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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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 17 October 2017
Made by: Greg Clark (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy )
Commons

International Investment

The Government is today publishing a Green Paper: “National Security and Infrastructure Investment Review”. This sets out proposals for amending the current regime in relation to national security and investment.

First, the Government is introducing amendments to the Enterprise Act 2002. For most sectors, the Government is only able to intervene in mergers involving companies with a UK turnover of over £70 million, or where the parties’ combined share of supply increases to 25% or more. This means mergers or acquisitions of some smaller businesses whose ownership is critical to our national security cannot be scrutinised.

The Government proposes to amend the thresholds in two areas: the dual use and military sector, and certain parts of advanced technology, namely the design of computer chips and quantum technology. For these two areas only, we will lower the threshold for Government intervention to businesses with a UK turnover of over £1 million, and remove the requirement for a merger to increase a business’s share of supply to or over 25%.

The Government is also consulting on longer-term proposals, including:

  • introducing a ‘call-in’ power modelled on the existing power within the Enterprise Act 2002, to allow the Government to scrutinise a broader range of transactions for national security concerns within a voluntary notification regime; and/or
  • introducing a mandatory notification regime for foreign investment in parts of the economy which are critical for our national security. Mandatory notification could also be required for foreign investment in key new projects or specific businesses or assets.

These proposals will ensure that our arrangements for protecting national security are more closely aligned with those of major, developed economies, and more robust to the changing nature of threats to our national security.

The Green Paper delivers on the commitment made in the Queen’s Speech to bring forward proposals to consolidate and strengthen Government’s powers to protect national security.

I will be making an oral statement in the House later today and placing a copy of the Green Paper in the Libraries of both Houses.

WS
Department for Communities and Local Government
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Homelessness

My Hon Friend the Minister for Local Government (Marcus Jones) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am today updating the House on a commitment I made during the passage of the Homelessness Reduction Act – the Member for Harrow East’s Private Member’s Bill – to fund the additional duties contained within the Act in line with the new burdens doctrine. Following further discussions with local authorities on the new duties, the Government is providing an additional £11.7 million in new burdens funding, taking the total amount of new burdens funding from £61 million to £72.7 million.

The Government will provide £72.7 million to local authorities to meet the new burdens costs associated with the new duties contained within the Act over the course of the Spending Review. It is anticipated that the additional duties to prevent homelessness will lead to savings for local authorities thereafter.

I am also announcing the local authority allocations of the new burdens funding. The Government has worked with local authorities and the Local Government Association to test the methodology behind the distribution, as well as the core assumptions of the costs of administering the new duties. The distribution reflects the differing need in different authorities. The funding has been allocated according to a formula which reflects where resource pressures are likely to increase as a result of administering the new duties contained in the Act. The details of allocations and new burdens assessment are attached.

Today I am also launching a consultation on the Homelessness Code of Guidance which will support local authorities’ work to prepare for the implementation of the Act. Additionally, Government will be providing local authorities with an equally distributed share of £3 million to support them in upgrading their data systems to monitor the impact of the Homelessness Reduction Act.

The Homelessness Reduction Act will significantly reform England’s homelessness legislation and ensure that more people get the help they need to prevent and relieve homeless. It forms part of the Government’s end-to-end approach to tackling homelessness, helping both those at risk of homelessness and those experiencing a crisis. The new burdens funding for the Act sits alongside other funding for homelessness, including the £315 million Homelessness Prevention funding, our £50 million homelessness prevention package and the £402 million Flexible Homelessness Support Grant.

NB allocation (Word Document, 41.1 KB)
HRA new Burdens (Word Document, 105.75 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS176
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Foreign Affairs Council – 17 July 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 17 July. 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

The meeting covered discussions on the EU Global Strategy, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Libya and Migration.

EU Global Strategy

The Council had a discussion on the implementation on the EU Global Strategy; Foreign Ministers provided guidance on the priorities for 2017 – 2018.

DPRK

The discussion was shaped by the Council Conclusions, agreed in the EU Political and Security Committee earlier in the day. Ministers focused on the threat the DPRK posted to global security and condemned its pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programme in violation multiple UN Security Council resolutions.

Libya

The Council adopted Conclusions on Libya. With the EU warmly welcoming the appointment of Ghassan Salame as the new Special Representative of the UN Secretary General. The Council also agreed to extend the CSDP mission EUBAM Libya until 31 December 2018. The Council underlined the importance of Operation Sophia (the EU’s naval operation to disrupt the business model of human smugglers and traffickers in the Southern Central Mediterranean).

Migration

Foreign Ministers discussed migration, focusing on the situation in the Central Mediterranean Route, together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, and the Director-General of the International Organisation for Migration William Lacy Swing.

Ministers agreed a number of measures without discussion:

- The Council adopted a crisis management concept for a new civilian CSDP mission in Iraq.
- On 17 July 2017, the Council added 16 persons to the list of those targeted by EU restrictive measures against the Syrian regime.
- The Council adopted Conclusions on Pakistan, stating that the EU has a clear interest in a stable, secure, and democratic Pakistan.
- The Council adopted Conclusions on addressing the risks of famine.
- The Council adopted Conclusions on the EU priorities at the UN and at the 72nd UN General Assembly.
- The Council endorsed the EU-ASEAN plan of action 2018 – 2022.

WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Foreign Affairs Council – 15 May 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 15 May. 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

Agenda items included Security and Defence, Horn of Africa, EU-Africa and the Eastern Partnership.

Security and Defence

The Security and Defence discussion centred on HRVP Mogherini and the European Commission updating Foreign Ministers on a variety of dossiers, including the Military Planning and Conduct Capability, Permanent Structured Cooperation, the Coordinated Annual Review of Defence, the forthcoming ATHENA review, CSDP and the European Defence Fund.

Horn of Africa

There was widespread agreement amongst Foreign Ministers that the Horn was of strategic importance for Europe. Mogherini and several others warmly thanked the UK for the London Conference which offered an opportunity to stabilise Somalia. Other areas highlighted for increased EU action were the border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Nile basin tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia, and using the EU-strategic partnership with Ethiopia to deliver messages on human rights and political reform.

EU-Africa

Mogherini introduced the 4 May EEAS/Commission Joint Communication (JC) on the future direction of the EU-Africa relationship, including deliverables for the November Africa-EU Summit. There were two main themes: creating more resilient states and societies, and generating jobs - especially for young people. Member States welcomed the JC and its proposals to increase investment, jobs, and improve education. Foreign Ministers had lunch with African Union Chair Faki.

Eastern Partnership

Foreign Ministers looked forward to the Eastern Partnership Summit in November and discussed how best to build strong links with partners.

Ministers agreed a number of measures without discussion:
- The Council adopted Conclusions on Venezuela
- The Council adopted Conclusions on indigenous peoples
- The Council approved a concept of operations on regionalisation of CSDP action in the Sahel.
- The Council approved the staff rules of the EU Satellite Centre (SATCEN).
- The Council approved the High Representative Report on the Operation ALTHEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- The Council adopted a decision mobilising €2.64 million under the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to provide support to 964 dismissed workers made redundant in four Finnish enterprises operating in the manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products sector.

WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Informal Meeting of EU Foreign Ministers (Gymnich): 28 April 2017

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

I attended the bi-annual informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers (known as the Gymnich) on 28 April in Valletta, Malta. The Gymnich was hosted by Dr George Vella, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malta and was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. Discussion centred on Turkey, Globalisation, the EU Global Strategy and the previous day’s violence in the Macedonia parliament.

Johannes Hahn (EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations) also attended. David McAllister (Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee) was present for the opening session on Turkey. EU Foreign Ministers met with the Foreign Ministers of the candidate countries in the afternoon.

The format of the Gymnich is designed to allow EU Foreign Ministers to engage in informal discussion on a number of issues. In contrast to the Foreign Affairs Council (the next of which will be held on 19 June), Ministers do not take formal decisions or agree Conclusions at the Gymnich.

Gymnich discussion

Turkey

EU Foreign Ministers discussed Turkey in the opening session, agreeing on the need to maintain a dialogue with this strategic partner. I welcomed this consensus and stressed the importance of the tone of our engagement. In the afternoon, EU Foreign Ministers were joined by their Turkish counterpart (Cavusoglu) who touched on a number of matters of shared interest, including the result of the recent constitutional referendum.

Globalisation

Ms. Mogherini introduced a discussion on how to ensure the global trade agenda delivers demonstrable benefits for all EU citizens.

EU Global Strategy (EUGS)

Ms. Mogherini gave the assembled EU Foreign Ministers an account of the EU’s activity in the foreign and security policy sphere since the publication of the Global Strategy (EUGS) last June.

Violence in the FYROM Parliament

Several Member States condemned the violence in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia parliament on 27 April. The FYROM Foreign Minister (Poposki) said there could be no justification for the violence and that those responsible would be brought to justice.

WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Foreign Affairs Council – 3 April 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 3 April. The Foreign Affairs Council was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, (HRVP), Federica Mogherini. The meeting was held in Brussels.

Foreign Affairs Council

Agenda items included Syria, Yemen and Libya. Aboul Gheit, Secretary General of the Arab League, debriefed on the Arab Summit in Amman over lunch at the invitation of the HRVP.

Syria

The Council discussed the situation in Syria and adopted Council Conclusions. The discussion reaffirmed the EU remained committed to a political solution to the crisis. Planning for post-conflict assistance needed to start, but there could be no reconstruction assistance until a credible political transition was firmly underway. The Council agreed to adopt the EU strategy on Syria.

Yemen

The Council discussed the situation in Yemen and adopted Council Conclusions. HRVP Mogherini discussed a potential EU role in Yemen to restart political talks. Foreign Ministers reaffirmed the seriousness of the situation in Yemen and discussed a new framework that had been presented to the warring parties.

Libya

Council members discussed the situation in Libya following the first meeting of the Libya Quartet on 18 March 2017. They discussed common ground between the parties and underlined the EU’s commitment to supporting Libyans in finding unity and stability within the framework of the Libyan Political Agreement.

Ministers agreed a number of measures without discussion:

- The Council adopted Conclusions on the promotion and protection of the rights of the child.
- The Council adopted Conclusions on Somalia
- The Council adopted a decision supporting the UN Programme of Actions to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Lights Weapons (SALW) in All Its Aspects.
- The Council extended its decision 2014/129/CFSP until 2 July 2017 in order to ensure the smooth continuation of the work of the EU non-proliferation consortium of think-tanks, based on the funds still available.
- The Council amended the restrictive measures in view of the situation in Yemen to transpose an update by the United Nations related to four persons subject to restrictive measures.
- The Council adopted a new EU policy on training for the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).
- The Council approved the exercise specifications for the EU crisis management military exercise in 2017 (MILEX17).

WS
Department for Communities and Local Government
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Mr Marcus Jones (Minister for Local Government )
Commons

Homelessness

I am today updating the House on a commitment I made during the passage of the Homelessness Reduction Act – the Member for Harrow East’s Private Member’s Bill – to fund the additional duties contained within the Act in line with the new burdens doctrine. Following further discussions with local authorities on the new duties, the Government is providing an additional £11.7 million in new burdens funding, taking the total amount of new burdens funding from £61 million to £72.7 million.

The Government will provide £72.7 million to local authorities to meet the new burdens costs associated with the new duties contained within the Act over the course of the Spending Review. It is anticipated that the additional duties to prevent homelessness will lead to savings for local authorities thereafter.

I am also announcing the local authority allocations of the new burdens funding. The Government has worked with local authorities and the Local Government Association to test the methodology behind the distribution, as well as the core assumptions of the costs of administering the new duties. The distribution reflects the differing need in different authorities. The funding has been allocated according to a formula which reflects where resource pressures are likely to increase as a result of administering the new duties contained in the Act. The details of allocations and new burdens assessment are attached.

Today I am also launching a consultation on the Homelessness Code of Guidance which will support local authorities’ work to prepare for the implementation of the Act. Additionally, Government will be providing local authorities with an equally distributed share of £3 million to support them in upgrading their data systems to monitor the impact of the Homelessness Reduction Act.

The Homelessness Reduction Act will significantly reform England’s homelessness legislation and ensure that more people get the help they need to prevent and relieve homeless. It forms part of the Government’s end-to-end approach to tackling homelessness, helping both those at risk of homelessness and those experiencing a crisis. The new burdens funding for the Act sits alongside other funding for homelessness, including the £315 million Homelessness Prevention funding, our £50 million homelessness prevention package and the £402 million Flexible Homelessness Support Grant.

HRA New Burdens (Word Document, 105.75 KB)
NB allocation (Word Document, 41.1 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS176
WS
Home Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Modern Slavery: 2017 UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery

Today, I am publishing the 2017 UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery. The Report covers the whole of the UK and has been drafted in collaboration with the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government. This report sets out an assessment of the scale of modern slavery in the UK, and outlines the actions that have taken to combat it over the last year.

A copy of the report will be placed in the House Library.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS167
WS
Home Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Annual Report of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner

I am pleased to announce that I am today laying before the House the 2017 annual report of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. Copies of the report are available in the Vote Office.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS168
WS
Home Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (01 June 2017 to 31 August 2017)

Section 19(1) of the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 (the Act) requires the Secretary of State to report to Parliament as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of every relevant three-month period on the exercise of her TPIM powers under the Act during that period.

The level of information provided will always be subject to slight variations based on operational advice.

TPIM notices in force (as of 31 August 2017)

6

TPIM notices in respect of British citizens (as of 31 August 2017)

5

TPIM notices extended (during the reporting period)

4

TPIM notices revoked (during the reporting period)

1

TPIM notices revived (during the reporting period)

1

Variations made to measures specified in TPIM notices (during the

reporting period)

26

Applications to vary measures specified in TPIM notices refused (during

the reporting period)

1

The number of current subjects relocated under TPIM legislation (as of 31

August 2017)

6

The TPIM Review Group (TRG) keeps every TPIM notice under regular and formal review. The most recent TRG meetings took place on 26 and 30 June, and 3, 4 and 5 July. The next round of TRG’s will take place during September 2017.

One TPIM subject has been charged with breach of his TPIM measures the trial is pending.

The case of Secretary of State for the Home Department v IM, JM and LG [2017] EWHC 1529 (Admin) was heard at the High Court between 20 March and 7 April 2017. In a judgment handed down on 30 June 2017 Mr Justice Nicol upheld the Secretary of State’s decision to impose a TPIM notice on IM, JM and LG. In the same judgment Mr Justice Nicol ordered minor variations to IM, JM and LG’s police reporting requirements and a variation to the wording of the association measure.

This judgment can be found at www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2017/1529.html.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS169
WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Mr Steve Baker (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union)
Commons

General Affairs Council October 2017

My Rt. Hon. Friend Baroness Anelay of St Johns DBE, Minister of State for Exiting the European Union, has made the following statement:

I will be attending the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 17 October 2017 to represent the UK’s interests. Until we leave the European Union, we remain committed to fulfilling our rights and obligations as a full member.

The provisional agenda includes:

Preparation of the European Council, 19 to 20 October 2017

The Estonian Presidency will present its final draft conclusions on the agenda for the October European Council. The agenda includes: migration, digital, defence and external relations.

Rule of law dialogue

An annual rule of law dialogue has formed part of the GAC agenda since 2014. The Presidency has invited Ministers to consider ‘Media pluralism and the rule of law in the digital age’ for this year’s dialogue.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS170
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers (Gymnich): 7-8 September 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 bi-annual informal meeting of EU foreign ministers (known as the Gymnich) on 7-8 September in Tallinn, Estonia. The Gymnich was hosted by Sven Mikser, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia and was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. Discussion centred on Democratic People Republic of Korea (DPRK), Middle East Peace Policy (MEPP) and working methods.

Johannes Hahn (EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations) also attended. David McAllister (Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee) was present for the working dinner and session on the second day. EU foreign ministers met Foreign Ministers of the candidate countries on the morning of 8 September.

The format of the Gymnich is designed to allow EU foreign ministers to engage in informal discussion on a number of issues. In contrast to the Foreign Affairs Council (the next of which will be held on 16 October), Ministers do not take formal decisions or agree Conclusions at the Gymnich.

Gymnich discussion

MEPP

Ministers agreed that a two-state solution was the only way forward but the humanitarian situation was severe. Ms. Mogherini explained that the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the EU Commission were reviewing EU financial assistance to look at what would be most effective in advancing the two state solution.

DPRK

Ms.Mogherini proposed three strands of EU action. First, economic pressure. The EU should support a new UNSCR and adopt new EU sanctions, including looking at EU investment and targeted measures. Second, diplomatic action and insistence on peaceful denuclearisation. Third, protecting the global non-proliferation regime. The EU should lobby countries that weren't fully implementing existing UN sanctions on DPRK and protect the JCPOA.

Countering violent extremism

Ministers welcomed the existing security and counter-terrorism co-operation between the European Union and the EU candidate countries and agreed that it should be further developed and intensified.

WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Baroness Anelay of St Johns (Minister of State for Exiting the European Union)
Lords

General Affairs Council October 2017

I will be attending the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 17 October 2017 to represent the UK’s interests. Until we leave the European Union, we remain committed to fulfilling our rights and obligations as a full member.

The provisional agenda includes:

Preparation of the European Council, 19 to 20 October 2017

The Estonian Presidency will present its final draft conclusions on the agenda for the October European Council. The agenda includes: migration, digital, defence and external relations.

Rule of law dialogue

An annual rule of law dialogue has formed part of the GAC agenda since 2014. The Presidency has invited Ministers to consider ‘Media pluralism and the rule of law in the digital age’ for this year’s dialogue.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS172
WS
Home Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (01 June 2017 to 31 August 2017)

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

Section 19(1) of the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 (the Act) requires the Secretary of State to report to Parliament as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of every relevant three-month period on the exercise of her TPIM powers under the Act during that period.

