Written statements

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

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

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

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WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 22 January 2018
Made by: Lord Bates (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

ECOFIN: 23 January 2018

My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Philip Hammond) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

A meeting of The Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will be held in Brussels on 23 January 2018. European Finance Ministers will discuss the following:

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President will brief Ministers on the outcomes of the 22 January meeting of the Eurogroup, and the Commission will provide an update on the current economic situation in the EU.

Deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)

The Council will hold a policy debate on the deepening of the EMU.

Current Financial Services Legislative Proposals

The Presidency will present information on the current legislative proposals in the field of financial services.

VAT: Simplification of Rates and Simplification for SME’s

The Commission will present proposals to reform the rules on VAT rates and structures and to simplify VAT obligations for SMEs.

Presidency Work Programme

The Bulgarian Presidency will present its work programme for January to June 2018, followed by an exchange of views.

European Semester 2018

The Council will be asked to adopt Council conclusions on the Annual Growth Survey 2018 and the Council conclusions on the Alert Mechanism Report 2018. The Council will also be asked to approve a Council recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area.

Action Plan to Tackle Non-Performing Loans in Europe

The Council will exchange views on a factual report by the Commission regarding the implementation of the action plan to tackle non-performing loans in Europe.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS419
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 22 January 2018
Made by: Mr Philip Hammond (The Chancellor to the Exchequer)
Commons

ECOFIN: 23 January 2018

A meeting of The Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will be held in Brussels on 23 January 2018. European Finance Ministers will discuss the following:

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President will brief Ministers on the outcomes of the 22 January meeting of the Eurogroup, and the Commission will provide an update on the current economic situation in the EU.

Deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)

The Council will hold a policy debate on the deepening of the EMU.

Current Financial Services Legislative Proposals

The Presidency will present information on the current legislative proposals in the field of financial services.

VAT: Simplification of Rates and Simplification for SME’s

The Commission will present proposals to reform the rules on VAT rates and structures and to simplify VAT obligations for SMEs.

Presidency Work Programme

The Bulgarian Presidency will present its work programme for January to June 2018, followed by an exchange of views.

European Semester 2018

The Council will be asked to adopt Council conclusions on the Annual Growth Survey 2018 and the Council conclusions on the Alert Mechanism Report 2018. The Council will also be asked to approve a Council recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area.

Action Plan to Tackle Non-Performing Loans in Europe

The Council will exchange views on a factual report by the Commission regarding the implementation of the action plan to tackle non-performing loans in Europe.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS411
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 22 January 2018
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) )
Lords

Government Response to the Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety

My hon friend Andrew Griffiths , the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has made the following written ministerial statement:

Yesterday the Government published its response to the report of the Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety, and announced the establishment of a new Office for Product Safety and Standards.

Setting up the Office for Product Safety and Standards represents a significant upgrade in the Government’s approach to product safety in the UK and will, for the first time, give us dedicated expertise to lead on national product safety challenges. It demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that UK consumers receive the highest possible levels of protection from unsafe goods, and UK businesses are protected from the unfair competition posed by substandard and unsafe products (including imports) and can have confidence in meeting their responsibilities to supply safe goods.

The Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety was set up in October 2016 to provide advice to Ministers on tangible improvements that could be made in the safety of white goods and the recalls system. The Working Group is chaired by Neil Gibbins, former Deputy Chief Fire Officer for Devon and Somerset and former Chief Executive of the Institution of Fire Engineers; and brings together product safety experts, the fire service and trading standards professionals.

The Group published its recommendations in July 2017. The Government accepts the recommendations in full and is now taking action to address them.

