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 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
WS
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.

WS
Department for International Development
Made on: 09 October 2017
Made by: Lord Bates (Minister of State at the Department for International Development)
Lords

DFID Supplier Review

My right honourable friend, the Secretary of State for International Development (Priti Patel) has made the following statement:

The UK is an acknowledged world leader in the provision of development and humanitarian aid. Our aid budget acts not only in the interests of the world’s poorest, but also in Britain’s long term national interest.

Our global leadership in development requires continuing efforts to improve value for money, efficiency, innovation and effectiveness. I am therefore introducing tough new measures to ensure that the aid managed by DFID contractors delivers the best possible results for the world’s poorest people, provides value for taxpayers’ money and upholds high standards of ethical and professional behaviour.

A tough new DFID Supply Partner Code of Conduct will cover commercial requirements, ethical behaviours, transparency obligations, environmental sustainability and social responsibility. DFID will monitor suppliers’ implementation of the Code, with legally enforceable sanctions for non-compliance.

DFID will introduce greater transparency to drive down costs along its supply chains. DFID contracts will now include tough new measures to bear down even harder on costs, fees and overheads and to provide greater transparency in contracts and throughout supply chains. These include Open Book Accounting clauses enabling DFID to obtain, use and verify information from its suppliers to make sure we have access to full financial information on costs to enable us to fully challenge value for money. It will also include a clause, which we can use if necessary to intervene to ensure a fair deal for the taxpayer.

DFID will open up procurement to new entrants in the UK and overseas, simplifying documentation and processes and making greater use of digital platforms and social media to allow potential suppliers to access contract opportunities. A programme of business engagement events in the UK and overseas will facilitate engagement by new suppliers and the Department will also carry out research into the specific barriers facing by local suppliers in developing countries in accessing contract opportunities.

DFID will level the playing field for small suppliers and sub-contractors, ending the imposition of agreements which restrict sub-contractors’ ability to work for other suppliers. It will introduce new protections for small suppliers and sub-contractors operating in consortia, including contract checks to eradicate so called “bid candy” practices in which major suppliers drop sub-contractors once they have won the contract. We will continue to break up suitable tenders into manageable sizes and services to better enable smaller suppliers to compete.

A robust, comprehensive approach to supplier management will enable the Department to hold suppliers to account across their entire portfolio of work with DFID, bringing DFID into line with best practice in the private sector. This will allow DFID to challenge delivery partners more strongly on value for money, identify underlying performance problems and tap into a supplier’s wider areas of expertise.

DFID will put more information in the public domain, so that members of the public can assure themselves directly that DFID’s aid is being used effectively. This will include a policy on allowable costs in day rates paid to consultants and annual league tables of supplier performance. We will publish annual information on our commercial practices, setting out performance during the year and making further recommendations for improvement.

These reforms will complement the detailed line-by-line review of every programme in DFID’s portfolio, either already approved or in design phase, carried out by my Ministerial team. They will help to ensure maximum impact from the development programmes delivered by DFID’s contractors, complementing the work done in the Civil Society Partnership Review to strengthen value for money from grants to Civil Society Organisations and in the Multilateral Development Review to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the international development system.

WS
Department for Education
Made on: 09 October 2017
Made by: Joseph Johnson (Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation)
Commons

Student finance update

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 Lords: HLWS146
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 09 October 2017
Made by: Harriett Baldwin (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) )
Commons

CONTINGENT LIABILITY

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.

WS
Department of Health
Made on: 09 October 2017
Made by: Mr Jeremy Hunt (Secretary of State for Health)
Commons

Independent Review of the Mental Health Act (1983)

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 Lords: HLWS143
WS
Department of Health
Made on: 09 October 2017
Made by: Jackie Doyle-Price (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health)
Commons

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

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 Lords: HLWS145
WS
Department for International Development
Made on: 09 October 2017
Made by: Priti Patel (The Secretary of State for International Development)
Commons

DFID Supplier Review

The UK is an acknowledged world leader in the provision of development and humanitarian aid. Our aid budget acts not only in the interests of the world’s poorest, but also in Britain’s long term national interest.

Our global leadership in development requires continuing efforts to improve value for money, efficiency, innovation and effectiveness. I am therefore introducing tough new measures to ensure that the aid managed by DFID contractors delivers the best possible results for the world’s poorest people, provides value for taxpayers’ money and upholds high standards of ethical and professional behaviour.