The level of information provided will always be subject to slight variations based on operational advice.

TPIM notices in force (as of 31 August 2017)

6

TPIM notices in respect of British citizens (as of 31 August 2017)

5

TPIM notices extended (during the reporting period)

4

TPIM notices revoked (during the reporting period)

1

TPIM notices revived (during the reporting period)

1

Variations made to measures specified in TPIM notices (during the

reporting period)

26

Applications to vary measures specified in TPIM notices refused (during

the reporting period)

1

The number of current subjects relocated under TPIM legislation (as of 31

August 2017)

6

The TPIM Review Group (TRG) keeps every TPIM notice under regular and formal review. The most recent TRG meetings took place on 26 and 30 June, and 3, 4 and 5 July. The next round of TRG’s will take place during September 2017.

One TPIM subject has been charged with breach of his TPIM measures the trial is pending.

The case of Secretary of State for the Home Department v IM, JM and LG [2017] EWHC 1529 (Admin) was heard at the High Court between 20 March and 7 April 2017. In a judgment handed down on 30 June 2017 Mr Justice Nicol upheld the Secretary of State’s decision to impose a TPIM notice on IM, JM and LG. In the same judgment Mr Justice Nicol ordered minor variations to IM, JM and LG’s police reporting requirements and a variation to the wording of the association measure.

This judgment can be found at www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2017/1529.html.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS173
WS
Home Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Annual Report of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner

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 today laying before the House the 2017 annual report of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. Copies of the report are available in the Vote Office.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS174
WS
Home Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Modern Slavery: 2017 UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery

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

Today, I am publishing the 2017 UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery. The Report covers the whole of the UK and has been drafted in collaboration with the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government. This report sets out an assessment of the scale of modern slavery in the UK, and outlines the actions that have taken to combat it over the last year.

A copy of the report will be placed in the House Library.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS175
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Foreign Affairs Council (16 October)

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 will attend the Foreign Affairs Council on 16 October. The Foreign Affairs Council will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. The meeting will be held in Luxembourg.

Foreign Affairs Council

The agenda for the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) is expected to include Iran, Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK), Turkey and Human Rights. Hungary has indicated that it will raise under Any Other Business its concerns over recent amendments to Ukraine’s Education Law.

Iran

Ministers will discuss the latest developments regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The UK fully supports full implementation of the deal by all parties. Preventing a nuclear armed Iran is a UK priority for both our security and that of the region.

DPRK

Ministers will focus on the threat the DPRK poses to global security and condemn its pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions. We want the discussion to reinforce the importance of a strong and united EU response. The UK has led efforts to agree a new set of EU autonomous measures against the DPRK set to be adopted at the Foreign Affairs Council. We will make clear the importance of the EU and all its Members States supporting the full enforcement in third countries of the measures adopted under United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Turkey

Ministers will informally discuss development over lunch with a focus on the regional situation.

Human Rights

Ministers will discuss the EU’s approach to human rights challenges in bilateral and multilateral fora. We will stress that wider equities in EU and Member State relationships with third countries should not preclude holding those countries to account for failure to observe their human rights obligations and make clear that the UK will continue to work closely with the EU on human rights even after we leave. Council Conclusions will be adopted.

WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Baroness Buscombe (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions)
Lords

Disabled People’s Employment Corporation (GB) Ltd

My honourable Friend the Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work (Penny Mordaunt MP) has made the following Written Statement.

The Disabled People’s Employment Corporation (GB) Ltd, one of DWP’s Arms’-Length Bodies, has entered Solvent Members’ Voluntary Liquidation. Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP are the liquidators and any residual asset value will be returned to the Department. The Company was previously Remploy Ltd and has been managing legacy issues following the exit of Remploy Employment Services from Government control in April 2015 as a partly employee-owned company.

Since 2015, the Board has been working towards a well-ordered closure, dealing with legacy assets and liabilities. The last premises were sold in September 2017, and the Company’s members agreed to put the Company into liquidation on 7 October 2017.

I plan to deposit the Company’s accounts for the period up to liquidation in the Library of the House in due course. But I can reassure the House that the Directors believe the Company has sufficient assets to settle its creditors in full, and there will be no redundancies as the Company has had no employees since 2015. The pensions of those who worked for the company are secure: the Remploy Ltd Pension and Assurance Scheme has been sponsored directly by my Department since 1 April 2016.

The liquidators are now responsible for the Company, and the Department will manage the contract with the liquidator, who will refer any significant decisions regarding the on-going management of the Department’s investment in the Company to the Principal Accounting Officer if necessary. Responsibilities during this liquidation period are explained in the Framework Document which will be deposited in the Library of the House today.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS164
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Iran nuclear deal)

My Right Honourable Friend, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Boris Johnson), has made the following written Ministerial statement:

Her Majesty’s Government has taken note of President Trump’s decision not to recertify the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to Congress and, along with France, Germany and our other international partners, is concerned by the implications.

Her Majesty’s Government is strongly committed to the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPoA. This deal represents the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy and was a major step towards ensuring that Iran’s nuclear programme is only for peaceful purposes. The JCPoA contributes to the United Kingdom’s wider non-proliferation objectives and strengthens the international framework in this regard.

The Government remains of the firm view that the deal is in the security interests of the United Kingdom and the wider region and is, most importantly, working to constrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The International Atomic Energy Agency has released eight reports on Iran's nuclear programme since Implementation Day of the JCPoA in January 2016. In our role as a member of the Joint Commission, the body set up to implement the deal, consisting of the E3+3 (UK, France, Germany, China, Russia, US) and Iran, and coordinated by the European Union, we have held Iran to account and urged continued compliance. Where Iran has previously pushed the boundaries of the deal, it has taken steps to remain in compliance. The most recent report of the International Atomic Energy Agency in August 2017 confirmed that Iran continues to comply with its nuclear related commitments under the JCPoA.

However, the Government shares serious concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile programme and its destabilising activity in the region. Addressing these issues is a fundamental part of the Government’s policy towards Iran and we will consider further appropriate measures. The nuclear deal does not prevent us from tackling these issues. On the contrary, removing the most dangerous threat of nuclear weapons allows us to focus our efforts on challenging on the other areas of Iran's destabilising activity.

In parallel to agreeing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in July 2015, Her Majesty’s Government has been rebuilding bilateral relations with Iran in order to address issues of disagreement as well as discuss areas of agreement and cooperation. Both the United Kingdom and Iran reopened Embassies in London and Tehran in August 2015 and we upgraded to Ambassadorial relations in September 2016. We remain very concerned about dual British-Iranian nationals who are detained in Iran and on whose cases we continue to press for improvement at the highest levels. Both the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have raised these cases personally with their Iranian counterparts and will continue to do so.

Her Majesty’s Government will continue to make the case for the JCPoA with its partners, including the United States, and is committed to ensuring its success in delivering both our security objectives and delivering sanctions relief for the Iranian people, while we also work to tackle our broader concerns. The Government is encouraging the US Administration and Congress to consider the implications to the security of the US and its allies before taking any further steps that might undermine or weaken the JCPoA.

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Boris Johnson (The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Iran nuclear deal)

Her Majesty’s Government has taken note of President Trump’s decision not to recertify the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to Congress and, along with France, Germany and our other international partners, is concerned by the implications.

Her Majesty’s Government is strongly committed to the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPoA. This deal represents the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy and was a major step towards ensuring that Iran’s nuclear programme is only for peaceful purposes. The JCPoA contributes to the United Kingdom’s wider non-proliferation objectives and strengthens the international framework in this regard.

The Government remains of the firm view that the deal is in the security interests of the United Kingdom and the wider region and is, most importantly, working to constrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The International Atomic Energy Agency has released eight reports on Iran's nuclear programme since Implementation Day of the JCPoA in January 2016. In our role as a member of the Joint Commission, the body set up to implement the deal, consisting of the E3+3 (UK, France, Germany, China, Russia, US) and Iran, and coordinated by the European Union, we have held Iran to account and urged continued compliance. Where Iran has previously pushed the boundaries of the deal, it has taken steps to remain in compliance. The most recent report of the International Atomic Energy Agency in August 2017 confirmed that Iran continues to comply with its nuclear related commitments under the JCPoA.

However, the Government shares serious concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile programme and its destabilising activity in the region. Addressing these issues is a fundamental part of the Government’s policy towards Iran and we will consider further appropriate measures. The nuclear deal does not prevent us from tackling these issues. On the contrary, removing the most dangerous threat of nuclear weapons allows us to focus our efforts on challenging on the other areas of Iran's destabilising activity.

In parallel to agreeing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in July 2015, Her Majesty’s Government has been rebuilding bilateral relations with Iran in order to address issues of disagreement as well as discuss areas of agreement and cooperation. Both the United Kingdom and Iran reopened Embassies in London and Tehran in August 2015 and we upgraded to Ambassadorial relations in September 2016. We remain very concerned about dual British-Iranian nationals who are detained in Iran and on whose cases we continue to press for improvement at the highest levels. Both the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have raised these cases personally with their Iranian counterparts and will continue to do so.

Her Majesty’s Government will continue to make the case for the JCPoA with its partners, including the United States, and is committed to ensuring its success in delivering both our security objectives and delivering sanctions relief for the Iranian people, while we also work to tackle our broader concerns. The Government is encouraging the US Administration and Congress to consider the implications to the security of the US and its allies before taking any further steps that might undermine or weaken the JCPoA.

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Sir Alan Duncan (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Foreign Affairs Council (16 October)

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs will attend the Foreign Affairs Council on 16 October. The Foreign Affairs Council will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. The meeting will be held in Luxembourg.

Foreign Affairs Council

The agenda for the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) is expected to include Iran, Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK), Turkey and Human Rights. Hungary has indicated that it will raise under Any Other Business its concerns over recent amendments to Ukraine’s Education Law.

Iran

Ministers will discuss the latest developments regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The UK fully supports full implementation of the deal by all parties. Preventing a nuclear armed Iran is a UK priority for both our security and that of the region.

DPRK

Ministers will focus on the threat the DPRK poses to global security and condemn its pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions. We want the discussion to reinforce the importance of a strong and united EU response. The UK has led efforts to agree a new set of EU autonomous measures against the DPRK set to be adopted at the Foreign Affairs Council. We will make clear the importance of the EU and all its Members States supporting the full enforcement in third countries of the measures adopted under United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Turkey

Ministers will informally discuss development over lunch with a focus on the regional situation.

Human Rights

Ministers will discuss the EU’s approach to human rights challenges in bilateral and multilateral fora. We will stress that wider equities in EU and Member State relationships with third countries should not preclude holding those countries to account for failure to observe their human rights obligations and make clear that the UK will continue to work closely with the EU on human rights even after we leave. Council Conclusions will be adopted.

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Sir Alan Duncan (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers (Gymnich): 7-8 September 2017

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the bi-annual informal meeting of EU foreign ministers (known as the Gymnich) on 7-8 September in Tallinn, Estonia. The Gymnich was hosted by Sven Mikser, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia and was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. Discussion centred on Democratic People Republic of Korea (DPRK), Middle East Peace Policy (MEPP) and working methods.

Johannes Hahn (EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations) also attended. David McAllister (Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee) was present for the working dinner and session on the second day. EU foreign ministers met Foreign Ministers of the candidate countries on the morning of 8 September.

The format of the Gymnich is designed to allow EU foreign ministers to engage in informal discussion on a number of issues. In contrast to the Foreign Affairs Council (the next of which will be held on 16 October), Ministers do not take formal decisions or agree Conclusions at the Gymnich.

Gymnich discussion

MEPP

Ministers agreed that a two-state solution was the only way forward but the humanitarian situation was severe. Ms. Mogherini explained that the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the EU Commission were reviewing EU financial assistance to look at what would be most effective in advancing the two state solution.

DPRK

Ms.Mogherini proposed three strands of EU action. First, economic pressure. The EU should support a new UNSCR and adopt new EU sanctions, including looking at EU investment and targeted measures. Second, diplomatic action and insistence on peaceful denuclearisation. Third, protecting the global non-proliferation regime. The EU should lobby countries that weren't fully implementing existing UN sanctions on DPRK and protect the JCPOA.

Countering violent extremism

Ministers welcomed the existing security and counter-terrorism co-operation between the European Union and the EU candidate countries and agreed that it should be further developed and intensified.

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Sir Alan Duncan (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Foreign Affairs Council – 17 July 2017

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the Foreign Affairs Council on 17 July. 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

The meeting covered discussions on the EU Global Strategy, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Libya and Migration.

EU Global Strategy

The Council had a discussion on the implementation on the EU Global Strategy; Foreign Ministers provided guidance on the priorities for 2017 – 2018.

DPRK

The discussion was shaped by the Council Conclusions, agreed in the EU Political and Security Committee earlier in the day. Ministers focused on the threat the DPRK posted to global security and condemned its pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programme in violation multiple UN Security Council resolutions.

Libya

The Council adopted Conclusions on Libya. With the EU warmly welcoming the appointment of Ghassan Salame as the new Special Representative of the UN Secretary General. The Council also agreed to extend the CSDP mission EUBAM Libya until 31 December 2018. The Council underlined the importance of Operation Sophia (the EU’s naval operation to disrupt the business model of human smugglers and traffickers in the Southern Central Mediterranean).

Migration

Foreign Ministers discussed migration, focusing on the situation in the Central Mediterranean Route, together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, and the Director-General of the International Organisation for Migration William Lacy Swing.

Ministers agreed a number of measures without discussion:

- The Council adopted a crisis management concept for a new civilian CSDP mission in Iraq.
- On 17 July 2017, the Council added 16 persons to the list of those targeted by EU restrictive measures against the Syrian regime.
- The Council adopted Conclusions on Pakistan, stating that the EU has a clear interest in a stable, secure, and democratic Pakistan.
- The Council adopted Conclusions on addressing the risks of famine.
- The Council adopted Conclusions on the EU priorities at the UN and at the 72nd UN General Assembly.
- The Council endorsed the EU-ASEAN plan of action 2018 – 2022.

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Sir Alan Duncan (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Foreign Affairs Council – 15 May 2017

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the Foreign Affairs Council on 15 May. 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

Agenda items included Security and Defence, Horn of Africa, EU-Africa and the Eastern Partnership.

Security and Defence

The Security and Defence discussion centred on HRVP Mogherini and the European Commission updating Foreign Ministers on a variety of dossiers, including the Military Planning and Conduct Capability, Permanent Structured Cooperation, the Coordinated Annual Review of Defence, the forthcoming ATHENA review, CSDP and the European Defence Fund.

Horn of Africa

There was widespread agreement amongst Foreign Ministers that the Horn was of strategic importance for Europe. Mogherini and several others warmly thanked the UK for the London Conference which offered an opportunity to stabilise Somalia. Other areas highlighted for increased EU action were the border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Nile basin tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia, and using the EU-strategic partnership with Ethiopia to deliver messages on human rights and political reform.

EU-Africa

Mogherini introduced the 4 May EEAS/Commission Joint Communication (JC) on the future direction of the EU-Africa relationship, including deliverables for the November Africa-EU Summit. There were two main themes: creating more resilient states and societies, and generating jobs - especially for young people. Member States welcomed the JC and its proposals to increase investment, jobs, and improve education. Foreign Ministers had lunch with African Union Chair Faki.

Eastern Partnership

Foreign Ministers looked forward to the Eastern Partnership Summit in November and discussed how best to build strong links with partners.

Ministers agreed a number of measures without discussion:
- The Council adopted Conclusions on Venezuela
- The Council adopted Conclusions on indigenous peoples
- The Council approved a concept of operations on regionalisation of CSDP action in the Sahel.
- The Council approved the staff rules of the EU Satellite Centre (SATCEN).
- The Council approved the High Representative Report on the Operation ALTHEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- The Council adopted a decision mobilising €2.64 million under the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to provide support to 964 dismissed workers made redundant in four Finnish enterprises operating in the manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products sector.

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Sir Alan Duncan (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Informal Meeting of EU Foreign Ministers (Gymnich): 28 April 2017

I attended the bi-annual informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers (known as the Gymnich) on 28 April in Valletta, Malta. The Gymnich was hosted by Dr George Vella, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malta and was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. Discussion centred on Turkey, Globalisation, the EU Global Strategy and the previous day’s violence in the Macedonia parliament.

Johannes Hahn (EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations) also attended. David McAllister (Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee) was present for the opening session on Turkey. EU Foreign Ministers met with the Foreign Ministers of the candidate countries in the afternoon.

The format of the Gymnich is designed to allow EU Foreign Ministers to engage in informal discussion on a number of issues. In contrast to the Foreign Affairs Council (the next of which will be held on 19 June), Ministers do not take formal decisions or agree Conclusions at the Gymnich.

Gymnich discussion

Turkey

EU Foreign Ministers discussed Turkey in the opening session, agreeing on the need to maintain a dialogue with this strategic partner. I welcomed this consensus and stressed the importance of the tone of our engagement. In the afternoon, EU Foreign Ministers were joined by their Turkish counterpart (Cavusoglu) who touched on a number of matters of shared interest, including the result of the recent constitutional referendum.

Globalisation

Ms. Mogherini introduced a discussion on how to ensure the global trade agenda delivers demonstrable benefits for all EU citizens.

EU Global Strategy (EUGS)

Ms. Mogherini gave the assembled EU Foreign Ministers an account of the EU’s activity in the foreign and security policy sphere since the publication of the Global Strategy (EUGS) last June.

Violence in the FYROM Parliament

Several Member States condemned the violence in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia parliament on 27 April. The FYROM Foreign Minister (Poposki) said there could be no justification for the violence and that those responsible would be brought to justice.

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Sir Alan Duncan (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Foreign Affairs Council – 3 April 2017

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the Foreign Affairs Council on 3 April. The Foreign Affairs Council was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, (HRVP), Federica Mogherini. The meeting was held in Brussels.

