Written statements

Government Ministers and a small number of other Members of the two Houses can make a written statement to one or both Houses.

Written statements are published below shortly after receipt in Parliament. They also reproduced in the next edition of the Daily Report and of Hansard in the relevant House.

Written statements made before 17 November 2014 were published only in Hansard:

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WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 21 February 2017
Made by: Baroness Neville-Rolfe (The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury)
Lords

ECOFIN: 21 February 2017

My right honourable friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury (David Gauke) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

A meeting of The Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will be held in Brussels on 21 February 2017. EU Finance Ministers are due to discuss the following items:

Early morning session

Ministers will be briefed on the outcomes of the 20 February meeting of the Eurogroup, and the European Commission will present an update on the current economic situation following the publication of the Commission’s Winter Forecasts on 13 February. Ministers are also expected to discuss points of clarification in relation to the intergovernmental agreement on the Single Resolution Fund.

Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive

Ministers will be invited to reach a general approach to the second Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD2).

Current financial service legislative proposals

The Council Presidency will provide an update on current legislative proposals in the field of financial services.

Criteria and process leading to the establishment of the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes

Council will take stock of further work that has taken place following the Council conclusions agreed at ECOFIN on 8 November 2016.

Preparation of the G20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors on 17-18 March 2017 in Baden-Baden

Ministers will be asked to mandate the Economic and Finance Committee (EFC) to finalise the EU Terms of Reference for the next meeting G20 of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors.

Discharge to be given to the Commission in respect of the implementation of the budget for 2015

On the basis of a report from the European Court of Auditors, Ministers will be asked to approve a recommendation - to be forwarded to the European Parliament.

Budget guidelines for 2018

Ministers will be asked to adopt Council conclusions on the guidelines for the 2018 budget, which will serve as a point of reference in the forthcoming budgetary cycle.

European Defence Fund

The Commission will provide information on its European Defence Action Plan, focusing in particular on the proposed launch of a European Defence Fund.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS484
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 21 February 2017
Made by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity, and Lords Minister)
Lords

January Agriculture and Fisheries Council

My Hon Friend the Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (George Eustice) has today made the following statement:

I represented the United Kingdom at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 23 January in Brussels.

Council opened with a presentation by the Maltese Presidency on their work programme for the next six months.

This was followed by an update from Commissioner Hogan on the progress of EU trade talks, including a discussion of the findings of the Commission’s report on the cumulative economic impact of future trade agreements on EU agriculture. The UK intervened to point out the benefits of an ambitious approach to future EU free trade agreements.

The Council then discussed the dairy market situation and the recent report on the EU Milk Package, along with ongoing outbreaks of Avian Influenza. Member States including the UK welcomed the fragile recovery of the dairy market. Commissioner Hogan stressed that the release of supplies of skimmed milk powder held in public intervention would be handled carefully to avoid any negative impact on the market. On Avian Influenza, the UK joined with several other Member States to raise concerns about the impact of necessary disease control measures on free-range egg producers. Commissioner Hogan agreed that the Commission would examine policy options and report back quickly.

A number of other items were discussed under ‘any other business’:

- The Slovakian delegation provided information on the conclusions of the 40th Conference of Directors of Paying Agencies;

- The Commission responded to a request for information regarding the scope of the Commission’s powers to adopt delegated acts for exceptions from the rules on protected designations of origin for wines.

Until exit negotiations are concluded, the UK remains a full member of the European Union and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. The outcome of these negotiations will determine what arrangements apply in relation to EU legislation in future once the UK has left the EU.

WS
Department for Communities and Local Government
Made on: 21 February 2017
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Local Government Finance

My rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Sajid Javid) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Local Government Finance

I have today laid before the House, the ‘Report on Local Government Finance (England) 2017–18’, which represents the annual local government finance settlement for local authorities in England.

I would like to thank all colleagues in the House, and council leaders and officials, who contributed to the consultation after the provisional settlement was published before Christmas. Representations from nearly 200 organisations or individuals have been carefully considered before finalising the settlement.

In 2010 we inherited the largest deficit in our peacetime history. As we continue to bring that down, local government, which still accounts for nearly a quarter of public spending despite the savings delivered since 2010, must continue to play its part.

At the same time, local residents rightly continue to expect excellent public services. I commend all councils for how they are getting on with the job. Public satisfaction with local services has been maintained, and councils are engaged in substantial efforts to modernise, transform local services, and reduce waste so that frontline services can be protected.

The 2017-18 local government finance settlement supports councils to continue in that regard, and progresses funding reforms to make councils more self-sufficient.

We remain committed to increasing funding certainty for local government. In total, local government spends more than £120 billion a year and the 2015 Spending Review and 2016-17 settlement delivered a flat-cash settlement for local government, providing four year funding allocations for the first time. The settlement being published today is the second year of the four year offer which was accepted by 97% of councils. To enshrine this commitment to stability in law the Local Government Finance Bill establishes a legal framework for multi-year settlements.

Councils are able to use this increased funding certainty to continue reforming the way they work and become more efficient, both in back-office functions and front line service delivery. Building on the £508 million savings already delivered from shared service arrangements, councils are using improved digital technology, new delivery models and innovative partnerships to deliver savings across local government.