A tough new DFID Supply Partner Code of Conduct will cover commercial requirements, ethical behaviours, transparency obligations, environmental sustainability and social responsibility. DFID will monitor suppliers’ implementation of the Code, with legally enforceable sanctions for non-compliance.

DFID will introduce greater transparency to drive down costs along its supply chains. DFID contracts will now include tough new measures to bear down even harder on costs, fees and overheads and to provide greater transparency in contracts and throughout supply chains. These include Open Book Accounting clauses enabling DFID to obtain, use and verify information from its suppliers to make sure we have access to full financial information on costs to enable us to fully challenge value for money. It will also include a clause, which we can use if necessary to intervene to ensure a fair deal for the taxpayer.

DFID will open up procurement to new entrants in the UK and overseas, simplifying documentation and processes and making greater use of digital platforms and social media to allow potential suppliers to access contract opportunities. A programme of business engagement events in the UK and overseas will facilitate engagement by new suppliers and the Department will also carry out research into the specific barriers facing by local suppliers in developing countries in accessing contract opportunities.

DFID will level the playing field for small suppliers and sub-contractors, ending the imposition of agreements which restrict sub-contractors’ ability to work for other suppliers. It will introduce new protections for small suppliers and sub-contractors operating in consortia, including contract checks to eradicate so called “bid candy” practices in which major suppliers drop sub-contractors once they have won the contract. We will continue to break up suitable tenders into manageable sizes and services to better enable smaller suppliers to compete.

A robust, comprehensive approach to supplier management will enable the Department to hold suppliers to account across their entire portfolio of work with DFID, bringing DFID into line with best practice in the private sector. This will allow DFID to challenge delivery partners more strongly on value for money, identify underlying performance problems and tap into a supplier’s wider areas of expertise.

DFID will put more information in the public domain, so that members of the public can assure themselves directly that DFID’s aid is being used effectively. This will include a policy on allowable costs in day rates paid to consultants and annual league tables of supplier performance. We will publish annual information on our commercial practices, setting out performance during the year and making further recommendations for improvement.

These reforms will complement the detailed line-by-line review of every programme in DFID’s portfolio, either already approved or in design phase, carried out by my Ministerial team. They will help to ensure maximum impact from the development programmes delivered by DFID’s contractors, complementing the work done in the Civil Society Partnership Review to strengthen value for money from grants to Civil Society Organisations and in the Multilateral Development Review to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the international development system.

WS
Department for Education
Made on: 14 September 2017
Made by: Lord Nash (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System)
Lords

Update on Primary Assessment in England

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities (Justine Greening) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Primary education is fundamentally important to ensuring that every child receives the best possible start in life. As I set out in my statement to Parliament in March this year, the primary assessment and accountability system has a crucial role to play in ensuring that every child, no matter what their background or where they go to school, benefits from a high-quality primary education.

Last October, I set out my intention to establish a settled, trusted primary assessment system. To help us move towards this, we published earlier this year parallel consultation documents on the long-term future of primary assessment and on future assessment arrangements for children working below the standard of the national curriculum tests. These consultations considered a number of the key issues facing the primary assessment and accountability system, including how the assessment system can help teachers to prepare pupils to succeed at school, the starting point from which to measure the progress that schools help children make in primary school, and how end of key stage teacher assessments could be improved. The consultations closed in June and I am grateful to the many people and organisations, and particularly the headteachers and teachers, who took the time to provide thoughtful, considered responses.

Having considered the views expressed, I am today publishing the government’s responses to both consultations, which set out how we will establish a stable and effective primary assessment system. These documents include commitments to:

  • improve the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile by: revising the Early Learning Goals to make them clearer and align them more closely with teaching in key stage 1; this will support us to meet our manifesto commitment to strengthen the teaching of literacy and numeracy in the early years. We will also strengthen the way assessment information is passed on to Year 1 teachers; and review the guidance and moderation process to reduce administration burdens;

  • improve school-level progress measures, and give schools credit for the education that they provide to their pupils in the reception year, year 1 and year 2, by introducing a statutory assessment in reception to replace the existing key stage 1 baseline;

  • reduce workload and administration burdens on teachers by making end-of-key stage 1 assessments non-statutory in all-through primary schools, once the new reception baseline has become established, with national sampling to be introduced so that we can continue to monitor standards;

  • remove the statutory duty to report teacher assessment in reading and mathematics at the end of key stage 2 from the 2018 to 2019 academic year onwards which will form part of our drive to bear down on unnecessary administrative burdens, while keeping our rigorous key stage 2 national curriculum tests in these subjects, which will enable schools to uphold high standards while also reducing workload and administrative burdens on teachers;