Foreign Affairs Council

Agenda items included Syria, Yemen and Libya. Aboul Gheit, Secretary General of the Arab League, debriefed on the Arab Summit in Amman over lunch at the invitation of the HRVP.

Syria

The Council discussed the situation in Syria and adopted Council Conclusions. The discussion reaffirmed the EU remained committed to a political solution to the crisis. Planning for post-conflict assistance needed to start, but there could be no reconstruction assistance until a credible political transition was firmly underway. The Council agreed to adopt the EU strategy on Syria.

Yemen

The Council discussed the situation in Yemen and adopted Council Conclusions. HRVP Mogherini discussed a potential EU role in Yemen to restart political talks. Foreign Ministers reaffirmed the seriousness of the situation in Yemen and discussed a new framework that had been presented to the warring parties.

Libya

Council members discussed the situation in Libya following the first meeting of the Libya Quartet on 18 March 2017. They discussed common ground between the parties and underlined the EU’s commitment to supporting Libyans in finding unity and stability within the framework of the Libyan Political Agreement.

Ministers agreed a number of measures without discussion:

- The Council adopted Conclusions on the promotion and protection of the rights of the child.
- The Council adopted Conclusions on Somalia
- The Council adopted a decision supporting the UN Programme of Actions to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Lights Weapons (SALW) in All Its Aspects.
- The Council extended its decision 2014/129/CFSP until 2 July 2017 in order to ensure the smooth continuation of the work of the EU non-proliferation consortium of think-tanks, based on the funds still available.
- The Council amended the restrictive measures in view of the situation in Yemen to transpose an update by the United Nations related to four persons subject to restrictive measures.
- The Council adopted a new EU policy on training for the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).
- The Council approved the exercise specifications for the EU crisis management military exercise in 2017 (MILEX17).

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Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Penny Mordaunt (Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work)
Commons

Disabled People’s Employment Corporation (GB) Ltd

The Disabled People’s Employment Corporation (GB) Ltd, one of DWP’s Arms’-Length Bodies, has entered Solvent Members’ Voluntary Liquidation. Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP are the liquidators and any residual asset value will be returned to the Department. The Company was previously Remploy Ltd and has been managing legacy issues following the exit of Remploy Employment Services from Government control in April 2015 as a partly employee-owned company.

Since 2015, the Board has been working towards a well-ordered closure, dealing with legacy assets and liabilities. The last premises were sold in September 2017, and the Company’s members agreed to put the Company into liquidation on 7 October 2017.

I plan to deposit the Company’s accounts for the period up to liquidation in the Library of the House in due course. But I can reassure the House that the Directors believe the Company has sufficient assets to settle its creditors in full, and there will be no redundancies as the Company has had no employees since 2015. The pensions of those who worked for the company are secure: the Remploy Ltd Pension and Assurance Scheme has been sponsored directly by my Department since 1 April 2016.

The liquidators are now responsible for the Company, and the Department will manage the contract with the liquidator, who will refer any significant decisions regarding the on-going management of the Department’s investment in the Company to the Principal Accounting Officer if necessary. Responsibilities during this liquidation period are explained in the Framework Document which will be deposited in the Library of the House today.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS165
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Department for International Development
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Priti Patel (Secretary of State for International Development)
Commons

Economic Development in Africa and South Asia

Over the next decade, a billion more young people will enter the job market, mainly in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. There is a chronic need for jobs and better opportunities in these countries to prevent the next generation falling further into poverty, potentially fuelling global instability and insecurity.

As set out in DFID’s Economic Development Strategy, the UK Government wants to support developing countries to transition into vibrant economies and become stronger trading partners. No country can defeat poverty and leave aid dependency behind without sustainable economic growth, jobs, trade and investment.

CDC is central to the UK’s approach to promoting inclusive growth and economic development in Africa and South Asia. As the UK’s Development Finance Institution, wholly owned by the UK government, it is a world leader in its field. It provides much-needed capital, expertise and support to businesses in the poorest and most fragile countries, helping them to grow markets and create jobs which change the lives of individuals, families and whole communities.

CDC invests for development impact, introducing much-needed capital, expertise and support to thousands of businesses, creating millions of jobs, generating essential taxes, and strengthening transformational sectors such as infrastructure, manufacturing and agriculture. Over the last 3 years - from 2014 through to 2016 - companies backed by CDC in Africa and South Asia have created over 3 million new direct and indirect jobs, and paid taxes to national governments worth over $9 billion.

In agreement with my Rt. Hon Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Elizabeth Truss MP, I am pleased to set out the next step in the UK’s commitment to the growth of CDC, through a gradual capital increase over the next five years. This follows the passing of the CDC Act earlier this year which increased the limit of capital which the UK could invest in CDC.

New capital will enable CDC to build on these excellent development results to make hundreds more investments, create millions of new jobs, and make a lasting difference to the lives of people in the world’s poorest and most fragile countries, by helping individuals to find work, earn money, feed their families and send their children to school.

The decision to invest new capital in CDC comes at a critical time. There is a huge shortfall in the investment needed to meet the ambitions of the Global Goals agreed by the UN in 2015. The UK is rising to this challenge by using government-funded capital in innovative ways. By investing patiently, CDC demonstrates to private investors the opportunities that exist, even in the most difficult places. This leads the way for other investors to follow, mobilising capital from a much larger pool of private investors.

Over the last 5 years, since 2012, DFID has been working together with CDC in a thoughtful and phased way to grow CDC’s capabilities, better measure its impact and identify the need for the long-term, patient capital that CDC can invest to transform the economies of developing countries.

In February Parliament passed the CDC Act, which benefitted from constructive inputs and debate from MPs and Peers from across both Houses.

In July, CDC published its new 5 year strategy. This strategy maintains CDC’s focus on investing in the poorest and most fragile countries in Africa and South Asia and sets out innovative approaches to maximise the transformational impact of CDCs investments, while committing CDC to increased levels of transparency and reporting.

DFID will invest an average of up to £703 million per year over the next 5 years, to support CDC’s new strategy and scale-up its job-creating investment activities. These funds will be drawn down as needed by CDC in response to market demand. The new capital will support investments in Africa and South Asia in priority sectors – those creating the most jobs in the hardest to reach. Capital invested in CDC is invested and reinvested time and again, to ensure that every penny of taxpayers’ money is having maximum development impact. At the same time, CDC is leading the way globally with its code of responsible investing, raising the social, environmental and governance standards of investment in the world’s poorest countries.

This investment is the outcome of extensive analysis and a detailed business case – a copy of which is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/capital-increase-to-cdc-the-uks-development-finance-institution-to-deliver-increased-development-impact-in-africa-and-south-asia-2017-2022.

I am proud to set out this support today, which will have huge development impact for decades to come. CDC’s investments lay the foundations for sustainable and responsible businesses which create jobs, provide vital services, strengthen economies and ultimately transform the world’s poorest nations, and in doing so, build global security and prosperity that benefits us all.

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HM Treasury
Made on: 12 October 2017
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Spending Authority

It is important that departments can start spending to prepare for Brexit when they need to do so. Managing Public Money requires that expenditure on new services must rest on specific legislation. However, delaying spend until legislation has reached Royal Assent could jeopardise readiness for Brexit.

To address this, for the small proportion of spending affected, ministers can issue a technical direction, allowing critical spending to be incurred ahead of Royal Assent, whilst ensuring transparency to Parliament.

In these cases, the use of a Direction will be a matter of timing. Departments will still need to ensure spending is in all other respects regular, proper, feasible and good value for money, in the usual way. I have asked my officials to write to all departments explaining this process. They will also write to the Public Accounts Committee - this letter will be published to ensure full transparency.

As confirmed yesterday, by the Prime Minister to the House and by the Chancellor to the Treasury Committee, the Treasury has committed over £250 million of additional spending in 2017-18 to prepare for Brexit from the Reserve. Departmental allocations will be set out at Supplementary Estimates in the usual way. An update on Brexit spending will also be provided at the Autumn Budget.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS163
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HM Treasury
Made on: 12 October 2017
Made by: Lord Bates (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Spending Authority

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

It is important that departments can start spending to prepare for Brexit when they need to do so. Managing Public Money requires that expenditure on new services must rest on specific legislation. However, delaying spend until legislation has reached Royal Assent could jeopardise readiness for Brexit.

To address this, for the small proportion of spending affected, ministers can issue a technical direction, allowing critical spending to be incurred ahead of Royal Assent, whilst ensuring transparency to Parliament.

In these cases, the use of a Direction will be a matter of timing. Departments will still need to ensure spending is in all other respects regular, proper, feasible and good value for money, in the usual way. I have asked my officials to write to all departments explaining this process. They will also write to the Public Accounts Committee - this letter will be published to ensure full transparency.

As confirmed yesterday, by the Prime Minister to the House and by the Chancellor to the Treasury Committee, the Treasury has committed over £250 million of additional spending in 2017-18 to prepare for Brexit from the Reserve. Departmental allocations will be set out at Supplementary Estimates in the usual way. An update on Brexit spending will also be provided at the Autumn Budget.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS162
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Department of Health
Made on: 12 October 2017
Made by: Lord O'Shaughnessy (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health)
Lords

General Practice Indemnity: Development of a state backed scheme

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health has made the following written statement:

I am today updating the House on recent developments regarding indemnity arrangements for NHS general practice in England.

The Government is committed to ensuring that general practice is an attractive long-term career option that gives stimulus and stability to our brightest medical graduates. Therefore, today I have announced that the Department of Health is planning, subject to examination of relevant issues, the development of a state-backed indemnity scheme for general practice in England.

Rising cost of indemnity is a great source of concern for General Practitioners (GPs). Our ambition is to deliver a more stable and more affordable system for GPs and their patients. The scheme could provide financially sustainable cover for future, and potentially historic, claims arising from the delivery of NHS services.

The Department has benefitted from the engagement with the four Medical Defence Organisations (MDOs) and GP representatives over recent months. Any new scheme should meet the needs of current and future GPs, be in the interest of patients and represent value for money for taxpayers. Transfer of historic liabilities from MDOs to a new scheme would be dependent on satisfactory negotiation with the MDOs.

We will explore with GP representatives how to embed new indemnity arrangements, including the future costs, into GP contract negotiations. The Department will set up a stakeholder group and arrange a first roundtable next month with the Royal College of General Practitioners, British Medical Association and other GP representatives to gather views from General Practice and agree how best to engage with the sector going forward.

Any scheme would take at least 12-18 months to establish and require careful negotiation. GPs should continue to ensure they have appropriate indemnity cover in line with General Medical Council requirements to enable them to practise. NHS England has already committed to provide additional funding to GP practices to cover the estimated annual indemnity inflation for 2016/17 and 2017/18. NHS England has also announced additional money for indemnity cover over the coming winter.

Indemnity arrangements are a devolved matter and the Department will continue to liaise with the Devolved Administrations, who will make their own decisions about indemnity provision in their territories.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS159
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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 12 October 2017
Made by: Lord Prior of Brampton (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

EU Environment Council

My honourable friend the Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry (Claire Perry) has made the following written ministerial statement:

I will attend the EU Environment Council, which will take place on 13th October in Luxembourg.

Following adoption of the agenda, the list of “A” items will be approved.

Under legislative proposals, the Council will debate two proposals with the aim to get an agreement in the Council of Ministers:

  • A Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on binding annual greenhouse gas emission reductions by Member States from 2021 to 2030 for a resilient Energy Union and to meet commitments under the Paris Agreement and amending Regulation No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council on a mechanism for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and other information relevant to climate change. This is known as the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR).

  • A Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry into the 2030 climate and energy framework and amending Regulation No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council on a mechanism for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and other information relevant to climate change. This is known as the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry Regulation (LULUCF).

Under non-legislative proposals, the Council will seek to adopt Conclusions on the EU priorities for the third meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA–3), and on the preparations for the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The following items will be discussed under Any Other Business:

1. Reports on recent international meetings:

  • Sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP 6) to the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention),
  • Joint High-Level Segment under the Meetings of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention and its Protocol on PRTRs,
  • Third session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOPP 3) to the Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers,
  • First meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP 1), (Geneva, 24–29 September 2017)
  • 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP 13)

2. A more transparent, more effective and safer assessment of chemical substances

3. Importance, for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, of good coordination and coherence between the integrated national energy and climate plans for 2030 and the long-term emissions reduction strategies, as well as of minimum quality, comparability and transparency standards

4. 50th session of the international seminar "Science for Peace the World Over" (Erice, Italy, 20–23 August 2017)

The UK has also secured an additional AOB to encourage those Member States who are ready to proceed with early ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the UN Montreal Protocol to protect the Earth’s ozone layer to do so in time for the 30th anniversary meeting of the parties to the Protocol, in Montreal this November.

Last October, agreement was reached in Kigali to amend the Protocol to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) globally by around 85% by the mid-2040s. This could avoid up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of global warming by the end of the century, making a major contribution to the Paris climate goal of a 2 degree limit. The amendment will come into force in 2019 as long as at least 20 countries have ratified by then.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS161
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Department for Transport
Made on: 12 October 2017
Made by: Lord Callanan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Lords

Rail Infrastructure Funding:2019 - 2024

My Right Honourable friend, the Secretary of State for Transport (Chris Grayling), has made the following Ministerial Statement.

I am today publishing my final Statement of Funds Available for the railway in England and Wales for Control Period 6, which covers the years 2019 to 2024. This follows my publication of a High Level Output Specification and initial Statement of Funds Available on 20 July.

The High Level Output Specification made clear that the Government is determined that the railway becomes more focused on issues that matter most to passengers – such as punctuality and reliability. It therefore focused on the operation, maintenance and renewal of the railway – areas which are crucial to delivering a more reliable railway. At the time of its publication, the Government deferred publication of a final Statement of Funds Available, following more work to establish Network Rail’s costs and the scope for efficiency savings across Control Period 6.

This work has now concluded. On the basis of further work by Network Rail, of continued scrutiny by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) – including through its independent reporter, Nichols – and through work by my Department and HM Treasury to challenge costings, Government is now in a position to set out its funding envelope for Control Period 6.

At this stage we expect around £47.9bn to be spent on the railway across Control Period 6. Of this, we expect up to £34.7bn to be provided directly via Government grant, with the remainder coming from a combination of track access charges and income from other sources, such as Network Rail’s property portfolio. These amounts will be refined during the regulatory process, which will produce by summer 2018 detailed draft amounts for the 2019-2024 period for consultation. Budgets will be set at route level, as part of the devolution of more accountability and authority to Network Rail routes, driving change in the organisation. The regulatory process will conclude with a Final Determination in October 2018.

During this process I expect the regulator to provide a strong efficiency challenge to maximise value for money, and the ORR has substantially changed its regulatory approach to help achieve this.

We have some of the most intensively used railways in Europe, and this investment focuses on the essential work needed to ensure their safety and reliability, including funding to support a significant increase in renewals activity compared to the current period, and increased maintenance spend to allow Network Rail to meet the challenges of a busier network. This investment recognises the critical importance of these activities in preserving the day to day operation of the railway.

I believe that a renewed focus on core railway activities will help return train performance to the levels that passengers expect and deserve. Overall, this significant funding demonstrates Government’s continued commitment to investing in the railway for the benefit of passengers, communities, the supply chain and the wider economy.

Government has already made clear that it expects new enhancements to the rail network to be developed outside of the regulatory system. However, the Statement of Funds Available published today includes funding to continue to take forward the enhancements that were deferred from Control Period 5. In line with the new process for enhancements these schemes will continue to be subject to ongoing consideration to ensure they deliver the best results for both rail users and taxpayers. In addition to this, I am making funding available for the early-stage development of new enhancement schemes. I will announce further details on a new process for taking forward enhancements later in the year. We need to ensure investment best addresses the needs of passengers and freight, and that funding commitments appropriately reflect the stage of development of those enhancements.

Furthermore, the Statement of Funds Available also includes funding for continued investment in improvements to both the accessibility of the railway and the rail freight network. Our commitment to funding accessibility improvements in the railway further emphasises our drive to ensure that the railway is accessible to all. The Government has recognised the crucial role that rail freight plays in supporting the economy and the environment and our continued investment in the freight network recognises this.

Given the need to spend public money wisely and to incentivise the industry to do so, I believe the funding envelope published today is stretching yet achievable. I will continue to push Network Rail to improve its effectiveness and efficiency. In particular I support an ambitious approach to route devolution, so that Network Rail is more focused on its customers. I will also modernise the Government’s oversight and assurance arrangements for Network Rail to properly reflect its public sector status. I have taken steps to ensure that this money is spent more effectively and that the problems with cost and delivery which occurred during Control Period 5 are not repeated. I will also continue to drive improvement across the wider industry, including the franchising system. I will update this House further on my plans for wider rail strategy in the near future. I am arranging for copies of the Statement of Funds Available to be placed in the libraries of the House.

Statement of Funds Available (PDF Document, 1.34 MB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS160
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 12 October 2017
Made by: Lord Prior of Brampton (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

The Clean Growth Strategy

My honourable friend the Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry (Claire Perry) has made the following written ministerial statement:

The Government is today publishing the Clean Growth Strategy – an ambitious strategy to cut emissions while keeping costs down for consumers, creating good jobs and growing the economy. This is an important component of our modern Industrial Strategy. We are also laying our responses to the Committee on Climate Change’s 2017 Progress Report to Parliament and publishing a suite of related documents.

Clean growth can make a real difference to people’s lives, from reducing energy bills and improving air quality, to supporting new technologies and boosting earning power in high-quality jobs.

We start from a position of strength. We have already made significant progress towards our legally binding 2050 target to reduce emissions by at least 80 per cent against 1990 levels. We exceeded the target emissions reductions of our first carbon budget (2008 to 2012) by one per cent of the budget level and we project that we will outperform against our second and third budgets covering the years 2013 to 2022 by almost five per cent and four per cent respectively.

