Justin Tomlinson MP

Justin Tomlinson MP

MP For North Swindon

Boris Johnson Promises To Unlock Untapped Potential In the UK During Conference Speech

The Conservative Party closed today with a positive and optimistic speech from the Prime Minister, in which he promoted equality of opportunity and promised to unleash the spirit of British values.

Speaking in Manchester on the third and final day of the conference, the Prime Minister highlighted the untapped potential and lopsided nature of the economy in the UK, and vowed to promote opportunity and unlock this potential.

“You will find talent, genius, flair, imagination and enthusiasm everywhere in the country, evenly distributed – but opportunity is not. It is our mission as conservatives to promote opportunity with every tool we have.”

The Prime Minister lamented how the UK had become a low wage, low growth, low skill and low productivity economy – and, after regaining control of UK borders post Brexit, spoke of using immigration to continue Britain’s move towards a high wage, high skill, high productivity economy.

“The answer to the present stresses and strains, which are mainly a function of growth and economic revival, is not to reach for that same old lever of uncontrolled immigration to keep wages low. The answer is to control immigration, to allow people of talent to come to this country - but not to use immigration as an excuse for failure to invest in people, in skills and in the equipment the facilities the machinery they need to do their jobs.”

After a very challenging year for the country due to Covid, the Prime Minister highlighted the phenomenal vaccine programme, which saw the UK vaccinate the elderly and most vulnerable faster than any other major economy in the world, and how it had put the UK in a good position to recover strongly.

“It is thanks to that vaccine roll-out that we now have the most open economy and the fastest growth in the G7; we have unemployment two million lower than forecast; we have demand surging; and I am pleased to say that after years of stagnation – more than a decade – wages are going up faster than before the pandemic began.”

The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to thank NHS staff and key workers for their efforts throughout the pandemic. He also reiterated the Government’s commitment to: 48 new hospitals, 50,000 more nurses, 50m more GP appointments, and 40 new diagnostic centres.

“The pandemic not only put colossal pressure on the NHS, it was a lightning flash illumination of a problem we have failed to address for decades”

The Government’s commitment to tackling crime was also highlighted – vowing to be tough on county lines drug gangs, increase rape convictions, and nuisance protestors; as well as lower level crime, such as pet theft.

Conference Announcements:
  • A teacher salary premium up to £3,000 per teacher, supporting the recruitment and retention of teachers. Targeting premiums by subject, to increase the proportion of specialist teaching where supply challenges are greatest. The premium package will be targeted to teachers in Years 1 to 5 in four core subjects facing the greatest supply challenges including maths, physics, chemistry, and computing.

  • A £500 million extension to the Film Restart Scheme for six months, to give certainty to film production in the UK. This will mean that the UK’s studios will continue to attract new projects. It will protect 34,500 jobs and £1.2 billion of investment in production in the UK

  • 40 new Community Diagnostic Centres, which will bring vital services closer to home, meet rising demand, catch cancer and other issues as quickly as possible, and save more lives. These will be free at the point of use, based on clinical need. The centres will begin providing services over the next six months, with some already up and running, and will be fully operational by March 2022. They will show tangibly that we will Build Back Better by doing healthcare differently than before the pandemic and they will help us Level Up by addressing lower diagnosis rates in more deprived communities.

  • Expanded support for drug testing on arrest to all 43 police forces in England and Wales, helping to identify a greater number of drug users and to reinforce the consequences for drug use. Those who are confirmed to be using drugs will be diverted into a range of consequences, education or support services.

  • An increase to the maximum penalties for disrupting a motorway, criminalising interference with key infrastructure, new powers to deal with prolific offenders, and criminalising ‘lock-ons’. These changes include criminalising interference with key infrastructure; powers to prevent certain individuals from attending particular protests; and penalties for ‘lock-ons’.

  • A crack down on burglars, robbers, and domestic abusers with a package of tagging worth nearly £200 million. The package includes: tagging 12,000 acquisitive criminals with GPS tags; introducing alcohol monitoring on licence across England and Wales for prison leavers for whom alcohol is a risk factor in their offending; supporting new ways of detecting drugs taken by offenders; using electronic monitoring to tag those guilty of Domestic Abuse and sexual offences; and supporting the introduction of a crime mapping service for the police, to map certain GPS tag wearers against crimes.

  • Up to £93 million of investment in community payback for offenders to deliver 1.7 million more hours of unpaid work than at any time since comparable records began. This investment will allow us to run the system at over 150 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, allowing us to deliver 8 million hours per year over the next three years.

  • £25 million for local projects aimed at increasing the safety of public spaces for all, with a particular focus on tackling violence against women and girls. Police forces and local authorities across England and Wales, and the British Transport Police, are to receive a share of £25 million, to spend in the 21-22 financial year, as we take our total investment in the Government’s Safer Streets Fund to £70 million. Created with the objective of tackling crimes like car theft and burglary, the latest round of the Safer Streets Fund is focused on making public places safer for all, with an emphasis on the safety of women and girls. 

  • A promise to accelerate our ambition to deploy low carbon generation by 2035, including renewables, nuclear and new options such as hydrogen, and accelerating carbon capture technology. We are increasing the deployment of renewables – principally offshore wind, onshore wind and solar – nuclear and Carbon Capture Usage and Storage for power; overseeing a transition to clean green renewables making up the majority of our power supply; and deploying more low carbon power, meaning we will see unabated gas generation run only when the system needs it to keep the lights on.

  • A competition to find the first national headquarters of Great British Railways, which will be outside of London, and recognise this country’s proud railway heritage. The competition will identify the new national headquarters for GBR, which will be outside of London. Great British Railways will welcome expressions of interest once the competition is launched, and will recognise towns and cities with a rich railway history that are strongly linked to the network. In time, we will create regional bases for GBR to sit alongside the national HQ.

  • A £30 million investment in school sports to help children stay active, fit and healthy – helping schools build new sports facilities and upgrading existing facilities. This will help schools offer a richer sporting experience to children - both during and outside the school day. It will also help communities as a whole benefit from better access to great facilities.

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