Performing Rights Society Centenary Celebration

Thank you Robert for the kind introduction. Now…Your members include unbelievably cool people like Soul2Soul, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards.  So it leaves me wondering: why on earth have you asked not one but two politicians to speak tonight! Continue reading

Annual Muslim Leadership Dinner

It is wonderful and a privilege to be here to be asked to speak to you this evening. Not least because I am able to celebrate the work of the Muslim Council of Britain, but also because I was asked to speak about the Muslim Community’s contribution to our economy. As requested, I will speak about the economy and our future, but first I would like to speak more broadly. Continue reading

Food and Drink Federation Annual Dinner

Thank you to Richard, Melanie and the FDF for inviting me, it’s an honour to speak to you and to celebrate the success of this sector tonight.  Tonight is a celebration of what you do in this fantastic Food and Drink sector - and quite rightly so. Continue reading

Race, class and social mobility in today’s Britain

As ever, it’s great to be back here at Herbert Smith. You know – I often talk about my time here. My experience here – working with businesses of all sizes – has proved invaluable in my current role as Shadow Business Secretary. Continue reading

The future of the financial services

Thank you for that introduction and thank you for inviting me here today.  For us, the future of financial services - the City - is incredibly important. Any potential Government hoping to take office and any current party of Opposition charged with scrutinising what the Government does, should want to see the City thrive. Continue reading

Association of British Insurers

Thank you for inviting me to speak to you this morning. I know that you are in many ways the oil in the country’s economic engine. From motor to household insurance, fire to flood protection, and pensions to life insurance – without you the engine would grind to a halt. You enable businesses and households to navigate risks.  The economy to function. People to plan ahead. Continue reading

One Nation Industrial Strategy

It is fantastic to be back here in the West Midlands. On previous visits I’ve seen sustainable heating technologies being produced at Worcester Bosch. I’ve watched the metal used in 95% of the world’s heated car windscreens being made at Strip Tinning in Rubery. I’ve toured the Converteam factory in Rugby, global leaders in power conversion engineering.  So I know this is a region at the forefront of innovation - a world beater. Continue reading

British Retail Consortium Annual Dinner

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a huge honour to speak to you this evening at this your annual dinner. Of course, I am well aware of my role: I am the warm up act for Michael Portillo. I understand Michael is due to talk about “The Trouble with Politicians” – so I am going to try to get through this without giving him any new material. Continue reading

The case for an active government and modern industrial policy

The debate we have had today underlines what a pivotal moment this is for those of us on the centre left – progressives – in Europe and beyond. The starting point, as always, is our beliefs and values. What distinguishes us from the Right is a belief in our mutual dependence, that “through the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone”; that we depend on the collective for an environment in which each of us can fulfil our potential and realise our aspirations as individuals. Continue reading

Getting On With Business: Entrepreneurship And Social Mobility

Thank you for inviting me to speak this evening. I cannot think of a better group of people to discuss this with than all of you gathered here today: restless people, not satisfied with the world as it is; innovators determined to find new gaps in old markets and to create ideas for new markets. Our economy and society needs more people like you. More people starting up businesses, building businesses, and – hopefully – succeeding in business. Continue reading