I am pleased that the government has enshrined the world’s most ambitious climate change target into law. This will accelerate our efforts to meet our commitment of Net Zero by 2050, as we continue to raise the bar on tackling climate change - championing innovation and green jobs. The UK is already leading the world in tackling climate change and setting ambitious targets – but we want to continue to raise the bar and set an example to other countries. As part of the UK’s sixth Carbon Budget, we will set into law the world’s most ambitious climate change target – to cut emissions by 78 per cent by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, bringing us more than three-quarters of the way towards being Net Zero by 2050 - fuelling new technologies, green innovation and creating jobs in the progress. We want to see world leaders follow our example and match our ambition in the run up to COP 26, as we can only build back better, and greener, and protect our planet if we come together to take action.
The vaccine rollout is continuing at speed. Together with the NHS and volunteers across the country we have administered a total of 43.9 million vaccines across the UK, helping to cut infection rates and reduce the spread of the virus. We have now vaccinated 3 in 5 adults across our United Kingdom including 60 per cent of those aged 45-49. We have offered vaccinations to everyone in the nine highest priority groups – a significant milestone in our vaccination programme. This means 33 million people have been given the precious protection vaccines provide against Covid-19 and that we can now move forward with completing essential second doses and making progress towards our target of offering all adults a vaccine by the end of July. Over 10.7 million people have received their second dose, meaning those most vulnerable to the virus now have the best possible protection. 19 out of 20 who have had a first dose have come forward for their second jab, meaning that almost 1 in 5 of all adults have now had a second dose.
Finally, I am very pleased that we have launched our new 95 per cent government-backed mortgage scheme to help first-time buyers get their feet on the property ladder in an easy and affordable way. For too many people, no matter how hard they work, home ownership can seem out of reach – one of the biggest divides in our country has been between those can afford their own home, and those who cannot. The new 95 per cent mortgage scheme - allows first time buyers or current homeowners to purchase a home with only a 5 per cent deposit on a house worth up to £600,000 – providing an affordable route to home ownership. This will work alongside our other schemes to get people on the housing ladder - including Help to Buy, Shared Ownership and the First Homes Scheme.