the rest of Europe…</p> <p>…the English language, great education results, two brilliant universities…</p> <p>…highly competitive operating costs, 100 per cent broadband access…</p> <p>…Project Kelvin, linking North America, Northern Ireland and Western Europe…</p> <p>…a strongly pro-business climate led by the executive…</p> <p>…and, not least, the benefits of being part of the UK economy in which our structural deficit will be eliminated by 2015.</p> <p>The challenge is to attract that investment.</p> <p>Many of the powers to promote enterprise – such as education and training, planning and infrastructure – rest with you.</p> <p>Others are the preserve of Westminster.</p> <p>As part of the UK, Northern Ireland will benefit from the measures to promote growth that we’ve already announced, such as cuts in business taxes.</p> <p>But I recognise that in Northern Ireland we need to go further.</p> <p>You have two unique challenges – the legacy of violence and a land border with a state that has significantly lower corporate taxes.</p> <p>The consultation paper launched in March and which runs to 24 June focused heavily on the possibility of devolving powers over corporation tax to this Assembly.</p> <p>I’m not going to pre-judge the outcome of the consultation today, though I understand the strength of feeling within the main business organisations on this issue and across all political parties.</p> <p>So I can assure you that the Chancellor and I will take the consultation seriously and give it proper consideration.</p> <h3>Security and terrorism</h3> <p>There are some areas where you are very much in the lead.</p> <p>There are some areas where I am in the lead.</p> <p>And there are some things we must do together…</p> <p>…like standing united against the threat of terrorism.</p> <p>The murder of Ronan Kerr in April was a vile and cowardly act.  Yet it was one of an increasing number of attacks that have taken place over the past two years.</p> <p>These terrorists have no mandate.  They offer nothing.  And they will never succeed.</p> <p>The people of Ireland, North and South, who backed the 1998 Agreement with such overwhelming democratic majorities will ensure that.</p> <p>As will those from right across the community, including politicians and representatives of the GAA, who turned out with such respect at Ronan Kerr’s funeral.</p> <p>Who here could fail to have been moved by the dignity and words of PC Kerr’s mother, when she said: </p> <p>‘We were so proud of Ronan and all that he stood for. Don’t let his death be in vain.’</p> <p>Tackling terrorism is a joint effort in which the Northern Ireland Executive has a crucial role to play.</p> <p>For our part the UK Government has made the countering the terrorist threat here a top priority.</p> <p>Within weeks of taking office last May we endorsed an additional £45 million for policing.</p> <p>In March the Chancellor agreed to an exceptional four year deal that will give the PSNI access to a further £200 million as requested by the Chief Constable.</p> <p>And of course we will continue the unprecedented co-operation that exists between ministers in London, Belfast and Dublin, and to support the superb links between the PSNI and Garda.</p> <p>As the Garda Commissioner said after the tragic murder of Constable Kerr: </p> <p>“Our uniforms may be woven from different cloth, but the police on this island are bound together by a shared resolve and determination”</p> <p>I would like to thank all those who work tirelessly to protect the public here from terrorism.</p> <p>This Government will continue to stand fully behind them in thwarting those who choose to attack the democratic will of the people of Northern Ireland.</p> <h3>Conclusion</h3> <p>Mr Speaker, I want to see a peaceful, stable and prosperous Northern Ireland for everybody…</p> <p>…a Northern Ireland in which everybody is treated with equal respect, whatever their community background or political aspiration…</p> <p>…a Northern Ireland that is inclusive, tolerant and outward looking</p> <p>…a Northern Ireland that sees its best days ahead rather than in a dim and distant past</p> <p>…a Northern Ireland in which everybody genuinely has a shared future.</p> <p>And to achieve those objectives I am committed to working with all parties and with all parts of the community.</p> <p>My door is open when circumstances require it.</p> <p>We will never put narrow party or sectional interests above what we judge to be the interests of the community as a whole.</p> <p>Huge strides forward have been taken in Northern Ireland over recent years…</p> <p>…the main paramilitary campaigns have ended…</p> <p>…stable, inclusive, devolved government has been restored…</p> <p>…the constitutional issue has been settled on the basis of consent…</p> <p>…relations across these islands have never been stronger.</p> <p>It gives you the opportunity now to move on from the politics of endless negotiations, or of the latest political agreement, to making these institutions work to address people’s everyday concerns.</p> <p>So let’s work together to make devolution a success.</p> <p>Let’s work together to revive the economy. Let’s work together to build a shared future.</p> <p>And in working together be assured that you have a Prime Minister, a Secretary of State and a Government that will always stand by the people here in Northern Ireland.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Northern Ireland</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Address to Northern Ireland Assembly Thursday 9 June 2011 Prime Minister's Office Northern Ireland Assembly
<p>Prime Minister David Cameron hosted a breakfast meeting with the board of directors of the European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association (ACEA).</p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p>I think this is the first time the European automobile manufacturers have actually held their meeting here in the UK, and I’m delighted to welcome you here and very pleased that we’re having this meeting.</p> <p>It’s obviously been a very good week for the industry here in the UK, with the expansion of Nissan announced yesterday, with their very successful plant in Sunderland and what they’re doing with the Qashqai.  I’ve just been having a look at the latest Mini to come off the production line in Oxford, which has been a huge success and we’re beginning to see them all over the rest of Europe, not just in the UK, this iconic brand.  And we’re very proud as well, obviously with General Motors, with Ford, with Toyota, and the fact that now Britain is a large exporter of cars; I think 70% of what we produce we export, and I think we’re making about 2.5 million engines now in the UK.</p> <p>It’s very much part of our ambition as a government to rebalance our economy.  We became too reliant on housing, financial services, too reliant on one corner of the country, and we want to rebalance the economy.  We want to see more manufacturing, and I’m delighted that so many automobile manufacturers are actually bringing production and supply chain onshore.  We want to do everything we can to encourage that, so we’re reducing our rates of corporate tax, we’ve established a very good Regional Growth Fund, which is actually assisting I think many of the businesses sat around the table.  We are putting money into advanced manufacturing technology and innovation centres.  We are massively expanding the number of apprenticeships; I think this is something where Britain fell down in the past and we’re determined to get that right, and I think the apprenticeship schemes taken up by all of you are incredibly valuable.  We also have some very talented officials that we have on this area to try to make sure that we do everything we can to help the growth in your industry.</p> <p>Now, obviously we know there are lots of issues and problems and challenges that we need to overcome together.  There are the challenges of meeting environmental targets; there’s the challenge of making sure those environmental targets are set realistically and sensibly.  There are the problems of regulatory cost that we can sometimes impose.  There is also the whole issue of free-trade agreements.  Now, we are a passionately free-trade country.  We believe one of Britain’s great advantages is our openness, is the ease of trade, the ease of import and export.  And we’re in favour of free-trade agreements but we understand the concerns that some of you have about how these free-trade agreements are put in place, and we want to listen very carefully to the views you have so we get the next set of free-trade agreements between the European Union and other countries right.</p> <p>So I think we have a lot to discuss this morning.  As I said, you’re very welcome.  You’re in a country that really wants to see its automotive industry increase; you’re in a country that wants to see, if you like, re-industrialisation in terms of more production.  We are determined to do the things to help you do that and help your industry succeed, and we’re very happy to host this meeting today and have a proper exchange on all of these areas and indeed others that you want to raise.  So thank you very much indeed for coming.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">car manufacturing</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Opening remarks by the PM to the ACEA Thursday 9 June 2011 Prime Minister's Office ACEA
<p>A transcript of Prime Minister David Cameron’s media interview in Northern Ireland on 9 June 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong> Well, thank you very much.  It’s great to be back in Northern Ireland and I’ve had some excellent discussions with the First and Deputy First Minister.  One of the things I’ve found particularly striking is that we weren’t spending all our time talking about constitutional issues or even particularly security issues; we were talking about the issues of a shared future for everyone in Northern Ireland – the importance of improving healthcare and education and making sure our economy grows, making sure there are job opportunities and making sure everyone can share in the success we all want to see in Northern Ireland.  So I congratulate them both on their re-election, their new mandate, and all the things that we hope the Northern Ireland Assembly will achieve on behalf of everyone in Northern Ireland over the coming years.</p> <p><strong>Reporter:</strong> Prime Minister, you were with the First and Deputy First Ministers in Downing Street yesterday and you’re here at Stormont Castle today, but you haven’t set foot in the place for 13 months – was that deliberate?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong> No, it wasn’t deliberate at all. I came to Northern Ireland immediately after becoming Prime Minister; I’m back here now. Of course I’d like to get to every part of the United Kingdom more often than I do, but I have huge responsibilities back in Westminster and obviously the need to do quite a lot of international travel. But what I would say is this: that I did make, before the election, some promises to people in Northern Ireland and I hope people will judge me on those promises, not just on how often I set foot here. I promised, for instance, that we would deal swiftly with the issue of the Presbyterian Mutual Society. That was a promise made, that is a promise kept and today we know that the first payments are planned to be paid out. I said that we would deal quickly and robustly with the issue of Bloody Sunday and the Saville Inquiry. We didn’t delay, we didn’t hold it up, we published that report and made a very clear statement. So I would ask people in Northern Ireland to judge me and my Government on the respect that we show to Northern Ireland, to all its people and to the devolved institutions of Northern Ireland, with whom we are working incredibly closely. We won’t always agree about everything – there will be disputes we’ll find more difficult to resolve, but I would argue, on the evidence of the last year, people in Northern Ireland can know there is a Government in Westminster that treats them and their institutions with respect and tries to solve all of the problems that we face in Northern Ireland and across the United Kingdom.</p> <p><strong>Reporter:</strong> Prime Minister, obviously the Corporation Tax consultation is still live at the moment so you can’t give a definitive answer on that, but given that you did state on several occasions that you were a passionate unionist, do you think you could move ahead with something like this without unpicking the rules of the UK, as far as it would lead to a domino impact elsewhere [as heard]?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong> Well, there’s a consultation under way, it’s nearly completed and I think we need to make sure that is completed. What I’d say is this: two points. First of all, I understand the difficulties and the problems when you have a land border with the Republic of Ireland, the very low Corporation Tax rate there, and also I understand the very severe problem we have with an economy in Northern Ireland that has become far too reliant on the public sector, I think everyone would share the same view: we need a strong private sector-led recovery here in Northern Ireland. But one last point I’d make is this: that in terms of rebalancing the economy, of getting the growth and the jobs and the investment and the business creation we want here in Northern Ireland, there is no one single act that will deliver that. We need to make sure we’re looking at the planning laws, we’re getting houses built again, we’re helping small businesses, we’re training apprentices, we’re making it attractive for businesses to come here. Yes, that’s about tax, but it’s also about many, many other things too and we were discussing some of those at our meeting yesterday and again today, and we’re committed to work together on all of those issues.</p> <p><strong>Reporter:</strong> Prime Minister, I want you to think carefully what I’m asking you because you may not be as familiar with this subject as you ought to be, probably.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong> That’s very kind of you. </p> <p><strong>Reporter:</strong> A big cancer in our midst here, after the economy, I think the consensus would be, with your colleagues [unclear] is the whole question of the past and sectarianism. In the past week, it’s been revealed that three high-ranking former IRA personnel actually briefed the legal team in the Smithwick Inquiry [unclear] into the killing of two former police officers, high-ranking police officers. Do you believe that therein lies the business for a truth commission to be established so that people can [unclear ].</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong>  Well, that is a… it is a very complicated question and thank you for the, sort of, warning you gave about its complexity. Look, I’m well aware of the issues around the Smithwick Inquiry and was asked about it yesterday in the House of Commons. What I would say is this: that I think the work of that inquiry is important, just as the work of other inquiries has been important; I think the work of the Historical Enquiries Team is vitally important. But as I said in the House of Commons yesterday, I think what really it is that people want is the truth. It wasn’t actually the 12 years or the £190 million of the Saville Inquiry that was so important and valuable, it was the truth; it was people being able to see what actually happened, who was responsible. That is what people need to know, and that is what I think we should be focused on rather than on setting up new long and costly and open-ended inquiries. That’s the focus I think that we should have.</p> <p><strong>Reporter:</strong> Prime Minister, on a different issue. How do you respond to the criticism from the Archbishop of Canterbury? </p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong> Well, I think the Archbishop of Canterbury should be entirely free to express political views. I’ve never been one to say that the church has to fight shy of making political interventions, but what I would say is that I profoundly disagree with many of the views that he has expressed, particularly on issues like debt and on welfare and education. I don’t think it is good, I don’t think it’s right for people if we… and our country, if we give up on paying down our debts and just pass that down to our children; I don’t see anything good or even moral in that approach. I don’t think it’s good or right for us to pay people to stay on welfare, trapped in poverty, when we should be trying to get them a job. I don’t think that is good or right for people or for our country. And also when it comes to education, there’s nothing good or right allowing people to say… stay trapped in schools that often aren’t giving them a good education, whereas the academy programme that we’re driving forward is raising standards and giving people hope for a better future. I’m absolutely convinced that our policies are about actually giving people greater responsibility and greater chances in their life and I will defend those very vigorously. But of course, the Archbishop of Canterbury – quite free to make political points as he chooses and to engage in a debate, and I see also what he said about the Big Society. I would say the Big Society is an enormous opportunity, not just for the Church of England but for all religious organisations and faith groups to try and make sure they do even more of the wonderful work they do to improve the condition of people in our society. So by all means let’s have a robust debate, but I can tell you, it will always be a two-sided debate.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">PM Direct</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Transcript of interview in Northern Ireland Thursday 9 June 2011 Prime Minister's Office Northern Ireland
<p>Prime Minister David Cameron has delivered a speech on the future of the NHS on 7 June 2011.</p> <h3>Read the speech</h3> <p>[Check against delivery]</p> <p>Three weeks ago, I made the case for change in our NHS.</p> <p>I said we would be kidding ourselves if we thought we could simply stick with the status quo.</p> <p>We need to change the NHS to make it work better today.</p> <p>Yes, in many ways the NHS is providing some of the best service it ever has.</p> <p>But we have to be honest.</p> <p>We’re wasting too much money on empty bureaucracy when it could be spent on the frontline.</p> <p>In the past two decades, NHS spending has more than doubled in real terms from £38bn to £103bn.</p> <p>That injection of money has been right – but can we really say that the improvement in service has reflected that increase?</p> <p>Can we really say we’re getting value for every pound that we spend?</p> <p>We’re also getting too much difference in the quality of services people receive – a great gap between the best and the rest.</p> <p>We’re seeing a deep divide between health and social care that is causing serious problems for vulnerable, often elderly, people and their families.</p> <p>We’re hearing too many stories about patients being moved from pillar to post…</p> <p>…getting lost in a labyrinth of letters and appointments and referrals…</p> <p>…when what they really want is to be in the driving seat.</p> <p>We’re still behind some of our European neighbours on treating the big killers like cancer and respiratory disease.</p> <p>And we’re also – and let’s not deny it – seeing damning reports which found the standard of care in some of hospitals was appalling, with elderly patients left unfed and unwashed.</p> <p>That’s why we need change today.</p> <p>But just as importantly, we have to change the NHS to avoid a crisis tomorrow too. </p> <p>This is what will happen if we don’t.</p> <p>More over-stretch, more over-crowding, the NHS buckling under the pressure of an ageing population and the rising cost of treatments…</p> <p>…and the principle we all hold dear, and we all want to keep …</p> <p>…of free healthcare for all who need it, when they need it…</p> <p>…that precious principle coming under threat. </p> <p>We cannot let that happen, and we will not let that happen.</p> <p>So that’s why we need change.</p> <p>Today, I want to focus my remarks on what that change should be.</p> <p>I want us to make sure we pursue the right change, and deliver it in the right way.</p> <p>That means taking people with us – the public who use the NHS, and the professionals who make it what it is.</p> <p>We recognise that many people have had concerns about what we were doing.</p> <p>That’s why for the past two months, Andrew Lansley, Nick Clegg and I have been taking time to pause, listen, reflect on and improve our plans for NHS modernisation.</p> <p>This has been a genuine chance for people to get involved and make a difference…</p> <p>…to have their voice heard and opinions known…</p> <p>…and to work together to strengthen the institution we all love and hold dear – our National Health Service.</p> <p>As a result, I think we’ve seen an important debate around our country…</p> <p>…whether it’s the searching analysis that some newspapers have carried out…</p> <p>…or all the different television or radio programmes that have been devoted to the future of our NHS.</p> <p>And a whole range of people are changing their view.</p> <p>Before the pause, many were claiming the NHS is fine, and telling us not to touch it.</p> <p>Now – whatever their views about how to do it, most agree that change is needed.</p> <p>What’s more, a significant number are now more clearly on board with the thrust of what we are proposing.</p> <p>In recent weeks, GPs representing 1,100 practices across England, the Association of Surgeons from Great Britain and Ireland and the Royal College of Surgeons have all written letters to national newspapers expressing support for the basis of our plans.</p> <p>Patients groups like Saga and Age UK have also backed key parts of our plans.</p> <p>And when I speak to patients and tell them about what drives our plans, there is a huge amount of support.</p> <p>People want patients to be at the heart of the NHS, they want more choice and better value for money, they want us to focus on outcomes, and they want us to devolve responsibility to frontline clinicians…</p> <p>…and I’m determined that we should not let them down.</p> <p>The details of the reforms we’re bringing may be on the table…</p> <p>…but our vision of an NHS that is more productive, more patient-friendly, more professionally-driven and more diverse is clear.</p> <p>But at the same time we’ve learnt a lot about how to make our plans better.</p> <p>Now, of course some people ask why didn’t we get everything right at the beginning?</p> <p>I don’t see any point in being too defensive on this.</p> <p>I know other governments would announce reforms, and just plough on regardless of the concerns people had…</p> <p>…for fear of appearing indecisive or worrying about admitting something could be improved.</p> <p>And I know that the media with their deadlines want everything fixed in 24 hours.</p> <p>But this is too important to get wrong.</p> <p>So I think it is right that we took some time.</p> <p>The whole listening exercise has been overseen by the NHS Future Forum – an independent group of the country’s leading NHS professionals and patient representatives, led by the eminent Professor Steve Field.</p> <p>I’m hugely grateful to Steve and the whole team for all the work they are doing.</p> <p>They will report their conclusions next week.</p> <p>I don’t know what they will recommend. And I don’t want to try to pre-empt or second guess that here today.</p> <p>But I do want to talk about what I am learning from the listening exercise.</p> <p>I’ve heard the passion of our nurses and doctors, radiographers and radiotherapists, physios and pharmacists…</p> <p>…so today, let me tell you what needs to change in our plans.</p> <h3>Competition</h3> <p>First, I’ve heard doctors tell me they want more choice on behalf of their patients, but they want to be sure that competition is introduced in a properly managed and orderly way.</p> <p>And I’ve heard our hospital doctors say they are incredibly proud of what they do and quite prepared to be judged one hospital against another, one team against another, but fear the situation where a new operator can come in without any of the NHS overheads, costs and pensions and cherry pick their simplest cases.</p> <p>Now I do believe competition is a good thing. But not as an end in itself.</p> <p>It is a means to give doctors more choice to get the best possible care for their patients, and for patients to have that choice too.</p> <p>It is a means of bringing in fresh thinking, new ideas, different ways of doing things that deliver better and better value for money.</p> <p>Put simply: competition is one way we can make things work better for patients.</p> <p>This isn’t ideological theory.</p> <p>A study published by the London School of Economics found hospitals in areas with more choice had lower death rates.</p> <p>And there’s now real evidence that England is delivering more for its money than any of the devolved nations, in part because of the competitive reforms initiated by Tony Blair and Alan Milburn.</p> <p>And allowing new organisations in isn’t anything particularly new either.</p> <p>If you go abroad, to Sweden, to Germany, to Spain, you will see lots of different healthcare organisations providing care paid for by the state.</p> <p>And our NHS too has always benefited from a mixed economy of providers.</p> <p>Indeed, £1 in every £20 currently spent by the NHS goes to a private or voluntary sector provider.</p> <p>Providers like the independent Horder Centre in East Sussex, which delivers orthopaedic care…</p> <p>…and has high patient satisfaction, low rates of readmission, and excellent outcomes.</p> <p>So new providers, more choice and competition raises standards and delivers values for money.</p> <p>But people want to know what this does and does not mean.</p> <p>So let me be clear: as long as I’m Prime Minister…</p> <p>…yes, there will be, as there are now, private providers and voluntary providers.</p> <p>But let me also be clear, no: we will not be selling off the NHS, we will not be moving towards an insurance scheme, we will not introduce an American-style private system.</p> <p>In this country, we have this most wonderful, precious institution and idea.</p> <p>That whenever you’re ill, however rich you are, you can walk into a hospital or surgery and get treated for free. No questions asked. No cash asked.</p> <p>I will never put that at risk.</p> <p>Now, as our legislation currently stands, Monitor, the health regulator, has a duty to promote competition.</p> <p>This could be misinterpreted and we don’t want any doubt in anyone’s mind.</p> <p>Monitor’s main duty is to protect and promote the interests of people who use health care services…</p> <p>… and it will use competition as a means to that end. Not simply to promote it or prevent it, but to secure the services patients need.</p> <p>It will be tasked with creating a genuine level playing field, so the best providers flourish and patients get a real choice.</p> <p>And when I say that, I mean it.</p> <p>I mean a genuine level playing field.</p> <p>That’s why we will look to make sure private companies are only paid for the services they provide and that they contribute to the costs of training NHS staff.</p> <p>I mean only the ‘best’ providers.</p> <p>Every provider will need to meet the highest quality standards.</p> <p>And I mean a real choice for patients.</p> <p>This is absolutely central to my vision for the NHS.</p> <p>This is a National Health Service, and I take the service part seriously.</p> <p>Taxpayers put a lot of money into the NHS, it’s only right that when they use it, they should have the power to shape and design the healthcare they receive.</p> <p>But there’s another argument to be made for real patient power.</p> <p>When patients do have their say, and are able to make choices, it makes a massive difference.</p> <p>When they get involved in their care they get better results, and they manage long-term conditions more successfully too.</p> <p>I remember talking to a woman who injured her neck – but didn’t want to go through an operation and the long period of recuperation that would entail.</p> <p>She was given a choice – so she opted for physio instead, and today she is leading a much better quality of life as a result.</p> <p>So we are going to spread more of these choices and chances.</p> <p>We’re saying that for the first time in the history of the NHS, you will be able to decide what will be the best service, best package of care that will allow you to lead independent lives…</p> <p>…as long as that service meets NHS standards and NHS costs.</p> <p>No decision about me, without me.</p> <p>So be in no doubt, our changes will now secure:</p> <p>Fair competition, not cherry picking.</p> <p>Access to the best possible care in all cases, not just some.</p> <p>Choice for patients, not competition for its own sake.</p> <h3>National Health Service</h3> <p>Second, I’ve heard the anger of our local authorities, our doctors and our patients about the current system, about how quality of care you receive depends too much on where you live…</p> <p>…and they want to know if we will make things better.</p> <p>Be in no doubt: we designed our changes to help reverse the great gap that currently exists between the best and the rest and ensure high-quality care for all.</p> <p>If we’ve learnt anything these past years, it’s this: one-size-fits all monolithic state provision can actually entrench disadvantage and deepen the disparities in service between regions, classes and racial groups in our society.</p> <p>With our plans, people will have the power to drive change in the NHS in their area through transparency, choice and competition.</p> <p>When people – all people, not just rich people – have a real choice between providers…</p> <p>…they can hold their local hospital to account.</p> <p>When doctors see health outcome measures across the country in a full and open way, they can learn from each other.</p> <p>A real race for excellence.</p> <p>And when GPs are in control of their budgets, they can decide the best possible care for their patients and design health strategies that suit their local area.</p> <p>But I’ve heard the concern that the direction is right but the pace is too fast.</p> <p>What if some places, some practices aren’t ready?</p> <p>Will we just let them flounder as others prosper?</p> <p>No.</p> <p>We will make sure local commissioning only goes ahead when groups of GPs are good and ready, and we will give them the help they need to get there.</p> <p>And the NHS Commissioning Board will oversee commissioning on behalf of the Secretary of State.</p> <p>One organisation, working to one mandate, and responsible for delivering a clear set of outcomes across the country…</p> <p>…providing the support to local commissioners, and carrying out commissioning themselves where necessary.</p> <p>So that is why our plans will now mean:</p> <p>A genuine National Health Service, underpinned by clear, national quality standards…</p> <p>…which delivers high quality care for all.</p> <h3>Integrated care</h3> <p>Third, I’ve listened to patients who are keen to make sure that whatever happens their care is joined up, that they don’t have to put up with the frustrations they have today – with different appointments in different places, with different people, all to discuss the same thing.</p> <p>And I’ve sat in hospitals and heard professionals who have dedicated their lives to the NHS…</p> <p>…who are desperate that clinical decision making should replace bureaucratic decision making…</p> <p>…but worry that only GPs will have responsibility and that will lead to a fundamental break and juncture between primary and secondary care.</p> <p>That’s a message we’ve heard clearly from the Royal College of Nursing.</p> <p>So let me be clear: we will not break up or hinder efficient and integrated care, we will improve it.</p> <p>And that means making changes to our current proposals.</p> <p>Hospital doctors and nurses will be involved in clinical commissioning.</p> <p>We will also introduce clinical senates…</p> <p>…where groups of doctors and healthcare professionals come together to take an overview of the integration of care across a wide area.</p> <p>And of course, where effective networks of clinicians already exist, we will support them, not reinvent the wheel.</p> <p>And that’s not all.</p> <p>Monitor will now have a new duty to support the integration of services – whether that’s between primary and secondary care, mental and physical care, or health and social care.</p> <p>And health and well-being boards will help this further.</p> <p>They will bring together everyone from NHS commissioning groups to adult social care specialists, children’s trusts and public health professionals…</p> <p>…to design local strategies for improving health and social care integration.</p> <p>Integration is really important for our vision of the NHS.</p> <p>If you’ve hurt your back, we want your GP and physio to talk to each other to find the best course of rehab.</p> <p>And if you’ve got a longer term condition and need social care, we want local services to be actively involved in supporting you to stay as well as possible.</p> <p>And when you come to the end of your life, we want your local hospital to work with you and your relatives to help co-ordinate your care in your final weeks and months.</p> <p>That’s what we want. That’s what patients want.</p> <p>So our changes will now secure:</p> <p>Clinically led commissioning, not just GP commissioning.</p> <p>And integration wherever appropriate.</p> <h3>Waiting times</h3> <p>Fourth, I’ve heard patients tell me just how big an impact the time they wait for their healthcare can have on their well-being, and how they worry that by scrapping the old targets we might lose control of waiting times.</p> <p>I get that concern. I understand it.</p> <p>Waiting times really matter.</p> <p>If your mum or dad needs an operation, you want it done quickly and effectively.</p> <p>I refuse to go back to the days when people had to wait for hours on end to be seen in A&amp;E, or months and months to have surgery done.</p> <p>So let me be absolutely clear: we won’t.</p> <p>In fact, the whole point of our changes…</p> <p>…the whole reason why transparency and choice are so important…</p> <p>…is so that patients can hold the health service to account and get the care they demand, where they want, when they want.</p> <p>That’s why we’re releasing a whole raft of information so you can compare and contrast different providers within the NHS – and make your decisions based no real solid evidence.</p> <p>And that includes evidence and information on waiting times.</p> <p>But we’re not going to leave anything to chance, especially as our changes are working their way through the system.</p> <p>So we’re keeping the 18 week limit.</p> <p>That’s in the NHS contract and constitution. And it’s staying.</p> <p>And we’re not going to lose control of waiting times in A&amp;E either.</p> <p>The problem with the four hour waiting time target wasn’t that four hours is somehow not that long to wait…</p> <p>…but rather that it was the only measure of what happened in A&amp;E.</p> <p>And this led to bizarre decision making, with people being admitted into hospital in order to avoid breaking the maximum waiting time when actually they just needed to be stabilised before being sent home…</p> <p>…or people leaving without being seen and having to come back the next day.</p> <p>I know that from my own experience.</p> <p>So let me tell what we’re going to do.</p> <p>Yes, we’ll continue to measure how long people are kept waiting in A&amp;E.</p> <p>Nurses and doctors said we should – and that’s what we’re doing.</p> <p>But the difference is that we’re going to measure outcomes too, like re-attendance rates for the same problem.</p> <p>A rigorous, relentless focus on the things that people really care about and that a good health service is all about – great outcomes and a great service.</p> <p>So that’s what our changes will now secure:</p> <p>Waiting times kept low.</p> <p>A focus on outcomes.</p> <p>A rounded view of what good healthcare means.</p> <h3>NHS spending</h3> <p>Finally, I’ve heard something else loud and clear, from patients and professionals, who are hearing talk about savings and efficiencies and think it is all smoke and mirrors and what we’re actually doing is making cuts.</p> <p>Because other departments are making spending cuts…</p> <p>…people assume these changes are about spending cuts too.</p> <p>They’re not.</p> <p>There will be no cuts in NHS spending.</p> <p>Let me be absolutely clear.</p> <p>This year, and the year after, and the year after that, the money going into the NHS will actually increase in real terms…</p> <p>…with £11.5 billion more in cash for the NHS in 2015 than in 2010.</p> <p>I repeat: we are not cutting the NHS. In fact, we are spending more on it.</p> <p>That is the promise we made. That is the promise we have kept.</p> <p>And it’s why every penny we save in eliminating waste and bureaucracy is going straight back on to the frontline. No ifs or buts.</p> <p>But there’s a more important point I want to make about money and our NHS.</p> <p>Every year without modernisation the costs escalate.</p> <p>Demand pressures increase, driven by an ageing population and drug and alcohol abuse.</p> <p>At the same time, there are supply-side pressures too, driven by new and expensive drugs and technologies.</p> <p>We can’t pretend that the extra money we are putting in will be enough to meet the challenges.</p> <p>We need modernization of the NHS to do that.</p> <p>We need to reduce the demand for healthcare – which is why we are prioritising public health.</p> <p>And we need to make the supply of healthcare more efficient –which is why we are opening up the system to new providers and putting clinicians in control.</p> <p>So that’s what the broad thrust of our changes are about.</p> <h3>Conclusion</h3> <p>So I can guarantee you today:</p> <p>We will not endanger universal coverage – we will make sure it remains a National Health Service. </p> <p>We will not break up or hinder efficient and integrated care – we will improve it.<br>  <br> We will not lose control of waiting times– we will ensure they are kept low.</p> <p>We will not cut spending on the NHS – we will increase it.</p> <p>And if you’re worried that we are going to sell-off the NHS and create some American-style private system – we will not.</p> <p>We will ensure competition benefits patients.</p> <p>These are my five guarantees.</p> <p>Guarantees you can hold me to and that I will be personally accountable for.</p> <p>Yes, we will modernise the NHS – because changing the NHS today is the only way to protect the NHS for tomorrow.</p> <p>And yes, we will stick by our core principles of an NHS that is more efficient, more transparent, and more diverse…</p> <p>…principles we will extend across our public services through our upcoming White Paper so we improve them for everyone.</p> <p>But I will make sure at all times that any of the changes we make to the NHS will always be consistent with upholding these five guarantees.</p> <p>There can be no compromise on this.</p> <p>It’s what patients expect.</p> <p>It’s what doctors and nurses want. And it’s what this government will deliver.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Health Reform</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">NHS</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Speech on the NHS Tuesday 7 June 2011 Prime Minister's Office unknown
<p>A transcript of a statement given by Prime Minister David Cameron and Romanian President Traian Băsescu on Monday 6 June 2011.</p> <h3>Read the Transcript</h3> <p><strong>Prime Minister<br></strong>Good afternoon and I warmly welcome the Romanian President here to Number 10 Downing Street.  We have just had an important and productive meeting.  Britain and Romania are natural partners, with shared interests on many of the most important issues that we face.  We agreed today that it is time we realise the full potential of this partnership.</p> <p>First, we agree on getting our economies growing, by freeing businesses to create jobs – less regulation, more innovation.  This is an urgent task for Europe, but if we together take the bold actions needed, both in the EU and at home, we can build the more dynamic economy that Europe needs.  We agreed to discuss these issues at the European Council.  So, in the EU, Britain and Romania will work together, with our partners, to complete the single market in services, energy and the digital economy.  We will push hard to reduce the burden of red tape that stifles those doing business, and especially the smaller businesses that should be driving innovation and growth.  We will be looking for some immediate steps at the European Council in two weeks’ time.</p> <p>Second, we both believe that the offer of an EU future is vital for stability and reform in Europe’s neighbourhood.  We want to see the countries of the Western Balkans, Turkey and Moldova move towards EU membership, in a way that makes those countries stronger, and the European Union stronger.  I welcome the important role Romania can play, sharing their experience of transition, and I have been pleased to see the efforts that the President has made to reform the judiciary and tackle corruption in Romania.</p> <p>Third, Britain and Romania are standing side by side in Afghanistan and Libya.  In Afghanistan we are proud of the record of our troops fighting together, and we will get the job done together – building up the Afghan security forces to take full security control from 2014.  In Libya, Romania took on an important early role, providing some naval power to stop arms getting to Gaddafi’s forces.  We agreed today that there has been real progress in recent weeks, helping to protect the people in Benghazi, in Misrata and elsewhere, but we cannot rest while civilians remain daily under fire.  We will see this job through, building up the pressure on this murderous regime until the killing stops.  The unity and resolution of the coalition in meeting this challenge has been a tremendous achievement and I am grateful to the President for his friendship and solidarity in recent months and I am very glad to have him alongside me in London here today.</p> <p><strong>President Traian Basescu<br></strong>Thank you.  With your permission I will use the Romanian language with translation.  I would like to thank Prime Minister Cameron for inviting me here to London.  Our discussion occasioned an excellent and fruitful exchange of points of view, particularly on our common evolution within the EU.  In our discussion we established that for our countries our priority should be the fact that the EU should be stronger and united, more competitive and should consider research and development as a priority.</p> <p>I have also discussed with the Prime Minister the recent positive developments related to the mechanism for cooperation and verification that Romania is now undergoing in its relation with its European partners and the Commission.  I informed the Prime Minister that Romania will fulfil all its obligations in terms of military commitments, whether we speak of the Western Balkans, Afghanistan or Libya.</p> <p>I have also informed the Prime Minister that for Romania the Europe 2020 strategy is of crucial importance, and the government of Romania is committed to fulfilling the objectives within this strategy.  And last, but not least, another issue we discussed was the cooperation between Romania and the UK and the future continuation of the modernisation project that we began regarding the two frigates that Romania bought from Britain.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister<br></strong>Thank you.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">President Traian Băsescu</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Romania</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Statement between the PM and Romanian President Băsescu Monday 6 June 2011 Prime Minister's Office unknown
<p>A transcript of the press conference given by the Prime Minister David Cameron at the G8 Summit in Deauville, France on Friday, 27 May 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p>[Check against delivery]</p> <p>This is the second G8 I’ve attended. The first focused very much on tackling deficits and getting the economy growing and this Summit reaffirmed the importance of that – including of course the need to complete the Doha trade round.</p> <p>But this G8 focused predominantly on North Africa and the Middle East, while also reporting back on aid.</p> <h3>Middle East and North Africa</h3> <p>The big test for this G8 was whether we could respond to the momentous events we have seen in North Africa and the Middle East.</p> <p>And I would argue that we have responded.</p> <p>I said at the outset it was essential for us to give a clear message to those countries.</p> <p>We will help you develop your democracies. We will help you achieve greater freedom. We will help you build your economies and develop the political parties, free media, and the fair and reliable courts that are the building blocks of what I call an open society.</p> <p>That is exactly what has been agreed.</p> <p>We agreed the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development should for the first time start lending to private enterprise in that region. The institution that helped to transform Eastern Europe now has a new mission.</p> <p>Every G8 country now stands ready to open its markets to countries in the region committed to reform. This has been one of the most closed regions of the world to trade and investment. That is now going to change.</p> <p>And we promised the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia that the international community would support their plans to create economic stability and prosperity for their people.<br> This support will initially be available to Egypt and Tunisia but will ultimately be there for any country in the region that embraces the path to democracy and reform – including, for example, Libya.</p> <p>The Partnership we agreed today has taken months to put together and it has been a very personal mission for me.</p> <p>Back in February I was the first leader to visit Cairo after the uprising. And I was the first to go the European Council to argue that the current European Neighbourhood Policy simply wasn’t working. I called explicitly for greater market access and for helping thoe countries that really try to reform rather than simply handing out money as Europe has done in the past.</p> <p>This week the European Commission has responded to that call. More resources and more trade access for countries moving fastest towards reform.</p> <p>Now there are those who argue these North African countries are not the poorest in the world, and that we should concentrate on our own affairs.</p> <p>I reject this.</p> <p>Be in no doubt. Get this wrong, fail to support these countries and we risk giving oxygen to the extremists who prey on the frustrations and aspirations of young people.</p> <p>We would see more terrorism, more immigration, more instability coming from Europe’s southern border. And that affects us right back at home.<br>  <br> But get this right – support the Arab people in their aspirations and their hope for a better future will be our hope too…</p> <p>…their security will mean greater security for us…</p> <p>…and their prosperity, a more prosperous world for us all.</p> <p>So this is an investment in success on which I believe the British people will see a return.</p> <p>The Americans have made a big offer on relieving debt. We’re not a major creditor for the region, so we are making an offer focused on developing the institutions of genuine democracy and the know-how to create an open economy.</p> <p>So, in addition to the assistance we’re making available through Europe, at this Summit, the UK has also made its own bi-lateral offer of £110 million over 4 years.</p> <p>Today we have laid the foundations for an enduring partnership for the region. But it is the beginning of a process and the work must now go on in the weeks and months ahead to make sure it delivers. </p> <h3>Aid</h3> <p>In North Africa we are focused on the impact of aid to stabilise countries – much as we are in Afghanistan and Pakistan.</p> <p>Elsewhere it’s vital that we focus aid on things that are measurable, verifiable, results-driven and we  target those things that people back home can clearly see making a difference.</p> <p>Bednets to stop malaria. Vaccines to stop preventable diseases. Clean water. Making sure mothers don’t die in childbirth.</p> <p>I remember as a young politician watching the Gleneagles summit and the Live8 concerts and thinking it was right that world leaders should have made those pledges so publicly.</p> <p>I think when you make a promise like that to the poorest people in the world, you should keep it. And I am proud of the fact that Britain is doing just that.</p> <p>But the reality is that as a whole, the G8 has not.</p> <p>The Communique is clear on this.</p> <p>Britain ensured the accountability report published at this Summit clearly shows what each country has – and has not – done to meet its aid commitments.</p> <p>That means numbers in real terms not just cash terms.</p> <p>And it means highlighting – not hiding – the $19 billion gap between what’s been expected and what has been delivered.</p> <p>Britain will not balance its books on the backs of the poorest. We will be the first G8 country to hit the 0.7 per cent target by 2013.</p> <p>Britain will keep its promises. And I was tough in urging my counterparts to keep theirs.</p> <p>It’s not just about handing over money.</p> <p>It’s also crucially about outcomes and getting value for money, about promoting trade and growth.</p> <p>That’s why I pushed G8 leaders to endorse an ambitious vision for free trade in Africa – including practical action to open trade corridors and remove obstacles to trade and growth.</p> <p>And it’s why I pushed hard for the G8 to support next month’s London conference for the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunisation, which should stop millions of children dying from totally preventable diseases like diarrhoea.</p> <p>Britain will be prepared to increase our funding significantly. And I look forward to other countries doing the same.</p> <h3>Libya</h3> <p>Finally, I talked late last night with the four countries here which are taking part in active operations in Libya.</p> <p>Two months into the operation we are entering a new phase.</p> <p>First, we turned Qadhafi’s forces back at the gates of Benghazi to avert a bloody massacre.</p> <p>Then we rallied to assist the brave defenders of Misurata and Brega.</p> <p>Now there are signs that the momentum against Qadhafi is really building.</p> <p>So it is right that we are ratcheting up the military, economic and political pressure on the Qadhafi regime so that we can enforce Resolution 1973.</p> <p>We are stepping up the capability of NATO operations.  Yesterday, we made the decision in principle that UK commanders should prepare to deploy UK Apache attack helicopters.</p> <p>We are ramping up the economic pressure, choking the Qadhafi regime’s ability to get money to finance these attacks.</p> <p>And we are expanding the broad international consensus against Qadhafi and in support of the opposition – the Transitional National Council in Benghazi.</p> <p>Crucially, the G8 nations have today reached a unanimous and final verdict on Qadhafi and his regime. </p> <p>The Communique says that Qadhafi has “lost all legitimacy. He has no future in a free, democratic Libya. He must go.”</p> <p>Every G8 nation has signed up to this.</p> <p>And we have all made a commitment to “support a political transition that reflects the will of the Libyan people.”</p> <p>This has been a timely meeting at a critical moment.</p> <p>The world’s most powerful nations have sent an unequivocal message to all those in the Middle East and North Africa who want greater democracy, freedom and civil rights – we are on your side.</p> <p>These things aren’t just good for the Arab nations. They are good for us too. And that’s why Britain will continue to play its full part in helping the Arab people to fulfil their economic and political aspirations. </p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">G8</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Closing press conference at the G8 Summit Friday 27 May 2011 Prime Minister's Office G8 Summit
<p>A transcript of the interview given by the Prime Minister David Cameron at the G8 Summit in Deauville, France on Thursday, 26 may 2011. </p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p><strong>Prime Minister<br></strong>I want a very simple and clear message to come out of this summit and that is that the most powerful nations on earth have come together and are saying to all those in the Middle East and North Africa who want greater democracy and greater freedom and greater civil rights – we are on your side.  We’ll help you build your democracies; we’ll help you build your economies; we’ll help you with trade – we’ll help you in all the ways that we can, because the alternative to successful democracies is more of the poisonous extremism that has done so much damage in our world.  And to people back at home wondering what is the relevance of summits like this – well, if we can support democracy and we can defeat extremism, we can keep more of our people safe.  That is why it really matters. </p> <p><strong>Question, ITN<br></strong>Can I ask you, first of all, reports that Mr Mladic may have been seized this morning, what do you make of that?  And, secondly, on Libya, there are reports in the Times that a town called Yafren has got 10,000 citizens besieged by Gaddafi forces; they’ve been besieged by weeks.  They desperately need help, apparently.  Will you provide it?  Are we going to commit attack helicopters – the Apaches – and if so, when?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister<br></strong>First of all, on General Mladic, we have to wait until these reports are confirmed, but we should remember why it is we are pursuing this man and why he is pursued by the International Tribunal in the Hague in that he is accused of the most appalling war crimes both in terms of what happened in Srebrenica, but also in Sarajevo.  Let’s wait until these reports are confirmed, but there is a very good reason why the long arm of the international law has been looking for this man for such a long time.  On the issue of Libya, what I want to see, as the President and I discussed yesterday, is keeping up the pressure and turning up the pressure because I believe the regime in Libya and Colonel Gaddafi are feeling the pressure.  And we will do all that we can – diplomatically, politically in terms of sanctions, and militarily – to make sure we put in place UN Resolution 1973 and we save the lives of civilians in that country and we give the Libyan people the chance to determine their own future.  On the issue of helicopters, we are looking at a range of things that we can do to turn up the pressure and, when we’re ready to make an announcement, we will do so. </p> <p><strong>Question, BBC<br></strong>Prime Minister, sending Apache helicopters would be, in the words of the Chief of the General Staff, a ‘ratcheting-up’ on Libya.  Is it a dangerous escalation, and what do you say to people back home who say that more than two months on Gaddafi is no closer to being out of Libya?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister<br></strong>What I would say to everyone who cares about this is we have already stopped a massacre.  A massacre in Benghazi, a massacre in Misrata – the action that British and French and American and other forces have taken has saved civilian lives.  But more than that, we’re demonstrating that there is a chance for people in North Africa to choose their own future and their own freedom rather than have to put up with appalling dictators like Gaddafi.  Now, we will make a decision on helicopters, we will look at the arguments carefully, but I do want to see us turning up the pressure in the right way so we can make sure that people in Libya can choose their own future. </p> <p><strong>Question, BBC<br></strong>So, it’s not a dangerous escalation? </p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> No.  This is what we are looking at in terms of turning up the pressure of those things that will help us to enforce Resolution 1973 to save more lives and to turn up the pressure on the regime so that actually people in Libya can choose their own future.  And we see the Arab Spring – the growth of democracy and freedom rather than it turning backwards. </p> <p><strong>Question, Sky News<br></strong>You gave a justification for helping those countries involved in the Arab Spring, but, at a time when there is a row at home about overseas aid generally, can you really justify potentially giving billions of pounds to Tunisia and Egypt who are going to be here, in order to help them establish democracies?  And could I also ask you about Syria – you and President Obama have been making some pretty belligerent noises about Syria.  Are you seriously considering military action against another Arab country? </p> <p><strong>Prime Minister<br></strong>Well, first of all, let me deal with Syria.  We think what is happening in Syria is appalling.  I think the crackdown, the loss of life, the fact that civilians have been shot on the streets is absolutely appalling, and it’s right that the international community is turning up the heat on that regime.  It’s right that Britain has been leading the calls for sanctions for travel bans, for asset freezes, for action in the United Nations.  And I think you’ll be seeing more of that in the days ahead.  What I’d say to everybody about the issue of overseas aid and the money that will be pledged at this summit is that there is a real case for saying, ‘If we can secure greater democracy and freedom in countries like Egypt and Tunisia, that is good for us back at home.’  That will mean less extremism, it will mean more peace and prosperity, and it will mean there won’t be the pressures of immigration that we might otherwise face to our own country.  Britain does have a role in the world working with allies to try and secure greater peace, greater prosperity, greater trade, greater democracy, and those things aren’t just good for the countries we are talking about – Tunisia, Egypt, Libya – they are good for Europe, they are good for us in the UK.  That’s why what we’re talking about today and tomorrow here in Deauville at the G8 really matters.</p> <p><strong>Question, Sky News</strong><br> And just on the Apache helicopters, if I could pick that up – has the deployment been agreed in principle now, it’s just a matter of when, or is there still some doubt that we may deploy Apache attack helicopters?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister<br></strong>As I say, we are looking at ways of turning up the pressure including the use of helicopters.  When we’re ready to make an announcement, we’ll make an announcement.  Thank you very much indeed.  See you all later on.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Deauville</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">G8</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron PM’s interview at the G8 Summit in Deauville Thursday 26 May 2011 Prime Minister's Office G8 Summit
<p>A transcript of the opening remarks given by Prime Minister David Cameron at the press conference with President Barack Obama at Lancaster House in London on Wednesday 25 May, 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p>[Check against delivery]</p> <p>It’s a pleasure to welcome President Obama here today.</p> <p>Over the past year I’ve got to know the President well.</p> <p>And whether it’s in routine situations like sitting around the G8 table or the slightly less routine ones like getting a phone call in the middle of the night, I have come to value not just his leadership and courage, but the fact that to all the big international issues of our time, he brings thoughtful consideration and reason.</p> <p>I know today he will be thinking of the dreadful tornado in Missouri – and all those who have lost lives and loved ones.</p> <p>Our hearts in Britain go out to all those people too.</p> <p>Barack and I know well the shared history of our countries.</p> <p>From the beaches of Normandy to the Imjin river, our soldiers have fought together.</p> <p>From labs in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Cambridge, England, our scientists have decoded DNA and cured diseases together.</p> <p>And in millions of interactions every day – including our massive business relationship – our people forge friendships together.</p> <p>That’s what makes this relationship special.</p> <p>But what makes it essential is that it’s not just about history or sentiment.</p> <p>It is a living, working partnership.</p> <p>It is essential to our security.</p> <p>It is essential for our prosperity.</p> <p>And I feel every day just how important this partnership is.</p> <p>The President and I, together with my Deputy Prime Minister, have just had some excellent discussions.</p> <p>We’ve been talking today about the two things we care about most:</p> <p>Getting our people jobs, and keeping our people safe.</p> <p>Because every night, millions of British and American people take the same worries to bed with them.</p> <p>They’re asking if they can find a good job, if they are going to get a pay cheque next month, if there will be work for their children when they grow up.</p> <p>The stark truth of the world today is that no country is owed a living.</p> <p>We’ve got to pay our way, and we’ve got to earn our way – and that is what the President and I are determined to do.</p> <p>Barack and I did not come into politics to cut public spending but neither did we seek office to see our great economies decline, or to land our children with unsustainable debts.</p> <p>That’s why by the second half of this decade, we’re making sure that debt ratios will be falling on both sides of the Atlantic.</p> <p>At the same time, we’re investing in our roads and railways, in science, innovation, above all in our young people.</p> <p>And down the line, the success of all this won’t be measured in export figures and trade flows, it will be in the feelings of the factory-worker in Phoenix, or the shop-keeper in Liverpool, or the engineer in Ohio…</p> <p>…the people who know that if they work hard, then prosperity will be there for them – and the promise of a better life there for their children.</p> <p>As well as the economy, the President and I had some good discussions on security.</p> <p>Americans and Brits do not need to explain terrorism to one another.</p> <p>Both our people have suffered at its hands; indeed, they have died together.</p> <p>My wife Samantha was in Manhattan on 9/11.</p> <p>I’ll never forget trying to contact her for five long hours and she’ll never forget the New Yorkers she met that day.</p> <p>And today, as we come up to the tenth anniversary, we remember the spirit of that city and the sympathy we feel with those who lost their loved ones, including so many British families.</p> <p>Now, there are those that say this terrorist threat is beyond our control.</p> <p>We passionately believe that is wrong.</p> <p>We can defeat al Qaeda and the events of recent months give us an opportunity to turn the tide on their terror once and for all.</p> <p>I believe there are three actions we must take.</p> <p>First, we must continue to destroy the terrorist networks.</p> <p>And I congratulate the President on the operation against Bin Laden.</p> <p>This was not just a victory for justice but a strike right in the heart of international terrorism.</p> <p>In this vital effort, we must continue to work with Pakistan.</p> <p>People are asking questions about our relationship, so we need to be clear:</p> <p>Pakistan has suffered more from terrorism than any other country in the world.</p> <p>Their enemy is our enemy.</p> <p>So far from walking away, we’ve got to work even more closely with them.</p> <p>At the same time, this is a vital year in Afghanistan.</p> <p>British and American forces are fighting side by side in Helmand, right at the heart of this operation.</p> <p>We have broken the momentum of the insurgency and even in the Taliban’s heartland of Kandahar and Central Helmand they are on the back foot.</p> <p>Now is the moment to step up our efforts to reach a political settlement.</p> <p>The Taliban must make a decisive split from Al Qaeda, give up violence, and join a political process that will bring lasting peace to that country.</p> <p>We are agreed to give this the highest priority in the months ahead.</p> <p>Second, we must reach a conclusion to the Arab-Israeli peace process.</p> <p>Again, I congratulated the President on his recent speech on the Middle East which was bold, visionary – and set out what is needed in the clearest possible terms:</p> <p>An end to the terror against Israelis. The restoration of dignity to the Palestinians.</p> <p>Two states, living side by side, in peace.</p> <p>Yes, the road has been – and will be – long and arduous.</p> <p>But the prize is clear.</p> <p>Conclude the peace process and you don’t just bring security to the region.</p> <p>You deny extremists of one of their most profound, and enduring, recruiting sergeants, weakening their calling and crippling their cause.</p> <p>That’s why whatever the difficulties, we must continue to press for a solution.</p> <p>Our third action must be to help elevate the changes in North Africa and the Arab world – from a moment in history to a turning-point in history.</p> <p>We’ve seen some extraordinary things.</p> <p>Protestors braving bullets, bloggers toppling dictators, people taking to the streets and making their own history.</p> <p>If global politics is about spreading peace and prosperity, then this is a once-in-a-generation moment to grab hold of.</p> <p>It’s not a time for us to shrink back and think about our own issues and interests.</p> <p>This is our issue – and this is massively in our interests.</p> <p>Those people in Tahrir Square and Tripoli just want what we have – a job and a voice. </p> <p>And we all share in their success or failure.</p> <p>If they succeed, there is new hope for those living there and the hope of a better and safer world for all of us.</p> <p>But if they fail, if that hunger is denied, then some young people in that region will continue to listen to the poisonous narrative of extremism.</p> <p>So the President and I are agreed: we will stand with those who work for freedom.</p> <p>This is the message we will take to the G8 tomorrow, when we push for a major programme of economic and political support for those countries seeking to reform.</p> <p>This is why we mobilised the international community to protect the Libyan people from Colonel Qadhafi’s regime, why we will continue to enforce the UN resolutions with our allies, and why we re-state our position once more: it is impossible to imagine a future for Libya with Qadhafi still in power. He must go.</p> <p>In all of these actions, we must be clear about our ambitions.</p> <p>Barack and I came of age in the 1980s and 90s.</p> <p>We saw the end of the Cold War and the victory over Communism.</p> <p>We saw the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein and the world coming together to liberate that country.</p> <p>Throughout it all, we saw Presidents and Prime Minister’s standing together for freedom.</p> <p>Today, we feel just as passionately about extending freedom as those who came before us.</p> <p>But we also know that idealism without realism does no good for anyone.</p> <p>We have learned the lessons of history:</p> <p>Democracy is built from the ground up.</p> <p>You’ve got to work with the grain of other cultures and not against them.</p> <p>Real change takes time.</p> <p>It’s because we share this view that this partnership will not just continue, but get stronger.</p> <p>And this is a partnership that goes beyond foreign affairs.</p> <p>At home we have similar goals – to bring more responsibility to our societies and to bring transparency and accountability to our governments.</p> <p>In all these ambitions our countries will continue to learn from each other, and work with each other.</p> <p>As ever it has been a pleasure to talk to the President and it’s an honour to have him with us today.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">President Barack Obama</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron PM and President Obama’s press conference Wednesday 25 May 2011 Prime Minister's Office press conference with President Barack Obama at Lancaster House in London