The UK is a world leader in cutting emissions while growing the economy. Provisional statistics indicate that UK emissions in 2016 were 42 per cent lower than in 1990 and 6 per cent below those in 2015. At the same time, the UK’s GDP has increased by 67 per cent since 1990 showing that a strong, growing economy can go hand in hand with reduced emissions. On a per person basis, this means that we have reduced emissions faster than any other G7 nation and led the G7 group in growth in national income over the period.

The global transition to a low carbon economy offers huge growth opportunities which the UK is well placed to take advantage of as a core element of our Industrial Strategy. Our low carbon sector already employs over 230,000 people directly and another 200,000 through supply chains. Analysis for the Committee on Climate Change estimated that the low carbon economy has the potential to grow 11 per cent per year between 2015 and 2030 - four times faster than the rest of the economy.

While we have performed strongly to date, the task ahead is significant. The Clean Growth Strategy sets out policies and proposals across the whole of the economy and the country including business, housing, transport, power, the natural environment and the public sector.

Low carbon innovation is at the heart of our approach, with over £2.5 billion of government investment from 2015 to 2021. This forms part of the largest increase in public spending on UK science, research and innovation in almost 40 years.

The Clean Growth Strategy is an important milestone in the UK’s work to cut emissions and grow the economy. But it is not the end of the process. Clean technology is developing at a rapid pace and costs are falling faster than many predicted – for example, the cost of offshore wind has halved in two years. We look forward to working with colleagues across both Houses and the Devolved Administrations, and with people and organisations across the country, to ensure the UK can continue to lead the world in clean growth.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS158
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 12 October 2017
Made by: Claire Perry (Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry)
Commons

EU Environment Council

I will attend the EU Environment Council, which will take place on 13th October in Luxembourg.

Following adoption of the agenda, the list of “A” items will be approved.

Under legislative proposals, the Council will debate two proposals with the aim to get an agreement in the Council of Ministers:

  • A Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on binding annual greenhouse gas emission reductions by Member States from 2021 to 2030 for a resilient Energy Union and to meet commitments under the Paris Agreement and amending Regulation No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council on a mechanism for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and other information relevant to climate change. This is known as the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR).

  • A Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry into the 2030 climate and energy framework and amending Regulation No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council on a mechanism for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and other information relevant to climate change. This is known as the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry Regulation (LULUCF).

Under non-legislative proposals, the Council will seek to adopt Conclusions on the EU priorities for the third meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA–3), and on the preparations for the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The following items will be discussed under Any Other Business:

1.Reports on recent international meetings:

  • Sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP 6) to the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention),
  • Joint High-Level Segment under the Meetings of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention and its Protocol on PRTRs,
  • Third session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOPP 3) to the Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers,
  • First meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP 1), (Geneva, 24–29 September 2017)
  • 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP 13)

2. A more transparent, more effective and safer assessment of chemical substances

3. Importance, for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, of good coordination and coherence between the integrated national energy and climate plans for 2030 and the long-term emissions reduction strategies, as well as of minimum quality, comparability and transparency standards

4. 50th session of the international seminar "Science for Peace the World Over" (Erice, Italy, 20–23 August 2017)

The UK has also secured an additional AOB to encourage those Member States who are ready to proceed with early ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the UN Montreal Protocol to protect the Earth’s ozone layer to do so in time for the 30th anniversary meeting of the parties to the Protocol, in Montreal this November.

Last October, agreement was reached in Kigali to amend the Protocol to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) globally by around 85% by the mid-2040s. This could avoid up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of global warming by the end of the century, making a major contribution to the Paris climate goal of a 2 degree limit. The amendment will come into force in 2019 as long as at least 20 countries have ratified by then.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS161
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 12 October 2017
Made by: Chris Grayling (Secretary of State for Transport)
Commons

Rail Infrastructure Funding:2019 - 2024

I am today publishing my final Statement of Funds Available for the railway in England and Wales for Control Period 6, which covers the years 2019 to 2024. This follows my publication of a High Level Output Specification and initial Statement of Funds Available on 20 July.

The High Level Output Specification made clear that the Government is determined that the railway becomes more focused on issues that matter most to passengers – such as punctuality and reliability. It therefore focused on the operation, maintenance and renewal of the railway – areas which are crucial to delivering a more reliable railway. At the time of its publication, the Government deferred publication of a final Statement of Funds Available, following more work to establish Network Rail’s costs and the scope for efficiency savings across Control Period 6.

This work has now concluded. On the basis of further work by Network Rail, of continued scrutiny by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) – including through its independent reporter, Nichols – and through work by my Department and HM Treasury to challenge costings, Government is now in a position to set out its funding envelope for Control Period 6.

At this stage we expect around £47.9bn to be spent on the railway across Control Period 6. Of this, we expect up to £34.7bn to be provided directly via Government grant, with the remainder coming from a combination of track access charges and income from other sources, such as Network Rail’s property portfolio. These amounts will be refined during the regulatory process, which will produce by summer 2018 detailed draft amounts for the 2019-2024 period for consultation. Budgets will be set at route level, as part of the devolution of more accountability and authority to Network Rail routes, driving change in the organisation. The regulatory process will conclude with a Final Determination in October 2018.

During this process I expect the regulator to provide a strong efficiency challenge to maximise value for money, and the ORR has substantially changed its regulatory approach to help achieve this.

We have some of the most intensively used railways in Europe, and this investment focuses on the essential work needed to ensure their safety and reliability, including funding to support a significant increase in renewals activity compared to the current period, and increased maintenance spend to allow Network Rail to meet the challenges of a busier network. This investment recognises the critical importance of these activities in preserving the day to day operation of the railway.

I believe that a renewed focus on core railway activities will help return train performance to the levels that passengers expect and deserve. Overall, this significant funding demonstrates Government’s continued commitment to investing in the railway for the benefit of passengers, communities, the supply chain and the wider economy.

Government has already made clear that it expects new enhancements to the rail network to be developed outside of the regulatory system. However, the Statement of Funds Available published today includes funding to continue to take forward the enhancements that were deferred from Control Period 5. In line with the new process for enhancements these schemes will continue to be subject to ongoing consideration to ensure they deliver the best results for both rail users and taxpayers. In addition to this, I am making funding available for the early-stage development of new enhancement schemes. I will announce further details on a new process for taking forward enhancements later in the year. We need to ensure investment best addresses the needs of passengers and freight, and that funding commitments appropriately reflect the stage of development of those enhancements.

Furthermore, the Statement of Funds Available also includes funding for continued investment in improvements to both the accessibility of the railway and the rail freight network. Our commitment to funding accessibility improvements in the railway further emphasises our drive to ensure that the railway is accessible to all. The Government has recognised the crucial role that rail freight plays in supporting the economy and the environment and our continued investment in the freight network recognises this.

Given the need to spend public money wisely and to incentivise the industry to do so, I believe the funding envelope published today is stretching yet achievable. I will continue to push Network Rail to improve its effectiveness and efficiency. In particular I support an ambitious approach to route devolution, so that Network Rail is more focused on its customers. I will also modernise the Government’s oversight and assurance arrangements for Network Rail to properly reflect its public sector status. I have taken steps to ensure that this money is spent more effectively and that the problems with cost and delivery which occurred during Control Period 5 are not repeated. I will also continue to drive improvement across the wider industry, including the franchising system. I will update this House further on my plans for wider rail strategy in the near future. I am arranging for copies of the Statement of Funds Available to be placed in the libraries of the House.

Statement of Funds Available (PDF Document, 1.34 MB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS160
WS
Department of Health
Made on: 12 October 2017
Made by: Mr Jeremy Hunt (Secretary of State for Health)
Commons

General Practice Indemnity: Development of a state backed scheme

I am today updating the House on recent developments regarding indemnity arrangements for NHS general practice in England.

The Government is committed to ensuring that general practice is an attractive long-term career option that gives stimulus and stability to our brightest medical graduates. Therefore, today I have announced that the Department of Health is planning, subject to examination of relevant issues, the development of a state-backed indemnity scheme for general practice in England.

Rising cost of indemnity is a great source of concern for General Practitioners (GPs). Our ambition is to deliver a more stable and more affordable system for GPs and their patients. The scheme could provide financially sustainable cover for future, and potentially historic, claims arising from the delivery of NHS services.

The Department has benefitted from the engagement with the four Medical Defence Organisations (MDOs) and GP representatives over recent months. Any new scheme should meet the needs of current and future GPs, be in the interest of patients and represent value for money for taxpayers. Transfer of historic liabilities from MDOs to a new scheme would be dependent on satisfactory negotiation with the MDOs.

We will explore with GP representatives how to embed new indemnity arrangements, including the future costs, into GP contract negotiations. The Department will set up a stakeholder group and arrange a first roundtable next month with the Royal College of General Practitioners, British Medical Association and other GP representatives to gather views from General Practice and agree how best to engage with the sector going forward.

Any scheme would take at least 12-18 months to establish and require careful negotiation. GPs should continue to ensure they have appropriate indemnity cover in line with General Medical Council requirements to enable them to practise. NHS England has already committed to provide additional funding to GP practices to cover the estimated annual indemnity inflation for 2016/17 and 2017/18. NHS England has also announced additional money for indemnity cover over the coming winter.

Indemnity arrangements are a devolved matter and the Department will continue to liaise with the Devolved Administrations, who will make their own decisions about indemnity provision in their territories.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS162
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 12 October 2017
Made by: Claire Perry (Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry)
Commons

The Clean Growth Strategy

The Government is today publishing the Clean Growth Strategy – an ambitious strategy to cut emissions while keeping costs down for consumers, creating good jobs and growing the economy. This is an important component of our modern Industrial Strategy. We are also laying our responses to the Committee on Climate Change’s 2017 Progress Report to Parliament and publishing a suite of related documents.

Clean growth can make a real difference to people’s lives, from reducing energy bills and improving air quality, to supporting new technologies and boosting earning power in high-quality jobs.

We start from a position of strength. We have already made significant progress towards our legally binding 2050 target to reduce emissions by at least 80 per cent against 1990 levels. We exceeded the target emissions reductions of our first carbon budget (2008 to 2012) by one per cent of the budget level and we project that we will outperform against our second and third budgets covering the years 2013 to 2022 by almost five per cent and four per cent respectively.

The UK is a world leader in cutting emissions while growing the economy. Provisional statistics indicate that UK emissions in 2016 were 42 per cent lower than in 1990 and 6 per cent below those in 2015. At the same time, the UK’s GDP has increased by 67 per cent since 1990 showing that a strong, growing economy can go hand in hand with reduced emissions. On a per person basis, this means that we have reduced emissions faster than any other G7 nation and led the G7 group in growth in national income over the period.

The global transition to a low carbon economy offers huge growth opportunities which the UK is well placed to take advantage of as a core element of our Industrial Strategy. Our low carbon sector already employs over 230,000 people directly and another 200,000 through supply chains. Analysis for the Committee on Climate Change estimated that the low carbon economy has the potential to grow 11 per cent per year between 2015 and 2030 - four times faster than the rest of the economy.

While we have performed strongly to date, the task ahead is significant. The Clean Growth Strategy sets out policies and proposals across the whole of the economy and the country including business, housing, transport, power, the natural environment and the public sector.

Low carbon innovation is at the heart of our approach, with over £2.5 billion of government investment from 2015 to 2021. This forms part of the largest increase in public spending on UK science, research and innovation in almost 40 years.

The Clean Growth Strategy is an important milestone in the UK’s work to cut emissions and grow the economy. But it is not the end of the process. Clean technology is developing at a rapid pace and costs are falling faster than many predicted – for example, the cost of offshore wind has halved in two years. We look forward to working with colleagues across both Houses and the Devolved Administrations, and with people and organisations across the country, to ensure the UK can continue to lead the world in clean growth.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS159
WS
Home Office
Made on: 11 October 2017
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Grenfell Tower Fire

My rt hon Friend the Minister of State for Immigration (Brandon Lewis) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I wish to inform the House that I am today introducing a change to the dedicated immigration policy for residents of Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk.

The Government has been clear that its priority is to ensure that survivors of this tragedy get the access they need to vital services, irrespective of immigration status.

On 5 July, we announced that those individuals directly affected by the Grenfell Tower fire who contact the Home Office via a specified process will be given a period of limited leave for 12 months to remain in the UK with full access to relevant support and assistance.

Our initial response to this terrible tragedy was rightly focused on survivors’ immediate needs in the aftermath of the fire and ensuring they could access the services they need to start to rebuild their lives.

However, since the Grenfell Tower immigration policy was announced, we have been planning for the future of those residents affected by these unprecedented events and listening to their feedback, as well as the views of Sir Martin Moore-Bick.

The Government believes it is right to provide the specific group of survivors who are eligible for limited leave to remain under the dedicated immigration policy greater certainty over their long-term future in the UK, subject to their continued eligibility and the necessary security and criminality and fraud checks being met.

That is why I am announcing today that those who qualify for leave to remain under the Grenfell immigration policy for survivors will now be provided with a route to permanent settlement in the UK.

Eligible individuals, who have already come forward or do so by 30 November 2017, will be granted an initial 12 months’ limited leave which will be extendable and lead to permanent residence after a total period of five years’ leave granted under the policy, subject to meeting security, criminality and fraud checks.

I also wish to inform the House of additional support for relatives of survivors or relatives of victims of the tragedy who have already been granted entry to the UK for reasons relating to the Grenfell tragedy. The changes I am announcing today will enable relatives to stay in the UK for up to six months from their date of entry. This new dedicated immigration policy allows relatives who have come to the UK and who were initially granted less than 6 months’ leave in order to provide a short period of support a survivor or to arrange the funeral of a family member to extend their stay to 6 months in total.

Anyone who believes they are eligible for either scheme can speak face-to-face to a specialist Home Office team at The Community Assistance Centre, 10 Bard Road, Nottingdale, West London, W10 6TP.

There are existing immigration policies which allow us to consider compassionate circumstances where someone is not covered by the bespoke policies for survivors and relatives and any such applications would be considered on a case by case basis.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS157
WS
Home Office
Made on: 11 October 2017
Made by: Brandon Lewis (The Minister of State for Immigration)
Commons

Grenfell Tower Fire

I wish to inform the House that I am today introducing a change to the dedicated immigration policy for residents of Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk.

The Government has been clear that its priority is to ensure that survivors of this tragedy get the access they need to vital services, irrespective of immigration status.

On 5 July, we announced that those individuals directly affected by the Grenfell Tower fire who contact the Home Office via a specified process will be given a period of limited leave for 12 months to remain in the UK with full access to relevant support and assistance.

Our initial response to this terrible tragedy was rightly focused on survivors’ immediate needs in the aftermath of the fire and ensuring they could access the services they need to start to rebuild their lives.

However, since the Grenfell Tower immigration policy was announced, we have been planning for the future of those residents affected by these unprecedented events and listening to their feedback, as well as the views of Sir Martin Moore-Bick.

The Government believes it is right to provide the specific group of survivors who are eligible for limited leave to remain under the dedicated immigration policy greater certainty over their long-term future in the UK, subject to their continued eligibility and the necessary security and criminality and fraud checks being met.

That is why I am announcing today that those who qualify for leave to remain under the Grenfell immigration policy for survivors will now be provided with a route to permanent settlement in the UK.

Eligible individuals, who have already come forward or do so by 30 November 2017, will be granted an initial 12 months’ limited leave which will be extendable and lead to permanent residence after a total period of five years’ leave granted under the policy, subject to meeting security, criminality and fraud checks.

I also wish to inform the House of additional support for relatives of survivors or relatives of victims of the tragedy who have already been granted entry to the UK for reasons relating to the Grenfell tragedy. The changes I am announcing today will enable relatives to stay in the UK for up to six months from their date of entry. This new dedicated immigration policy allows relatives who have come to the UK and who were initially granted less than 6 months’ leave in order to provide a short period of support a survivor or to arrange the funeral of a family member to extend their stay to 6 months in total.

Anyone who believes they are eligible for either scheme can speak face-to-face to a specialist Home Office team at The Community Assistance Centre, 10 Bard Road, Nottingdale, West London, W10 6TP.

There are existing immigration policies which allow us to consider compassionate circumstances where someone is not covered by the bespoke policies for survivors and relatives and any such applications would be considered on a case by case basis.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS158
WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 11 October 2017
Made by: Lord Ashton of Hyde (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Lords

Internet Safety Strategy

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Rt Hon Karen Bradley) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I wish to inform the House that, on 11th October, the Department for Digital Culture and Media and Sport will publish the Internet Safety Strategy green paper. The accompanying public consultation will close on 7 December 2017. Both can be found at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/internet-safety-strategy-green-paper

The Strategy was publically announced in February of this year and will give effect to our manifesto commitment to “make Britain the safest place in the world to be online”.

The Strategy considers the responsibilities of companies to their users, the use of technical solutions to prevent online harms and government’s role in supporting users. It is underpinned by three key principles: what is unacceptable offline should be unacceptable online; all users should be empowered to manage online risks and stay safe; and technology companies have a responsibility to their users.

The Strategy represents the first strand of our Digital Charter work which will ensure that every individual and every business can seize the opportunities of digital technology. We are developing the Digital Charter by working with companies, civil society and others to establish a strong framework that balances freedom with protection for users, and offers opportunities alongside obligations for businesses and platforms. The manifesto made it clear that the Government will act when people need more protections to keep them safe, including online.

The Digital Economy Act 2017 requires a voluntary code of practice to be established, to set guidance on what social media providers should do in relation to harmful conduct on their platforms. The Internet Safety Strategy consults on the form this should take as part of a wider framework for industry responsibility, including an annual transparency report by social media platforms and a social media levy to enable greater public awareness of online safety and enable preventative measures against online harms.