We listened to the unanimous view that we must prioritise spending on adult social care services that councils provide to our elderly and vulnerable citizens. The Spending Review put in place up to £3.5 billion of additional funding for adult social care by 2019-20. Recognising the immediate challenges in the care market facing many councils next year, this settlement repurposes £240 million of money which was previously directed to local authorities via the New Homes Bonus to create a new adult social care support grant next year. It also grants councils extra flexibility to raise the adult social care precept by up to 3% next year and the year after.

These measures make available almost £900 million of additional funding for adult social care over the next two years, bringing the total dedicated funding available for adult social care to £7.6 billion over the four year settlement period.

But more money is not the only answer. We will bring forward reforms to provide a sustainable market that works for everyone who needs social care. And I welcome the consensus across both sides of the House that every area should move towards the integration of health and social care services by 2020, so that it feels like one service.

Council Tax Referendum Principles

We are committed to keeping council tax down, and will maintain referendum principles to protect hard-working tax-payers from rising bills. Council tax in England has fallen by 9% in real terms from the levels left behind by Labour in 2010, and is expected to be lower in real terms in 2019-20 than it was in 2010-11.

This year, in addition to the further flexibility on the Adult Social Care Precept, we are proposing a core council tax principle of 2% for principal authorities, or £5 – whichever is greater – for all shire district councils, and for Police and Crime Commissioners in the lowest quartile.

100% Business Rates Retention

To reduce local government’s dependence on central government for funding – long campaigned for by councils - we have announced that by the end of this Parliament, local government will keep 100% of the income raised locally through business rates. Councils will take on new responsibilities to be funded from this additional income - estimated to be around £12.5 billion - as central government grants are phased out. And to ensure councils with less business rates do not lose out, there will continue to be redistributions between authorities.

The Local Government Finance Bill, currently before Parliament, provides the legislative framework for these reforms. This will allow us to continue to work closely with interested parties over the coming months on the more detailed aspects of reforms.

A consultation has already been conducted. The Government response to that announced that, in the reformed system, Revenue Support Grant, Rural Services Delivery Grant, the Public Health Grant and the Greater London Authority Transport Grant will be funded through retained business rates (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/self-sufficient-local-government-100-business-rates-retention). Taken together these account for around half of the additional retained business rates that we estimate will be available to councils. We will continue to engage with local government on the remaining responsibilities to be devolved as part of these reforms but it has already been confirmed that the devolution of Attendance Allowance funding is no longer being considered as part of the Business Rates Retention reforms.

A further consultation has been published seeking views on many of the important aspects of the new system (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/100-business-rates-retention-further-consultation-on-the-design-of-the-reformed-system) – for example, how growth in business rates can best be rewarded, and how the system can help authorities to manage and share risk. Responses to that consultation are invited by 3 May.

Pilots of these reforms will take place from April 2017 in Liverpool, Greater Manchester, West Midlands, West of England, Cornwall and Greater London. We have also confirmed that we are interested in building on the existing pilot scheme and will be inviting all councils to apply to participate in piloting aspects of 100% Business Rates Retention from April 2018. We will be publishing more information about this process shortly.

Conclusion

Reforms to Local Government Finance, based around 100% business rates retention offer a bold and innovative response to the twin challenges of promoting economic growth and securing more self-sufficient and sustainable local government. They will help determine the role, purpose and means of delivery for local government in the years ahead. The 2017-18 Local Government Finance Settlement provides the financial stability authorities need as they transition towards the reformed system in 2019-20; these longer-term reforms will ensure the councils people rely on for their local services are both sustainable, and more self-sufficient.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS482
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 21 February 2017
Made by: Mr David Gauke (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury )
Commons

ECOFIN: 21 February 2017

A meeting of The Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will be held in Brussels on 21 February 2017. EU Finance Ministers are due to discuss the following items:

Early morning session

Ministers will be briefed on the outcomes of the 20 February meeting of the Eurogroup, and the European Commission will present an update on the current economic situation following the publication of the Commission’s Winter Forecasts on 13 February. Ministers are also expected to discuss points of clarification in relation to the intergovernmental agreement on the Single Resolution Fund.

Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive

Ministers will be invited to reach a general approach to the second Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD2).

Current financial service legislative proposals

The Council Presidency will provide an update on current legislative proposals in the field of financial services.

Criteria and process leading to the establishment of the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes

Council will take stock of further work that has taken place following the Council conclusions agreed at ECOFIN on 8 November 2016.

Preparation of the G20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors on 17-18 March 2017 in Baden-Baden

Ministers will be asked to mandate the Economic and Finance Committee (EFC) to finalise the EU Terms of Reference for the next meeting G20 of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors.

Discharge to be given to the Commission in respect of the implementation of the budget for 2015

On the basis of a report from the European Court of Auditors, Ministers will be asked to approve a recommendation - to be forwarded to the European Parliament.

Budget guidelines for 2018

Ministers will be asked to adopt Council conclusions on the guidelines for the 2018 budget, which will serve as a point of reference in the forthcoming budgetary cycle.