<p>Prime Minister David Cameron has delivered a speech setting out his commitment to the Big Society.</p> <h3>Read the speech</h3> <p>Everyone knows that sorting out our nation’s finances, and dealing with the terrible economic mess that we inherited, is this government’s most urgent priority.<br>  <br> But too many people think that’s the limit of our ambitions…that all we care about is balancing the books.<br>  <br> Wrong.<br>  <br> I want to balance the books so we can achieve the things I really care about.<br>  <br> And that’s what I want to talk about today.</p> <p>Inside the Westminster bubble, we may think that people are hearing about our plans for bold education reform or our radical changes to welfare, for example, but we shouldn’t kid ourselves. </p> <p>So today, I want to address a question that I know real people are asking: is this government about anything other than cuts?<br>  <br> The answer is yes.<br>  <br> Because spending cuts are not the ends; they’re not even the means to the ends…they’re just a symptom of the inescapable reality that you cannot get anything done if your country goes bankrupt.</p> <p>So like other countries that have over-spent and over-borrowed, we need to take the necessary action to achieve fiscal sustainability.<br>  <br> But there are two great challenges beyond the short-term need to avoid fiscal disaster.<br>  <br> We need to build a dynamic economy, to generate the growth that will give us new jobs, wealth and opportunity.<br>  <br> No country is owed a living in the modern, global economy.<br>  <br> It’s got to earn it – and earn it the hard way.<br>  <br> It’s got to design products, build new industries, have a real entrepreneurial streak…<br>  <br> …and we’re putting in place a plan to make that happen.<br>  <br> At the Budget we set out a range of measures to get behind Britain’s entrepreneurs, manufacturers and workers – and to show that Britain is back open for business.<br>  <br> Our bold cuts in corporation tax, even at a time of tight public finances, are part of a clarion call to business to come to Britain, invest and grow.<br>  <br> Soon after the budget, I helped launch Start-Up Britain, a dynamic new organisation led by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, to help encourage a new spirit of enterprise in our country.<br>  <br> Earlier this month we announced action to increase youth employment.</p> <p>And in the coming months we will be taking forward our ambitious growth strategy – with a particular focus on measures to help small and medium-sized businesses….<br>  <br> …the bedrock of our economy and the place where we will find the high growth firms we need to power our economy ahead.<br>  <br> So our plan for growth – our long-term plan to rebalance and revitalise our economy – shows that this government is not just about cuts, it’s about growth too.<br>  <br> But there’s something else, and that’s what I want to focus on today.</p> <h3>A bigger, stronger society</h3> <p>Alongside the task of building a dynamic economy, there is another great long-term challenge we must meet.<br>  <br> We must build a bigger, stronger society.<br>  <br> We must build that bigger, stronger society because we can’t keep tolerating the wasted lives and wasted potential that comes when talent is held back by circumstance.</p> <p>But above all we must build a bigger, stronger society because in the end the things that make up that kind of society…<br>  <br> …strong families, strong communities, strong relationships…<br>  <br> …these are the things that make life worth living and it’s about time we had a government and a Prime Minister that understands that.<br>  <br> Creating a bigger society.<br>  <br> Creating a country which feels like a community…<br>  <br> …where our relationships are better and the glue that binds people together is stronger.<br>  <br> Where we actually think about people’s well-being when we make decisions.<br>  <br> These are the things I’m most passionate about in public life.<br>  <br> This is what is in my heart.<br>  <br> It’s what fires me up in the morning.<br>  <br> Anyone who’s had even a passing interest in what I’ve been saying for years will know that.<br>  <br> It’s what I spoke about when I ran for the leadership of the Conservative party, when I was elected, throughout all the years in opposition, during the election campaign, and from the moment I first stood on the steps of Downing Street. </p> <p>So, as our debts are paid off …<br>  <br> … as we get back on track for dynamic economic growth …<br>  <br> … as the fighting in Libya and Afghanistan comes to an end…<br>  <br> …this is what I want to endure as the lasting legacy of this administration…</p> <p>…helping to build a society where families and communities are stronger, where our nation’s well-being is higher…<br>  <br> …and where all these things are accepted as central, not peripheral aspects of what modern governments should hope to achieve.<br>  <br> So the Big Society is not some fluffy add-on to more gritty and more important subjects…<br>  <br> …this is about as gritty and important as it gets: giving everyone the chance to get on in life and making our country a better place to live.<br>  <br> As the leader of the opposition starts his search for a National Mission, no one needs to be in any doubt about mine – this is it.<br>  <br> The question of course is: how do we help to make it happen? </p> <h3>Public services</h3> <p>For me, there are two aspects to this.<br>  <br> The first is the way in which we modernise our public services.<br>  <br> The public services that we all rely on – schools, hospitals, policing, parks and public spaces…<br>  <br> …these are vital building blocks of the bigger, stronger society I want to see.<br>  <br> And that’s why it’s so important to me that we don’t just cut public spending, but we modernise public services.  And it is also important how we do it.<br>  <br> We’re not introducing free schools and expanding Academies because it’s a way of saving money from the schools budget.<br>  <br> We’re doing it because it’s the best way to improve education. </p> <p>More choice for parents.</p> <p>More freedom for professionals to innovate. </p> <p>A greater ability for new providers to come forward. </p> <p>It is the Big Society way to improve education.  <br>  <br> In our health service, we’re not giving patients more control and doctors more professional freedom because we want to save money.<br>  <br> We’re doing it because it’s the best way to improve the NHS. <br>  <br> During the past month as we have paused our reforms and listened again to those who care most about our NHS, I have been struck by the incredible passion there is amongst patients, professionals and charities to take more control and improve our heath service.<br>  <br> People with long term conditions who want to help determine the care they get.<br>  <br> Cancer charities desperate to use their expertise and resources to save lives. <br>  <br> Physios, OTs and so many other Associated Heath Professionals who believe they hold some of the keys to building a healthier nation, but who have been locked out in the past.<br>  <br> Again, enabling them to drive change is the Big Society way to improve the NHS.<br>  <br> And when it comes to law and order, we’re not introducing Police and Crime Commissioners to cut the police.<br>  <br> We’re doing it to cut crime.  And to anyone who doubts there is a public appetite for greater public engagement and greater power and control over policing, I would say – look at our crime maps, that have already received over 410 million hits.<br>  <br> It’s because our public services – and the results they deliver – matter so much to my mission of building a bigger, stronger society that I’m so determined to modernise them.<br>  <br> I set out the case for modernisation in a speech at the start of the year.<br>  <br> And I showed then, whether in welfare reform or school reform, early years support or drug rehabilitation, the NHS or prisons…<br>  <br> …that we plan important changes based on clear principles.<br>  <br> Get rid of centralised bureaucracy that wastes time and money.</p> <p>Break open state monopolies and open up them up to new providers, saying – ‘if you’ve got the ideas and the people and the commitment to tackle our most deep-rooted social problems, come and play a role in our public services.’<br>  <br> Wherever possible put power – and money – in people’s hands to choose what’s best for them.<br>  <br> Pay providers by the results they achieve.<br>  <br> Be as tough on private sector monopolies as on state monopolies.<br>  <br> Make sure there is transparency so people can see what they’re getting in exchange for the taxes they pay.</p> <p>This is real people power, and there has never been a better time to do it.</p> <p>Technology is helping to turn the traditional power relationships on their head.</p> <p>For the first time, we can give everyone the information they need to hold government and the public sector to account.</p> <p>For the first time, we can give everyone the information they need to make choices about the services they use.</p> <p>For the first time, we can involve people on a mass scale in helping to design policy, scrutinise legislation, get rid of pointless regulation.</p> <p>And it’s because this technological revolution is matched by our philosophical belief in the principles that underpin it – openness, competition and true people power…</p> <p>…that we are applying it so enthusiastically to our mission of making government and public services more open, more transparent and more accountable.<br>  <br> This is a whole new way of looking at public service delivery – the modern way, the 21st century way, the Big Society way.</p> <p>By opening up public services, putting the people who use them and pay for them in the driving seat, restoring professional discretion and calling on our charities, social enterprises and private companies to get involved…<br>  <br> …we can build world-class public services that are engines of opportunity and that help build our Big Society.</p> <h3>Social responsibility</h3> <p>But it’s the second aspect of building a bigger, stronger society that I want to focus my remarks on today…</p> <p>…and that is the challenge of creating a culture of responsibility in our country.<br>  <br> Now, I know I use that word a lot. <br>  <br> Some say it sounds too much like a theoretical concept that’s hard to define…<br>  <br> …and others complain that it just sounds like a burden on people: an obligatory thing we have to do.<br>  <br> To me, the idea is simple.</p> <p>Responsibility is people doing the right thing – by themselves and each other.<br>  <br> It is the essential quality of the good society – of a strong society.<br>  <br> That’s not theory – it’s fact.<br>  <br> And yes it is a “burden” in that it requires commitment, but it is one that we should actively want to undertake.<br>  <br> As human beings, as social animals, we relish the opportunity to interact positively with one another.<br>  <br> The problem today is that a culture of responsibility is too often absent in our country.<br>  <br> And we need to restore it.<br>  <br> Of course, this has to come from people.<br>  <br> But government has a vital role to play – and we’re playing it.<br>  <br> To begin with, government has to send out the right signals.</p> <h3>Reward and effort</h3> <p>First and foremost that means making sure that reward is linked to effort.<br>  <br> For too long, we’ve lived in an upside down world where people who do the right thing, the responsible thing, are taxed and punished…<br>  <br> …whereas those who do the wrong thing are rewarded.<br>  <br> There are so many examples of this over the past decade, there are almost too many to mention.<br>  <br> Marginal rates of taxation that have punished single mothers who want to work.<br>  <br> A benefit system that has paid couples to live apart.</p> <p>A social care system that all too often has penalised those who have worked hard and saved hard by forcing them to sell their home.<br>  <br> A welfare system that has paid people who had no intention of getting a job to stay at home.<br>  <br> In so many areas of our national life, the rational thing for people to do is quite clearly the wrong thing.<br>  <br> We can’t be surprised that people behave irresponsibly if government is sending out these signals.<br>  <br> But bit by bit we are turning the tables on these perverse signals, and making sure reward really is linked to effort…<br>  <br> …that responsibility is rewarded, not punished.<br>  <br> Nowhere is this more evident than in our welfare reforms.<br>  <br> For that single mother who wants to work – we are making sure work pays.<br>  <br> And for that person intent on ripping off the system, we are saying – we will not let you live off the hard work of others.<br>  <br> Tough sanctions. Tougher limits.<br>  <br> In short we’re building a system that matches effort with reward…<br>  <br> …instead of a system that rewards those who make no effort.<br>  <br> That is not cutting welfare for the sake of it.<br>  <br> That is a vital step in building a more responsible society in Britain. </p> <h3>Taking responsibility for your family</h3> <p>But responsibility isn’t just about what you get from the state, it’s about what you give to society too.<br>  <br> By that I don’t mean paying your taxes.<br>  <br> I mean all those aspects of life that fall outside our dealings with the state, or with the market.<br>  <br> I mean family.<br>  <br> I mean community.<br>  <br> Let’s start with the family.<br>  <br> Now I have always made it clear what I think about the family.<br>  <br> I think families are immensely important.<br>  <br> I am pro-commitment, I back marriage and I think it’s a wonderfully precious institution.<br>  <br> Strong families are where children learn to become responsible people.<br>  <br> When you grow up in a strong family, you learn how to behave, you learn about give and take.<br>  <br> You learn about responsibility and how to live in harmony with others.<br>  <br> Strong families are the foundation of a bigger, stronger society.</p> <p>This isn’t some romanticised fiction.<br>  <br> It’s a fact.<br>  <br> There’s a whole body of evidence that shows how a bad relationship between parents means a child is more likely to live in poverty, fail at school, end up in prison or be unemployed in later life.<br>  <br> Don’t think that I’ve forgotten about our pledge to make this country the most family-friendly in Europe.<br>  <br> We’ve commissioned and received excellent reports from Frank Field and Graham Allen, and are acting on their recommendations.</p> <p>We’ve already announced action on parental leave, flexible working, relationship support…<br>  <br> …and a hugely ambitious campaign to turn around the lives of Britain’s most troubled families.<br>  <br> Unlike the last government that focused almost exclusively on children, we have had the courage to say loud and clear that if you want what is best for children you have to address not just children but families and relationships too.<br>  <br> We will shortly be publishing our strategy for the vital early years of a child’s life, including radical new ideas for supporting parents.<br>  <br> We’ll soon receive Reg Bailey’s report on the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood – and I’m hoping for some tough recommendations that we can get right behind.<br>  <br> And we are thinking creatively about how we can do more to support family life and to ensure that every child grows up in a stable, loving home.<br>  <br> This is not a cuts agenda. <br>  <br> It is an agenda to strengthen what I believe is the single most important institution in the country, and it’s a vital part of building the Big Society.</p> <h3>Taking responsibility for your community</h3> <p>But responsibility extends beyond the family to the wider community too.<br>  <br> We are not just responsible for those we know and love.<br>  <br> We have obligations to those beyond our front door, beyond our street.<br>  <br> In part that’s about how people behave and the respect they show towards their fellow citizens.<br>  <br> In other words, it’s about the things you don’t do – like not littering and not engaging in any forms of antisocial behaviour.<br>  <br> But it’s also about the things you do do.<br>  <br> It’s about getting involved.<br>  <br> It’s about how we as a government help people come together in their communities and how we remove the barriers that get in their way.<br>  <br> The basic premise is that if everyone gives a little of themselves, the benefits for the whole of society can be enormous.</p> <p>That’s a big part of the Big Society.<br>  <br> I didn’t invent the idea.<br>  <br> It’s just how I describe all the many brilliant things that people are doing to help each other in our communities…<br>  <br> …and it’s how I show my determination that we as a government should get behind people and encourage more of their commitment in every way that we can.<br>  <br> So it’s not just me standing here and calling on individuals and communities to do more, it is a whole approach and programme to help make this happen.</p> <p>In the Localism Bill, we’re changing the planning rules to give people real influence over what gets built in their area…<br>  <br> …devolving power to executive mayors in our major cities…<br>  <br> …and giving people the right to take over local assets.<br>  <br> So if a local service you rely on is threatened with closure, you’re no longer powerless to act…<br>  <br> …because a new “Community Right to Buy” gives local people the chance to save a valued local resource – be it a pub, village shop or leisure centre.<br>  <br> Another way is through the Giving White Paper which Nick Hurd is launching today.<br>  <br> This sets out how we are going to encourage a stronger culture of giving in Britain – with more people giving more money and more time to good causes around us.<br>  <br> First, we’re going to make it easier to give.<br>  <br> That includes taking advantage of the technology that can make giving more flexible, intuitive and convenient – like giving money when you go to the cash machine.<br>  <br> Second, we’re going to make giving more attractive<br>  <br> So we’re removing gift aid paperwork for donations up to £5,000 and reducing the rate of inheritance tax for estates that leave 10 per cent or more to charity.<br>  <br> And in areas of deprivation, we are matching the commitment people make to giving with government support.<br>  <br> Today we are announcing a £1million pound match for the Evening Standard’s Dispossessed Fund…<br>  <br> …an extraordinary campaign which has inspired huge numbers of Londoners to help some of the poorest in our city.<br>  <br> And our Community First scheme will reward groups that come together to improve their neighbourhood, by matching the time they give with money.<br>  <br> So in future when our host today, Make a Difference, brings youth volunteers together to transform a bus station in to a wonderful centre like this…<br>  <br> …they could get some government cash to help them out.<br>  <br> Third, we’re going to drive a real culture change in our society by making giving more of a social norm.<br>  <br> For young people we are introducing National Citizen Service, with over 10,000 16 year olds currently being recruited to take part in the first wave this summer.<br>  <br> With employers, as part of Every Business Commits, we will launch a major new campaign to promote payroll giving.<br>  <br> That means making it easier for their workers to give money to charity automatically through their paycheques.<br>  <br> In America around a third of employees already do this. In the UK it’s only around 3 per cent.  We want that to be a lot higher.</p> <p>Already there are great examples of businesses backing volunteering.  There are also the great media campaigns, often involving staff, presenters and journalists.<br>  <br> As part of our efforts to celebrate giving to society, my Big Society Awards have been created to recognise outstanding examples of innovation and commitment in social action, community leadership and public service reform.<br>  <br> And there’s something else we’re doing to make giving more of a social norm.<br>  <br> And when I say we – I mean literally we – the Cabinet.<br>  <br> We’re all giving at least a day a year volunteering.<br>  <br> And we’re encouraging all our civil servants to do the same.</p> <h3>Approach to policy</h3> <p>But there’s something else our civil servants are going to be doing – and it’s the final point I want to make today.<br>  <br> For too long, government policy has been made without enough understanding of the things I’ve been talking about today – family, community, relationships.<br>  <br> When it comes to decisions about how and where to spend money, how policies are designed and implemented, how reforms are carried out…<br>  <br> …government has sometimes seemed to carry on oblivious to the fact that we are human beings, behaving in ways that ministers and officials can’t possibly plan or predict.<br>  <br> Government has ignored the fact that at heart, as the American writer David Brooks eloquently points out in his new book – we are social animals.<br>  <br> In this past decade we have surely tested to destruction the idea that a bit more state action here, a welfare payment, law or initiative there will get to grips with the crime, the drug addiction, the family breakdown that plagues too many of our communities.<br>  <br> Social problems need social solutions.<br>  <br> And in a way that I don’t think has been sufficiently appreciated, we are bringing that insight right into the heart of the business of government.<br>  <br> Right across Whitehall we are today applying to the design of policy the best that science teaches us about how people behave – and what drives their well-being.<br>  <br> We are revising the ‘Green Book’ – the basis on which the Government assesses the costs and benefits of different policies – to fully take account of their social impact.<br>  <br> We are developing a new test for all policies – that they should demonstrate not just how they help reduce public spending and cut regulation and bureaucracy – but how they create social value too.<br>  <br> And, the Office for National Statistics is developing new independent measures of well-being so that by next summer, we will be the first developed country in the world that is able rigorously to measure progress on more than just GDP.</p> <p>Taken together, these may be the most quietly radical things this government is doing.</p> <h3>Conclusion</h3> <p>These are big changes, and they all show how serious I am about building a bigger, stronger society.<br>  <br> They also show how different our approach really is.<br>  <br> In the past, the left focused on the state and the right focused on the market.<br>  <br> We’re harnessing that space in between – society – the ‘hidden wealth’ of our nation.</p> <p>We understand that neither the pursuit of unfettered individualism nor top-down state control will achieve the results people want to see – good jobs, opportunities for their children, safer streets, a rich and rewarding life.</p> <p>These are things we pursue and achieve together – in our families and in our communities – and it’s the job of government to take account of that reality.</p> <p>So I say if at the end of our time in office, families don’t feel more supported, we will have failed as a government.</p> <p>If people don’t feel that they have control over the public services they use, we will have failed as a government.</p> <p>If people don’t feel that they have a real say in how their community is run, we will have failed as a government.</p> <p>The idea that the centre right is simply about the philosophy of individualism – of personal and commercial freedom – is a travesty of our tradition.</p> <p>From Edmund Burke and Adam Smith in the 18th century, from Hegel and de Tocqueville in the 19th, to Hayek and Oakeshott in the 20th – all have been clear that individual freedom is only half the story.</p> <p>Tradition, community, family, faith, the space between the market and the state – this is the ground where our philosophy is planted.<br>  <br> The things I’ve spoken about today – modernising public services, rebuilding responsibility, strengthening family and community…<br>  <br> …all this represents a massive cultural change.<br>  <br> But if we get it right, it will not just benefit our society, it will benefit our economy too. </p> <p>If we link effort to reward, if we encourage people to step forward and play their part…<br>  <br> …we won’t just make our society fairer and more cohesive…<br>  <br> …we will create the conditions for a more aspirational, entrepreneurial culture.<br>  <br> A country of do-ers and go-getters, where people feel they are in control of their destiny, where they trust those around them, and where they have the power to transform their lives…<br>  <br> …where nothing will stop them from pursuing their dreams.<br>  <br> That’s the culture we need in our economy as much as our society.</p> <p>So is this government about more than cuts? Yes.<br>  <br> Is the Big Society some optional extra? No.<br>  <br> It holds the key to transforming our economy, our society, our country’s future…<br>  <br> …and that’s why I will keep on championing it…<br>  <br> …and keep on building it…<br>  <br> …every day that I have the privilege to lead this country.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Big Society</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Speech on the Big Society Monday 23 May 2011 Prime Minister's Office Big Society
<p>Prime Minister David Cameron has delivered a speech at Ealing Hospital restating the case for change in the NHS.</p> <h3>Read the speech</h3> <p>[check against delivery]</p> <p>Six weeks ago, we announced a pause in our plans for the modernisation of the health service.</p> <p>Since then there’s been a whole flurry of debate.</p> <p>Column inches have been written. Concerns aired. Passions raised.</p> <p>That goes to show something I’ve known all along: that the NHS is the most important thing to Britain’s families.</p> <p>Well, let me tell you this.</p> <p>It’s the most important thing to my family too.</p> <p>That’s why, over four years ago, I got up on a platform like this and said that you could sum up my priorities in just three letters, N-H-S.</p> <p>Since then, if anything, the feeling has got stronger.</p> <p>My determination to deliver a first-class, world-class health service – that’s got stronger.</p> <p>My determination to make sure the poorest people get the best care – that’s got stronger.</p> <p>My determination to protect the core principle of the NHS…</p> <p>…that all have access to healthcare regardless of their wealth…that’s got stronger.</p> <p>That’s what fires me – and I know that’s what fires everyone else.</p> <p>We have an institution – a precious idea – that says we are in this together; looking out for each other.</p> <p>So this government will never, ever take risks with the NHS. We will make it better.</p> <p>That’s why, despite all the financial constraints, we are protecting the NHS budget from cuts.</p> <p>This year, and the year after, and the year after that, NHS funding will increase in real terms.</p> <p>What’s more, since we’ve come to office:</p> <p>We have introduced a new cancer drugs fund, helping 2,000 patients get access to drugs they would have previously been denied.</p> <p>We have cut the number of times a patient has been placed in mixed-sex accommodation without justification by half.</p> <p>We have kept up the pressure on hospital-acquired infections, reducing the number of cases of MRSA and C Difficile.</p> <p>And for the first time in a long time, we have made sure the number of doctors in our NHS is growing while the number of bureaucrats is actually falling.</p> <p>But I know that some people still have concerns.</p> <p>They might be listening to this and thinking…</p> <p>…OK, but if you love the NHS so much, if you don’t want to take any risks with it, why do you want to change it?</p> <p>But this is the point:</p> <p>It’s because I love the NHS so much that I want to change it…</p> <p>…because the fact is the NHS needs to change.</p> <p>It needs to change to make it work better today and it needs to change to avoid a crisis tomorrow.</p> <p>Let me take each of those points in turn.</p> <h3>Change needed today</h3> <p>First, we need change to make it work better today.</p> <p>I know that as soon as I say this there’ll be people lining up, accusing me of talking down the NHS.</p> <p>I’ll say it again – I love the NHS.</p> <p>And yes, in many ways the NHS is providing the best service it ever has.</p> <p>Waiting times for tests and treatments have dropped dramatically and access to cutting edge technologies like primary angioplasty is becoming common-place, saving thousands of lives.</p> <p>But I’m sorry – I just do not think we do anyone any favours…</p> <p>…not the patients who use our health service, the professionals who work in it or the taxpayers who pay for it…</p> <p>…if we deny that there are problems with the way the NHS works today.</p> <p>I’ve been to hospitals and surgeries up and down the country…</p> <p>…I’ve spoken to consultants, nurses, midwives, physios, GPs…</p> <p>….I receive a vast mailbag from patients, both as a constituency MP and as Prime Minister…</p> <p>…and this is the resounding message I’ve got:</p> <p>“Yes, we love the NHS but yes, there are some real problems.”</p> <p>There’s the problem of waste and inefficiency.</p> <p>This isn’t just about the one-off cases we’ve all read about…</p> <p>…like the £400,000 one health authority spent on a yacht.</p> <p>It’s the way the system can encourage over-spending.</p> <p>If a hospital doesn’t balance its books, year after year…</p> <p>…then that hospital will be bailed out and subsidised by the surpluses taken from other hospitals which have kept within their budget.</p> <p>If there is one health authority that invests money into the prevention of diseases like diabetes…</p> <p>…and another that is poor at prevention, has poor quality outcomes and overspends…</p> <p>…then money is snatched from the former to prop up the latter.</p> <p>Then there’s the problem of too much top-down control, stopping doctors and nurses from doing what they know is best.</p> <p>Today we have the situation where a GP and an orthopaedic surgeon can both see an elderly person having problems walking…</p> <p>…both recommend a knee operation…</p> <p>…and both be over-ruled by someone who has never met the patient.</p> <p>We have a commissioning process where a tier of management, who sit above doctors, are in charge.</p> <p>Yes, these managers do important and valuable work.</p> <p>But they’re not on the frontline so sometimes, they don’t know precisely what local patients need.</p> <p>Don’t take my word for it.</p> <p>Last year, the Health Select Committee said “Primary Care Trust commissioning is widely regarded as the weakest link in the English NHS”, citing their “lack of clinical knowledge” in particular.</p> <p>This is what top-down control is doing to our NHS – and I believe it should change.</p> <p>Then there’s the inflexibility of the NHS – and this is what frustrates so many patients, and indeed nurses and doctors.</p> <p>The mother who wants to give birth in the big county hospital but have her scans done more locally…</p> <p>…she’s told no – because of the contracting arrangements between different hospitals she’s got to go where she’s told.</p> <p>The woman who needs surgery, who knows there’s a great private hospital just down the road, where they’ll do her operation at NHS standards and at NHS costs…</p> <p>…but she’s told no – she’s got to go to a specific NHS hospital, that could be miles away, because that’s where she was seen before.</p> <p>I was sat in a surgery in Birmingham last week, listening to the doctor explain that he has world-class physiotherapists in the same building…</p> <p>…but he can’t refer his patients to them because the current system stopped it.</p> <p>This is frustrating enough, but add to it to the lack of co-ordination and integration.</p> <p>Modern healthcare needs to be joined up, but we have a system today where different nurses and doctors sometimes have to start from scratch when they each see the same patient.</p> <p>We have a system where different elements of a patient’s care – primary or secondary – can occur in isolation to one another.</p> <p>This doesn’t just cause stress and inconvenience, it’s just not conducive to delivering the best quality healthcare possible.</p> <p>And quite apart from these frustrations, patients also have to tolerate disparities in the service offered in one part of the country to another.</p> <p>Whether it’s the quality of care people experience, the type of treatment available, or the outcomes achieved…</p> <p>…too much comes down to luck and where people live.</p> <p>In Britain today, we have some great, world-leading, groundbreaking hospitals.</p> <p>Take the Royal Marsden, which will soon go live with CyberKnife, the latest in radiotherapy technology.</p> <p>But in other hospitals, in other parts of our country, patients are treated with much less sophisticated equipment.</p> <p>And in some parts of the UK, you are three times more likely to die of a stroke than in others.</p> <p>I don’t think people should have to put up with this unfairness.</p> <p>We have a duty to do what we can to close the gap between the best and the rest.</p> <p>As Lord Darzi, the last government’s Health Minister, said: we need to ensure high quality care for all.</p> <p>Now some people say that some inefficiency, some hassle, some disparity in service are just the price you pay for a health system like ours.</p> <p>But look abroad and you’ll see that’s not the case.</p> <p>I’ve listened to doctors and I know how much they care about getting good outcomes – and I know the statistics tell a better picture than we in this country sometimes get credit for.</p> <p>We’re getting better, and in some cases we’re closing the gap with our European neighbours, but we’ve still got some way to go.</p> <p>If we had cancer survival rates at the average in Europe, we’d save 5,000 lives a year.</p> <p>If we had respiratory disease care equivalent to the average in Europe, we’d save 2,000 lives a year.</p> <p>If we could prevent and treat chronic liver disease and cirrhosis as well as the European average, we could save 550 lives a year.</p> <p>We’re approaching the European average spending on health.</p> <p>I just think it’s time we had the confidence to say we should have some of the best health outcomes in Europe too.</p> <p>Saying this doesn’t make you anti-NHS…</p> <p>…it makes you pro-NHS – because you want to make things better for everyone.</p> <h3>Modernise today or crisis tomorrow</h3> <p>So that’s the first reason we need change – to make the NHS better today.</p> <p>The second reason is that if we don’t modernise now, we face a crisis tomorrow.</p> <p>The NHS is facing enormous financial pressures in the years ahead – driven by rising demand and the cost of new drugs and technologies.</p> <p>Let’s take demand first.</p> <p>That’s in part down to the achievement of our health system – people are living longer.</p> <p>For the first time ever there are more pensioners in this country than children under 16.</p> <p>And the number of people aged over 85 is set to double in the next twenty years.</p> <p>Just think about what that will mean.</p> <p>Every hour the NHS deals with more than 25,000 people…</p> <p>…think how many of them are elderly, and then consider with our population ageing at the rate it is…</p> <p>…how those numbers could rise dramatically.</p> <p>And the type of care and treatment they need is changing too.</p> <p>In the old days, healthcare was often about lifesaving treatment at a moment of crisis.</p> <p>So, responding medically to heart attacks and strokes. Treatments for diseases like cancer.</p> <p>Today, the big killers of the past are becoming the lifelong conditions of the future.</p> <p>Between 1978 and 2008, the death rate from coronary heart disease fell by over seventy-five percent.</p> <p>That is fantastic news for families – indeed for our whole country – but there are clear financial implications.</p> <p>Already three quarters of the health and care budget goes on long term chronic conditions – and the pressure is going to get bigger.</p> <p>In just eight years, the number of people with three or more long-term health conditions is set to rise by thirty per cent.</p> <p>Indeed, by 2050, the number of over sixty-fives with one or more long term conditions is expected to rise by 252 per cent.</p> <p>But these demands on our health service are not just driven by an ageing population.</p> <p>For while we are living longer, in many ways we are also becoming less healthy.</p> <p>Obesity and poor diets. Drug and alcohol abuse. These public health challenges are getting bigger and bigger.</p> <p>Take obesity: it already costs our NHS a staggering £4 billion a year.</p> <p>But within four years, that figure’s expected to rise to £6.3 billion.</p> <p>Already we can see the impact of all these rising pressures.</p> <p>For example, 2, 700 more planned operations are carried out on a typical day than was the case just four years ago.</p> <p>That is the truth of the rising demand the NHS is facing.</p> <p>But it’s not just increasing demand. It’s also about the rising cost of treatment.</p> <p>The overall cost of medicines has been growing on average by nearly £600 million a year.</p> <p>A lot of this is driven by new treatments coming on stream.</p> <p>Ten years ago no one had heard of the cancer drug herceptin.</p> <p>Now it is widely available for the women who need it – at a cost of almost £100 million a year.</p> <p>For diabetes, the cost of newer treatments meant drug costs rose by £200 million over five years – that’s an increase of forty-two percent.</p> <p>Timely interventions with effective new drugs and treatments can of course save money.</p> <p>But when a new gene test can costs thousands and when robots costing millions are increasingly the right option for complicated surgery, the pressure on costs far outstrips any potential efficiencies.</p> <p>And it’s not just the pressure from the increasing use of existing technologies.</p> <p>Right now scientists are working on artificial limbs that are controlled by thought alone.</p> <p>Breathalyzers that can diagnose disease with one puff.</p> <p>Kidneys grown in laboratories from stem cells.</p> <p>A world class health service demands these advances.</p> <p>Our NHS and its patients should get them.</p> <p>But that will only happen if we find a sustainable way to deal with the rising costs.</p> <p>Sticking with the status quo and hoping we can get by with a bit more money is simply not an option.</p> <p>If we stay as we are, the NHS will need £130 billion a year by 2015 – meaning a potential funding gap of £20 billion.</p> <p>The question is, what are we going to do about that:</p> <p>Ignore it?</p> <p>No – because we’d see a crisis of funding in the NHS, over-crowded wards and fewer treatments.</p> <p>Borrow more so we can chuck more money at it?</p> <p>No – because we can’t afford to.</p> <p>Ask people to start paying at the point of delivery for it?</p> <p>No – because as I said, the NHS must always be free to those who need it.</p> <p>There’s only one option we’ve got – and that is to change and modernise the NHS…</p> <p>…to make it more efficient and more effective – and above all, more focused on prevention, on health, not just sickness.</p> <p>We save the NHS by changing it.</p> <p>We risk its long-term future by resisting change now.</p> <p>Deep down even Ed Miliband knows this.</p> <p>That’s why he said “to create an ever better health service, change will be essential.”</p> <h3>Listening exercise</h3> <p>So this is the consensus: no change is not an option.</p> <p>But we have to make sure it is the right change, delivered in the right way.</p> <p>Change needs to go to the heart of the current problems I have described…</p> <p>…and the future challenges I have set out.</p> <p>It must tackle the waste and the bureaucracy by reducing the overlapping layers we have today.</p> <p>It must put the patient centre stage, giving them choices and chances that they are currently denied.</p> <p>It must promote prevention and a healthier nation, which must mean giving GPs…</p> <p>…who are our first contact with the system and have a good understanding of their area’s health needs…</p> <p>…a wider role.</p> <p>It must tackle the longstanding and damaging divide between health and social care, including the bed blocking that still afflicts so many of our hospitals.</p> <p>It must assist with the challenge to increase efficiency, raise productivity and keep costs down so we can go on meeting everyone’s needs.</p> <p>Change must do all these things…</p> <p>…but change – if it is to endure, to really work – should have the support of people who work in our NHS.</p> <p>We have to take our nurses and doctors with us.</p> <p>They provide the care, they know what’s best for patients…</p> <p>…so we want to work with them, not against them.</p> <p>Already, a significant number are on board with what we propose.</p> <p>Last week, GPs representing 1,100 practices across England, caring for over seven million patients, wrote to The Daily Telegraph expressing their wholehearted support for our reforms to commissioning arrangements…</p> <p>…arguing they will benefit the most vulnerable in society.</p> <p>But we recognise that many doctors and nurses have concerns about what we’re doing.</p> <p>That’s why at the beginning of last month, we decided we should pause, listen, reflect on and improve our NHS modernisation plans.</p> <p>And since then, that’s what we have been doing.</p> <p>In the past six weeks, I’ve sat with staff in hospitals in Frimley, Reading and Darlington…</p> <p>…have held events in the country’s largest hospitals like the Queen Elizabeth in Birmingham and smaller ones like Chipping Norton too…</p> <p>…and had meetings with voluntary bodies, community care providers and GPs.</p> <p>What’s more the NHS Future Forum, the independent organisation charged with overseeing the listening process…</p> <p>…and which is led by Professor Steve Field and includes other eminent clinicians, patient advocates and voluntary sector representatives…</p> <p>…has met more than 4,000 people.</p> <p>These meetings have been open, frank, productive – above all meaningful.</p> <p>We are listening – and we will make substantive changes to improve the reforms, based on what we hear.</p> <p>I do not want to pre-empt what those changes will be.</p> <p>The NHS Future Forum is due to report its recommendations at the beginning of next month, and we will issue our response later in June.</p> <p>But it is clear for example, that when people working in our hospitals hear the term ‘GP commissioning’, they worry it’s only GPs that are going to be involved in making decisions.</p> <p>Now that’s not the case, but I agree we need hospital doctors and nurses to be much more closely engaged in commissioning.</p> <p>But whatever the results from this listening exercise, let me be clear about the reform package that will emerge:</p> <p>There will be choice for patients, not competition for its own sake.</p> <p>Innovation and improvement, not breaking up efficient and integrated care.</p> <p>It will be evolutionary, not revolutionary.</p> <p>Our changes are a logical extension of tried-and-tested policies initiated by governments of all parties in recent years.</p> <p>Clinical commissioning has existed in one form or another for the past two decades.</p> <p>Payment by results, and Foundation Trusts, for the best part of the past decade.</p> <p>Working with others from the independent sector too – that’s not new either.</p> <p>The NHS has a long history of this – be it with social enterprises, charities or private companies…</p> <p>…and the last government in particular understood the importance of introducing an element of choice to drive up standards.</p> <p>The difference is that we plan to make these changes effective across our NHS.</p> <p>As I said: evolution, not revolution.</p> <p>That’s why, when I think about what our NHS will look like in five years time, I don’t picture some space-age institution, a million miles away from what we have now.</p> <p>Let me make clear: there will be no privatisation…</p> <p>…there will be no cherry-picking from private providers…</p> <p>…there will be no new upfront costs people have to pay to get care.</p> <p>Absolutely not. These are red lines we will not cross.</p> <p>Instead, our NHS will be much like what we have today.</p> <p>The values and ethos of our NHS that you care so much about – and Andrew Lansley and I care so much about…</p> <p>…they will still be there.</p> <p>You’ll still be able to call your local surgery, and speak to a receptionist you know to book an appointment with a GP you trust.</p> <p>You’ll still be able to go through the doors of an A&amp;E in an emergency, and be seen by a nurse or doctor quickly and effectively.</p> <p>Your parents will still get the healthcare they need, from specialists and nurses on wards or in their homes.</p> <p>And let me repeat: all this will still be free, to those who need it, when they need it.</p> <p>It will be the NHS you love and recognise – only better.</p> <p>You will have much greater choice of where you are treated, and how you are treated.</p> <p>You’ll also see much greater co-ordination and integration between nurses and doctors and between surgeries and hospitals</p> <p>So if you have diabetes, professionals will work closely together with you to manage your condition from diagnosis onwards.</p> <p>In our NHS, nurses and doctors won’t be passengers, they will be drivers, supported by managers rather than in conflict with them.</p> <p>They understand the needs of patients, they know what’s needed…</p> <p>…so they will have new powers to transform patient care in a way that’s simply never been possible before….</p> <p>…they will have the money and the freedom to complement their expertise and knowledge.</p> <p>So if local GPs see that there is a significant need for more respiratory services in their local area, they will be able to organise local clinics for their patients…</p> <p>…rather than making them travel to a hospital miles away.</p> <p>If nurses feel that they can deliver better care to autistic children in partnership with a local charity, they will find it much easier to make this happen.</p> <p>Ours is a vision of a stronger, more responsive NHS.</p> <p>An NHS with consistent, high quality care for all – instead of just pockets of excellence.</p> <p>An NHS which addresses the full needs of each person – of their physical and mental health…</p> <p>…rather than offering a piecemeal or patchwork approach.</p> <p>An NHS free-from-political control, where what matters is the care you receive not the headlines governments get…</p> <p>…where a new and independent National Commissioning Board, staffed with senior doctors and professionals, takes responsibility for what services are provided, outcomes are achieved and how well money is spent.</p> <p>A genuine National Health Service, rather than a National Sickness Service…</p> <p>…with a greater focus on outcomes and on improving public health – so people don’t get sick and ill in the first place.</p> <p>A NHS which makes people healthy – and keeps them healthy.</p> <h3>Conclusion</h3> <p>Let me end by saying this.</p> <p>It’s been a year since the coalition came together in the national interest.</p> <p>And we take those two words – national interest – very seriously.</p> <p>We are two different parties, with different identities, bound by one common cause – to do what is good for the country.</p> <p>And we don’t just have the will…</p> <p>… with a full five year Parliament to work with, we also have the opportunity to really tackle the long-term problems that have dogged our country.</p> <p>So that’s what we’re doing.</p> <p>Clearly cutting the deficit isn’t pain-free – but it’s in our country’s interest to bring sense to our public finances.</p> <p>Reforming welfare isn’t easy – but it’s right that as we help those who genuinely cannot work, we make sure those who can, do.</p> <p>Changing our education system isn’t popular with some parts of the establishment – but we have to do it if we’re going to give every child the best start in life.</p> <p>And it’s that commitment to act in the national interest which means we will also modernise our NHS.</p> <p>Believe me, it would have been so easy for me to stand on a platform like this and pretend – everything is fine, we can carry on as we are, nothing needs to change.</p> <p>But that would be a complete dereliction of duty.</p> <p>It would run completely counter to the purpose of this coalition – to act in our country’s interest.</p> <p>Sticking with the status quo is not an option.</p> <p>That may not be easy on the ear, but it’s the truth.</p> <p>The NHS needs to change – so that’s what we’ll do.</p> <p>Working with professionals, taking time to listen and improve our proposals…</p> <p>…we will make sure we build a strong, sustainable and better NHS…</p> <p>…free to all who need it.</p> <p>That’s my commitment. That’s my promise. That’s what acting in the national interest means.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Health</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Health Reform</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">NHS</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron PM’s speech on the NHS Monday 16 May 2011 Prime Minister's Office Ealing Hospital restating the case for change
<p>A transcript of a statement given by Prime Minister David Cameron and Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chairman of the Libyan Interim National Transitional Council (NTC) on Thursday 12 May, 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p><strong>PRIME MINISTER</strong></p> <p>Thank you.  I would like to welcome Chairman Abdul Jalil to Number 10 Downing Street, and also his colleagues from the National Transitional Council.  We’ve had important talks this morning, including with the National Security Council, about events in Libya and how we can build the future that the Libyan people deserve.  I’ve been struck again today by the resolve and bravery of Abdul Jalil and those he represents in standing up to a tyrant who is still today killing innocent people in Libya.  The world stands in awe of the sacrifice people have been prepared to make in Benghazi, in Misrata, and in the western mountains and elsewhere, to seek the freedoms that we all take for granted. </p> <p>In our military action, in coordination with our coalition partners, Britain is committed to implementing UNSCR 1973 and protecting civilians in Libya.  At the same time, we have made it clear that it is impossible to imagine a real future for Libya with Gaddafi in power, and we will continue to support the development of an open, democratic and free Libya.  In this endeavour, the National Transitional Council is the legitimate political interlocutor in Libya and Britain’s primary partner there.  Just as Gaddafi can have no part in the political transition that lies ahead, it is clear that the National Transitional Council will play a leading role. </p> <p>They represent the future of Libya as much as Gaddafi represents its past, a citizens’ movement born out of the struggle of the people of Libya to defend themselves against Gaddafi’s war machine.  This is a movement that did not exist three months ago.  With each week that passes, the Council is getting better organized, is getting more support, is getting stronger, while the regime is getting weaker.  The Council’s road map I believe offers a compelling vision of an open and democratic future.  The United Kingdom has close ties to the Council through our mission in Benghazi.  Our diplomatic team and our military advisers have already coordinated a range of support, including the supply of 1,000 sets of body armour, satellite telephones and humanitarian aid, including funding the evacuation of 4,000 people from Misrata and providing 30 metric tonnes of medical and emergency food supplies to that besieged town. </p> <p>In addition, I can today announce a package of measures to strengthen further our cooperation with the Council.  First, the government is today inviting the Council to establish a formal office here in London.  Second, in parallel to this, we will further enhance the UK presence in Benghazi, with specialists who will form the core of an international stabilization response team to Benghazi to advise and assist the Council on its longer-term needs.  Third, we are now completing plans to transfer several million pounds’ worth of equipment to the police in Benghazi.  We will also provide new support to improve the National Transitional Council’s public broadcasting capacities. </p> <p>Finally, I am very pleased today that the enhanced UK effort in Benghazi will now be led by John Jenkins as the UK’s new special representative to the National Transitional Council.  Mr Chairman, these steps signal our very clear intent to work with you and your colleagues to ensure that Libya has a safe and stable future free from the tyranny of the Gaddafi regime.  We will work with you to ensure that the international community increases the diplomatic, the economic and the military pressure on this bankrupt regime.  I am very happy to welcome you to Downing Street today and proud to stand alongside you in your struggle for an open, free and decent future for the people of Libya.  Thank you.</p> <p><strong>ABDUL JALIL</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much, Mr Prime Minister. Peace be with you. The delegation and I have come here to this country to express our thanks and gratitude to the British people and their government for their discipline and moral stand and to explain to the British people that we are in the right and that the stand of the British government, with its constituent parties and even the opposition in this country, which supports our rebellion.</p> <p>This stand was not based on any benefit the British government may derive from this support but it is in the first instance a humanitarian position and it is a moral stand. This is not unknown for the British government and people to take such a stand. The British government and people played a major role in the independence of Libya in 1951. The cultural and administrative help that Britain gave was a very important factor in the 60s. The Libyan people will never forget British Council officers within Libyan territory and its effective role in spreading culture among the Libyan people. This moral and humanitarian stand by Mr Cameron’s government, with its constituent coalition parties, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, and even the opposition parties – this is a stand that derives its strength from the British people and I assure you that you will never regret taking this stand. </p> <p>I have come here to express my thanks and gratitude to the British government and people for their support and I appreciate what the Prime Minister has said in terms of increasing military support through NATO and through the decisions and resolutions by the international community in terms of providing protection for civilians. And also the Prime Minister talked about economic help in accordance with the law because we are a people of law and we respect the law. I thank you all and peace be with you. I have invited the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary to visit us in Libya and we will be happy to see them there. Peace be with you.</p> <p><strong>PRIME MINISTER</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Thank you very much indeed.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Interim National Transitional Council</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Libya</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Mustafa Abdul Jalil</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Statement between the PM and the Chairman of the Libyan NTC Thursday 12 May 2011 Prime Minister's Office unknown
<p><img class="alignright size-full wp-image-63657" style="margin: 5px; border: black 1px solid;" title="lawrence-gonzi-david-cameron" src="" alt="Prime Minister David Cameron welcomes Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi to number 10" width="300" height="210">Prime Minister David Cameron has welcomed Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi to Number 10 on Tuesday 10 May, 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript of their opening remarks:</h3> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Well, it’s great to welcome my friend Lawrence, the Maltese Prime Minister, here to Number 10 Downing Street.  We work very closely together in the European Union, and I think we have a lot to discuss today.</p> <p>First of all, I’d like to thank Prime Minister Gonzi and everyone in Malta for the huge help that you gave to help with the evacuation of British citizens from Libya.  We really are grateful for the very rapid cooperation and coordination that you helped to provide, and I’m sure today we will want to talk not just about European issues and trade issues and bilateral issues, but also what we can do to help make progress in North Africa and the relations we have with the countries of North Africa.  I think your experience and knowledge and relationships will really help us to understand that region better.</p> <p>So I’m looking forward to our discussions today, but most of all you’re very welcome here in London.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much, David.  It is a pleasure to be here.  It’s an opportunity to emphasise once again the very strong relationship that exists between Malta and the United Kingdom.  It is a relationship that goes back a long number of years, but that has strengthened since joining the European Union.  It has brought us together.  I am looking at the opportunity to continue to grow and to look also at seeing the business relationship and the commercial relationship between our two countries.  There’s important items on the European Union agenda which we need to discuss as well, and I look forward to continuing to do this in the future.  Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Malta</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron PM welcomes Prime Minister Gonzi to Number 10 Wednesday 11 May 2011 Prime Minister's Office Number 10
<p>Prime Minister David Cameron has welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Number 10 on 4 May 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Well, it’s great to welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu to Number 10 Downing Street.  Britain is a good friend of Israel and our support for Israel and Israel’s security is something I have described in the past and will do so again as unshakeable.  We are strong friends of Israel.</p> <p>We think, though, now there is a real opportunity with the end of Bin Laden, with the Arab Spring, with all that’s happening in the world, we think this is a moment of opportunity to continue the work to defeat terrorism in our world, to continue the expansion of democracy, civil rights and freedom across the Middle East and North Africa, and we also believe an opportunity to push forward the process of peace between Israel and Palestine.</p> <p>And those are some of the issues we will be talking about tonight.  I think while there are all sorts of uncertainties in your part of the world and all sorts of difficulties and dangers, I think it’s also a time of great opportunity and opportunity that I hope we’ll be able to seize and to push forward a peace process.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister Netanyahu</strong></p> <p>Well, thank you.  It’s very good to see you again, David.  We met before the elections and we spoke a number of times on the phones since we both took office.  I look forward to the opportunity to discuss about how we achieve precisely the goals that you talked about.</p> <p>In the time that passed since our last meeting, we have had an enormous convulsion in the Middle East and there is a great struggle now underway between the forces of democracy and moderation and the forces of tyranny and terror.  I think the fate of the Middle East and the fate of peace hangs in the balance.  Which force wins out?  You have taken a resolute stand against tyranny and terror in such places as Iran and Libya.  We respect that and appreciate it, and we think that moral clarity and political clarity can ensure that these voices win out and that peace wins out.  I look forward to discussing with you how we can proceed to this common goal with our Palestinian neighbours and in the region at large.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Thank you.  Thank you very much.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Israel</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron PM welcomes Prime Minister Netanyahu to Number 10 Wednesday 4 May 2011 Prime Minister's Office Number 10
<p>A transcript of a statement given by Prime Minister David Cameron and the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Thursday 28 April 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p>PRIME MINISTER</p> <p>Welcome.  It’s great to have Julia Gillard, the Australian Prime Minister, here at Number 10 Downing Street.  The relationship between Britain and Australia is strong and gets stronger all the time.  I was very proud of the fact that my Foreign Secretary went to Australia and had very good meetings with you.  Last year, we met at the G20 and worked together in that forum, and I think there are lots of things we can talk about and work together on, particularly issues like Afghanistan, where our troops are both serving together, as they did in Iraq, and obviously we want to discuss some of the issues, like Libya, that are current, and some of the trading and economic issues, and I am going to be very interested to hear Prime Minister Gillard’s impressions of your tour round the Far East, to us, but the back yard to you, which we are very much – you know, very interesting travels you have been having, and interesting to discuss those. </p> <p>PRIME MINISTER JULIA GILLARD<br> Thank you very much.  It’s great to be here, and I am very much looking forward to discussing not only all of those things but the run up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting too, in Perth later this year.  So, a big agenda to pursue.  Thank you.</p> <p>PRIME MINISTER<br> There’s something that’s happening tomorrow, which I think we are both quite excited about.  I just drove down the Mall, and you can see there are quite a lot of British people there – quite a lot of Aussies too – who are camping out for the night.</p> <p>PRIME MINISTER JULIA GILLARD<br> I got to exchange a few waves on the way, so it was good fun.  Thank you very much.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Australia</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Statement between the PM and Australian Prime Minister Thursday 28 April 2011 Prime Minister's Office unknown
<p>A transcript of a statement given by Prime Minister David Cameron and the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on Tuesday 26 April 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p>PRIME MINISTER</p> <p>It’s very good to welcome John Key, the New Zealand Prime Minister, here to Number 10 Downing Street.  As well as being a great Prime Minister and showing strong leadership of your country, he’s also a good friend to me and also to the UK.  And it’s great to have you here.</p> <p>Obviously it’s the first time we’ve seen each other face-to-face since the Christchurch earthquake.  I just want to say again how the condolences and sympathy of everyone in Britain is with the people of New Zealand.  And not only though feeling those condolences, but also huge admiration for the grit and determination that people have shown in putting that great city back together and putting people’s lives back together.</p> <p>We’ve got a lot to discuss this evening.  We’re obviously going to talk about the situation in Libya, where we’ve got to turn up the pressure on Colonel Gaddafi, militarily, diplomatically, politically.  But also I think we should discuss the situation in Afghanistan, where New Zealand troops are serving so bravely, and I’m sure we have many other issues, economic and political, we want to discuss – and maybe a word or two about that event on Friday that I know John is looking forward to almost as much as I am.</p> <p>PRIME MINISTER JOHN KEY</p> <p>Indeed.  Great.  David, look, obviously can I thank you for taking time to see us this evening.  I know it’s a busy week for you and we very much appreciate that.  The second thing is, can I thank the British people for their support for Christchurch.  Your Search and Rescue team were absolutely outstanding and you sent a large contingent that helped us.  Today we’ve been at a number of fundraising events for Christchurch, so the people of England are digging deep and we very much appreciate that.</p> <p>As you say, there are many things to discuss and we look forward to doing that, but most of all it’s great to catch up with you and to formally congratulate you as Prime Minister because I don’t think we’ve actually seen each other face-to-face since you’ve taken the mantle, so well done.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">New Zealand</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Statement between the PM and New Zealand Prime Minister Tuesday 26 April 2011 Prime Minister's Office unknown
<p>Prime Minister David Cameron’s remarks with the Taoiseach of Ireland Enda Kenny in Number 10 on 18 April 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much.  It’s great to have the Taoiseach here.  Enda Kenny and I, I know, are going to work together extremely closely.  I think we have a lot of closely shared interests: obviously the economic situations in both our countries we need to work together very, very closely; we’re both facing a situation where we need to see our economies grow; we have to deal with deficits and debts and I admire very much the decisions the Taoiseach is having to take in Ireland. </p> <p>Obviously regarding the security agenda – a very, very close co-operation has taken place – I don’t think it’s ever been better.  We need to work on that and make sure that continues to be the case.  I think the response of everyone – North and South – to the terrible murder of the police officer recently has been extremely positive and we will continue to work together.  And then obviously there are lots of shared interests particularly like the Queen’s visit coming up which I think is going to be a great moment for both our countries and I’m excited about coming to join in on that as well. </p> <p><strong>Taoiseach of Ireland </strong></p> <p>Well, I’d like to say I’ve met with the Prime Minister on a number of occasions at Council meetings in Brussels.  He sent an invitation for me to come over here; I’m privileged to be in Downing Street.  Obviously we have a number of issues that we do want to discuss together.  Security is an issue; I can testify as the Prime Minister has said, of the exceptionally high level – in fact, unprecedented level of co-operation – between the PSNI and the Garda that will continue.  Obviously some great work has been done.  The symbolism of what happened following the killing of Constable Ronan Kerr was so powerful that the entire island of Ireland, on all sides of the political divide, supporting organisations and all the churches have said we do not want any more of this; we are not going back to those dark days and the statement by the Prime Minister was very powerful indeed and we will continue that level of co-operation in dealing with those who might want to have a return to days of violence.</p> <p>In respect of Europe, obviously we’ve been working together at Heads of Europe meetings and we’ll continue that.  The links between Ireland and Britain for so many years – in trade, in business, in social contact – is something that we want to work on.  And in terms of the European Union there is a decision that we have to make as a country now faced with an enormous challenge, one that we have a mandate to deliver on, having a government of the strongest mandate in the history of our country.  Obviously the people want that sorted out and we want to do that with a sense of courage and with fairness and to rebuild the connections with our colleagues in Europe, particularly here in Britain.  So I’m very happy to be here.</p> <p>We’re going to discuss the historic visit and the unprecedented visit of the Queen, first of a reigning monarch in 100 years to Ireland.  And I can assure you Prime Minister that the vast majority of Irish people will warmly receive the Queen on her visit and I think it’s a very good programme.  It’s very well chosen and we look forward indeed to her coming – one of the few countries that she hasn’t had the opportunity to visit in the 26 counties during her long reign as Queen of England.  So we’re going to go through a few of those things and I look forward to that.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Ireland</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron PM’s remarks with Taoiseach Enda Kenny Monday 18 April 2011 Prime Minister's Office Number 10
<p>A transcript of a press conference given by Prime Minister David Cameron and the Prime Minister of Poland in London on 18 April 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript:</h3> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much.  Well, it’s great to welcome my friend, Donald Tusk, the Polish Prime Minister to Number 10 Downing Street.  We’ve had very warm and strong and excellent discussions over lunch here covering a range of issues. </p> <p>We agreed to work together very closely in the European Union where we share a similar perspective about the need for greater competition, greater deregulation and a real push to make Europe a high growth rather than a slow growth area of the world. </p> <p>We had very good discussions about what is happening in Libya and North Africa and across the Arab world where we agree that Europe should make a strong and welcoming response to the Arab Spring, but of course this shouldn’t reduce in any way in the important work Europe does with its Eastern neighbours and partners to encourage democracy and development there as well. </p> <p>We also discussed our strong shared interest in NATO and in what is happening in Afghanistan where both Poland and Britain are making a huge contribution, and we agreed to work together for a successful outcome. </p> <p>And we also discussed the bilateral relationship between Britain and Poland, which I think is very strong based on shared interests, shared history and also many people from Poland who make a huge contribution living here in Britain. </p> <p>And of course as Donald follows Arsenal some of the time we had a discussion about the football match last night.</p> <p><strong>Polish Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much for the warm welcome.  It is true that today during the meeting one could see very clearly that, similarly to the meetings of the European Council, our perspective on things that are important for your country and our country are very similar. </p> <p>When we discussed the situation in our country, Europe, in North Africa, we could see very clearly that our perspective is very similar.  First of all, both of us believe very strongly in the sense of freedom and we also can see very similar perspectives when we talk about the need of a true single market in the European Union, and when we can talk also about the understanding for our aspirations of the Arab nations during the Arab Spring, because those two issues are combined very clearly about one big headline of freedom. </p> <p>And we also believe both of us in, some may say, old-fashioned values, like for example, responsibility and discipline, especially when we speak about public money. </p> <p>And we also talked about the need of solidarity, for example, in terms of our membership in NATO or presence in Afghanistan.  When people share views it is easier also to fulfil different issues pertaining to interests because sometimes interests differ, but views bring us together. </p> <p>We are also people who understand perfectly well that on the eve of Poland’s presidency in the European Union it is very important for us, for Poland to get engaged in the southern neighbourhood of the European Union, mainly in the region of North Africa.  What was very important for me was the declaration of the British Prime Minister when he talked about the necessity of the continued investment in the future of Eastern partnership.  For both of us it is very clear that those two dimensions are not competitive but they are complementary.</p> <p>So thank you very much for this meeting because it reconfirmed the sense of cooperation and also our friendship, both personal friendship and also the friendship between the countries.</p> <p>And I am also glad that in peace the United Kingdom was also able to play the role of the host country for thousands and thousands of Polish people who came here to look for their opportunities.  Thank you. </p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Donald Tusk</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">European Union</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Libya</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Poland</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Polish Prime Minister</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Press Conference with Polish Prime Minister Monday 18 April 2011 Prime Minister's Office unknown
<p>Prime Minister David Cameron speaking about the situation in Libya ahead of his meeting with President Sarkozy in Paris on 13 April 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p><strong>Prime Minister<br></strong>The reason for being here in Paris tonight is that Britain and the France are at the heart of this coalition, and with President Sarkozy I’m going to be sitting down and making sure we leave absolutely no stone unturned in doing everything we can militarily, diplomatically, politically, to enforce the UN Resolution, to put real pressure on Qadhafi, and to stop the appalling murder of civilians that he is still carrying out, as you’ve shown on our television screens, in Misrata and elsewhere in Libya.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong><br> The first British TV team did get into Misrata; children being killed by mortars and no sign of NATO. That’s not protecting the civilians, is it, in Misrata?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister<br></strong>Well, it is appalling what Qadhafi is doing in Misrata. He is murdering his own citizens, including children. The orders come directly from him. But NATO has taken steps; we have destroyed dozens of tanks and other armoured vehicles around Misrata. We’re taking action, but today here in Paris I’ll be talking with President Sarkozy about what more we can do: how can we help the opposition, how can we make more military pressure through NATO, what we can do to target this regime and the dreadful things that they’re doing. And also, yes, there has to be a political process in the future as well. All of those issues, we’re going to be absolutely on top of them and making sure we do everything we can to enforce the will of the UN and to stop Qadhafi.</p> <p><strong>Question<br></strong>Do you think we are at a stalemate in this, and what concrete steps can you do to help the opposition?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister<br></strong>Well, the picture changes frequently, but the point I would make: we have prevented a massacre in Benghazi, we’ve actually helped people in Misrata, and Misrata is not controlled by Qadhafi, partly because of what NATO and British forces have done destroying regime tanks, other vehicles, artillery pieces and the rest of it. But I want to make sure we’re doing everything that we can. So that is, working through NATO but working with our French allies at the heart of this coalition, and asking what can we do militarily, politically, diplomatically; everything we can to bolster those who are trying to defend people in Libya and who want a new future for that country and doing everything we can to stop Qadhafi.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Libya</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Transcript of the PM’s interview on situation in Libya Wednesday 13 April 2011 Prime Minister's Office Libya