  • improve the way that writing is assessed, so that teachers have more scope to use their professional judgment when assessing pupil performance;

  • aid children’s fluency in mathematics through the introduction of a multiplication tables check, from the summer of 2020, to be administered to pupils at the end of year 4. This will help us to deliver on our commitment that every child will know their times tables off by heart by the time that they leave primary school; and

  • improve the statutory assessment of pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests by extending the interim pre-key stage standards to cover all pupils engaged in subject specific learning, and by piloting the Rochford Review’s recommended approach to assessing pupils who are not yet engaged in subject specific learning.

We will continue to work closely with headteachers, teachers and all those with an interest in primary education as we implement these changes, building on the dialogue started by the consultation. It is by working together that we will achieve our goal of a proportionate assessment system that supports every child to meet their full potential.

Copies of both of these government responses will be placed in the libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS139
WS
Department for Communities and Local Government
Made on: 14 September 2017
Made by: Mr Marcus Jones (Minister for Local Government )
Commons

Business Rates Relief Schemes

At the spring Budget, my Rt Hon Friend the Chancellor announced a £435 million package of support for ratepayers over the next four years following the 2017 business rate revaluation. Overall, the revaluation was revenue neutral with the majority of businesses seeing a fall in their rates.

The package of support announced at the Budget comprised three schemes: one that caps the annual bill increase for any ratepayer losing Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief as a result of the revaluation to £600; a second that provides a £300 million fund for local authorities to distribute over four years to help hard-pressed businesses facing higher rates bills; and a third that gives a £1,000 discount to all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000. On top of this, from April 2017, the Government permanently doubled the rate of small business rate relief and increased the threshold for eligibility, meaning that 600,000 small businesses now pay no business rates at all.

All of these schemes are being delivered by local government and I am pleased to confirm that some local authorities have made significant progress towards implementation. The London Borough of Westminster has already rebilled eligible businesses under the pubs and supporting small business schemes. The consultation on Westminster’s discretionary scheme which will provide over £11 million in the first year alone has now closed. Formal approval to the scheme is due this week, with applications invited from this Friday.

Furthermore, some authorities have awarded relief to eligible ratepayers on all three schemes. For example, Leeds City Council has provided over £1.5 million in relief to over 3,600 ratepayers, including 50 per cent discounts on bill increases to 3,300 small and medium sized ratepayers under their discretionary scheme. Some smaller authorities have also made excellent progress. For example South Norfolk and Rutland councils have implemented all three schemes. Rutland County Council has provided almost £250,000 in relief to over 100 ratepayers to offset average rateable value increases of 13.5 per cent, and is awarding a discount of 26 per cent to eligible businesses.

The Government has been consistently clear that it expects local authorities to make rapid progress in helping business by implementing these relief schemes. Overall, however, despite various examples of good practice, the pace of providing relief to ratepayers has not been acceptable. I have written today to those authorities that have not fully implemented all three schemes asking them to rebill businesses that are set to benefit from relief as soon as possible. From Tuesday 3 October, I will publish a list of those authorities that have notified us that they have rebilled for each of the three relief schemes.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS139
WS
Department for Communities and Local Government
Made on: 14 September 2017
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Business Rates Relief Schemes

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

At the spring Budget, my Rt Hon Friend the Chancellor announced a £435 million package of support for ratepayers over the next four years following the 2017 business rate revaluation. Overall, the revaluation was revenue neutral with the majority of businesses seeing a fall in their rates.

The package of support announced at the Budget comprised three schemes: one that caps the annual bill increase for any ratepayer losing Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief as a result of the revaluation to £600; a second that provides a £300 million fund for local authorities to distribute over four years to help hard-pressed businesses facing higher rates bills; and a third that gives a £1,000 discount to all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000. On top of this, from April 2017, the Government permanently doubled the rate of small business rate relief and increased the threshold for eligibility, meaning that 600,000 small businesses now pay no business rates at all.

All of these schemes are being delivered by local government and I am pleased to confirm that some local authorities have made significant progress towards implementation. The London Borough of Westminster has already rebilled eligible businesses under the pubs and supporting small business schemes. The consultation on Westminster’s discretionary scheme which will provide over £11 million in the first year alone has now closed. Formal approval to the scheme is due this week, with applications invited from this Friday.

