This week I represented the UK at the G7 summit. Representatives from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and US meet annually to discuss international security and the global economy.

 As Secretary of State for Work and Pensions I was there to talk to my counterparts about economic and employment issues. I met with the British Chamber of Commerce focused on Anglo-Japanese trade and how best to encourage British businesses to venture into and grow in Japan, particularly in green industries and technology.

 I visited a school and a Mitsubishi manufacturing plant and participated in the opening session of the G7 Labour and Employment Ministers meetings. I made presentations on the continued digital transformation of the workplace and how the nature of employment needs to be compatible with our climate change objectives. I also spoke to my Japanese and Canadian opposite numbers about inclusive employment and how we can improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities and long-term health conditions.

 My final meeting was with the International Labour Organization and their vital work in advancing social justice and human rights, and improving health and safety standards in workplaces across the world. While the UK has high labour standards and protections, there is still a huge amount more to do to protect workers in many developing nations not least around human trafficking and child labour.

 In a joint statement, the G7 condemned China’s military activities around Taiwan, North Korea’s unlawful ballistic missile launches, the military coup in Myanmar and the Taliban’s increasing restrictions on human rights and fundamental freedoms in Afghanistan, particularly the rights of women and girls.

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