The Strategy is being undertaken alongside new age verification measures for pornography. The Digital Economy Act introduced the requirement for commercial providers of online pornography to have robust age verification controls in place to prevent children and young people under 18 from accessing pornographic material. This measure is due to be in place in April 2018 - 12 months after the Act received Royal Assent.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life is separately leading an inquiry into the Intimidation of Parliamentary Candidates, including through online platforms. The measures in the Strategy, such as the responsibilities of companies to their users, will usefully support government’s objectives in these areas.

Government plans to issue a response to the Internet Safety Strategy green paper in 2018.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS156
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 11 October 2017
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Alleged Serious and Significant Offences (Diplomatic Immunity): 2016

My right Honourable Friend, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Boris Johnson), has made the following written Ministerial statement:

In 2016, 12 serious and significant offences allegedly committed by people entitled to diplomatic or international organisation-related immunity in the United Kingdom were drawn to the attention of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office by Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection of the Metropolitan Police Service, or other law enforcement agencies. Eight of these were driving-related. We define serious offences as those which could, in certain circumstances, carry a penalty of 12 months’ imprisonment or more. Also included are drink-driving and driving without insurance.

Around 22,500 people are entitled to diplomatic immunity in the United Kingdom and the majority of diplomats abide by UK law. The number of alleged serious crimes committed by members of the diplomatic community in the UK is proportionately low.

Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961, those entitled to immunity are expected to obey the law. The FCO does not tolerate foreign diplomats breaking the law.

We take all allegations of illegal activity seriously. When instances of alleged criminal conduct are brought to our attention by the police, we ask the relevant foreign government to waive diplomatic immunity where appropriate. For the most serious offences, and when a relevant waiver has not been granted, we seek the immediate withdrawal of the diplomat.

Alleged serious and significant offences reported to the FCO in 2016 are listed below.

2016

Driving without insurance

Qatar 1

Driving without insurance (or an MOT, and not in accordance with a licence)

Saudi Arabia 1

Driving without insurance (and not in accordance with a licence)

Guinea 1

Pakistan 1

Driving under the influence of alcohol

Botswana 1

Russia 2

Driving under the influence of alcohol (using a hand-held mobile telephone or other hand-held interactive communication device when driving)

Saudi Arabia 1

Actual bodily harm (a)

Libya 1

Possession of a class B drug with intent to supply (a)

Libya 1

Possession of an offensive weapon (a)

Libya 1

(a) These are allegations made against the same person.


The following offence was also reported to the FCO in 2016 and the offender’s criminal conduct was proven in a court of law.

Sexual Assault

European Bank of Reconstruction and Development 1


We also wish to record that in 2016 a former Attaché at the Canadian High Commission was convicted at Southwark Crown Court of three counts of making indecent photographs/pseudo-photograph of a child; one count of possessing a prohibited image of a child; one count of possessing an extreme pornographic image; and one count of failing to comply with a Section 49 Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act notice. The former Attaché was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment. These offences were not recorded in last year’s Written Ministerial Statement because the case was then sub judice and their previous inclusion might have prejudiced the outcome of criminal proceedings.

Figures for previous years are available in the Secretary for State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs’ written statement to the House on 21 July 2016, Official Report, column 40WS (HCWS106HLWS112HLWS112).

WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 11 October 2017
Made by: Lord Callanan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Lords

Planning Act 2008: Application for the proposed Silvertown Tunnel Development Consent Order

My Honourable Friend, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport (Paul Maynard) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

I have been asked by my Right Honourable Friend, the Secretary of State, to make this Written Ministerial Statement. This statement concerns the application made by Transport for London under the Planning Act 2008 on 29 April 2016 for a proposed development known as Silvertown Tunnel.

The Application will allow for the construction of a new twin bore road tunnel to pass under the River Thames, providing a new connection between the A102 Blackwall Tunnel Southern Approach and the Tidal Basin roundabout junction on the A1020 Lower Lea Crossing, London.

Under sub-section 107(1) of the Planning Act 2008, the Secretary of State must make his decision within 3 months of receipt of the Examining Authority’s report unless exercising the power under sub-section 107(3) to extend the deadline and make a Statement to the House of Parliament announcing the new deadline. The Secretary of State received the Examining Authority’s report on Silvertown Tunnel on 11 July 2017 and the current deadline for a decision is 11 October 2017.

The deadline for the decision is to be extended to 10 November 2017 (an extension of 1 month). This extension is to enable further consideration of the recent responses to the Secretary of State consultations on the scheme which relate to the updated UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations published by Government on 26 July 2017.

The decision to set a new deadline is without prejudice to the decision on whether to give development consent.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS153
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 11 October 2017
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Debts owed by Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations in the United Kingdom: 2016

My right Honourable Friend, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Boris Johnson), has made the following written Ministerial statement:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has held meetings with a number of missions about outstanding parking fine debt, outstanding National Non-Domestic Rates payments and unpaid Congestion Charge debt. The Director of Protocol raises the issue in his introductory meetings with all new Ambassadors and High Commissioners whose missions are in debt to the relevant authorities. FCO officials also press diplomatic missions and international organisations to pay outstanding fines and debts. In April this year, Protocol Directorate wrote to diplomatic missions and international organisations concerned giving them the opportunity to either pay their outstanding debts, or appeal against specific fines if they considered that they had been issued incorrectly.

Parking fines: in 2016, 4,311 parking fines incurred by diplomatic missions and international organisations in London were brought to our attention by local councils, Transport for London and the City of London. These totalled at least(a) £430,126.

Subsequent payments (including amounts waived by the above authorities) totalled £102,164. There remains a total of £327,962 in unpaid fines for 2016.

The table below details those Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations that have outstanding fines from 2016 totalling £1,000 or more, as of 28 June 2017.

Diplomatic Mission/International Organisation

2016

Amount of Outstanding Fines

(excluding congestion charge)

£

Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan

£83,215

High Commission for the Federal Republic of Nigeria

£30,024

Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia

£19,202

Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan

£17,985

High Commission for the Republic of Zambia

£11,220

Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan

£10,610

High Commission for Malaysia

£7,740

Embassy of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire

£7,040

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

£6,440

Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman

£4,650

Embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

£4,565

High Commission for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

£4,050

Embassy of France

£4,035

Embassy of the United Arab Emirates

£3,850

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

£3,770

Embassy of the Republic of Liberia

£3,375

Embassy of the State of Qatar

£2,985

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam

£2,665

Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan

£2,580

Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

£2,520

High Commission for the United Republic of Tanzania

£2,055

Embassy of Libya

£1,935

Embassy of the Republic of Angola

£1,895

High Commission for Sierra Leone

£1,820

Embassy of the Republic of Yemen

£1,815

High Commission for the Republic of Ghana

£1,780

Embassy of the Republic of Iraq

£1,575

People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria

£1,435

Embassy of the People's Republic of China

£1,365

Embassy of the Republic of Kosovo

£1,235

Embassy of the State of Kuwait

£1,225

High Commission for the Republic of South Africa

£1,195

Embassy of Georgia

£1,065

(a) The figure of £430,126 excludes the value of parking fines issued by Barnet Council in 2016, because Barnet Council failed to provide the FCO on request with the value of the fines they had issued.

National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR): the majority of diplomatic missions in the United Kingdom pay the NNDR due from them. Diplomatic missions are obliged to pay only 6% of the total NNDR value of their offices. This represents payment for specific services received such as street cleaning and street lighting.

As at 8 June 2017, the total amount of outstanding NNDR payments, due before 31 December 2016, owed by foreign diplomatic missions as advised by the Valuation Office Agency is £1,049,999, an increase of 16% over the 2015 figure, as reported in the 2016 WMS (£907,976). However, £51,573 of this outstanding debt is owed by Syria – which is not currently represented in the UK and we have therefore been unable to pursue this debt. Four missions are responsible for just over a third of the remainder. We shall continue to urge those with NNDR debt to pay their dues.

The table below details those Diplomatic Missions that, as of 8 June 2017, owed over £10,000 in respect of NNDR due before 31 December 2016.

Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan

£109,599

High Commission for the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

£107,427

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran

£104,688

Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe

£79,852

High Commission for the Republic of Zambia

£39,081

Uganda High Commission

£36,885

Embassy of the Republic of Angola

£32,273

Embassy of the Republic of Liberia

£29,559

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

£28,652

Embassy of Libya

£26,186

Embassy of the State of Qatar

£25,890

High Commission for the Republic of Cameroon

£25,126

Embassy of the Republic of Albania

£24,165

High Commission for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

£23,846

Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt

£23,120

Embassy of Ukraine

£15,675

High Commission for Sierra Leone

£14,641

Embassy of the United Arab Emirates

£13,866

Embassy of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire

£13,098

Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania

£12,359


London Congestion Charge
: the value of unpaid Congestion Charge debt incurred by diplomatic missions and international organisations in London since its introduction in February 2003 until 31 December 2016 as advised by Transport for London (TfL) was £105,419,835. The table below shows those diplomatic missions and international organisations with outstanding fines of £100,000 or more.

COUNTRY

NUMBER OF FINES

TOTAL OUTSTANDING

Embassy of the United States of America

96,274

£ 11,544,455

Embassy of Japan

63,869

£ 7,629,370

High Commission for the Federal Republic of Nigeria

54,237

£ 6,481,620

Embassy of the Russian Federation

47,760

£ 5,603,320

Office of the High Commissioner for India

40,929

£ 4,991,125

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany

36,258

£ 4,221,590

Embassy of the Republic of Poland

31,780

£ 3,854,130

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China

30,317

£ 3,805,465

Office of the High Commissioner for Ghana

28,630

£ 3,465,960

Embassy of the Republic of Sudan

26,161

£ 3,048,475

Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan

24,032

£ 2,947,595

High Commission for Kenya

20,844

£ 2,453,305

Embassy of France

17,570

£ 2,090,815

High Commission for the United Republic of Tanzania

16,183

£ 1,893,325

High Commission for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

15,979

£ 1, 971,105

Embassy of Spain

15,855

£ 1,893,420

Embassy of the Republic of Korea

14,777

£ 1,805,150

Embassy of Romania

13,069

£ 1,547,415

High Commission for the Republic of South Africa

12,963

£ 1,503,195

Embassy of the Republic of Cuba

12,744

£ 1,557,555

Embassy of Algeria

12,694

£ 1,495,660

High Commission for Sierra Leone

12,038

£ 1,404,675

Embassy of Greece

12,028

£ 1,419,575

Embassy of Ukraine

11,759

£ 1,380,430

Embassy of Hungary

9,157

£ 1,097,580

High Commission for the Republic of Cyprus

8,588

£ 1,030,060

High Commission for the Republic of Zambia

7,481

£ 882,040

Embassy of the Republic of Yemen

7,475

£ 889,990

Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria

6,853

£ 797,035

High Commission for the Republic of Cameroon

5,923

£ 692,170

Embassy of the Republic of Belarus

5,796

£ 680,595

High Commission for the Republic of Malawi

5,576

£ 663,380

High Commission for Botswana

5,515

£ 667,605

Embassy of the Slovak Republic

5,493

£ 641,215

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

5,243

£ 608,795

High Commission for the Republic of Namibia

5,186

£ 602,145

High Commission for the Republic of Mozambique

5,182

£ 611,340

Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe

5,120

£ 575,910

High Commission for Kingdom of Swaziland

5,008

£ 581,510

Embassy of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire

4,673

£ 553,865

High Commission for Malta

4,533

£ 546,420

Embassy of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea

4,428

£ 519,215

Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania

4,353

£ 521,270

Embassy of the Republic of Turkey

4,344

£ 530,465

Embassy of Austria

4,290

£ 513,005

High Commission for Mauritius

4,223

£ 494,495

High Commission for the Kingdom of Lesotho

3,993

£ 467,055

High Commission for Uganda

3,872

£ 464,420

Embassy of the Republic of Liberia

3,772

£ 457,905

Embassy of Belgium

3,597

£ 430,060

Embassy of the Czech Republic

3,529

£ 407,600

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

3,350

£ 395,400

Embassy of the Republic of Guinea

3,314

£ 385,265

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

3,213

£ 386,600

Embassy of Denmark

2,981

£ 356,010

High Commission for Jamaica

2,909

£ 345,545

Embassy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

2,727

£ 338,580

Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco

2,713

£ 344,840

Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan

2,612

£ 333,520

High Commission for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

2,505

£ 315,670

Embassy of Tunisia

2,353

£ 288,890

Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt

2,290

£ 241,725

Embassy of Portugal

2,263

£ 278,035

Embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

2,221

£ 255,675

Embassy of the Republic of Latvia

2,196

£ 265,155

Embassy of Finland

2,160

£ 258,490

Embassy of Luxembourg

2,018

£ 243,470

Embassy of the Republic of Iraq

1,971

£ 248,535

High Commission for Antigua & Barbuda

1,966

£ 232,570

Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia

1,958

£ 239,025

Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

1,808

£ 197,875

High Commission for Belize

1,670

£ 206,635

Embassy of Estonia

1,437

£ 177,645

Embassy of the Dominican Republic

1,221

£ 146,260

Embassy of the State of Eritrea

1,209

£ 142,925

High Commission for Guyana

1,102

£ 129,105

The Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the International Maritime Organisation

1,021

£ 126,795

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania

982

£ 103,590

High Commission for the Republic of the Maldives

961

£ 116,325

High Commission for Seychelles

908

£ 111,365

Figures for previous years are available in the Secretary for State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs’ written statement to the House on 21 July 2016, Official Report, column 47WS (HCWS100).

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Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 11 October 2017
Made by: Karen Bradley (Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Commons

Internet Safety Strategy

I wish to inform the House that, on 11th October, the Department for Digital Culture and Media and Sport will publish the Internet Safety Strategy green paper. The accompanying public consultation will close on 7 December 2017. Both can be found at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/internet-safety-strategy-green-paper

The Strategy was publically announced in February of this year and will give effect to our manifesto commitment to “make Britain the safest place in the world to be online”.

The Strategy considers the responsibilities of companies to their users, the use of technical solutions to prevent online harms and government’s role in supporting users. It is underpinned by three key principles: what is unacceptable offline should be unacceptable online; all users should be empowered to manage online risks and stay safe; and technology companies have a responsibility to their users.

The Strategy represents the first strand of our Digital Charter work which will ensure that every individual and every business can seize the opportunities of digital technology. We are developing the Digital Charter by working with companies, civil society and others to establish a strong framework that balances freedom with protection for users, and offers opportunities alongside obligations for businesses and platforms. The manifesto made it clear that the Government will act when people need more protections to keep them safe, including online.

The Digital Economy Act 2017 requires a voluntary code of practice to be established, to set guidance on what social media providers should do in relation to harmful conduct on their platforms. The Internet Safety Strategy consults on the form this should take as part of a wider framework for industry responsibility, including an annual transparency report by social media platforms and a social media levy to enable greater public awareness of online safety and enable preventative measures against online harms.

The Strategy is being undertaken alongside new age verification measures for pornography. The Digital Economy Act introduced the requirement for commercial providers of online pornography to have robust age verification controls in place to prevent children and young people under 18 from accessing pornographic material. This measure is due to be in place in April 2018 - 12 months after the Act received Royal Assent.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life is separately leading an inquiry into the Intimidation of Parliamentary Candidates, including through online platforms. The measures in the Strategy, such as the responsibilities of companies to their users, will usefully support government’s objectives in these areas.

Government plans to issue a response to the Internet Safety Strategy green paper in 2018.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS157
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 11 October 2017
Made by: Boris Johnson (The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Alleged Serious and Significant Offences (Diplomatic Immunity): 2016

In 2016, 12 serious and significant offences allegedly committed by people entitled to diplomatic or international organisation-related immunity in the United Kingdom were drawn to the attention of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office by Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection of the Metropolitan Police Service, or other law enforcement agencies. Eight of these were driving-related. We define serious offences as those which could, in certain circumstances, carry a penalty of 12 months’ imprisonment or more. Also included are drink-driving and driving without insurance.

Around 22,500 people are entitled to diplomatic immunity in the United Kingdom and the majority of diplomats abide by UK law. The number of alleged serious crimes committed by members of the diplomatic community in the UK is proportionately low.

Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961, those entitled to immunity are expected to obey the law. The FCO does not tolerate foreign diplomats breaking the law.

We take all allegations of illegal activity seriously. When instances of alleged criminal conduct are brought to our attention by the police, we ask the relevant foreign government to waive diplomatic immunity where appropriate. For the most serious offences, and when a relevant waiver has not been granted, we seek the immediate withdrawal of the diplomat.

Alleged serious and significant offences reported to the FCO in 2016 are listed below.

2016

Driving without insurance

Qatar 1

Driving without insurance (or an MOT, and not in accordance with a licence)

Saudi Arabia 1

Driving without insurance (and not in accordance with a licence)

Guinea 1

Pakistan 1

Driving under the influence of alcohol

Botswana 1

Russia 2

Driving under the influence of alcohol (using a hand-held mobile telephone or other hand-held interactive communication device when driving)

Saudi Arabia 1

Actual bodily harm (a)

Libya 1

Possession of a class B drug with intent to supply (a)

Libya 1

Possession of an offensive weapon (a)

Libya 1

(a) These are allegations made against the same person.


The following offence was also reported to the FCO in 2016 and the offender’s criminal conduct was proven in a court of law.

Sexual Assault

European Bank of Reconstruction and Development 1


We also wish to record that in 2016 a former Attaché at the Canadian High Commission was convicted at Southwark Crown Court of three counts of making indecent photographs/pseudo-photograph of a child; one count of possessing a prohibited image of a child; one count of possessing an extreme pornographic image; and one count of failing to comply with a Section 49 Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act notice. The former Attaché was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment. These offences were not recorded in last year’s Written Ministerial Statement because the case was then sub judice and their previous inclusion might have prejudiced the outcome of criminal proceedings.