Furthermore, some authorities have awarded relief to eligible ratepayers on all three schemes. For example, Leeds City Council has provided over £1.5 million in relief to over 3,600 ratepayers, including 50 per cent discounts on bill increases to 3,300 small and medium sized ratepayers under their discretionary scheme. Some smaller authorities have also made excellent progress. For example South Norfolk and Rutland councils have implemented all three schemes. Rutland County Council has provided almost £250,000 in relief to over 100 ratepayers to offset average rateable value increases of 13.5 per cent, and is awarding a discount of 26 per cent to eligible businesses.

The Government has been consistently clear that it expects local authorities to make rapid progress in helping business by implementing these relief schemes. Overall, however, despite various examples of good practice, the pace of providing relief to ratepayers has not been acceptable. I have written today to those authorities that have not fully implemented all three schemes asking them to rebill businesses that are set to benefit from relief as soon as possible. From Tuesday 3 October, I will publish a list of those authorities that have notified us that they have rebilled for each of the three relief schemes.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS140
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 14 September 2017
Made by: Justine Greening (The Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities)
Commons

Update on Primary Assessment in England

Primary education is fundamentally important to ensuring that every child receives the best possible start in life. As I set out in my statement to Parliament in March this year, the primary assessment and accountability system has a crucial role to play in ensuring that every child, no matter what their background or where they go to school, benefits from a high-quality primary education.

Last October, I set out my intention to establish a settled, trusted primary assessment system. To help us move towards this, we published earlier this year parallel consultation documents on the long-term future of primary assessment and on future assessment arrangements for children working below the standard of the national curriculum tests. These consultations considered a number of the key issues facing the primary assessment and accountability system, including how the assessment system can help teachers to prepare pupils to succeed at school, the starting point from which to measure the progress that schools help children make in primary school, and how end of key stage teacher assessments could be improved. The consultations closed in June and I am grateful to the many people and organisations, and particularly the headteachers and teachers, who took the time to provide thoughtful, considered responses.

Having considered the views expressed, I am today publishing the government’s responses to both consultations, which set out how we will establish a stable and effective primary assessment system. These documents include commitments to:

  • improve the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile by: revising the Early Learning Goals to make them clearer and align them more closely with teaching in key stage 1; this will support us to meet our manifesto commitment to strengthen the teaching of literacy and numeracy in the early years. We will also strengthen the way assessment information is passed on to Year 1 teachers; and review the guidance and moderation process to reduce administration burdens;

  • improve school-level progress measures, and give schools credit for the education that they provide to their pupils in the reception year, year 1 and year 2, by introducing a statutory assessment in reception to replace the existing key stage 1 baseline;

  • reduce workload and administration burdens on teachers by making end-of-key stage 1 assessments non-statutory in all-through primary schools, once the new reception baseline has become established, with national sampling to be introduced so that we can continue to monitor standards;

  • remove the statutory duty to report teacher assessment in reading and mathematics at the end of key stage 2 from the 2018 to 2019 academic year onwards which will form part of our drive to bear down on unnecessary administrative burdens, while keeping our rigorous key stage 2 national curriculum tests in these subjects, which will enable schools to uphold high standards while also reducing workload and administrative burdens on teachers;

  • improve the way that writing is assessed, so that teachers have more scope to use their professional judgment when assessing pupil performance;

  • aid children’s fluency in mathematics through the introduction of a multiplication tables check, from the summer of 2020, to be administered to pupils at the end of year 4. This will help us to deliver on our commitment that every child will know their times tables off by heart by the time that they leave primary school; and

  • improve the statutory assessment of pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests by extending the interim pre-key stage standards to cover all pupils engaged in subject specific learning, and by piloting the Rochford Review’s recommended approach to assessing pupils who are not yet engaged in subject specific learning.

We will continue to work closely with headteachers, teachers and all those with an interest in primary education as we implement these changes, building on the dialogue started by the consultation. It is by working together that we will achieve our goal of a proportionate assessment system that supports every child to meet their full potential.

Copies of both of these government responses will be placed in the libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS140
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Ministry of Justice
Made on: 14 September 2017
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (The Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Judicial Conduct Investigations Office Annual Report 2016–2017

My right honourable friend the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (David Lidington) has made the following Written Statement.

"With the concurrence of the Lord Chief Justice, I will today publish the eleventh annual report of the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO), formerly known as the Office for Judicial Complaints.

The JCIO supports the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor in our joint statutory responsibility for judicial discipline.

