Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party
The crucial Brexit negotiations are reaching a crunch point. We have, within our reach, a Brexit for the people – that delivers on the referendum result and protects jobs, security and the precious Union between the four nations of the UK.
That is why at this year’s Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, I will set out how our country is faced with a moment of opportunity which we can – and must – grasp in order to build a better life for ordinary working people.
Realising our country’s great potential after Brexit starts with taking action here at home. We must make our economy truly work for everyone and heal the divisions caused by Brexit and the Scottish independence referendum.
When I became Prime Minister, two years ago, I vowed to build a country that works for everyone – delivering on the British people’s instruction to leave the European Union, continuing the work of a reforming Conservative Government, while tackling the burning injustices that hold too many people back.
Two years on, we have made real progress.
Our balanced approach to the economy has seen debt fall for the first time in a generation. We have cut income tax for 30 million workers, taking four million of the lowest paid workers out of income tax altogether. Our latest increase in the National Living Wage means a full time worker is £2,000 a year better off than before its introduction. Our modern Industrial Strategy is delivering better jobs for families across the country, building on the work we have done to help businesses cut unemployment to its lowest level since the 1970s.
We are investing more in our public services, announcing a historic five-year budget settlement for our NHS. Our long-term plan will increase its budget by £394 million a week and ensure all money goes to the frontline, cementing its position as the best healthcare system in the world.
We are continuing our mission to get the best education for every child – with 1.9 million more children now in good or outstanding schools. And we will build on this year’s fantastic examination results by delivering a revolution in technical education, so that every child has the skills they need to get on in life.
We are making sure we leave the environment in a better state for our children with our 25 Year Environment Plan. And we are restoring the dream of home ownership through helping as many people as possible to get a foot on the housing ladder – building more homes, boosting Help to Buy and scrapping stamp duty for most first-time buyers.
This summer, we learnt that, for the first time ever, 100 per cent of large employers in the UK published their gender pay data following the introduction of mandatory reporting by a Conservative Government. By making that information public, organisations no longer have anywhere to hide, helping us to close the gender pay gap for good. And in October of last year, the Government published the first ever Race Disparity Audit to shine a light on how people from ethnic minorities are treated by public services, so that we can make sure everyone is treated fairly.
And at this conference, we will be showing how we can even further realise our country’s great potential after Brexit by building a stronger, fairer country. A country where if you work hard and do the right thing you have the opportunity of getting on in life and being rewarded for your hard work. A country that is a great place to live and to raise a family in, where you can have access to high-quality public services whenever you need them, and can succeed whatever your background. A Global Britain that is united, fair and outward-looking.
The coming months will be uncertain. They will be critical in shaping the future of our country. But through building on the progress which we have already made, and through grasping this moment of great opportunity, we can realise our country’s great potential and build Britain fit for the future.