Figures for previous years are available in the Secretary for State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs’ written statement to the House on 21 July 2016, Official Report, column 40WS (HCWS106HLWS112HLWS112).

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 11 October 2017
Made by: Boris Johnson (The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Commons

Debts owed by Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations in the United Kingdom: 2016

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has held meetings with a number of missions about outstanding parking fine debt, outstanding National Non-Domestic Rates payments and unpaid Congestion Charge debt. The Director of Protocol raises the issue in his introductory meetings with all new Ambassadors and High Commissioners whose missions are in debt to the relevant authorities. FCO officials also press diplomatic missions and international organisations to pay outstanding fines and debts. In April this year, Protocol Directorate wrote to diplomatic missions and international organisations concerned giving them the opportunity to either pay their outstanding debts, or appeal against specific fines if they considered that they had been issued incorrectly.

Parking fines: in 2016, 4,311 parking fines incurred by diplomatic missions and international organisations in London were brought to our attention by local councils, Transport for London and the City of London. These totalled at least(a) £430,126.

Subsequent payments (including amounts waived by the above authorities) totalled £102,164. There remains a total of £327,962 in unpaid fines for 2016.

The table below details those Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations that have outstanding fines from 2016 totalling £1,000 or more, as of 28 June 2017.

Diplomatic Mission/International Organisation

2016

Amount of Outstanding Fines

(excluding congestion charge)

£

Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan

£83,215

High Commission for the Federal Republic of Nigeria

£30,024

Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia

£19,202

Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan

£17,985

High Commission for the Republic of Zambia

£11,220

Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan

£10,610

High Commission for Malaysia

£7,740

Embassy of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire

£7,040

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

£6,440

Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman

£4,650

Embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

£4,565

High Commission for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

£4,050

Embassy of France

£4,035

Embassy of the United Arab Emirates

£3,850

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

£3,770

Embassy of the Republic of Liberia

£3,375

Embassy of the State of Qatar

£2,985

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam

£2,665

Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan

£2,580

Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

£2,520

High Commission for the United Republic of Tanzania

£2,055

Embassy of Libya

£1,935

Embassy of the Republic of Angola

£1,895

High Commission for Sierra Leone

£1,820

Embassy of the Republic of Yemen

£1,815

High Commission for the Republic of Ghana

£1,780

Embassy of the Republic of Iraq

£1,575

People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria

£1,435

Embassy of the People's Republic of China

£1,365

Embassy of the Republic of Kosovo

£1,235

Embassy of the State of Kuwait

£1,225

High Commission for the Republic of South Africa

£1,195

Embassy of Georgia

£1,065

(a) The figure of £430,126 excludes the value of parking fines issued by Barnet Council in 2016, because Barnet Council failed to provide the FCO on request with the value of the fines they had issued.

National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR): the majority of diplomatic missions in the United Kingdom pay the NNDR due from them. Diplomatic missions are obliged to pay only 6% of the total NNDR value of their offices. This represents payment for specific services received such as street cleaning and street lighting.

As at 8 June 2017, the total amount of outstanding NNDR payments, due before 31 December 2016, owed by foreign diplomatic missions as advised by the Valuation Office Agency is £1,049,999, an increase of 16% over the 2015 figure, as reported in the 2016 WMS (£907,976). However, £51,573 of this outstanding debt is owed by Syria – which is not currently represented in the UK and we have therefore been unable to pursue this debt. Four missions are responsible for just over a third of the remainder. We shall continue to urge those with NNDR debt to pay their dues.

The table below details those Diplomatic Missions that, as of 8 June 2017, owed over £10,000 in respect of NNDR due before 31 December 2016.

Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan

£109,599

High Commission for the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

£107,427

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran

£104,688

Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe

£79,852

High Commission for the Republic of Zambia

£39,081

Uganda High Commission

£36,885

Embassy of the Republic of Angola

£32,273

Embassy of the Republic of Liberia

£29,559

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

£28,652

Embassy of Libya

£26,186

Embassy of the State of Qatar

£25,890

High Commission for the Republic of Cameroon

£25,126

Embassy of the Republic of Albania

£24,165

High Commission for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

£23,846

Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt

£23,120

Embassy of Ukraine

£15,675

High Commission for Sierra Leone

£14,641

Embassy of the United Arab Emirates

£13,866

Embassy of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire

£13,098

Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania

£12,359


London Congestion Charge
: the value of unpaid Congestion Charge debt incurred by diplomatic missions and international organisations in London since its introduction in February 2003 until 31 December 2016 as advised by Transport for London (TfL) was £105,419,835. The table below shows those diplomatic missions and international organisations with outstanding fines of £100,000 or more.

COUNTRY

NUMBER OF FINES

TOTAL OUTSTANDING

Embassy of the United States of America

96,274

£ 11,544,455

Embassy of Japan

63,869

£ 7,629,370

High Commission for the Federal Republic of Nigeria

54,237

£ 6,481,620

Embassy of the Russian Federation

47,760

£ 5,603,320

Office of the High Commissioner for India

40,929

£ 4,991,125

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany

36,258

£ 4,221,590

Embassy of the Republic of Poland

31,780

£ 3,854,130

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China

30,317

£ 3,805,465

Office of the High Commissioner for Ghana

28,630

£ 3,465,960

Embassy of the Republic of Sudan

26,161

£ 3,048,475

Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan

24,032

£ 2,947,595

High Commission for Kenya

20,844

£ 2,453,305

Embassy of France

17,570

£ 2,090,815

High Commission for the United Republic of Tanzania

16,183

£ 1,893,325

High Commission for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

15,979

£ 1, 971,105

Embassy of Spain

15,855

£ 1,893,420

Embassy of the Republic of Korea

14,777

£ 1,805,150

Embassy of Romania

13,069

£ 1,547,415

High Commission for the Republic of South Africa

12,963

£ 1,503,195

Embassy of the Republic of Cuba

12,744

£ 1,557,555

Embassy of Algeria

12,694

£ 1,495,660

High Commission for Sierra Leone

12,038

£ 1,404,675

Embassy of Greece

12,028

£ 1,419,575

Embassy of Ukraine

11,759

£ 1,380,430

Embassy of Hungary

9,157

£ 1,097,580

High Commission for the Republic of Cyprus

8,588

£ 1,030,060

High Commission for the Republic of Zambia

7,481

£ 882,040

Embassy of the Republic of Yemen

7,475

£ 889,990

Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria

6,853

£ 797,035

High Commission for the Republic of Cameroon

5,923

£ 692,170

Embassy of the Republic of Belarus

5,796

£ 680,595

High Commission for the Republic of Malawi

5,576

£ 663,380

High Commission for Botswana

5,515

£ 667,605

Embassy of the Slovak Republic

5,493

£ 641,215

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

5,243

£ 608,795

High Commission for the Republic of Namibia

5,186

£ 602,145

High Commission for the Republic of Mozambique

5,182

£ 611,340

Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe

5,120

£ 575,910

High Commission for Kingdom of Swaziland

5,008

£ 581,510

Embassy of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire

4,673

£ 553,865

High Commission for Malta

4,533

£ 546,420

Embassy of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea

4,428

£ 519,215

Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania

4,353

£ 521,270

Embassy of the Republic of Turkey

4,344

£ 530,465

Embassy of Austria

4,290

£ 513,005

High Commission for Mauritius

4,223

£ 494,495

High Commission for the Kingdom of Lesotho

3,993

£ 467,055

High Commission for Uganda

3,872

£ 464,420

Embassy of the Republic of Liberia

3,772

£ 457,905

Embassy of Belgium

3,597

£ 430,060

Embassy of the Czech Republic

3,529

£ 407,600

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

3,350

£ 395,400

Embassy of the Republic of Guinea

3,314

£ 385,265

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

3,213

£ 386,600

Embassy of Denmark

2,981

£ 356,010

High Commission for Jamaica

2,909

£ 345,545

Embassy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

2,727

£ 338,580

Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco

2,713

£ 344,840

Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan

2,612

£ 333,520

High Commission for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

2,505

£ 315,670

Embassy of Tunisia

2,353

£ 288,890

Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt

2,290

£ 241,725

Embassy of Portugal

2,263

£ 278,035

Embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

2,221

£ 255,675

Embassy of the Republic of Latvia

2,196

£ 265,155

Embassy of Finland

2,160

£ 258,490

Embassy of Luxembourg

2,018

£ 243,470

Embassy of the Republic of Iraq

1,971

£ 248,535

High Commission for Antigua & Barbuda

1,966

£ 232,570

Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia

1,958

£ 239,025

Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

1,808

£ 197,875

High Commission for Belize

1,670

£ 206,635

Embassy of Estonia

1,437

£ 177,645

Embassy of the Dominican Republic

1,221

£ 146,260

Embassy of the State of Eritrea

1,209

£ 142,925

High Commission for Guyana

1,102

£ 129,105

The Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the International Maritime Organisation

1,021

£ 126,795

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania

982

£ 103,590

High Commission for the Republic of the Maldives

961

£ 116,325

High Commission for Seychelles

908

£ 111,365

Figures for previous years are available in the Secretary for State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs’ written statement to the House on 21 July 2016, Official Report, column 47WS (HCWS100).

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Department for Transport
Made on: 11 October 2017
Made by: Paul Maynard (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Commons

Planning Act 2008: Application for the proposed Silvertown Tunnel Development Consent Order

I have been asked by my Right Honourable Friend, the Secretary of State, to make this Written Ministerial Statement. This statement concerns the application made by Transport for London under the Planning Act 2008 on 29 April 2016 for a proposed development known as Silvertown Tunnel.

The Application will allow for the construction of a new twin bore road tunnel to pass under the River Thames, providing a new connection between the A102 Blackwall Tunnel Southern Approach and the Tidal Basin roundabout junction on the A1020 Lower Lea Crossing, London.

Under sub-section 107(1) of the Planning Act 2008, the Secretary of State must make his decision within 3 months of receipt of the Examining Authority’s report unless exercising the power under sub-section 107(3) to extend the deadline and make a Statement to the House of Parliament announcing the new deadline. The Secretary of State received the Examining Authority’s report on Silvertown Tunnel on 11 July 2017 and the current deadline for a decision is 11 October 2017.

The deadline for the decision is to be extended to 10 November 2017 (an extension of 1 month). This extension is to enable further consideration of the recent responses to the Secretary of State consultations on the scheme which relate to the updated UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations published by Government on 26 July 2017.

The decision to set a new deadline is without prejudice to the decision on whether to give development consent.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS155
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 10 October 2017
Made by: Mr David Lidington (The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice )
Commons

Justice and Home Affairs pre-Council statement

The EU Justice and Home Affairs Council of Ministers will meet on 12 and 13 October in Luxembourg. The Minister of State for Immigration, the Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP, and I will represent the UK for Justice day. The Home Secretary the Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP will represent the UK for Interior day.

Justice day (12 October) will begin with the adoption of the Council Regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). No discussion is expected. We have always been clear that the UK will never participate in an EPPO.

This will be followed by a policy debate on the proposed Regulation on mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders. The focus of the discussion is expected to be on whether the scope of the legislation applies to such orders issued within the framework of criminal proceedings or criminal matters. Such a debate would have no specific impact on the UK’s position and so we would not need to intervene. The UK is supportive of improved cooperation in this area and has opted into this measure.

Ministers will also discuss the proposed Regulation on the exchange of information on third country nationals and as regards the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS). The UK supports the inclusion of third country nationals on ECRIS, including fingerprint exchange. The focus of this debate will be on the threshold for the seriousness of the crime above which fingerprints should be taken, and whether dual nationals should be included in the centralised identification system (ECRIS-TCN). The Immigration Minister will support a low fingerprint threshold, as well as the inclusion of dual nationals in ECRIS-TCN.

The next item will be an exchange of views with the Director of the Fundamental Rights Agency, which will cover the Agency’s 2017 Fundamental Rights Report and a range of fundamental rights issues. The Council will then adopt the Draft Council Conclusions following the EU’s Annual Report on the application of the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights in 2016. The UK is content to support the Council Conclusions.

There will be a working lunch discussion on the implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This discussion will be an exchange of views on readiness for implementation. The GDPR will apply in the UK from 25 May 2018.

In the afternoon, Interior and Justice Ministers will meet for a joint session. This will include a Commission update and discussion on criminal justice in cyberspace where the Presidency will update Member States on the progress of ongoing discussions around e-evidence and encryption. The UK is supportive of work in these areas and has been engaged in technical discussions. The UK is keen to ensure that any proposals do not jeopardise the existing good cooperation with service providers.

Finally on Justice day, as part of the Presidency’s mid-term review of the JHA Strategic Guidelines, Ministers will be asked for their views on where progress has been made and where there are outstanding policy priorities. The Immigration Minister will highlight the UK’s ongoing policy priorities, including data retention for law enforcement purposes and improving the interoperability of EU systems.

Interior day (13 October) will begin with a discussion on reform of the Schengen Borders Code to change the rules applicable to the temporary reintroduction of border controls at internal borders. As the UK is not a part of the Schengen internal border free zone, the Home Secretary will not intervene on this item.

Interior day will continue with a discussion on counter-terrorism. There will be a presentation by the Counter Terrorism Group (CTG). The CTG will report their assessment of the threat, update on recent capability developments and feedback on work to improve cooperation with the law enforcement community. The Home Secretary is likely to intervene in support of recent of the recent developments of the group.

The Council will conclude with a working lunch at which Ministers will exchange views on the state of play of the migration crisis. The Presidency will focus the debate on the resettlement of refugees. In line with the request of the European Commission, the UK will submit a revised resettlement pledge by 31 October 2017.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS153
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 10 October 2017
Made by: Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Baroness in Waiting (Government Whip))
Lords

Justice and Home Affairs pre-Council statement

My Right Honourable Friend the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (David Lidington MP) has today made the following written statement:

"The EU Justice and Home Affairs Council of Ministers will meet on 12 and 13 October in Luxembourg. The Minister of State for Immigration, the Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP, and I will represent the UK for Justice day. The Home Secretary the Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP will represent the UK for Interior day.

Justice day (12 October) will begin with the adoption of the Council Regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). No discussion is expected. We have always been clear that the UK will never participate in an EPPO.

This will be followed by a policy debate on the proposed Regulation on mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders. The focus of the discussion is expected to be on whether the scope of the legislation applies to such orders issued within the framework of criminal proceedings or criminal matters. Such a debate would have no specific impact on the UK’s position and so we would not need to intervene. The UK is supportive of improved cooperation in this area and has opted into this measure.

Ministers will also discuss the proposed Regulation on the exchange of information on third country nationals and as regards the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS). The UK supports the inclusion of third country nationals on ECRIS, including fingerprint exchange. The focus of this debate will be on the threshold for the seriousness of the crime above which fingerprints should be taken, and whether dual nationals should be included in the centralised identification system (ECRIS-TCN). The Immigration Minister will support a low fingerprint threshold, as well as the inclusion of dual nationals in ECRIS-TCN.

The next item will be an exchange of views with the Director of the Fundamental Rights Agency, which will cover the Agency’s 2017 Fundamental Rights Report and a range of fundamental rights issues. The Council will then adopt the Draft Council Conclusions following the EU’s Annual Report on the application of the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights in 2016. The UK is content to support the Council Conclusions.

There will be a working lunch discussion on the implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This discussion will be an exchange of views on readiness for implementation. The GDPR will apply in the UK from 25 May 2018.

In the afternoon, Interior and Justice Ministers will meet for a joint session. This will include a Commission update and discussion on criminal justice in cyberspace where the Presidency will update Member States on the progress of ongoing discussions around e-evidence and encryption. The UK is supportive of work in these areas and has been engaged in technical discussions. The UK is keen to ensure that any proposals do not jeopardise the existing good cooperation with service providers.

Finally on Justice day, as part of the Presidency’s mid-term review of the JHA Strategic Guidelines, Ministers will be asked for their views on where progress has been made and where there are outstanding policy priorities. The Immigration Minister will highlight the UK’s ongoing policy priorities, including data retention for law enforcement purposes and improving the interoperability of EU systems.

Interior day (13 October) will begin with a discussion on reform of the Schengen Borders Code to change the rules applicable to the temporary reintroduction of border controls at internal borders. As the UK is not a part of the Schengen internal border free zone, the Home Secretary will not intervene on this item.

Interior day will continue with a discussion on counter-terrorism. There will be a presentation by the Counter Terrorism Group (CTG). The CTG will report their assessment of the threat, update on recent capability developments and feedback on work to improve cooperation with the law enforcement community. The Home Secretary is likely to intervene in support of recent of the recent developments of the group.

The Council will conclude with a working lunch at which Ministers will exchange views on the state of play of the migration crisis. The Presidency will focus the debate on the resettlement of refugees. In line with the request of the European Commission, the UK will submit a revised resettlement pledge by 31 October 2017."

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS152
WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 10 October 2017
Made by: Baroness Anelay of St Johns (Minister of State for Exiting the European Union)
Lords

General Affairs Council September 2017

I represented the UK at the General Affairs Council (GAC) meeting in Brussels on Monday 25 September. This was the first meeting of the GAC under the Estonian Presidency.

The main items on the agenda were: Presentation of the Priorities of the Estonian Presidency; Preparation of the European Council on 19-20 October 2017; June European Council follow-up; and Legislative Programming for 2018, Letter of Intent.

A provisional report of the meeting and the conclusions adopted can be found on the Council of the European Union’s website at: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/gac/2017/09/25/

Presentation of the Priorities of the Estonian Presidency

The Presidency made a brief presentation of its priorities, namely: an open and innovative European economy; a safe and secure Europe; a digital Europe and the free movement of data; and an inclusive and sustainable Europe.