The judiciary comprises approximately 26,000 individuals serving across a range of jurisdictions. Over the past year, the JCIO received 2,126 complaints against judicial office holders and 526 written enquiries. Only 42 investigations resulted in disciplinary action. The JCIO met all of its key performance indicators for processing complaints.

I have placed copies of the report into the libraries of both Houses, the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office. Copies are also available online at: http://judicialcomplaints.judiciary.gov.uk/publications.htm."

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS136
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Cabinet Office
Made on: 14 September 2017
Made by: Chris Skidmore (Minister for the Constitution )
Commons

Ministerial Correction

During the Westminster Hall debate on 12 April 2016, the Minister for Civil Society should have said that the potential cost of introducing a National Defence Medal had been estimated as £475 million by the Ministry of Defence, not by the Independent Military Medals Review. The incorrect attribution was repeated in a Written Parliamentary Answer by the then Minister for the Cabinet Office on 25 April 2016.

WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 14 September 2017
Made by: Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (The Lord Privy Seal)
Lords

Grenfell Tower Inquiry Terms of Reference

My Rt Hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made the following statement to the House of Commons:

On 15 August 2017, I announced the formal setting up of a public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire, to be chaired by Sir Martin Moore-Bick, and its terms of reference. This followed Sir Martin Moore-Bick’s letter to me of 10 August, which advised me of the outcome of the public consultation on the scope of the terms of reference, and his recommendations. I was happy to accept Sir Martin’s recommendations without amendment.

The Inquiry’s full terms of reference are:
(i) to examine the circumstances surrounding the fire at Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017, including
(a) the immediate cause or causes of the fire and the means by which it spread to the whole of the building;
(b) the design and construction of the building and the decisions relating to its modification, refurbishment and management;
(c) the scope and adequacy of building regulations, fire regulations and other legislation, guidance and industry practice relating to the design, construction, equipping and management of high-rise residential buildings;
(d) whether such regulations, legislation, guidance and industry practice were complied with in the case of Grenfell Tower and the fire safety measures adopted in relation to it;
(e) the arrangements made by the local authority or other responsible bodies for receiving and acting upon information either obtained from local residents or available from other sources (including information derived from fires in other buildings) relating to the risk of fire at Grenfell Tower, and the action taken in response to such information;
(f) the fire prevention and fire safety measures in place at Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017;
(g) the response of the London Fire Brigade to the fire; and
(h) the response of central and local government in the days immediately following the fire;
and
(ii) to report its findings to the Prime Minister as soon as possible and to make recommendations.

Sir Martin has said that he is considering appointing assessors to assist him in his task. He considers it likely that he shall wish to appoint a diverse group of people whose experience extends to the occupation and management of social housing and the administration of local government more generally, as well as to matters of a more technical scientific nature. He also states that at a later stage, he may also wish to appoint others to assist on particular aspects of the investigation. He will make his decisions public in due course. I have not appointed any other members to the Inquiry Panel at this stage. However, the Inquiries Act 2005 allows for appointments to be made, with the consent of Sir Martin, during the course of the Inquiry. This enables the composition of the Inquiry Panel to be kept under review.

My exchange of correspondence with Sir Martin is in the Library of the House.

Sir Martin is holding a preliminary hearing later today where he will set out further detail on how he intends on conducting the Inquiry.

In addition to the work of the Inquiry, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has already announced an Independent Review into Building Regulations and Fire Safety, led by Dame Judith Hackitt. This will urgently assess the effectiveness of current building and fire safety regulations and related compliance and enforcement issues, with a focus on multi occupancy high rise residential buildings. The Review will co-operate fully with the Inquiry. Sir Martin has set out his reasons for not looking into the broader social housing issues but, as he said in his letter, they should not be ignored and I am determined that these important questions are not left unanswered. As a first step, I have asked my Hon. Friend the Housing Minister (Alok Sharma) to personally meet and hear from as many social tenants as possible, as well as other residents of social housing estates, both in the immediate area around Grenfell Tower and across the country. The Housing Minister has already met a number of representative groups and will continue meet tenants during October and November.

WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 14 September 2017
Made by: Lord Prior of Brampton (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

Energy Policy

My right Honourable Friend, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy (Greg Clark), has made the following written ministerial statement:

As part of preparations for EU Exit, the UK is establishing a domestic nuclear safeguards regime to ensure that the UK continues to maintain its position as a responsible nuclear state and that withdrawal from Euratom will not result in the weakening of our future safeguards standards and oversight in the UK.