European Defence Fund

The Commission will provide information on its European Defence Action Plan, focusing in particular on the proposed launch of a European Defence Fund.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS487
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 21 February 2017
Made by: George Eustice (The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)
Commons

January Agriculture and Fisheries Council

I represented the United Kingdom at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 23 January in Brussels.

Council opened with a presentation by the Maltese Presidency on their work programme for the next six months.

This was followed by an update from Commissioner Hogan on the progress of EU trade talks, including a discussion of the findings of the Commission’s report on the cumulative economic impact of future trade agreements on EU agriculture. The UK intervened to point out the benefits of an ambitious approach to future EU free trade agreements.

The Council then discussed the dairy market situation and the recent report on the EU Milk Package, along with ongoing outbreaks of Avian Influenza. Member States including the UK welcomed the fragile recovery of the dairy market. Commissioner Hogan stressed that the release of supplies of skimmed milk powder held in public intervention would be handled carefully to avoid any negative impact on the market. On Avian Influenza, the UK joined with several other Member States to raise concerns about the impact of necessary disease control measures on free-range egg producers. Commissioner Hogan agreed that the Commission would examine policy options and report back quickly.

A number of other items were discussed under ‘any other business’:

- The Slovakian delegation provided information on the conclusions of the 40th Conference of Directors of Paying Agencies;

- The Commission responded to a request for information regarding the scope of the Commission’s powers to adopt delegated acts for exceptions from the rules on protected designations of origin for wines.

Until exit negotiations are concluded, the UK remains a full member of the European Union and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. The outcome of these negotiations will determine what arrangements apply in relation to EU legislation in future once the UK has left the EU.

WS
Department for Communities and Local Government
Made on: 20 February 2017
Made by: Sajid Javid (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Local Government Finance

Local Government Finance

I have today laid before the House, the ‘Report on Local Government Finance (England) 2017–18’, which represents the annual local government finance settlement for local authorities in England.

I would like to thank all colleagues in the House, and council leaders and officials, who contributed to the consultation after the provisional settlement was published before Christmas. Representations from nearly 200 organisations or individuals have been carefully considered before finalising the settlement.

In 2010 we inherited the largest deficit in our peacetime history. As we continue to bring that down, local government, which still accounts for nearly a quarter of public spending despite the savings delivered since 2010, must continue to play its part.

At the same time, local residents rightly continue to expect excellent public services. I commend all councils for how they are getting on with the job. Public satisfaction with local services has been maintained, and councils are engaged in substantial efforts to modernise, transform local services, and reduce waste so that frontline services can be protected.

The 2017-18 local government finance settlement supports councils to continue in that regard, and progresses funding reforms to make councils more self-sufficient.

We remain committed to increasing funding certainty for local government. In total, local government spends more than £120 billion a year and the 2015 Spending Review and 2016-17 settlement delivered a flat-cash settlement for local government, providing four year funding allocations for the first time. The settlement being published today is the second year of the four year offer which was accepted by 97% of councils. To enshrine this commitment to stability in law the Local Government Finance Bill establishes a legal framework for multi-year settlements.

Councils are able to use this increased funding certainty to continue reforming the way they work and become more efficient, both in back-office functions and front line service delivery. Building on the £508 million savings already delivered from shared service arrangements, councils are using improved digital technology, new delivery models and innovative partnerships to deliver savings across local government.

We listened to the unanimous view that we must prioritise spending on adult social care services that councils provide to our elderly and vulnerable citizens. The Spending Review put in place up to £3.5 billion of additional funding for adult social care by 2019-20. Recognising the immediate challenges in the care market facing many councils next year, this settlement repurposes £240 million of money which was previously directed to local authorities via the New Homes Bonus to create a new adult social care support grant next year. It also grants councils extra flexibility to raise the adult social care precept by up to 3% next year and the year after.

These measures make available almost £900 million of additional funding for adult social care over the next two years, bringing the total dedicated funding available for adult social care to £7.6 billion over the four year settlement period.

But more money is not the only answer. We will bring forward reforms to provide a sustainable market that works for everyone who needs social care. And I welcome the consensus across both sides of the House that every area should move towards the integration of health and social care services by 2020, so that it feels like one service.

Council Tax Referendum Principles

We are committed to keeping council tax down, and will maintain referendum principles to protect hard-working tax-payers from rising bills. Council tax in England has fallen by 9% in real terms from the levels left behind by Labour in 2010, and is expected to be lower in real terms in 2019-20 than it was in 2010-11.

This year, in addition to the further flexibility on the Adult Social Care Precept, we are proposing a core council tax principle of 2% for principal authorities, or £5 – whichever is greater – for all shire district councils, and for Police and Crime Commissioners in the lowest quartile.

100% Business Rates Retention

To reduce local government’s dependence on central government for funding – long campaigned for by councils - we have announced that by the end of this Parliament, local government will keep 100% of the income raised locally through business rates. Councils will take on new responsibilities to be funded from this additional income - estimated to be around £12.5 billion - as central government grants are phased out. And to ensure councils with less business rates do not lose out, there will continue to be redistributions between authorities.