Preparation of the European Council on 19-20 October 2017

The Presidency presented the draft October European Council agenda, which is due to cover migration, digital Europe, defence and external relations.

On the migration agenda item, GAC Ministers discussed external migration and returns, as well as reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS).

As part of the digital Europe item, delegates focused on implementation of the Digital Single Market (DSM), cyber security and digital taxation.

Regarding defence, the Council considered increasing EU autonomy, the admissions criteria for the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and EU-NATO cooperation. There were also discussions about the work on the industrial development programme and the Athena mechanism (which handles the financing of common costs relating to EU military operations under the EU's common security) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

Under external relations, Ministers discussed EU-Turkey relations and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Some Member States also asked that trade should be added to the agenda, as well as the follow-up to the June European Council.

I intervened to highlight the UK’s on-going commitment to European security and reiterated our preference for counter-terrorism and internal security to be discussed at the European Council. I also welcomed the focus on the digital agenda, as well as the need to maintain momentum following the Tallinn Summit on 29 September. Regarding EU-Turkey relations, I emphasised the importance of the accession process as an important tool for cooperation with Turkey. I also agreed that a unified EU position should be sought on the DPRK.

Legislative Programming for 2018, Letter of Intent

GAC Ministers discussed the Commission’s priorities for the Commission Work Programme (CWP) 2018. Vice President Timmermans asked for a final mandate on the CWP and stressed the need to focus on delivery within the limited time available. I intervened to welcome the inclusion of certain aspects in the CWP, including the Single Market and DSM. I also spoke to advocate for open and free trade.

AOB

Vice President Timmermans updated Ministers on the state of play of its dialogue with Poland on the Rule of Law. I emphasised the importance the UK placed on the Rule of Law and urged both the Commission and Poland to avoid escalation and return to substantive, sustained and constructive dialogue.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS151
WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 10 October 2017
Made by: Mr Steve Baker (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State)
Commons

General Affairs Council September 2017

My Rt. Hon. Friend Baroness Anelay of St Johns DBE, Minister of State for Exiting the European Union, has made the following statement:

I represented the UK at the General Affairs Council (GAC) meeting in Brussels on Monday 25 September. This was the first meeting of the GAC under the Estonian Presidency.

The main items on the agenda were: Presentation of the Priorities of the Estonian Presidency; Preparation of the European Council on 19-20 October 2017; June European Council follow-up; and Legislative Programming for 2018, Letter of Intent.

A provisional report of the meeting and the conclusions adopted can be found on the Council of the European Union’s website at: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/gac/2017/09/25/

Presentation of the Priorities of the Estonian Presidency

The Presidency made a brief presentation of its priorities, namely: an open and innovative European economy; a safe and secure Europe; a digital Europe and the free movement of data; and an inclusive and sustainable Europe.

Preparation of the European Council on 19-20 October 2017

The Presidency presented the draft October European Council agenda, which is due to cover migration, digital Europe, defence and external relations.

On the migration agenda item, GAC Ministers discussed external migration and returns, as well as reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS).

As part of the digital Europe item, delegates focused on implementation of the Digital Single Market (DSM), cyber security and digital taxation.

Regarding defence, the Council considered increasing EU autonomy, the admissions criteria for the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and EU-NATO cooperation. There were also discussions about the work on the industrial development programme and the Athena mechanism (which handles the financing of common costs relating to EU military operations under the EU's common security) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

Under external relations, Ministers discussed EU-Turkey relations and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Some Member States also asked that trade should be added to the agenda, as well as the follow-up to the June European Council.

I intervened to highlight the UK’s on-going commitment to European security and reiterated our preference for counter-terrorism and internal security to be discussed at the European Council. I also welcomed the focus on the digital agenda, as well as the need to maintain momentum following the Tallinn Summit on 29 September. Regarding EU-Turkey relations, I emphasised the importance of the accession process as an important tool for cooperation with Turkey. I also agreed that a unified EU position should be sought on the DPRK.

Legislative Programming for 2018, Letter of Intent

GAC Ministers discussed the Commission’s priorities for the Commission Work Programme (CWP) 2018. Vice President Timmermans asked for a final mandate on the CWP and stressed the need to focus on delivery within the limited time available. I intervened to welcome the inclusion of certain aspects in the CWP, including the Single Market and DSM. I also spoke to advocate for open and free trade.

AOB

Vice President Timmermans updated Ministers on the state of play of its dialogue with Poland on the Rule of Law. I emphasised the importance the UK placed on the Rule of Law and urged both the Commission and Poland to avoid escalation and return to substantive, sustained and constructive dialogue.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS152
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 10 October 2017
Made by: Lord Bates (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

ECOFIN 10 October 2017 and Informal ECOFIN 15-16 September 2017

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

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will be held in Luxembourg on 10th October. EU Finance Ministers will discuss the following items:

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President will brief Ministers on the outcomes of the 9th October meeting of the Eurogroup, and Ministers will discuss the current economic situation. Ministers will also discuss the European Commission’s use of discretion in assessing Member States’ compliance with the preventive arm of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP).

Current Financial Service Legislative Proposals

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

Definitive VAT System

The Commission will present their proposals for a Definitive VAT system and the creation of a ‘Single EU VAT area’.

European Semester 2017

The Council will exchange views on a report evaluating the 2017 European Semester process and reflect on lessons learnt.

Preparation of the G20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors and of the IMF Annual Meetings between 12 and 15 October in Washington

Minsters will agree the EU’s G20 Terms of Reference and International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) statement, ahead of the Annual Meetings in Washington.

Climate Finance for COP23

The Council will agree Council conclusions on climate finance in preparation for the COP23 UN Climate Change Conference in November.

Digital Taxation

The Commission will present its communication of 21 September on ‘A Fair and Efficient Tax System in the EU for the Digital Single Market’. As well as input from the Presidency, the Commission will also provide a follow-up to the Tallinn Digital Summit that was held on 29th September.

Implementation of Financial Services Legislation

Ministers will receive an update from the Commission on implementation of existing financial services legislation.

An informal meeting of The Economic and Financial Affairs Council was held in Tallinn on 15-16 September 2017. The UK was represented by my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Philip Hammond). EU Finance Ministers discussed the following items:

Working Lunch - Deepening the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and Maximising the Effectiveness of EU Finances

Based on the European Commission reflection papers, Ministers discussed the interlinkages between future development of the economic and monetary union and the framework on EU finances.

Working Session I

Ministers were joined by Central Bank Governors for the first Working Session. Two items were discussed.

a) Deepening of the EMU: Interaction of Rules and Institutions

Ministers and Central Bank Governors discussed the implications of the deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union for the EU’s economic and fiscal policy framework.

b) Capital Markets Union: Technological Innovation and Financial Regulation (FinTech)

Ministers and Central Bank Governors then focussed on the implications of intensified technological innovations to the functioning, development and stability of banking and capital markets. The discussion drew on analysis by Bruegel and included participation from the European Parliament, the European Central Bank, the Commission, and the European Securities and Markets Authority.

Working Session II

a) Corporate Taxation Challenges of the Digital Economy

Following a presentation by the Estonian Presidency, Ministers discussed how to modernise the corporate income tax rules in a way that would take in to account the new business modes using digital technology. Commissioner Dombrovskis and José Ángel Gurría (Secretary-General of the OECD) also contributed to the discussion to set out their respective positions.

b) Cost Efficiency and Sustainability of Customs IT Systems

Ministers discussed the governance reform of the Customs Union, particularly considering customs IT infrastructure that would assure the sustainable and cost efficient electronic systems worthy of a Digital Single Market. This builds on previous discussions regarding the development of an EU Customs IT strategy and looks to proposals for a centrally developed customs IT system to be rolled out across Europe from 2025.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS149
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 10 October 2017
Made by: Lord Bates (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Double Taxation Convention between the United Kingdom and Belarus

My right honourable friend the the Financial Secretary to the Treasury has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

A Double Taxation Convention with Belarus was signed on 26 September 2017. The text of the Convention has been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and has been made available on HM Revenue and Customs’ pages of the Gov.UK website. The text will be scheduled to a draft Order in Council and laid before the House of Commons in due course.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS150
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 10 October 2017
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) )
Lords

Royal Air Force Battle Honours

I am today announcing that Her Majesty The Queen has been graciously pleased to approve the award of Battle Honours to squadrons of Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force, for their participation in Operation TELIC during the period 1 May 2003 to 22 May 2011, Operation Deference during the period 22 February 2011 to 27 February 2011 and Operation ELLAMY during the period 19 March 2011 to 31 October 2011.

Battle Honours may be “awarded to commemorate any notable battle, action or engagement in which aircrew or Royal Air Force Regiment personnel played a memorable part”. There are two levels of Battle Honour within the Royal Air Force. The first is “mere entitlement, signifying only that a squadron took part in the campaign”. The second (higher) level confers the right to emblazon the Battle Honour on the Standard itself. This ultimate accolade is reserved for those squadrons which are involved in direct confrontation with an enemy, and demonstrate gallantry and spirit under fire.

Battle Honours were approved for 27 operational flying squadrons and eight Royal Air Force Regiment squadrons for their participation on Operation TELIC. Five operational flying squadrons and three Royal Air Force Regiment squadrons were awarded the highest honour of Battle Honour with Emblazonment.

For their part in Operation DEFERENCE and Operation ELLAMY, Battle Honours were approved for 13 operational flying squadrons with three being awarded the highest honour of Battle Honour with Emblazonment.

With the Right to Emblazon ‘IRAQ 2003- 2011’ on Squadron Standards

No 7 Squadron RAF

No XXIV Squadron RAF

No 33 Squadron RAF

No 47 Squadron RAF

No 230 Squadron RAF

No 1 Squadron RAF Regiment

No 26 Squadron RAF Regiment

No 34 Squadron RAF Regiment

Without the Right to Emblazon ‘IRAQ 2003- 2011’ on Squadron Standards

No II (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No IX (Bomber) Squadron RAF

No 10 Squadron RAF

No 12 (Bomber) Squadron RAF

No XIII Squadron RAF

No 14 Squadron RAF

No 18 Squadron RAF

No 27 Squadron RAF

No XXVIII (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No 30 Squadron RAF

No 31 Squadron RAF

No 32 (The Royal) Squadron RAF

No 39 (Photographic Reconnaissance) Squadron RAF

No 51 Squadron RAF

No LXX Squadron RAF

No 99 Squadron RAF

No 101 Squadron RAF

No 120 Squadron RAF

No 201 Squadron RAF

No 206 Squadron RAF

No 216 Squadron RAF

No 617 Squadron RAF

No II Squadron RAF Regiment

No 3 Squadron RAF Regiment

No 15 Squadron RAF Regiment

No 51 Squadron RAF Regiment

No 63 Squadron RAF Regiment

With the Right to Emblazon ‘LIBYA 2011’ on Squadron Standards

No II (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No IX (Bomber) Squadron RAF

No 47 Squadron RAF

Without the Right to Emblazon ‘LIBYA 2011’ on Squadron Standards

No 3 (Fighter) Squadron RAF

No V (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No VIII Squadron RAF

No XI Squadron RAF

No 30 Squadron RAF

No 32 (The Royal) Squadron RAF

No 51 Squadron RAF

No 99 Squadron RAF

No 101 Squadron RAF

No 216 Squadron RAF

WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 10 October 2017
Made by: Mel Stride (The Financial Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Double Taxation Convention between the United Kingdom and Belarus

A Double Taxation Convention with Belarus was signed on 26 September 2017. The text of the Convention has been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and has been made available on HM Revenue and Customs’ pages of the Gov.UK website. The text will be scheduled to a draft Order in Council and laid before the House of Commons in due course.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS150
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 10 October 2017
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

ECOFIN 10 October 2017 and Informal ECOFIN 15-16 September 2017

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will be held in Luxembourg on 10th October. EU Finance Ministers will discuss the following items:

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President will brief Ministers on the outcomes of the 9th October meeting of the Eurogroup, and Ministers will discuss the current economic situation. Ministers will also discuss the European Commission’s use of discretion in assessing Member States’ compliance with the preventive arm of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP).

Current Financial Service Legislative Proposals

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

Definitive VAT System

The Commission will present their proposals for a Definitive VAT system and the creation of a ‘Single EU VAT area’.

European Semester 2017

The Council will exchange views on a report evaluating the 2017 European Semester process and reflect on lessons learnt.

Preparation of the G20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors and of the IMF Annual Meetings between 12 and 15 October in Washington

Minsters will agree the EU’s G20 Terms of Reference and International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) statement, ahead of the Annual Meetings in Washington.

Climate Finance for COP23

The Council will agree Council conclusions on climate finance in preparation for the COP23 UN Climate Change Conference in November.

Digital Taxation

The Commission will present its communication of 21 September on ‘A Fair and Efficient Tax System in the EU for the Digital Single Market’. As well as input from the Presidency, the Commission will also provide a follow-up to the Tallinn Digital Summit that was held on 29th September.

Implementation of Financial Services Legislation

Ministers will receive an update from the Commission on implementation of existing financial services legislation.

An informal meeting of The Economic and Financial Affairs Council was held in Tallinn on 15-16 September 2017. The UK was represented by my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Philip Hammond). EU Finance Ministers discussed the following items:

Working Lunch - Deepening the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and Maximising the Effectiveness of EU Finances

Based on the European Commission reflection papers, Ministers discussed the interlinkages between future development of the economic and monetary union and the framework on EU finances.

Working Session I

Ministers were joined by Central Bank Governors for the first Working Session. Two items were discussed.

a) Deepening of the EMU: Interaction of Rules and Institutions

Ministers and Central Bank Governors discussed the implications of the deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union for the EU’s economic and fiscal policy framework.

b) Capital Markets Union: Technological Innovation and Financial Regulation (FinTech)

Ministers and Central Bank Governors then focussed on the implications of intensified technological innovations to the functioning, development and stability of banking and capital markets. The discussion drew on analysis by Bruegel and included participation from the European Parliament, the European Central Bank, the Commission, and the European Securities and Markets Authority.

Working Session II

a) Corporate Taxation Challenges of the Digital Economy

Following a presentation by the Estonian Presidency, Ministers discussed how to modernise the corporate income tax rules in a way that would take in to account the new business modes using digital technology. Commissioner Dombrovskis and José Ángel Gurría (Secretary-General of the OECD) also contributed to the discussion to set out their respective positions.

b) Cost Efficiency and Sustainability of Customs IT Systems

Ministers discussed the governance reform of the Customs Union, particularly considering customs IT infrastructure that would assure the sustainable and cost efficient electronic systems worthy of a Digital Single Market. This builds on previous discussions regarding the development of an EU Customs IT strategy and looks to proposals for a centrally developed customs IT system to be rolled out across Europe from 2025.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS151
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 10 October 2017
Made by: Mark Lancaster (Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) )
Commons

Royal Air Force Battle Honours

My Rt hon. Friend The Minister in the House of Lords (The Rt Hon The Earl Howe PC) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am today announcing that Her Majesty The Queen has been graciously pleased to approve the award of Battle Honours to squadrons of Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force, for their participation in Operation TELIC during the period 1 May 2003 to 22 May 2011, Operation Deference during the period 22 February 2011 to 27 February 2011 and Operation ELLAMY during the period 19 March 2011 to 31 October 2011.

Battle Honours may be “awarded to commemorate any notable battle, action or engagement in which aircrew or Royal Air Force Regiment personnel played a memorable part”. There are two levels of Battle Honour within the Royal Air Force. The first is “mere entitlement, signifying only that a squadron took part in the campaign”. The second (higher) level confers the right to emblazon the Battle Honour on the Standard itself. This ultimate accolade is reserved for those squadrons which are involved in direct confrontation with an enemy, and demonstrate gallantry and spirit under fire.

Battle Honours were approved for 27 operational flying squadrons and eight Royal Air Force Regiment squadrons for their participation on Operation TELIC. Five operational flying squadrons and three Royal Air Force Regiment squadrons were awarded the highest honour of Battle Honour with Emblazonment.

For their part in Operation DEFERENCE and Operation ELLAMY, Battle Honours were approved for 13 operational flying squadrons with three being awarded the highest honour of Battle Honour with Emblazonment.

With the Right to Emblazon ‘IRAQ 2003- 2011’ on Squadron Standards

No 7 Squadron RAF

No XXIV Squadron RAF

No 33 Squadron RAF

No 47 Squadron RAF

No 230 Squadron RAF

No 1 Squadron RAF Regiment

No 26 Squadron RAF Regiment

No 34 Squadron RAF Regiment

Without the Right to Emblazon ‘IRAQ 2003- 2011’ on Squadron Standards

No II (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No IX (Bomber) Squadron RAF

No 10 Squadron RAF

No 12 (Bomber) Squadron RAF

No XIII Squadron RAF

No 14 Squadron RAF

No 18 Squadron RAF

No 27 Squadron RAF

No XXVIII (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No 30 Squadron RAF

No 31 Squadron RAF

No 32 (The Royal) Squadron RAF

No 39 (Photographic Reconnaissance) Squadron RAF

No 51 Squadron RAF

No LXX Squadron RAF

No 99 Squadron RAF

No 101 Squadron RAF

No 120 Squadron RAF

No 201 Squadron RAF

No 206 Squadron RAF

No 216 Squadron RAF

No 617 Squadron RAF

No II Squadron RAF Regiment

No 3 Squadron RAF Regiment

No 15 Squadron RAF Regiment

No 51 Squadron RAF Regiment

No 63 Squadron RAF Regiment

With the Right to Emblazon ‘LIBYA 2011’ on Squadron Standards

No II (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No IX (Bomber) Squadron RAF

No 47 Squadron RAF

Without the Right to Emblazon ‘LIBYA 2011’ on Squadron Standards

No 3 (Fighter) Squadron RAF

No V (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No VIII Squadron RAF

No XI Squadron RAF

No 30 Squadron RAF

No 32 (The Royal) Squadron RAF

No 51 Squadron RAF

No 99 Squadron RAF

No 101 Squadron RAF

No 216 Squadron RAF

WS
Northern Ireland Office
Made on: 09 October 2017
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland)
Lords

Northern Ireland Update

My Right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (James Brokenshire) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

The DUP and Sinn Fein continue their discussions towards the formation of an Executive in Northern Ireland. The parties have reduced the number of issues between them - including on some aspects of language and culture - but clear differences still remain. The Government is committed to continuing to work with all the Northern Ireland parties and the Irish Government, consistent with the three stranded approach, towards reaching agreement quickly. I have been in regular contact with party leaders and Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney and will have further meetings in Belfast this week. The Prime Minister has been actively involved throughout this process. This has included her recent meeting with the Taoiseach and discussions with the leaders of the DUP and Sinn Fein. She shares the high priority which I place on the Government being ready and willing to work tirelessly to support the restoration of the Northern Ireland devolved institutions.