This Government believes that it is vitally important that the new domestic nuclear safeguards regime, to be run by the Office for Nuclear Regulation, is as comprehensive and robust as that currently provided by Euratom. The government has therefore decided that it will be establishing a domestic regime which will deliver to existing Euratom standards and exceeds the standard that the international community would require from the UK as a member of the IAEA. International oversight will be a key part of the future regime. The UK is seeking to conclude new agreements with the IAEA that follow the same principles as our current ones. This will ensure that the IAEA retains its right to inspect all civil nuclear facilities, and continue to receive all current safeguards reporting, ensuring that international verification of our safeguards activity continues to be robust.

Discussions with the European Union are on-going. We will be exploring a number of options for smooth transition from the current Euratom regime to a domestic one. The unique and important nature of the civil nuclear sector means that there is strong mutual interest in ensuring that the UK and Euratom Community continue to work closely together in the future. The UK’s ambition is to maintain a close and effective relationship with the Euratom Community and the rest of the world that harnesses the UK’s and the Euratom Community’s expertise and maximises shared interests. By maintaining our current safeguards and standards we are providing the best possible basis for continued close cooperation with Euratom in the future.

Whatever the outcome of those discussions, the Government is committed to a future regime that provides at least the existing levels of assurance. The legislation to provide for this was announced in the Queen’s speech and will be brought forward in due course. This policy statement provides important context both for parliamentary consideration of that Bill, and for the forthcoming talks with the European Union, which take place in the last week of September.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS137
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HM Treasury
Made on: 14 September 2017
Made by: Lord Bates (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Tax Information Exchange Arrangement between the United Kingdom and Bermuda and a Double Taxation Agreement between the United Kingdom and Kyrgyzstan

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

An Exchange of Letters was signed with Bermuda in London on 19 June 2017 and in Hamilton on 27 June 2017. The text replaces the original Exchange of Letters signed in London on 4 December 2007.

A first-time Double Taxation Agreement with Kyrgyzstan was signed on 13 June 2017. The texts of the Exchange of Letters and the Double Taxation Agreement have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and made available on the HM Revenue and Customs’ pages of the gov.uk website. The texts will be scheduled to draft Orders in Council and laid before the House of Commons in due course.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS134
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Wales Office
Made on: 14 September 2017
Made by: Lord Duncan of Springbank (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales)
Lords

Electoral Commission Report on the National Assembly for Wales Elections 2016: Government Response

My Right Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Wales (Alun Cairns) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

The Government is today publishing its response to the Electoral Commission’s report on the administration of the 2016 elections to the National Assembly for Wales.

We are grateful to the Commission for preparing its report and for its ongoing work to support the administration of elections. We note that, following the implementation of the Wales Act 2017, powers over Assembly elections will be devolved to the National Assembly for Wales and Welsh Ministers. It will therefore be the responsibility of the Welsh Government to implement the Commission’s recommendations in respect of the next scheduled Assembly elections in 2021. The Government will consider the Commission’s wider recommendations in respect of polls that remain non-devolved.

Copies of the Government’s response will be placed in the library of both Houses.

WS
Department for International Trade
Made on: 14 September 2017
Made by: Baroness Sugg (Government Whip)
Lords

Trade Matters

My Rt hon Friend The Secretary of State for Department for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade (Dr Liam Fox) has made the following statement

EU-Canada Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) – Provisional Application

The Government wishes to inform the House that on 21 September 2017, the Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada will be provisionally applied. The date of provisional application was confirmed by the European Commission to EU Member States in the last meeting of the Trade Policy Committee.

The UK has always been a strong supporter of CETA and remains a constructive partner in support of EU free trade agreements.

Canada is one of the world’s most developed economies and a significant trading partner for the UK. The provisional application of CETA will benefit consumers and provide opportunities for British businesses with 98% of all Canadian tariff lines being eliminated.

This will create major opportunities for UK businesses across the whole economy and the Government is now working with our Canadian partners to ensure that UK businesses take full advantage of the provisional application of this agreement.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS132
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 14 September 2017
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Hong Kong (Sino/British Joint Declaration)

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

The latest six-monthly report on the implementation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong was published today, and is attached. It covers the period from 1 January to 30 June 2017.

The report has been placed in the Library of the House. A copy is also available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website (www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-office).

I commend the report to the House.

Hong Kong Six Month Report (PDF Document, 333.75 KB)
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