Rishi Sunak insists Brexit is ‘delivering’ – follow live
Robert Jenrick says social housing doesn’t meet a ‘decent standard’
Rishi Sunak has rejected any move to rebuild damaged trade with the EU that would undermine the UK’s freedoms, insisting Brexit is “delivering” for the country.
Speaking to the CBI conference, the prime minister was asked how he would deliver on the chancellor’s claim that the “vast majority” of barriers – blamed for a 15 per cent plunge in trade – can be removed.
Jeremy Hunt’s comments have alarmed many Tories, despite the government rejecting suggestions that it will pursue a closer “Swiss-style” agreement with Brussels.
But Mr Sunak insisted: “Let me be unequivocal about this. Under my leadership, the UK will not pursue any relationship with Europe that relies on alignment with EU laws.”
Earlier the CBI set a collision course with the government after its director general, Tony Danker, urged politicians to end rows over Brexit and plug labour shortages with immigration.
Sunak: I’ll protect free at point of use NHS
Earlier Sunak said he would protect an NHS that is “free at the point of use”.
“We also need to create a culture of innovation in our public services. I grew up in an NHS family – it’s in my blood.
“And as your prime minister, I will always protect an NHS free at the point of use.”
He added: “We also need to radically innovate how we do things. That’s how we’ll really improve the quality and speed of care, and make the money we invest in the NHS go further.
“To do that, we’re opening community diagnostic centres to deliver millions more tests, checks and scans close to home, and without having to arrange multiple appointments.
“Our new elective surgical hubs will offer hundreds of thousands of patients quicker access to the most common procedures.
“But we need to go further still. We want to give patients genuine choice about where and when to access care. And those choices need to be informed by radical transparency about the performance of our healthcare system.”
Matt Mathers21 November 2022 11:45
Sunak: No return to EU aligment
Sunak has insisted he would not allow any return to alignment with EU rules.
“Let me be unequivocal about this: Under my leadership, the United Kingdom will not pursue any relationship with Europe that relies on alignment with EU laws,” he told the CBI conference in Birmingham.
“I voted for Brexit, I believe in Brexit and I know that Brexit can deliver, and is already delivering, enormous benefits and opportunities for the country – migration being an immediate one where we have proper control of our borders and are able to have a conversation with the country about the type of migration that we want and need.
“We weren’t able to do that inside the European Union, at least now we are in control of it.
“When it comes to trade, it means that we can open up our country to the world’s fastest-growing markets. I’ve just got back from the G20 in Indonesia, we’re talking about signing CPTPP, where we’ve got some of the most exciting, fastest-growing economies in the world and we can become a part of that trading bloc, that’s a fantastic opportunity for the UK.”
The UK could also have “regulatory regimes that are fit for the future that ensure that this country can be leaders in those industries that are going to create the jobs and the growth of the future”.
Reb Merrick, our deputy politics editor, has the full story:
Matt Mathers21 November 2022 11:28
Sunak: We’ll create one of the world’s most attractive visa schemes
Rishi Sunak has said the UK would create “one of the world’s most attractive visa regimes for entrepreneurs and highly-skilled people” as he set out plans for artificial intelligence experts to come to the country,
The PM said: “We cannot allow the world’s top AI talent to be drawn to America or China.
“That’s why – building on the AI scholarships and masters conversion courses I instigated as Chancellor – we are launching a programme to identify and attract the world’s top 100 young talents on AI.”
He said “part of the reason we ended the free movement of labour was to rebuild public consent in our immigration system”.
“If we’re going to have a system that allows businesses to access the best and brightest from around the world, we need to do more to give the British people trust and confidence that the system works and is fair.
“That means tackling illegal migration.”
Matt Mathers21 November 2022 11:19
Sunak: We’re committed to Brexit freedoms
Rishi Sunak said the UK is committed to using its “Brexit freedoms” to drive innovation.
The PM said he wants to lead a country with a “culture of innovation” that “permeates every aspect of what we do”.