<p>The Government has today launched a “listening exercise” to hear the public’s views on NHS modernisation.</p> <h3>Read the transcript:</h3> <p>[Check against delivery]</p> <p>We’re here today to talk about the NHS and its future.</p> <p>What our reforms mean, why we’re doing them and how we want to involve NHS professionals in making them work.</p> <p>Before we get into the detail I want to say this.</p> <p>I believe passionately in the NHS.</p> <p>And for me – I make no apologies about this – this is a very personal thing.</p> <p>I know what it is to rely on our health service, to put the people you love in the hands of our brilliant doctors and nurses, to arrive at a hospital in the middle of the night and know there will be people there to help.</p> <p>We all know why the NHS is our most precious national asset.</p> <p>It’s because in this country we don’t take our credit cards along to A &amp; E.</p> <p>We don’t have the poorest dying of treatable diseases because they can’t afford medical insurance.</p> <p>No. We have an institution – a precious idea – that says we are in this together.</p> <p>So let me say this again: I am in politics not to take risks with the NHS, not to threaten the NHS, but to safeguard and improve the NHS.</p> <p>Now to some people this might beg a question: if you love the NHS so much, why are you so determined to change it?</p> <p>There are two big reasons why we need change.</p> <p>The first is about how the NHS is doing today.</p> <p>We enjoy healthcare in Britain that is the envy of billions around the world.</p> <p>But if our NHS was performing at truly world-class levels, we could save literally hundreds more lives every week.</p> <p>It’s estimated we would save an extra 5000 lives from cancer every year.</p> <p>An extra 2000 lives from respiratory disease every year.</p> <p>These facts alone compel us to modernise and improve our NHS.</p> <p>And the second reason we need change is not about what’s happening today but what’s coming up tomorrow.</p> <p>Every hour more than 25,000 people walk through the doors of a surgery or hospital to get treated and with our population ageing, those numbers are set to rise dramatically. </p> <p>Already the cost of advances in treatments and medicines alone put around £600 million of extra funding pressure on the NHS every year – and those costs are set to rise too.</p> <p>Taken together these pressures threaten a squeeze on NHS resources down the line.</p> <p>So if we want to keep a health service that is truly free at the point of use, not just this year and next year but in the decades to come, then we have got to make the NHS more effective.</p> <p>Pumping in a bit more money and sticking with the status quo just isn’t going to cut it.</p> <p>So no change is not an option and this coalition has set out what we believe the change should be.</p> <p>Shifting money from the back-room to the frontline.</p> <p>Passing decision-making power from bureaucrats to doctors and nurses.</p> <p>Giving patients more choice over where they get treated.</p> <p>And already these changes are having a positive effect.</p> <p>In under a year the number of managers in the NHS has fallen by 3000.</p> <p>The number of doctors has increased by 2500.</p> <p>Thousands of people are able to access life-saving drugs thanks to a new cancer drugs fund.</p> <p>So we are making progress.</p> <p>But we also recognise that there are some big questions about what we’re doing.</p> <p>Doctors and nurses are asking what our plans will mean for them.</p> <p>We hear that – and we want to work with you, not against you.</p> <p>Now that the Health and Social Care Bill has passed through committee stage in the House of Commons, we’ve got a natural break before this legislation reaches its final stages in Parliament.</p> <p>We’re taking this time to pause, listen, reflect on and improve our NHS modernisation plans.</p> <p>Let me be clear: this is a genuine chance to make a difference.</p> <p>Where there are good suggestions to improve the legislation, those changes will be made.</p> <p>But let me be equally clear: the status quo is not OK.</p> <p>Modernisation is not just a good idea to save money and build a better health service it is essential to a strong future for the NHS.</p> <p>I believe passionately in the changes we have set out – but I also know we need the people who work in our NHS to get on board.</p> <p>We will listen and make any necessary changes.</p> <p>So this is my message to you today: let’s work together for a stronger NHS.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">NHS reform</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div 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<p>A transcript of a press conference given by the Prime Minister David Cameron and Prime Minister of Pakistan in Islamabad on 5 April 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript:</h3> <p><strong>Prime Minister Gilani:</strong></p> <p>Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, it gives me a great pleasure to once again very warmly welcome Prime Minister David Cameron, and his delegation, to Pakistan.  Excellency, this is your first visit to Pakistan as Britain’s Prime Minister.  This visit signifies the immense importance of the abiding Pakistan-UK relationship. Our relations are rooted in history and are based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.  Over one million British Pakistanis provide a living bridge between our two countries; they are an asset both for Britain and Pakistan. </p> <p>Today we have formally launched the Pakistan-UK enhanced strategic dialogue.  This is a significant step towards injecting further substance into our relations through regular interaction at the political level by promoting trade and investment, by strengthening our population in education and health sectors, by enhancing people-to-people contact and by creating better understanding of each other’s position on important regional and global issues.  Today we have agreed to increase our bilateral trade to £2.5 billion by 2015, which at present is around £1.2 billion.  We will work with the private sector to achieve this target.  I have informed Prime Minister Cameron that Pakistan offers tremendous trade and investment opportunities for the UK with over 100 companies already doing successful business.  In Pakistan is the best place to take advantage of these opportunities. </p> <p>I thank the Prime Minister for the UK’s very able assistance in the wake of floods last year.  We also greatly value the help in the reconstruction and rehabilitation phase.  We are also very much appreciative of the UK’s partnership, especially in the sectors of education and health.  We also discussed in detail the regional situation.  I briefed the Prime Minister about my recent meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Mohali and the resumption of a dialogue process. </p> <p>We also discussed Afghanistan.  I apprised the Prime Minister of my vision on our brotherly neighbour, Afghanistan.  Achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan is our strategic objective.  In this regard Pakistan will continue supporting Afghan led and Afghan own efforts.</p> <p>Excellency, let me conclude by saying that your visit to Pakistan has added enormous substance to Pakistan-UK relations.  We are committed to further strengthening this relationship in all areas of life.  When it comes to Pakistan-UK relations, the sky is the limit.  Thank you very much.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much indeed, Prime Minister Gilani, for the warm welcome that you’ve offered me and my team here in Islamabad.  This is my first visit to Pakistan as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and it gives me great pleasure to be here.   And let me begin by saying, without any hesitation, that Britain’s friendship with Pakistan is unbreakable.  From the grass-root links between our peoples with one million strong Pakistani diaspora in the UK and 1.4 million journeys between Pakistan and the UK every single year, right through our links between our governments and the enhanced strategic dialogue we’ve just signed, there is no doubt about the strength of the Britain-Pakistan relationship.  Let me just say a few words about three areas we covered today, first trade, second security and third education. </p> <p>First of all trade, it is frequently said here that Pakistan needs trade more than aid and increasing British and European trade with Pakistan has been a high priority in our talks today.  I’ve encouraged Prime Minister Gilani to continue on the path of economic reform and have pledged to encourage British business to increase their investments here.  As evidence of our level of ambition we’ve agreed this new aspiration, which is to double bilateral trade in goods and services to £2.5 billion per year by 2015.  Whether in the basic materials industry, whether in retailing, chemicals, financial services, there are real opportunities for British firms here in Pakistan, and I will also continue to advocate, as I have passionately, increased market access for Pakistan in Europe.</p> <p>Second, security, we’ve had very good, very detailed, very practical discussions today in the first meeting of the UK-Pakistan National Security dialogue.  This is an important new forum that brings together our civilian and our military experts together in a comprehensive way.  Let me be absolutely clear: terrorism threatens both our countries, Pakistan has suffered greatly from it and we have no higher shared priority than tackling terrorism together.  As we discussed in our dialogue today, that means challenging the extremist ideology that fuels it and ensuring effective operational cooperation between our police and intelligence agencies at the sharp end too.  That is exactly what we’ve committed to doing. </p> <p>We’ve also discussed the way ahead in Afghanistan and your vision for the future, as you put it, of your brotherly neighbour, including the importance of a political process to complement the military campaign.  And we agreed on the importance of Afghanistan and Pakistan working closely together on this vital agenda. </p> <p>Third, education, progress in this area has the potential, I believe, to transform Pakistan.  More children in school could mean more skilled workers, more people out of poverty, more prosperity and more long term stability.  So I confirmed to Prime Minister Gilani that Britain was committed to a new programme of assistance to put four million Pakistani children into school by 2015, to train 90,000 new teachers and to provide six million text books.  I welcome Prime Minister Gilani’s decision to make education a priority as well as the commitments made by the provincial chief ministers.  2011 is Pakistan’s year of education and it is a moment of opportunity that Britain is determined to help you to seize. </p> <p>So thank you again, Prime Minister, for our excellent talks today.  We’ve made real progress on trade, on security and on education.  We’ve also established an enhanced strategic dialogue and reaffirmed the bond of friendship between our two nations.  Thank you.  I believe we’ve got a British question first, I think you said, ‘Sky was the limit’, and we’ve got a question from Sky so, on cue. </p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much, Prime Minister.  I wonder if I could ask Mr Gilani, does Pakistan still feel slighted by Mr Cameron’s remarks last year that Pakistan looks both ways on terrorism?  And Mr Cameron, £650 million, people at home are already saying this is an awful lot of money, it could build a lot of schools in Britain or is it a very expensive apology?  And on a domestic question I wonder if I could ask you on the day that your government is promoting social mobility, should Oliver Letwin apologise for saying that he doesn’t want to see more people from Sheffield booking cheap holidays?  Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Shall I take the first bit of that question?  First of all, look, we made the decision as a coalition government, something we both promised in our manifestos, to increase our overseas aid budget to be 0.7% of our gross national income.  That is a decision that we took and I believe it’s a decision that’s right.  I think it’s right for Britain, even in difficult circumstances, to support the poorest people in the poorest countries in our world.  I believe that it’s also in our interest to help with education, with maternal health, with lifting people out of poverty.  And also I think that we should consider whether it’s in our interests to help a country like Pakistan.  And I would struggle to find an example of a country where it is more in our interests as Britons to see progress and success than Pakistan. </p> <p>If Pakistan is a success we’ll have a good friend to trade and invest and deal with in the future, but if we fail we’ll have all the problems of migration, of extremism, problems that we don’t want to see.  So it’s in our interests that Pakistan succeeds and by putting money directly into education, helping to educate four million children is an investment for Britain to make sure that Pakistan – do our bit to help Pakistan to be a success, a trading success, an economic success, a skills success and a country that we can work with in the future.   So I think it is the right decision, it’s over four years that this money is going to be spent and, as I say, I think it’s hard to think of a better example, education, in a more appropriate country, Pakistan, for us to recognise that our aid budget can do good in other parts of the world, but can also do good for Britain.</p> <p>On cheap flights and Oliver Letwin, I normally find if you look at the full quotation of what Oliver Letwin has said, it is often different to what was reported in the newspapers, and I haven’t looked at the full quotation, but I expect when I do I’ll probably find that I’m right.  Prime Minister, over to you.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister Gilani:</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much for this, giving priority to education.  Despite constraints in your own country, you are allocating an amount to Pakistan, we appreciate it.</p> <p>I think the root cause of terrorism and extremism is illiteracy and therefore we are giving a lot of importance to education, and especially the education in FATA and in South of Punjab and in the remote areas.  Therefore, these areas are extremely important so that there should be more education given to these areas.  And even the UK is a very preferred destination for Pakistani students; there are about 30,000 students already studying in the UK and we have discussed in detail with the Prime Minister that we have to encourage more of our students going for scholarships.  </p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Thank you.  My question would be for Mr Cameron.  Excellency, you have discussed that there should be people-to-people contact, and you want enhanced strategic dialogue and you have already mentioned that the problem is of immigration, and education can solve all these issues.  But my question is, when you say that there should be more people-to-people contact but the restrictions on visas is a big problem and every individual who applies for a visa is considered as a terrorist, and then he is being evaluated on that basis and later on if he is found not a terrorist – that is a discrimination against Pakistan, and since you have moved your visa consulate out of Pakistan; and it is also causing problems for the Pakistanis.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Well, first of all there are huge numbers of people who travel from Britain to Pakistan, from Pakistan to Britain and that is a good thing and something that we support.  Yes, we have moved our visa processing to a different place but that is just to make sure the visa processing is efficient.  In terms of student visas in particular, we have just changed the rules because there was quite a lot of people using student visas who weren’t really students, who were coming to work rather than study, but what we have done in this process is actually make sure that anyone who wants to come to study in a British university and then work for two years in Britain, after studying at that university, anyone who wants to do that with a graduate job can do so.  So, I believe what we are doing with immigration policy in Britain is actually making sure we deal with the abuse of immigration, and there has been a lot of abuse of immigration, but making sure we are an open country for people to come to, to come and work and study if they abide by the rules that we set.  And I think it is right to have rules, because if you don’t have rules you won’t have fairness.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Mr Cameron first, you talk about the need for greater security cooperation.  How can you be confident that every element of Pakistan’s security services has stopped supporting the Taliban?  And Prime Minister Gilani, there’s to be a new centre of excellence, sharing expertise about how roadside bombs are tackled.  Can you guarantee that no information that Britain gives to Pakistan will be leaked across the border to the Taliban, by elements of your security services?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister Gilani:</strong></p> <p>Mr Prime Minister, that’s a question which he has asked specifically about the credible information shared with your intelligence agencies.  I want to assure, through you, the media that Pakistan has a resolve, and a commitment to fight against extremism and terrorism.  And we have the ability, and we have the resolve and we are fighting.  And we have paid a very heavy price for that; more than 30,000 people, they have been martyred, and equal numbers they have been disabled and even the political leadership they have been targeted and the civil society.  There have been bomb blasts in the schools, in the girls’ schools, in the hospitals, on the malls and even at the police stations and even the audiences we are talking about like the ISI headquarters, they had been targeted.  Therefore we are ready to share and we are ready to even get information from anywhere in the world if they have any credible or actionable information, they can pass onto Pakistan and we are ready to help them.  But one thing I’ll tell you, combine NATO forces together, their sacrifices are much less in number than Pakistan alone.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Yes, thank you.  What I would say is, what you see in Pakistan today is a huge fight taking place by the government against terrorism, and as Prime Minister Gilani has said, Pakistan has lost many, many people in that fight, not least in South Waziristan.  And what we have agreed today is to work as closely together as possible in combating terrorism.  Indeed we have a shared interest in combating that terrorism, whether it is fighting the terrorism here in Pakistan which I just referred to, whether it is trying to work together to stop people from Pakistan or from Afghanistan who commit terrorist acts overseas, or whether indeed it is making sure, as we just discussed over lunch, the shared interest we have in a stable, peaceful, democratic Afghanistan.  Those are our shared interests and we’re determined to pursue them.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>My question is directed to the visiting Prime Minister.  Mr Prime Minister, it is encouraging to hear from you that you categorise the relationship with Pakistan as unbreakable.  And you have termed Pakistan as a front line, straight against terrorism.  But Mr Prime Minister, you’ll appreciate the fact that the signalling, the message we are getting from the West and especially from your great country, is not that encouraging.  Especially, in the background of the fact that you made an ‘obnoxious’ statement in Bangalore, when you termed Pakistan as a part of the problem.  I wish to know that, do you think that Pakistan is a part of the problem, or part of the solution?  And second, slightly lighter question, that we are hearing about a minister of your Cabinet, Ms Sayeeda Warsi, that she is on her way out and we heard this news with a fair amount of reaction.  Would you like to confirm, otherwise?  And question to Mr Prime Minister of Pakistan, that are you satisfied with your talks with the visiting Prime Minister on the question of Pakistan’s role on terrorism and Pakistan’s understanding with the West on the question of Afghanistan?  Thank you, sirs.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Thank you, thank you very much.  In terms of the unbreakable relationship, I call it unbreakable because of the very close ties we have, the ties of history and language and culture, ties of a million people of Pakistan origin living in Britain and of all the shared interests we have; we’ve been discussing today whether education, or trade, or investment or indeed in fighting terrorism.  And I don’t accept that the signal coming from the West or from Britain is unhelpful, we want to work with our friends in Pakistan to fight terrorism, as I’ve said, whether that is the terrorism that you yourselves are fighting right here in Pakistan, and the huge damage that has done.  Whether it is working with us for a stable Afghanistan or indeed stopping the terrorism that has come out of this region and has done harm elsewhere.  In terms of the unbreakability of our relationship, I think Sayeeda Warsi is a great demonstration of that; someone whose father came to Britain just a generation ago and in one generation her family has gone from someone who is working in the mill town, in the North of England, to she is sitting in the Cabinet and doing an extremely fine job at the same time, if I might say so, and it’s great to have her with me here in Pakistan today.  Prime Minister.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister Gilani:</strong></p> <p>Yes, about the talks I want to apprise the media that we had very good talks with the Prime Minister.  We had discussions on education, on health, on investments, on trade and on security, but mostly on the priorities on education that we had a very good talks with each other, and we have discussed about enhanced strategic partnership, and we want to improve our relationship and certainly I think our talks were extremely successful.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>A couple of days back there were reports in the Pakistani press that the United Kingdom has refused to hand over former President General Musharraf to Pakistan, who is wanted in Pakistan in connection with the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.  Although Musharraf is not a British citizen, he is on a visa living in London, when a Pakistani court is looking for him, why is Britain refusing to hand over Musharraf to Pakistan?  Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Okay, do you want me to take that?  President Musharraf does spend a lot of his time in London.  We don’t have an extradition treaty between Britain and Pakistan, and so obviously we’ll look at any warrant that is produced, but there would have to be a formal application in the proper way in order for this to proceed.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>The particular dialogue you’re talking about – well, you have talked in very broad terms which is understandable given the sensitivity of the situation, but I would like to know that the British military is in Afghanistan and there must be some specific concerns concerning Afghanistan you would have shared with Pakistan and there’s also a strategic means here also, India which comes into equation and the Pakistan/India equation.  So what concerns have you raised regarding India/Pakistan relations in Afghanistan with your counterparts?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Well, obviously we had a very full discussion; in our dialogue we started talking about education, and healthcare, and trade, and investment; then we moved to talking about national security issues and a range of security concerns, we obviously spent a lot of time talking about Afghanistan, where we do share a common interest; which is, we both have an interest in a peaceful, stable, democratic Afghanistan and we were discussing the best ways of making sure that that rapidly comes about, and we have a shared interest in doing that.  Thank you very much indeed.  Thank you for coming to the press conference.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Afghanistan</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Pakistan</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">trade</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Press conference in Pakistan Tuesday 5 April 2011 Prime Minister's Office Pakistan
<p>The Prime Minister and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosted UK and Turkish CEOs at No 10 Downing Street, and invited the group to inaugurate the UK-Turkey CEO Forum.</p> <p>The launch of the CEO Forum is a joint initiative, which aims to further enhance UK-Turkey trade and investment, which is worth billions to the UK’s economy each year.</p> <p>His visit follows Prime Minister Cameron’s recent trip to Turkey, and is an illustration of the continuing momentum in UK-Turkey bilateral relations, including trade and investment ties.</p> <h3>Opening Transcript</h3> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Can I formally welcome everyone in the UK-Turkish CEO Forum to Number 10 Downing Street?  I think this is a very important development for the UK-Turkey relationship.  We had an excellent visit that I made to Ankara and it is very good to welcome Prime Minister Erdogan back to London.</p> <p>When we were in Ankara, one of the things we discussed was how we wanted to have much stronger and deeper trade links between our two countries.  As someone who had travelled to Turkey as a student in the 1980s, I was blown away by the economic transformation that has taken place in your country.  I want to make sure that British business plays a part in the development of Turkey, and that Turkish business plays a part in the development of the UK.</p> <p>So it’s great to welcome so many top names from business in both countries to Number 10, and to invite them to talk to us about what they discussed and what they hope to achieve.  I should start perhaps with my Trade Minister, who I extracted from the bank HSBC, who have made big investments in Turkey.  Now, he is trying to make sure there are big investments for the whole of the UK all over the world.  I think there is huge potential here.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Turkey</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">UK-Turkish CEO Forum</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Opening remarks at the UK-Turkish CEO Forum Friday 1 April 2011 Prime Minister's Office UK-Turkish CEO Forum
<p>A transcript of a press conference given by the Prime Minister David Cameron and the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in London on 31 March 2011.</p> <h3>Read the Transcript</h3> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Good afternoon. I am very glad to welcome Prime Minister Erdogan to Downing Street today. Turkey was one of the very first countries I visited as Prime Minister last year, and I am delighted to be returning the favour today.</p> <p>Let me cover briefly the issues that I will focus on. First, strengthening our bilateral and trade relationship. Second, our joint efforts to protect people in Libya. Third, advancing Turkey’s European aspirations. And fourth, our shared interests, particularly in Afghanistan.</p> <p>First of all, UK-Turkey relations. In my view, they have never been stronger. We established a new strategic partnership last year, and that partnership has again moved up a gear today with the inauguration of the UK-Turkey Chief Executives’ Forum. Through the forum, we are bringing together top business brains to discuss how to increase our trade and investment flows and to meet our target to double bilateral trade by 2015. It is a very welcome development.</p> <p>Second, Libya, where we are both absolutely focused on our shared aim set out in UN Security Resolution 1973, and NATO has now taken on the responsibility for enforcing it. Turkey is making a vital contribution to that effort, five Turkish ships and one submarine helping to enforce the UN arms embargo and there is also Turkey’s powerful diplomatic role demonstrated by your foreign minister’s presence at the London conference earlier this week. That conference showed an international community – Britain, Turkey and around 40 other countries – totally united in support of the UN resolution, committed to providing all the humanitarian aid that is necessary and clear in our support for a political process which will allow the Libyan people to choose their own future. And I’m glad to announce today that Turkey will have a seat at the International Contact Group, which will coordinate our policies going forward. We’ve also agreed to establish a joint humanitarian aid unit in Ankara to address the most urgent needs of the people of Libya.</p> <p>Now, I’ve been clear from the start that we want Gaddafi to go and that his henchmen should also come to their senses and abandon this brutal regime. The decision by the former Libyan foreign minister to come to London to resign his position is a decision by someone right at the very top and it tells a compelling story of the desperation and the fear right at the heart of the crumbling and rotten Gaddafi regime.</p> <p>Moving on, we also discussed Turkey’s aspirations to join the European Union, aspirations that in my view are simply undeniable. The case for Turkish membership of the European Union, in my view, is clearer than ever for increased economic prosperity, for a bigger market for our goods and services, for more energy security and for real benefits for the EU’s long-term stability. I also believe the accession process itself is a catalyst for change. I will continue to champion Turkey’s accession.</p> <p>Britain also wants to see a settlement in Cyprus, a solution for Cypriots by Cypriots which achieves a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality.</p> <p>Finally, we have discussed broader issues, including Afghanistan where day in day out British forces continue to perform acts of breathtaking heroism, even though the media spotlight may be elsewhere. The campaign in Afghanistan remains vital to our national security. Prime Minister Erdogan and I agree about the importance of the process of reintegration and reconciliation with those members of the insurgency prepared to renounce violence, cut ties to Al Qaeda and respect the Afghan constitution, rejoin mainstream life, help divide the insurgency and create the conditions for the end of this conflict.</p> <p>Let me finish by saying again just how welcome you are, Prime Minister. We are at a pivotal moment for the entire Middle East, and Turkey with its strong, stable and democratic state, in my view, points the way forward to the future for so many of these countries. There is a lot at stake in the Arab spring and we are both committed in supporting the aspirations of the people, of Egypt, of Tunisia, of Libya, of Yemen, of Syria and elsewhere. And together I believe Britain and Turkey can help them to realise their goals. Prime Minister.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister Erdogan</strong></p> <p>Distinguished members of the press, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, first of all I’d like to greet you all with warmest regards. I’m very happy to have had an occasion to meet with Prime Minister Cameron from the friendly country of the United Kingdom. As you will remember, last year in August he visited Turkey and we took some important steps on the occasion of that visit. And as a result of those discussions we have reviewed our bilateral relations and we have looked at what we can build in the future, what we can do together in the future and we talked extensively on those issues. Of course our bilateral relations between Turkey and the UK are excellent and the co-operation between our countries in the political, military and economic fields have grown and we have taken important steps in many areas.</p> <p> On the political front I especially would like to underline the process of accession to the European Union. With regard to this process the United Kingdom has always supported us and I also would like to say that I look forward to the continuation of that support in the future. Today we see some practice, quite a lot of practice actually, which is not found in the acquis of the European Union and we are saddened to see that some of the European leaders are involved in such actions which have nothing to do with the acquis, for example, suspending or blocking eight chapters and then the blocking of six chapters by the Greek-Cypriots, the blocking of five chapters by France. These are all wrong and these are things that do not find their place in the EU acquis.</p> <p>Since 1959 Turkey has been talking to the European Union, applied to the European Union, and it is not very proper to see this kind of treatment. As I always say, the European Union until the negotiations began, until the summit on 14th December 2004, we were invited to all of the EU summits, but then, we don’t know what happened. All of a sudden Turkey as an accession country was no longer invited to the summit meetings. We were invited to those summits before we began our accession talks, but we are no longer invited since we began our accession talks and we are sorry to see this happen. Of course we are aware of the position of countries – my dear friend, David, is very much aware of this too – but the negative approach by France or Germany is not something that we can approve. And I ask the friends of Turkey, like the UK and other countries, to take the necessary steps to ensure that Turkey is part of the EU, works with the EU because this will strengthen the EU and it will strengthen Turkey, and that’s something that we must all focus on.</p> <p>With respect to Cyprus, having a fair, a just and a comprehensive process with two constituent states has been our goal from the very beginning in Cyprus, and the Greek-Cypriots so far have unfortunately not adopted a positive approach to this settlement. There were important steps that were taken during the tenure of Mr Annan as UN Secretary General and Mr Annan had prepared a report to be presented to the UN General Assembly, but that report is still not presented to the General Assembly. And that report is shelved, but we must look to see what’s in it. We were meeting in Switzerland and we had asked, what would happen if the Turks in the north said, ‘Yes’, and the Greeks in the south said, ‘No’. The European Union said there wouldn’t be any problem, you shouldn’t worry. What happened in the end was 65% of the Turkish-Cypriots voted in favour of the plan while 75% of the Greek-Cypriots voted against the plan, and they were awarded and they became members of the European Union although they rejected the plan. Of course, it’s difficult to understand how this can happen, but leaders at the time have also admitted and also said in some of their writings that this was very unfair on the Turkish-Cypriots.</p> <p>Let me also underline another point. We have a strategic partnership with the UK, and the reason for having that document was to prepare a framework for our co-operation. We worked together at the G20 and this means that we work together on many of the global economic issues, but we also talk about many of the other issues in the world. And in the future too we will work together to discuss many of the issues in front of us.</p> <p>Of course, the most important issue on our agenda at the moment is Libya. There was an important summit held in London and we will continue to make our political assessments together with the UK. From this point forward our colleagues will be working on the subject. Our wish is to see that the solution is achieved in line with the wishes of the Libyan people and that peace is established in Libya, democratic rights and freedoms are established in Libya.</p> <p>NATO: we’ll have a very important test in NATO and that is something that we focus on keenly. We do not wish to see the situation in Libya in any way resembling, for example, Afghanistan, but there must be a stronger posture and the fact that the African Union, the OIC and the Arab League are involved sets forth a stronger unity of support, and that, in my opinion, will have a very positive impact on the views of the public opinion and the steps we take. We will continue to work with the UK and I hope we will contribute in a positive way to this process. But of course we must work quickly, and we must make sure that we stop the cruelty there. We must stop the bloodshed. We must stop the killing, the deaths.</p> <p>Another important point is our economic co-operation because we have achieved quite a lot of development in that area. Although there’s been a crisis in the world, we see that the volume of trade between Turkey and the UK has grown, and we see $12 billion worth of trade by 2010, which is a very significant figure, and I am of the opinion that we can grow this trade in the future.</p> <p>The meeting about Turkey that is being held today in London, we will be attending this meeting with my friend, David, and we will have an opportunity to talk to the CEOs, the business people, and we will have a chance to encourage them to do more business with each other so that we can grow our bilateral economic relations.</p> <p>I’d like to thank you for your hospitality today on behalf of myself and my delegation. I also would like to say that the situation in Libya is resolved in the shortest time possible leading to peace.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>Prime Minister, what deal has been done with Moussa Koussa? What assurances have been given to him? Presumably he wouldn’t have come to the UK without certain assurances. And, more specifically, now that Dumfries and Galloway Police and Scotland’s Crown Office have said they want to interview him about the Lockerbie bombing, how will your government respond to that? How soon will you hand him over for questioning to the Scottish authorities?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>First of all, this is the first chance I’ve had to say something about it. The decision by the former Libyan foreign minister to come to London and resign his position is a serious blow to Gaddafi’s authority and we shouldn’t underestimate that. Let me be clear, Moussa Koussa is not being granted immunity. There is no deal of that kind, of the sort that you ask. And the point I would make about the dreadful events over Lockerbie is that the investigation is still open and the police and the prosecuting authorities are entirely independent of government, and they should follow their evidence wherever it leads, and the government will assist them in any way possible. They are in no way restricted from following their evidence, and that is exactly what they should do, and we’ll respond to any requests that they make.</p> <p><strong>Question<br></strong><br> My question is to both Prime Ministers. You say that the two countries will continue to co-operate on the issues in Libya and that your goal is to achieve peace there. What I am interested to find out is the issue of arming the rebels in Libya. Do you have differences of opinion, and how do you think this process is going to affect the future of Libya? Could there be a division, possibly, of Libya?</p> <p>Another question on the rebellion in Syria. Do you expect Assad to resist these movements just like Gaddafi in Libya does, or do you have a common approach to that situation?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister Erdogan</strong></p> <p>Now, with regard to your first question, arming the rebels: we do not have such a position in Turkey, and there is no such decision taken at the moment. Doing that would create a different situation in Libya and we do not find it appropriate to do that because we know why NATO is there. NATO is there to look into the situation and they will do what is necessary.</p> <p>Now, as for your second question about Syria: I had a visit about two months ago, and at that time these events had not taken place in Syria or in North Africa or in the Middle East, but you could see events. And at the time, I shared my views and since it’s a country in a state of emergency since 1983, I reminded him of the importance of lifting that state of emergency, and that it was necessary to embark upon reforms, democratic reforms, reforms about votes and rights, because the demand of the people must be taken into consideration and steps must be taken.</p> <p>In fact, Bashar is liked in Syria, and he has advantages also from the fact that his wife is Sunni and he is Nusehri. And so they embrace all of Syria. And so these are aspects which are important, and I had said to him that it was important that he embark upon the reform process. I talked to him twice after the events began in Syria, so we’ve had some discussions, and I also sent my special envoy to him to discuss these points again.</p> <p>The statement yesterday, how far or how much it satisfied the Syrian people is not something that I can judge; it’s the Syrian people who will make that judgement, and we will see, and we hope that there will be more concrete, more clear messages. I think it would have been better if there were more concrete and clear messages.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>First of all, in terms of Syria, I very much agree with what my friend, Tayyip, has said: they should meet these events with reform and not repression; they should get rid of the state of emergency and they should take many of the steps that he set out. That is our view right across the Arab world, Middle East and North Africa. All of the leaders should meet the aspirations of their people with reform and not with repression.</p> <p>On the issue of Libya, let me be clear, we do not want to see the division of Libya. We want to see a whole Libya make a transition towards a more democratic and a more free future.</p> <p>In terms of the issue of arming the rebels, we haven’t made that decision. We believe everything must be done to be in compliance with UN Resolution 1973. I set out the full position in the House of Commons yesterday, but this is not a step that we’ve agreed to take. I do think though we should be helping the democratic forces in Benghazi. I met with Mr Jibril from the Interim Transitional National Council, and I think that it is a group of people that want to be ‘interim’; they want to be transitional, they want there to be a transition to democracy in Libya, and I think in that they should have our support, and I am pleased that we’re deepening our diplomatic contacts and other help that we can give them to help realise that goal.</p> <p><strong>Question<br></strong><br> Prime Minister, the British government has now had some time to talk with Moussa Koussa. In light of that, can you give us your best, most up to date assessment of the state of the Gaddafi regime?</p> <p>And, Prime Minister Erdogan, can I just ask you again about the issue of arming the rebels in Libya? I wasn’t entirely clear from your first answer. Do you oppose the idea of arming the rebels in principle?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>I will start with the issue of Moussa Koussa. These are very early days. He arrived in the UK last night. He’s been having discussions with Foreign Office officials including people who were in the embassy when we had one in Tripoli. These are very early discussions, very early stages, but I think it does show a huge amount of decay, distrust, and breakdown at the heart of the Gaddafi regime. This was his foreign minister; this was a key member of his government. The fact that he’s decided to leave and effectively defect and give up his role, I think, speaks volumes about what is happening in that regime. You know, we have been appealing to people around Gaddafi and saying if you don’t want to go down with this regime that is doing dreadful things to its own people, then leave now. Split away now, give up now. And it is heartening that someone has done that, but very early days in the discussions. I am sure it will have had an impact on the Gaddafi regime itself.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister Erdogan</strong></p> <p>With regard to arming the rebels, our view at the moment is negative. In other words, we don’t view that such a decision, if it were taken, positively because there is no party or state established at the moment. In our view, this could also create an environment which would be conducive to terrorism and that would in itself dangerous. The fact that NATO is now involved was a step that was taken to overcome or solve the problems there, and that’s why we look favourably upon the involvement of NATO and it should be NATO which should take the cautious measures necessary to protect the civilians from cruelty.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>I have a question to Prime Minister Cameron….(inaudible)</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>There are some things that President Sarkozy and I strongly agree about, and there are some things that we strongly disagree about. One of the things that we disagree about is Turkish membership of the European Union, which I strongly support and I have this discussion with my friend, Nicolas Sarkozy, frequently. I think friends can have disagreements, but where I do agree with Nicolas very strongly is I think the action that France took alongside America and Britain on that Saturday and into that Sunday did help to avoid a slaughter in Benghazi and I would commend the French President for the brave action that he took. Yes, a leadership role in making a big difference to stop those forces of Colonel Gaddafi’s heading into Benghazi, and we should remember what Colonel Gaddafi himself said. He called those people rats; he said he was going to go house to house, and I think a slaughter was averted. I would very much support what the Turkish Prime Minister said about the importance of the NATO role in making sure UN Resolution 1973 is implemented. And part of that resolution, a key part of it, is protecting civilian life.</p> <p>Let me be clear to anyone watching in the Islamic or the Arab world: Britain has no selfish or strategic or oil-related interest in what is happening in Libya. Our interest has been to try to help save civilian life. That is why we pushed for a no-fly zone, that is why we pushed for UN Resolution 1970 and 1973, that is why we have been involved in military action to try to degrade Gaddafi’s forces that are trying to kill civilian life. That is our interest, that is what we are involved in; all we want is the chance for the Libyan people to make their own transition and make their choice about how they want to be governed. That is why we have taken the action we have, along with France and America, and I think it was the right thing to do.</p> <p>Of course, there will be many difficulties ahead, because it’s a complicated and difficult situation, but the slaughter we averted, I think it was absolutely right to do that and I believe there is still every chance that we can reach an outcome where people in Libya can make a choice about how they are governed and who governs them. That should be a decision for them.</p> <p>Thank you very much indeed for coming and thank you again, Tayyip, for coming to London today. We will go and join the chief executives of some of the great Turkish and British businesses downstairs.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Afghanistan</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">European Union</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Libya</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Turkey</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Press Conference with Turkish Prime Minister Friday 1 April 2011 Prime Minister's Office London
<p>Prime Minister David Cameron’s opening remarks at the London Conference on Libya on Tuesday 29 March 2011. </p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p>[Check against delivery]  </p> <p>Let me welcome you all to London.  </p> <p>Foreign Ministers from more than 40 countries – from America to Asia – from Europe to Africa – from the United Nations to the Arab world. All here to unite with one purpose: to help the Libyan people in their hour of need. </p> <p>Today is about a new beginning for Libya – a future in which the people of Libya can determine their own destiny, free from violence and oppression. </p> <p>But the Libyan people cannot reach that future on their own. </p> <p>They require three things of us. </p> <p>First, we must reaffirm our commitment to UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 and the broad alliance determined to implement it. </p> <p>Second, we must ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid where it is needed, including to newly liberated towns. </p> <p>And third, we must help the Libyan people plan for their future after the conflict is over. </p> <p>These are the three goals of this London Conference.Let me take each in turn. </p> <p><strong>Reaffirming our commitment to the UNSCRs</strong></p> <p>First, UN Security Council Resolution 1973.</p> <p>Just twelve days ago, following an appeal by the Arab League, the United Nations passed an historic resolution to protect the people of Libya from the murderous brutality of Qadhafi’s regime.  </p> <p>At the meeting Nicholas Sarkozy hosted in Paris, we made the right choice: to draw a line in the desert sand, and to halt his murderous advance by force. </p> <p>Be in no doubt. </p> <p>Our action saved the city of Benghazi. </p> <p>It averted a massacre. </p> <p>And it has given freedom a chance in Libya. </p> <p>But be in no doubt about something else. </p> <p>As I speak the people of Misurata are continuing to suffer murderous attacks from the regime.  </p> <p>I have had reports this morning that the city is under attack from both land and sea.  </p> <p>Qadhafi is using snipers to shoot them down and let them bleed to death in the street. </p> <p>He has cut off food, water and electricity to starve them into submission. </p> <p>And he is harassing humanitarian ships trying to get into the port to do what they can to relieve their suffering. </p> <p>He continues to be in flagrant breach of the UN Security Council Resolution. </p> <p>That is why there has been such widespread support amongst the Libyan people – and in the wider Arab world – for the military action we are taking. </p> <p>It has saved lives, and it is saving lives. </p> <p>As one Misurata resident put it: “These strikes give us hope”. </p> <p>Today we must be clear and unequivocal: we will not take that hope away. </p> <p>We will continue to implement United Nations Resolutions for as long as is necessary to protect the Libyan people from danger. </p> <p><strong>Humanitarian Aid</strong>  </p> <p>Second, humanitarian aid.  </p> <p>Just as it is essential that the international community works together to stop the slaughter, it’s vital that we get aid in to save lives. This has to happen now. </p> <p>And it is happening. </p> <p>Already we are seeing how the actions we have taken are helping to pave the way for humanitarian organisations to return to liberated cities. </p> <p>Even in Misurata, humanitarian agencies have managed to get some supplies in. </p> <p>In Benghazi, the ICRC, Islamic Relief and International Medical Corps are back in and are working hard. </p> <p>In Ajdabiya, thousands of people have fled, but the hospital is reported to be functioning – though it urgently needs more nursing staff and supplies. </p> <p>So supplies are getting in, but we need to redouble our efforts.  </p> <p>The whole international community needs to work together.  </p> <p>The UN’s has an absolutely critical role in ensuring that humanitarian aid gets through to those who need it, especially in the newly liberated towns. </p> <p><strong>Building a stable peace</strong></p> <p>When the fighting is over, we will need to put right the damage that Qadhafi has inflicted. </p> <p>Repairing the hospitals ruined by shells… </p> <p>…rebuilding the homes demolished by Qadhafi’s tank rounds… </p> <p>…and restoring the mosques and minarets smashed by his barbarity. </p> <p>It’s never too early to start planning co-ordinated action to support peace in Libya over the long term. </p> <p>It is surely the UN, working with regional organisations and the rest of the international community, who should lead this work. </p> <p>Repairing physical infrastructure… </p> <p>…ensuring basic services… </p> <p>…and helping Libyans restore functioning government at every level. </p> <p><strong>Planning for the future</strong></p> <p>Third, we must help the people of Libya plan now for the political future they want to build. </p> <p>Our military actions can protect the people from attack; and our humanitarian actions can help the people recover. But neither are sufficient to provide the path to greater freedom. </p> <p>Ultimately, the solution must be a political one – and it must be for the Libyan people themselves to determine their own destiny. </p> <p>That means reinforcing the UN sanctions to exert the greatest possible pressure on the Qadhafi regime. </p> <p>And it requires bringing together the widest possible coalition of political leaders… </p> <p>…including civil society, local leaders and most importantly the Interim Transitional National Council… </p> <p>…so that the Libyan people can speak with one voice. </p> <p>Our task in the international community is to support Libya as it looks forward to a better future. </p> <p>This will not be achieved in a matter of days or weeks. </p> <p>The coalition of countries and organisations gathered here today must commit to seeing this task through. </p> <p>I propose that today’s Conference should agree to set up a Contact Group, which will put political effort on a sustained basis into supporting the Libyan people. </p> <p>We should be clear about the scale of the challenge. It will mean looking afresh at our entire engagement with Libya and the wider region – from our development programmes, to our cultural exchanges and trade arrangements. </p> <p>All our efforts must support the building blocks of a democratic society. </p> <p>Freedom of expression </p> <p>The right to free and fair elections </p> <p>The right to peaceful protest. </p> <p>Respect for human rights and the rule of law. </p> <p>These aren’t values that belong to any one nation. </p> <p>They are universal. </p> <p>They are embedded in the Vision of a Democratic Libya set out by the Interim Transitional National Council today. </p> <p>And we should warmly welcome this commitment. </p> <p><strong>Conclusion</strong></p> <p>As this broad range of countries gathers here today in London, there are people suffering terribly under Qadhafi’s rule. </p> <p>Our message to them is this: there are better days ahead for Libya. </p> <p>Just as we continue to act to help protect the Libyan people from the brutality of Qadhafi’s regime… </p> <p>…so we will support and stand by them as they seek to take control of their own destiny. </p> <p>Their courage and determination will be rewarded. </p> <p>A new beginning for Libya is within their grasp and we will help them seize it.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Libya</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron PM’s speech at London Conference on Libya Tuesday 29 March 2011 Prime Minister's Office London Conference
<p>A transcript of press conference given by the Prime Minister David Cameron in Brussels on Friday, 25 March 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Good afternoon and welcome.  Let me deal first with Libya, before covering the summit outcomes on the economy and on Japan.  On Libya, we have come a long way in a short time.  A week ago, hundreds of thousands of civilians in Benghazi were under a direct and imminent military threat from Gaddafi’s attacks.  He said he would show no mercy, but we made sure there was no entry.  Last Thursday night we secured a United Nations resolution, which gave us the clear legal basis for taking action to protect those people.  On Saturday, a coalition came together in Paris and reached a collective judgement that Gaddafi was lying to the international community and breaching a ceasefire that he himself had announced.  As a result, that day, that Saturday, just 48 hours after the agreement in the United Nations, military operations began to protect people in Libya.</p> <p>The action we have taken in the space of a few short days has saved countless civilian lives and has successfully established a no-fly zone.  In the last 24 hours, the momentum has continued to build.  NATO has taken on the command the control of the no-fly zone, in addition to the arms embargo that it was already enforcing.  The alliance is also planning for command of the wider operation to protect the civilian population.  The United Arab Emirates have now confirmed they will provide 12 fast jets and Britain will next Tuesday be hosting a broad international conference in London to review progress and to plan for the future.  On the ground, our forces continue to make a vital contribution.  In the last 24 hours, there were successful strikes around Ajdabiya targeting Gaddafi’s tanks.  The total number of UK sorties now stands at 70, including the destruction of some of the regime’s tanks.</p> <p>I want to thank all of those involved for their incredible skill and their courage, and perhaps today of all days, it is right to say that as we consider the incredible bravery of the 136 people who have been given awards for gallantry.  They are demonstrating and have demonstrated bravery in the finest traditions of the British armed services.  There are stories being told about what they have done and what their gallantry awards are for that truly take your breath away and are completely inspiring.  At the same time, in Libya there remain real issues of concern.  The situation of civilians in Misratah and Zlitan is grave, but we have moved quickly and decisively over the last week, and I believe it was right to do so.</p> <p>At this summit, Europe has really come together on Libya.  Today’s conclusions endorsed the UN resolution agreed last week.  They set out Europe’s determination to contribute to that implementation of that resolution and the conclusions also recognise that lives have been saved by the action we have taken so far.  I believe this is an important step forward, and in the conclusions, which you will see when they are published, they specifically refer to the fact that military action should continue until people are safe and secure from attack and until UN resolution 1973 is properly implemented.  So, politically the EU has now agreed to find ways to support the Libyan people’s aspirations for more democratic and open government.  Practically, we will provide humanitarian assistance to all those affected, and militarily, we now see a strong and broad European contribution from vital Italian and Greek air bases, to French, Belgian, Spanish and Danish fast jets, and of course, Romania’s frigate as well.  It is clear that European countries are now fully on board with this mission.</p> <p>Let me now turn to the economic issues.  I had two goals at this summit on the economy: first, to support the Euro area’s efforts to bring stability to the Eurozone while protecting Britain’s sovereignty; and second, to win support for an ambitious pro-growth, pro-market agenda for Europe.  Let me take each in turn.  I have always said that a strong Eurozone is in Britain’s national interest.  Forty percent of our trade is with Eurozone countries, and we want the Euro to be a successful currency and to sort out the issues and problems that there have been.  So, I welcome the steps that Eurozone countries are committing to take today, but I have also said that Britain isn’t in the Euro, Britain isn’t going to be joining the Euro, and so it is right that we shouldn’t be involved in the Euro area’s internal arrangements.  That is why I secured in December a commitment which carves Britain out of future Eurozone bailout arrangements, and why we are not joining the pact that the Euro area countries have agreed today.</p> <p>On my second goal, getting Europe growing, the progress today we have made, and you will see in the conclusions, is very, very welcome.  Coming to this council, I organised a letter that was signed by nine countries in total making the case for action on growth, on deregulation, on completing the single market, on extending it to services, on taking Europe in a more liberal, more market, more growth orientated approach.  I think this has had a real impact, and it’s not just now Britain making the argument – there is also Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.  As a result, the European Council has agreed today that ‘the single market has a key role to play in delivering growth’, and that we should bring new impetus to our efforts to complete it.  We also agreed that the overall regulatory burden should be reduced, and we also concluded that the Doha round and other free trade agreements that have been immensely powerful should be done in 2011.</p> <p>Obviously, there is more that needs to be done, but I do believe this is a strong start.  I was particularly heartened on the language there will be on micro-enterprises and exempting micro-enterprises from future regulations for their first five years of existence.  You will have noticed in the Budget in the UK we had a moratorium on regulation for small businesses.  It looks as if we are going to be achieving something like that here in the European Union as well.  I think that is a great step forward.</p> <p>Finally, we discussed Japan.  I spoke to the Japanese Prime Minister yesterday, and I said we would do all we can to speed Japan’s recovery from the earthquake and the tsunami of two weeks ago.  Today, Europe has made the same pledge.  I believe one of our priorities in order to demonstrate good faith must be to invite Japan to enter into a free-trade area with the EU, which would help boost their economy and help their businesses to recover.  I secured a specific reference to that in the conclusions that will be published later.</p> <p>So, today we have seen real European unity on our vital mission to protect the people of Libya.  We have made good progress in translating Britain’s budget for growth into a new agenda for the European economy, and we have sent a clear message of solidarity to the Japanese people.  Those are the main points I wanted to cover.  We are very happy to take your questions.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>Prime Minister, why is NATO in charge of a no-fly zone over Libya, but not in charge of bombing things on the ground?  Secondly, can you tell us a little bit about your impromptu bilateral with President Sarkozy this morning?  What did you discuss, and did you have to run more slowly than him?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Well, I went for a run around one of the parks in Brussels, and very nice it was too.  Halfway through my run I noticed this slightly larger motorcade than mine pull up, and Sarkozy got out, so Nicolas and I had good run around the park.  I actually practised some of my French, which is very bad, but we managed to have a good conversation, mainly about Libya and what we are doing, and making sure that we work very, very closely together on the next steps forward.  I think the British/French relationship – with all the defence cooperation that I announced last year, with what we are doing together in Libya, with the work that Nicolas and I are doing together – I think is in an extremely good place, and I really welcome that.</p> <p>On the issue of command and control, let me make one point first of all, which is from the moment these operations launched, there was a very effective command and control situation put in place under American leadership, and that was coordinating both the no-fly zone that needed to be put in place and also the necessary attacks on the ground to protect Libyan civilians.  At no point was there any loose arrangements.  It was very important that this was properly commanded from the outset.  Everybody wanted to move to a situation where NATO, which has the tried and tested machinery, comes into place to actually coordinate these operations.</p> <p>What has happened is NATO is now already commanding, controlling and using its machinery for the maritime operation that is principally about the arms embargo.  NATO, as we have now heard, is providing the command and control and the machinery for the no-fly zone, and shortly, NATO will also be providing the command and control and the machinery for the measures on the ground to protect civilians.  It was important to put these things in place properly, to have the proper agreements.  These things always take a bit of time, but it will be seamless and because the NATO machinery is so good, I believe it will work well.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>President Sarkozy has just said that political decisions will be made by the eleven-member coalition.  He said: ‘NATO cannot swallow the Emirates and Qatar.  It would play into the hands of Gaddafi to say that NATO is taking over.’</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>He is entirely right.  We need to make sure we present to the world what is actually happening, which is that a broad alliance has come together that includes the Qataris, includes the Arab League, includes the UAE, and may include other non-NATO members.  This is the alliance that has come together to enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1973, and we will go on meeting in that way, as we will be doing on Tuesday in London.  That is vitally important, but we also have to make sure, and Nicolas and I absolutely agree about this, that we have very effective command and control operations and the machinery in place to make sure that all the operations are properly coordinated.  That is what has been agreed in NATO.  It took a bit of time.  These things always take time, because you’ve got the complexities you just referred to, but I think we have a very good set of agreements to cover all the operations that are underway, and I think those operations are proceeding, as I said, quite successfully.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>Just to follow up on that, Prime Minister.  NATO have taken over enforcing the no-fly zone, but isn’t Britain and America – aren’t they still enforcing a no-drive zone, and is that an acceptable place for us to be?  You’ve got other EU countries on board for the mission, but what is the mission’s objective?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Very simply put, the mission’s objective is to enforce the UN Security Council Resolution 1973, and the key thing about that resolution is that it had two parts to it.  It had many parts, but there were two vital parts.  One was about a no-fly zone – essential to put in place to make sure that Gaddafi could not attack his people from the air.  That no-fly zone is now properly in place and indeed, the proof of that, as it were, was yesterday, when a Libyan plane attempted to take to the skies and it was actually shot down.</p> <p>The second thing in that resolution, also important, was to take all necessary measures to protect civilian life, and what that has meant is that attacks are being carried out to hit Libyan tanks and Libyan forces that were heading into cities and on the brink of destroying civilian life.  Again, that has been effective.</p> <p>So I divide between the no-fly zone and then the action to protect civilian life; on both grounds I think we have made good progress, but it is very important that we do both because the aim of this is to enforce the resolution which says we must act to protect civilian life.  It is for the Libyan people to determine their own future, but we are giving them the space to do that by stopping them from being killed by a brutal dictator.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>But how long do you envisage British jets policing the skies over Libya?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>We will do it so long as we need to enforce Resolution 1973.  This is still early days, but I would say in terms of from where we were a week ago, and where we were from Saturday when we were staring down the barrel of a massacre in Benghazi, we are not looking at that today.  There are all sorts of problems, as I said in my statement, in Misratah and elsewhere, but the action we have taken has already saved lives and I am very keen that we should go on taking that action to make sure we continue to save lives and effectively change the facts on the ground.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong> </p> <p>Two questions, if I could.  On Libya, earlier this week Hilary Clinton talked about the possibility of Gaddafi going into exile and said that was something the US would encourage; what is your view on that?</p> <p>And, secondly, there is a lot of anger back home in Britain about garages not passing on the fuel-duty cut to motorists; figures out today show that only about 60% of that 1p cut has been passed on.  What is your view on that?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>First of all, my message to Gaddafi, in absolute coordination with what Hilary Clinton said, is that he should leave, he should go.  I don’t believe there is any future for Libya and the Libyan people with him at its helm, so he should go.  And the message also to those around him is that every day you work with this dictator who has now announced two ceasefires and broken both of them, and continues to murder his own civilians, every day you work for him you are at risk of the International Criminal Court and you are at risk of being found guilty of war crimes.</p> <p>The people around him and the people who are obeying his orders should recognise that that time is up; do not obey his orders, walk away from your tanks, leave the command and control that you are doing, give up on this regime, because it should be over for him and his henchmen.</p> <p>On the issue of fuel duty I am delighted with what the Chancellor did yesterday; let’s remember it is not just putting off an RPI, an inflation increase in petrol, it’s not just abolishing the escalator of a penny increase every year through the parliament, but it was a cut of a penny in tax this year as well.  So, compared with what was going to happen, it is a 6p reduction.</p> <p>Of course I want to see that passed on by garages and what I would say is this: we have done what we can as a government to cut taxes, it is now right that the market should respond and, if the market does not respond, obviously there are proper ways for the Office of Fair Trading and others to make sure this market operates properly.  We will be watching like a hawk to make sure the action we take actually helps consumers and helps motorists at the pump.</p> <p>We are obviously not responsible for the oil price which, as we know, can go up and down, but we have done what we can in terms of giving the consumer a break by cutting that fuel duty and making what was, as I said yesterday, a multibillion pound effort to try and help consumers at this difficult time.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>Thank you, two questions if I may.  Firstly, on Libya, you talk about changing the facts on the ground; how worried are you that when NATO does take over both aspects of the Security Council Resolution, including protecting civilians, that we might see action on the ground changing, in effect, that we have got two or three days to be aggressive on the ground and change the facts on the ground?</p> <p>Secondly, on Portugal, if Portugal does apply for a bailout, will you be arguing that the exposure of the mechanism to which we are exposed as the UK should be limited in favour of the bailout facility to which we are not exposed?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>First of all, in terms of the action on the ground, I do not have that concern.  The UN Security Council Resolution is clear: all necessary measures to protect civilians.  I think you have seen from what British, French, Danish, American and other planes have been doing that it is about protecting civilian life, indeed to such an extent that when British Tornadoes were over a target and worried about civilian presence they actually did not fire their weapons and returned home to their base.  I think that was a very clear demonstration of the restraint that we are showing and making sure that we are protecting civilian life.</p> <p>Secondly, on Portugal, the key to your question was the word ‘if,’ and frankly I am not going to speculate on another country’s financial situation.  I don’t think it would be right to do so.  The arrangements that are in place and the fact that we have carved ourselves out of future arrangements, those facts are well known.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>You mentioned Japan; can you talk a little bit about the decisions that were made today on the nuclear stress tests?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Yes, we had a long discussion about nuclear safety and I think it was quite right to do so.  Obviously I would make the point that in the UK we have had a very good and strong safety record and proper independent judgement of safety, but the Council agreed that we should learn any possible lessons from what has happened in Japan and I think that is absolutely right.  Obviously there are different reactors for many of us and different conditions, but nevertheless there are lessons to learn.</p> <p>We should make sure in Europe that we are always looking at the very highest standards possible of safety and we also looked at this issue of stress testing nuclear facilities, making sure that is done by the appropriate bodies, carried out by independent national regulators, properly peer reviewed and tested, and we learn all the lessons.  I think there was a good consensus about what needed to be done and the way in which it should be carried out.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>I was just wondering if you could tell us a bit more about this important meeting in London on Tuesday: who will be there, what will this new coordinating body be like, will it be the 11-member coalition that Sarkozy talked about, i.e. the people in Paris last week not including Turkey, or will it be a broader more ISAF-type structure?  If you could just tell us a little bit more about how you see that meeting playing out.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>First of all, it is going to be at a Foreign Minister level predominantly; that is the first point to make.  It is bringing together people to discuss and shape what we are doing, but also think about the future diplomatically and politically.  It should include the Arab League, it should obviously include the Arab nations that are participating; I think that is important.  Obviously, as well as having European members who are directly taking action, it will have Cathy Ashton to help represent other European nations.</p> <p>I think Turkey should be there as a member of NATO.  I had a long conversation with Prime Minister Erdogan over the weekend; it is a country that is making contributions in terms of maritime and other assets and making sure there is proper humanitarian aid which I think is a good role for Turkey.  I think it is to bring all of these together and examine the parts of what we are doing – military, political, and diplomatic – and make sure that we are demonstrating to the world what is genuinely the case, which is that there is real Arab involvement.  We are both answering the call of the Arab League for a no-fly zone and to stop the killing and there is real Arab involvement.</p> <p>I think the greatest testament of that is the decision by the United Arab Emirates to supply these 12 planes; I spoke to the Crown Prince myself last night – I broke out of the meeting to have that discussion – I think it is extremely welcome they have taken that decision and I hope there will be other countries doing more from the Arab world to demonstrate that this is the whole world coming together to say that what Gaddafi has done and is doing is simply unacceptable.  The message I get from the Arab world, and indeed from the Arab street, is pretty clear about that; they see what he is doing is unacceptable.</p> <p><strong>Question<br></strong>If Gaddafi does not heed your call and the people around him do not, can the people of Libya ever be ‘safe and secure,’ in your words, and do you think a time will come where you would consider him a legitimate target?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister<br></strong>I have made the point about targeting and I am not going to go into any further detail.  Targeting must be consistent with the UN Security Council Resolution, so it must be about putting in place a no-fly zone or protecting civilians from Gaddafi’s military machine.  In terms of the future for Libya, the UN Security Council is clear about what our aims must be; it is to protect civilian life, to allow humanitarian access, to put in place a no-fly zone.  It limits us, as it were, to those things and rightly so, and it actually specifically says we cannot have an occupying force and all the rest of it.</p> <p>However, that does not change my desire and my belief – and a belief that has also been expressed by almost every leader of every major country in the world – that there is no future for Libya with Gaddafi and that he should go.  I think we need to be clear about those two things; what is in the UN Security Council and what we believe, as leaders, needs to happen.  In the end we are there to protect civilian life; it is for the Libyan people to choose how they are governed, who governs them and their own future.  They have a far better chance of doing that as we stand today than they did a week ago.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">economic growth</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">European Council</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Japan</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Libya</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Press conference at European Council Friday 25 March 2011 Prime Minister's Office European Council
