Tag Archives: Prime Minister’s Office

PM Hosts Chinese New Year Reception At Downing Street

Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed guests to Number 10 to celebrate the beginning of the Year of the Dog

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

Theresa May has hosted a Chinese New Year reception at Downing Street to celebrate the enormous contribution of the Chinese community to British life and a ‘Golden Era’ for UK-China relations.

On Wednesday (21 February) the Prime Minister welcomed a number of Chinese students in Britain who are involved in higher education and language learning exchanges. She highlighted the academic achievements of the community and the talent they bring to our educational institutions, and pointed to the huge learning benefits to both countries through partnerships such as the UK-China mathematics teacher exchange, which has been extended for a further two years to 2020.

Building on her recent trip to China alongside 50 businesses and organisations from across the country, the Prime Minister also welcomed guests from a range of sectors with trade links to China.

British nursery provider Busy Bees, who secured a significant early years education deal with the Oriental Cambridge Education Group during the Prime Minister’s visit to China, were also in attendance. The partnership between these two businesses will generate £75m in exports in the next five years and deploy 20 British teachers to China each year.

Andrew Wong, Head Chef and owner of Michelin star restaurant A. Wong in London’s Victoria, was the guest chef for the reception.

The Prime Minister also presented James Wong, Chair of the Birmingham Chinese Festival Committee, with a Point of Light Award in recognition of his inspiring work to attract thousands of visitors to the city, creating the UK’s largest Chinese New Year festival. His restaurant also gives hundreds of free meals to elderly people in the local community.

Prime Minister Theresa May said:

It was great to welcome people from all parts of the United Kingdom to Downing Street to celebrate Chinese New Year, the vibrancy of the Chinese community in Britain, and the deepening ties between our two countries. I was delighted to take a 50-strong business delegation with me on my recent trip to China, and found a real enthusiasm for the links between us and the opportunities we share.

But the ties that bind our country are of course about more than just business – they’re about people.

James Wong’s huge contribution to life in Birmingham is one shining example of someone who has helped broaden and deepen our cultural ties and I was pleased to award him a Point of Light.

I would like to extend my best wishes to everyone celebrating this special day, as we mark the Year of the Dog and a golden era of UK-China relations.

James Wong, Chair of Birmingham Chinese Festival Committee, said:

I’m fiercely passionate about raising awareness of Chinese culture and supporting the Chinese community.

Birmingham is a fantastic, multicultural city that endorses diversity and I feel fortunate to have had the backing of so many wonderful friends and colleagues on the ‘Chinese Festival Committee’ and beyond. I look forward to seeing our great city continue to work closely and hopefully welcome more investment from China in years to come.

Andrew Wong, Head Chef at A. Wong and guest chef at the reception, said:

Chinese New Year is the biggest celebration for my family and for the whole of China, and it’s a time of year where family time is truly celebrated.

It’s wonderful that Downing Street takes the time out to celebrate this event and to celebrate the diversity of London – and obviously the Chinese community is a big part of that diversity.

PM Meetings With The Leaders Of The DUP And Sinn Fein

The Prime Minister Theresa May had meetings with the leaders of the DUP and Sinn Fein on restoring devolved government to Northern Ireland

10 Downing Street

10 Downing Street

A No 10 spokesperson said:

This afternoon, the Prime Minister had meetings with the leaders of the DUP and Sinn Fein on restoring devolved government to Northern Ireland.

In both meetings, she said it was important for everyone to reflect on the circumstances which have led to this and their positions, so a way forward could be found to restore an Executive.

She made clear how the UK government remains steadfast in its commitment to the Belfast Agreement and its successors and reiterated that devolved government is in the best interests of the people in Northern Ireland.

On next steps, she set out how the Northern Ireland Secretary would continue to work intensively with the parties on the basis for an agreement.

The Prime Minister also made clear how challenging decisions lay ahead as the UK government has a responsibility to ensure the continued delivery of public services in Northern Ireland.

On the weeks ahead, she said she will be working closely with the Northern Ireland Secretary and will continue to engage with the parties and the Irish Government.

PM Meeting With The PM Of The Netherlands

The Prime Minister Theresa May met with Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands today

10 Downing Street

10 Downing Street

A Downing Street spokesperson said:

The Prime Minister Theresa May hosted Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands for a working lunch at Downing Street this afternoon.

Mrs May began by welcoming the new Eurostar route between the UK and the Netherlands, noting that this will bring the two countries who already share close ties, even closer.

She then gave an update on Brexit negotiations with both leaders agreeing on the importance of concluding the terms of the implementation period in March and the terms of the future partnership as soon as possible.

The Prime Minister set out her vision for a bold future economic partnership with the Netherlands and the whole of the EU after the UK leaves, stressing that we should all be optimistic and flexible to achieve a trading relationship which is as frictionless as possible, which Prime Minister Rutte welcomed.

Finally, both leaders discussed the importance of the role that the UK and Dutch forces were both playing in the Baltics and expressed their wish to continue to work closely together on their shared security issues.