The Local Government Finance Bill, currently before Parliament, provides the legislative framework for these reforms. This will allow us to continue to work closely with interested parties over the coming months on the more detailed aspects of reforms.

A consultation has already been conducted. The Government response to that announced that, in the reformed system, Revenue Support Grant, Rural Services Delivery Grant, the Public Health Grant and the Greater London Authority Transport Grant will be funded through retained business rates (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/self-sufficient-local-government-100-business-rates-retention). Taken together these account for around half of the additional retained business rates that we estimate will be available to councils. We will continue to engage with local government on the remaining responsibilities to be devolved as part of these reforms but it has already been confirmed that the devolution of Attendance Allowance funding is no longer being considered as part of the Business Rates Retention reforms.

A further consultation has been published seeking views on many of the important aspects of the new system (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/100-business-rates-retention-further-consultation-on-the-design-of-the-reformed-system) – for example, how growth in business rates can best be rewarded, and how the system can help authorities to manage and share risk. Responses to that consultation are invited by 3 May.

Pilots of these reforms will take place from April 2017 in Liverpool, Greater Manchester, West Midlands, West of England, Cornwall and Greater London. We have also confirmed that we are interested in building on the existing pilot scheme and will be inviting all councils to apply to participate in piloting aspects of 100% Business Rates Retention from April 2018. We will be publishing more information about this process shortly.

Conclusion

Reforms to Local Government Finance, based around 100% business rates retention offer a bold and innovative response to the twin challenges of promoting economic growth and securing more self-sufficient and sustainable local government. They will help determine the role, purpose and means of delivery for local government in the years ahead. The 2017-18 Local Government Finance Settlement provides the financial stability authorities need as they transition towards the reformed system in 2019-20; these longer-term reforms will ensure the councils people rely on for their local services are both sustainable, and more self-sufficient.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS485
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 20 February 2017
Made by: Sir Alan Duncan (The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Foreign Affairs Council (6 February 2017)

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the Foreign Affairs Council on 6 February. The Foreign Affairs Council was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. The meeting was held in Brussels.

Foreign Affairs Council

A provisional report of the meeting and Conclusions adopted can be found at:

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/fac/2017/02/06/

Agenda items included Libya, Ukraine, Egypt and the Middle East Peace Process. Ms Mogherini briefed Foreign Ministers on the Serbia/Kosovo dialogue and on planning for a conference on Syria to be held in Brussels in the spring.

Libya

The Council discussed the situation in Libya and adopted Conclusions. The EU remains committed to an inclusive political settlement under the framework of the Libyan Political Agreement, with Libyan ownership of the political process and encouragement to all Libyan actors to engage constructively. There can be no military solution to the conflict. The EU reaffirmed its continued support for the UN Support Mission in Libya and welcomed engagement by Libya’s neighbours and regional organisations. Ministers also discussed the need to stem irregular migration along the Central Mediterranean route.

Ukraine

Foreign Ministers discussed the recent escalation in violence in eastern Ukraine and the resulting humanitarian situation around the town of Avdiivka. They also discussed how the EU could increase support for the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements. Ministers agreed on the need for continued strong support for Ukraine’s reform agenda, which is crucial to strengthen Ukraine’s resilience, and welcomed the progress Ukraine has made on reform to date.

Egypt

Foreign Ministers discussed the economic and political challenges facing Egypt, including the human rights situation, and agreed on the need for closer cooperation on these issues. Ministers also agreed that working more closely with Egypt on regional issues is a priority, given Egypt’s status as a strategic partner in countering terrorism and tackling illegal migration.

MEPP

Foreign Ministers discussed issues relating to the Middle East Peace Process. The Council discussed possible timing for the next EU-Israel Association Council and agreed to revert to the issue. Member States expressed concern about the increase in Israel’s settlement building and the new settlement legislation passed by the Israeli Knesset.

Ministers agreed without discussion a number of measures:

  • The Council updated the information related to twenty-one persons and one entity subject to restrictive measures against the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • The Council took note of the annual progress report on the implementation of the European Union strategy against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
  • The Council took note of the annual report on the implementation of the European Union strategy to combat the illicit accumulation and trafficking of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition – Actions in 2015.
  • The Council approved the conclusion of an agreement aimed at continuing the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC).
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS484
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 20 February 2017
Made by: Baroness Anelay of St Johns (The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Foreign Affairs Council (6 February 2017)

My right Honourable Friend, the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Sir Alan Duncan), has made the following written Ministerial statement:

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the Foreign Affairs Council on 6 February. The Foreign Affairs Council was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. The meeting was held in Brussels.

Foreign Affairs Council

A provisional report of the meeting and Conclusions adopted can be found at:

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/fac/2017/02/06/

Agenda items included Libya, Ukraine, Egypt and the Middle East Peace Process. Ms Mogherini briefed Foreign Ministers on the Serbia/Kosovo dialogue and on planning for a conference on Syria to be held in Brussels in the spring.