The recommendations, and the headlines of the Government’s response to each, are as follows:

  1. There is a need for centralised technical and scientific resource capability to support decision making and co-ordination of activity of Local Authorities and the businesses that they regulate. The Government fully accepts this recommendation and today we are establishing the Office for Product Safety and Standards to deliver this capability.
  2. A detailed Code of Practice should be developed with input from all relevant stakeholders; this should be informed by behavioural insights research. This should set out expected good practice with regard to product safety corrective actions (including recalls). The Government fully accepts this recommendation and commissioned the British Standards Institution who published a draft code in November. The draft code was widely welcomed and finalised text is expected to be published by March this year.
  3. Full consideration should be given to establishing central capacity to co-ordinate product safety corrective actions at a central level. The Government fully supports this recommendation and the Office for Product Safety and Standards will be responsible for providing incident management capability and for maintaining a comprehensive database of corrective actions and recall programmes for consumer goods.
  4. Systematic and sustainable ways to capture and share data and intelligence should be established and agreed by relevant parties – this should make use of existing systems used by Trading Standards and the Fire Service. The Government fully accepts this recommendation and the Office for Product Safety and Standards will establish an intelligence capability that brings together the widest possible range of information and evidence to inform the understanding of risks at industry and product level. Work has already begun to map available data sources and available expertise.
  5. Manufacturers and retailers should continue to work together and through standards setting bodies to develop technological solutions to product marking and identification. This recommendation was aimed at manufacturers and retailers however the Government would welcome further thinking from the business community on the practicalities and costs of taking this forward. The Government itself is undertaking research on indelible marking which may prove useful to industry in their considerations.
  6. Primary Authority provides a key mechanism for ensuring that businesses, local authority and BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) expertise is shared to ensure the protection of consumers. The Government supports this recommendation. Primary Authority helps businesses to improve their compliance and it supports local regulators in delivering protections for the public. The Office for Product Safety and Standards will work with primary authorities and businesses to provide additional compliance advice based on the latest scientific and technical knowledge.
  7. The registration of appliances and other consumer goods with manufacturers by consumers should be encouraged to make corrective actions (including recalls) more effective. The Government welcomes the ‘Register my Appliance’ initiative developed by the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances. The Government will continue to work with retailers, fire services and others to see what more can be done to improve the registration of appliances.
  8. An expert panel bringing together trade associations, consumer and enforcement representatives and BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) should be established. The Government fully accepts this recommendation and is looking to build on the foundations of the Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety. The Office for Product Safety and Standards will also work closely with the BEIS Chief Scientific Adviser to consider the potential role and make-up of additional scientific and technical committees.

The establishment of the new Office for Product Safety and Standards will deliver on the Working Group’s key recommendation which called for centralised technical and scientific capability to support effective decision making and to help co-ordinate the activity of Local Authorities and the businesses that they regulate. It also provides the capability needed to address the other recommendations made by the Working Group.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards will enable the UK to meet evolving challenges – responding to expanding international trade, the growth in online retail and the increasing rate of product innovation. It will also help the UK to put in place the most effective system for regulation and enforcement of product safety in preparation for our exit from the European Union.

The Office will:

  • provide incident management capability to respond to national product safety issues;
  • improve the information available to consumers on the Government’s product recall website;
  • provide central scientific and technical expertise on product safety issues;
  • provide support for local authority Trading Standards teams, and for District Councils in Northern Ireland;
  • support checks at UK borders and the interception of unsafe imports;
  • provide improved intelligence and risk analysis to guide enforcement activities; and,
  • work with UK business to ensure they are able to meet their compliance requirements.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards will initially be based in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and will have an operating budget of around £12 million per year when it is fully operational. In the longer-term, the Government will examine the options for making the Office an arm's length independent body and will look at associated funding options. This will be subject to further consideration and public consultation before any decisions are made.

The Government’s response to the Working Group’s report marks the culmination of longer term work on product safety and recalls. An independent review of the recall system was undertaken by Lynn Faulds Wood in 2015, with her review published in February 2016. The Working Group has built on that review and made their own recommendations.

On 16th January 2018, the BEIS Select Committee published its report on The Safety of Electrical Goods in the UK. The Government will respond to the Committee in due course.