<p>Transcript of Q&amp;A given by the Prime Minister David Cameron and the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in Nottingham on Thursday 24 March 2011</p> <h3>Read the transcript:</h3> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>It’s good to be here and it’s particularly good to be here the day after the Budget, and the Budget really was about two things.  The first was trying to make Britain the best place in the world to start a new business, to run a business, for a business to expand and invest, because what we desperately need in Britain today is for businesses in the private sector to fire up and employ more people and sell more goods and make more things and export more.  So that’s why we cut the corporation tax, that’s why we announced enterprise zones where businesses won’t have to pay so much taxes, including one right here next to the Boots site in Nottingham, and that’s why there’s a big move to try and deregulate and get rid of some of the rules and regulations that stop businesses growing. </p> <p>That was the first part of the Budget.  The next part, which Nick’s going to say something about, was trying to help consumers through what is inevitably a difficult year for Britain.</p> <p><strong>Deputy Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>That’s right.  There’s a lot of uncertainties, living costs are going up, we’re acutely aware of that, but it doesn’t mean that government can’t do things to help.  And that’s why, if you look at what we announced in the Budget and, indeed, the last few months, millions of people are going to get a tax cut starting this April.  Over the next year, £320 in cash terms back in your pocket because the income tax allowance has gone up.  A triple guarantee if you’re a pensioner that your pension will go up by earnings or inflation or 2.5%.  Council tax freeze everywhere.  Extra money in terms of child tax credits, £180 this year, £110 next year.  And then of course the announcement yesterday, that if you actually look at what we’ve said about fuel, it’s going to be six pence cheaper than it would have been otherwise.  That’s about £4 or so cheaper every time you fill up a normal family car. </p> <p>So we just hope all of these things when you put them together will get the wheels of the economy really moving again, but also, crucially, will help people as they face these difficult times and these high costs.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Thank you.  Now, today’s all about your questions and our answers and we’ve made a promise that we’re going to be brief in our answers, so you’ve got to hold us to that.  Well, we both promised, we’ll see. </p> <p>Who wants to go first?</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Prime Minister? </p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Yes.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much.  We were delighted to hear yesterday in the Budget that Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership, known as D2N2, will be in the first round of the enterprise zones.  On this basis, would you, Prime Minister, agree the importance of good strategic road and rail links to the success of our proposed enterprise zone and can you please now confirm that the LEPs will be given more responsibility over the allocation of regional growth funding in round two and would you please recognise the strategic importance of dualling the A453 as a crucial part of the region for our LEP?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Right, very good.  I was warned about this particular scheme and we do want to.  First of all, the good news: we are going to be announcing later today the extension of the Nottingham tram scheme and I think good transport links are vital for economic success, particularly a business like this you rely on being able to get your goods and products all across the country, so we understand the point.  The tram will be upgraded. </p> <p>The Local Enterprise Partnerships are vital and we want them to have a big role in helping to advise which transport projects go ahead.  That particular scheme we do want to make progress on it.  We’ve put money into capital spending, so we will do what we can, but it’s good that the LEP is going to be holding our feet to the fire and saying, ‘These are the things that we need.’</p> <p><strong>Deputy Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Can I just?  I mean the A453, I used to live in Ruddington on the Green there, so I know how you feel, believe you me, but anyway we hope we’ll be able to sort it out one day. </p> <p>Who’s next?  Who wants to ask the next question?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>And you can ask about anything.  It doesn’t have to be about the economy; it can be anything you like.</p> <p><strong>Deputy Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Yes, it doesn’t need to be just about the A453.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Good morning, it’s a question for the Prime Minister.  Prime Minister, Boots is a practical business, our leaders are very, very hands on in the way that we run our business and yet I read an article about you somewhere where it described you more as the chairman of the board and you prefer to be hands off.  Do you think, a year into office, this has changed and is there anywhere actually you’d have preferred to have got maybe a bit more hands on in the way the business is run?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>I think in politics when you’re trying to be an effective Prime Minister, just as in a business you’ve got to appoint really good ministers and then you’ve got to give them a clear sense of what you want them to achieve and then you’ve got to let them get on and try and achieve it.  And I think in the past sometimes the Prime Minister’s tried to be the chairman, the chief executive, the chief finance officer, the chief operating officer and, as a result, hasn’t got the best out of their team.  And I think it’s very important to make sure, you know, we’ve got Michael Gove, a great Education Secretary, Andrew Lansley doing a very good job at Health, I think the Chancellor yesterday showed a real grip of the Budget and the economy, and I do think the role of Prime Minister is to try and bring the team together, help with the strategic direction, but don’t think you can run the whole thing yourself, because if you do you’re going to get into trouble.  So no, I think that model is the right one.</p> <p>Who wants to go next?</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Prime Minister, petrol’s gone up about 5p in the last couple of months.  Isn’t your 1p cut really rather mean for hard-pressed families in this current climate? </p> <p>And if I can ask the Deputy Prime Minister, the oil companies always managed to pass on the fluctuations in oil costs to the consumer.  Why won’t they do it with your new tax?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Well, first of all, I would say this is a multi-billion pound tax cut.  It’s a very big decision that we’ve taken, because not only have we scrapped the so-called ‘fuel escalator’, the one pence increase in fuel tax all the way through this parliament.  That was coming down the road and we’ve scrapped it.  Not only have we done that, but we’ve put off the increase in terms of the inflation-linked increase this year, so that doesn’t go ahead and we’ve cut fuel duty by one pence.  So, in total, as the Deputy Prime Minister said, in total that’s 6p less than it otherwise would have been.  That is £4 off filling up the typical family car.  It’s a very substantial reduction.  It has meant this new tax on the oil companies that Nick will talk about, but I think it’s absolutely the right move to take.  Of course, one would always want to do more, but I think in terms of helping hard-pressed consumers, when you think about it, they’ve had their council tax frozen, a million people lifted out of income tax, a tax cut for everyone on basic rate, an increase in the pension in line with earnings, extra tax credits for the poorest families in our country, and this to help everyone who has to use a car.  I think in what is a difficult year those are good, helpful steps to help British people cope with the year ahead.</p> <p><strong>Deputy Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>And on that, the oil and gas companies themselves have said they’re not going to pass on this increased cost to us, the consumers.  I think it’s a fair deal, you know, that oil companies that are making huge, huge profits as the world price of oil is going up are asked to, you know, pay their fair share.  They’ll actually continue to make higher profits even after this tax next year than they have in earlier years and use that money to basically give a break to people I call alarm-clock Britons, people who work hard, play by the rules, who have to face these higher costs, pay their taxes and who need a bit of a break.  And I think basically taking a bit of money off the oil and gas companies in a way which doesn’t break the bank for them, allows them to continue to operate successfully and profitably, giving everybody else a bit of break is a good deal all round.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Very good.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Hello, good morning to both of you.  You mentioned about the extension of the trams and I just wondered if you would be able to share with us how much of that is going to come from the central government fund and how much is going to come from the workplace parking levy.</p> <p><strong>Deputy Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Well, a fair amount of it, as I understand it, is about savings that have been identified by the local council.  So it’s as much about how the local finances work and then, of course, it’s up to central government to give the go ahead and that’ll be the announcement later today made by Norman Baker, who’s the Minister who will be visiting.  So he’ll be able to fill you in on more detail.  But from the point of everybody – all of you – in Nottingham, it’ll lead to those two extra extensions in the tram system.  As for whether that’s being funded from this highly controversial parking – I think I visited your site 10 years ago and there was discussion about the parking levy, so I realise how difficult it is, but I hope that there’s now been an accommodation reached between you guys and the local council on that.  But you’d need to ask the local council how much of that money might be used for the tram.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>You mentioned a lot yesterday in the Budget about helping businesses grow and I’m just wondering what you see the role of Boots is in contributing to the economy specifically.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>I’m not just saying this because I’m here and you should always be polite about your hosts, but I think Boots is quite a model for what we want to see more of in Britain.  I mean the truth is, over the last decade too much of the growth in our economy was based on financial services and government spending and a boom in housing and it was too much confined to one corner of the country, the southeast and the City of London.  And what we need to do as a country is we’ve got start making things again.  We need to manufacture more, we need to export more, we need more business investment and we need that investment spread across the country. </p> <p>And when I look at Boots, what’s so fascinating about your business is you put money into R&amp;D, you invent new products, you do high-level research, you create new intellectual property, you create new products, you manufacture many of them here in the UK, then you distribute them and I’ve just seen the expertise in your distribution.  And then you’re a very successful retailer where you’re not just selling things to people, you’re actually starting to improve their health and starting to take their blood pressure and starting to advise them about healthy living.  So it seems to me you’ve got a very big role to play in a rebalanced economy in the modern world, which is absolutely what we need in this country. </p> <p>And I hope the Budget yesterday, with the patent box, so if you invent things and manufacture in Britain you get a lower tax rate, I hope that helps you.  The cut in corporation tax, I hope that helps you.  I hope all of what we’re doing about allowing greater capital allowances in manufacturing, I hope that encourages you to do more here in the UK.  So you’re a big part of the sort of economy we want to see in the future.</p> <p><strong>Deputy Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>And I’d add also we’ve allocated more money to science and research, which is the absolute genesis of inventing things, designing things, innovating and being a world leader in not just services and financial services, which we’re great in and we need to make sure that we continue to be great in that, but as David said, that we – I think we’ve been a little bit shy as a country about celebrating our success as a really important manufacturing company.  I’m speaking this evening at an event in Sheffield celebrating manufacturing in South Yorkshire and Sheffield and I kind of think we should really get onto the rooftops and crow about the fact that manufacturing is growing faster than it has done for years and years and years.  It’s a really important bright spot in the British economy and it really lays the groundwork for the future of a more sustainable British economy where we don’t put all our eggs into the basket in one industry in one corner of the country, but you have growth spread across the country for everybody.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Good morning.  I’m from the transport industry and we’re looking to see if the government would look at assisting low-carbon fuels for vehicles.  We’re the only country in the whole of Europe that taxes renewable fuels for vehicles, whereas the continentals have lower tax models.  Is it something that you could consider in the future that if we want to have a renewable fuels market we have to help it through the taxation?</p> <p><strong>Deputy Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>I think you’ll know more than I do, I think the VED, the Vehicle Excise Duty system does try and act as an incentive for more fuel efficient and low-carbon vehicles already and the Congestion Charge systems in London and elsewhere give exemptions to low-carbon or no-carbon vehicles.  But I think it’s kind of part of a bigger thing, isn’t it?  We not only need to rebalance the economy, as we’ve just been talking about, after the haemorrhage in the banking system and make it more balanced that way, we need to make it more environmentally sustainable and that’s why yesterday in the Budget I think it’s really important that we did two very big things.  Firstly, we said that the price of carbon in what businesses do has got to be properly reflected, so we’ve set a what they call technically a ‘carbon price’ for the first time.  I think we are world leaders in saying carbon costs us all, so it should cost – that should be reflected in the costs of businesses as well and that will act as a real incentive to renewable energy production rather than fossil fuel energy production. </p> <p>And then we’ve set up this Green Investment Bank.  More money at the beginning than everyone expected, £3 billion upfront.  It’ll be able to start a year earlier than it would have done otherwise and once we’ve sorted out the mess in our public finances it’ll be able to start borrowing and that’s going to be a really exciting way of getting public and private money into the kind of green infrastructure you need: transport, energy and so on for the future.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Thank you.  Any more questions?  I’ve noticed in Boots that it’s almost two to one women to men, so I think that’s the ratio of questions.  It’s probably why you’re so successful; that’s what my wife would say anyway.  So I think we should have the questions like that.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Thank you.  A lot has been talked about the Big Society in relation to volunteering and charity work and it would just be good to know a little bit more about your wider vision on that today.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Right, okay, thank you very much.  A very simple idea, which is if we want to build a stronger country, a better society, then it’s not just the government that’s got a part to play, we’ve all got a part to play, as individuals, as families and as businesses, and Boots is a good example; it puts a lot back into the community. </p> <p>And when I talk about a Big Society what I mean is basically three things.  First of all, we should devolve more power locally so that people who want to take a bigger part in their local communities are able to do so. </p> <p>The second thing we ought to do is in our public services is we should make them less top-down and more with people being able to participate and change the way they’re delivered.  So allow communities to set up new schools – you’ve got a great plan here with Nottingham City Council to have a university technical college.  That’s a great example of the Big Society devolving decisions about public services – education – down to businesses and city councils so they can do more to create a stronger society.</p> <p>But thirdly and crucially, we should do more to encourage volunteering and philanthropic giving and asking people to put more back into the country, and that’s why in the Budget yesterday I was delighted that the Chancellor extended Gift Aid.  So now if you shake a bucket in the high street or you do a collection in the church, you haven’t got to fill in all those forms to get the Gift Aid, you just get it automatically.</p> <p>The vision is of a country where we all recognise we should all do more individually and collectively to build a bigger, stronger society.  It’s as simple as that, and some people say to me, ‘But we’ve been doing this for ages.’ And I say, ‘Yes, of course.’ There are great organisations in our country that have been all about building a Big Society, and I just say let’s help them do more and let’s all do more because in the end that’s how I think we’ll have a better country for our children to live in.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Can I ask, in a world where bad business leads to bailout, what real incentives are there for the banks to change the way they work?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Good point.</p> <p><strong>Deputy Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>I think, firstly, we shouldn’t live in a world where the bad practice is rewarded by the rest of us bailing them out.  We’ve got to move away, over time.  We can’t do it overnight, it’s a very complex thing.  We’ve got to move away from this situation where they were so big and so, kind of, overwhelmingly important that we had no choice but to kind of bail them out.  Basically, in banking, much as in your business, if you really mess up, you should pay the consequences of that, not the rest of us.  So we’re having to pick up the pieces from a really big mistake, basically, where we allowed the whole thing to become too risky, for people to take risks with what turned out to be our money.  And what we’re doing is we’re saying to the banks, ‘You’ve got to lend more money to businesses, you’ve got to pay yourselves lower bonuses and you’ve got to pay us all more tax.’</p> <p>And that’s exactly what we’ve recently agreed with the banks, and then separately we’ve set up a commission of terribly clever, wise people, looking at this big problem of how do you get away from this ‘too big to fail’ dilemma, that we pick up the tab when, you know, when things go wrong in the banking system.  And all countries around the world are looking at the same dilemma and they will report, I think, in September of this year and then we’ll take it forward from there.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Just can I add two points to that very quickly?  First of all, the reason we had to bail out the banks is in an economy, if the banks collapse, you don’t just get a recession, you get a full-on depression.  So I think we had to do that, the last government had to do it, but the real lesson to learn, as well as what Nick has said, is there wasn’t any one organisation really in charge of regulating the banks, and what we’re doing is putting the Bank of England back in charge, to give the people with the authority, with understanding of banking and how it can go wrong, put them in charge of calling time on bad behaviour and bad lending and bad decisions, and I think a clear line of accountability, like in any business, is just as important in government.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>People seem very concerned about the number of immigrants moving to this country.  However, what people may not realise is that many immigrants have the right to work, live and study here because they’re from the EU or a Commonwealth country.  I know how difficult it has been to finally get citizenship and with it the right to vote, being an immigrant myself, so I was wondering, why are you making it more difficult for immigrants from overseas to come here, especially students who wish to get a British education?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Well, first of all, let me say, immigration is good for Britain.  The fact that people want to come and work here and come and make a living here and contribute here, that has been good for our country.  I think the problem, though, we inherited – there was a system that was slightly out of control.  I think the numbers coming in were too high, and also there was a huge amount of illegal immigration, people coming over and then just disappearing.  And if you take the issue of students, we had a situation where up until last year, about 90,000 students a year were coming, but not to universities or colleges that were highly recognised, but to colleges that didn’t really have proper recognition at all.</p> <p>So what we’re trying to do as a government is saying let’s keep hold of the good and positive immigration, people like yourself coming here, studying in university, wanting to work afterwards in a graduate job.  Let’s keep that, but we must deal with the illegal immigration and with the bogus colleges which has brought forward the problem, because at the last election I think we both found, going round the country, this was a real issue of concern, but the message from the British people was very clear: we don’t want no immigration, we want to have immigration, but we want it controlled and properly organised, and that is what we are aiming to do, and the rules we’ve put in place this week about students is actually saying, if you are coming over to a British university, that’s great, and after you’ve finished university you can work for two years in a graduate job, so our universities can market themselves across the world and say this is a great place to come and study and come and work, but we must try and keep control of what had become a very large industry of really almost quite illegal immigration, people coming over supposedly to study but actually to go into different parts of the labour market.  So I think we can get this right, I really do, and I profoundly believe we can get the numbers to a place where people have much more confidence in the system than they do now.</p> <p><strong>Deputy Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>I just want to add, it’s exactly as David said.  It’s a question of balance.  You want to open the door to people who come here who want to, you know, work and study by the rules, who want to come and study in universities and then find a graduate-level job.  We’ve said this week, they are welcome, more than welcome, they’re great for the future of this country.  We want to close the door against, you know, illegal routes into this country, abuse of the system, bogus colleges where people ask to come here to study but they don’t actually study at all.  It’s getting that balance right, and I think we’ve been spending a lot of time on this together.  It’s getting the balance right and I think we’ve struck the right balance on that student issue this week.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>The citizenship test is tough, isn’t it?  There are some of the questions – someone showed me some of the questions and it included, ‘What exactly is the role of the Mayor of London?’  I could answer that a lot of different ways, but we won’t go there right now.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Thank you.  Political parties are essentially coalitions themselves, and leading a political party brings its own challenges.</p> <p><strong>Deputy Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Tell me about it.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Do you feel your formal coalition has made your roles as political leaders harder or easier?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Good question.</p> <p><strong>Deputy Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>You want me to answer first, do you?  Right.  Thank you very much!</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>I think in a word, harder.  I think we’d say the same thing.  You’re right, all parties are coalitions and I think the thing about a coalition is that it does make the process of government a bit more formal.  With this Budget, we spent a lot of time in advance, the Chancellor, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Prime Minister, the Chief Secretary, Danny Alexander, really going through it in a much more formal, collective way, as you would in a business, and that’s a good thing.  But it does mean, I think, the harder part is we’ve both got to keep our parties – who sometimes want different things, they don’t always agree; of course not, otherwise we’d have one party, not two – we have to keep them going along with what the coalition is deciding.  So it’s more work, more consultation, but that’s not a bad thing.</p> <p><strong>Deputy Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>I think, you know, parties are tribal creatures and they like to tear strips off each other, and what I think we both as leaders need to do is remind people that you – not us, you, the British people – told us, the politicians, that no-one won the election and that you wanted us to work together, which is what we’ve done, in the national interest.  And I think, at the end of the day, we’re doing, in a sense, what you asked us to, which was not to say, ‘Oh, well, let’s have constant series of elections.’  Let’s get together, for once, and you have to do this in business, you have to do this in families, you do this in all walks of life, you sometimes have to work with people that you aren’t conventionally used to working with for the benefit of everybody, and that’s what we’re doing.  You just need to explain that over and over again, because I think sometimes people kind of forget the marching instructions that we received from the most important people of all, which was the British voters.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>I believe the principles of the NHS reforms are about improving patient care, improving patient outcomes and about improving the experiences that patients have, and to do all of that at less cost.  My experience in personalised care and making such enhancements is that it actually costs more money, so how will you achieve it?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Very good question.  Do you want to go first on this one?</p> <p><strong>Deputy Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>You go ahead.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>I think the key here is trying to deal with the bureaucracy.  Now, I’m a big fan of the NHS.  I’m passionate about it.  I think it’s a brilliant organisation.  The fact in this country if you get ill, or your children get ill, you can go to hospital, no one asks for your credit card or how much money you earn, you get treated.  It’s a brilliant thing.  But, the bureaucracy in recent years has built up and built up to such an extent that when we formed a government, the number of bureaucrats was growing five times as fast as the number of nurses.  So the way to try and get more for less is, I think, to try and remove that bureaucracy, put more power in the hands of the clinicians, and make them the decision-makers, the doctors and the nurses, and I think we will be able to get more for less.</p> <p>But we recognise that care costs money and that’s why, although we’re making cuts in many government departments – because we have to – in health, actually we’re putting an extra £10.7 billion in over the next four years, which will mean that the health budget is going up rather than going down, but it’ll still be challenging, because you’ve got the new treatments coming on, the new drugs – which obviously Boots are going to provide, at a very low cost, to the NHS, thank you very much – and obviously you’ve got the aging of the population, so there are a lot of pressures in the Health Service, but I think deal with the bureaucracy, give the doctors, the professionals more power, allow the patients greater choices, and I think we can have a better health system.</p> <p><strong>Deputy Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>The only thing I would add, there’s lots of debate and there continues to be lots and lots of debate about what this government, as in all governments, want to do with the NHS.  And I think, you know, if you actually strip it right down to what we’re seeking to do, it’s quite simple and I think most people would agree with it, which is firstly make sure that the people who know the patients best, the GPs, you know, have got kind of more say about how the whole system works so that they can make decisions which are based on your medical needs and then also make sure that the money follows those medical needs.  That’s sort of point one, pretty uncontroversial.</p> <p>And secondly, it’s an incredibly centralised, bureaucratic system, layers upon layers upon layers of quangos and administrative layers which, of course, some of which do really important work, but some of which frankly can be scaled down, and we think it makes sense to ask people who are accountable to you, and everybody else in this room, the local council and the local authorities, to have a bigger role, for instance, to make sure that health care and social care work together.  Because anyone who’s had anything to do with either, the gap between social care and health care, will know how important it is to make sure these two things come together.  That’s the basic, kind of, underlying motivation which we think is a good one, but clearly, rightly, because everyone cares so much about the NHS, it is also a subject of controversy.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Another thought.  We’ve just been looking at your amazing automated warehouse.  So your electronic point of sale system in your warehouse means that your staff in your shops can spend all their time thinking about the customer.  That’s the sort of thinking we need in the NHS, that actually if you get the bureaucracy right, the people in the NHS can spend more time caring for the patients.</p> <p><strong>Deputy Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>It doesn’t mean endangering the NHS; it doesn’t mean privatising the NHS.  The NHS remains free at the point of use, based on need and nothing else.  That sacred principle of the NHS will always, always remain.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Absolutely.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>We have four exceptional but quite diverse universities within 15 miles of where we’re gathering this morning.  What role do you want your university sector to play going forward?</p> <p><strong>Deputy Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>A massive role.  We talked earlier about the way we put actually more money in the Budget yesterday into science research and development.  Look at the enterprise-zone announcement we’re making today that will take place here.  Part of the reason we think it will be successful is it can draw on the research skills which can then be commercialised into products and services which can be sold or can help create jobs that are first invented in a lab or in a research department in the university.  I’m an MP from up the M1 in Sheffield and the universities, they are absolutely crucial to making sure that that city remains right at the forefront of engineering and the latest advanced techniques in manufacturing.</p> <p>Without great universities, I think in this globalised world where it is knowledge and innovation and insights that matter more than anything else, that are worth their weight in gold, without our great universities, we will be nothing in the future and that’s why we think the universities should be absolutely an integral part of these new initiatives that we’re providing to universities and to business.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>I agree with that.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>A follow-up from Carl’s question about the NHS.  Sir, you mentioned about not privatising it and free at the point of care.  What’s your advice to us as a company, for Boots, about how we can partner you on the massive transformation within the Health Service?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Well, my advice would be to work very positively with local GPs as the new system starts to evolve, because what you do is absolutely vital, which is trying to build a healthier nation.  I mean, this really goes to Carl’s question: how do we have a health system that is first-class and affordable when we can’t always just throw more money at it?  And the answer is we’ve got to become a healthier nation.  We’ve got to think more of preventative health.  You know, if actually we improve diet, if we cut down on smoking, all those other things, we deal much better with diabetes, with all the things that flow from obesity.</p> <p>So the healthy living agenda and the wellbeing agenda is absolutely vital to creating a more affordable Health Service.  At the moment, sometimes, we have too much of a national sickness service, as it were.  We need a National Health Service, and I think what you do in your stores and what your competitors do as well, I think, should be a big part of the agenda.  But you won’t get that from government asking, ordering you to do this and the GPs to do that.  It’s got to grow from the bottom up.  If you can demonstrate that you’re reducing the demands on the Health Service and making the population more healthy, you should be able to share in the system with the GPs who also, under the new system, will want the same thing.</p> <p><strong>Deputy Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Can I just add: as I said, of course, you are not going to sort of privatise the NHS in the sense of flogging off the NHS to the private sector.  It doesn’t mean you and many others – voluntary groups, and other groups – can’t work in partnership to provide healthcare, public health advice, and services to people as, by the way, has been happening for a long, long time.  You’ve got what they call a mixed economy in health.  You have done for many years.  What we want to do is to make sure that the people who are making a lot of the decisions about where your money, taxpayer money, goes know the patients best, and that you have a kind of level playing field, so that people can play their role in providing NHS services, free at the point of use, on the basis of need, but in a way that makes sense to local communities.  It isn’t just the result of some diktat from someone behind closed doors in an office in Whitehall.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Okay – last couple of questions.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Prime Minister, a question about the current military action in Libya, if I may: under the current UN mandate, is it the coalition’s intention to target Colonel Gaddafi directly?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Under the UN mandate, we are allowed to do two basic things.  The first is it says we should be able to take all necessary measures to put in place a no-fly zone to stop the Libyan regime air force and helicopter gunships from killing people on the ground.  We have done that.  We have a no-fly zone up and running and that is saving lives.  The second thing in the UN resolution is to take all necessary measures to prevent the loss of civilian life, so that has enabled us to make attacks on Libyan tanks and heavy artillery that are doing unbelievably brutal things in places like Misurata and previously in Benghazi, where I think, frankly, what we did with the French and the Americans helped to avoid a slaughter.  So, the targeting we have – and we shouldn’t comment on it, or give a running commentary on it, or say this is in, and this is out – the targeting is about saving civilian life and putting in place a no-fly zone.  I think it’s very important we don’t go beyond that in any way.</p> <p><strong>Deputy Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Can I just say two things, as someone who leads a party that was fiercely against the Iraq invasion: it’s just to really recognise how very, very, very different this is.  This is not unilateral action; it has absolutely been done by the book, through the United Nations.  We are not doing this on our own.  We are doing this with a whole bunch of other countries.  Actually, we are responding, in part, to a demand from the Arab League, from the Arab world, saying: look, you’ve got to sort this out. </p> <p>The second thing I would say is: how would we, how would you – how would any of us feel if we hadn’t taken action and we saw on the evening news, a few days ago, Gaddafi’s tanks rolling into Benghazi and just obliterating that city, that town, and snuffing out the kind of hope of freedom and a new future that those very, very brave people?  I think we would have felt really wretched.  I think as a country, we would have felt we did something wrong by standing aside.  So, I think yes, this is controversial.  It is always difficult.  It is not easy to predict tidy outcomes.  It is not a tidy world.  But to have acted and acted together in the United Nations in the way that we have, I think, unlike previous conflicts, was absolutely the right thing to do.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>As a consequence of the decisions that you are taking, please describe what life in Britain will look and feel like for the average person in five years’ time.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Very good.  How long have we got?  What I profoundly hope is that in five years’ time, people in our country will feel that the economy is growing; that there are better jobs coming through; that they are keeping more of the money that they earn; that they are seeing change in their public services, so there are new good schools sprouting up to give their children a good education; that the Health Service is working properly.  But also, I hope, a real sense of fairness, and by fairness, what I mean is that people who work hard, who do the right thing, who get up in the morning to try and provide for themselves and their family, feel they are being treated fairly and rewarded for what they do, rather than being punished. </p> <p>With that sense of fairness, I think there should also be a sense of obligation – that too many people in our country have felt that actually there is an alternative of a life on benefits and a life on welfare where you shouldn’t have to offer yourself up for work, and I think that sense of fairness includes those people, if they are going to go on getting welfare, making themselves available for work and accepting work if work is there.  So, I hope a wealthier, more prosperous country, in which everyone is sharing in that prosperity, better spread round the country, as we have been talking about, and a sense of fairness that if you put in and you do your bit, you get out and you feel you are part of a stronger country. </p> <p>And I hope also a more self-confident country – a country that actually feels we do matter in the world.  We shouldn’t overstate who we are in Britain, but we’ve got some great advantages.  We’ve got the English language; as Nick said, some of the best universities in the world; brilliant businesses like the one we are standing in today; a sense that actually, we helped shape events in the world and improve life for others, as we are in Libya and we are with our massive international aid programme that even in difficult times is actually saving lives all over the world.  So, I hope a proud and self-confident, happier, more prosperous country, but it is a difficult road that we have to take. </p> <p>We inherited this vast budget deficit.  I am just about to go off to Brussels, lucky old me, and I am going to be sitting round the table with the Portuguese and the Greeks and the Spanish, and we have got a bigger budget deficit than them.  The only reason our interest rates are lower than them right now is because this government has taken tough and difficult action to sort out the mess we are in.  But I do believe, when we get to the end of this parliament we will have taken the tough steps, we will have come through the other side, and people will feel more confident about the future.</p> <p><strong>Deputy Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Firstly, this is a sensitive issue between us, but I hope you will be voting in the election in 2015 on a different system than we have at the moment.  I thought I would get that in so he can’t answer and get his side of the story – ingenious, slipping it in right at the last minute.  The second thing is I very much hope, and David just said it himself, that actually come 2015, the really difficult stuff we are doing now, and it is really difficult – we don’t relish having to announce cuts and savings, and none of us went into politics to do that – will if not be a distant memory, at least people will know we have done the job, that when the next election happens, we are not going to be asking for more cuts, and that’s why I think it’s right, however difficult it is that we are doing it in this parliament. </p> <p>But the most important – if you ask me what I care about most, I think what I probably care about most is simply changing the country so that if you’re a child born, wherever you are born, you can kind of get ahead, irrespective of the circumstances of your birth.  I am going to go up to Sheffield after this event, and it just is not right that if you are born basically on the wrong side of the tracks, you’ll die several years earlier than someone who is born in a better part of town.  You’ll do worse at school from a pretty early age, and after that, the gap tends to widen.  You’ll have less chance to go to university.  That’s why some of the things that we’ve announced over the last few months – I know good news isn’t very fashionable at the moment, and it all gets obscured by the controversy about cuts, but actually slowly, bit by bit, we are doing some really important things which will help everybody to get ahead. </p> <p>You know, two year olds from all disadvantaged backgrounds will get free pre-school support for the first time.  All three and four year olds in this country will get free pre-school support for the first time.  We are introducing more money, so that you can target that attention to the kids who really need it at school.  We are making sure that there are more apprentices – 250,000 more apprenticeships than previous, under the previous government.  We are making the tax breaks that we have talked about, so that if you work hard, even on a low income, you make sure that you keep more of your money, that you don’t have to sort of think: oh well, it might be better to be on benefits.  It will always pay to work.  If you then retire, you’ll get a decent retirement, and you know that you’ve got this triple guarantee.</p> <p>It’s that kind of – you know, from cradle right through to retirement that we want to see that everybody can get ahead and make the best of their own luck if they really want to.  That’s the kind of Britain we hope, and I certainly hope, you will see in 2015 and beyond. </p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much.  I’m sure there will probably be television debates – we hope they will be a bit better natured between the two of us, but it will be interesting.  Thank you very much – you’ve been a fantastic audience.  It’s been lovely to come here today and see what you do in your business.  We very much hope the enterprise zone is going to lead this area to be even more successful than it is, but thank you for what you do, and thank you for coming today.  Thanks very much.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Budget 2011</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">PM Direct</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron PM direct in Nottingham Thursday 24 March 2011 Prime Minister's Office Nottingham
<p>Prime Minister David Cameron’s statement on Libya delivered outside Downing Street on Saturday 19 March 2011.</p> <h3>Read the statement</h3> <p>Tonight, British forces are in action over Libya. They are part of an international coalition that has come together to enforce the will of the United Nations and to support the Libyan people.</p> <p>We have all seen the appalling brutality that Colonel Qadhafi has meted out against his own people. And far from introducing the ceasefire he spoke about, he has actually stepped up the attacks and the brutality that we can all see.</p> <p>So what we are doing is necessary, it is legal, and it is right.</p> <p>It is necessary because, with others, we should be trying to prevent him using his military against his own people.</p> <p>It is legal, because we have the backing of the United Nations Security Council and also of the Arab League and many others.</p> <p>And it is right because we believe we should not stand aside while this dictator murders his own people.</p> <p>Tonight, of course our thoughts should be with those in our armed services who are putting their lives at risk in order to save the lives of others. They are the bravest of the brave.</p> <p>But I believe we should all be confident that what we are doing is in a just cause and in our nation’s interest.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Libya</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Prime Minister’s statement on Libya Saturday 19 March 2011 Prime Minister's Office unknown
<p>A transcript of press conference given by the Prime Minister David Cameron in Brussels on Friday, 11 March 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript:</h3> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Well, good evening and welcome.  Let me first of all say a few words about the events occurring today in Japan.</p> <p>Like many others around the world, I have been shocked at the devastating scale of this earthquake and the tsunami that it has triggered.  Before coming down to this press conference, I looked again at some of those dramatic pictures on our television screens and the, frankly, appalling situation that has been created.</p> <p>We do not yet know what the full effects of this disaster will be, but on behalf of everyone in Britain I want to send our sympathies and our condolences to the people of Japan and to their government.  At these incredibly distressing times we stand with you and stand ready to help in any way that we can.</p> <p>I spoke a short while ago to the Foreign Secretary who, earlier today, chaired a meeting of our government’s emergency committee COBRA, to review our contribution to the international response and also what else we can do to help British nationals who may have been caught up in the tragedy.  We made clear to the Japanese government that if they need any additional or specialist help we stand ready to assist and, of course, the British embassy in Tokyo and our network of embassies around the Pacific region will offer all the support that is needed to any affected British nationals.  We will keep our response and our support for Japan and the region under close review in the coming days.</p> <p>Events in the Middle East and North Africa are an immense challenge and an opportunity for Britain, for Europe and the world and that is why I supported, with President Sarkozy, calling this special European Council today.  I believe this is a once in a generation moment, as we saw in Egypt and Tunisia, where democratic awakenings have begun but are not yet complete.  This can be a huge opportunity for people to change their lives forever and realise their dreams for a more open and democratic form of government.  But as we are seeing in Libya, this is a dangerous moment too.  There, we are witnessing, frankly, what can only be called barbaric acts, with Qadhafi brutally repressing a popular uprising led by his own people and flagrantly ignoring the will of the international community.  And if we are to be clear, things may be getting worse, not better on the ground.</p> <p>And let me remind everyone just why this matters to all of us.  We should never forget this man’s track record.  This is a regime which for years supported terrorism around the world and which was implicated in the biggest mass murder ever on British soil, the Lockerbie bombing, as well as being associated with the deaths of many innocent people around the world.  And if we don’t sort out the current problems the risk is again of a failed pariah state festering on Europe’s southern border, threatening our security, pushing people across the Mediterranean and creating a more dangerous and uncertain world for Britain and for all our allies.  That is what we must avoid and that is why this matters.</p> <p>So let me tell you what we are doing about Libya.  I had set four very clear objectives for Britain.</p> <p>First, to ensure the safe evacuation of British nationals from that country, a task which is now largely complete. </p> <p>My second objective has been to step up the pressure on the Qadhafi regime and ensure he is held fully accountable for his actions.  On that, we put in place almost two weeks ago one of the toughest UN Security Council resolutions ever seen, in record time we agreed asset freezes, travel bans and an arms embargo, as well as referral to the International Criminal Court.  And let’s not forget how swiftly we took that comprehensive action.  And today, European leaders were united, categorical and crystal clear Qadhafi must go.  We also agreed to tighten the net on him and his henchmen, so we’ve strengthened the financial sanctions on the regime, we’ve added the Libyan Central Bank and the Libyan Investment Authority to the EU asset-freezing list and in doing so the UK has frozen a total of £12 billion of Libyan assets.</p> <p>Our third objective on Libya was to ease the suffering of all those affected by the violence.  Britain has played a significant role in the humanitarian response and today the EU has also committed to playing its part. </p> <p>Fourthly, I’ve consistently called for proper contingency planning for all eventualities, because it is the duty of governments everywhere to look around the next corner and that planning work is happening.  NATO yesterday had an important discussion and agreed to step up its surveillance in the Mediterranean and to continue to plan for things like a no-fly zone.  This is something I’ve discussed with Presidents Obama, President Sarkozy and others.  We are clear that action must be necessary, legal and win broad support, but we must be ready to act if the situation requires it and today the EU agreed to consider all necessary options when it comes to these eventualities.</p> <p>Let me now touch on the wider strategic challenge that we face.  As I’ve said before, this is not some far-flung part of the world.  North Africa is only a few miles from southern Spain.  What happens there has a direct impact on Europe and it is in our national interest to help shape these momentous events.  Greater openness in the region will, in the long term, I believe, lead to stability and economic success, so Europe needs to seize and shape this moment. </p> <p>On this long term agenda Europe can make a difference.  I argued today for a fundamental transformation of the EU’s approach.  We must encourage change, we must apply a greater conditionality to the billions of Euros we spend and we must make a real and credible offer to these countries based around the massive economic opportunities that lie in greater trade and cooperation with Europe.</p> <p>Now, today, we had a first discussion of these issues.  There’s a lot more work to be done.  It is clear we need to overhaul our approach and make the most of the economic incentives we can offer.  Europe has a real role here and I’m determined that we will play it.</p> <p>Let me finish by saying this: we should not underestimate what the international community has done so far – a UN resolution agreed in record time, strong EU sanctions that followed and the coordinated international humanitarian effort.  But the truth is this: Qadhafi is still on the rampage, waging war on his own people.  Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and right now there is no sign of this ending.  And around the region people continue to campaign for change and their aspirations have not yet been met.  Britain should be a relentless advocate for greater political openness, support for human rights and non-violence.  In the long term, that is the way to get stability and prosperity for this region, but we cannot do this alone.  The international community must be ready to act if the situation requires it.  We simply don’t know how bad this could get or what horrors already lie hidden in the Libyan Desert.  There is still a huge job to be done, but I’m determined that Britain will play its part.</p> <p>Thank you very listening.  Very happy to take some questions.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much, Prime Minister.  Do I sense a frustration from you after this meeting?  Can you confirm that Britain wanted the words ‘no-fly zone’ in the communiqué and they are not, I believe, in the communiqué now?  Is it your sense that lots has been achieved but, frankly, Europe’s leaders have not lived up to what you’ve described as ‘a moment in history’?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>No, I don’t feel frustrated.  Europe is an alliance of 27 and all our meetings tend to overrun and discussions continue, but the fact is Europe today has said some very significant things: absolutely united Qadhafi must go; absolutely united that this regime is illegitimate; and on the issue of planning for the future the Council conclusions say this, ‘The European Council expresses its deep concern about attacks against civilians including from the air.  In order to protect the civilian population member states will examine all necessary options provided there’s demonstrable need, a clearly good basis and support from the region’.  ‘All necessary options’ I think is strong language and rightly so because, as I’ve argued, we should be looking round the corner.</p> <p>Now, of course the EU is not a military alliance and I don’t want it to be a military alliance.  Our alliance is NATO, which discussed these issues yesterday.  But I think on the urgent question – how do we deal with Libya, how do we turn up the pressure – we’ve made good progress today and it was worth having this meeting.  On the longer term question, how do we offer a partnership to this region and to the countries in the region that want to reform and want to be more democratic and open, I think Europe is taking a good hard look at what it’s done in the past, saying it’s not good enough, it needs to change, and that is very much because of the UK effort that was made at subsequent Councils as well as at this Council today.  So I think it is progress, but sometimes progress can take some time when you’re having 27 conversations around the table, but I think ‘all necessary options’ is pretty tough when it comes to the dreadful events that are happening in Libya.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Thank you, Prime Minister.  I think we all understand that these things take time.  The trouble at the moment is Colonel Qadhafi is using that time to crush the resistance and while outwardly it appears that Europe is divided, yourself and France going one way, wanting to go a bit stronger, can you honestly say that today has changed anything?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Yes, I think it has, because what you’ve got is alongside a UN Security Council resolution that was tough with sanctions, tough with travel bans and asset freezes, you’ve now got Europe coming in on top of that and actually taking the freezes and the bans and everything, taking them further, making them tougher.</p> <p>And at the same time, you’ve got the countries of Europe following on from NATO saying that in order to protect the civilian population member states will look at all necessary options.  That’s right, but what we need to do now is to start the planning and the preparation so that if it’s necessary to act that we can act.  Of course, there’s no substitute in the end, words are not enough, in the end what we’ll be judged on is our actions but has the international community come together and come together rapidly in order to isolate this regime and put in place a tough approach?</p> <p>My answer would be yes it has, and that a lot of that is down to the role that Britain has played.  You know, we drafted that statement for the UN Presidential Statement, we helped draft the UN Security Council resolution, we’ve been arguing for these bans and freezes and the rest of it, we argued for the Council meeting today, we have a tough set of measures as a result of it.  Do we need to do more?  Yes, of course we do, because the fact is that this man is brutalising his own people and we cannot stand by while that happens but I think we’ve made good progress in the UN, good progress in the EU, good progress in NATO.  And what is also remarkable, I think, is when you look at what the Gulf Cooperation Council has said and when you look at what the Libyan opposition is saying, they want countries in the West with support in the region to be engaged, to put pressure on Qadhafi, because everybody wants him to go.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Prime Minister, are you concerned that Colonel Qadhafi’s forces could crush the opposition while the international community is still considering its response?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Well, obviously it’s deeply concerning what we see on our television screens and that is why it’s important the international response is strong and clear and united, and there’s further pressure that we must put on.  But I think when you look back and actually ask, ‘How quickly did the UN act in this case?’ it has been much faster than in previous cases, and people with great expertise have been surprised how much unity there was in the Security Council.  But clearly every day that he goes on brutalising his people is a bad day for humanity, it’s a bad day for people in Libya and we should be standing with those people that want a better future for Libya, and that future cannot include Colonel Qadhafi.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Prime Minister, you talk about Qadhafi brutalising his own people and carrying out barbaric acts.  As you consider your response to this, how heavily does it weigh on you that previous governments stood by and allowed genocides to take place in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Well, I think you’re making a good point, which is many people say we have to learn the lesson of Iraq, and yes we do, but we also have to learn the lesson of what happened in former Yugoslavia, in Bosnia as well, and I think that is important.  Obviously it’s very important that as we prepare for what might be necessary if this brutalisation continues and if things get worse, yes of course we’ve got to make sure that we have the support of Arab states and others, and we do have that support, there’s actually a surprising amount of unity in the international community about the need for Qadhafi to stop what he’s doing and for him to go and that Libya’s future can’t include him.  So of course we have to learn that lesson, but you’re right, we also have to learn the lesson of what has happened in other parts of the world where there might have been talk but there wasn’t action when it was necessary, and I do think we have to think about that as we go ahead.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Thank you.  Prime Minister Cameron, can you confirm if there have been talks today amongst leaders on stepping up more sanctions on Libya and actually targeting the oil sector? </p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>What there has been is stepping up of sanctions, as I said in my statement about enlarging the number of organisations that are covered by sanctions.  There’s also consideration being given, because the point was made very powerfully by Cathy Ashton, that this regime is still in receipt of a huge amount of money, including oil money, and so we do need to look at that whole question about how revenues flow, who they flow to, whether they’re flowing into Qadhafi’s hands.  So it’s a complicated question, but one the international community needs to get right.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>I’d like to ask your response to the increasing crackdown in Saudi Arabia.  We’ve seen today reports of various unpleasant things going on in Saudi, so what is your response to that?  And should King Abdullah still go to the royal wedding?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Well, my response to all that is going on in the Middle East is to say that what we want to see and what we think is good for stability and progress, as I said in my speech in the Kuwaiti parliament, is to see countries put in place the building blocks of democracy and civil societies and all that goes with it, and I think what I was pleased to see as I went round the Gulf was actually the number of regimes that understand that and are taking those steps.  I accept that in the short term, as these things happen, there will be difficulties, as we see in the region, but in the long term, the argument I made that actually economic progress and stability will go better as countries put in place the building blocks of democracy I think is profoundly right.</p> <p>Thank you very much for coming and thank you very much for your questions.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">brussels</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">European Council</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Press conference in Brussels Friday 11 March 2011 Prime Minister's Office Brussels
<p>On Tuesday 8 March 2011 Prime Minister David Cameron and President Mohmoud Abbas gave a joint statement in London.</p> <p><strong>Read the transcript:</strong></p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>I’m delighted to have President Abbas here at No 10 Downing Street and delighted also that you’ve been upgraded to a mission now, the Palestinian delegation here in London, which I think is absolutely right.  Obviously, we’ve got a lot to discuss with all the things that are happening in your region, but I think most important of all is my strong belief that this is a moment not to push back on the talks between Israel and Palestine, but to actually make more progress, to push forward.  This is a moment when we should be trying to seize the opportunity and recognise that this lies at the heart of so many of the issues in your region and we very strongly support those talks going ahead and we also supported the UN Security Council resolution and were proud to do that.  So it’s great to have you here today.  Thank you.</p> <p><strong>President Mohmoud Abbas</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much.  Thank you, Mr Prime Minister, for inviting us in these crucial times to see you, to talk to you and to exchange views about the current situation either in Palestine or around Palestine.  I’m very grateful for you that you upgraded our general delegation to a mission and, of course, also we are very grateful for your stand in the Security Council and also for the trilateral communiqué which has been released by Britain, France and Germany.  We think that that communiqué is a good basis for a negotiation, for parameters, for negotiations.  We hope that we will continue our effort to pursue talks and to achieve peace settlement with the Israelis as soon as possible.</p> <p> <strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Thank you, Mr President.  Thank you very much.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Palestine</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">UN Security Council</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Joint statement from PM and President Abbas Wednesday 9 March 2011 Prime Minister's Office London
<div> <p>Prime Minister David Cameron a gave an interview on the situation in Libya on Sunday 27 February 2011.</p> <p><strong>Read the transcript:</strong></p> </div> <p><strong><span style="font-family: Arial;">Prime Minister</span></strong></p> <p><span style="font-family: Arial;">Three Hercules have gone into the eastern desert area, brought back a number of British nationals but also many, many others and it was a mission that was not without its difficulties. Also today we’ve seen HMS Cumberland pick up more people in Benghazi and it is now heading back towards Malta</span> <span style="font-family: Arial;">–</span><span style="font-family: Arial;"> again some British citizens but many, many other nationalities as well. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Arial;">So that is good news, that is good progress and we are now putting serious pressure on this regime. We have introduced today a travel ban, asset freeze and there’ll be further export measures that will be taken as well in the coming hours and all of this, I think, sends a very clear message to this regime. It is time for Col Qadhafi to go and to go now. There is no future for Libya that includes him.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="font-family: Arial;">Question</span></strong></p> <p><span style="font-family: Arial;">Now earlier the Foreign Secretary told us that you tried to get permission from the Libyans to go in but you didn’t get that permission which makes the mission seem all the more risky. What were you weighing up when you decided to send in a British military plane into Libyan airspace?</span></p> <p><strong><span style="font-family: Arial;">Prime Minister</span></strong></p> <p><span style="font-family: Arial;">Well, it is risky and it is difficult but I judged that it was the right thing to do because there are British citizens spread out across those oil platforms</span> <span style="font-family: Arial;">–</span><span style="font-family: Arial;"> particularly in the eastern desert area in Libya. We need to get those people home, we need to do so safely and we can do so helping many other nationalities at the same time. Obviously Libya is a country in complete chaos and so it is difficult to arrange these things, but it was the right thing to do and I pay tribute to the very brave pilots and to the Armed Services personnel who managed to help so many British citizens back to safety and I am delighted they’ve been able to do that. That is part of what needs to be done. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Arial;">The next part is real pressure on this regime, the travel ban, the asset freeze. The measures were taken against the regime to show just how isolated they are</span> <span style="font-family: Arial;">–</span><span style="font-family: Arial;"> a very clear message tonight, that it’s time for Col Qadhafi to go. He should go now and Libya’s future has no future with him at the helm, absolutely none. Thank you.</span></p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Libya</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Transcript of the PM’s interview on Libya Sunday 27 February 2011 Prime Minister's Office Libya
<p>Transcript of interview with YouTube given by the Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron in Oman on 24 February</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> Prime Minister, thank you so much for your time.  The format of our interview is we’ve got all the questions in from viewers around the world.  They’ve sent in text questions, they’ve sent in video questions, and we’ll split it up into some foreign policy and some domestic policy, so we hope to cover a nice broad range of things.  The first question is a video question, and it’s I think very important at this moment.  It’s an international one, and it’s about the situation – the uprisings we have seen in the Middle East.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong><br> David, my question is this.  Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen civilians being killed and beaten in the streets in several Middle Eastern countries using weapons that were sold to them by British companies, and my question is: how do you justify going this week on a tour of North African and Middle Eastern countries with several representatives from weapons companies, with the aim of selling those governments yet more weapons, which we know will be used against their civilian population?</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> So, he’s essentially asking: you’re sending mixed messages about Britain’s role in the Middle East.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> Not at all.  First of all, what I’ve been saying on this trip this week is the importance of supporting the aspirations of people in North African and Arab countries who want greater democracy, greater freedom, and greater rights.  That is why I started my trip in Cairo, in Egypt, meeting with the government – also meeting with the protestors and saying that I supported their aspirations – and having discussions with that government to try and get them to focus on a proper transition to a real civilian government and genuine democracy in Egypt.</p> <p>On the issue of trade and on defence, we have some of the toughest controls anywhere in the world for selling defence equipment to other countries.  I don’t think that trade is wrong in every circumstance; after all, how can we expect a small country to manufacture and make all the things it needs to defend itself?  One of the countries I went to and one of the countries where we have sold defence equipment in the past and probably will in the future is Kuwait, a country that actually does have a level of democracy, and also a country that was invaded by its neighbour, Saddam Hussein.  So, I don’t accept this argument that it’s wrong in all circumstances to support the sale of defence equipment, but as I say, Britain, unlike many other countries, has extremely tough controls, and as for whether there is evidence about this equipment has been used, I haven’t seen that evidence, so I disagree I think with most parts of that question.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> Fair enough.  We’ll move on.  The next question is a text question.  It’s on a similar line.  They are going back and using Yugoslavia as an example.  In 1999, NATO bombed Yugoslavia because Yugoslav security forces were responsible for crimes against humanity and mass human rights abuses against the Kosovo civilian population.  Doesn’t the UK, as a founder of NATO, find Libya’s authorities are doing the same thing?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> Well, let me be clear.  I think what Libya’s authorities are doing is completely unacceptable.  This violence, this meting out of vicious, brutal repression, including using aeroplanes, including troops on the streets, including live ammunition, is completely unacceptable and it must stop.  I completely back what Barack Obama said last night about this, and these actions – yes, they must have consequences: consequences in the UN Security Council, consequences for those responsible for them, and we should, as Barack Obama said, look at the full range of options in terms of doing that.  People in Libya need to think extremely carefully about what they are doing, because those actions – yes, they should have consequences.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> So, in relation to that question, you wouldn’t draw any parallels between intervention in Yugoslavia years ago, and intervention now?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> I would condemn human rights abuses and the repression by governments of their people wherever they happen, Libya included, and all our minds at the moment are focused on that country, and quite rightly so.  What we have seen on our television screens, what is happening on the streets of Tripoli and elsewhere is completely unacceptable and it must stop, and I am absolutely clear: if it does not stop, there will be consequences.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> Okay.  One more international question before we move to domestic issues.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong><br> [inaudible]</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> The audio wasn’t brilliant on that one, but he was essentially saying: why are you not engaging more with Islamic parties who do win elections in this part of the world?  I guess from Gaza he’s referring to the likes of Hamas.  He might even allude to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> I think the point I’d make in Egypt is that I had the opportunity to go and meet people who had protested in Tahrir Square, people who wanted a genuine democracy in Egypt, and one of the points they made to me is that all too often, our government or the international community has just gone straight to the Muslim Brotherhood and has not talked to the other people of opposition parties, or people who want to set up parties, and their argument was: we need more time, we need more help to make sure this is a genuine, open democracy for the future, rather than just a choice between an autocratic regime on the one hand, or Islamic parties on the other.  So, I made a conscious decision to go and see the non-Islamic opposition to actually talk to them about what they want in the future of Egypt.  I think that is the right thing to do.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> Allowing new groups to flourish?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> Of course, absolutely.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> Let’s move on to some domestic issues.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong><br> My name is Neil Garrett, and my question to you is this: you and your government seem to be rather intent on making an all out assault on public services in this country and inflicting a level of cuts on the poor and vulnerable members of our society, all the while ignoring the rather large elephant in the room, which is the obscene profits that the financial sector is making and the complete lack of taxes that they are paying this country.  So, in that case, why are you letting the banking sector get away with this behaviour, and why are you inflicting this level of cuts and damage on our society, and particularly on poor people in our society?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> Let me answer Neil very directly.  First of all, what he says about our assault on public services is just quite simply wrong.  If you take the most important public service of all, the National Health Service, we are not cutting that service – we are increasing spending on that service.  That is the service that poor and vulnerable people depend on more than anything else.  So, first of all, I completely reject the premise of his question.  The question he asked – why are we having to make cuts at all? – well, it was because of the complete and utter mess the economy was left in by the last Labour government, who left us with the biggest budget deficit anywhere in the developed world.  People sometimes talk about the problems faced by Greece or by Portugal.  Our budget deficit, when I became Prime Minister, was bigger than the one in Greece – bigger than the one in Portugal.  It is Labour’s mess that we are having to clear up, and that does mean making some spending reductions.</p> <p>Now, as for his question about taxing the banks: unlike the last Labour government that refused to act before other countries acted, we have introduced a bank levy that will raise over £10 billion in this parliament.  So, under our arrangements with the banks, the banks will pay more in tax; they will do more lending, particularly to small businesses; and they will have a smaller bonus pool this year.  Those are achievements that the last Labour government completely failed to achieve.  Now, it is difficult, making these spending reductions, but we are trying to do it in as fair a way as possible, and if you look at our budget and our spending round, it’s actually the better off in our country who will pay more, both in cash terms and as a percentage of their income in order to clean up the mess that we are left by Labour.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> So, on the premise of what Neil was saying about the banks, though – you feel that the banks are ‘being punished enough’?  He was basically saying the banks should be punished.  Are you saying that they are being punished enough?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> I want them to pay more in tax.  They will pay more in tax, but the point I would make is this.  We do need an economic recovery, and to get a recovery you need banks to lend money.  So, you have a choice in politics.  You can go on and on and on about punishing the banks, or you can do what we’ve done, which is actually get more tax out of them – get more revenue out of them, so they will be paying more into the exchequer, and at the same time, we’ve got them lending more money to business.  That’s what we want.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> Let’s move on to our next question, a text one: ‘Respected Prime Minister, what are the ways and methods your government is taking to reduce the unemployment rate for recent graduates, both national and international?’ This is a hot one, because you’ve got so many people coming out of university and going, ‘I don’t have a job – I can’t find a job.’</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> Well, I feel for those people, because it is extremely difficult at the moment, and we have seen, regrettably, a rise in unemployment.  The most important thing we can do is get the economy growing.  That is how we get jobs going – by making sure government is keeping corporate taxes down, which we are doing.  We’re going to have the lowest corporate tax rate anywhere in the G7 to attract businesses in, to encourage business investment.  That is the most important thing that we can do and what’s happening in Britain is a rebalancing of our economy.  For years we were too reliant on one industry – finance, in one corner of the country – the south of England.  We need a rebalancing of the economy towards manufacturing, investment, exports, business growth across the country, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m here in the Gulf this week, I’m determined to link Britain up to the fastest growing countries of the world, taking business investment and businesses to China, to India, here in the Gulf to help our economy grow.  That’s the best thing we can do for graduates.</p> <p>The other thing is to make it easier for businesses to take people on.  That is about simplifying taxes, simplifying regulation, encouraging businesses to grow and that’s exactly what we’re doing.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> So, in answer to the question there, which was asking what’s being done specifically, your argument is fix the economy, the jobs will follow.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> Fix the economy, help business invest, take regulation off business, give businesses low tax rates.  In the end, it is businesses that create jobs.  Government can’t create long-term jobs in the private sector.  It is businesses that do that and we’ve got to make the atmosphere for business better so they can expand and they can grow.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> Okay, let’s move on, next question.  I think it’s another text one; it is.  This was, incidentally, the second most popular question, because viewers would submit questions and then members of the public would vote.  Why is marijuana illegal when alcohol and tobacco are more addictive and dangerous to our health but we manage to control them?  