Libya

The Council discussed the situation in Libya and adopted Conclusions. The EU remains committed to an inclusive political settlement under the framework of the Libyan Political Agreement, with Libyan ownership of the political process and encouragement to all Libyan actors to engage constructively. There can be no military solution to the conflict. The EU reaffirmed its continued support for the UN Support Mission in Libya and welcomed engagement by Libya’s neighbours and regional organisations. Ministers also discussed the need to stem irregular migration along the Central Mediterranean route.

Ukraine

Foreign Ministers discussed the recent escalation in violence in eastern Ukraine and the resulting humanitarian situation around the town of Avdiivka. They also discussed how the EU could increase support for the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements. Ministers agreed on the need for continued strong support for Ukraine’s reform agenda, which is crucial to strengthen Ukraine’s resilience, and welcomed the progress Ukraine has made on reform to date.

Egypt

Foreign Ministers discussed the economic and political challenges facing Egypt, including the human rights situation, and agreed on the need for closer cooperation on these issues. Ministers also agreed that working more closely with Egypt on regional issues is a priority, given Egypt’s status as a strategic partner in countering terrorism and tackling illegal migration.

MEPP

Foreign Ministers discussed issues relating to the Middle East Peace Process. The Council discussed possible timing for the next EU-Israel Association Council and agreed to revert to the issue. Member States expressed concern about the increase in Israel’s settlement building and the new settlement legislation passed by the Israeli Knesset.

Ministers agreed without discussion a number of measures:

  • The Council updated the information related to twenty-one persons and one entity subject to restrictive measures against the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • The Council took note of the annual progress report on the implementation of the European Union strategy against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
  • The Council took note of the annual report on the implementation of the European Union strategy to combat the illicit accumulation and trafficking of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition – Actions in 2015.
  • The Council approved the conclusion of an agreement aimed at continuing the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC).
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS481
WS
Home Office
Made on: 20 February 2017
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Appointment of Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation

My rt hon Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Amber Rudd) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I am pleased to announce that I am appointing Max Hill QC as the new Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation.

Mr Hill has been a QC for nine years and has extensive experience both defending and prosecuting complex cases involving terrorism, homicide, violent crime, high value fraud and corporate crime. He successfully prosecuted the 21/7 bombers, and he appeared in the inquest into the 7/7 bombings. He also sits as a Recorder at the Old Bailey.

Mr Hill will take up this role from 1 March 2017. He takes over from David Anderson QC, who has served as Independent Reviewer with great distinction since 2011, and to whom I am extremely grateful for the significant contribution he has made.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS480
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 20 February 2017
Made by: Lord Henley (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions)
Lords

Defined Benefit Occupational Pension Schemes

My honourable Friend Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Pensions Richard Harrington MP has made the following Written Statement.

Today the Government is publishing a Green Paper “Security and Sustainability in Defined Benefit Pension Schemes”. This paper also forms part of the Government response to the Work and Pensions Select Committee report into Defined Benefit Pension Schemes. I would like to thank the Committee for its report.

Defined Benefit schemes are an important pillar of the UK economy and our pensions system. In order to generate the funds needed to pay the pensions of retired workers, around £1.5 trillion is invested by nearly 6,000 schemes. The Government is committed to a system that works for employers, schemes and the 11 million people who are in a Defined Benefit scheme.

While the Government does not believe that there is any systemic issues within the sector, it is clear that experiences differ from scheme to scheme. The Government recognises that recent years have been particularly challenging for some employers providing Defined Benefit pensions and the trustees responsible for running these schemes.

The Green Paper looks at a range of issues that have been raised by various stakeholders, for example, whether the Pensions Regulator’s powers should be extended to improve member protection. It focuses on four key areas – funding and investment, scheme affordability, member protection and consolidation, so that we can start to build consensus on whether we may want to reform the current system.

The paper relates only to private sector Defined Benefit schemes and is not concerned with other types of pension provision, such as public service pension schemes or Defined Contribution schemes.

The Government wants to hear from all those with an interest in defined benefit schemes, in particular from scheme members themselves. The consultation will close on 14 May 2017.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS479
WS
Home Office
Made on: 20 February 2017
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Appointment of Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation

I am pleased to announce that I am appointing Max Hill QC as the new Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation.

Mr Hill has been a QC for nine years and has extensive experience both defending and prosecuting complex cases involving terrorism, homicide, violent crime, high value fraud and corporate crime. He successfully prosecuted the 21/7 bombers, and he appeared in the inquest into the 7/7 bombings. He also sits as a Recorder at the Old Bailey.

Mr Hill will take up this role from 1 March 2017. He takes over from David Anderson QC, who has served as Independent Reviewer with great distinction since 2011, and to whom I am extremely grateful for the significant contribution he has made.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS483
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 20 February 2017
Made by: Richard Harrington (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Pensions)
Commons

Defined Benefit Occupational Pension Schemes

Today the Government is publishing a Green Paper “Security and Sustainability in Defined Benefit Pension Schemes”. This paper also forms part of the Government response to the Work and Pensions Select Committee report into Defined Benefit Pension Schemes. I would like to thank the Committee for its report.