It is crucial that, with this support, the parties continue to do their utmost to reach an agreement which allows them to make those decisions which are important to the people of Northern Ireland. The parties have shown leadership and the ability to look beyond their differences in the past to resolve significant challenges which have separated them. I have urged the parties to focus their remaining efforts and energies on closing the outstanding gaps swiftly to find a resolution which will pave the way for the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland. With the right spirit of compromise this can be achieved and now is the time to come together and reach agreement.

I stand ready to bring forward legislation to enable an Executive to be formed quickly once agreement has been reached. But the timeframe for this is not indefinite. As Secretary of State, I have a responsibility for good governance and political stability in Northern Ireland - which has now been without a full Executive for ten months. If devolved government is not restored in the next few weeks, I will consider carefully what steps are needed in the best interests of the people, the voluntary sector, public services and businesses in Northern Ireland. As a minimum, this would involve introducing legislation later this month to set a budget for 2017/18 putting Northern Ireland on a path towards greater UK Government intervention in its day to day affairs.

We are not at this point yet. It is in the best interests of Northern Ireland and its people to have strategic decisions taken by locally elected politicians in the interests of the whole community. That is why the Government remains resolute in its efforts with the parties to secure the outcome which a majority of Northern Ireland want and need: the restoration of devolution. Ultimately, it is for the parties to reach agreement, but Northern Ireland has come so far and I encourage the parties to keep this firmly in mind as they work towards finding that resolution.

WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 09 October 2017
Made by: Lord Ashton of Hyde (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Lords

Commonwealth Games 2022

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I wish to inform the House that, on 9 October 2017, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport laid a minute recording the submission of a bid by Commonwealth Games England, Birmingham City Council, the West Midlands Combined Authority and DCMS to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.


Birmingham’s bid presents an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the very best of Global Britain to the world, showcasing the UK as a destination for international trade, education and tourism. It has the full backing of government and will not only help grow the economy in the West Midlands and beyond, it would also leave a strong sports legacy by upgrading facilities to benefit both elite athletes and the local community.


The government will provide around 75% of the net budget costs of delivering the Games and an underwrite of the total event budget, as well as a series of further guarantees which the CGF requests accompany the bid. The bid, therefore, creates contingent liabilities for the UK government in relation to Commonwealth Games.


The minute notes these liabilities as government’s commitment to provide funding for the Games, underwrite the costs, and provide a number of further guarantees relating to the successful planning and delivery of the event. These contingent liabilities will only take effect in the event of a successful bid and our agreement of a hosting contract with the Commonwealth Games Federation.


The bid was submitted on 30 September 2017 and, due to the much shorter than usual timeframe in which to prepare the bid, I apologise that there was insufficient time to notify Parliament of our intention before the House returned.


Parliamentarians may signify objections by giving notice of a Parliamentary Question or by otherwise raising the matter in parliament by 31 October. Final approval to proceed with incurring the liability will be withheld pending an examination of the objection.

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Northern Ireland Office
Made on: 09 October 2017
Made by: James Brokenshire (Secretary of State for Northern Ireland)
Commons

Northern Ireland Update

The DUP and Sinn Fein continue their discussions towards the formation of an Executive in Northern Ireland. The parties have reduced the number of issues between them - including on some aspects of language and culture - but clear differences still remain. The Government is committed to continuing to work with all the Northern Ireland parties and the Irish Government, consistent with the three stranded approach, towards reaching agreement quickly. I have been in regular contact with party leaders and Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney and will have further meetings in Belfast this week. The Prime Minister has been actively involved throughout this process. This has included her recent meeting with the Taoiseach and discussions with the leaders of the DUP and Sinn Fein. She shares the high priority which I place on the Government being ready and willing to work tirelessly to support the restoration of the Northern Ireland devolved institutions.

It is crucial that, with this support, the parties continue to do their utmost to reach an agreement which allows them to make those decisions which are important to the people of Northern Ireland. The parties have shown leadership and the ability to look beyond their differences in the past to resolve significant challenges which have separated them. I have urged the parties to focus their remaining efforts and energies on closing the outstanding gaps swiftly to find a resolution which will pave the way for the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland. With the right spirit of compromise this can be achieved and now is the time to come together and reach agreement.

I stand ready to bring forward legislation to enable an Executive to be formed quickly once agreement has been reached. But the timeframe for this is not indefinite. As Secretary of State, I have a responsibility for good governance and political stability in Northern Ireland - which has now been without a full Executive for ten months. If devolved government is not restored in the next few weeks, I will consider carefully what steps are needed in the best interests of the people, the voluntary sector, public services and businesses in Northern Ireland. As a minimum, this would involve introducing legislation later this month to set a budget for 2017/18 putting Northern Ireland on a path towards greater UK Government intervention in its day to day affairs.

We are not at this point yet. It is in the best interests of Northern Ireland and its people to have strategic decisions taken by locally elected politicians in the interests of the whole community. That is why the Government remains resolute in its efforts with the parties to secure the outcome which a majority of Northern Ireland want and need: the restoration of devolution. Ultimately, it is for the parties to reach agreement, but Northern Ireland has come so far and I encourage the parties to keep this firmly in mind as they work towards finding that resolution.

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Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 09 October 2017
Made by: Karen Bradley (Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Commons

Commonwealth Games 2022

I wish to inform the House that, on 9 October 2017, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport laid a minute recording the submission of a bid by Commonwealth Games England, Birmingham City Council, the West Midlands Combined Authority and DCMS to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.


Birmingham’s bid presents an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the very best of Global Britain to the world, showcasing the UK as a destination for international trade, education and tourism. It has the full backing of government and will not only help grow the economy in the West Midlands and beyond, it would also leave a strong sports legacy by upgrading facilities to benefit both elite athletes and the local community.


The government will provide around 75% of the net budget costs of delivering the Games and an underwrite of the total event budget, as well as a series of further guarantees which the CGF requests accompany the bid. The bid, therefore, creates contingent liabilities for the UK government in relation to Commonwealth Games.


The minute notes these liabilities as government’s commitment to provide funding for the Games, underwrite the costs, and provide a number of further guarantees relating to the successful planning and delivery of the event. These contingent liabilities will only take effect in the event of a successful bid and our agreement of a hosting contract with the Commonwealth Games Federation.


The bid was submitted on 30 September 2017 and, due to the much shorter than usual timeframe in which to prepare the bid, I apologise that there was insufficient time to notify Parliament of our intention before the House returned.


Parliamentarians may signify objections by giving notice of a Parliamentary Question or by otherwise raising the matter in parliament by 31 October. Final approval to proceed with incurring the liability will be withheld pending an examination of the objection.

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Department for Education
Made on: 09 October 2017
Made by: Viscount Younger of Leckie (The Lords Spokesperson (Department for Education) (Higher Education))
Lords

Student finance update

My honourable friend the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation (Joseph Johnson MP) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am today confirming the earnings threshold above which individuals are required to make contributions to the cost of their education from April 2018. I am also confirming the maximum tuition fees for the 2018/19 academic year.

Earnings threshold

The earnings threshold will be increased from 6th April 2018. From its current level of £21,000 the threshold will rise to £25,000 for the 2018-19 financial year. Thereafter it will be adjusted annually in line with average earnings.

The new threshold will apply to those who have already taken out and will take out loans for tuition and living costs for full time and part time undergraduate courses in the post-2012 system and those who took out or will take an advanced learner loan for a further education course.

The lower threshold for variable interest rates for post-2012 student loans will also rise to £25,000 on 6th April 2018, and the upper threshold will rise to £45,000 from £41,000 on the same date. Both the repayment and variable interest thresholds will be adjusted annually in line with average earnings thereafter. In 2018-19 around 600,000 borrowers will benefit from the threshold changes. Most of those 600,000 borrowers will both make lower contributions and have a lower rate of interest applied.

The repayment thresholds applicable to pre-2012 student loans, the older mortgage style loans and master’s loans are not affected by these changes.

Tuition fees

Maximum tuition fee caps will be maintained at 2017/18 academic year levels in the 2018/19 academic year.

For HEFCE funded providers that have a current Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) award and have an access agreement with the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), the maximum tuition fee for full-time courses will remain £9,250 in 2018/19. For HEFCE funded providers that have a current TEF award but do not have an access agreement with OFFA, the maximum tuition fee for full-time courses will be £6,165 in 2018/19. For HEFCE funded providers that do not have a current TEF award, the maximum tuition fee for full-time courses in 2018/19 will remain £9,000 for providers with an OFFA access agreement and £6,000 for providers without an OFFA access agreement.

Maximum fee loans for all new students and eligible continuing students who started their full-time courses at publicly funded providers on or after 1 September 2012 will be maintained at £9,250 in 2018/19 academic year.

For continuing students who started their full-time courses before September 2012, maximum tuition fee and fee loan caps at publicly funded providers in 2018/19 will be maintained at £3,465.

For HEFCE funded providers that have a current TEF award and have an access agreement with OFFA, the maximum tuition fee for part-time courses will be £6,935 in 2018/19. For HEFCE funded providers that have a current TEF award, but do not have an access agreement with OFFA, the maximum tuition fee for part-time courses will be £4,625 in 2018/19. For HEFCE funded providers that do not have a current TEF award, the maximum tuition fee for part-time courses in 2018/19 will be £6,750 for providers with an OFFA access agreement and £4,500 for providers without an OFFA access agreement.

Maximum fee loans for all new students and eligible continuing students who started their part-time courses at publicly funded providers on or after 1 September 2012 will be maintained at £6,935 in 2018/19.

For all new students and eligible continuing students who started their full-time courses on or after 1 September 2012 and are undertaking courses at private providers that have a current TEF award, the maximum fee loan will be £6,165 in 2018/19. For private providers that do not have a current TEF award, the maximum fee loan for full-time courses will be £6,000 in 2018/19.

For all new students and eligible continuing students who started their part-time courses on or after 1 September 2012 and are undertaking courses at private providers that have a current TEF award, the maximum fee loan will be £4,625 in 2018/19. For private providers that do not have a current TEF award, the maximum fee loan for part-time courses in 2018/19 will be £4,500.

The Government will set out further steps on HE student financing in due course.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS145
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Department of Health
Made on: 09 October 2017
Made by: Lord O'Shaughnessy (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health)
Lords

Infected Blood: Government response to consultation on the Special Category Mechanism (SCM) and other support in England

My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Jackie Doyle-Price) has made the following written statement:

In 2016 the Government decided to improve the way we support people who have suffered as a result of the infected blood tragedy of the 1970s and 1980s. At this time the Government committed an additional £125 million of support to those affected, more than doubling the Department of Health’s annual spending on the scheme over the Spending Review period to April 2021.

Following the 2016 consultation we announced new annual payments for people with chronic hepatitis C (stage 1 infection) and a new one-off payment for bereaved partners and spouses; a new process for those with stage 1 infection to apply for the higher payment amount; and increased annual payments from 2018/19.

In March 2017 we launched a second consultation, looking at the new voluntary process by which those infected by stage 1 Hepatitis C can apply for higher annual payments (the Special Category Mechanism). The Special Category Mechanism aims to benefit beneficiaries with hepatitis C stage 1 who consider their infection, or its treatment, to have a substantial and long-term impact on their ability to carry out routine daily activities.

The consultation was open to all beneficiaries and other interested parties across the UK to comment on our proposals. The consultation closed on 17 April 2017.

The government has listened carefully to the consultation responses, analysed pre- and post-consultation evidence from other sources, and reviewed consultation proposals in line with respondents’ views and evidence. Following this, the consultation response sets out the Government’s plans for reform, which are summarised below:

  • Introduction of planned uplifts in annual payments from 2018/19. All beneficiaries will receive an increase in annual payments from 2018/19.
  • A new Special Category Mechanism (SCM) for those with hepatitis C infection at stage 1 in November 2017.
  • The introduction of a single programme of discretionary support for all – infected and bereaved.
  • An increase in the overall level of funding for discretionary support from 2018/19.
  • All annual payments will include the winter fuel payment.
  • Addition of type 2 or 3 cryoglobulinemia accompanied by membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis, MPGN), to the current hepatitis C stage 2 conditions.

A letter will be sent to the beneficiaries of the English scheme to make them aware of these changes, and advise them on how to access the consultation response, a link to which is also provided as part of this statement. When the SCM process opens beneficiaries with hepatitis C at stage 1 will receive a letter telling them how to apply.

For the first time, all beneficiaries of any of the current five schemes will be receiving support from a single scheme. As previously announced the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) will become the new single scheme administrator in England, with effect from 1 November 2017. While this transition takes place, annual and discretionary payments and services will continue to be made by the current schemes to ensure a smooth transition to the new scheme with minimum impact on the beneficiaries.

The Government strongly believes that all those who are affected by this tragedy should be supported by a fair and transparent scheme that focuses on their welfare and long-term independence. With this additional funding and scheme reform, the support provided to those affected by the infected blood tragedy will be greater and fairer than ever before.

I attach a copy of the full consultation and the related equality analysis and it can also be found on gov.uk using the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/infected-blood-support-special-category-mechanism

Consultation response (PDF Document, 604.89 KB)
Equality Analysis (PDF Document, 337.24 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS142
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 09 October 2017
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Correction to Written Answers HL2981 and HL3595

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office would like to correct the Written Answers given to Baroness Helic on 4 November 2015 [HL2981] and 24 November 2015 [HL3595]. The questions asked about the cost to the public purse of supporting the Office of the Quartet Representative in each of the last eight financial years, and the grades of the FCO staff seconded to the Office of the Quartet Representative from 2007 to 2013.

The answers provided omitted a Grade 7 equivalent officer who was seconded during this period, and contained errors in some dates. The corrected information is as follows:

The FCO provided the following members of staff to the Office of the Quartet Representative from 2007-2013: one Senior Civil Servant from July 2007 until April 2010; one Grade 6 equivalent from March 2010 to June 2013; one Grade 7 equivalent from July 2007 to August 2009; one HEO equivalent from August 2007 to August 2010; one EO equivalent from September 2010 to August 2012; and one AO equivalent from September 2012 until June 2013.

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Department of Health
Made on: 09 October 2017
Made by: Lord O'Shaughnessy (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health)
Lords

Independent Review of the Mental Health Act (1983)

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health has made the following written statement:

The Government has commissioned an independent review of mental health legislation and practice to tackle the issue of mental health detention.

There have been concerns that detention rates under the Mental Health Act are too high. The number of detentions has been rising year on year, and last year on average there were 180 cases a day where people were sectioned under the terms of the act. People from black and minority ethnic populations are disproportionately affected, with black people in particular being almost 4 times more likely than white people to be detained.

The Government is committed to improving mental health services and ensuring that people with mental health problems receive the treatment and support they need, when they need it. This can mean that people need to be made subject to the Mental Health Act – that is, be detained or ‘sectioned’. In these cases, our dedicated professional staff – including psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, and the police – work tirelessly to ensure that people are treated with dignity under the Act, and that their liberty and autonomy are respected as far as possible.

Professor Sir Simon Wessely, former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, will lead the review which will deliver recommendations for change to the Government. Sir Simon will look at the evidence, review practice, and above all consider the needs of service users and their families, and how best the system can help and support them. He will identify improvements in how the Act is used in practice, as well as how we might need to change the Act itself. Vice Chairs will be appointed to work with Sir Simon and ensure the leadership of the review has comprehensive professional expertise whilst also being representative of service users and others affected by the Mental Health Act.

Following consultation with stakeholders, Sir Simon will produce an interim report identifying priorities for the review’s work in early 2018, and develop a final report containing detailed recommendations on its priorities, by autumn 2018.

Further detail on the independent review, including its Terms of Reference, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-announces-review-to-tackle-detention-of-those-with-mental-ill-health

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS143
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Ministry of Defence
Made on: 09 October 2017
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) )
Lords

CONTINGENT LIABILITY

My hon Friend the Minister for Defence Procurement (Harriett Baldwin) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have today laid before Parliament a Departmental Minute describing a Contingent Liability (CL) in the region of £150 million associated with Programme HADES.

Programme HADES will provide the continued delivery of Motor Transport, Supply, Aircraft and Ground Engineering, and Airfield Support services. HADES will replace expiring unit-specific Multi-Activity Contracts at a number of units from 1 April 2018. The programme will ensure continuity of service provision at minimum cost and is essential to support Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 outcomes.

The maximum CL is in the region of £150 million, which ensured healthy competition from prospective tenderers. There is also a further CL of £643,000 associated with the indemnity given to contractors for Terminal Redundancy Liability associated with ex-Authority staff.

The Treasury has approved the proposal in principle. If, during the period of fourteen Parliamentary sitting days beginning on the date on which this minute was laid before the House, a Member signifies an objection by giving notice of a Parliamentary Question or a Motion relating to the Minute, or by otherwise raising the matter in the House, final approval will be withheld pending an examination of the objection.

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Department for International Development