The Government Response to the Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety sets out in full how we are addressing each of the Working Group’s recommendations. That response has now been published, and copies of the documents have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS418
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 22 January 2018
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Gifting of the Devonport Collection to the National Museum of the Royal Navy

I have today laid before Parliament a Ministry of Defence Departmental Minute describing a gifting package which the Department intends to make to the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

Devonport Dockyard had a museum known as the Adelaide Gallery in the first half of the 1800s comprising a number of artefacts including figureheads and items such as flags from ships that served at Trafalgar. Sadly a fire in 1840 destroyed the majority of the collection. However, with the help of volunteers the museum was opened, within the Naval Base estate, in the disused Old Admiralty Fire Station in April 1969. Since opening, the ‘Devonport Collection’ has been enhanced by a group of willing volunteers who have accumulated artefacts of both local and national significance.

The current collection is made up of over 100,000 artefacts spanning the period 1588 to the present day. The collection includes naval stores, uniforms, medals, badges, personal kit and also model ships. It also includes silver, china and kitchenware, weights and measures as well as larger items such as figureheads. The total cost of the proposed gift is estimated at approximately £650,000.

The expansion of the collection is such that artefacts are now displayed in eight galleries across three buildings and is managed by a group of over 30 dedicated volunteers and uniformed staff. Currently, members of the public can only visit the collection by appointment.

Given the changes to the Naval Base site and the wider area under the Plymouth and South West Peninsula City Deal and the complexities associated with supporting such an extensive collection of historical material, I propose the gifting of the Devonport Collection to the National Museum of the Royal Navy in order that it can be suitably conserved and more widely displayed in Plymouth for current and future generations allowing greater access to the public.

The Departmental Minute, which I have today laid before Parliament, describes a gifting package to the National Museum of the Royal Navy that will comprise a number of historical items which need the continued support of the professional services that the Museum can provide.

Gifting is expected to be undertaken as soon as possible after the completion of the Departmental Minute process.

WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 22 January 2018
Made by: Baroness Buscombe (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions)
Lords

Funeral Expenses Payments

My honourable Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Family Support, Housing & Child Maintenance (Kit Malthouse MP) has made the following Written Statement.

I am pleased to announce that it is my intention to lay regulations in the House later today that will make some enhancements to a number of the eligibility conditions relating to the Social Fund Funeral Expenses Payments scheme, and simplify the process for making a claim. The scheme makes a contribution to paying the costs of funerals being arranged by people on qualifying benefits.

The changes, which we plan to bring into force on 2 April, were the subject of a public consultation exercise in summer 2017 which generated an overwhelmingly positive response for our proposals. This package of proposals will, among other things, enable claimants to receive contributions from charities, relatives or friends without them being deducted from the overall sum payable toward funeral costs. In future, claimants will have six months from the funeral date in which to make an application for help with funeral costs instead of the current three months. They will also have the option of submitting any evidence needed in support of their claim electronically.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS416
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 22 January 2018
Made by: Andrew Griffiths (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) )
Commons

Government Response to the Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety

Yesterday the Government published its response to the report of the Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety, and announced the establishment of a new Office for Product Safety and Standards.

Setting up the Office for Product Safety and Standards represents a significant upgrade in the Government’s approach to product safety in the UK and will, for the first time, give us dedicated expertise to lead on national product safety challenges. It demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that UK consumers receive the highest possible levels of protection from unsafe goods, and UK businesses are protected from the unfair competition posed by substandard and unsafe products (including imports) and can have confidence in meeting their responsibilities to supply safe goods.

The Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety was set up in October 2016 to provide advice to Ministers on tangible improvements that could be made in the safety of white goods and the recalls system. The Working Group is chaired by Neil Gibbins, former Deputy Chief Fire Officer for Devon and Somerset and former Chief Executive of the Institution of Fire Engineers; and brings together product safety experts, the fire service and trading standards professionals.

The Group published its recommendations in July 2017. The Government accepts the recommendations in full and is now taking action to address them.