PM Call With Taioseach

Prime Minister Theresa May spoke with Irish Taioseach Leo Varadkar on the phone about recent political talks in Northern Ireland

10 Downing Street

10 Downing Street

A No 10 spokesperson said:

The Prime Minister spoke to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on the phone earlier this evening.

They spoke about the recent phase of political talks in Northern Ireland and of their disappointment that an agreement had not yet been reached to restore an Executive.

Both leaders recognised the progress and serious engagement made by the parties.

The Prime Minister said she believed there was scope for agreement and reiterated the UK Government’s priority was still to get devolution up and running again in Northern Ireland.

They agreed to continue to stay in close contact as the parties reflect on the best way forward to re-establish devolved Government in Northern Ireland.

PM To Give Speech On Education To Mark Launch Of Post-18 Education And Funding Review

Prime Minister Theresa May will launch a wide-ranging review into post-18 education in a speech in Derbyshire

10 Downing Street

10 Downing Street

  • PM to warn against “outdated attitude” that favours academic over technical qualifications
  • new education review will break down “false boundaries” to look at whole post-18 system
  • review to identify ways to help young people make more effective choices when they leave school
  • PM will acknowledge concerns with the current funding system and pledge to make it fairer
  • speech will set out PM’s vision for an education system that truly serves the needs of every child

Theresa May will urge people to “throw away” the “outdated attitude” that university is the only desirable route for young people and that going into vocational training “is something for other people’s children”.

In a speech in Derbyshire to launch a wide-ranging review into post-18 education, the Prime Minister will call for a parity of esteem between academic and technical options so we can “create a system of tertiary education that works for all our young people”.

She will say that “means equality of access to an academic university education which is not dependent on your background, and it means a much greater focus on the technical alternatives too.”

The government-led review – supported by an independent, external chair and panel – will identify ways to help people make more effective choices between the different options available after 18.

This could include giving young people better guidance about the earning potential of different jobs and what different qualifications are needed to get them, so they can make more informed decisions about their futures.

For those who retrain during their career, the review will also look at how to support flexible life-long learning, including part-time and distance learning.

The PM will pledge to use the review to look at “the whole post-18 education sector in the round, breaking down false boundaries between further and higher education, so we can create a system which is truly joined up.”

She is expected to warn that while significant progress in education reform over recent years has succeeded in driving up school standards and improving the choice and quality of technical education, the current post-18 system is not working as well as it could be – for young people or for the country.

The Prime Minister will continue: “For those young people who do not go on to academic study, the routes into further technical and vocational training today are hard to navigate, the standards across the sector are too varied and the funding available to support them is patchy.

So now is the time to take action to create a system that is flexible enough to ensure that everyone gets the education that suits them.

There are now record numbers of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds going to university, and the government is determined to build on this progress.

The Prime Minister will say today: “One of the great social achievements of the last half-century has been the transformation of an academic university education from something enjoyed almost-exclusively by a social elite into something which is open to everyone.”

She will set out her commitment to continuing to ensure “that people from all backgrounds share the benefit of university study.”

On the question of student finance, the Prime Minister will acknowledge that many young people, their parents and grandparents, have serious concerns – which she shares – about aspects of the current system.

She will confirm that the review will examine the whole system of student funding – including how it provides value for money, both for students and taxpayers, and how students and graduates contribute to the cost of their studies.

She will say: “The competitive market between universities which the system of variable tuition fees envisaged has simply not emerged. All but a handful of universities charge the maximum possible fees for undergraduate courses. Three-year courses remain the norm. And the level of fees charged do not relate to the cost or quality of the course. We now have one of the most expensive systems of university tuition in the world.”

She will also note that the goal of making university truly accessible to young people from every background “is not made easier by a funding system which leaves students from the lowest-income households bearing the highest levels of debt, with many graduates left questioning the return they get for their investment.”

And she will say that the review “will examine how we can give people from disadvantaged backgrounds an equal chance to succeed. That includes how disadvantaged students and learners receive maintenance support, both from government and universities and colleges.”

Recalling her maiden speech in Parliament in 1997, in which she set out her belief that the aim of education policy should be to “provide the right education for every child”, the Prime Minister will use today’s speech to restate her long-held view that “education is the key to opening up opportunity for everyone.”

And she will say that, by building an education system which unlocks everyone’s talents, “we can build a country that truly does work for everyone.

She will add: “A country where your background does not define your future, and class distinctions are a thing of the past. Where a boy from a working-class home can become a High Court judge, thanks to a great state education. And where a girl from a private school can start a software business, thanks to a first-class technical education.

That is my vision for a fairer society and how we will deliver it. A society where good, rewarding work is available for everyone. An economy with the skills it needs to succeed.

Britain as the Great Meritocracy, a country that respects hard work, rewards effort and industry, where a happy and fulfilled life is within everyone’s grasp.

The panel’s report will be published at an interim stage and the review will conclude in early 2019.

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