Wouldn’t education about drugs from a younger age be better?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> Well, there’s one bit of that question I agree with, which I think education about drugs is vital and we should make sure that education programmes are there in our schools and we should make sure that they work.  But I don’t really accept the rest of the question.  I think if you actually look at the sort of marijuana that is on sale today, it is actually incredibly damaging, very, very toxic and leads to, in many cases, huge mental health problems.  But I think the more fundamental reason for not making these drugs legal is that to make them legal would make them even more prevalent and would increase use levels even more than they are now.  So I don’t think it is the right answer.  I think a combination of education and also treatment programmes for drug addicts, I think those are the two most important planks of a proper anti-drug policy.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> But the argument that it could be used as medicinal properties, that was another question we actually had, a person saying it’s got proven medicinal properties.  If used properly and regulated properly it could actually be quite helpful.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> That is a matter for the science and medical authorities to determine and they are free to make independent determinations about that.  But on the question here about whether illegal drugs should be made legal, my answer is no.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> Okay then.  I think we’re moving back to some international questions now, another video.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong><br> Hello Prime Minister.  My question is this: what is the reason for aggressively pursuing Iran for its nuclear programme whilst Israel, which is the region’s only rogue nuclear state, receives no comparable attention and can you see how this double standard may constitute a destabilising factor in the region?</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> It’s a great question, isn’t it?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> I’d make two points to Tim.  First of all, we support the Non-Proliferation Treaty and we believe that everyone should fulfil their obligations under that Treaty.  But I would make this point about Iran which I think does make Iran a special case.  I can’t think of another country anywhere in the world that has actually said it wants to obliterate one of its neighbouring countries.  It has said that about Israel.  That seems to me to make it materially different from other countries.  To make that statement, it wants to wipe another country in its neighbourhood off the map, and it is pursuing, to all intents and purposes, a nuclear weapon I think makes it a special case.  And that’s why it’s right to have the sanctions, to take a very tough approach and to say to the Iranian government ‘there is another path for you.  You can have civil nuclear power.  You can have full engagement in the world community, but if you go down this path of nuclear weapons you should expect to be cut off from the rest of the world, you should expect sanctions and you should expect to be treated as a pariah’.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> But why should Iran have to declare that and Israel not?  There’s still so much ambiguity about Israel’s nuclear weapons in the first place.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> As I said, everyone should apply the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  I think that is absolutely key, but I think there is a special case here with Iran, a country that is trying to get a nuclear weapon and that is saying that it believes in wiping another country off the map.  I can’t think of another country that has made that statement and that’s why I think this is a very special case.  And it would lead to, if we are concerned about proliferation, it could lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, which nobody wants to see.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> Next question.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong><br> My question is this, Prime Minister: with the UN already having called for the US to investigate the torture that we now know for a fact to have taken place during the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions, will you act on any revelations of British involvement in torture, extraordinary rendition or FRAGO 242?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> Well, the short answer to that is yes and I have already acted.  There have been accusations not that British people tortured anybody, but accusations of so-called complicity in torture and that is why when my government got in. We very quickly decided to settle all the outstanding cases against the British government and to deal with those. And then to set up an independent enquiry by a respected judge, Justice Gibson, who’s going to look into these accusations of complicity surrounding all the aspects of Guantanamo Bay, and we should act on the evidence.  And I want Britain to clear any stain off its name in this area.  I think that is extremely important.  And it’s important not just because we should be clear that torture is wrong and cannot be justified, but I also want to make sure that the security services in Britain, who do a very important job in keeping us safe, are not stuck in the courts pursuing legal actions, but are actually out there doing their work to keep us safe.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> Okay.  Final international question and this, incidentally, was the most popular question.  I think it actually ties in to some of the earlier things we talked about the economy.  If Britain’s making financial cuts, why are we still fighting in Afghanistan?  Shouldn’t we be making Britain safe first?  The argument being you’re spending money on ongoing wars, but making people suffer, if I can use that word, at home with financial cuts.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> Well, my argument would be that what we’re doing in Afghanistan is about making Britain safe.  I mean we have to remember what Afghanistan was under the Taliban.  It was a state that gave a home to Al Qaeda and to terrorist training camps and from those training camps came many people including, regrettably, British citizens who went out and trained there who then committed atrocities and terrorist acts across the world, including in the UK.  So the reason for being in Afghanistan, it’s not some neo-colonial attempt to change that country, it’s very pure and simple: we want an Afghanistan that is able to take control of its own security and its own safety without the need for British troops, but that does not have terrorist training camps that threaten the UK.  That is our aim.  It’s no more than that.  We want Afghanistan to be run by the Afghans for the Afghans.  It’s as simple as that.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> So, to answer that question, it’s worth the money.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> It is obviously an expensive and difficult endeavour and we have given a huge amount in terms of the lives of our soldiers who’ve been lost in Afghanistan.  I’m acutely conscious of that and the extraordinary sacrifices that our armed services make every day while they are there.  I don’t want them to be there one day longer than is necessary and as soon as Afghanistan is capable of taking care of its own security with its own army, its own police force then those British soldiers will come home.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> We’ll keep moving, Prime Minister, because I don’t want us to run out of time.  I’d like to get through all the questions.  We’re back to domestic questions now with an international flavour.  Would you please give your countrymen the chance to vote on whether or not we stay in the European Union?  As our leader, you are obliged to present our countrymen’s views.  Give it a chance.  Put an end to this debate once and for all.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> Well, again, I’m not sure I agree with the context of the question.  I don’t actually think if you hold a vote on these things you necessarily put an end to the question once and for all.  I have a very clear view, a view which I put into my party’s manifesto, which is that we should be in the European Union because Britain needs to be in that group of nations.  They’re our most important trading partners.  We need a say in the rules of the European Union and our membership gives us that.  But we want to change the European Union and what we have done, and no British government has done this before, is we have passed an Act through Parliament that says that if ever there is a treaty that passes power from Westminster to Brussels the British people get a referendum guaranteed.  That is a big change in our, if you like, way of dealing with our constitution, but I don’t believe an in/out referendum is right, because I don’t believe leaving the European Union would be in Britain’s interests.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> Okay then.  Another video for you.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong><br> Hello, Mr Cameron.  We are two teenagers with plans to go to university.  We want to know why only English students have to pay extortionate fees instead of all students from Wales and Scotland.  We can see no logic or fairness in this and feel all students should be in this together.  If only white pupils had to pay and not other ethnic groups there would be an uproar and we see little difference between the two scenarios.  Yours sincerely, the next generation of voters.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> So, the argument being that there is discrimination in the education system.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> What I would say to Lins and to Taylor is that it’s not discrimination; it’s devolution.  There is a parliament in Scotland; there is an assembly in Wales.  They have decided that with the money they have, they are not going to charge students tuition fees; instead, they are going to have to save money elsewhere.  Now, that is their decision.  I happen to think it’s not the right decision, and I think over time they will see that the reforms we’re making in England will lead to stronger universities with a more secure financial base that will be able to expand and grow, and that will be able to compete with universities across Europe and across the world – which is going to be absolutely vital for our industrial and economic future.  But it is a decision – that was the whole point of devolution: different countries within the United Kingdom can make different decisions.</p> <p>But if you’re not charging your students, you’re going to have to find the money from somewhere else, and some of the universities in those countries, I think, are already to starting to say: well, we’re not able to make some of the investments that English universities are able to make, because we don’t charge fees.  But, again, that is a matter for Scotland, a matter for Wales.  I think the system we have put in place is right; it actually means that students only start paying back money when they earn £21,000.  So what we’re doing, effectively, is saying, you’ve got a choice: you can either ask taxpayers to fund the expansion of university education, or you have to ask students.  And we’re not asking all students; we’re asking only successful graduates, who are earning more than £21,000, to make that payment.  I think that is the right answer, but Scotland and Wales have to make their own decisions.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong><br> Immigration is one of the top issues facing today’s society.  It is estimated that Labour let in over three million.  Recent newspaper articles have debated about the number of illegal immigrants that are currently claiming benefits.  I don’t agree with taking more out the system than you put in.  In Spain, for example, they have a system where, for every year you work, you save three months’ unemployment benefit, entitling the person to 75% of their gross pay should they ever become unemployed.  How do you plan to tackle the issue of immigration and the number of immigrants that are already here?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> What I would say is two answers, really.  First of all, we need to put proper controls on immigration, and we’ve said that we’re going to have a cap; we’re going to limit immigration.  Under Labour, net immigration was in the hundreds of thousands, and that’s where the three million figure comes from; we would like to see that figure of net migration come down from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands a year.  I think that is perfectly possible and achievable, particularly if we deal with the abuses – if you look at things like the student visa system, actually, if you get rid of the bogus students, the people who aren’t really coming to study, I think there’s still plenty of room for talented international students to come to Britain.</p> <p>But the second half of the answer is actually not to do with immigration; it’s to do with welfare reform.  One of the reasons so many people came to Britain is because we left too many of our own citizens sitting on benefits, unable to work.  We are actually getting private companies, voluntary sector companies, to help those people off benefits and into work with the appropriate training.  And that will reduce the demand for immigration, which I think is a very key part to making sure we have a more balanced migration policy.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> Prime Minister, those are the end of our questions; however, there are three questions which are going to be asked to every leader who does the YouTube Worldview interviews.  They have already been asked to President Barack Obama in January; it’s your turn.  First question: tell us one experience that changed the way you view the world.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> There are lots of moments.  I think of the Live Aid, when I was relatively young, when that happened – the extraordinary pictures from Ethiopia, I think, seared into all our minds the unbelievable world poverty.  I suppose the experience that made me think a lot, politically, was the fall of the Berlin Wall.  I had spent some time behind the Iron Curtain, I had travelled through Russia beforehand, and I think that incredible year of 1989 was a momentous year.  I think so many people had felt that change wasn’t possible, and it proved that change was possible; a more bright, democratic future was possible.  And there are some echoes with what is happened in our world today.  So I suppose I am an optimist, I always like to think on the bright side, and when I think of an experience that gave me a great lift in thinking about life and the future of our planet and the people who live on it, actually that year of liberation was an incredible year.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> I would think there are a lot of young people looking at 2011 in the same way, although we are only two months into 2011.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> Let’s hope that – already there are some very positive signs.  Of course there are risks, there are always risks, but the chance of human freedom, that feeling we all have in our breasts of wanting to be free, to be in control of our own destiny, it’s a universal feeling.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> This is a question I really want to hear your answer to.  If you could ask one question of a world leader, like I’m doing right now, what would it be and to whom?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> Are we allowed alive or dead on this one?</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> Let’s go alive.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> That is difficult.  I think my question right now would be to Colonel Gaddafi, which is what on earth do you think you are doing?  Stop it.  Give your people the chance of freedom, democracy and a better future, which is what everyone in our world wants and deserves.  I think if it was anyone ever, I think it would have to be Winston Churchill in 1940, I think the most incredible year in British history when we stood alone and the whole of the world seemed to be against us, with only us standing against Hitler and all of the armies he had amassed.  I think understanding how Churchill maintained that courage and that fortitude to take his country, my country through that incredibly difficult time – I have read so many books and articles and stories about that period, but to ask him what it felt like and how he kept so steadfast, I think would be fascinating.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> Okay, and the final of the big three questions is what is the biggest problem facing the next generation, not necessarily us today?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> This is a very difficult – I think if it’s the next generation, I think the challenge of climate change is getting greater and in some ways more difficult.  I think in terms of today, I would still say today it is the combination of global poverty, where we still have millions of people living on less than $1 a day in incredible poverty in our world, and in the end the answer to that is not aid.  The answer to that is going to be getting economies to grow and getting job opportunities for people across the world.  That applies as much in a wealth country like my own, where the need to get economies growing, to get good jobs for our people, is absolutely the priority right now, and that is the priority right across the world from the poorest people in the poorest countries to some of the wealthiest countries in the world.</p> <p><strong>Presenter</strong><br> Prime Minister, it has been a pleasure talking to you.  Thank you for your time.  On behalf of the viewers, thank you as well.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong><br> Thank you.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Al Jazeera</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Libya</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Middle East</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Oman</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">YouTube</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Transcript of the PM’s YouTube interview in Oman Saturday 26 February 2011 Prime Minister's Office Oman
<div> <p>Prime Minister David Cameron and the Prime Minister of Qatar, His Excellency Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Althani gave a press conference on the relationship between Britain and Qatar and the situation in the Middle East on 23 February 2011.</p> </div> <p><strong>Read the transcript:</strong></p> <p><strong>Prime Minister of Qatar</strong></p> <p>In the name of God, the most merciful and the most compassionate: first of all, I would like to welcome our dear guest, the British Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron.  We are very pleased with this visit.  This visit is very important; it comes at a very important time for Qatar and the area.  We have met on more than one occasion.  We have discussed many different topics including, of course, the relations between Qatar and the UK.  These are very old, historic and very important relations.  Lately, we have consolidated these relations even more in the field of economic cooperation, political coordination and other subjects of interest, whether to do with health or education, or even social aspects.  We are of the opinion that these are very important and balanced relations. </p> <p>Qatar, as you know, invests in the UK and we will increase our investment in the future.  Today, we have signed an important agreement to increase the import of gas to the UK.  It is important for our relations to be based on mutual interests which work in both directions, which lead to a balance in the cooperation economically between the two countries.  We have also discussed other related issues.  We have discussed issues which are important to our part of the world, and what’s been happening and the latest events in Libya and Yemen, and also we have discussed our points of view as to how Qatar views these developments, and there should be a clear view.  Violence and force should not be used in the way we have seen it being used, and issues of this nature should be solved peacefully and in a way which will safeguard the properties of the state and the people. </p> <p>We have also discussed issues of bilateral importance.  We hope our relations between us and the UK will develop further, because as I said, these are historic relations and we are always prepared and willing to look positively at any proposals or suggestions to develop these relations at the political, economic or educational levels, and we think it is very important also that there should be clarity in dealing with the Palestinian question.  As you know, it was very regrettable that the US had resorted to using the veto at the Security Council and we hope that Britain will live up to our expectations to reach some good conclusions based on international resolutions and on the principles of justice.  Once again, we thank you, Prime Minister, for your visit, and we wish you success, and now the floor is yours.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong> </p> <p>Thank you very much, your Excellency, and thank you for the warm welcome that we have received from you.  I think we have had some excellent discussions, both last night and also this morning.  Your country is something of an emerging regional powerhouse, from the strength of your economy to your decision to play host to one of the most powerful news outlets in the world, which is certainly making its presence felt, to your role in mediating international conflicts, and even, if I may say with a slight hint of jealousy, to your successful World Cup bid, although of course we weren’t bidding against each other – we were bidding for 2018, and you for 2022 – but it is quite clear that Qatar is going places. </p> <p>As we are turning Britain round at home, I am determined to connect Britain to the countries that will matter in the future, and that means your country of Qatar.  My visit here, building on the Emir’s very successful state visit to Britain last year, is I hope the next step in this process.  In our talks today, we have covered events in the region, the importance of reform, our shared economic and cultural agenda, and regional security issues.  Now, I talked at length yesterday about change in this region, and my principles are clear: that governments must respond to their people through reform, and not repression; that the exercise of excessive force is something I condemn, wherever it occurs; and that we want to see the building blocks of democracy put in place peacefully, in a way that responds to people’s aspirations.  That applies to Libya, where the situation remains gravely concerning and where we are doing everything that we can to protect British nationals and to assist them in leaving the country.</p> <p>We also discussed today ways to strengthen our trading, cultural and education links.  On trade we welcome the announcement between Centrica and Qatargas of the supply of liquid natural gas for the next three years.  This is an important step towards greater energy security for Britain and it is also good for British consumers.  I also welcome plans for the first meeting of the UK-Qatar Trade and Investment Forum, a forum that now has the clear purpose of doubling bilateral trade to £4.4 billion a year by 2015.  We also have a memorandum of understanding to strengthen our sporting links as well as a framework of cooperation on education.  And I am particularly pleased, Your Excellency, that you have agreed to speak at the Oxford Centre of Islamic Studies later this year. </p> <p>Third, regional security issues.  As we discussed today, Iran remains a grave concern because of its intent to acquire nuclear weapons.  They are already suffering from international sanctions, their economy is weak and vulnerable and the regime only survives by cracking down on its political opposition.  On its current path Iran is set to become an international pariah state with no friends, no money, nowhere to go.  Britain and its international partners remain ready to negotiate but we are not going to be taken for a ride.  So, we will continue to find ways to increase the pressure.  We will work vigorously to ensure international sanctions are implemented and I have asked our officials to consider what more can be done in this important area.  We have also discussed the situation in Yemen.  We are committed to working with President Saleh on the urgent political and economic reforms his country needs and to tackling the danger that al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula presents to people at home in Britain. </p> <p>Finally, the Middle East peace process, which you spoke about.  This dispute continues to fuel hate right across this region and serious, direct and substantive peace talks are needed more urgently than ever.  The time for the two-state solution is running short.  Britain supported last week’s resolution in the UN Security Council because settlements are an obstacle to peace and we call today for a renewed effort to achieve long-term security for Israel and justice and statehood for the Palestinians. </p> <p>Your Excellency, thank you once again for your hospitality and I look forward to welcoming you again in Britain in the near future.  In the meantime, I know that we will keep in regular touch to have this very good dialogue where we share so much perspective on what is happening in your region.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister of Qatar</strong></p> <p>Thank you, sir.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>Thank you, I have two questions.  The first question is to His Excellency Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim.  Colonel Qadhafi criticised Qatar last night in his speech as far as Qatar’s position to support the people of Libya.  What is your opinion of this criticism?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister of Qatar</strong></p> <p>In the name of God first of all, we feel pain vis-à-vis what is happening in Libya and what is happening to the Libyan people.  We think that Qatar has not committed a crime if it sides with the people of Libya and its rejection of the use of violence and force by the government of Libya.  We follow with grave concern and sorrow what is happening there.  We think that the Libyan people deserve a better life like any other people in the world.  We do not have any quarrels with the government of Libya.  All that we have said officially was an expression of discomfort at the use of excessive force.  This is unacceptable as far as we are concerned.  As for criticisms of the media, we do not interfere in the work of the media; the media is free.  We hope that by the will of God, Libya will come out of its predicament as soon as possible.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>Thank you.  Questions individually to both Prime Ministers, if I may?  First of all, Mr Cameron, is it appropriate to hold the World Cup 2022 in Qatar given its stance on homosexuality and also given the decision to hold the tournament during the summer during the stifling heat?  And secondly, if I could ask you what more can be done to help get British nationals out of Libya.  There have been some reports this morning that the pleas of several stranded Britons have been ignored by the UK government.  And if I may, Your Excellency, you’ve already invested some £10 billion in the UK in business.  The UK government will be seeking to sell shares in state-owned banks in coming years; is it possible that Qatar might invest in RBS or Lloyds in the future?  Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister </strong></p> <p>Thank you.  Let me take the second part of your question first.  In terms of getting British nationals out of Libya, we are doing everything that we can.  We have given very clear advice about what needs to be done and we stand by in any way we can, whether that is through ships, whether that is through chartering aeroplanes, and the crisis centre at the Foreign Office is working round the clock to make sure that we bring people home safely, and that we deliver them back to our shores.  There is no higher priority right now for the Foreign Office than for dealing with this issue because, clearly, what is happening in Libya is very uncertain, very dangerous, and it’s right that people, British nationals, should come home and we’ll do everything we can to help them.</p> <p>In terms of the World Cup, FIFA took the decision to take football to new places, and I have to say I watched the Qatari presentation in Zurich, and it was extremely persuasive and very strong.  Remember, we weren’t competing with the Qataris; we were competing for 2018, they were competing for 2022, and they made a very persuasive case that it was time, if all of the world was going to share in football, then at some stage football must go to the Middle East and that Qatar was prepared to put a huge amount of effort and resources into hosting the World Cup. </p> <p>To me it’s clear, football is for everybody, no one should be excluded on the basis of race or religion or sex or sexuality, it’s absolutely vital that is the case, and I’m sure that will be the case when the football World Cup comes here to Qatar.  What I would say is that football can be a great engine for social change, and changing attitudes.  I think we saw in our own country how successfully football drove racism out of the stands, and I think just as that has happened so too we need to make sure that there is no place for homophobia in football either.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister of Qatar</strong></p> <p>But you did not ask me the first question, you asked the Prime Minister, so less embarrassment for me.  Second thing, about any investment in the state or partially on state banks, we are very open for any investment in the UK.  In fact, we discussed a few ideas with the Prime Minister and our team – they’ve been engaged and they will continue to engage and discuss any new investment in the UK.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong> </p> <p>Your Excellency, yesterday we followed what the Arab League has done; they froze Libya’s participation and the League’s work.  Are there any Arab efforts?  Are you going to strip Libya of its presidency of the Arab Summit?  Are there any other Qatari moves apart from what you have just told us?  And then Mr Cameron, you criticised and condemned what happened in Libya – is this enough, especially in view of the fact that Britain is said to put its interests before human rights, especially that the Security Council has just expressed concern, nothing more?  What practical steps can the UK take, or take the lead in, to stop this genocide in Libya?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>I think we’ve been very clear with respect to Libya, that what is happening there is unacceptable.  That the use of violence against their own people, the appalling scenes that we have seen on our television screens: this is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to stand.  We played our part on the United Nations Security Council of making sure there was a strong presidential statement last night, and that is as it should be.  This is what the UN is for: to make sure it takes a clear stand if people, if countries visit this sort of terror on their own people – the United Nations should take a very clear stand and I’m delighted with the presidential statement that was made last night. </p> <p>But as I say, our first priority today must be to get British nationals and British people out of Libya, but we’ve been very clear, right from the start, that it is unacceptable what Colonel Qadhafi is doing to his own people.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister of Qatar</strong></p> <p>As far as any Qatari moves are concerned we move within the framework of the Arab League, and we hope that this situation will end as soon as possible, and we said we hope that the Libyan brother, the Libyan people deserve a dignified life, and we do not interfere in the internal affairs of Libya as such.  But when the situation gets out of hand and becomes like what we have seen lately, of course, that’s why we expressed our opinion.  We do not consider this as an intervention. On the contrary we want Libya to be an integral and important part of the Arab world.  All that we hope is what we have been witnessing in Libya should be ended as soon as possible.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>Thank you.  Prime Minister, on the reports of British citizens trapped in the Libyan desert who say that their pleas are being ignored, that they’re desperate for the British government to get us out, that France has already got two plane loads out, has Britain been slow on this?  And also France is calling for EU sanctions on Libya; do you support that?  Is there more that Britain can do in freezing Libyan assets?  And also do you think it was wrong for Tony Blair to do the deal in the desert with Colonel Qadhafi?  And, Your Excellency, since you didn’t answer the question on the World Cup, I wonder whether you might do now?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Well, first of all on the situation of British nationals, we’re doing, as I say, everything we can; the Foreign Office Crisis Centre is working round the clock.  There will be planes and also the use of ferries and other means to get people out of Libya, and we will do everything we can to make that happen.  Obviously it’s a very difficult situation.  I don’t want to give details of exact plane arrival times and what ships and when, but we’re doing everything we can to make sure that we get those people out.  And there are all sorts of different means that we can use to make sure that that happens.</p> <p>On the issue of the EU engagement, not just with Libya but with North Africa more generally, I’ve been very clear – including at the last European Union Council – that Europe has given a huge amount of aid to these countries, and while it has signed so-called association agreements it hasn’t really insisted on proper conditions for this money, and we’ve seen far too much money disappear down a great big black hole in some of these countries, not actually helping them to develop their democracy, to develop their systems.  And I think we should insist on much greater conditionality in the future.  And I think this is a wake-up call for Europe and the European Union to focus much more clearly on the aid that it gives and what results it wants to see as a result of that aid.  So I want to see that shaken up, I want to see that change; it’s not acceptable, frankly, that there’s money that’s gone in and no political reform has happened in turn.</p> <p>In terms of what Tony Blair did and the issue with Libya, clearly it was right to encourage and then to welcome Libya to give up its weapons of mass destruction.  In terms of trying to enhance anti-proliferation, that was a good move forward.  But I’ve always taken the view that that relationship needed to have some clear parameters and, for instance, I’ve been clear right from the start that it should never have included the idea of releasing al-Megrahi, the man convicted of the biggest mass murder in British history. Tthat should have been completely off the table.  So it’s parameters like that that should have been put in place when this relationship was entered into.  That is my very clear view.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister of Qatar</strong></p> <p>Well, first of all I have to admit that I am very weak in this sport, so I don’t know the rules – I like sport of course, but I am not involved in the sport.  But I respect that FIFA chose Qatar for 2022 and I think FIFA, when they take their decision, as the Prime Minister takes the decision, to take it to the different ground, different culture, different geography and this shows sport as an international thing, which you can use in every place and in every part.  As you know, Qatar is developing in all aspects and we are trying also to be part of the world and sport, and we did a lot in that.  And we are very happy for the decision of FIFA to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and I think it’s a wise decision.  This region has a lot of problems and it’s time to show that this region can produce something and participate in something to show the people hope, especially at this time.  Thank you very much. </p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Middle East</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Qatar</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Press conference with the Prime Minister of Qatar Wednesday 23 February 2011 Prime Minister's Office Middle East
<p>Prime Minister David Cameron and the Prime Minister of Kuwait, Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah gave a press conference on the relationship between Britain and Kuwait on 22 February 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p><strong>Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah</strong></p> <p>Good afternoon, everyone.  Prime Minister, let me welcome you to Kuwait.  Let me welcome the Right Honourable David Cameron, Prime Minister of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and his accompanying delegation for their first current visit to Kuwait.  We look forward, Prime Minister, to working together and advising the Kuwaiti-British relation. </p> <p>We have ties, historical ties with Britain to go back more than 100 years, signing the treaty friendship in 1899.  We praise the role of the British Government.  We praise the role of the British military in assisting us when it was during our independence, 1961, and also in 1990. </p> <p>This week, Prime Minister, we welcome you because we are celebrating our 50<sup>th</sup> anniversary of independence, 20<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait from the force of Saddam Hussein and the 5<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the accession of His Highness, the Emir.</p> <p>Also on this occasion, Prime Minister, we recall the sacrifice of the brave men and women of the British armed forces in defending our country, and we want to thank them for their bravery and commitment in the liberation of Kuwait.  That we will never forget Britain’s military and diplomatic support liberating us in 1991. </p> <p>Gentlemen, we have had a very fruitful discussion with His Excellency the Prime Minister, on bilateral relations and the situation in the Arab world.  I am glad also to mention that we have signed several economic and energy memorandums, which we hope will double bilateral trade between both countries in the next two or three years.  We will set up a joint Kuwaiti-UK Trade and Investment Task that will give support to the joint venture between BP and KPC for Kuwait’s Burgan oil fields, cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear energy, agreement between KPC and Shell on technical assistance and support.</p> <p>Regionally, we have discussed the rapid changes occurring in the region.  Kuwait and Britain have agreed that while it is necessary to address longstanding public grievances, reform should be home-grown and based on the needs of individual states. </p> <p>Having understood the importance of citizens’ empowerment, Kuwait continues to advocate socioeconomic development in the Arab world.  We understand the importance of citizen empowerment on these levels.  This prompted Kuwaiti initiation of the Arab economical, social and development summit, which Kuwait hosted in 2009 and produced a number of important geo-economic decisions on pan-Arab levels.</p> <p>Internationally, Kuwait continues to provide, since 1961, numerous grants through the Kuwait Economic Development Fund with the aim of developing basic needs for various countries. </p> <p>Again, Prime Minister, let me welcome you and your esteemed delegation to Kuwait, and again, Kuwait appreciates its longstanding ties with Britain and we look forward to further advancing these ties with you, Prime Minister.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Thank you.  Thank you very much, Your Highness, and it’s a great pleasure to be here in Kuwait; and may I start by thanking you, Your Highness, for the invitation to visit and for the excellent talks that we’ve had today.  Recent events in the region have highlighted the critical importance of the most basic rights, including freedom of speech and of the media, so it’s important, I think, that we stand here together not only talking to each other, but also taking questions from the press.</p> <p>But before I move on to the details of our talks I want to say something about the truly awful events today that have shocked New Zealand and all its friends around the world, including Britain and the British Government. </p> <p>The people of New Zealand have been hit by a devastating earthquake not once but twice in a matter of months, and I want to pay tribute to their resilience.  They have our deepest sympathies and condolences.  I’ve been in touch with my good friend, Prime Minister John Key.  He knows that Britain stands ready to provide whatever assistance is required in support of the local emergency services.  We’ve agreed to send a search and rescue team, which is deploying immediately.  Our High Commissioner is on her way to Christchurch as we speak to see if there’s anything more we can do.  We’re also scaling up our resources in-country; reinforcements to our consular team will arrive today with more on standby to ensure we do all we can to help any affected British nationals. </p> <p>There are many people in Britain with ties of friendship or family to New Zealand.  They will be following events particularly closely and with understandable anxiety, but I also believe I speak on behalf of everyone in our country when I say that we all stand with New Zealand at this moment, at this dark and difficult hour.</p> <p>Turning to our discussions today, we covered our bilateral relations, how we can work together to promote economic growth and, finally, our shared agenda for a more secure Middle East, which moves forward with political and economic reforms.  Let me take each in turn.</p> <p>First of all, we renewed today an old and very special alliance between Britain and Kuwait.  As you said, Your Highness, our friendship goes back more than 200 years and this year you mark 50 years since independence and 20 years since liberation, and I’m proud to be part of those historic celebrations.  But I’m even more glad that today we’ve agreed to take our relations further than ever before, whether it is trade, culture, education, sport or security.  Today we’ve injected fresh momentum into our shared agenda for the future.  Kuwait’s commitment to increase political and economic openness, the gradual development of a liberal democratic society that you are overseeing, the vital steps you’re taking on your own journey to democracy will lead to a stronger, better Kuwait and to an even closer partnership between our two nations.</p> <p>Trade remains an important pillar of our relationship.  Yes, more two-way trade and investment is good for jobs and economic growth in both our countries, but I also believe our closer economic cooperation goes hand in hand with your political changes.  At a time of real dynamism in the Gulf, with a new generation seeking jobs and access to education, our economic partnership can be a driver of real change and a source of stability for the future. </p> <p>So I can announce today the creation of a UK-Kuwait Trade and Investment Task Force, a new commitment to double our trade to $4 billion a year by 2015, and the signature of a memorandum of understanding on business, trade and technical cooperation, all of which will position British business, we hope, as the partner of choice for Kuwait going forward.  I also welcome the agreement reached between Shell and the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, which provides long-term security for that important business relationship.</p> <p>Third, security: let me assure you, Your Highness, that our commitment to Kuwait’s security is undiminished.  Britain wants a stable Iraq at peace with its neighbours and we will continue to press for Iraq to meet all its international obligations towards Kuwait.  We also want to see an end to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and while our offer of engagement remains on the table, we will also continue to apply real pressure on the Iranian regime.  We agreed today that our governments will continue to work closely together on the full range of threats, from counterterrorism to cyber-security, and we are committed to a strong defence and security relationship in the years ahead.</p> <p>Thank you once again, Your Highness, for the productive talks we have had today and I wish you well for the rest of the week’s celebrations.  Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah</strong></p> <p>Thank you, Prime Minister.  We share the grief, as you have mentioned, with our friends back in New Zealand.  His Highness the Emir has already sent a message to the Governor of New Zealand; I have also sent a message to my colleague Prime Minister Key to share the grief of what happened last night.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>Mr Prime Minister, is there a plan for the Middle East, towards the Arab countries?  In the Middle East we notice that there are many revolts happening in the region; by this we mean, does the West – the US and Britain – promote these revolts in the Arab countries?  Do you wish for the same events to happen in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait as they happened in Libya, Tunis and Egypt?</p> <p>We saw the killing in Iran but there was very little comment on that front.  On the other hand, Egypt was highlighted and the US wish was quite clear for Mubarak to leave instantly, yet in Libya the situation is much worse but the comments were much lighter.  Is the West working on a secret agenda to close the Middle East internally and if this happens in the Gulf countries, will the West be having the same agenda concerning the Gulf countries?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Thank you.  Most of my speech at the parliament this morning was addressed at this exact issue.  I would say this to you, first of all: there is no secret agenda.  The West – a country like Britain but also the United States – we have condemned violence and repression against people wherever it has happened. We were very clear about that in Egypt, in Libya and elsewhere, and we have supported greater openness and putting in place the building blocks of more free and open societies wherever that has taken place.  We very much support the moves that you have taken here in Kuwait in your national assembly, your parliament, where I spoke this morning; we have supported what has happened in Bahrain over recent years to open up that society and that political system and, as I said in my speech, we make no secret of the fact that we in the United Kingdom are in favour of greater freedom, greater openness and greater democracy.</p> <p>In the end, we do not believe that there should be a trade off between democracy on the one hand and stability on the other; we think that over time, countries putting in place the building blocks of democracy and free societies will actually lead to greater stability rather than less stability.  But there is no secret agenda here and it is not a Western agenda.  We believe, as I said in my speech, that we should not point the finger and tell people what to do or which exact path to take; we should proceed with respect, recognising as I said in my speech, that democracy is a process rather than an event of simply holding an election.  It is about putting in place those building blocks, and we should do all of this with respect.</p> <p>What I see in Egypt and Libya and elsewhere is people, particularly young people, coming forward and wanting aspirations not just for a job but also a greater voice in their societies, and I think that is an aspiration that should be supported.  I would not accept the contention that somehow we have been inconsistent between different countries or different situations; we respect the differences in different countries but when, for instance, you mentioned Iran, there was violence against people in Iran, we condemned that very rapidly.</p> <p>I condemn absolutely what I have seen in Libya where the level of violence committed by the regime on the people is completely unacceptable, and I would call on Libya today to end the violence and to give full protection, particularly to foreign nationals, to those who might want to leave.  I believe there needs to be a full investigation into the events in Benghazi and in eastern Libya, and I would call on them to give access to their country for human rights monitors and to lift the restrictions on the internet and the press.  I think what is happening in Libya is wrong and I think we should be clear in speaking out about that.</p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>Your Excellency, Kuwait enjoys democracy, freedom and social justice.  Does Your Excellency have any comments about the regime in Kuwait?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>I have been impressed by what I saw at the National Assembly, at the parliament.  It was very interesting for me to go and to have meetings with the speaker, and also with some of the members of parliament, and we had something of a debate about this issue I was asked in the first question about what is happening in North Africa and across this region, and what our response should be. </p> <p>I think that it has been a great success for Kuwait that you have this openness, this debate – that your ministers, just as I have to answer in my parliament, so your Prime Minister has to answer in his parliament.  And I think giving people a voice, giving people a say, I think is important, and I think it is important in your part of the world as it is in mine.  I think it is also, as I argued in my speech today, one of the ways in which we can make sure that there is an alternative path for people to take part and admire and look up to their societies and their political systems as a way of turning them away from some of the extremism and alternatives that do so much damage to your society and to ours.  So, I make both those arguments. </p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>May I ask a short question of both prime ministers?  Mr. Cameron, you said in your speech that in the past, this country – our country – has made a choice between values and interests.  Could you be more specific about what you mean there? Would you not accept that the reason that you’re pushing the reform agenda so hard is because you too are playing catch-up – your hand too has been forced by the events across the region?</p> <p>Could I ask you, Sir: the British Prime Minister talked about the need to make his arguments in a respectful way.  Do you think that you and your countrymen feel it is respectful to be coming here and telling you the way that you should govern your country?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Shall I go first? Thank you.  First of all, as I said in giving the speech, in terms of not believing there is a trade-off between our values and our interests, I think we should be recognizing that in the end, our long-term interests are from greater openness, greater democracy, and greater freedom in other countries with whom we have a partnership.  I think that’s important.  What I’m saying is, it is not in respect to any one particular country; it’s in respect to the way we have perhaps thought about and gone about our business with respect to quite a large number of countries.  That’s the point that I would make. </p> <p>In terms of, is this an effort in playing catch up?  I would say absolutely not.  I often say the first sign of madness is quoting your own speeches, and so I am just about to show that I’m suffering from it, but in Beijing I talked about the importance of political and economic reform going hand in hand.  When I was in Islamabad, I spoke about democracy being the work of patient craftsmanship – about these building blocks taking time to put in place.  The speech that I made on the fifth anniversary of 9/11, where I specifically argued about the importance of putting in place the building blocks of democracy and wanting to stand up for those values as a liberal conservative, as I put it then – not a neoconservative – I think that argument today is still absolutely right, and it’s the same argument that I’m making. </p> <p>So, I don’t feel I’m playing catch up; I feel that I’m making a consistent argument about how Britain should engage in the world – not lecturing, not finger-pointing, treating other countries with respect, respecting our differences and historical circumstances, but putting forward the values that we have in terms of a belief that progress towards liberal democracy is good for the progress of those values, but good for encouraging stability and good international relations as well.</p> <p><strong>Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah</strong></p> <p>Thank you.  You are inquiring about the trade between the two countries and our trade relations.  Our relation goes back to the last century, as you know.  Our investment office was one of the first offices in 1953.  Our constitution gives guarantees, even to the foreign investor.  There are laws which protect you, and there are conditions that also protect you.  In this way, with the democracy that we have, with the constitution that we have, trade in Kuwait is very stable, either with Britain or with other countries.  If you want to know how many countries that we have trade with, or companies that are based here in Kuwait, or have their headquarters in Kuwait – I think it is because of our constitution, and our economic stability and the guarantees which the foreign investor has – the guarantees that if anything happened, there are courts which gives you a right. </p> <p><strong>Question</strong></p> <p>Prime Minister, how can you come here to make the case for democracy and political reform at the same time as travelling with businessmen whose job it is to sell arms to this region?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>I simply don’t understand how you can’t understand that democracies have a right to defend themselves.  I would have thought this argument is particularly powerful right here in Kuwait, who 20 years ago was invaded by a thuggish, bullying neighbour, who disrespected your sovereignty, invaded your country, and destroyed parts of your capital city.  Are we honestly saying that for all time, forever and a day, countries like Kuwait have to manufacture and maintain every single part of their own defences? I think there are very few people who would give that argument for any consideration at all. </p> <p>Let me make three points quickly.  First of all, the five memorandums we have actually signed today – none of them actually have anything to do with defence.  They are about energy, they are about technology, and other subjects, and I am very proud to have brought to Kuwait such a wide range, not just of business people but also people involved in cultural and other endeavours.  I think it’s important, as Britain wants to link itself to some of the fastest growing parts of the world, and to improve our trade relations, that we take such delegations of businesspeople.  The second point is the idea that Kuwait should not be able to have its own armed forces and its own armed forces that are able to defend its own country, and take part in the defence trade in that way. I find that an extraordinary argument for us to make when we extended such help to Kuwait and when British service personnel played such a huge role. </p> <p>The third point I would make is that when Britain does take part in the defence trade, we do so with probably the tightest set of export licences and rules almost anywhere in the world.  It is obviously a difficult process to get right on every occasion, but we do have very, very tough controls, very clear controls.  But I would just end where I began: the idea that we should expect small and democratic countries like Kuwait to be able to manufacture all their own means of defence seems to me completely at odds with reality, and so a properly regulated trade in defence is not something we should be ashamed of, and the fact that there are British companies on this visit, like British Aerospace or Thales or others, that have a perfect right in this regard, I think stands for itself. </p> <p><strong>Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah</strong></p> <p>Thank you.  The distinguished delegates who arrived with the Prime Minister are not only of a military aspect but also various trade and investments.  As you know, in our four-year plan, the budget is 35 billion dinars, which is more than £70 billion.  The distinguished delegates and the Prime Minister have mentioned not only military but various aspects, various types of business.  We welcome all the British companies to be here and to go ahead with us, to go ahead as we have this historical relation with Britain.  Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Kuwait</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Middle East</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Press conference with Prime Minister of Kuwait Tuesday 22 February 2011 Prime Minister's Office unknown
<div> <p>Prime Minister David Cameron delivered a speech on Britain’s relationship with the Middle East to the National Assemply in Kuwait on 22 February 2011.</p> <p><strong>Read the speech:</strong></p> <p>[Check against delivery]</p> <p>Mr Speaker, Members of Parliament, Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s a privilege to speak here in the Kuwaiti National Assembly in this very special year when you celebrate half a century of independence from Britain and, together, we mark the twentieth anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s forces.  </p> </div> <p>When Saddam invaded your country two decades ago, two world leaders immediately saw what was at stake.  President Bush and Prime Minister Thatcher. Margaret Thatcher put the issue with characteristic candour. “<em>Iraq</em><em>’s invasion</em>”, she said “<em>….defies every principle for which the United Nations stands.  If we let it succeed, no small country can ever feel safe again.  The law of the jungle would take over from the rule of law.</em>”</p> <p>Britain, America and a great alliance of Arabs and non-Arabs alike came here to stand with you in your darkest hour and show that proud and independent nations should not be trampled into the desert sand.  I am particularly proud to be in Kuwait today with Margaret Thatcher’s successor as Prime Minister, and the man who helped lead that remarkable coalition to victory: Sir John Major. He joins me today in paying tribute to the British servicemen and women – and all their colleagues in the Coalition forces – who fought here and to remember in particular those who gave their lives for Kuwait’s liberty including 47 British servicemen.</p> <p>Their sacrifice is honoured every day by the sovereignty of this Parliament and by all you have achieved as a nation, not only in the 20 years since invasion, but in the 50 years of independence.</p> <p>Now once again this region is the epicentre of momentous changes, but pursued in a very different way. History is sweeping through your neighbourhood. Not as a result of force and violence, but by people seeking their rights, and in the vast majority of cases doing so peacefully and bravely. Across the Arab World, aspirations are stirring which have lain dormant.</p> <p>They can take inspiration from other peaceful movements for change, such as the Velvet revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe, the civil rights struggle in America, or the peaceful transition to democracy in Muslim countries like Indonesia.</p> <p>It is too early to say how things will turn out.  Too often, in the past, there has been disappointment. But there are some grounds for cautious optimism. Optimism, because it is the people – especially the young people – who are speaking up. It is <span style="text-decoration: underline;">they</span> who are choosing to write their history – and doing so for the most part peacefully and with dignity. It is they who are showing that there is more to politics in this region than the false choice sometimes presented between repression and extremism.</p> <p>As I said in Downing Street ten days ago, and as I repeated yesterday in Cairo, this is a precious moment of opportunity for this region. Just as we stood with Kuwait in 1990 to defend your right to self-determination, so we stand today with the people and Governments who are on the side of justice, of the rule of law and of freedom. It is not for me, or for governments outside the region, to pontificate about how each country meets the aspirations of its people. It is not for us to tell you how to do it, or precisely what shape your future should take. There is no single formula for success, and there are many ways to ensure greater, popular participation in Government. We respect your right to take your own decisions, while offering our goodwill and support. </p> <p>But we cannot remain silent in our belief that freedom and the rule of law are what best guarantee human progress and economic success, and that each country should find its own path to achieving peaceful change. Here in Kuwait you have set out down this path. So, here – here in this country – here in this Parliament – here is the <span style="text-decoration: underline;">right</span> place to speak of these things. </p> <p>Britain and Kuwait share a long history of Al Sadaqa (friendship) from the time the first British ships called into Kuwait in the 17<sup>th</sup> Century through the treaty of Al Sadaqa in 1899 right to the present day. And my argument today is this. Yes, ours is a partnership based on a shared economic future. As we need our economies to grow and diversify in this challenging globalised world. And yes, ours is a partnership to deliver shared security interests. Not least as we confront the terrorist threat we face from extremism. But crucially, far from running counter to these vital interests of prosperity and security, I believe that political and economic reform in the Arab world is essential not just in advancing these vital shared interests but as a long term guarantor of the stability needed for our relationship to strengthen and for both our societies to flourish.</p> <p><strong>Economy</strong> </p> <p>The friendship between our countries was born from trade between two maritime nations. Indeed it was the captain of an English ship, “The Eagle” who made the first accurate survey of Kuwait Bay in 1777. And today trade remains a great engine of growth and opportunity not just for Britain and Kuwait, but right across the region. But anyone who thinks this trade is just about purchasing oil on the one hand and selling manufactured goods in return is completely out of date. It’s much more complex and diverse.</p> <p>From the new international airport to be built here in Kuwait to Yas and Saadiyat Islands in Abu Dhabi and Education City in Qatar British companies are playing a pivotal role in exciting and ambitious development plans across the Gulf. In turn the Gulf countries are investing heavily in Britain, like the Kuwait Investment Authority which has its overseas headquarters in London and has invested some £150 billion over the last fifty years, the majority of it in the UK.</p> <p>As your economies grow and diversify, Britain is in an excellent position to help you make the most of these opportunities. Our timezone. The English language. The easiest access to the European market. Superb universities. And our culture and sport from next year’s Olympics in London to formula one motor racing and premiership football teams supported across the Gulf region.</p> <p>Already today the UK exports more goods and services to the Gulf than to China and India combined. Right now, the value of trade and investment between Britain and Kuwait alone is already over £1 billion a year. And the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser and I have today set a new challenge to double this over the next five years.</p> <p><strong>Security</strong></p> <p>Advancing our shared economic interests also requires security and stability. We value our security co-operation with Kuwait and the Gulf highly. Over 160,000 British nationals now live in the Gulf but the security of the Gulf doesn’t just affect the British nationals living here it affects the British people back at home too.</p> <p>The continued failure of the Middle East Peace Process to achieve justice for Palestinians or security for Israelis the threat of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon and the growing threat from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula are not just security problems for the region, but security problems shared by the whole world.</p> <p>We must be clear about the Middle East Peace Process. In responding to the most recent developments in the Middle East, there is a serious risk that governments will draw the wrong conclusion and pull back. I draw completely the opposite conclusion.  Far from pulling back we should push forward.</p> <p>We need to see an urgent return to talks so that people’s legitimate aspirations for two states can be fulfilled through negotiations. Just as the Palestinian Authority needs to shoulder its responsibility to tackle violence from the West Bank Israel needs to meet its Road Map obligation to halt illegal settlement activity as the Resolution Britain supported at the UN Security Council last Friday underlines.</p> <p>The result should be two states, with Jerusalem as the future capital of both, and a fair settlement for refugees. This is not just a problem of rights, territories and people, complicated as they are it is a recruiting sergeant for terror an excuse for authoritarianism and a cause of deep-rooted instability. A lasting settlement would be the greatest step along a new path for this region. The same unity of purpose and message is necessary for the threat coming from Iran.</p> <p>As the whole international community has made clear in successive Resolutions of the UN Security Council Iran must comply with its international obligations. We have offered Iran the hand of friendship. But the response has been disappointing and gravely concerning. We will not stand by and allow Iran to cast a nuclear shadow over this region nor accept interference by Iran in the affairs of its neighbours.</p> <p><strong>Meeting the threat of extremism</strong></p> <p>In understanding the nature of the threat to our security we cannot ignore the threat to all our countries from international terrorism. As we have seen, Al Qaeda has mounted attacks on places as far apart as Saudi Arabia and the United States and in recent months we have seen attempted suicide plots in Sweden, Denmark and in my own country.</p> <p>The fact a bomb was put on a plane in Yemen last October and carried to the UAE to Germany to Britain en route to America shows the threat we all face, and how together, as friends and allies, we can deal with it and save lives. Indeed, I believe this is the most important global threat to our security. And it comes from a warped extremist ideology that tries to set our societies against each other by radicalising young Muslims all across the world.</p> <p>Let me be clear. I am not talking about Islam. Islam is a great religion, observed peacefully and devoutly by over a billion people. I am talking about the extremist ideology of a small minority. An ideology that wants a global conflict between Muslims and the rest of the world, and in the process sets Muslims against Muslims. It is this extremism that is the source of the global terrorist threat. </p> <p>Now, of course, increasing our security co-operation is a vital part of how we meet this threat. And above all it is vital that we challenge the warped thinking that fuels the extremist ideology. But as I argued in Munich earlier this month, we, in the West, must also do much better at integrating young Muslims into our society.</p> <p>People should have a positive identity with the country in which they are living. We in Europe have to recognise that without a society to integrate with or a proper sense of  belonging our Muslim communities risk becoming isolated and young Muslims in particular  become more prone to the poisonous narrative of separateness and victimhood that can lead to extremism.</p> <p><strong>Recent developments</strong> </p> <p>And a similar risk of young people turning the wrong way applies in the Arab world too. Young people yearn for something better, for their rights to be respected, and for responsible and accountable government. They want systems and societies they can believe in. </p> <p>One of the most remarkable things about the historic events we’ve seen in Egypt and Tunisia in these past weeks is that it is not an ideological or extremist movement but rather, a movement of the people – an expression of aspiration predominantly from a new generation hungry for political and economic freedoms. </p> <p>A British businessman who had been in the square in Cairo during the demonstrations told me how when the extremists turned up and tried to claim the movement as theirs they were shouted down and disowned.</p> <p>This movement belongs to the frustrated Tunisian fruit seller who can’t take his product to market. And to the students in Cairo who can’t get a fair start, and the millions of Egyptians who live on $2 a day. In short, it belongs to the people who want to make something of their lives, and to have a voice. It belongs to a new generation for whom technology – the internet and social media – is a powerful tool in the hands of citizens, not a means of repression. It belongs to the people who’ve had enough of corruption, of having to make do with what they’re given, of having to settle for second best.</p> <p>For decades, some have argued that stability required highly controlling regimes, and that reform and openness would put that stability at risk.  So, the argument went, countries like Britain faced a choice between our interests and our values.  And to be honest, we should acknowledge that sometimes we have made such calculations in the past. But I say that is a false choice. </p> <p>As recent events have confirmed, denying people their basic rights does not preserve stability, rather the reverse. Our interests lie in upholding our values – in insisting on the right to peaceful protest, in freedom of speech and the internet, in freedom of assembly and the rule of law. But these are not just our values, but the entitlement of people everywhere; of people in Tahrir Square as much as Trafalgar Square.</p> <p>So whenever and wherever violence is used against peaceful demonstrators, we must not hesitate to condemn it. The whole world has been shocked in the last few days by the appalling violence which the authorities in Libya have unleashed on their own people.</p> <p>Violence is not the answer to people’s legitimate aspirations.  Using force cannot resolve grievances, only multiply and deepen them. We condemned the violence in Bahrain, and welcome the fact that the military has now been withdrawn from the streets and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince has embarked on a broad national dialogue.</p> <p>If people’s hunger for a job and a voice are denied there is a real risk that the frustration and powerlessness people feel and the resulting lack of connection with the way their country is run: can open the way to them being cut off from society or worse drawn to more violent and extremist responses. That’s a problem for the Arab world but it’s a problem for the rest of the world too.  </p> <p>That’s why I think political and economic reform in the Arab world is not just good in its own right but it’s also a key part of the antidote to the extremism that threatens the security of us all. </p> <p>Reform, far from undermining stability is a condition of it.</p> <p><strong>How do we support economic and political reform?</strong> </p> <p>So how do we support economic and political reform?</p> <p>I believe two things are important. The first is to understand that democracy is a process not an event. And important though elections are, participatory government is about much more than the simple act of voting. Democracy is the work of patient craftsmanship it has to be built from the grassroots up. The building blocks have to be laid like the independence of the judiciary, the rights of individuals, free media and association, and a proper place in society for the army. It can’t be done overnight. And if you want evidence of that just look at the history of Britain, a constitutional monarchy which has evolved through time, and where so many of our rights under our laws predate our right to vote by 700 years. </p> <p>My second belief is this. Political and economic reform is vital but it has to be pursued with Al E’htiram with respect for the different cultures, histories and traditions of each nation. We in the West have no business trying to impose our particular local model. The evolution of political and economic progress will be different in each country. But that’s not an excuse, as some would argue, to claim that Arabs or Muslims can’t do democracy – the so-called Arab exception. For me that’s a prejudice that borders on racism. It’s offensive and wrong, and it’s simply not true.</p> <p>Oman established a Human Rights Commission for the first time last year in Oman. Qatar is now considered to be among the twenty least corrupt nations in the world. Above all, just look around this National Assembly elected by universal suffrage where every community is represented where men and women sit side-by-side and where Ministers are held to account.</p> <p>This movement for change is not about Western agendas it’s about the Arab people themselves standing up and saying what they want to happen. And it’s about governments engaging in dialogue with their people to forge a way forward, together. The security and prosperity of this region will come hand-in-hand with development towards more open, fair and inclusive societies.</p> <p>The question for us is simply whether we in the West play a role in helping to ensure that change delivers as peaceful and stable an outcome as possible. And I believe we should – by looking afresh at our entire engagement with the region, from our development programmes, to our cultural exchanges and to our trade arrangements.</p> <p><strong>Conclusion – A new chapter in our partnership</strong></p> <p>So I come here today offering a new chapter in Britain’s long partnership with our friends in this region. Over generations we have built a partnership based on our shared interests in prosperity and security. But in a changing world ours must now also be a partnership that recognises the importance of political and economic reform.</p> <p>I know that for many these are days of anxiety as well as hope – anxiety about the risks that come with change; the risk of military power entrenchment; the risk of a slide into violence extremism; the risk of sectarian or internal conflict. For sure, the path will be an uneven one. But a sober assessment of the risks need not mean succumbing to pessimism.</p> <p>While this story does not yet have an ending there <span style="text-decoration: underline;">is</span> a more hopeful way, as we have seen in the television pictures of young people across the region, and as we have seen in the way the Egyptian army refused to turn on its own people. And we know one more thing:  in the end, twenty-first century economies require open societies.  </p> <p>As I said in Beijing, so here in Kuwait:  “I am convinced that the best guarantor of prosperity and stability is for economic and political progress to go in step together.” We all need to adapt to give our young people new ways of making their voices heard and their opinions felt. A job, and a voice. Active citizens with a say in effective, accountable government. </p> <p>As the 18<sup>th</sup> Century British liberal conservative, Edmund Burke once said, <em>“A State without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation.”</em></p> <p>And I believe that the most resilient societies rest on the building blocks of democracy: Transparency and accountability of government and the removal of corruption. The freedom to communicate. A fair stake for all – an education, a job, the chance to build a business and the space for participation in politics, and shaping your society.</p> <p>In short, reform – not repression – is the only way to maintain stability. There are some who argue that the Arab world is destined to decline or simply accept second best. They look backwards to the great age of Arab learning: law, science, arts and architecture, and say that something went wrong, and cannot be recovered. But I believe the best is yet to come.</p> <p>As a new British Government renews it partnership with the Arab world, I look from the new cities of the Gulf shores to the, diversity of the Near East and North Africa. And I look forward to a future that is rich in prosperity strong in defence and open in its handling and pursuit of political and economic reform. It’s a future we must build together.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Kuwait</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Middle East</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Prime Minister’s speech to the National Assembly, Kuwait Tuesday 22 February 2011 Prime Minister's Office National Assembly, Kuwait