The recommendations, and the headlines of the Government’s response to each, are as follows:

  1. There is a need for centralised technical and scientific resource capability to support decision making and co-ordination of activity of Local Authorities and the businesses that they regulate. The Government fully accepts this recommendation and today we are establishing the Office for Product Safety and Standards to deliver this capability.
  2. A detailed Code of Practice should be developed with input from all relevant stakeholders; this should be informed by behavioural insights research. This should set out expected good practice with regard to product safety corrective actions (including recalls). The Government fully accepts this recommendation and commissioned the British Standards Institution who published a draft code in November. The draft code was widely welcomed and finalised text is expected to be published by March this year.
  3. Full consideration should be given to establishing central capacity to co-ordinate product safety corrective actions at a central level. The Government fully supports this recommendation and the Office for Product Safety and Standards will be responsible for providing incident management capability and for maintaining a comprehensive database of corrective actions and recall programmes for consumer goods.
  4. Systematic and sustainable ways to capture and share data and intelligence should be established and agreed by relevant parties – this should make use of existing systems used by Trading Standards and the Fire Service. The Government fully accepts this recommendation and the Office for Product Safety and Standards will establish an intelligence capability that brings together the widest possible range of information and evidence to inform the understanding of risks at industry and product level. Work has already begun to map available data sources and available expertise.
  5. Manufacturers and retailers should continue to work together and through standards setting bodies to develop technological solutions to product marking and identification. This recommendation was aimed at manufacturers and retailers however the Government would welcome further thinking from the business community on the practicalities and costs of taking this forward. The Government itself is undertaking research on indelible marking which may prove useful to industry in their considerations.
  6. Primary Authority provides a key mechanism for ensuring that businesses, local authority and BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) expertise is shared to ensure the protection of consumers. The Government supports this recommendation. Primary Authority helps businesses to improve their compliance and it supports local regulators in delivering protections for the public. The Office for Product Safety and Standards will work with primary authorities and businesses to provide additional compliance advice based on the latest scientific and technical knowledge.
  7. The registration of appliances and other consumer goods with manufacturers by consumers should be encouraged to make corrective actions (including recalls) more effective. The Government welcomes the ‘Register my Appliance’ initiative developed by the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances. The Government will continue to work with retailers, fire services and others to see what more can be done to improve the registration of appliances.
  8. An expert panel bringing together trade associations, consumer and enforcement representatives and BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) should be established. The Government fully accepts this recommendation and is looking to build on the foundations of the Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety. The Office for Product Safety and Standards will also work closely with the BEIS Chief Scientific Adviser to consider the potential role and make-up of additional scientific and technical committees.

The establishment of the new Office for Product Safety and Standards will deliver on the Working Group’s key recommendation which called for centralised technical and scientific capability to support effective decision making and to help co-ordinate the activity of Local Authorities and the businesses that they regulate. It also provides the capability needed to address the other recommendations made by the Working Group.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards will enable the UK to meet evolving challenges – responding to expanding international trade, the growth in online retail and the increasing rate of product innovation. It will also help the UK to put in place the most effective system for regulation and enforcement of product safety in preparation for our exit from the European Union.

The Office will:

  • provide incident management capability to respond to national product safety issues;
  • improve the information available to consumers on the Government’s product recall website;
  • provide central scientific and technical expertise on product safety issues;
  • provide support for local authority Trading Standards teams, and for District Councils in Northern Ireland;
  • support checks at UK borders and the interception of unsafe imports;
  • provide improved intelligence and risk analysis to guide enforcement activities; and,
  • work with UK business to ensure they are able to meet their compliance requirements.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards will initially be based in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and will have an operating budget of around £12 million per year when it is fully operational. In the longer-term, the Government will examine the options for making the Office an arm's length independent body and will look at associated funding options. This will be subject to further consideration and public consultation before any decisions are made.

The Government’s response to the Working Group’s report marks the culmination of longer term work on product safety and recalls. An independent review of the recall system was undertaken by Lynn Faulds Wood in 2015, with her review published in February 2016. The Working Group has built on that review and made their own recommendations.