Defined Benefit schemes are an important pillar of the UK economy and our pensions system. In order to generate the funds needed to pay the pensions of retired workers, around £1.5 trillion is invested by nearly 6,000 schemes. The Government is committed to a system that works for employers, schemes and the 11 million people who are in a Defined Benefit scheme.

While the Government does not believe that there is any systemic issues within the sector, it is clear that experiences differ from scheme to scheme. The Government recognises that recent years have been particularly challenging for some employers providing Defined Benefit pensions and the trustees responsible for running these schemes.

The Green Paper looks at a range of issues that have been raised by various stakeholders, for example, whether the Pensions Regulator’s powers should be extended to improve member protection. It focuses on four key areas – funding and investment, scheme affordability, member protection and consolidation, so that we can start to build consensus on whether we may want to reform the current system.

The paper relates only to private sector Defined Benefit schemes and is not concerned with other types of pension provision, such as public service pension schemes or Defined Contribution schemes.

The Government wants to hear from all those with an interest in defined benefit schemes, in particular from scheme members themselves. The consultation will close on 14 May 2017.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS482
WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 09 February 2017
Made by: Lord Bridges of Headley (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union)
Lords

General Affairs Council February 2017

My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Exiting the European Union (David Jones) has made the following written statement:

The General Affairs Council (GAC) was held on 7 February in Brussels under the Maltese Presidency.

The agenda covered 1) follow up to the December European Council; 2) preparation for the March European Council; and 3) Commission Communication on Next Steps for a Sustainable European Future. The UK Permanent Representative to the EU represented the UK.

A provisional report of the meeting and the Conclusions adopted can be found at: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/gac/2017/02/07/

Follow up to the December European Council

The Maltese Presidency presented the EU’s key priorities and progress, stating that further work was needed in all areas. The Commission added that Member States should not lose sight of making progress on relocation and the Common European Asylum System.

Preparation for the March European Council

The Presidency presented the draft agenda which includes: jobs, growth and competitiveness, which would take stock of single market strategies; security, where leaders would examine decisions taken at December’s European Council; and a place-holder for external relations. The Presidency announced that external migration would be added. The UK supported the addition of migration following the discussions at the Valletta Summit, welcomed the opportunity to return to security and noted the importance of jobs, growth and competitiveness and external relations.

Commission Communication on Next Steps for a Sustainable European Future

The Commission introduced its Communication, in which it set out a vision for a more sustainable future in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030. It includes empowerment of women; energy transformation; a digital single market; and lifelong learning. There will be Council Conclusions in June to progress work in this area.

AOB

Portugal presented conclusions of a conference on the future of the European Monetary Union held in Lisbon in January. The conference, attended primarily by representatives from southern European countries, called for the EU to work together to promote growth and convergence across Eurozone countries, backed by a socially sustainable increase in public and private investment.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS477
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 09 February 2017
Made by: Baroness Neville-Rolfe (The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury)
Lords

Annual European Union Finances Statement

My right honourable friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury (David Gauke) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am today laying before Parliament, the European Union Finances 2016: statement on the 2016 EU Budget and measures to counter fraud and financial mismanagement (Cm 9400). This is a routine annual publication. It is the thirty sixth in the series. The statement gives details of revenue and expenditure in the 2016 European Union (EU) Budget, recent developments in EU financial management and measures to counter fraud against the EU Budget. It also includes a chapter and annex on the use of EU funds in the UK while we remain a member state.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS476
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 09 February 2017
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Lords

Ministerial cars

I am publishing today details of the charges incurred by Departments for the use of official government cars provided to Ministers by the Government Car Service during the financial year 2015-16, which are in the attached table.

Official transport is provided so that Ministers can carry out their work effectively and securely, including working on sensitive and confidential government documents whilst travelling.

We are committed to continuing our focus on reducing the cost to the taxpayer of the provision of secure Ministerial cars. The Government Car Service has reduced its running costs by three quarters since 2010. We continue to be committed to reducing the cost to the taxpayer of the provision of secure transport.

To assist public scrutiny, equivalent figures for the £6.7 million charges to each department under the last Labour Government can be found at 28 October 2010, Official Report, Column 23WS.

https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm101028/wmstext/101028m0001.htm#10102827000372

Department

No. of GCS Departmental Pool Car Services @ 31/03/2016

Departmental Pool Car Service

Pre-Booked Service

Total Charges (all services)

Attorney General's Office (formerly Law Officers' Department)