<p>Prime Minister David Cameron delivered a speech on the Welfare Reform Bill on 17 February 2011.</p> <p><strong>Read the speech:</strong></p> <p>Today we launch our Welfare Reform Bill. </p> <p>It brings the most ambitious, fundamental and radical changes to the welfare system since it began. At the heart of this Bill is a simple idea. Never again will work be the wrong financial choice. Never again will we waste opportunity. We’re finally going to make work pay – especially for the poorest people in society. And we’re going to provide much greater support for unemployed people to find work – and stay in work.</p> <p>We’re not just recasting the reach, scope and effectiveness of the old system – making it fairer and a genuine ladder of opportunity for everyone. We’re also doing something no government has done before – and that is get to grips with the cost of welfare.</p> <p>Over the past ten years that bill increased by £56 billion – that’s over and above inflation. Over the next four years we’re reducing it by £5.5 billion – in real terms. </p> <p>We’re limiting housing benefit. Reforming tax credits. And changing child benefit for the first time in a generation, taking it away from higher-rate taxpayers. </p> <p>Yes, some elements of this Bill have been amended and rationalised. That’s what happens when policy is open to real debate, and governments listen. And though I know we don’t agree on everything, I welcome the input we’ve had – and will continue to have – from Toynbee Hall as we implement our reforms. The end product is a Bill that is undeniably tough. That is certainly radical. But above all, I would argue that it is really fair.</p> <p>I’m going to take you through some of the details today. But first I want to make something clear. This Bill is not an exercise in accounting. It’s about changing our culture.</p> <p>I’ve come to Toynbee Hall to give this speech because of the history here. This building resonates with social responsibility – and that is my theme today.  </p> <p>Nine months ago, on the steps of Downing Street, I said I wanted to help to try and build a more responsible society in Britain – where we don’t ask what am I just owed, but what more what can I give – where those who can, should; but, of course, those who can’t, we always help.</p> <p>And my point today is that this idea of mutual responsibility is the vital ingredient of a strong, successful, compassionate welfare system. We need responsibility on the part of those who contribute to the system – government and taxpayers.</p> <p>And responsibility on the part of those who receive from the system. I take the responsibilities of government very seriously. </p> <p>I passionately believe that the welfare system should be there to support the needy and most vulnerable in our society and provide security and dignity for those in old age. That’s why the system was born, that’s what it’s always done – and with me, that’s the way it will always stay. But that doesn’t mean the welfare system shouldn’t change. It has to change – because it just isn’t working.</p> <p>A working welfare system should help drive economic growth, with training, with confidence building, with helping people back into work. This welfare system has left more than one in four adults of working age out of work. A working welfare system should be affordable too.</p> <p>But when we came to office, spending on working age welfare benefits was running at £90 billion – a year accounting for one in every seven pounds government spent. That’s simply not sustainable when we’re trying to get to grips with the biggest budget deficit in post-war history.</p> <p>We face a choice – make cuts in welfare or cuts elsewhere in those services we rely on like education and health or those things which are so vital for our future, like science and infrastructure.</p> <p>We’ve made our decision – we will reform welfare and reduce its costs, partly in order to protect vital services and our nation’s future.</p> <p>So that is the case for change, if you like, in figures and finances.</p> <p>But to me, creating a working welfare system is not just an economic necessity; it is a moral necessity. Parts of the current system have insidiously drained hope away from swathes of our society, denying people opportunity while taxpayers feel that the welfare system they support is not one they respect, knowing that some of their money does not go to the vulnerable people they want to help.</p> <p>Now I know you’ve heard politicians promising to get to grips with welfare before – and they never deliver. Today I want to tell you how we’ll be different, why we’ve got an understanding of what’s gone fundamentally wrong and how we will put it right. </p> <p>Let’s start with our understanding of what’s gone wrong with our welfare system.</p> <p>Politicians often overcomplicate their analysis, but actually, it’s quite simple. It comes back to responsibility. When the welfare system was born, there was what we might call a collective culture of responsibility. More than today, people’s self-image was not just about their personal status or success it was measured out by what sort of citizen they were; whether they did the decent thing.</p> <p>That meant that a standardised system of sickness and out-of-work benefits – with limited conditions – was effective. It reached the people who needed that support, and not those who didn’t, in part because fiddling the system would have brought not just public outcry but private shame. In other words, personal responsibility acted as a brake on abuse of the system. And because the ethos of self-betterment was more wide-spread, the system supported aspiration rather than discouraging it.</p> <p>As the Deputy Prime Minister has argued, the founding values of Beveridge’s welfare state were to provide support and boost individual pride and autonomy, not create dependency on the state.</p> <p>Now let’s be honest about where we’ve travelled to, from there to here. That collective culture of responsibility – taken for granted sixty years ago – has in many ways been lost. You see it in the people who go off sick when they could work or the people who refuse job off after job offer.</p> <p>And why has this happened?</p> <p>Now of course there is a powerful argument about how it is hard for people to do the responsible thing and get into work when there are not enough jobs available. But that argument is less powerful when you consider the recent period of economic growth, with millions of new jobs created yet at the end of that period, nearly five million people remained on out of work benefits. Indeed, between 1997 and 2008, more than forty percent of the increase in employment was accounted for by migrant workers from abroad.</p> <p>Others make a different argument. They simply point finger of blame at those living on benefits. Yes, there are those who, with no regret or remorse, intentionally rip off the system – and that makes hard-working people, including many on low incomes who pay their taxes, rightly angry.</p> <p>But I know this country and therefore refuse to believe that there are five million people who are inherently lazy and have no interest in bettering themselves and their families. What I want to argue is that the real fault lies with the system itself.</p> <p>The benefit system has created a benefit culture. It doesn’t just allow people to act irresponsibly, but often actively encourages them to do so. Sometimes they deliberately follow the signals that are sent out. Other times, they hazily follow them, trapped in a fog of dependency. But either way, whether it’s the sheer complexity and the perverse incentives of the benefits system, whether it’s the failure to penalise those who choose to live off the hard work of others, or whether it’s the failure to offer the right support for people who are desperate to go back into work, we’ve created the bizarre situation where time and again the rational thing for people to do is, quite clearly, the wrong thing to do.</p> <p>Let me take each of these in turn. First, the perverse signals. When it began, the welfare state was relatively simple, with straightforward benefits for pensions, sickness and unemployment. But today, a dizzying array of benefits, premiums, allowances and credits, each with their own rules and criteria, are administered by several different agencies and departments. In many ways, this growth was well-intentioned. </p> <p>When there was a lack of affordable housing, the introduction of housing benefit made sense. When people face high council tax bills, the argument for some relief on council tax is also strong. The same arguments have been made for so many other benefits, premiums and allowances. But well-intentioned or not, this complexity is still destructive. It’s not just the fraud, error and waste it encourages – estimated at over £5 billion a year.</p> <p>When people start navigating their way through this complexity, one of the first things they realise is that sometimes, they can be better off if they act irresponsibly rather than responsibly. Just look at the messages we send out: To the single mother who wants to earn a bit extra each week – we say: work more and we’ll take up to 96p for every extra pound you earn. And to a couple with children – we say: separate from each other you’ll be better off than if you stick together.</p> <p>You might think, no one would split up because of benefits. But in our country today, there are two million people who ‘live apart together’ – that is couples who maintain separate homes while being economically interdependent. Can we honestly say the signals in the benefit system have nothing do with this? </p> <p>And these perverse signals, they go even deeper. I’ve had young people in my constituency surgery who come in and say: ‘I’m doing the right thing, saving up for a home with my boyfriend, making sure we’re secure before we have kids but the girl down the road has done none of the above and yet having a baby has got her a flat and benefits that I’m doing without.”</p> <p>Of course housing – like benefits – has to respond to need. And of course, we have a clear responsibility to safeguard the wellbeing of children. But should we be content with a system that is seen by some as saying: have a baby now get a home and some cash; wait until later, when you’re more secure and stable, and you may get neither?</p> <p>Second, at the same time as all this, there are totally ineffective sanctions for those who are out to take what they can get and no sense of proportion on what it’s reasonable for people to receive. Under the last Government those cheating the system could often get away with little more than a ticking off, and a polite request not to do it again.</p> <p>Where fraud was uncovered, people on benefits were required to pay back a maximum of £13 a week. What’s more, they also let certain benefits get completely out of control. </p> <p>Little has shocked me more since coming into office than the state of housing benefit. We inherited a system that cost £20 billion a year, with some claimants living in property worth £2,000 a week in rent. That’s £104,000 a year. That’s the income taxes and national insurance contributions of sixteen working people on median incomes all going on one benefit for one family.</p> <p>And to what effect? It’s not just that we’ve been paying people to live in some of the most expensive real estate in London, the UK – indeed, the world. It’s more than that.</p> <p>We’ve been sending a signal to people that if they’re out of work, or on a low wage, and living in an expensive home in the centre of a city that the decision to go back to work, or take a better paid job could mean having to move to a cheaper home, in a different part of the city, in order to escape benefit dependency. Is it any wonder that people faced with that choice, choose either not to work, or decide not to take higher paid work?</p> <p>Third, even when people do want to break free from this stranglehold and get into work they are met with another problem that reinforces irresponsibility: the system is too top-down and bureaucratic to help them. People out of work aren’t identikit unemployed with the same needs and problems. There’s the woman who’s been managing a big team for decades, made redundant in the down-turn. The girl who left school with no qualifications whatsoever, who has little idea about the world of work. The man with depression who hasn’t worked for years and is held back by lack of confidence. You can’t serve all these people with a one-size-fits-all system – by the Whitehall blueprint and the national training schemes. But that’s what the last government tried to do.</p> <p>It’s no wonder that so many people who have been unemployed for years were not just let down but were frankly turned off by the whole process. Taken together we can see how these perverse incentives, the phoney sanctions, the bureaucracy, have turned a system that began with the best intentions into an engine of irresponsibility.</p> <p>We need to put responsibility back into the welfare system – and that starts with the Welfare Bill today.  </p> <p>First, we’re going to simplify the system and make work pay. Second, we’re going to have tougher sanctions and limits on the amount of certain benefits people can receive. And third we’re going to take apart the top-down bureaucracy and build a welfare to work programme that’s much more responsive to individual needs.</p> <p>Let’s start with how we simplify the system and make work pay. Instead of a complex patchwork of multiple benefits today’s Welfare Reform Bill will mean we move to just one core income-related benefit – a universal credit and one message – that it will always pay to work. Even if you just work a few hours at first, you’ll see the benefits in the money you keep.</p> <p>Say for example you’re on Jobseeker’s allowance and you have the chance to do a few hours work. Today after the first £5 you earn, you lose a pound of benefits for every extra pound you take home. But with the universal credit, you would keep 35p of benefit for every extra pound you take home. And because this rate of benefit withdrawal is the same whatever you earn – it’s easy to calculate just how much better off you will be. What’s more, because you don’t have to start claiming a whole set of new benefits and lose your existing ones when you move into work, it makes the whole process far less risky and daunting.</p> <p>It’s simple. You don’t need a computer model to work it out any more. The more you work, the better off you will be. And the financial rewards for entering work will be improved significantly, particularly if you’re on a low income.</p> <p>Indeed, we estimate that around 1.5 million low-earning workers will benefit from being able to keep more of their earnings as they increase their hours restoring that culture of respect for work with incentives that are simple, clear and right. This is at the heart of the changes we’re proposing to welfare – and I pay tribute to Iain Duncan-Smith, and all his hard work, in making this possible.</p> <p>We’re not just saving money, we’re also making the system so much more progressive helping put more money in the pockets of some of the lowest-paid workers in our country. What’s more, by making the system simpler, we will be able to reduce fraud, error and overpayment costs by £1 billion a year.</p> <p><strong> </strong>Second, we’re introducing tougher sanctions and limits on what people can receive. When it comes to limits, we’re going to restrict Housing Benefit rents so they will only cover the cheapest thirty per cent of properties in a local area and limit Housing Benefit in the social rented sector to reflect the size of a family.</p> <p>When it comes to the sanctions, we’re also going to clamp down on those who deliberately defraud the system. No more cautions. We will seek prosecution whenever we can. And at the very least impose a tough minimum fine on anyone found to have cheated the system and recover the money more quickly. What’s more, we will also going to place some real responsibility on the unemployed to ensure they try to get a job.</p> <p>So if you’re unemployed and refuse to take either a reasonable job or to do some work in your community in return for your unemployment benefit you will lose your benefits for three months. Do it again, you’ll lose it for 6 months. Refuse a third time and you’ll lose your unemployment benefits for three years.</p> <p>There’s a simple deal here. If you are vulnerable and in need, we will look after you. And if you hit hard times, we’ll give unprecedented support. But in return, we expect you to do your bit. At the same time, we are going to do something for those who aren’t yet ready for work but who are assessed to be capable of work in the future.</p> <p>They’ll be offered training, help, support – and again if they refuse that, they too will lose some of their benefits. Now there are some who will say this will pull the plug on benefits for disabled people and that we should not replace lengthy self-assessment for disability benefit with a new objective test.</p> <p> Let me make clear. The welfare system will always recognise the needs of people who genuinely can’t work. Those who need an Employment Support Allowance because they cannot work – will get it. Those who are assessed as needing the Disability Living Allowance will get it, whether they are in work or not. That’s what’s fair.</p> <p> But what is also fair is to give those with disabilities who can work the opportunity to work. They shouldn’t be written off – so we will help them find a job and to live a fuller life. And those who can’t work and can’t be expected to work will be supported. Full Stop, end of story. Sanctions for those who abuse the system; real help for those who need it. </p> <p>Third, we are making welfare much more responsive to individual needs. We’re sweeping away all the old top down centralised bureaucracy that treated people like numbers in a machine. And in its place, we’re saying to the person who is unemployed and desperate to get a job – we will make sure you get the personalised help you want. We will give each of you a proper assessment of your needs. And then, through the Work Programme, we’ll invite our best social enterprises, charities and businesses to come into the welfare system and give you intensive, personal assistance to find work. Not just the big established players, but small, innovative charities and social enterprises too.  </p> <p>I want to make sure that our contracting arrangements do not exclude either by accident or design any organisation that has something to offer. We will then pay these organisations by the good results they achieve. And don’t let anyone tell you this happened before.</p> <p>Under the last government’s model, some companies still got a large share of their payment – even if they didn’t get someone into work. We’re saying: we will withhold the vast majority of these companies’ payments until they get someone into work – and they stay in work. But to me, the really radical part of this plan is how we’re funding it – paying companies from the actual savings they deliver.</p> <p>For years people have been saying why leave people stuck on welfare, stuck on incapacity benefit, potentially costing the taxpayer £30,000, £40,000 year after year when we can invest the savings upfront and give these people a better life at the same time?</p> <p>For all that time, the previous Government said no. We’re saying yes. And there’s something else we need to do.</p> <p>We don’t just need to help those out of work return we need to help those in work to stay fit, healthy and productive.</p> <p>Today, half the people who end up on Employment and Support Allowance each year start by being signed off sick from work. We simply have to get to grips with the sicknote culture that means a short spell of sickness absence can far too easily become a gradual slide to a life of long-term benefit dependency.</p> <p>So today we are asking Dame Carol Black, the government’s national director for health and work and David Frost, the Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, to review sickness absence and to recommend what else we can do, to end the sick-note culture and improve health and wellbeing at work.</p> <p>Everything I’ve spoken about today – from universal credit to the Work Programme – is not just a series of technical changes weighing up benefits and tax credits in the Treasury’s scales of what’s affordable and unaffordable.</p> <p>This is about the beginning of cultural change. A new culture of responsibility. </p> <p>We say: we will look after the most vulnerable and needy. We will make the system simple. We’ll make work pay. We’ll help those who want to work, find work. But in return we expect people to take their responsibilities seriously too. To look for work. To take work. To contribute where they can. It is a vision of a stronger society, a bigger society, a more responsible society and today, the building of that society starts in earnest.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">welfare reform</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron PM’s speech on Welfare Reform Bill Thursday 17 February 2011 Prime Minister's Office unknown
<p>Prime Minister David Cameron delivered a speech on Big Society on Monday 14th February 2011.</p> <p><strong>Read the speech and Q&amp;A:</strong></p> <p>Let me just say a couple of things.  I mean, normally in politics the difficulty is getting people to talk about your ideas.  You make a speech, you come up with something, and actually it falls stillborn onto the floor and no one refers to it again.  That is not the problem we have with this, so that’s a good start. </p> <p>People have got very many questions about it, and I’m going to try and answer some of those even before taking yours.  Is it too vague?  Is it going to be made impossible by cuts?  Is it a cover for cuts?  And all of those questions.  I want to take on some of those questions, but first of all, I just want to say why this is so important to me.  I know full well that the first task that my government has got to carry out is sorting out the deficit and the debt and an economic recovery.  That is – if you like, our duty.  I really believe in duty in politics.  I find myself as Prime Minister at a time when we have this appalling budget deficit, bigger than almost anywhere else in Europe – we have to sort it out.  I know that is the major task facing the government, and we’ve got to do it. </p> <p>That is our duty, but if you like, what is my mission?  What is it I am really passionate about?  It is actually social recovery as well as economic recovery.  I think we need a social recovery, because as I have said lots of times in the past, there are too many parts of our society that are broken, whether it is broken families or whether it is some communities breaking down; whether it is the level of crime, the level of gang membership; whether it’s problems of people stuck on welfare, unable to work; whether it’s the sense that some of our public services don’t work for us – we do need a social recovery to mend the broken society.  To me, that’s what the Big Society is all about. </p> <p>To me, there’s one word at the heart of all this, and that is responsibility.  We need people to take more responsibility.  We need people to act more responsibly, because if you take any problem in our country and you just think: ‘Well, what can the government do to sort it out?’, that is only ever going to be half of the answer.  Take crime: yes, government’s got a huge role.  We’ve got to put the police on the streets, we’ve got to make sure the sentences are there, and we’ve got to make sure that prison places are available – that is our job.  But actually, we will never crack crime unless parents bring up their children properly, unless businesses stop selling alcohol to underage people, unless we all decide that these are our streets and our communities, and we have a role to help make sure they are safe. </p> <p>So, responsibility is the absolute key. If you ask yourself the question, ‘Can I take more responsibility, can I do more?’, very often, the answer is no.  How easy is it, if you are not satisfied with education, to club together and start up a new school?  It’s incredibly difficult.  How easy is it to try and take over the closing down pub in your village to keep it running?  It’s incredibly difficult.  How easy is it to volunteer if you want to take part and do more, with all the rules in the past about vetting and barring and criminal records?  It’s extremely difficult.  So, what this is all about is giving people more power and control to improve their lives and their communities.  That, in a nutshell, is what it is all about. </p> <p>Now, what about those key criticisms?  Some people say it is too vague.  Well, if they mean by that there isn’t one single policy that is being sort of rolled out across the country, then yes, I accept that, because actually what we are talking about here is a whole stream of things that need to be done.  First of all, we have got to devolve more power to local government, and beyond local government, so people can actually do more and take more power.  Secondly, we have got to open up public services, make them less monolithic, say to people: if you want to start up new schools, you can; if you want to set up a co-op or a mutual within the health service, if you’re part of the health service, you can; say to organisations like the Big Issue: if you want to expand and replicate yourself across the country, we want you to. </p> <p>The third part, but it is only a part, is yes, I think it would be good if we had more philanthropic giving, more charitable giving and more volunteering in our country, so that all of those three things need to happen.  But then people will say: ‘Okay, maybe it’s not so vague – I can see you’ve got the three parts to it – but this is just a cover for cuts, isn’t it?</p> <p>It is not a cover for anything.  It is a good thing to try and build a bigger and stronger society, whatever is happening to public spending.  But I would make this argument: whoever was standing here right now as Prime Minister would be having to make cuts in public spending, and isn’t it better if we are having to make cuts in public spending, to try and encourage a bigger and stronger society at the same time?  If there are facilities that the state can’t afford to keep open, shouldn’t we be trying to encourage communities who want to come forward and help them and run them? </p> <p>Then there are the people who say, ‘Maybe it is not a cover for cuts, but the cuts will make building a bigger society much more difficult.’  What I would say to that is: of course, there is no area that can be really immune from the public spending problems that we face, but if you actually look at what central government is doing, you look at the part that I am responsible for, we are actually doing things to try and make a bigger society more possible.  We are setting up a Big Society Bank, and we are putting £200 million into it from the banks this week.  We are setting up a transitional fund so we can actually help organisations that need funding in this difficult environment.  We are going to be announcing this week how we train another 5,000 community organisers to help build the Big Society, because there is no naïveté here.  I don’t believe that you just sort of roll back the state and the Big Society springs up miraculously.  There are amazing people in our country, who are establishing great community organisations and social enterprises, but we, the government, should also be catalysing and agitating and trying to help build the Big Society. </p> <p>I think the last question I want to answer before opening it all up is those people who say, ‘Okay, it’s not a cover for cuts.  You’re trying to make cuts in a way that doesn’t damage the Big Society, and I accept it’s not vague, but there are lots of different bits to it.’  Some people say, ‘This is nothing new.  This is what happens already.  You’re just trying to take credit for the very good work that people already do.’  Now, to that I would say: yes, this is not entirely new.  The idea of communities taking more control, of more volunteerism, more charitable giving, of social enterprises taking on a bigger role, of people establishing public services themselves – all of these things are happening in our country.  All of these things have happened in our country for years.  My question is: should we try and do more of it?  How do we encourage more of it?  How do we replicate it across the country?  How do we make this country a really brilliant place for setting up a new charity, a new social enterprise, for opening up the provision of public services?  So, yes, this is not entirely new – of course it isn’t – but it is a new approach in government to say: instead of thinking we in Whitehall have got all the answers, what are the things we can do to help you to do more to build a stronger society. </p> <p>As I say, this is my absolute passion.  I think it is a different way of governing, a different way of going about trying to change our country for the better, and it’s going to get every bit of my passion and attention over the five years of this government.  But above all, it’s going to depend on many of the people in this room, because it’s actually enterprise, it’s entrepreneurship that is going to make this agenda work.  So with that, let’s go to the first question.  Who wants to kick off?</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Good morning, Prime Minister.  I’m involved with various charities and uniformed services.  I’ll give you one example: the Scout movement ­– Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Girl Guides.  There’s a 50,000-person waiting list for people to join this organisation.  The big issue for us is getting adult volunteers, and the issue there is bureaucracy.  It scares people away when they have to do multiple CRB checks, for no reason other than it’s costly.  The Scouts pays for that.  So, one of the issues I think is to encourage more adult volunteers by breaking down bureaucracy. </p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>I think you are absolutely right.  The fact there is such a big waiting list to join these sorts of organisations shows the enthusiasm there is for this agenda.  In terms of volunteering, I think under the last government it just became much more difficult, for very good reasons sometimes because you’ve got to have Criminal Record Bureau checks, and it does make sense to ask some questions about who is looking after our children.  But for instance, the vetting and barring procedure just became hideously complicated.  At one stage, I think 11 million adults were having to be vetted.  You were having to be vetted if you were doing something only a few times, like for instance driving a neighbour’s children to sports practice or taking a crèche in a Sunday school, as I occasionally, very badly, have managed to do.  So we are changing that.  We are radically reducing the number of people who will be subject to vetting.  We are simplifying Criminal Record Bureau checks.  This is just one example of something positive a government can do to help deliver a bigger, stronger society and we are certainly going to fulfil that agenda.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Thank you, Prime Minister.  I found myself on BBC Radio Humberside this morning.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>I sometimes find myself there too. </p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>And I was described as a fan of Big Society which slightly took me aback because I have been a vehement and vocal critic about cuts to our sector, but actually in some ways, parts of what you’re talking about are incredibly important and I want to welcome the emphasis you are putting on more service delivery through charities and social enterprises.  I want to warmly welcome the Big Society.  I think that is a very important initiative, something that will grow and provide loans and social finance for our sector which will support our increasing role.  This is good, but I have to say what is bad, is what is happening to our charities and our voluntary organisations.  You have a passion for Big Society; I have a passion for charities and when I see them cut, that is bad.  And I think you need to think about the cuts they are making. They are hurting disadvantaged communities and perhaps you should be talking to us about how you reshape public services so that actually we could work together and do things better. </p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Thank you.  I think this is the absolutely key question.  Because look, the truth is, everyone is having to make cuts – central government, local government and it’s incredibly difficult.  And it’s not possible to make those cuts without cutting some things that are important.  It really is that difficult, and that is the situation we are in as a country.</p> <p>Now, I will make a couple of points about voluntary bodies and charities.  As I’ve said, first of all, central government is actually going about the spending reductions while trying to protect those things that are valuable to the Big Society.  That is point one.  Point two – of course 75% of charities and voluntary organisations get no government money at all.  It’s worth bearing that in mind.  Point three, and this goes exactly to what you said.  While difficult decisions are being made, the bigger picture is we are massively opening up public services to charities, to voluntary enterprises, to social enterprises.  Hundreds of millions of pounds of potential funding – let me just give you a couple of examples.  Welfare to work providers – we’re opening that up.  That is worth about £700 million to social enterprises and voluntary bodies who want to get into that sector.  In the health service – because we are giving people the right to hold their own budgets and purchase their own care if they’re in need of that at home – that is going to be worth well over £1 billion.  So we shouldn’t belittle those opportunities.</p> <p>But let me go straight to your point about local authorities.  We have asked local authorities to reduce their budgets.  We have no choice about that.  We have to do that.  But the local authorities do have a choice about how they reduce their budgets and we are saying to them as vigorously as we can, please will you make sure you cut your own bureaucracies, you cut your pay, you cut your bureaucracy before you cut voluntary bodies and charities.  Now some local authorities are responding extremely well to this – for example in leafy old West Oxfordshire they are working as hard as they can to make sure the Citizens’ Advice Bureau – an absolutely vital part of the Big Society – doesn’t get a cut.</p> <p>Now, not all local authorities are behaving in the same way.  Now this is a democracy; it’s not a dictatorship.  I cannot order every local authority what to do with their budget but what I can do is actually give local people a tool that they have never had before, and that is transparency.  We are now getting every local authority to publish every item of spending over £500 and the reason you are reading in the pages of the Daily Mail and the Sun and the Times and the Telegraph and elsewhere, the salaries of the chief executives, it’s not because they’ve got armies of brilliant journalists going out and finding this information, it’s because we’ve got local authorities to publish it.  This is great pressure and I want to see that pressure exerted on local authorities so they make the right decisions, not the wrong ones.  But as I say, this is not a dictatorship – I cannot order those local authorities what to do.  Now I hope they will make the right decisions, and I am giving local people the tools, the transparency to help encourage them to do just that. </p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>My question, Prime Minster, relates to your last point about the importance of democracy and we’ve engaged over a million young people in our election programme over the last year to ensure that young people – particularly disadvantaged young people – have a seat at the table and at important times so that their voice is heard.  What more can be done to strengthen the role of youth voice in societies at a time when the Big Society needs to ensure that young people are at the heart of it?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>I think the Youth Parliament is an excellent idea for doing just that and I think it’s right for instance that we’ve opened up parliament for young people to come and take part and actually have their debates in parliament.  I think one of the things that we will find – and Peter Cruddas was talking about it just a minute ago – is that young people do have a passion for volunteering, for taking part, for getting involved and I think this agenda of opening up social enterprises and charities and encouraging them to do more will massively benefit young people.</p> <p>But again, I am not naïve; I don’t think that Big Society just grows as you have to make difficult decisions about public spending.  A number of things we are doing to help make it grow – I have mentioned the Big Society Bank, I’ve mentioned the Transition Fund; another one is National Citizen Service.  This is a very simple idea that every 16-year-old when they finish their GCSEs should have the opportunity to take part in volunteering in community service and in also something that’s stretching and exciting like training with the army on Dartmoor or climbing the three peaks, or climbing a rock face in the Lake District.  National Citizen Service is something that this year about 30,000 young people are going to start on pilot schemes.  I didn’t just talk about this in opposition, I set up a charitable organisation to run pilots to get the right sort of programme to make it work, to mix children from across the country and I hope that by the end of this Parliament we will give the opportunity to every single 16-year-old there is.  So this is a massive way in which the government is taking a step to help build a bigger, stronger society, particularly involving the young people that you are talking about. </p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Good morning, Prime Minister.  I am a student at university and I just want to raise just a tiny point.  A lot of what you say about the Big Society – totally agree in terms of handing more and giving more responsibility to students such as myself.  Now, the thing that I tend to find with a lot of the students I communicate to is not necessarily a point of opening up – which I think is a great thing – opening up these opportunities.  But it’s a question of once you open up these opportunities, a lot of especially students – young, entrepreneurial students with a passion to really get in and get involved in society – they need that education, they need that bit of a push.  So I would just like to ask for a little bit of clarity on how we are going to educate this, our society today to be able to step into the new society.</p> <p> <strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>That’s a good point.  I mean I would say that National Citizen Service is probably the best way to do that.  At the moment what happens is lots of children get incredible opportunities through the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme or the Prince of Wales Trust, but we don’t actually do something as a country that brings everybody together and gives everybody that opportunity.  And the reason I called it National Citizen Service is, when you listen to people who did National Service – don’t worry, I’m not just about to introduce National Service in case you’re worrying – but the point is, when you talk to people who did National Service, a lot of them say the thing was we did it together.  It didn’t matter whether you were rich or poor or what god you worshipped or where you came from in the country, we all did it together and I think that’s the idea behind National Citizen Service. </p> <p>That we encourage people from across the country to do this.  We mix people together; they are taken out of their home environment; out of their community environment; they go off and do something and then they go back and learn about community service and volunteering and taking a bigger part in their community.  And when we’ve tried this, mixing kids together from Warrington and Southwark I think it was, taking them off the Lake District, then back into their communities.  It was a massive success.  And that I think will engender in people the sense of ‘we’re all in it together.  We’re part of something bigger than ourselves.  We have obligations to not just ourselves and our families but our neighbourhoods, our communities’.  That’s what it’s all about.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Very impressive to hear your robust defence of the Big Society and we needed it right now.  In fact I was writing a blog about it on Saturday; you answered all of the questions in The Observer on Sunday.  But the one thing I think we really need now is a bit more detail on the short term.  I mean the aspirations for the medium term are impressive and the long term – incredible if we get there.  But we do know that in our communities, in our local councils, there is a sense of devastation.  I think the rhetoric of broken Britain can feed into that sense of loss, so I think we do need a bit of detail on that. </p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Let’s just deal with the devastation, and what we’re talking about in terms of local government grants from central government is that they’re going to go back to the level that they were in – who wants to fill in the gap?  What do you think?  From reading the papers – 1985 from reading the papers?  2007?  In the case of Liverpool, the case I quoted in the House of Commons the other day, the level of grant they’re getting, by 2013 it would have gone all the way back to 2009, so we’ve got to get this into perspective. </p> <p>Yes, we are having to make some painful decisions.  Yes, some of these cuts are difficult, but I think sometimes we’re getting out of perspective the sort of level of spending and the level of grants that local authorities are going to get – I think that’s a really important point to make.  People ask about libraries – libraries are vital but if you’re going back to 2007 grants, there was a good network of libraries in 2007, there should be a good network of libraries in 2011.  There are a lot of people, in a lot of different organisations, including some charities, including the government, who are making a very persuasive case for more spending, and we have to hear that and it’s actually right that they do, but let’s keep this in perspective.</p> <p>In terms of the short term and the medium term – one of the reasons I set up the Transition Fund of £100 million is recognising that some organisations will get cut because not all local authorities will make good decisions – that’s why the Transition Fund is there.  But the really big opportunity for charities and voluntary bodies is, instead of getting a sort of drip feed of handout money, is as we open up public services and say we will pay you by the results you achieve, they have a massive opportunity to get involved in rehabilitating criminals, in terms of getting people off drugs, in terms of running services in health and education – that’s what the payment by results idea is all about.  The Big Society Bank is there to lend money to these organisations so they can actually scale up, they can get bigger, they can replicate themselves across the country so they can take advantage of this new, more open way of delivering public services – so it is short, medium and long.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much.  I am the founder Family Beehive, which is a network of the ultra-high net worth society and business leaders.  Business leaders have said on the website that they want to engage business in philanthropy – for example, retailers want to be able to invest in a programme to stop shoplifters re-offending.  They also want charities to be accountable to their funders, and these are the sorts of things that the business leaders want, what they see is the Big Society.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong> </p> <p>Business has a huge role in this.  If you ask yourself who is actually the best organisation at, for instance, getting people with mental-health problems into work, it’s actually Marks &amp; Spencer – so there are lots of businesses doing incredible work at building a stronger society.  And that’s not just because businesses are philanthropic; it’s actually good for their image, it’s good for their business, it’s good for their brand. </p> <p>Actually, if you go to any school now and you look at what children are learning about with business, and the websites they’re going on, they’re asking a lot of questions about is this an ethical business?  How does it do business?  So it’s going to be even more important for business in the future.  I know that sometimes businesses can feel a bit cut off from this agenda – I don’t want them to feel like that all.  This whole agenda, I think, is wide open to business to come and join in and play a part, and I’m looking forward to a lot of interesting announcements on that front.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>I run an organisation called Food Cycle which is one of the recent award winners in the Big Society awards, and my question is about immigration.  I really believe that the Big Society is great and I also think that you need a lot of international talent for this work here in the UK.  My question is, with the current immigration changes, how this will reflect the Big Society, because potentially, as you can tell, I’m not British; I’m Canadian.  Running Food Cycle, I will be potentially out of this country in a year’s time because I do not meet the strict new immigration laws.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>First of all, actually in the immigration rules we’re putting in a new category of entrepreneurs so we can attract some of the best and the brightest to come to our country.  But what I would say, having looked at the figures and looked at what we’re proposing, I think there is an enormous amount of room to deal with the abuses that there are of the immigration system, which will enable us to make sure that we can still attract the brightest students and entrepreneurs and others to come to our country.</p> <p>I was looking, for instance, at education – about 90,000 students who came last year, who were coming not to universities or even highly regarded colleges, but were coming to colleges or other recently established colleges that have a not-trusted status.  So if you think about that, if you think about the huge amount of abuse there is, if we deal with that there will be plenty of headroom to allow in people who can make a real contribution while not breaching the strict immigration limits that we’re going to put in place.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>At a time when everybody is worried about falling living standards, even keeping their job, public-service cutbacks, do you think there is really an appetite for people out there to get involved in the voluntary sector?  Aren’t their energies more taken up with just worrying about themselves at this time, in particular?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>I don’t think the British people are like that; I think there’s an enormous appetite.  Every time you ask people ‘would you like the opportunity to step forward’ they actually say yes.  Free schools is a good example: everyone said to us no one wants to run their own school, they’re all far too busy, everyone is very happy with what they’ve got.  We’ve already had hundreds of applications for free schools. </p> <p>We came up with the idea that people within the health service might want to turn that part of the health service they work in into a mutual, into a cooperative.  People said everyone’s happy with the National Health Service; they don’t want to change the National Health Service.  Again, hundreds of organisations are coming forward saying, yes, actually we would like to run a mutual, I’d like to take control of this part of the health service and run a better service.</p> <p>The community right-to-buy: ‘Oh, people haven’t got time to bother with that’.  Again, loads of interest and applications, including ones I know about from my own constituency, even my own village, where people are very keen to step forward, particularly when they see the last – if it’s the last post office or the last shop, or the last pub, or a bit of land in the community that’s been left fallow for so long.  There is an appetite for this.  So, I think that the proof is always there.  Whenever you give people an opportunity to step forward and play a greater role, in my experience they almost always take it.  I believe that they will with all these opportunities that will be coming forward.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>However good the values that underlie the Big Society might be, do you accept that a lot of people find the idea quite irritating in these rather austere times, and do you accept at the very least that it perhaps hasn’t been sold as well as it might have been, and that there are plenty of people in your party who would quite like you to stop talking about it now?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>The reason I talk about it is not because it’s popular or I think I am going to win an election with it.  The reason I talk about it is because it’s what I care about.  You know, the idea that actually you might put into a manifesto something you are passionate about and believe in, rather than just because it makes a great headline on the 10 o’clock news – that may be novel, but that happens to be what I think.  I think the evidence is – and I think you see it round the room, you’ve got a lot of organisations represented here today – the evidence is that people are enthusiastic if they are given the opportunity.  It tends to be, when you ask people: how do you feel about this idea of playing a greater role, of communities having greater control over their lives?  People say, ‘Well, I like the idea, but I don’t believe it’s possible.’ I think we have to show that it is possible, that actually there is a way of making the police force accountable to you with local beat meetings; there is a way for communities that aren’t satisfied with what they’ve got to establish a new school; there is a way, if you’re depressed with the way the health service is run, you can run a mutual within the NHS.  There is a way of actually opening up the provision of public services to voluntary bodies; there is a way of encouraging young people to volunteer and get involved. </p> <p>Now, as I have said, the duty of this government is to deal with the economic mess.  We’ve got to deal with that deficit.  We have to make these cuts.  We have to put up those taxes.  It will not make us popular; in fact, it will make us unpopular.  It will make me unpopular.  I recognise that; it is my duty.  We have to do this for the good of our country. But I don’t believe it’s impossible to do your duty at the same time as having a sense of mission and purpose about what would make this country a stronger, better, nicer place to live and make our communities more healthy.  I think there’s an enormous appetite for that.  People do believe that we need a sort of social recovery as well as an economic recovery, and I think, as I say, this would be the right thing to do whether we were increasing public spending or cutting it, whether the economy was growing or not growing.  This is a really good agenda that I think people when they hear about it say, ‘Yes, I do think this is a good thing, because in the end, a stronger society is a nicer country to live in.’</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Can I make a suggestion for a quick win?  With regards to the National Citizen Service, it’s welcomed by the majority of young people and by youth organisations themselves, and a very quick win would be if you were to create a framework which would allow existing organisations like the Duke of Edinburgh Award and the Prince’s Trust, that you’ve mentioned before, to start helping to deliver the citizenship along the lines of the programmes they do already, because the aims are really quite the same as the ones that you suggest, and we could all come together under the banner of this new idea, rather than creating a separate scheme.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>That may well be the answer. Last year, we ran a small number of pilot schemes to try and get the concept right, and this year we are running more, again with the same idea.  When it then expands, can we do more to involve other organisations?  I absolutely hope we can.  When I go back and think of when I had this idea and wanted to get it going, I didn’t just sort of write out a blueprint and make a speech about it.  I got all those organisations – Fairbridge, Prince of Wales Trust, Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, all the others I can think of – I got them all together I think in a television studio somewhere in North London and heard their views and talked to them about it, so we could try and shape the programme and get it right.  So, yes, I’m sure we will be able to do that, but at the moment what we are trying to do is just see if we can do it at scale, and if it works and if it is the right sort of six-week programme. </p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>I am confused standing here actually.  You’re talking about social enterprises taking the lead, and people using their own initiative for their own community.  I’ve been doing that for four years with an ex-offender led project, ex-offender run.  We have a 15% re-offending rate, and I am sure you can do the maths on that, and all the way through we have got to a certain point, and I am getting blocked, constantly blocked.  We cannot compete against the big boys, but we are having a great social impact.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Please don’t be confused, because you’re exactly the sort of organisation that I think we should be looking to work out how we try and expand.  If you take rehabilitation of prisoners, it’s a classic example of where we need a Big Society approach rather than a big state approach.  The big state approach, our big prisons, are failing.  In fact, actually if you asked the governor of a prison what is the re-offending rate of the people in their prison, they can’t tell you.  That’s not because they are bad people; it’s because they are not actually set up to do that.  They are just set up to house prisoners, to keep them inside, to give them a bit of training, and then to release them, whereas your organisation is absolutely focused on what really matters to everybody in this country, which is how do we turn them round?  How do we rehabilitate them? </p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Now, you keep getting stuck for all sorts of reasons, one of which is that the state has certain areas of criminal justice it won’t open up to the voluntary sector.  Well, I say: why not?  These prisons are costing us a fortune and they are not doing a very good job.  Each prisoner costs £40,000 a year to keep.  Wouldn’t it be better to try and spend some of that money with organisations like yours and pay them by results?  Indeed, why shouldn’t we be paying prisons by results?  If they are good at rehabilitating prisoners, they get paid more; if they are not, they get paid less.  So, not only have we got the ambition to enable your organisation to do more, we have also thought of some of the ways in which we could help make that happen: opening up these big contracts; putting them all online; making sure they are all transparent, so you can see how much money the state is wasting and how much money you could save.  Then the Big Society bank should help you to raise money to build up your organisation so you can do more.  </p> <p>So look, this is the start of a very long process.  The media will be frustrated because there won’t be a result tomorrow, but we are asking the right question, which is: how do you enable entrepreneurial organisations like yours to do more, to change the country, and to improve public services?  And it isn’t a simple switch that you flick; it’s a whole series of things that we have to do to help your organisation. </p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>I gave a talk at the National School of Government a fortnight ago about the challenges facing the Big Society. </p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>How did you get on?</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>It took a while.  I posed a question to the room, largely full of senior civil servants, grade 7 and above: who here knows what a social enterprise is?  Ten percent of the room had even heard of social enterprise.  What do you think we need to do to make the state, the civil service more permeable to innovation, to partnership working?  What conditions do you think we need to create in order for this innovation to occur?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>I think that’s a very, very good point. As well as changing laws – for example, creating a community right-to-buy, so communities can buy something, as well as changing the rules about the health service, so they can set up mutuals if they want to.  Some of this is about a change of culture, because the government, the state, the civil service, just hasn’t done things like this before, and so it’s a big change.  When they’ve had a big contract to let in the past, too often it’s just gone to the big organisation and it’s all been kept very secret, and no one’s been able to see the figures.  So, the culture change is partly from leadership and the people at the top saying, ‘This is how things are going to be.  We are going to open up.  We are going to do things differently.  This is what social enterprises are.  This is what they do.  Could you engage with them?’</p> <p>But also, this transparency agenda is hugely important.  By putting every contract over £25,000 online, by making all the details public, by making sure as a small social enterprise you’ve only got to register once to bid for any government work – these are technical changes, but they will make quite a big difference.  On Friday, I launched an initiative to make sure that we give 25% of procurement contracts to smaller and medium-size enterprises, including voluntary bodies, charities and social enterprises, who were in there at the birth, designing this policy.  But there’s a culture change. </p> <p>The civil service is, I think, a great organisation.  I have come into government.  I have got an absolute Rolls-Royce in terms of people who work for me.  They are brilliant: hard working, dedicated, impartial, professional.  I couldn’t fault them.  I think I’ve kept Gordon Brown’s entire private office. But is there a culture change needed in the civil service to understand this agenda?  Of course there is, and there’s a danger that because they are good, hard-working, impartial, professional people, they tend to take an idea like the Big Society and think it must be one idea that is an initiative that has to be rolled out across government.  You’re in danger sometimes of turning the Big Society into the big state (society), and we need to be very careful that doesn’t happen.  We’ve got to open things up to allow the entrepreneurialism of this sector to prove itself. </p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>My question for you is given that is a kind of philosophy, and a mission and a vision, how will you know whether it has been successful?  So, in five years’ time, how will you measure your success?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>I think there will be lots of things you will be able to look at.  You can look sector by sector; you can look at education.  Are there more free schools being set up by communities?  Is the academies programme expanding and is business still investing in it?  Are organisations like yours thriving?  Look across at the health service.  What’s the involvement of social enterprises and charities?  I think you’ll be able to look at communities and say: have they actually taken advantage of these things that we’re putting in place, like the community right-to-buy?  I think you’ll be able to look at the Big Society Bank and say: right, how big is it now?  How much lending is it doing?  What is the health of this charitable social enterprise sector? I don’t want to produce a sort of top-down target, you know: eighteen weeks to set up a social enterprise, tick that box, okay, move on, let’s go on to the next thing.  I don’t want to do that, but we can find some ways of showing and saying: well look, these are the things we were talking about; these are the things that have now happened. </p> <p>What we have done in government is instead of setting targets like the one I just mentioned, we have these things called structural reform plans, where we just set out what the department promised to do, the date by which they were going to do it, and then you have to check off whether they have done it.  So, have we introduced the community right-to-buy?  Have we trained the 5,000 community organisers?  Is the Big Society Bank up and running?  Those things ­– you know, like a business, we should definitely be ticking them off as we do them, and on some of them we are ahead, and some of them we are a bit behind, but it’s all transparent, so you can go on the internet and have a good look.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>We are a national charity supporting community groups.  Prime Minister, yourself and other ministers have talked about the extraction of £200 million from the banks to support the Big Society Bank, but can you explain to me how that actually helps, when it’s a commercial loan?  Does that make cheaper money available – cheaper capital available to the sector?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>I think two things: (a) it should be cheaper money, but (b), perhaps more importantly, it is understanding.  I was at a social enterprise this morning, the People’s Supermarket, which is a basically a new cooperative.  They have set up, and you pay £25 a year to join, and you have to volunteer to be part of it, and as a result, you get cheaper food at your local supermarket in Camden.  They were saying to me, ‘Right, we think we’ve cracked this.  It really does work.  We’ve got enough people volunteering.  We’ve got enough money coming in.  We are delivering prices that are 10% below the local supermarket.  We have got the model.  Now, we’d love to be able to set this up in other parts of London and in other parts of the country, but the banks aren’t interested, because banks – a bit like the civil service – don’t necessarily understand social enterprises.’  But if you have a Big Society Bank that is absolutely versed in that whole sector and understands that sector, and is mandated to lend to that sector, I think you’ll get more understanding, more money and hopefully at a better price.</p> <p><strong>Question: </strong></p> <p>To the sceptics about the Big Society, I suggest that they go and look at what has happened in social housing over the last 20 years.  20 years ago, housing associations were formed.  They were very small; they were run by volunteers.  Today, they are the dominant producers – developers of housing for those who need low-cost accommodation.  There’s a precedent for the Big Society too: the Housing Finance Corporation was established at the same time to provide a means to the debt markets for these housing associations.  Having established the credit, the banks now are in, and we raise at the moment £2.5 billion for housing associations at rates cheaper than the government of Japan can borrow.  So, the precedents are there for this.  Let me suggest one idea perhaps for the lady in the corner.  Prisons are a rather specialised form of housing.  Housing associations already provide housing for assisted care; they do training especially in IT skills for their residents so that they can access the web.  Perhaps housing associations should take over some of the prisons. </p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Very interesting idea.  I mean I think you’re right. You know 20 years ago you just had monolithic council owned housing stock, often very badly run, very badly looked after, and the growth of housing associations – the competition, the choice, the new money they brought into the sector – has been a great success.  But I would almost turn the challenge back to you.  I would say you would come across say farmers, who would love to build and let houses at social rents because they want to try and provide an income stream and keep people on the farm but they can’t because they are not registered social landlords.  Housing associations also need a bit of Big Society work as it were, to open up and say ‘right, let’s make this sector a bit more bigger, a bit more entrepreneurial’ and allow other people to come into it to provide that innovation because that’s often what’s needed in housing to meet people’s needs.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>I’m the founder of a social enterprise called People Who Share which is dedicated to growing a global market place for sharing.  Now what we are talking about though is a very big cultural change.  I mean many people in this country don’t know who their own neighbours are, so if we are talking about this notion of harnessing the power of sharing and people actually taking responsibility, how do you see that cultural change happening?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Part of it is what an American politician would call the bully pulpit.  Part of it is talking about it; talking about social issues and social change and society and responsibilities in a way that fires people up and gets people going and gets people asking those questions and one of the reasons I’ve never had any doubt that the agenda of the Big Society is going well and will go on and will grow is that people talk about it the whole time.  I was at my constituency at the weekend; people endlessly come up and say ‘well, you know, we’ve just taken over the open-air swimming pool because the council closed it.  We’re running it.  That’s very much Big Society, isn’t it?  And we are getting local schools involved and we are encouraging people.’  And this weekend I probably had about four examples of people who came up and said that’s exactly what we’re doing.  And the questions I posed at the beginning is ‘this isn’t all new, is it?’ I mean it isn’t new – this has been going on for centuries in our country.  It’s just about trying to take it to the next stage and I think politicians do have a role by discussing these things, trying to get people to think about how to be better citizens, more active citizens and to do more things along the lines you suggest. </p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Top marks for sticking your neck out on culture change which is difficult – and I think it’s great for schools to be able to innovate or have permission to innovate because as I say, those that have done well or have done it in the past because we have broken the rules of the government or at least not been limited by them.  But, what concerns me about this in relation to education is that there’s an unintended consequence of an increase in centralisation because every innovation has to go somewhere in order to be moderated particularly if it’s a state-wide thing.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Give me a for instance on that because I’m conscious of this – if we come up with something new and we then try and force it – we’re not trying to do that – but give me a for instance on that. </p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Okay, well, to set up a free school for example, as soon as I saw the White Paper, eager to start one, get the paper work in but actually it all has to go the top of now quite a fine pyramid in order to get that through and actually the more people who wanted to do that, the more that constriction would be there.  Or a different example – actually having got the local authority on side about one such project, the local authority are worried about the Big Society kyboshing the free school because a different bit of the Big Society wouldn’t like to have a new school on their doorstep.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>It’s a good point.  I think though what we’ve got to be about is trying to clear the obstacles out of the way.  So when it comes to free schools or new academies, there are – I think – almost too many ways in which trade unions or local authorities or whatever, can sort of frustrate the creation of these things.  And one of the reasons for announcing pathfinder schemes in Liverpool and in Cumbria and Windsor and Maidenhead was that these were not pilot schemes, because you don’t roll out the Big Society; it’s all of these things we’ve been talking about.  The idea behind the Pathfinders was to say to these communities – you sort of volunteer for it – tell us what it is that’s stopping you from doing more things like handing over work to enterprises and charities, enabling communities.  Tell us the national rules, the regulations, the laws that get in your way and we will then get government to act with you to get them out of the way.  And we’re finding lots of examples where actually local authorities would like to step in and help out and find a community solution to this problem or that problem.  So I hope that we can do this in a way that is genuinely enabling rather than smothering.  That would be the worst – it would be a disaster if this agenda ended up actually stopping the sort of social change that we want to militate on behalf of.</p> <p><strong>Question: </strong></p> <p>Prime Minister, very glad that you mentioned welfare to work – a very important area – but there are serious concerns here that you’re creating a new sort of Byzantine bureaucracy to replace the old one.  We are presently involved – as I think probably some of the people in this room also are – in putting in expressions of interest to the big service companies that have won or are preferred biller in the new single work programme.  And I think there is a serious concern here that – or there’s a warning that I’d like to make – that the big service companies could strangle the Big Society at birth.  How do you stop these wonderful companies that we will end up working with, from doing this? </p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>It’s a really good question.  I was looking at it on Friday when we were opening up government procurement to the private sector and the point was made – it’s all very well to say the lead contract has got to be a SME or this sort of company, what happens if all the people they contract with are actually the big organisations?  So I accept, this is very difficult and we want to work with you to make sure that we are genuinely opening up to the small, the innovative, the enterprising.  Some of the big organisations will say ‘well you’ll never save money if you do that because only we have the scale to deliver these programmes at low cost.’  I don’t accept that.  I think that when you’re looking at things like welfare to work, where often the hardest cases need the most personal attention.  If you think of someone who hasn’t worked for say five or ten years, who has got mental-health problems, that person – if you can get them into work – is saving you probably £40,000 because of the likely time they would spend on benefits if you don’t help them.  But the organisation that is likely to get them back to work is probably very specialised, very personal, very sensitive, very innovative.  So I completely agree with you; if this ends up with a few big companies running big government projects that is not what we’re looking for. </p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>I run a social enterprise called Start Here which is all about making information accessible and what we’ve discovered is that what people need most is local information.  And what concerns me is how people really navigate through the system.  And I think that if voluntary organisations collaborate together because a lot of charities do have local information, we can actually build a consistent social services type directory which I would have thought – and I’d love to hear your comments – should be one of the planks of the Big Society.  And we’ve made some progress building that so we’re not starting from scratch; I just don’t want to see duplication of effort and us pooling resources. </p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>I think one of the absolute building blocks is transparency of information.  There is a bit of bossiness in the Big Society – you have got to boss local authorities to make them make available all of their information and this is an absolute plank of the Big Society because once all of that information is available – what services they run; who they pay; how much they pay – once all that information is available, it creates a lot of wealth and opportunities because organisations can take that data; they can mash it up; they can create new businesses.  There is a very good one called ‘They Work For You’ which is about your MP and how hard they work and this is based on the transparent data about how much we all vote. This is exactly the same with local authorities; by making all this data available, we are actually enabling social enterprises and charities to come forward and run new services, compare different councils and actually start running services themselves.  This is a very big part of the agenda.</p> <p>Can I thank you all very much for coming. I’m sorry I didn’t get to answer all your questions. I think we should probably do this again but thank you very much for coming today, and above all thank you for what you do.  Thank you.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Big Society</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron PM’s speech on Big Society Tuesday 15 February 2011 Prime Minister's Office unknown