On 16th January 2018, the BEIS Select Committee published its report on The Safety of Electrical Goods in the UK. The Government will respond to the Committee in due course.

The Government Response to the Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety sets out in full how we are addressing each of the Working Group’s recommendations. That response has now been published, and copies of the documents have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS410
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 22 January 2018
Made by: Mark Lancaster (MInister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Commons

Gifting of the Devonport Collection to the National Museum of the Royal Navy

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

I have today laid before Parliament a Ministry of Defence Departmental Minute describing a gifting package which the Department intends to make to the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

Devonport Dockyard had a museum known as the Adelaide Gallery in the first half of the 1800s comprising a number of artefacts including figureheads and items such as flags from ships that served at Trafalgar. Sadly a fire in 1840 destroyed the majority of the collection. However, with the help of volunteers the museum was opened, within the Naval Base estate, in the disused Old Admiralty Fire Station in April 1969. Since opening, the ‘Devonport Collection’ has been enhanced by a group of willing volunteers who have accumulated artefacts of both local and national significance.

The current collection is made up of over 100,000 artefacts spanning the period 1588 to the present day. The collection includes naval stores, uniforms, medals, badges, personal kit and also model ships. It also includes silver, china and kitchenware, weights and measures as well as larger items such as figureheads. The total cost of the proposed gift is estimated at approximately £650,000.

The expansion of the collection is such that artefacts are now displayed in eight galleries across three buildings and is managed by a group of over 30 dedicated volunteers and uniformed staff. Currently, members of the public can only visit the collection by appointment.

Given the changes to the Naval Base site and the wider area under the Plymouth and South West Peninsula City Deal and the complexities associated with supporting such an extensive collection of historical material, I propose the gifting of the Devonport Collection to the National Museum of the Royal Navy in order that it can be suitably conserved and more widely displayed in Plymouth for current and future generations allowing greater access to the public.

The Departmental Minute, which I have today laid before Parliament, describes a gifting package to the National Museum of the Royal Navy that will comprise a number of historical items which need the continued support of the professional services that the Museum can provide.

Gifting is expected to be undertaken as soon as possible after the completion of the Departmental Minute process.

WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 22 January 2018
Made by: Kit Malthouse (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Family Support, Housing & Child Maintenance)
Commons

Funeral Expenses Payments

I am pleased to announce that it is my intention to lay regulations in the House later today that will make some enhancements to a number of the eligibility conditions relating to the Social Fund Funeral Expenses Payments scheme, and simplify the process for making a claim. The scheme makes a contribution to paying the costs of funerals being arranged by people on qualifying benefits.

The changes, which we plan to bring into force on 2 April, were the subject of a public consultation exercise in summer 2017 which generated an overwhelmingly positive response for our proposals. This package of proposals will, among other things, enable claimants to receive contributions from charities, relatives or friends without them being deducted from the overall sum payable toward funeral costs. In future, claimants will have six months from the funeral date in which to make an application for help with funeral costs instead of the current three months. They will also have the option of submitting any evidence needed in support of their claim electronically.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS408
WS
Home Office
Made on: 19 January 2018
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Migration

The UK and France share a special relationship. The operation of juxtaposed controls, provided for by bilateral agreements, is an essential element of our border strategy. Since the juxtaposed controls were introduced, the number of asylum claims made in the UK has decreased dramatically. Before the controls were in place, asylum claims reached over 84,000 a year, three times higher than the 26,617 claims in 2016/17. The reduction in claims we have seen has significantly reduced the impact on public services and the UK taxpayer – with every reduction by 10,000 asylum claims saving the UK at least £70 million in costs.

Juxtaposed controls play a hugely important role in protecting our national security and have significant economic value for both the UK and France – creating a smooth border and making trade more efficient. Having UK border controls based in France allows Border Force officers to check passengers and freight destined for the UK in France, ensuring we can take action against illegal migrants, those trying to smuggle people into the UK and criminals attempting to bring illegal goods into the country, before they reach British soil.