1

£82,221.67

£0.00

£82,221.67

Cabinet Office

3

£181,486.50

£6,172.25

£187,658.75

Government Chief Whip

0

£25,435.49

£3,076.25

£28,511.74

Leader of the House of Commons

1

£73,233.74

£0.00

£73,233.74

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

1

£84,797.79

£4,512.45

£89,310.24

Department for Education

1

£87,837.30

£24,899.33

£112,736.63

Department for Communities and Local Government

2

£172,334.20

£2,260.35

£174,594.55

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

1

£82,449.30

£292.50

£82,741.80

Department for Energy and Climate Change

1

£83,199.54

£1,907.25

£85,106.79

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

1

£94,646.45

£9,689.11

£104,335.56

Department for International Development

1

£22,172.98

£6,052.50

£28,225.48

Department for Transport

2

£171,639.84

£4,472.05

£176,111.89

Department for Work and Pensions

0

£0.00

£0.00

£0.00

Department of Health

1

£84,353.29

£75.00

£84,428.29

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

0

£0.00

£705.00

£705.00

HM Treasury

2

£202,226.95

£37,397.27

£239,624.22

Home Office

2

£171,392.96

£27,703.94

£199,096.90

Ministry of Defence

0

£0.00

£0.00

£0.00

Ministry of Justice

0

£0.00

£1,555.00

£1,555.00

Northern Ireland Office

0

£0.00

£11,736.03

£11,736.03

Scotland Office

0

£0.00

£593.70

£593.70

Wales Office

0

£0.00

£3,342.76

£3,342.76

20

£1,619,427.99

£146,442.74

£1,765,870.73

Methodological note:

The charges recorded in this Statement reflect the service model which came into effect in April 2012 as part of the reform programme. This provides Departmental Pool Cars which are a shared resource for a Department to use as efficiently as possible. In addition, the Car Service offers a small pre-bookable service utilising any spare capacity.

These charges do not necessarily reflect the total spend on car services as some departments have arrangements with other providers. The Treasury has two Cabinet Ministers. The former Chancellor used the Government Car Service to supply a driver and vehicle for his protection package whereas the PM, Home, Foreign, Defence and Northern Ireland Secretaries of State used the Metropolitan Police. Such charges are not included in the table.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS478
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 09 February 2017
Made by: Mr John Hayes (Minister of State for Transport )
Commons

Ministerial cars

My Noble Friend, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) has made the following Ministerial Statement

I am publishing today details of the charges incurred by Departments for the use of official government cars provided to Ministers by the Government Car Service during the financial year 2015-16, which are in the attached table.

Official transport is provided so that Ministers can carry out their work effectively and securely, including working on sensitive and confidential government documents whilst travelling.

We are committed to continuing our focus on reducing the cost to the taxpayer of the provision of secure Ministerial cars. The Government Car Service has reduced its running costs by three quarters since 2010. We continue to be committed to reducing the cost to the taxpayer of the provision of secure transport.

To assist public scrutiny, equivalent figures for the £6.7 million charges to each department under the last Labour Government can be found at 28 October 2010, Official Report, Column 23WS.

https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm101028/wmstext/101028m0001.htm#10102827000372

Department

No. of GCS Departmental Pool Car Services @ 31/03/2016

Departmental Pool Car Service

Pre-Booked Service

Total Charges (all services)

Attorney General's Office (formerly Law Officers' Department)

1

£82,221.67

£0.00

£82,221.67

Cabinet Office

3

£181,486.50

£6,172.25

£187,658.75

Government Chief Whip

0

£25,435.49

£3,076.25

£28,511.74

Leader of the House of Commons

1

£73,233.74

£0.00

£73,233.74

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

1

£84,797.79

£4,512.45

£89,310.24

Department for Education

1

£87,837.30

£24,899.33

£112,736.63

Department for Communities and Local Government

2

£172,334.20

£2,260.35

£174,594.55

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

1

£82,449.30

£292.50

£82,741.80

Department for Energy and Climate Change

1

£83,199.54

£1,907.25

£85,106.79

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

1

£94,646.45

£9,689.11

£104,335.56

Department for International Development

1

£22,172.98

£6,052.50

£28,225.48

Department for Transport

2

£171,639.84

£4,472.05

£176,111.89

Department for Work and Pensions

0

£0.00

£0.00

£0.00

Department of Health

1

£84,353.29

£75.00

£84,428.29

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

0

£0.00

£705.00

£705.00

HM Treasury

2

£202,226.95

£37,397.27

£239,624.22

Home Office

2

£171,392.96

£27,703.94

£199,096.90

Ministry of Defence

0

£0.00

£0.00

£0.00

Ministry of Justice

0

£0.00

£1,555.00

£1,555.00

Northern Ireland Office

0

£0.00

£11,736.03

£11,736.03

Scotland Office

0

£0.00

£593.70

£593.70

Wales Office

0

£0.00

£3,342.76

£3,342.76

20

£1,619,427.99

£146,442.74

£1,765,870.73

Methodological note:

The charges recorded in this Statement reflect the service model which came into effect in April 2012 as part of the reform programme. This provides Departmental Pool Cars which are a shared resource for a Department to use as efficiently as possible. In addition, the Car Service offers a small pre-bookable service utilising any spare capacity.

These charges do not necessarily reflect the total spend on car services as some departments have arrangements with other providers. The Treasury has two Cabinet Ministers. The former Chancellor used the Government Car Service to supply a driver and vehicle for his protection package whereas the PM, Home, Foreign, Defence and Northern Ireland Secretaries of State used the Metropolitan Police. Such charges are not included in the table.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS479
WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 09 February 2017
Made by: Mr David Jones (The Minister of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union)
Commons

General Affairs Council February 2017

The General Affairs Council (GAC) was held on 7 February in Brussels under the Maltese Presidency.