<p>Prime Minister David Cameron has delivered a speech on Government Procurement.</p> <h3>Read the speech</h3> <p>Today, we are announcing big changes to the way government does business.</p> <p>By that, I mean what I say: literally, the way it does business.</p> <p>The contracts it signs, the goods and services it purchases – and the way it purchases them.</p> <p>We need to make the system much more open, competitive and transparent.</p> <p>No one should doubt how important this is.</p> <p>It’s important for getting to grips with our deficit – as it will help us tackle waste and control public spending.</p> <p>It’s important for lighting the fires of enterprise in our country – as it will provide billions of pounds worth of new business opportunities for smaller companies.</p> <p>It’s important for modernising our public services – as it will open them up to the forces of competition and innovation.</p> <p>And it’s important for building the Big Society – as it will give our great charities and social enterprises the opportunity to deliver services and receive new sources of income.</p> <p>So today, I want to explain what the problems are with the system we inherited…</p> <p>…how we are going to fix them…</p> <p>…and the vital role I see each and every one of you in this room playing in delivering that change.<br><strong></strong></p> <p><strong>Problems with system</strong></p> <p>First, the problems with the system we inherited.</p> <p>Put simply, it was – and frankly, still is – hugely wasteful and inefficient.</p> <p>Too many public bodies end up spending money on stuff they don’t need and paying too much if they do.</p> <p>In his efficiency review for the Government, Sir Philip Green found examples of departments paying anything up to £73 for a box of paper and £1400 for a laptop.</p> <p>Now, I don’t happen to think this waste is intentional.</p> <p>But I do think the system encourages it.</p> <p>To begin with, too many of these contracts are signed off behind closed doors, with little or no public scrutiny.</p> <p>That can be great for the contractors, who can charge over the odds without being properly challenged.<br>  <br> But it’s not so good for the taxpayer, who can be short-changed and denied value for money.</p> <p>At the same time, the system doesn’t encourage small and medium-sized businesses, charities and social enterprises to compete for contracts…</p> <p>…the very firms who can provide the competitive pressure to drive down costs.</p> <p>Actually worse, it actively discourages them.</p> <p>When we came to office, one of the things we did was create a portal on the Number Ten website and invited these smaller organisations to let us know what the problems with the system were.  Many of those who contributed are here today.</p> <p>The responses were overwhelming.</p> <p>Start-ups were told they had to provide three years of audited accounts – despite the fact they’d, yes, only just started up.</p> <p>Other organisations were told they could only compete for government contracts if they’d sold to government before – difficult to get around.</p> <p>And firms with new products and innovations were told to wait for the right tender opportunities to come up…</p> <p>…despite the fact that being an innovation, no one knew the product existed so there was no chance of the tender.</p> <p>At the launch of Tech City in East London last November, I heard from one young entrepreneur called Glenn Shoesmith who’s had this very problem.</p> <p>He’s invented a low-cost system that allows people to book slots online at their sports centre or swimming pool.</p> <p>When he pitched it to the Olympics team he was told to find the relevant tender document and fill it in.</p> <p>But the system didn’t know about the product, so there was no tender – and no way for Glenn to sell his product to government.</p> <p>And quite apart from these counter-productive rules, there’s all the bureaucracy too.</p> <p>Small businesses and charities complained that there was no single place where they could go online and see what contracts were on offer.</p> <p>And they found it difficult to cope with all the separate sets of forms and documents from different public bodies.</p> <p>All this helps explain one, shocking fact.</p> <p>Despite accounting for fifty percent of the turnover of the UK business economy…</p> <p>…we estimate SMEs only win five to ten percent of the billions of pounds of public sector business.</p> <p>We asked departments to tell us what proportion of contracts were awarded to SMEs in a single month last year.</p> <p>Many didn’t even know.</p> <p>And of those that did, some of the figures were truly appalling.<br><strong></strong></p> <p><strong>Change</strong></p> <p>So this is how we are going to fix it.</p> <p>To begin with, we’re making the whole system much more transparent.</p> <p>Last month, we took an unprecedented step.</p> <p>We started to publish every government contract worth over £25,000 in full.</p> <p>This is going to make a huge difference.</p> <p>Procurement managers will have to make sure they are not subject to over-the-top provisions or penalties.</p> <p>Existing suppliers will know they have to offer their best price.</p> <p>And new contractors looking online will be able to see the deals that have been done and say ‘I could do the same for half of what they’re charging.’</p> <p>At the same time, we’re going to make the system a whole lot more welcoming to small and medium-sized firms, charities and social enterprises.</p> <p>All those problems people raised before, we’re sorting them.</p> <p>We’re sweeping away ridiculous rules and bureaucracy and seeking to eliminate, for smaller contracts, assessment hurdles at the beginning of the process.</p> <p>Where we do need to ask questions about your company’s capability we are introducing a simple, straightforward pre-qualification form.</p> <p>Fill it in once – and use it as your route to bidding for any government contract.  Small businesses have been asking me for this for years, and I am delighted to be able to deliver it today.</p> <p>To help you find those opportunities, I can also announce today that we are launching a new online tool – Contracts Finder.</p> <p>It goes live today and is a one-stop-shop which will display every central government tender opportunity.</p> <p>What’s more, wherever possible, we’re going to break up large contracts into smaller elements, so that SMEs can make a bid and get involved.</p> <p>And where that’s not possible, we’ll also work proactively with our large suppliers to directly increase opportunities for smaller organisations in the supply chain.</p> <p>And we are also today announcing a series of innovation and product surgeries, with the first one in April in Birmingham.</p> <p>These events will give companies with innovative products and services the chance to pitch their ideas directly to government…</p> <p>…rather than wait for government to play catch up and issue a tender.</p> <p>All you need to be considered is a prototype and business plan.</p> <p>All these changes will go a long way to help us fulfil one of this coalition’s key ambitions:</p> <p>That twenty-five percent of all government contracts are awarded to small and medium-sized enterprises.</p> <p>If we meet this goal it will mean billions of pounds worth of new business opportunities for SMEs.<br><strong></strong></p> <p><strong>Culture change</strong></p> <p>So that’s what we’re doing.</p> <p>What I need in return from everyone in this room is a similar commitment.</p> <p>From all of you who think you can provide a great service to government…</p> <p>…the commitment to go online and start looking for new contract opportunities.</p> <p>And from the procurement managers in government…</p> <p>…the commitment to open up opportunities to new providers including SMEs and voluntary organisations.</p> <p>I understand your concerns.</p> <p>In the private sector, there’s an old adage – no one got sacked for hiring IBM.</p> <p>Sometimes the big option seems like the safe option.</p> <p>But I want you to feel empowered.</p> <p>I want you to know that as long as you follow the right channels, I will stand by you if you take risks with young, new and dynamic companies.</p> <p>I want you to really feel you are playing a part in turning our country round.</p> <p>In cutting the deficit. In boosting enterprise and growth. In building the Big Society.</p> <p>Mike Lynch of Autonomy once said the reason his company’s the global success story it is today is because one, maverick government contract manager defied the rules and gave him a tender.</p> <p>One of you in here today could make that same difference.</p> <p>So be bold.<br><strong></strong></p> <p><strong>Conclusion</strong></p> <p>Let me end by saying this.</p> <p>I know a lot of this won’t be easy.</p> <p>Yes, there will be opponents – vested interests that benefited from the old system will line up and try to stop what we are doing.</p> <p>And yes, there will be mistakes along the way – opening up billions of pounds worth of contracts isn’t going to go smoothly.<br>  <br> But I wouldn’t be standing here today making the case for this change if I didn’t think it was so important.</p> <p>It’s about making our country less wasteful and more accountable.</p> <p>It’s about opening up opportunities to new, small organisations as well as the old, big ones.</p> <p>It’s about being more dynamic, in our economy, and in our public services.</p> <p>So together, let’s make it happen.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">contracts</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">procurement</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">SMEs</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron PM Speech on Government Procurement Friday 11 February 2011 Prime Minister's Office unknown
<p>Transcript of speech given by the Prime Minister David Cameron in London on 11 February 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript:</h3> <p><strong>Francis Maude:</strong></p> <p>Well, good afternoon to you all, very good to see you all here.  I was going to say welcome to the Treasury, but as I don’t belong in the Treasury it’s slightly out of place, and it’s not often that people feel welcome in the Treasury, but that’s part of the nature of it.  It’s very good to see you.  This is a really important event and about the future of SMEs in our economy and in the supply chain to government.</p> <p>This is, I’m told, the biggest, at this level, summit held of this community by any government and I’m delighted that we’re doing this.  The importance we attach to it is illustrated by the fact the Prime Minister is here launching these new proposals, this new way of doing business.</p> <p>When we took office not yet a year ago we said we were going to do business in a different way and we have – this is one example of that – and that includes doing business with business.  The way we have changed a lot of things so far has enabled us, through the controls we’ve set out through the Cabinet Office and the Efficiency Reform Group, to save £3.5 billion in the course just of this truncated financial year alone.  We think there’s much more to do and I’m delighted to welcome the Prime Minister to outline the changes we’re going to make. </p> <p>I should quickly introduce the top table here: John Collington, who’s the government’s Head of Procurement; Sally Collier, who’s Head of Procurement Policy; Baroness Eaton, who’s Chair of the Local Government Association; the Prime Minister I think needs no introduction; Ian Watmore, who’s the government’s Chief Operating Officer; and Baroness Hanham, Minister in the Department of Communities and Local Government.</p> <p>But without further ado, let me hand over to the Prime Minister. </p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Thank you.  Thank you very much, Francis.   Well, as First Lord of the Treasury, it’s good to come and have a look at see what they get up to and, as far as I can see, the Treasury’s in far better nick than Number 10 Downing Street. </p> <p>Now, I was telling a joke yesterday at the introduction of a speech.  I won’t retell all of it because most of it’s now appeared in the Sun newspaper, but the first bit of it was to say one of the things I’ve learnt over the last nine months is that when you hear your private secretary say, ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ you often find out later that what they really meant was ‘No, not yet, Prime Minister’ or sometimes ‘Not at all, Prime Minister’.  But actually, in this case, something that I’ve long believed needs to happen is going to happen and that is to make government procurement much more small-business friendly.  So I’m genuinely delighted to be here today to launch this initiative and to try and get it off to a good start.</p> <p>Because today, we are announcing, if you like, big changes to the way government does business, and by that I mean what I say: literally, the way government does business.  The contracts it signs, the goods and services it purchases and the way it purchases them.  We need to make the system more open, more competitive and more transparent and I don’t want anyone to doubt how important this is, because it’s important for getting to grips with our deficit, as it will help us to tackle waste and to control public spending, as Francis has just set out. </p> <p>It will be important for helping to light the fires of enterprise in our country, because it should provide billions of pounds worth of new business and new business opportunities for smaller companies.  It’s also important for modernising our public services, as it should open them up to the forces of choice and competition and innovation, and it’s also important for building the Big Society, as it will give our great charities and social enterprises – and it’s good to see them represented here today – the opportunity to deliver services and to receive new sources of income. </p> <p>So, today I want to explain what the problems are with the system we inherited, how we’re going to fix them, and the vital role I see each and every one of you in this room playing in delivering that change.</p> <p>First, the problems with the system we inherited.  Put simply, it was and, frankly, in some cases still is, hugely wasteful and inefficient.  Too many public bodies end up spending money on stuff they don’t need and paying too much if they do.  In his efficiency review for government, Sir Philip Green found examples of departments paying anything up to £73 for a box of paper and £1,400 for a laptop. </p> <p>Now, I don’t happen to think that this waste is intentional, but I do think the system encourages it.  To begin with, too many of these contracts are signed off behind closed doors, with little or no public scrutiny.  That can be good for the contractors, who can charge over the odds without being properly challenged, but it is not good for the taxpayer, who is being short-changed and denied value for money.</p> <p>At the same time, the system hasn’t encouraged small and medium-sized businesses, charities and social enterprises to come forward and compete for contracts.  These are the very firms who can provide a lot of competitive pressure to drive down costs.  Actually, it can be worse, because it actively discourages them. </p> <p>When we came to office, one of the things we did was we put a portal on the Number 10 website and we invited these smaller organisations to let us know what the problems with the system were, and I think some of the people who accessed that portal are here today and you’re very welcome.  The responses were overwhelming: start-ups were told they had to provide three years of audited accounts despite the fact that, yes, they had actually only just started up.  Other organisations were told they could only compete for government contracts if they’d sold to government before – difficult one to get round.  And firms with new products and innovations were told to wait for the right tender opportunities to come up, despite the fact that being an innovation, no one knew the product existed and so there wasn’t really any chance of a tender.</p> <p>At the launch of Tech City in East London last November, I heard from one young entrepreneur called Glenn Shoesmith who had this very problem.  He had invented a very clever, low-cost system to allow people to book slots online at their sports centres.  When he pitched it to the Olympics team he was told to find the relevant tender document and fill it in, but the system of course didn’t know about the product, so there was no tender, so there was no way for this young man to sell his product to the government.</p> <p>And quite apart from these counter-productive rules, there’s been a lot of bureaucracy too: small businesses and charities have complained to us that there’s no one single place where they could go online and see what contracts are on offer, and they found it difficult to cope with the different sets of forms and documents from different public bodies. </p> <p>And all of this helps explain one very important fact: despite accounting for 50% of the turnover of the UK business economy, we estimate that SMEs only win 5-10% of the billions of pounds of public-sector business.  So we asked departments to tell us what proportion of contracts were awarded to SMEs in a single month last year and many didn’t know at all those figures and some of the figures that came in were pretty appalling.</p> <p>So that’s what wrong with the system.  This is how we’re going to fix it: to begin with, we’re making the whole system much more transparent.  Last month, we took an unprecedented step, we started to publish every government contract worth over £25,000 in full.  I think this will make a huge difference.  Procurement managers will have to make sure they are not subject to over-the-top provisions or penalties, existing suppliers will know they have to offer the best price, and new contractors looking online will be able to see the deals that have been done and will be able to say ‘Well, I could do that for the same or for half or a quarter of what they are charging.’</p> <p>At the same time, we’re going to make the whole system a lot more welcoming to small and medium-sized firms, to charities and to social enterprises.  All those problems people raised in the portal we set up, we are sorting them out.  We’re sweeping away ridiculous rules and bureaucracy and seeking to eliminate, for smaller contracts, the assessment hurdles at the beginning of the process.  Where we do need to ask questions about your company’s capability we’re introducing a simple, straightforward pre-qualification form.  Fill it in once and then you can use it as your route to bid for any government contract.  This is something that I’ve been hearing from small businesses over the last five years at small-business conference after small-business conference and I’m delighted to say that we are going to deliver that.</p> <p>And to help you to find those opportunities we’re going to go another step further and I can also announce today we’re going to be launching a new online tool – Contracts Finder.  It goes live today; it’s a one-stop shop which will display every central government tender opportunity.  And what’s more, wherever possible, we’re going to break up the large contracts into smaller elements, so that SMEs can make a bid and get involved.  How many times have we heard from the small business community ‘some of these contracts are just too big, I can’t get involved, break them up and I could’?  We’re delivering on that ask.  Where that’s not possible, we’ll also work proactively with our large suppliers to directly increase opportunities for smaller organisations in the supply chain. </p> <p>And we’re also today announcing a series of innovation and product surgeries, with the first one in April in Birmingham.  These events should give companies with innovative products and services the chance to actually pitch their ideas directly to the government rather than wait for government to play catch up and issue a tender.  A big change taking place here.  All you need to be considered is a prototype and a business plan.</p> <p>Now, I think all of these changes will go a long way to help us fulfil one of the coalition’s key ambitions and that is that 25% of all government contracts are awarded to small and medium-sized enterprises.  If we meet this goal it will mean billions of pounds worth of new business for SMEs and I think it is absolutely essential that we do.</p> <p>So that’s what we’re doing.  What I need in return from everyone in this room is a similar commitment from all of you who think you can provide a great service to government, the commitment to go online to start looking for new contract opportunities.  And from the procurement managers in the government I want the commitment from you to open up opportunities to new providers, including SMEs and voluntary organisations.</p> <p>Now, I understand your concerns.  In the private sector, there’s an old adage ‘No one got sacked for hiring IBM’.  I remember this when I worked in the private sector.  I was responsible for contracting for a business I was working for and sometimes the big option seems like the safe option.  You know when you go up and see the chief executive and you say, ‘It’s alright, I’ve got Accenture to do it or IBM’ you know it’s all going to be okay.  But I want you to feel empowered.  I want you to know that as long as you follow the right channels, I will stand by you if you take risks with young, new, dynamic companies.  I want you to really feel you are playing your part in helping to turn the country around in cutting the deficit, in boosting enterprise and growth, and in building the Big Society.</p> <p>Mike Lynch of Autonomy, one of Britain’s most fast-growing and successful businesses, once said the reason his company is a massive global success story is because one maverick government contract manager defied the rules and gave him a tender, and one of you in here today could make the same difference and help build that world-beating company that Autonomy is today, so be bold.</p> <p>Let me end by saying this: I know that a lot of this won’t be easy.  There will be opponents, there’ll be vested interests that benefited from the old system and they will line up and try to stop what we’re doing.  And, yes, there will be mistakes along the way, because when you open up billions of pounds of contracts it will not go smoothly or easily, I know that.  But I wouldn’t be standing here today making this case for change if I didn’t think it was important.</p> <p>It is about making our country less wasteful and more accountable.  It’s about opening up opportunities to new, small organisations as well as the old, bigger ones.  And it’s about being more dynamic in our economy and in our public services.  So, together, let us say today that we are going to make this happen together. </p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">contracts</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">procurement</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Strategic Supplier Summit speech Friday 11 February 2011 Prime Minister's Office London
<p>Prime Minister David Cameron has delivered a speech setting out his view on radicalisation and Islamist extremism.</p> <h3>Read the speech</h3> <p>Today I want to focus my remarks on terrorism, but first let me address one point.  Some have suggested that by holding a strategic defence and security review, Britain is somehow retreating from an activist role in the world.  That is the opposite of the truth.  Yes, we are dealing with our budget deficit, but we are also making sure our defences are strong.  Britain will continue to meet the NATO 2% target for defence spending.  We will still have the fourth largest military defence budget in the world.  At the same time, we are putting that money to better use, focusing on conflict prevention and building a much more flexible army.  That is not retreat; it is hard headed.</p> <p>Every decision we take has three aims in mind.  First, to continue to support the NATO mission in Afghanistan .  Second, to reinforce our actual military capability.  As Chancellor Merkel’s government is showing right here in Germany, what matters is not bureaucracy, which frankly Europe needs a lot less of, but the political will to build military capability that we need as nations and allies, that we can deliver in the field.  Third, we want to make sure that Britain is protected from the new and various threats that we face.  That is why we are investing in a national cyber security programme that I know William Hague talked about yesterday, and we are sharpening our readiness to act on counter-proliferation.</p> <p>But the biggest threat that we face comes from terrorist attacks, some of which are, sadly, carried out by our own citizens.  It is important to stress that terrorism is not linked exclusively to any one religion or ethnic group.  My country, the United Kingdom , still faces threats from dissident republicans in Northern Ireland .  Anarchist attacks have occurred recently in Greece and in Italy , and of course, yourselves in Germany were long scarred by terrorism from the Red Army Faction.  Nevertheless, we should acknowledge that this threat comes in Europe overwhelmingly from young men who follow a completely perverse, warped interpretation of Islam, and who are prepared to blow themselves up and kill their fellow citizens.  Last week at Davos I rang the alarm bell for the urgent need for Europe to recover its economic dynamism, and today, though the subject is complex, my message on security is equally stark.  We will not defeat terrorism simply by the action we take outside our borders.  Europe needs to wake up to what is happening in our own countries.  Of course, that means strengthening, as Angela has said, the security aspects of our response, on tracing plots, on stopping them, on counter-surveillance and intelligence gathering.</p> <p>But this is just part of the answer.  We have got to get to the root of the problem, and we need to be absolutely clear on where the origins of where these terrorist attacks lie.  That is the existence of an ideology, Islamist extremism.  We should be equally clear what we mean by this term, and we must distinguish it from Islam.  Islam is a religion observed peacefully and devoutly by over a billion people.  Islamist extremism is a political ideology supported by a minority.  At the furthest end are those who back terrorism to promote their ultimate goal: an entire Islamist realm, governed by an interpretation of Sharia.  Move along the spectrum, and you find people who may reject violence, but who accept various parts of the extremist worldview, including real hostility towards Western democracy and liberal values.  It is vital that we make this distinction between religion on the one hand, and political ideology on the other.  Time and again, people equate the two.  They think whether someone is an extremist is dependent on how much they observe their religion.  So, they talk about moderate Muslims as if all devout Muslims must be extremist.  This is profoundly wrong.  Someone can be a devout Muslim and not be an extremist.  We need to be clear: Islamist extremism and Islam are not the same thing.</p> <p>This highlights, I think, a significant problem when discussing the terrorist threat that we face.  There is so much muddled thinking about this whole issue.  On the one hand, those on the hard right ignore this distinction between Islam and Islamist extremism, and just say that Islam and the West are irreconcilable – that there is a clash of civilizations.  So, it follows: we should cut ourselves off from this religion, whether that is through forced repatriation, favoured by some fascists, or the banning of new mosques, as is suggested in some parts of Europe .  These people fuel Islamophobia, and I completely reject their argument.  If they want an example of how Western values and Islam can be entirely compatible, they should look at what’s happened in the past few weeks on the streets of Tunis and Cairo : hundreds of thousands of people demanding the universal right to free elections and democracy.</p> <p>The point is this: the ideology of extremism is the problem; Islam emphatically is not.  Picking a fight with the latter will do nothing to help us to confront the former.  On the other hand, there are those on the soft left who also ignore this distinction.  They lump all Muslims together, compiling a list of grievances, and argue that if only governments addressed these grievances, the terrorism would stop.  So, they point to the poverty that so many Muslims live in and say, ‘Get rid of this injustice and the terrorism will end.’ But this ignores the fact that many of those found guilty of terrorist offences in the UK and elsewhere have been graduates and often middle class.  They point to grievances about Western foreign policy and say, ‘Stop riding roughshod over Muslim countries and the terrorism will end.’ But there are many people, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, who are angry about Western foreign policy, but who don’t resort to acts of terrorism.  They also point to the profusion of unelected leaders across the Middle East and say, ‘Stop propping these people up and you will stop creating the conditions for extremism to flourish.’ But this raises the question: if it’s the lack of democracy that is the problem, why are there so many extremists in free and open societies?</p> <p>Now, I’m not saying that these issues of poverty and grievance about foreign policy are not important.  Yes, of course we must tackle them.  Of course we must tackle poverty.  Yes, we must resolve the sources of tension, not least in Palestine , and yes, we should be on the side of openness and political reform in the Middle East .  On Egypt , our position should be clear.  We want to see the transition to a more broadly-based government, with the proper building blocks of a free and democratic society.  I simply don’t accept that there is somehow a dead end choice between a security state on the one hand, and an Islamist one on the other.  But let us not fool ourselves.  These are just contributory factors.  Even if we sorted out all of the problems that I have mentioned, there would still be this terrorism.  I believe the root lies in the existence of this extremist ideology.  I would argue an important reason so many young Muslims are drawn to it comes down to a question of identity.</p> <p>What I am about to say is drawn from the British experience, but I believe there are general lessons for us all.  In the UK , some young men find it hard to identify with the traditional Islam practiced at home by their parents, whose customs can seem staid when transplanted to modern Western countries.  But these young men also find it hard to identify with Britain too, because we have allowed the weakening of our collective identity.  Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and apart from the mainstream.  We’ve failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong.  We’ve even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run completely counter to our values.</p> <p>So, when a white person holds objectionable views, racist views for instance, we rightly condemn them.  But when equally unacceptable views or practices come from someone who isn’t white, we’ve been too cautious frankly – frankly, even fearful – to stand up to them.  The failure, for instance, of some to confront the horrors of forced marriage, the practice where some young girls are bullied and sometimes taken abroad to marry someone when they don’t want to, is a case in point.  This hands-off tolerance has only served to reinforce the sense that not enough is shared.  And this all leaves some young Muslims feeling rootless.  And the search for something to belong to and something to believe in can lead them to this extremist ideology.  Now for sure, they don’t turn into terrorists overnight, but what we see – and what we see in so many European countries – is a process of radicalisation.</p> <p>Internet chatrooms are virtual meeting places where attitudes are shared, strengthened and validated.  In some mosques, preachers of hate can sow misinformation about the plight of Muslims elsewhere.  In our communities, groups and organisations led by young, dynamic leaders promote separatism by encouraging Muslims to define themselves solely in terms of their religion.  All these interactions can engender a sense of community, a substitute for what the wider society has failed to supply.  Now, you might say, as long as they’re not hurting anyone, what is the problem with all this?</p> <p>Well, I’ll tell you why.  As evidence emerges about the backgrounds of those convicted of terrorist offences, it is clear that many of them were initially influenced by what some have called ‘non-violent extremists’, and they then took those radical beliefs to the next level by embracing violence.  And I say this is an indictment of our approach to these issues in the past.  And if we are to defeat this threat, I believe it is time to turn the page on the failed policies of the past.  So first, instead of ignoring this extremist ideology, we – as governments and as societies – have got to confront it, in all its forms.  And second, instead of encouraging people to live apart, we need a clear sense of shared national identity that is open to everyone.</p> <p>Let me briefly take each in turn.  First, confronting and undermining this ideology.  Whether they are violent in their means or not, we must make it impossible for the extremists to succeed.  Now, for governments, there are some obvious ways we can do this.  We must ban preachers of hate from coming to our countries.  We must also proscribe organisations that incite terrorism against people at home and abroad.  Governments must also be shrewder in dealing with those that, while not violent, are in some cases part of the problem.  We need to think much harder about who it’s in the public interest to work with.  Some organisations that seek to present themselves as a gateway to the Muslim community are showered with public money despite doing little to combat extremism.  As others have observed, this is like turning to a right-wing fascist party to fight a violent white supremacist movement.  So we should properly judge these organisations: do they believe in universal human rights – including for women and people of other faiths?  Do they believe in equality of all before the law?  Do they believe in democracy and the right of people to elect their own government?  Do they encourage integration or separation?  These are the sorts of questions we need to ask.  Fail these tests and the presumption should be not to engage with organisations – so, no public money, no sharing of platforms with ministers at home.</p> <p>At the same time, we must stop these groups from reaching people in publicly-funded institutions like universities or even, in the British case, prisons.  Now, some say, this is not compatible with free speech and intellectual inquiry.  Well, I say, would you take the same view if these were right-wing extremists recruiting on our campuses?  Would you advocate inaction if Christian fundamentalists who believed that Muslims are the enemy were leading prayer groups in our prisons?  And to those who say these non-violent extremists are actually helping to keep young, vulnerable men away from violence, I say nonsense.</p> <p>Would you allow the far right groups a share of public funds if they promise to help you lure young white men away from fascist terrorism?  Of course not.  But, at root, challenging this ideology means exposing its ideas for what they are, and that is completely unjustifiable.  We need to argue that terrorism is wrong in all circumstances.  We need to argue that prophecies of a global war of religion pitting Muslims against the rest of the world are nonsense.</p> <p>Now, governments cannot do this alone.  The extremism we face is a distortion of Islam, so these arguments, in part, must be made by those within Islam.  So let us give voice to those followers of Islam in our own countries – the vast, often unheard majority – who despise the extremists and their worldview.  Let us engage groups that share our aspirations.</p> <p>Now, second, we must build stronger societies and stronger identities at home.  Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and a much more active, muscular liberalism.  A passively tolerant society says to its citizens, as long as you obey the law we will just leave you alone.  It stands neutral between different values. But I believe a genuinely liberal country does much more; it believes in certain values and actively promotes them.  Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, democracy, the rule of law, equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality.  It says to its citizens, this is what defines us as a society: to belong here is to believe in these things.  Now, each of us in our own countries, I believe, must be unambiguous and hard-nosed about this defence of our liberty.</p> <p>There are practical things that we can do as well.  That includes making sure that immigrants speak the language of their new home and ensuring that people are educated in the elements of a common culture and curriculum.  Back home, we’re introducing National Citizen Service: a two-month programme for sixteen-year-olds from different backgrounds to live and work together.  I also believe we should encourage meaningful and active participation in society, by shifting the balance of power away from the state and towards the people.  That way, common purpose can be formed as people come together and work together in their neighbourhoods.  It will also help build stronger pride in local identity, so people feel free to say, ‘Yes, I am a Muslim, I am a Hindu, I am Christian, but I am also a Londonder or a Berliner too’. It’s that identity, that feeling of belonging in our countries, that I believe is the key to achieving true cohesion.</p> <p>So, let me end with this. This terrorism is completely indiscriminate and has been thrust upon us.  It cannot be ignored or contained; we have to confront it with confidence – confront the ideology that drives it by defeating the ideas that warp so many young minds at their root, and confront the issues of identity that sustain it by standing for a much broader and generous vision of citizenship in our countries.  Now, none of this will be easy.  We will need stamina, patience and endurance, and it won’t happen at all if we act alone.  This ideology crosses not just our continent but all continents, and we are all in this together.  At stake are not just lives, it is our way of life.  That is why this is a challenge we cannot avoid; it is one we must rise to and overcome.  Thank you.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">extremism</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">National Security</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">radicalisation</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron PM’s speech at Munich Security Conference Saturday 5 February 2011 Prime Minister's Office Munich Security Conference
<p>A transcript of the speech given by Prime Minister David Cameron at the UK-India CEO Forum in London on Thursday, 3 February 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p>Prime Minister</p> <p>Well, thank you very much, and welcome, everyone, to Number 10 Downing Street. A particular welcome to Peter and Ratan, who are going to take this CEO Forum ahead.</p> <p>I think this is fantastically important. I’ve always believed that the India-Britain relationship is strong but could be much, much stronger. I think it was one of the first major visits I made as Leader of the Opposition, one of the first major visits I made as Prime Minister, taking a huge number of ministers and businesses and cultural institutions and, I think, getting the relationship off to a good start. Let me stress once again although the ties of history and language and culture and the past are important, actually, I think this is an extremely modern, dynamic, forward-looking relationship of two countries with very complementary interests and complementary economies and I think you see that all over.</p> <p>Obviously, for Britain, we want to link ourselves up to the fastest growing parts of the world and India is clearly one of them, but the complementarily between our economies – take our universities, where we have a fantastic university sector and India has some extraordinarily great institutions that we want to partner with. The issue of green growth, where there are enormous needs in India and great expertise, we also believe we have expertise and also a great ability to raise capital. It’s not actually the old cliché of some of our relationships where people think there’s a new manufacturing economy in the East and an old banking and services economy in the West. Actually, it’s much more complementary and smarter than that. Actually, Indian investment is re-enlivening some of our manufacturing industries here in the UK and British investment in India is adding to your fantastic service sector, so it’s a much more complex situation.</p> <p>Obviously, Britain is one of the most open economies in the world, one of the easiest places to come and invest, to come and do business, to come and own a business, to come and raise capital and we want to make it even more open, even more welcoming. I think one of the things we can discuss today is the great opening up of the Indian economy, but how can we take that further into new sectors and to new business areas and how can Prime Minister Singh and I help, with you, to advance this agenda.</p> <p>I had three things I was hoping we could touch on in the session I’m with you today.</p> <p>The first is that – how do we open up the UK economy and make it even more favourable to Indian inward investment? There have been years when Indian investment into Britain has been higher than that of Japan, so the relationship is very good, but how do we take it even further?</p> <p>The second question is this issue of how we further open the Indian economy. I think it’s obviously had a fantastic growth record. There’s big inward investment in terms of infrastructure, in terms of manufacturing – I remember visiting the JCB plant – but what about services, what about banking, what about retail, how do we take that forward?</p> <p>The third issue I wanted to touch on is very time-critical, which is in terms of encouraging not just bilateral trade, but in terms of encouraging what I think is both in India’s interest and Britain’s interest; we want an advance in terms of the world trade system. While many people assume that the Doha Trade Round is somehow a dead parrot and politicians get together and talk about it but it’s not actually going to happen, I believe there is actually a last chance this year, 2011. At the G20, President Obama and I and others agreed we needed to make the deal a bit bigger to make it have more benefits to more people and I think there are signs that the Chinese and the Americans are now negotiating genuinely to try and make that happen and if that happens I think Obama would take a deal to Congress and I think that Britain and India, as two countries that I think would benefit from the completion of the Doha round. I hope that the message can be sent from the business community to the politicians ‘get on and make this deal’. I think that’s vitally important in the US, where we need to build an alliance for more trade, more openness, but I’m sure it’s also true in India as well, where a message from business to the Indian government about the desirability of a bigger, bolder Doha Trade Round – 80% of it is already done, it’s just the last bits. But I think that the agenda we’re all passionate about is expanding trade, investment, making sure our economies are growing and we’re getting good jobs for all our people, cannot but be helped by an increase in world trade.</p> <p>So those are the three issues I’m keen that we try and address today, but really this is for me to listen to what the CEOs are saying about what needs to change in Britain to make us more attractive and what needs to change in India to increase the flows of investment both ways and that’s what I hope we’ll use the time for and then Prime Minister Singh and I can discuss and take forward these agendas.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">UK-India CEO Forum</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Prime Minister’s speech at the UK-India CEO Forum Thursday 3 February 2011 Prime Minister's Office UK-India CEO Forum
<p>A transcript of the speech ‘A Confident Future for Europe’ given by Prime Minister David Cameron at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Friday, 28 January 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p>[Check against delivery]</p> <p>Prime Minister</p> <p>It’s been four decades since you first invited European business leaders up this mountain and gave them a stark message modernise and adapt – or fall behind and fail.</p> <p>Forty years on, here we are again. No one can deny what a difficult position Europe is in at the moment. Four years of annual growth have been wiped out. Unemployment has risen to the double digits.</p> <p>Yes, recovery has begun. But while economies like India, Brazil and China are steaming ahead in Europe, the drag on growth has persisted.</p> <p>Indeed, Europe’s share of world output is projected to fall by just under a third in the next two decades. And no one is immune.</p> <p>This week, we had disappointing growth estimates back home. Yes, they were partly driven by the terrible weather which shut down airports, factories and schools – but let’s be frank.</p> <p>They also brought home something we have said for months: given the traumas of recent years, the recovery was always going to be choppy.</p> <p>So as we meet at Davos, the big questions are these:</p> <ul> <li>How can we get our economies going?</li> <li>How can we get Europe going?</li> <li>How do we go for growth?</li> </ul> <p>Now, there are some who say that slow-growth status for Europe is inevitable.</p> <p>They are the pessimists – and this is their charter.</p> <ul> <li>One – we in Europe are incapable of solving our debt and deficit problems.</li> <li>Two – we’re unable to compete with dynamic economies because we’ll always be over-burdened with regulation and bureaucracy.</li> <li>Three – we’re hardwired to be consumers and not producers.</li> <li>And four – we’re attached to liberal values that are leaving us far behind the juggernaut of authoritarian capitalism.</li> </ul> <p>Today, I want to make the case for optimism – for confidence in our future. We can overcome these problems but we do need a change of direction. Huge deficits don’t just fall out of the sky.</p> <p>Complex rules which restrict labour markets are not some naturally occurring phenomenon. Crushing regulation is not some external plague that’s been visited on our businesses.</p> <p>All of these result from decisions we have taken – alone or together.<br> In many ways, we in Europe have been our own worst enemy.</p> <p>But that also means the power is in us to change to make it easier for businesses to start up and prosper to open new markets – within Europe and between Europe and the rest of the world. And with so many of Europe’s leaders committed to open markets and reform, I’d argue there has never been a better time to do this.</p> <p>In less than eight weeks we will announce our Budget for growth at home and I will also set out a specific plan for growth in Europe.</p> <p>Today, I want to talk about the new direction Europe needs to take.</p> <p>Our first priority is to kill off the spectre of massive sovereign debts.</p> <p>Those who argue that dealing with our deficit and promoting growth are somehow alternatives are wrong.</p> <p>You cannot put off the first in order to promote the second. Average government debt in the EU is almost eighty per cent of GDP.</p> <p>Some countries are again borrowing five, six or seven per cent of GDP again this year.</p> <p>The figure for the UK is more than ten per cent. This is clearly unsustainable and action cannot be put off.</p> <p>Let’s put this in context.</p> <p>Remember what we started with in the UK: an economy built on the worst deficit, the most leveraged banks, the most indebted households, the biggest housing boom and unsustainable levels of public spending and immigration.</p> <p>And now think of where we need to go: an economy based not on consumption and debt but on savings and investment not on government spending but on entrepreneurial dynamism not on one industry in one corner of the country but on all our businesses in all our regions, with a new emphasis on manufacturing, exports and trade.</p> <p>To get there isn’t easy. We can’t just flick on the switch of government spending or pump the bubble back up. Making this transformation – and it is a transformation – requires painstaking work and it takes time. It involves paying down billions of pounds of debt. New plants and factories need to be built. New products designed. New innovations taken to market. New businesses nurtured.</p> <p>It’s going to be tough – but we must see it through. The scale of the task is immense, so we need to be bold in order to build this economy of the future. The British people know these things.</p> <p>They understand there are no short-cuts to a better future. And already we’re making progress. Not long ago we were heading towards the danger zone where markets start to question your credibility.</p> <p>Yet in the past eight months we’ve seen our credit rating – which was on the brink of being downgraded – affirmed at the triple A level.</p> <p>We’ve seen market interest rates – which were in danger of spiralling – actually fall. All this has happened not in spite of our plan to cut the deficit, but because of it. That’s why we must stick to the course we have set out.</p> <p>Allied to this fiscal discipline has got to be the reform and strengthening of Europe’s banks. Last year’s round of stress tests didn’t go nearly far enough.</p> <p>They said we were three and a half billion euros short – then six months down the line Irish banks alone needed ten times that.</p> <p>This year’s tests have got to be tougher:</p> <ul> <li>Stretching over a three-year period.</li> <li>Covering liquidity as well as capital.</li> <li>And involving independent bodies like the IMF.</li> </ul> <p>But above all what we urgently need in Europe is an aggressive, pan-continental drive to unleash enterprise.<br> .<br> At home we have cut corporation tax, cut the small business rate, funded a new enterprise allowance and got a grip on regulation.</p> <p>We’ve sent huge trade delegations to the fastest-growing economies all over the world, sending out the message that Britain is back open for business.</p> <p>And in the essential work of sorting out the deficit, we have made the decision to prioritise growth.</p> <p>So we’re making cuts to the welfare budget – which is hugely difficult so that we can fund big transport projects on our roads and railways.</p> <p>We’re not cutting schools – indeed we’re boosting the number of apprenticeships – even though cuts elsewhere are deep.</p> <p>And we’re striking the right balance between tax and spending, with spending cuts taking three quarters of the strain and tax rises a quarter.</p> <p>Where we are raising taxes, it’s on what people spend – so that we don’t have to hike up taxes on jobs.</p> <p>But this is not just about what we do in our domestic economies. We need boldness in Europe too, not least on deregulation.</p> <p>I’ve had conversations with many European leaders about this – including Prime Ministers Fillon and Rutte –and we’re agreed we just cannot afford to load more costs on to business.</p> <p>And I believe there are clear things we can and should do:</p> <ul> <li>Bring in a one-in, one-out rule for new European regulations.</li> <li>Set a new and tougher target to actually reduce the total regulatory burden over the life of this Commission.</li> <li>And give small businesses – engines of job creation – an exemption from big new regulations.</li> </ul> <p>Taking them out of EU accounting rules alone would save them around 2 billion euros. Now is the time to go for a genuine single market too.</p> <p>Nearly twenty years since Europe agreed to the free movement of people and services we’ve still got companies employing teams of lawyers just so they can trade across the nearest border.</p> <p>Jacques Delors once said that nobody can fall in love with the single market – and frankly, no one ever will if we carry on like this. Let’s look at how we can put an end to all those restrictive rules – who can hold shares in which companies, where businesses can set up and how many people they can employ and most importantly, let’s deliver on this with a tough, transparent approach to enforcing the single market.</p> <p>Fail here and we’ll fall behind.</p> <p>Succeed – and we could add up to 180 billion euros to Europe’s economy.<br>  <br> Of course our biggest ambitions have got to be for innovation.</p> <p>I don’t believe for one moment we need to be downbeat about this in Europe.</p> <p>It was British scientists who unravelled the genome who helped design the i-pod who invented the world wide web.</p> <p>Where is the world’s capital for high quality industrial design? Not the US, not Asia – Europe. We’ve got the raw material of good ideas – let’s get better at exploiting them. Access to finance is crucial.</p> <p>For every euro invested in venture capital in Europe, more than seven times that is invested in the US. We need to do more to incentivise the same kind of risk-taking investment culture over here.</p> <p>Back home we’ve introduced a patent box offering a ten per cent tax rate on patent income. But action like this will be worth little if we can’t break the deadlock on a Europe-wide patent system.</p> <p>Do you know how long we’ve been discussing this? Almost forty years.</p> <p>The truth is we can talk all we like about making this continent the capital for innovation but while it can cost up to thirty five thousand euros to get patents in just thirteen member states, it’s never going to happen.</p> <p>The possibility of progress is there – we’ve just got to seize it.</p> <p>So we can develop even more of the goods and services the world wants to buy. And that’s precisely why we in Europe shouldn’t be cautious about trade – we should be actively, aggressively pushing for it.</p> <p>I know every speaker at events like this talks about concluding Doha as a matter of urgency – and I agree.</p> <p>But we all need to be equally clear about how it’s going to happen not with more warm words but with more on the table from all sides. A little more on cotton and safeguards in agriculture. A little more on industrial goods, especially from emerging markets.</p> <p>More from all sides on services – where the gains are huge. No more stubbornness. No more hiding offers in back pockets.</p> <p>2011 is the make or break year. And there are other things we must do at the same time.</p> <p>Last year we signed a Free Trade Agreement with South Korea worth up to thirty three billion euros to EU exporters. We can and we must do the same with India, Canada, Latin America, the Middle East, the ASEAN block.</p> <p>We have the goods the world wants to buy – now let’s have the confidence to strike those deals and sell them.</p> <p>There’s one final thing we in Europe need to have more confidence about – and that is our values. The value of liberal democracy used to be sacred in the West.</p> <p>Now some people are doubting it. They’ve seen authoritarian capitalism and the way it works.</p> <p>They see political leaders with the powers of juggernauts, forcing decisions through and they argue that against this, our liberal democratic values look outdated, ineffective – even an obstacle to success.</p> <p>I passionately disagree. It’s these values that create the climate for innovation. Look at where the big ideas come from – the facebooks and the Spotifys – and the vast majority are from open societies.</p> <p>That’s because good ideas come through freedom – free thinking and the free association of like-minded people. Our values create the right climate for business too.</p> <p>If you’re looking to set up a headquarters abroad, are you going to invest</p> <ul> <li>Where your premises can be taken away from you?</li> <li>Where contracts are routinely dishonoured?</li> <li>Where there’s the threat of political upheaval?</li> <li>Or are you going to invest where there are property rights, the rule of law, democratic accountability?</li> </ul> <p>These values aren’t some quaint constitutional add-on they are an integral and irreducible part of our success today and tomorrow – and all of us must always remember that.</p> <p>So my message today is one of confidence.</p> <p>We are an open, trading continent.</p> <p>We have a proud record of invention.</p> <p>We’ve got advanced democratic values.</p> <p>But yes, we’ve got to recognise that Europe has got to earn its way.</p> <p>The world doesn’t owe us a living.</p> <p>So let’s make the choice to do things differently, to fight for our prosperity. If we set our sights high if we take bold decisions in deregulation, on opening up the single market, on innovation and on trade then together we can defy the pessimists and together, recover our dynamism.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Davos</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Europe</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">World Economic Forum</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Prime Minister’s speech at the World Economic Forum Friday 28 January 2011 Prime Minister's Office World Economic Forum
<p>A transcript of the remarks given by Prime Minister David Cameron and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in London on Thursday, 27 January 2011.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Well, it gives me great pleasure to welcome the Bangladeshi Prime Minister to Number 10 Downing Street.  We have a good and strong relationship between Britain and Bangladesh.  We have a great shared interest in tackling issues like climate change, and obviously the development agenda where I think the United Kingdom is now one of the largest aid partners in Bangladesh and carrying out some important work.  And obviously, also, there is a large Bangladeshi community in the United Kingdom that plays an important role in our country.  And we’ll have many subjects to discuss this morning: aid, development, climate change, the economic relations between our countries and also the importance of dealing with extremist terror in both our countries where we have a shared interest and need to make some good progress, but a very warm welcome to you.</p> <p><strong>Bangladeshi Prime Minister </strong></p> <p>Thank you very much.  It’s a good opportunity to come to Great Britain.  We have been receiving support from your country since our liberation to build up our country.  The aid you have given, especially for women, children, for our development, for infrastructure development, then the energy sector. </p> <p>Also we are working for combating terrorism; the counter-terrorism activities, we are receiving tremendous support. </p> <p>So I feel that our two countries, are working in many areas; in international areas, and especially global warming – climate change.  We received tremendous support because, as you know, Bangladesh is a country, the worst sufferer of climate change.  We are not responsible for this, but we are sufferers, our people are going to suffer.  So already we have set up our agenda on how to face this climate-change damage.  We have action plans and we have already started our work, and with our own finance we set up a fund but we always received support from your great country; that is really very, very encouraging.  In future we will work together for our trade and business.</p> <p>There are many other issues we can discuss; many of our people are living in your country and also many students are studying.  They are not only studying, they are also contributing to your country too; our people are also contributing to your economy so we have many areas, many issues we can discuss, we can resolve and we can work together for the prosperity of our peoples – that is important, yes. </p> <p>As you know, my agenda is very clear, I want to build up my country as a poverty-free country, a poverty-free, illiteracy-free country, and I want to make sure that our people get healthcare, health service and education.  Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much indeed.  Thank you.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Bangladesh</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Sheikh Hasina</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron PM’s welcoming remarks to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Thursday 27 January 2011 Prime Minister's Office Bangladeshi Prime Minister
<p>A transcript of the speech and Q&amp;A given by Prime Minister David Cameron in London on Thursday, 20 January 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript</h3> <p>Prime Minister</p> <p>I think it’s very clear we need to combine Lithuanian levels of internet access, Swedish education in computing code with Estonian levels e-government and e-commerce.  Add to that Norwegian understanding of energy storage, Icelandic ability to encourage female participation, Finnish levels of childcare and family-friendliness.  Add to that the Latvian ability to go from austerity to growth so rapidly with Danish expertise in renewable energy.  If we wrapped all those things together I think we would genuinely create the good life.  Of course, what would the British bring?  Well, apart from a sense of generosity in recognising the strength of others, I hope a creativity and inventiveness, not least in the field of bringing people together to discuss these important ideas.</p> <p>So let me thank all Prime Ministers for coming to London, as well as the chairs, the facilitators and all the presenters and contributors.  This has been a different kind of summit.  No question of politicians being locked in a smoke-filled room, no sign of a boring pre-prepared communiqué telling us things we already know.  Instead, this summit has been about generating and exchanging ideas, about challenging our preconceptions, about learning from each other’s experiences, how in these tough economic times do we boost jobs, enterprise and economic growth while promoting greater wellbeing and a higher quality of life for our citizens.  And I believe today we have made good progress.  I think one of the outcomes of this should be that so many of the ideas that we have talked about should be part of Europe’s growth agenda, whether it’s about green growth, about entrepreneurialism, about the digital economy, all of those issues need to be in the European programmes and I’m sure we’ll all drive that forward.</p> <p>First of all, today we’ve created a hugely valuable new network.  Nine Prime Ministers from the UK, Nordic and Baltic countries have got together for the first time in our history.  But this is about more than just government-to-government exchange.  We’ve brought together for the first time politicians with policy experts, business leaders with thought leaders and also innovators and implementers.  I hope that new relationships have been forged, new contacts made, ideas exchanged and debated.  And while as governments we’re committed to supporting, cajoling and inspiring change, we want to see this new network take on a life of its own, embedding an entrepreneurial spirit right across our region.  I’m pleased that to keep this network alive we will be putting in place some social media platforms for all participants to continue this discussion online and Fredrik Reinfeldt and I have been discussing how we may have a follow-up conference to this next year, possibly in Sweden, which I think would be hugely welcome given all the enthusiasm we’ve heard for what we’ve done in the last 24 hours.</p> <p>But a network like this must also have a clear purpose, and some people have asked me why I’ve convened this particular group of countries.  But I think the answer is simple.  We face similar economic and social challenges; we have a huge amount to learn from each other.  The Nordic and Baltic countries have some of the most high-tech, innovative companies, some of the most radical approaches to delivering public services and some of the best ideas about how to improve general wellbeing and quality of life.  So yes, I want to see action on economic reform by Europe as a whole, on trade, on regulation, the single market, on innovation, but I believe the UK, Nordic and Baltic countries can be the avant-garde, can be in the guard’s van of delivering jobs and growth.</p> <p>So let me focus briefly on a couple of the ideas that have emerged from our discussions.  First, trade.  We’re all agreed that increasing trade is the biggest boost that we can give to our economies, and make no mistake the economic climate we face today is tough, but it’s precisely because of those pressures that we must trade more with each other.  Trade between the United Kingdom, Nordic and Baltic countries is already £54 billion a year, roughly the same as UK trade with China, but following a very successful trade event held yesterday where companies such as wind-turbine business Vestas will create 400 new jobs in Britain and where energy-company Vattenfall will be opening up the new headquarters in London, I can also announce that Infomentor and Arla Foods have announced investments into the UK, and there’s one more concrete step forward that I can announce today, and that is that Britain’s new trade minister, Lord Green, will be taking a trade mission of business people and investors to the Nordic and Baltic region and will set up a taskforce to boost our trade links.</p> <p>Trade, however, is only half of the story; to generate sustainable growth and improve our society’s wellbeing, we acknowledge today that we must do things differently.  We have to innovate.  This is partly the responsibility of governments and we heard about some great government initiatives today.  From the e-government and digital initiatives we have heard about from Estonia; the policies to improve equality in the workforce like the ideas on workforce participation and paid parental leave from Norway; ways to encourage enterprise such as innovative approaches to unemployment benefit that we have heard about from Iceland, or the vocational training in Denmark that you are putting in place for young people.  All in all, the ideas we have heard today give us, I believe, as Prime Ministers and as heads of government, real food for thought.</p> <p>However, there is a crucial role for business and for society too.  For example, from Finland we have heard about groundbreaking technology initiatives like the Nokia Innovation Mill which converts thousands of unused innovations into new start-up companies.  In Lithuania they have got the world’s second largest producer of apps, and on the green agenda we have heard a lot about smart grids, of which Sweden is amongst the most advanced countries.  We have been inspired by ideas from Latvia where entrepreneurial organisations are already taking over the delivery of some previously state services.  So there are a huge amount of ideas coming not from government, but from businesses, from civil society, from NGOs, from think tanks, and elsewhere.</p> <p>To help us follow up and to make sure these ideas are built on, I am grateful to the three think tanks that have been taking part today: Policy Exchange, Reform and the RSA; they have agreed to work with our chairs to bring together the points from today and recommend ways forward.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Nordic Baltic Summit</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Prime Minister’s speech at the Nordic Baltic Summit Monday 24 January 2011 Prime Minister's Office Nordic Baltic Summit