On how that can be achieved, he said: “First, we need to harness innovation to drive economic growth. Second, we need to embed innovation in our public services, especially our NHS. Third, we need to teach people the skills to become great innovators.”
He said it is “private-sector innovations” that “really drive growth”, adding: “You’d expect me to say that, I’m a Conservative, but it’s true.
“That’s why the autumn statement cut taxes to encourage larger companies to do more research and development. It’s why we want to allow businesses to claim R&D tax relief on pure maths and cloud computing.
“It’s why we’re absolutely committed to using our new Brexit freedoms to create the most pro-innovation regulatory environment in the world in sectors like life sciences, financial services, AI and data.”
Matt Mathers21 November 2022 11:11
Sunak – innovation will be ‘defining focus of government’
Sunak says innovation – the theme of today’s speech – will be the key to unlocking growth for the UK.
It will be a “defining focus” of his government, he adds.
“Innovation is much more about new ideas” rather than “the latest gadgets”.
Matt Mathers21 November 2022 11:00
No going back on free movement – Labour
Labour would not seek a return to free movement if it forms the next government, a shadow minister has said.
Tulip Siddiq was asked about reports that the UK could pursue a Swiss-style deal with the EU to overcome trade barriers.
She said her party “wouldn’t go back to the things that have already been decided”.
Matt Mathers21 November 2022 10:55
Sunak addresses CBI conference
Rishi Sunak is currently speaking at the CBI’s annual conference in Birmingham.
Earlier the CBI’s chief Tony Danker said the UK should plug labour shortages with immigration if it wants growth.
Matt Mathers21 November 2022 10:53
ICYMI: Dominic Raab facing calls for third probe amid claims of ‘obscene’ language in Commons
Embattled deputy prime minister Dominic Raab is under growing pressure amid calls for a third probe into his alleged behaviour.
The justice secretary faces fresh accusations that he used “obscene” language in the chamber of the House of Commons.
The justice secretary claims he used the word “weaker” rather than the swear word.
Kate Devlin, our Whitehall editor, has more details:
Matt Mathers21 November 2022 10:40
Some housing associations have become ‘too large’
Immigration minister Robert Jenrick said in some cases housing associations have become “too large”, with executive pay “off the charts”.
He said the case of Awaab Ishak was “desperately sad”.
“It shows that some social housing – and in fact it’s not related to social housing, because the evidence suggests the private rental sector actually has on average lower standards than the social rented sector – so housing more generally, there are unfortunately far too many properties in this country that don’t meet a decent standard,” he told Sky News.
“We’ve done a number of things in recent years to try to tackle that. Hopefully, the most important one will be creating a new regulator for social housing.”
He added: “Housing associations, I think, in some cases have moved away from their charitable and social purposes, and have become too large, not sufficiently focused on the interests and needs of the resident.
“And, as you say, some of the executive pay is off the charts, that needs to change.”
Matt Mathers21 November 2022 09:45
UK wants to ‘deepen’ ties with EU – Jenrick
Immigration minister Robert Jenrick said the UK wants to “deepen” its relationship with the EU on some matters.
But he said there is no appetite from the British side to “fundamentally change” the existing deal.
Pressed on whether the UK wants any better terms of trade, given the need for economic growth at home, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “We do want to improve our trading relationship, and indeed, in my area, our security and migration partnerships.
“But what we don’t want to do is reopen the fundamental terms of our agreement, because we had a big debate about that as a country and we settled on one which I think was the right approach, which was one whereby we walked away from freedom of movement, which was not popular with the British public.”
He added: “The distinction is between continuing to improve our relationship to tackle some of those outstanding issues like the Northern Ireland protocol, or to deepen our relationship in other respects like security or migration.
“Those are things we do want to do and the prime minister has shown his willingness to have the most constructive relationship possible. What we’re not going to do is fundamentally change the broader deal that was negotiated back in 2019 and 2020.”
Matt Mathers21 November 2022 09:24
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