The agenda covered 1) follow up to the December European Council; 2) preparation for the March European Council; and 3) Commission Communication on Next Steps for a Sustainable European Future. The UK Permanent Representative to the EU represented the UK.

A provisional report of the meeting and the Conclusions adopted can be found at: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/gac/2017/02/07/

Follow up to the December European Council

The Maltese Presidency presented the EU’s key priorities and progress, stating that further work was needed in all areas. The Commission added that Member States should not lose sight of making progress on relocation and the Common European Asylum System.

Preparation for the March European Council

The Presidency presented the draft agenda which includes: jobs, growth and competitiveness, which would take stock of single market strategies; security, where leaders would examine decisions taken at December’s European Council; and a place-holder for external relations. The Presidency announced that external migration would be added. The UK supported the addition of migration following the discussions at the Valletta Summit, welcomed the opportunity to return to security and noted the importance of jobs, growth and competitiveness and external relations.

Commission Communication on Next Steps for a Sustainable European Future

The Commission introduced its Communication, in which it set out a vision for a more sustainable future in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030. It includes empowerment of women; energy transformation; a digital single market; and lifelong learning. There will be Council Conclusions in June to progress work in this area.

AOB

Portugal presented conclusions of a conference on the future of the European Monetary Union held in Lisbon in January. The conference, attended primarily by representatives from southern European countries, called for the EU to work together to promote growth and convergence across Eurozone countries, backed by a socially sustainable increase in public and private investment.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS481
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 09 February 2017
Made by: Mr David Gauke (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury )
Commons

Annual European Union Finances Statement

I am today laying before Parliament, the European Union Finances 2016: statement on the 2016 EU Budget and measures to counter fraud and financial mismanagement (Cm 9400). This is a routine annual publication. It is the thirty sixth in the series. The statement gives details of revenue and expenditure in the 2016 European Union (EU) Budget, recent developments in EU financial management and measures to counter fraud against the EU Budget. It also includes a chapter and annex on the use of EU funds in the UK while we remain a member state.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS480
WS
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 09 February 2017
Made by: Lord Ashton of Hyde (Lord in Waiting (Government Whip) and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State)
Lords

Annual report on Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation

My Hon Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism and Heritage (Tracey Crouch) has made the following Statement:

I am today publishing the first annual report on the Government’s sport strategy Sporting Future: a New Strategy for an Active Nation.

Sporting Future set out a new government vision to redefine what success looks like in sport by concentrating on five key outcomes - physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, individual development, social and community development and economic development. It was a bold new strategy for an active nation. It marked the biggest shift in Government policy on sport for more than a decade. Much has been achieved so far, and this first annual report sets out the steps we have taken towards making sure absolutely everyone can benefit from the power of sport.

Investment in sport and physical activity is now focused on the five key outcomes. Funding is being opened up to organisations who can demonstrate how they will consistently deliver some or all of those shared goals.

Progress has been made against the three major outputs described in Sporting Future - engagement in sport as a participant, volunteer and spectator; maximising international and domestic sporting success and the impact of major events; and supporting a more productive, sustainable and responsible sport sector across the board.

I am grateful to all those who are working to make Sporting Future such a success. The annual report is being deposited in the House Libraries and is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sporting-future-first-annual-report

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS472
WS
Department for Communities and Local Government
Made on: 09 February 2017
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government)
Lords

ROTHERHAM METROPOLITAN BOROUGH COUNCIL

My rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Sajid Javid) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On 26 February 2015, the then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the then Secretary of State for Education, having considered the report of the inspection by Dame Louise Casey CB and advice note from Sir Michael Wilshaw (HM Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills), concluded that it was both necessary and expedient for them to exercise their intervention powers as Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council was failing to comply with its best value duty. Due to the extent and the gravity of the failings in the Council, the then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government decided that the intervention should be broad and wide ranging. He directed that Commissioners should exercise all executive functions of the authority, as well as some non-executive ones, including licensing, until the Council could exercise them in compliance with its best value duty. A team of Commissioners was appointed to exercise these functions.

On 11 February 2016, my predecessor returned certain functions to the Council, including education, housing and planning. He was satisfied with the progress made and that the Council was able to exercise the identified functions in compliance with the best value duty. Returning these functions was the start of building effective and accountable political leadership and represented a clear milestone on the road to recovery. On 13 December 2016, I announced the return of licensing functions to the Council. I am pleased now to be able to report on further progress made.

In his 10 November 2016 progress report, Lead Commissioner Sir Derek Myers provided robust evidence to support his recommendation for economic growth, town centres, external partnerships and grounds maintenance to be returned to the Council. Additional information provided in December 2016 gave me sufficient assurance on the return of audit, and adult social care and NHS partnership.

The Commissioners will continue to have oversight of these six service areas to ensure continued compliance with the best value duty. With the exception of adult social care and NHS partnership, where Commissioners will have the power of direction, the other five service areas will be returned to the Council with the Commissioners having the power of advice.

Today, I have written to the Council to say that I am now ‘minded to’ return these service areas to the Council but will seek representations before making a final decision. I am placing a copy of the documents associated with these announcements in the Library of the House and on my Department’s website.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS475
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