<p>A transcript of a speech on modern public service by Prime Minister David Cameron on 17 January 2011.</p> <h3>Read the speech</h3> <p>[Check against delivery]</p> <p>I start this year incredibly optimistic about what our country can achieve.</p> <p>Yes, cuts in spending will be felt – and yes, they will be difficult but they are absolutely vital in restoring the credibility and confidence that will mean jobs and growth in the future.</p> <p>But the scale of this coalition’s ambitions for Britain goes beyond simply fixing our economy.</p> <p>I want one of the great achievements of this Government to be the complete modernisation of our public services.</p> <p>I want us to make our schools and hospitals among the best in the world.</p> <p>To open them up and make them competitive, more local and more transparent.</p> <p>To give more choice to those who use our public services and more freedom to the professionals who deliver them.</p> <p>I don’t want anyone to doubt how important this is to me.</p> <p>My passion about this is both personal and political.</p> <p>Personal because I’ve experienced, first hand, how dedicated, how professional, how compassionate our best public servants are.</p> <p>The doctors who cared for my eldest son, the maternity nurses who welcomed my youngest daughter into the world, the teachers who are currently inspiring my children all of them have touched my life, and the life of my family, in an extraordinary way and I want to do right by them.</p> <p>And this is a political passion – and priority – of mine too.</p> <p>I believe that Britain can be one of the great success stories of the new decade. </p> <p>We have the creativity and the energy, the language and the global position, the relationships abroad and the stability at home, to make the most of the opportunities that globalisation is bringing. </p> <p>One of the keys to success for countries like ours will be the performance of our public services. </p> <p>We must champion excellence – and stop the slide against our competitors.</p> <p>In Shanghai the average child is two years ahead of a child here.<br>  <br> In Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Austria and Poland you are less likely to die once admitted into hospital after a heart attack.</p> <p>Put simply: we can’t be a modern success story unless we have modern, successful public services.</p> <p>And this is not an alternative to dealing with our debts – it’s a key part of it. </p> <p>Like every other western industrialised nation, we won’t sustainably live within our means with unreformed public services and outdated welfare systems. </p> <p>We have to be completely focused on getting more for less in our public services.</p> <p>And this argument about modernisation is not just a hard headed one about Britain’s place in the world or value for money – it is deeply progressive. </p> <p>We should be clear about where our public services have succeeded in making our country fairer and more equal over the years but we should be just as frank about where they have failed. </p> <p>And the truth is that we won’t eliminate the scars of deep poverty and huge inequalities in our country if we go on with services as they operate today. </p> <p>But quite apart from all these practical arguments for modernisation, there’s what I’d call the people argument.</p> <p>If politics is about anything, it’s about focusing on those things people really care about – and making them better.</p> <p>There is nothing more important to people than the education their child gets, the care their parent receives, or the safety of the streets they walk down.</p> <p>And I share the burning impatience of so many who are frustrated that, in too many instances, we are asked to settle for second best. </p> <p>I passionately believe that it does not have to be this way.</p> <p>So we are determined to modernise our public services and make them better for everyone.</p> <p>Now, I predict some eyes are rolling.</p> <p>You feel you’ve heard this all before – and yes, you have.</p> <p>Many politicians have stood on platforms like this stating similar ambitions but, all too often, despite minor improvements here or there, nothing really fundamental changes.</p> <p>Added to that, you’ve got some serious concerns about the conditions we’re working in and the changes we plan.</p> <p>So today, I want to answer, as directly as I can, the questions you have.</p> <p>First, how can we modernise public services when there is so little money?</p> <p>Second, why do we believe there is a real prospect of our succeeding in modernising public services when so many others have not?</p> <p>Third, won’t there be losers from the changes we make?</p> <p>And fourth, do you have to make all these changes so fast, so soon?</p> <p>Let me take each in turn.</p> <p>First, how can we modernise public services when there is so little money?</p> <p>To begin with, we need some perspective.</p> <p>Of course, there are things government does today that it will stop doing. </p> <p>Of course some decisions will be difficult and involve difficulties.</p> <p>But when we’re done with these cuts, spending on public services will actually still be at the same level as it was in 2006.</p> <p>We will still be spending 41 percent of our GDP on the public sector.</p> <p>And beyond these headline figures, let’s remember:</p> <p>We will still be spending £5,000 a year on educating each child in our country with even more money for those from the poorest backgrounds.</p> <p>That’s the same as Germany and more than France.</p> <p>There will still be as many police officers in the Metropolitan Police as in New York.</p> <p>And, because we are increasing the NHS budget, health spending will be up at the European average.</p> <p>So it’s just not true to say that the spending taps are being turned off.</p> <p>The money will be there and we will spend it wisely.</p> <p>And let’s also remember this.</p> <p>There are some improvements we need to make which don’t necessarily cost money.</p> <p>Enforcing discipline in our schools – this won’t cost money.</p> <p>Getting pupils to take a wider range of core academic GSCEs – this won’t cost money.</p> <p>A commitment to rigour and standards in the exam system – this won’t cost money.</p> <p>But there’s a more important argument I want to make about money and our public services.</p> <p>Every year without modernisation the costs of our public services escalate.</p> <p>Demand rises, the chains of commands can grow, costs may go up, inefficiencies become more entrenched.</p> <p>Take the NHS. </p> <p>We face enormous pressures on demand – driven by an ageing population, obesity and alcohol abuse and the rise of infectious diseases like TB.</p> <p>And at the same time, we have rising pressures on cost with expensive new drugs and technological innovations like genetics, nanotechnology and robotics all being integrated into the work of healthcare.</p> <p>Pretending that there is some “easy option” of sticking with the status quo and hoping that a little bit of extra money will smooth over the challenges is a complete fiction. </p> <p>We need modernisation – on both sides of the equation.</p> <p>Modernisation to do something about the demand for healthcare – which is about public health.</p> <p>And modernisation to make the supply of healthcare more efficient – which is about opening up the system, being competitive and cutting out waste and bureaucracy.</p> <p>Put another way: it’s not that we can’t afford to modernise; it’s that we can’t afford not to modernise.</p> <p>The second question is this: why will this government succeed with modernising public services when so many others have failed?</p> <p>Indeed, given this is a coalition, how will we even agree on what the change is that we need, let alone deliver it?</p> <p>Yes, we have differences of opinion.</p> <p>But politics should be no different from the rest of life, where rational people find a way of overcoming their disagreements.</p> <p>Indeed, I’ve found that instead of arguing about tribal dividing lines or sticking to long cherished positions what we do is have a proper discussion about what really works.</p> <p>And as you can see with radical policies from the Universal Credit in welfare, to free schools in education or strengthening our universities the policies that result can be more wide-ranging and more effective than when you’re working on your own.</p> <p>There’s another reason why I believe this Government can really succeed.</p> <p>It’s because we have tried really hard to learn the lessons of the past.</p> <p>We recognise the good things previous governments did – and we’re going to do more of them.</p> <p>But we also understand where they failed – and we are going to avoid making the same mistakes.</p> <p>I believe previous Conservative Governments had some really good ideas about introducing choice and competition to health and education – so people were in the driving seat.</p> <p>But there was insufficient respect for the ethos of public services – and public service.</p> <p>The impression was given that there was a clear dividing line running through our economy with the wealth creators of the private sector on one side paying for the wealth consumers of the public sector on the other.</p> <p>This analysis was – and still is – much too simplistic.</p> <p>Public sector employees don’t just provide a great public service – they contribute directly to wealth creation.</p> <p>It’s not just that, for instance, teachers nurture the human capital that fuels enterprise or that nurses help keep the nation healthy and working.</p> <p>Parts of the public sector help generate innovation and wealth more directly like our teaching hospitals and universities which, can be one of the great wealth creating engines of the 21st century, knowledge based economy.</p> <p>All this must be recognised.</p> <p>In many ways, under the last Government, the problem was the opposite.</p> <p>There was tremendous respect for the ethos of public services, but not enough emphasis on opening them up.</p> <p>For sure, Tony Blair introduced academies and increased independent provision in the NHS.</p> <p>But he did so while maintaining a whole architecture of bureaucracy and targets and significantly understating the valuable role of charities and the voluntary sector.</p> <p>What’s more, when he did to try to be bolder he got blocked by – and too often surrendered to – vested interests. <br> Foundation hospitals could only go ahead with endless restrictions on what they could do. </p> <p>School reform could only go at a pace that the trade unions – and Gordon Brown –could tolerate. </p> <p>Reading his intriguing memoir over the summer, I was struck by how many times he himself admits that opportunities were lost and Labour should have ‘pushed further and faster on reform’.</p> <p>I think the lessons from the past are clear.</p> <p>The right were guilty of focusing too much on markets.</p> <p>The left were guilty of focusing too much on the state.</p> <p>Both forgot that space in between – society.</p> <p>And having watched, absorbed and learned from all this, I believe this coalition has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform our public services.</p> <p>From schools to the NHS, policing and prisons, we have developed a clear plan for modernisation based on a common approach.</p> <p>A Big Society approach, which empowers not only services users, but professionals that strengthens not only existing providers, but new ones in the private and voluntary sectors too.</p> <p>Our starting point is huge respect for the ethos of our public services – and a commitment to advance it.<br> Free to all who need it, universal coverage, impartiality – these are principles must never come under threat.</p> <p>And we will also liberate the people who work in our public services.</p> <p>We have extraordinary talent in our public services, from surgeons who lead the world in open-heart surgery, to teachers driven by a calling to transform the lives of our children and we want to give them the freedom to get on with their job.</p> <p>So we are taking apart the targets, the inspection regimes, the thickets of guidance that smother doctors, nurses, teachers and police officers.</p> <p>For example, one obstacle teachers face in restoring discipline is that they have to give – in writing – 24 hours notice for a detention.</p> <p>We’re getting rid of that rule and giving teachers much greater control over order in their classroom.</p> <p>But freedom for professionals isn’t just about getting rid of the bureaucracy, it’s about actively empowering them to deliver the best service.</p> <p>That’s what we are doing.</p> <p>So there are new powers to enable public sector workers to take ownership of their organisations and form mutuals and co-operatives.</p> <p>New powers for new and existing providers in welfare, drug rehabilitation, the reduction of re-offending and early years support to focus on the needs of users with an assurance from us to pay them by the results they achieve.</p> <p>No interference from on-high – telling them what to do.</p> <p>Just the open tendering of contracts, complete professional freedom and a commitment to encouraging innovation combined with proper rewards for the good work they do.</p> <p>There are also new powers for schools – including for the first time special schools – to turn into academies with the freedom to enforce rigorous discipline policies, pay more for good staff and develop excellent extra-curricular activities.</p> <p>And new powers for GPs, who can join together in consortia, take control of NHS budgets and directly commission services for their patients.</p> <p>People said there would be no appetite for this.</p> <p>But let me tell you today the enthusiasm of heads has meant that we have created as many academies in seven months as Labour managed in seven years and far from fearing new commissioning arrangements, over 140 GP-led consortia have now come forward, covering over half the country.</p> <p>But this freedom does not mean a free for all without proper accountability or a focus on results. </p> <p>Far from it.</p> <p>In return for this freedom from central control, professionals will have someone new to answer to – people.</p> <p>We are giving them the power to shape and design the public services they use.</p> <p>So we are spreading choice, saying to any parent or patient: you can choose where your child gets sent to school or where to get treated and we’ll back that decision with state money.</p> <p>We are injecting competition, saying to the private sector, community organisations, social enterprises and charities: come in and deliver great public services.</p> <p>Already people are answering that call – not least in education – where the first free schools will open in September.</p> <p>I myself met the inspirational parents and local leaders who are going to set up the first of these in Clare in Suffolk.</p> <p>A small community in a rural area where children face long commutes will now have a high quality school on its doorstep.</p> <p>And next week, in our Education Bill, we will go further.</p> <p>For the first time, charities, universities, businesses, teachers and groups of parents will be allowed to establish their own academies where there is a lack of suitable education for 16-19 year olds.</p> <p>Based on the same principles that underpin our Free School programme, this will widen the range of options available to young people and encouraging them to continue in education beyond their GCSEs.</p> <p>We are also bringing real democratic legitimacy to our public services too.</p> <p>On the way are new elected police and crime commissioners that local people can vote in and if these commissioners don’t deliver on their promises they will be answerable to the public at the ballot box.</p> <p>At the same time as doing all this, we’re also going to make everything as transparent as possible.</p> <p>So people will not only know where the money is spent in our public services but how well that money is spent too – on health outcomes, schools results and crime figures.</p> <p>What I have described is a clear, consistent, comprehensive plan that covers all public services. </p> <p>And, returning to my point about the coalition, I believe it is a programme that Conservatives and Liberal Democrats can give their wholehearted support.</p> <p>Revere, cherish and reward an ethos of public service.</p> <p>Free professionals from top down control and bureaucracy.</p> <p>Give choice to the user.</p> <p>Encourage competition between the suppliers.</p> <p>Pay by results wherever appropriate.</p> <p>Publish information available everywhere you can. </p> <p>Make public service professionals answer to people, rather than the government machine.</p> <p>Services that are more local, more accountable and more personal where people are the drivers, not passengers which call on every part of society – from churches to charities, businesses to community organisations – to come in and make a difference.</p> <p>It really is a complete change in the way our public services are run.</p> <p>From top-down bureaucracy to bottom-up innovation.</p> <p>From closed markets to open systems.</p> <p>From big government to big society.</p> <p>Even if people accept that we are well-placed to modernise public services they have another question: won’t the changes we make create losers?</p> <p>They worry that our approach is a kind of public service version of a laissez-faire economic policy where winners are created at the expense of those who get left behind.</p> <p>I believe these worries are profoundly misguided – and I want to explain why.</p> <p>We are not proposing laissez-faire.</p> <p>The state has a hugely important responsibility to ensure clear, basic standards are met, the rights of users are maintained and independent inspection is carried out in our public services and we are in no way abrogating that.</p> <p>Indeed, in education we have raised targets for school performance so that under-performing schools are turned around more quickly. </p> <p>And yes, added to that, I also believe extra resources must be directed to those who are most disadvantaged.</p> <p>That’s why for the first time ever there will be a specific payment to schools – a pupil premium – for every child entitled to free school meals.</p> <p>But isn’t the real point this?</p> <p>If we have learnt anything about public service reform in the past few decades, it’s that simply setting standards and issuing diktats from Whitehall doesn’t mean they actually happen.</p> <p>We do need structural changes – not just edicts about standards.</p> <p>While one-size-fits-all state provision played a large role in reducing inequalities in the past, in recent years it has failed to do so. </p> <p>Indeed, arguably it has actually deepened the disparities between regions, classes and racial groups in our society.</p> <p>The evidence is clear.</p> <p>Health inequalities in 21st century Britain are as wide as they were in Victorian times.</p> <p>Today, a quarter of all children – overwhelmingly from the most disadvantaged families – don’t get a single A or B at GSCE.</p> <p>One of the reasons for this is also clear.</p> <p>Exercising choice to escape poor service is available to the richest, who can either opt-out and go private or to the middle classes, who can move house to get into the best schools  but the poorest have to take what they’re given.</p> <p>So the approach of relying on Whitehall diktats rather than real structural change has failed the very people it was trying to protect.</p> <p>And worst of all, those who lost out are powerless to do anything about it.</p> <p>Our structural changes can help them.<br>  <br> Just consider the evidence of the most recent years, in those areas where principles of competition, choice and greater independence for institutions have been introduced.</p> <p>Some of our Foundation hospitals are bringing the very best care to the people who need it most.</p> <p>City Technology Colleges and Academies are transforming education results in some of our poorest communities.</p> <p>These structural breakthroughs have given new opportunity to those in the poorest areas, who have been let down by the old system.</p> <p>And the next great poverty-busting structural change we need – the expansion of University Technical Schools – will do the same, offering first-class technical skills to those turned off by purely academic study.</p> <p>There’s a simple logic to all this: with more freedom and openness comes more creativity and innovation.</p> <p>And with competition comes the pressure to keep up with the best.</p> <p>So for us inequality is no longer simply the static symbol of unfairness that it is today but rather a potent call to arms – a kick-start, if you like, to the actual mechanism that helps drive the delivery of better services for everyone.</p> <p>All too often what the people who criticise our plans are demanding is a race to the bottom where the cause of fairness is used malevolently to prevent any innovation or progress that could allow one child or one school to do better than another.</p> <p>What we propose is a race to the top where experimentation and innovation in one place gives everyone the chance to learn and benefit from each other.</p> <p>A real race for excellence.</p> <p>Improvements across the board.</p> <p>Not a black white world of winners and losers – but a world where everyone has the opportunity to make the most of their potential.</p> <p>The fourth question people ask is this: do we have to make all these changes so fast, so soon?</p> <p>They accept the need for change. </p> <p>But they are concerned about the pace.</p> <p>They fear we are doing too much at once.</p> <p>Of course, these changes have to be carefully worked through.</p> <p>And that’s exactly what we have done through our years of preparation in Opposition – and we will continue to do so every day in Government.</p> <p>But remember this.</p> <p>Every year we delay, every year without improving our schools is another year of children let down another year our health outcomes lag behind the rest of Europe another year that trust and confidence in law and order erodes.</p> <p>These reforms aren’t about theory or ideology – they are about people’s lives.</p> <p>Your lives, the lives of the people you and I care most about our children, our families and our friends.</p> <p>So I have to say to people: if not now, then when?</p> <p>We should not put this off any longer.</p> <p>And here’s another case for urgency.</p> <p>The longer you leave things, the greater the institutional inertia against change becomes.</p> <p>Tony Blair as good as admits that he wasted his first term, flogging the horse of centralised control.</p> <p>Is it any surprise that when he came to real modernisation – an agenda that promoted choice and competition – the government machine was sceptical?</p> <p>Was this just another fad that would be reversed?</p> <p>Or was he serious?</p> <p>We have set our stall out from the beginning, leaving no one in doubt: this coalition is serious about modernisation.</p> <p>This week, our Health Bill will be put before Parliament.</p> <p>Next week, our Education Bill will be put forward.</p> <p>Next month, we are publishing a White Paper on the next steps for modernisation.</p> <p>Eight months in and you can see we are simply not wasting a moment in delivering first-class, world-class, public services in our country.</p> <p>Let me end with a message for the people these reforms will affect the most – those who work in our public services, and those who use them.</p> <p>To our public sector workers:</p> <p>No one believes that the budget deficit is the fault of public sector workers. </p> <p>Responsibility lies squarely with ministers in the last government who allowed spending to run out of control. </p> <p>And as we take the tough but necessary steps to deal with the deficit, our first priority is to protect front line services, and to protect jobs in the public services. </p> <p>We won’t be able to avoid job losses entirely.  That would be unrealistic.</p> <p>But by taking swift and radical action to cut the overhead costs of government we gave ourselves the best chance there is to protect jobs.</p> <p>By squeezing what we pay to suppliers.</p> <p>By cutting spend on wasteful IT projects.</p> <p>By simply dropping some projects that were never going to deliver value.</p> <p>By our moratorium on advertising, marketing and consultants.</p> <p>All of these tough and unglamorous measures will save in the region of £3billion just in this financial year alone. </p> <p>Every pound saved this way helps save jobs and services. </p> <p>At the same time, we want the jobs of the future in public services to be more fulfilling. </p> <p>Empowering you on the front line. </p> <p>Freeing you from top down micro-management and targetry. </p> <p>Supporting groups of workers who want to form mutuals and cooperatives to deliver services themselves.</p> <p>Liberating the hidden army of public service entrepreneurs, deeply seized with the public service ethos, but who itch to innovate and drive improvement themselves. </p> <p>I know there’s a hunger for this.</p> <p>When we launched our public sector spending challenge in the summer, some were cynical. </p> <p>Yet 65,000 public sector workers submitted ideas for how money could be saved without damaging the quality of services.</p> <p>There is huge pent-up frustration among so many public sector workers who see how things could be different but can’t make it happen.</p> <p>The modernisation I’ve outlined today will give you that power. <br> And to the country at large, let me say this:</p> <p>Everything I have spoken about today – the ideas that guide modernisation, the plans that shape it – these are not the final destination.</p> <p>The final destination, for us, is not more freedom for professionals, or more choice for you, or more competition in our public services.</p> <p>It’s those things which are more difficult to measure but you just know it when you feel it, when you see it.</p> <p>The sense that first class healthcare is available to all, regardless of their wealth.</p> <p>That every child grows up with the doors of opportunity open to them, where birth is never a barrier, because they have a great school down their road.</p> <p>That every citizen feels safe in their neighbourhood, with trust and confidence restored to law and order.</p> <p>This goes right to heart of what we stand for.</p> <p>The quality of care we offer in our health service is a measure of the country we are.</p> <p>The quality of education we offer our children is a measure of the country we can become.</p> <p>As a nation we have great pride in our history of public services in the creation of the NHS and the principles of state-funded health care and education for all.</p> <p>And it is the mission of this coalition government to renew the promise of opportunity, fairness and excellence for all in our public services today.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">public services</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron Prime Minister’s speech on modern public service Monday 17 January 2011 Prime 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<p>Transcript of Q&amp;A given by the Prime Minister David Cameron in Newcastle on Friday, 14 January 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript:</h3> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Thank you very much for that introduction. It is great to be here and it is particularly good to be here at Greggs – a fantastic, expanding business, a growing business, a business that is employing more people, and that is spreading across the country.  But particularly what I like is a business with a sense of social responsibility, a business that knows that there’s more to business just making money.  It’s also about being a good citizen, being a good employer and also being part of what I call the Big Society and I’d like to particularly commend what you do in terms of your breakfast clubs, providing children with a good breakfast in so many schools around our country and all the other investments you make,  particularly here in the north east.</p> <p>Anyway, the point of today is not a long speech by me; it is your questions and my attempts to answer them about any subject you want to raise.  Just one word of introduction, the reason I want to do these meetings is to get out of Number 10 Downing Street, to get out of the bunker, to get out of Westminster, to get out of Parliament, and come and hear from people direct, partly because this is such an important year for our country.</p> <p>We have had a very difficult recession, a very tough time.  We’re coming out of that now but we’ve got some really difficult decisions we have to make about spending cuts and taxes so that we get our deficit down, we get our debts under control and we can thrive as a country.  It is a difficult period but it is a big year for Britain because we have got to make sure that is matched by real growth in the private sector, in the commercial sector, businesses like yours.  And I want to make sure we are doing everything we can to help get that growth moving and get those jobs coming.</p> <p>That’s all you get by way of an introduction; who wants to ask the first question?</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>You just made a statement there about Greggs expanding.  I have been fortunate, I have worked for Greggs for the last 12 years.  I have always had a pay rise.  The rest of the country is not getting it.  There are more places shutting down.  What are you going to do to make Great Britain great?  What’s going to be our manufacturing base?  We haven’t got one.  The Industrial Revolution brought us on; what’s in the pipeline for Britain?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>OK, well, I think we do still have a manufacturing base.  We have a manufacturing base, though, that is more at the high end.  I have just come from Newcastle University and I’ve been looking at some of the future science businesses.  There are areas of manufacturing and technology that we can succeed in as a country and I don’t think we should talk ourselves down.  Sometimes we can get too depressed by the difficult things that face us.  Here in the north east in the last year, exports to other parts of the world are up by 25 per cent and many of those are from manufacturing businesses.</p> <p>Where are we going to succeed in the future?  Well, we have a fantastic health service and some of the best universities in the world so we can lead in things like genetic science and robotics and inventions.  We have got a fantastic aerospace industry, we can expand that.  We have got to make money out of the green technologies.  I mean, here in the north east we have got Nissan – they are going to be building the LEAF electric car.  We are going to be giving a £5,000 bonus to anyone who buys one of those cars so we are one of the centres of green manufacturing.  We have got incredible resources in the North Sea, not just the oil and gas but also the wind and the wave and the tidal technology.  That’s why we are putting money into the National Centre for Renewable Energy here in the north east.</p> <p>So I don’t think we should think that Britain is somehow going to be in relative decline and is not going to make it in the world.  I think this can be a great decade for us.  We have some great advantages but, and this is where the pay freeze point comes in, I don’t want us to be a country like Greece or like Ireland queuing up for a bailout because we didn’t get our debts in order.  All of us in this room we have got credit cards, we know what it is like: the longer you leave your credit card debt, the worse it gets. </p> <p>And that’s why the Government I lead that came together, two parties who don’t always agree with each other, we came together and said ‘Right, we have to sort this debt situation out’.  That means some painful decisions about tax, some painful decisions about spending but I say better to do that, better to have a plan to get that under control, than ask all our children to go on paying these debts in the future.  Do you know how much interest we pay on our debts every day?  £120 million.  Think what you could do with that money, the schools you could build, the hospitals you could build.  So I think it is right we do that and one of the tough things we have had to do to get on top of our debts is freeze public-sector pay for two years.  That is tough and difficult but many people in the private sector have had a pay freeze and so I think it’s fair.  But I recognise I’ve got a big job to do to get round the country and explain that to people, but I think if we do those things we will put the Great back into Britain as sure as eggs is eggs.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>You talk about employing people, but one of the biggest things in terms of people being employed is for businesses to be able to transport their goods around and also for people to be able to get from their homes to their industry.  Yet fuel prices keep going up and up and up.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>What are we going to do about it?  Yes. I know you go and fill up at the pumps right now, £1.30 a litre or sometimes even more.  That is a huge amount.  Filling a family car costs £60, £70, not for some flash car but just for an ordinary family car.  That affects every family that has to drive – and many people have to drive, they don’t have a choice – and it affects businesses large and small.  Now, as I said to the gentleman first, we did have a big deficit, a big debt we have to deal with and the last government set out four increases in fuel duty which we’ve had to put in place, but I do think we should look at this idea, which I’ve been talking about, which is when the oil price goes up, and when the price at the pumps goes up, obviously the Treasury gets some extra money.  How much extra money we’re having a debate about, but they do get some extra money. So there is the idea of saying, well, when that happens you should share some of that benefit with the hard-pressed motorist who’s filling up his car, because what matters to the Treasury is that they’re getting the revenue that they need to help pay down the deficit and if there’s extra revenue they can help share it. So we are looking at that. There’s a Budget in March, and I hope that we will be able to make some progress.</p> <p>But as I’ve said many times, I don’t want to fool people to say this is easy or it’s some simple calculation, because obviously when the oil price goes up, that has a bad effect on other parts of the economy and can reduce the tax take from those parts of the economy.  But I think we can make some progress on this and I want to give the motorist a fair deal, a sense that it’s not a one-way street and that the Government takes its responsibilities too.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>From my own experience, I hated my last job so much and everywhere I was going I was told, ‘Oh, you’ve got no experience, we’re not going to take you on.’</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>What were you doing?  What was your job?</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>I worked in a call centre, and if I hadn’t been the chance here I would have had to have gone on the dole to be given any chance of getting anywhere.  So there’s no help for people who are in jobs but really want to get out of them.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Well, that is a very good question.  The truth of the matter is that if you have a job and you’re in work, however much you may not like that job, you have a better chance of getting another job than someone who doesn’t have a job at all, so I think as a country we’ve got to focus the help on the people who are out of work and people who’ve been out of work for a long time, because the longer you’ve been out of work, the more out of touch you get with what it’s like to have a job, with the time-keeping and what you have to do in an office and all those things that you sort of take for granted.  So of course we want to have a good job market where you can go online or look in newspapers, you can see other opportunities, we want a mobile job market where people move to the jobs of the future, but for the Government we’ve got to put our biggest effort into helping those who are out of work, and we’re going to introduce this thing called the Work Programme where anyone who’s been out of work for a set number of months should then get a huge amount of help and support, and not just from Job Centre Plus and the state, but also from the private sector, from the voluntary sector.</p> <p>We’re going to introduce a new idea, basically, of saying we’re going to pay those organisations by results, so the more people they get into work because they’ve trained them properly, the more money they get.  And crucially, if they can get people into work who’ve been out of work for maybe five, 10, even 20 years, we should pay them more, because those people, statistically, are people who stay on the dole or on incapacity benefit for a very long time.  That’s bad for them, bad for their families and it’s costing the country a lot of money, so if we can get them off those benefits and into work, we will all benefit hugely, and we are being more creative about this and saying, ‘Why not spend, today, some of the future benefits of getting them off the dole?’ That is a new way of doing things and it’s vital, but I’m afraid we must concentrate on the people who are out of work; their needs are greatest.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Bankers’ bonuses.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Bankers’ bonuses. They’re too high.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Exactly.  All of us in the room are taxpayers, so I’m just wondering when you’re going to make a decision on bankers’ bonuses and what you’re going to do about it.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Well, let’s first of all rewind and think about why, rightly, we’re all so angry about this.  You know, when the banks nearly went under, the taxpayer stepped in and helped them.  Why did we do that?  If Greggs had trouble, it wouldn’t just turn to the Government and say, you know, ‘We have trouble, help us’.  Banks are different, because if banks fall over, if banks go bust, they can bring the whole economy down, because you have to have a banking system that works for the whole economy.  So we put our money in and that’s why I think it’s right that we can have a big argument with the banks about the level of bonuses that they should pay. </p> <p>And I think there are two parts to this: there are those banks that we still own.  We still own Royal Bank of Scotland.  We still own, effectively, Lloyds HBOS.  And with those banks I think we can absolutely say they have got to show restraint, that they should not be paying the sort of bonuses you’ve been reading about in the newspapers, and we are having exactly that discussion with them and we will be very tough with them about those bonuses.</p> <p>For banks more generally, we should have tough rules and we have introduced tough rules.  Last year, just 25 companies had to comply with the rules by the Financial Services Authority about what bonuses could be paid, how much were in shares, how much had to be delayed.  Now 2,500 companies are covered by that. </p> <p>And also what we are doing is getting more money out of the banks.  So they’re not just paying corporation tax and National Insurance.  We were one of the first governments in Europe, one of the first governments in the world, to introduce a specific bank levy and we’re going to be taking out of the banks in order to pay back the taxpayers and make sure the banks are making a contribution to dealing with the problems we have – £2.5 billion every year.</p> <p>Now the balance of argument that I’ve got to think of as Prime Minister and the balance of argument I’ve got to get right, is not easy, because there’s part of me, like probably everyone in this room, that just thinks right, let’s just go after every penny we can get out of these banks, let’s tax these bonuses to hell, let’s just get hold of the cash.  That would look good for a few weeks, maybe a few months, but actually, what do we really want to do here?  We want a growing economy that is creating jobs and that means banks that are lending money to businesses. </p> <p>So what I’m trying to do with the banks – and we’re having meetings with them, we’re sat down with them – I want to make sure the bonuses go down, I want to make sure the lending goes up and I want to maximise the amount of tax they actually pay.  I don’t want to just try to win good headlines by saying I’m going to hammer these guys.  I want to make sure this year they’re paying more tax than last year and I want them to pay more tax every year between now and the election, because we need that tax revenue to pay down our debts, to pay down our deficit, to invest in our schools and, at the same time, we want those banks to lend money.</p> <p>So it’s about getting the balance right and it’s not going to be easy and it won’t satisfy everybody, but I think we’ve got to try to work for that balance rather than just think, let’s take revenge on people because they’ve made us mad as hell.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Do these decisions not need to be made now, because this is the time of the year when the bonuses are actually coming out?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Absolutely.  That’s why we’re in these discussions with the banks right now and I hope we’ll get an agreement where we can say bonuses are going down, lending is going up, tax payments are going up.  That’s the deal I want to do for the British people.  I also want to add some other things into it – like Greggs are a good corporate citizen, you put money into the local economy, you run breakfast clubs, you’re socially responsible.  I want banks to do that too.  I want them to put money into the Big Society bank that we’re planning.  I want them to help fund jobs around the country.  I think actually banks have been in the past, can be again, good corporate citizens in the country.  That’s what we should be trying to achieve. </p> <p>In the end, what we’ve got to try to get is a good outcome for the economy for the long term, not just something that looks good and sounds good for a few days.  It’s a tough thing in politics, but we’ve got to try to get it right.</p> <p>Question:</p> <p>It’s about my local school and its new build.  My local school had its new build cancelled and now the maintenance budgets have been slashed.  What does the future hold there?</p> <p>Prime Minister:</p> <p>What we’ve actually said in schooling is that, although we’re having to make difficult cuts in the economy, the amount of money per pupil that goes into the school is going to be the same this year as it was last year.  We’re not cutting it.  So when I look at my two kids, who go to a state school in London, a church school, the money following them into the school next year will be the same as this year because I think, as a parent, that’s what I care about most –  that these schools, for the children they teach, they’re not going to lose money.</p> <p>And we’re adding something into that, which is that for all children on free school meals, we’re adding what’s called a pupil premium of over £400 so that if the school that you’re in has got children from a deprived background it’s getting extra money.  That might not benefit me, that might not benefit you, sir, but I think it’s good for our country, because education should be about social mobility.  It should be helping you to go from the very bottom to the very top.  It doesn’t do that right now and I think this pupil premium will help.</p> <p>So that’s the current money.  That’s the spending money going into schools.  The capital money – there was this thing called Building Schools for the Future.  It was completely inefficient.  It went on for years before it spent any money on any schools.  In some cases, it was two times more expensive than those schools could be built otherwise, so we’ve had to change that.  But there is still going to be £15 billion across the next five years for school building, for school maintenance.  So there’ll be every opportunity for the school your children go to, to try to apply for that money and make sure that you get the buildings and all that you need. </p> <p>But I think the most important thing is that the money following the pupil stays where it is, so we don’t see cuts to the schools that our children go to, because it is so important for our future.  So we’ve safeguarded that while taking difficult decisions in other areas.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Prime Minister, you talked earlier about supporting those in the greatest need and, sadly, the north east tops a lot of the league tables for social deprivation, health, etc.  What is the Government going to do to help us become more competitive as a region to help us attract more businesses, more jobs, and I’m referring in particular to infrastructure, like the A1, the networks, the rail networks?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>I think this is the absolutely key question here in the north east, because the economy has become quite reliant on the public sector and, frankly, whoever was Prime Minister right now, whoever was standing here right now with the debts that we have, with the 11 per cent budget deficit, bigger than Greece’s, would have to make some cuts whoever was doing this.  So the question is not: ‘How do we make the cuts?’ Or: ‘When?’ We’ve got to do that.  The question is: ‘How do we get the private sector growing and how do we help particularly in areas of the country like this that have become over-reliant on the public sector?’</p> <p>Part of our answer is a Regional Growth Fund, which has got £1.4 billion in, that areas can bid for and the only criteria are two: (a) is this an area of the country that is going to suffer loss of public sector jobs? And (b) is this grant going to drive private-sector job creation?  Very simple, very straightforward.  Michael Heseltine is helping deliver it and I think it will make a difference.</p> <p>But in the end I believe that the biggest thing that makes a difference is encouraging new businesses to start up and encouraging existing businesses to employ more people.  That’s how we crack it and that’s why we’re cutting the rate of corporation tax, which is like the key tax rate for your economy.  What are you charging businesses if they come here and make a profit?  We’re cutting that down to 24 pence in the pound.  That’ll be the lowest rate for any G7 country.  I want to make sure the next generation of Nissans are coming to Sunderland and to Newcastle, that we attract that inward investment.  And for new businesses we’re saying if you start up here in the north east you don’t have to pay National Insurance on the first people that you take on.</p> <p>So everything like that to try to make it easier, very simple for one person to say to another person, ‘Come and work for me’.  We’ve made it too complicated to set up a business in this country.  We’ve made it far too complicated to employ people.  We’ve got to start de-regulating and make it simple again, so that businesses like this, and smaller businesses, can actually decide to take on more staff.  That’s the key.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>I’m very pleased to say that I did vote for you and I have great admiration and respect, but I’d love to know what drives you to do this terrible job.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Do you know what?  And I’m not just saying this.  I wake up every day and I just think it is an incredible privilege to do this job.  I think Britain’s a wonderful country.  I think we’ve got some difficult times, yes, but we’ve got some great advantages.  We’ve got fantastic people, brilliant universities, some great businesses, very talented young people, the English language, we’re at the centre of the world’s time zone, we’ve got relationships with everyone.  We’re right up there in NATO, in the European Union, the special relationship with America, the Commonwealth.  We’ve got a fantastic set of opportunities and I wake up every day and think yes, OK, there are some difficult decisions and there are some real problems we have to face, but to do this job at a time like this with the incredibly talented team I have around me is an enormous privilege and a huge pleasure.  And if ever I get out of bed and think ‘Oh, go away, get someone else’ – you know, that’s pathetic.  This is an amazing thing to be able to do and so if you feel grumpy about it, stand aside and let someone else do it. </p> <p>But I find it hugely challenging.  There are some very big issues we have to grapple with, but I’ve been impressed in the seven months that I’ve been doing the job with the British civil service – they can sometimes be attacked, we think of the Sir Humphreys and whatever.  But there’s some very talented people working very long hours to try to help us sort out the problems we have in this country and the opportunity to give those people a lead is a fantastic opportunity, so I relish it.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Mr Cameron, you’ve just alluded to all our relationships around the world, how central we are.  I’m thinking this morning about our relationship with Europe and as a business amongst many other businesses, there’s a lot of things coming out of Europe which we tend to gold-plate, etc., and I’m just wondering what you will do as a government to protect that further erosion of sovereignty that we have experienced and how we can, in fact, claw some of it back.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>I take a very simple, straightforward view: just ask the question, what’s in Britain’s interests?  And it seems to me it’s totally in our interest to be in the European Union and to be trading and co-operating with our neighbouring countries.  If you look at our exports, half of them, 50 per cent, go to other European Union countries and about 44 per cent of them go to members of the Eurozone.  So we should be in the European Union, we should be in this organisation.  We should be fighting for a more de-regulated Union, for a looser Union, for one that’s more about co-operation rather than building some sort of super-state, but we’ve got to be in there.</p> <p>Imagine if we weren’t.  If we were outside, we’d be selling all our goods to Europe, but we’d have no say about what the rules were.  That would not be in our interest.  But is it in our interest to go in much deeper and to, say, join the single currency and give up the pound?  I think absolutely not.  And when I look at what’s happening with some of the countries that have the single currency I’m very glad we didn’t join, because if you’ve got your own currency you set your own interest rates, you run your own economic policy, you can make sure it suits your needs rather than others.</p> <p>So I think that’s the basic settlement: be in the European Union, fighting for change from within, but don’t join the single currency.  But you’re right, sir, some of the stuff that comes out of Europe in terms of rules and regulations we then gold-plate and make even worse and we’ve got to stop doing that.  And we’ve also got to get into Europe and then fight for a more de-regulated approach.</p> <p>I had the President of the European Union in my office yesterday.  The French Prime Minister came in after him and I said, ‘Why don’t we just add up the regulatory burdens they face in China, the regulatory burdens they face in America and then let’s have a look at what we’re doing to ourselves in Europe’, because this year of all years has got to be all about growth and jobs and we’re mad to be adding endlessly to the burdens that we face rather than trying to trade our way out of difficulty.</p> <p>Now, governments always regulate and so it’s a real battle to get up in the morning and go and fight for a more de-regulatory approach, but I’m determined that we do it, not just in Britain but in Europe, and I see quite a lot of allies.  I don’t go into the European Union meetings and think ‘Oh, it’s so depressing, no one agrees with me’.  I actually see other young leaders, like Frederik Reinfeldt in Sweden, like Mark Rutter in Holland, like Nicolas Sarkozy in France, who are also pro-enterprise, pro-growth, modern-thinking leaders who want to get their economies moving.  So we’ve got to form an alliance with them and try to get that done and I’m not a pessimist about this.  We can do it.  We shouldn’t go into these battles thinking we’re always going to lose.  We should go in thinking we can fight this and we can win it.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>I’ve got a couple of young children and I, quite honestly, worry about their future, particularly with climate change and with Copenhagen not really coming out with anything concrete.  I’m wondering what the Government can do.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Well, I think it was depressing.  The Copenhagen conference was very depressing, because there was no proper agreement and it looked like the world had come together to talk about this incredibly important problem and had stalled.  The meeting recently in Cancun in Mexico was more encouraging; it’s sort of back on track.  I think if you add up all the things that the different countries have said they ought to do, if you add them all up, we would probably limit global warming to two degrees, which is what the experts say is dangerous but acceptable.</p> <p>What should we do about this right now, as we’re trying to work towards this global agreement?  I think the most important thing is try to prove to the doubting countries that actually this is an opportunity not a threat.  So we should be doing lots of things in Britain, like the electric cars in Nissan, like pumping carbon dioxide into the depleted fields in the North Sea, like developing offshore wind power, like investing in wave power, like making sure we insulate all our homes, which will employ tens of thousands of people in our country.  Let’s do all the things that show this is an opportunity, that there are jobs in this market.  If we do that, I think other countries that are more sceptical will say, ‘Hold on, we know we’ve got to do this, so let’s actually grab it and take advantage of it’. </p> <p>And to sceptics I think there’s a very simple argument: if someone told you there’s a 75 per cent chance of your house burning down, would you take out the insurance?  To which most people’s answer is, ‘Yes’.  So even if you’re not 100 per cent certain about climate change, it’s worth doing this for the insurance, for the risk avoidance.  So demonstrate that argument, show there are jobs involved in this and I think we can win the argument, even at a time of some economic difficulty.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>I’m a local lad, I grew up in the north east, I’ve lived all my life here.  I’ve gone through all the militancy that the north east is renowned for and it’s actually quite refreshing to see a coalition government working.  The question I actually have is, why is yours working when previously it never seems to?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Well, we haven’t had one in Britain for 65 years.  We haven’t had one since the Second World War and Winston Churchill and all of that.  I think it’s working for a couple of reasons.</p> <p>First of all, I think when the problems are big; I think people have to act big.  I think what happened after the election was that I took the decision and Nick Clegg took the decision that of course we don’t agree about everything, but the country has got some big problems right now and actually it’s no good having a minority government and trying to just muddle along.  Let’s actually take a risk.  Let’s do the big thing; let’s do the bold thing.  Let’s actually put the differences aside, form a coalition, know you’re going to get a lot of bricks thrown at you but try to actually do the right thing.  I think that because the problems were big, it was easier to take that leap.</p> <p>The second thing I’d say is it is partly to do with the way I think everyone is behaving in the coalition.  Now of course we have our arguments and disagreements.  We are two separate parties, we don’t agree about everything and there are some lively arguments and debates, including about some of the subjects we have talked about today.  But so far I would say we have settled our differences and disagreements about what tax to put up, what service that you have to amend, what budgets need to be cut, what we do about bankers’ bonuses or control orders or immigration, areas where we don’t always agree. But we’ve managed to sort of work it through and settle it and I have to say that I think Nick Clegg and his top team have behaved in a very honourable and straightforward way.</p> <p>I was a doubter about this.  I have always believed coalitions tend towards weakness but I think because the problems are big and because the people are behaving reasonably, I actually believe this government is taking some big and bold decisions, right decisions.  Not just about the deficit and the debts, but also about getting growth in the economy.  And then the things we really come into politics to try to sort out like the schools and the hospitals and the welfare system, which I am passionate about trying to reform.</p> <p>I’ve got three young children and I want them to go to through a great state education.  I want there to be great universities for them.  I want to make sure that if anything goes wrong there is a brilliant health service for them.  Reforming those public services, modernising them.</p> <p>Today I sometimes feel if you want to have some choice about where you shop or where you holiday it’s all absolutely ‘click the button’, everything’s there but when it comes to the school, or sometimes the hospital, it’s slightly ‘take what you’re given and get on with it’.  That shouldn’t be the case.  We’re a first-class country, we should have first-class services and I hope the next steps of the coalition are to do some really difficult and bold things to modernise those services so we feel that we have what we need in our country.</p> <p>I hope it will last for a full five years and be a really changing government and I think if we go on as we are there’ll be tough times.  It’s not great, when you have by-elections and all the rest of it, but I think that if we do the right thing, in the end the public will actually give us the space to get on with it and turn round at the end of it and who knows.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>One of the challenges that we sometimes face is that we need members of staff to stay working an extra few hours. They are quite happy to do so, but it’s actually less cost-effective for them to do that because of the impact it has on their benefits.  Do you have any plans to deal with that?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Yes.  This is a really important question.  Today the way the welfare system and the tax-credit system works means that sometimes if you work a few extra hours, you’re really facing a sort of marginal tax rate effectively of 80, 90 per cent sometimes because every extra hour you put in you lose so much tax credit.</p> <p>To be fair to the last government, what they were trying to do was prevent that poverty trap, as it were, for the unemployed.  There was a time when if you were unemployed and you got a job, you were losing.  Now what we’ve got is a situation where if you’re working and you earn a bit more, you’re trapped.  And this is nuts.  Rich people moan about high rates of tax and say they’re going to leave the country and all the rest of it.  We’re taxing effectively less well-off people sometimes at 80, 90%.</p> <p>So yes, we’ve got this plan to introduce something called universal credit and the idea is that you should always keep a decent proportion of every extra pound you earn.  And the idea is if that you put together things like unemployment benefit, housing benefit, eventually tax credits as well, and you withdraw them all at one single rate, it’s always worth your while working an extra hour, working an extra day and all the rest of it.</p> <p>I think if we have a simple system like that there will be a very big benefit.  You’d still have withdrawal rates, so the extra hour would lose you some money but you’d always be better off.  I think it’ll be a really big reform and it’s one of the ones that the coalition wants to do.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Good afternoon, Prime Minister.  My question is about school breakfast clubs.  I’ve heard you mention them once or twice already, and there is a tremendous amount of research to show how beneficial they are at the start of the school day.  The question’s two part: firstly, what does this government intend to do to support breakfast clubs generally?  And secondly, what can this government do to support the Greggs scheme specifically?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Well, I was talking to your boss before coming in here and he says he’d got this great ambition to go from 150 to 300.  We fully support that.  I think it’s a great idea.  And I think we have to sort of rewind and ask ourselves, why?  I mean, actually it’s very obvious and we all know it with our own children.  If you start the day with a good healthy meal, the brain kicks in, you can concentrate and you’re set up for the day.  And if that doesn’t happen, school is never going to work out for you.  So it’s sort of really obvious.  Sometimes I think we should get everything out of the national curriculum apart from food and sport.  They’re so important and I think sometimes we forget about that.</p> <p>So I think the first thing is a sort of cultural change, where as parents, as a country, as a nation, we should all just be upping the importance of food, of diet, of making sure we give our kids a proper start to the day.  We should use our social pressure.  We need people to recognise that if they don’t do that, they really are letting their children down and they’re letting the country down.  We need a sense that you’ve got to do that.  It’s part of being a parent and we need to help those parents who are not getting it done.</p> <p>In terms of Greggs, I think we should point out your example to other companies and I know that you’re planning to team up with other companies.  I think that’s a really good move.  In terms of schools, I think the most important thing is to make sure, as I said to the gentleman in the middle over here, that we just keep that per-pupil funding going and that we make sure that therefore schools are able to maintain and improve their breakfast clubs and their extended hours.</p> <p>I think now every school recognises it’s a good thing; everyone wants to do it.  The demand in some places isn’t as high as others because in some areas parents are giving their children a good start.  In other areas the needs are greater.  I don’t think we should try to second-guess every school, but the biggest thing I think is a big cultural change as a nation that says food is important, diet is important, cooking is important, fresh is important, all these things really matter.  If we do that, we can actually encourage a national conversation that says frankly, if you don’t feed your children before they go to school you’re a bad parent, you’re doing a bad job.</p> <p>On that rather gloomy ending, I was meant to give you an uplifting ending, it’s been lovely to be here, thank you very much indeed.  Thank you for what you do as a business.  Thank you for what you’re going to do this year in terms of employing and growing across our country and thank you for what you do as a socially responsible company.  I think it’s really important, I admire that and it’s been lovely to come and spend some time with you.  Thank you very much indeed.</p> <p class="postmetadata">Tags: <a href="" rel="tag">Newcastle</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">North East</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">PM Direct</a><br></p> <div> <div id="sharethisembed">Share this:</div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="delicious logo">delicious</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href=";;title=" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="digg logo">digg</a> </div> <div class="sharethisholdermain"> <a href="" class="sharethislink"> <img src="" class="shareimage" alt="facebook logo">facebook</a> </div> </div> None David Cameron PM Direct in Newcastle Friday 14 January 2011 Prime Minister's Office Newcastle
<p>A transcript of press conference given by the Prime Minister David Cameron and the French Prime Minister Francois Fillon in London on 13 January 2011.</p> <h3>Read the transcript:</h3> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Good afternoon, everybody.  I’m delighted to welcome Prime Minister Fillon for his first [indistinct] and it’s a great pleasure welcoming him here in Downing Street today.</p> <p>I think the relationship between Britain and France is at a very, very strong point.  Last year, I think we took some very bold steps with the defence relationship and, as we were discussing in our meeting, that defence relationship is not just about words; it’s actually about trying to make sure that two countries with similar size forces with a similar outlook can work together when it’s in our interests to work together and, therefore, maximise our influence and our impact in the world.  It actually enhances our own individual sovereign capability when we do so in that way.  I think our relationship is getting more important as we go towards the French G8 and G20 this year and we want to work very closely on that. </p> <p>Above all, the issue which we discussed this morning and where we must work as closely as possible is to make sure that 2011 is a year of economic growth, a year of economic growth in Britain, in France and right across Europe.  We want this to be Europe’s priority this year.  We want to see deregulation, we want to see a fresh approach in Europe, favouring growth, favouring business, favouring investment.  We want to be promoting research and innovation, making sure there’s access to finance, reducing regulatory burdens and these are all areas where Britain and France will work together.  We will also work together on the internal market and also promoting Doha and trade.</p> <p>On the EU budget, you’ve seen very close relations between Britain and France and Britain and France and Germany and many of the other nations in Europe, where at European Council after European Council we’ve been coming together and saying how important it is that at a time when we are cutting spending in our own countries we should be doing the same thing in terms of European budgets.  We are arguing for real restraint both over the next two years and also as we go into the European financial perspective.</p> <p>I’d like to say very clearly that the condolences of the British government and the British people are sent to the French government and the French people in respect of the French nationals killed in the Niger.  It reinforces our determination to tackle terrorism in all its forms.</p> <p>Let me just say one word about the Eurozone and the importance of the Eurozone to Britain.  About half of our trade goes to the European Union and about 44 per cent of it is with countries of the Eurozone.  Let me be absolutely clear: Britain is not a member of the Euro, we are not going to join the Euro.  As long as I’m Prime Minister there’s absolutely no chance of that happening.  I believe we’re better off with our own currency and being able to have our own economic policy.  But let me be clear about something else: a strong and successful Eurozone is in Britain’s interests.  We want the countries of the Eurozone to sort out the difficulties and the problems that they have and we won’t stand in the way as they do that.  Indeed, we will be a helpful partner in making sure that happens.  But let me again be clear: that does not mean that Britain should be drawn into new mechanisms or new procedures or have to give up new powers.  That is absolutely not what we see as necessary as happening and throughout the European Councils last year we made that point and secured that point on many, many occasions.  We want a strong Eurozone.  We want it to sort out its problems.  We won’t stand in its way, but we are neither joining the Euro nor are we going to be drawn into fresh and new mechanisms within the Eurozone.</p> <p>Prime Minister.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister Francois Fillon:</strong></p> <p>Prime Minister, first of all, thank you for the meeting we just had and for your reception here.  This is my first trip to the UK, but I want to tell the British press that this is not exactly an historic event because I’ve already come to Great Britain accompanying the Prime Minister that was Jean-Pierre Raffarin in 2003 and 2004 and then when Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin came to Great Britain in 2005.  I told David Cameron a while ago that we should intensify the rhythm and frequency of meetings between our governments, particularly because the quality of our relations has reached an unprecedented level, in particular thanks to the France-UK agreement and our defence co-operation agreements which, as I already said, can only happen between two sister nations; in other words, two nations that have such high trust between themselves that they can pool essential things as their own safety.</p> <p>I already met David Cameron in Paris in 2008 when he led the opposition and at the time I was impressed with his sense of responsibility and now that I meet him today I feel that this quality is certainly there, to which I would add a sense of courage and leadership in that.  In fact, it was the first thing that I told David Cameron a while ago.  I told him that the French government admires enormously the economic and financial policies of Great Britain that are being conducted right now and the courage with which the British government has embarked upon this effort to restore a sound budget.  I’m sure that it’s going to deliver for the UK, of course, and it will also be a great thing for the whole of Europe and I’m sure that it’s very reassuring to be able to compare policies on either side of the Channel and to observe that they’re actually very close.  I must say that both the French and the British are very keen to preserve their independence and national sovereignty.  Well, that means reducing deficits and that means having sound national budgets. </p> <p>We also broached the issue of the Euro.  I want to say that, first of all, the Euro does not need to be saved.  The Euro needs to be defended and in order to defend the Euro within the Eurozone what we need is to strengthen our co-operation.  The Eurozone governments need to put in place an economic steering mechanism for the zone.  What we need is over the long term to harmonise our fiscal procedures, the way we work, the way we organise our economies.  Over the long term you can’t have a Eurozone that would maintain such huge gaps in terms of working hours and retirement ages and in terms of economic organisation and taxes, so that if we want the Eurozone to be consolidated it is imperative to harmonise our legislations in these areas.  And what I told Prime Minister David Cameron is that the UK should look at those efforts with enthusiasm, because it is in the UK’s own interest to have a strong Eurozone.  Of course, I have not come here to ask David Cameron for help or to ask the UK to change its policies vis-à-vis the Euro.  I’ve just asked the UK to look at this effort for harmonisation and consistency in a favourable light. </p> <p>We also mentioned the EU budget and realise that we’re totally in line as to the need not to increase the EU’s budget and also the need to channel part of the EU’s resources to more efficient actions in terms of supporting growth.  In particular, I mentioned three ideas that France will defend in 2011: a European patent fund, a venture capital fund for innovative small businesses, and the need for European institutions to have impact studies carried out before they take any decisions to make sure what the exact effects of those European standards and regulations will be for our businesses.</p> <p>Then we talked about our bilateral relations and, in particular, the possibility of bringing our industrial strategies closer together, in particular in the field of nuclear energy, because that is now possible with our very tight co-operation. </p> <p>And we also mentioned the fight against terrorism and I would like to thank David Cameron for his words of sympathy and solidarity which he has expressed to the President of the French Republic and which he has just reiterated after two French citizens were killed in Niger.  This just reminds us of how important it is for governments to stick together, because when those things happen it’s not just one country that is attacked; it’s our whole set of values.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Thank you, Prime Minister.  I think we have a question from TF1 first.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>You’ve just, in fact, talked about the level of terrorism in France and in the UK, the level of alert is very high.  So, today, how could you actually describe co-operation between the two countries, which today is possibly widening, according to, in fact, the situation in the Sahel worsening?  And also, how do you interpret the events that are taking place in North Africa?  Do you both have the same analysis as far as these matters are concerned?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister Francois Fillon:</strong></p> <p>Co-operation between France and the UK with regard to the fight against terrorism is very close and it’s existed for a long time and has carried on being reinforced and we talked together about the fact that we have to reinforce it even more, especially with regard to the Sahel and the aim in the Sahel zone is to avoid at all costs that the terrorist movements will stretch their influence to the detriment of the existing states and to the detriment of the public structures, which are already very fragile in that particular region of the world.  We see very well that, in fact, it’s a key moment where these states actually need to be encouraged, they need to be reinforced, they need to be helped in the fight against terrorism, and we hope to be able to work very closely together with the UK. </p> <p>With regard to the situation in Tunisia, because after all, that’s the question that you’re raising, I would say that we are particularly worried by this situation, by the violence that actually has taken place over the past few days, and we instantly ask for all the parties to restrain themselves, to choose a path of dialogue, because we cannot continue by using violence in a disproportionate fashion, and the French government is doing its best in order to be able to convince the Tunisian government that they should actually commit themselves in that direction.  I would also like to note, with interest, that certain measures have already been announced, especially the freeing of the people that actually had been arrested at the beginning of the riots, and they have to progress on that particular path. </p> <p>I would also like to add that over and above the internal political problems in those countries that have to be resolved, through the most democratic fashion, there is also a problem relating to economic development and those problems are also linked to it, and there we, in fact, are able to work together, the European Union as European Union, in order to be able to give aid to development, aid in a more efficient fashion to that Maghreb region with which we have got historical links, and everybody is well aware of them. </p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>Thank you.  I would say that our co-operation in terms of terrorism and security is extremely good.  I mean, obviously in Afghanistan we are very close partners.  I admire the way that the French government under [President] Nicolas [Sarkozy] and François have put so much effort into Afghanistan and the extra troops and trainers, and we stand and fight that important battle together, because we are denying Afghanistan to the terrorists and the terrorist training camps that were there before.  A second front, if you like, is the very good security co-operation, where our security services work extremely closely.  Everyone knows that before Christmas in Europe and even today in Europe there is a very big security threat, and we work hand in glove together with the French, on security with the Germans, with the Swedes, Danes and others, and it is very important that we do. </p> <p>We were discussing before this press conference that I would like to see us open a third front, if you like, which is to tackle radical and violent extremism and the radicalisation of young Muslims in our two countries.  I think we have to learn from each other and to explore the best ways of making sure this happens.  I am becoming increasingly convinced it is not enough just to target violent extremism; we have to target extremism itself.  We have to drain the water from the swamp in which the violent extremism grows, and I am sure that Britain and France can work together on this and learn from each other.</p> <p>One last point: I think we also need, in this world in which we live, to be smarter in how we tackle terrorism and Al Qaeda.  We see now Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula in Yemen, we see them in North Africa, we see them in Somalia.  We have problems in parts of Asia.  Clearly, we have taken one approach in Afghanistan.  We have to work in all the different ways we can to tackle and defeat this terrorist threat in all those different parts of the world, and I know that Britain and France will be standing together as we do that. </p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Thank you very much, Prime Minister.  There is a lot of concern in the country about the sharp rises in fuel prices, and before the election you did at least hint, if not promise, that you would introduce a fair fuel stabiliser.  I wonder at what point you will introduce that stabiliser?  For example, if Brent Crude reaches $100 a barrel, would you introduce a fuel stabiliser?  And Monsieur Fillon, if I may: you know the British; you have a British wife.  Do you understand the horrified reaction in Britain when we hear you talk – when people hear you talking about the harmonisation of economic, fiscal and social policy?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>I will answer my one first, if that’s all right.  First of all, on fuel, I understand that people who are filling up the family car, or filling up the car on the way to work, and many people have to drive to work – they don’t have a choice – you know, when it hits £1.30 and more a litre, that is incredibly painful.  When it is £60 or £70 to fill up a family car, not a flash car, I understand how painful and difficult that is.  That is coming straight out of people’s post-tax earnings.  You know, most people live on a very tight budget, and if there’s a movement in food prices or in fuel prices, that has a very big effect on their family, on their livelihood, and on their life, so I completely understand that. </p> <p>There are two points I want to make.  The first is that, you know, we inherited four fuel duty increases from the last government.  We also inherited from the last government the biggest budget deficit anywhere in Europe.  People sometimes forget that last year, when this government came in, our budget deficit was actually bigger than Greece’s.  It was bigger than Ireland’s.  It was not possible to cancel a lot of tax rises that the last government put into the pipeline.  We cancelled the tax on every job in the country at a time when we need to get Britain working again, but we could not cancel all of those fuel-duty increases. </p> <p>Second point: can we have a fairer system in the future? I do think there’s a very attractive idea of saying that as oil prices rise and as the Treasury potentially benefits from some revenue from those oil-price rises, both through North Sea and at the petrol pump, is there a way of sharing the pain of increased petrol prices between the motorist on the one hand and the Treasury on the other?  Is there a way of sharing, if you like, the benefit of the higher prices, because that means some more revenue for the Treasury?  Now, we have to look very carefully at exactly how much more revenue that does mean for the Treasury, and what the effect is of a higher oil price. </p> <p>But should we look at this?  Should we try and find a way of helping people?  That is exactly what the Chancellor and what the Treasury are doing.  That is what they are looking at, and obviously there’s a Budget in March when those sorts of decisions can be looked at.  I’m not pretending this is easy.  It is difficult.  A rising oil price also has some bad effects on the economy, which can reduce revenue.  But should we look at ways of trying to share that pain, to share that burden?  Yes, that’s absolutely what we’re doing. </p> <p><strong>Question:</strong></p> <p>Does this rule out a fuel stabiliser?</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister:</strong></p> <p>No, I think if you listen to that answer carefully, you don’t need to break it up into too many parts.  I think you can find a pretty clear explanation.  I don’t want to answer the French Prime Minister’s question, but I just want to make one point on harmonisation and all the things that François has spoken about.  Britain isn’t in the Euro.  We are not going to join the Euro.  We understand that if you are in a single currency, you do need to take steps to better co-ordinate and harmonise, sometimes, some of the things you do together.  Indeed, that was one of the reasons why I never wanted to join the Euro in the first place, because I didn’t want that to happen.  I don’t think you can have, for a very long time, a single currency without having a more co-ordinated fiscal policy.  In America, if Texas has a good year, it pays more in taxes and it gets less in public spending.  They have a fiscal union to go with their single currency, the dollar.  This was a reason, for me, for not joining the Euro.  So, when we talk of harmonisation and these sorts of changes, they don’t have to apply to Britain, because we are not in the Euro.</p> <p><strong>Prime Minister Francois Fillon:</strong></p> <p>Well, it is a policy of assimilation – can it always work with an English wife?  No.  And secondly, we mustn’t exaggerate the differences between our two countries.  Earlier on I said that we were very coquettish when we talked about our differences, but the truth is that for a number of years, we have progressed towards each other as far as organisation is concerned, and also from an ideological point of view.  I believe that the UK recognises today that it’s essential sometimes to give a certain encouragement in order to be able to set up certain industrial areas, and France has made a great deal of effort to open up its market.  Today, it’s one of the most open countries in the world – at least the most open in Europe, and in fact, I talked about it this morning when I talked to the City. </p> <p>Thirdly, as David has just said an instant ago, we are not asking the UK to join the Eurozone.  The effort of coherence that is necessary within the Eurozone does not involve the UK.  However, all we are asking is that the UK shouldn’t be offended by this effort, and doesn’t consider it as being dangerous for itself, and doesn’t consider it as being a kind of difference that could actually establish itself between the Eurozone and countries that don’t belong to it.  We’ve made two different choices – at the time, in fact, in my country, I was one of those actually who was a Eurosceptic, and when we opposed that particular choice with a number of other politicians, we said precisely what is taking place today – that we can have a joint currency as long as we have an economic policy which is harmonised, as long as there is more fiscal and social convergence.</p> <p>Today