Yesterday, we signed a supplementary agreement that demonstrates the UK and France’s long-term commitment to the future of the juxtaposed controls, recognising that they are in the common interest. This Treaty with France - the Treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the French Republic Concerning the Reinforcement of Cooperation for the Coordinated Management of their Shared Border, Recognising the Importance of Cooperation at the Juxtaposed Controls – is established to sit alongside the Le Touquet and Canterbury treaties and will come into force on 1 February 2018. In securing the future of juxtaposed controls in this way we are able to strengthen operational cooperation, both in northern France and further upstream, to reduce the illegal flows into France. The Treaty will not affect the operation of our juxtaposed controls, but demonstrates the UK and France’s long term commitment to their successful operation, and secures some of the mechanisms that we need to further strengthen our joint capabilities to prevent the formation of any new migrant camps.

Building on the successful cooperation of the clearance and relocation of the migrant camp in Calais in 2016, the UK and France have now agreed a comprehensive ‘whole of route’ approach to migration. The aim is to reduce the number of migrants making the dangerous and illegal journey to northern France and manage the pressure on our shared border from those who do travel. The elements are to:

  • jointly work upstream in source and transit countries to discourage migrants who do not have any lawful basis for doing so from making the dangerous journey to northern France;
  • invest in strengthening our shared border through investment in port security and infrastructure and further improving operational cooperation with France; and,
  • work to ensure that migrants who have travelled illegally to Northern France are able to quickly claim asylum in France so we can meet our international obligations.

The UK has a shared interest in cooperating with France to manage migratory pressures. The support announced as part of the UK France Summit will help ensure migrant camps do not reform and that those willing to engage with the asylum system in France can claim asylum there. It also includes working with France to facilitate the return of migrants with no legal right to be in Europe to countries further upstream where they can be lawfully admitted.

Our cooperation with France on migration and our shared border is a long term commitment. Just as we invest in our borders around the rest of the UK, it is only right that we constantly monitor whether there is more we can be doing at the UK border controls in France and Belgium. Signing the Treaty yesterday ensures a continuation of operational cooperation in a number of ways. It reaffirms both parties’ commitments to the operation of procedures for determining the Member State responsible for an asylum claim under the Dublin III Regulation. It establishes a new coordination centre for operational cooperation at our shared border and strengthens cooperation on returns. It sets up a strategic dialogue and commits both countries to working towards joint practical measures in countries upstream, further demonstrating our commitment and leadership on this agenda. These practical measures will help to reduce flows to northern France and underpin our joint commitment to fight modern slavery and human trafficking.

In addition, the UK and France recognise their humanitarian responsibilities towards unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee children. In 2016, the UK transferred over 750 unaccompanied minors from France as part of our comprehensive support for the Calais camp clearance. We have also announced a number of further measures in respect of unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee children:

  • France, Greece and Italy will now be able to refer unaccompanied children who arrived in Europe before 18 January 2018 to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016. The Government had previously insisted on the previous eligibility date of 20 March 2016 to avoid establishing an open-ended relocation scheme from Europe, as this would increase the pull factor that puts children’s lives at risk. After extensive discussion with France, Greece and Italy, we have agreed to amend the eligibility date on an exceptional basis to ensure we can transfer the circa. 260 remaining unaccompanied children and meet our obligation under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016. Over 220 children are already here and we are fully committed to transferring the specified number of 480 children as soon as possible, in line with our published policy. The specified number of 480 under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 remains unchanged following the UK France Summit.
  • The allocation of a £3.6M development fund, as part of the UK’s overall £45.5M funding commitment, which the UK intends to use to work with France to identify projects which support genuine claims through the Dublin process and ensure that those with no prospect of transferring to the UK are informed of their options.
  • The strengthening of cooperation with France on the operation of the Dublin Regulation, including shorter timescales for decisions and transfers. These commitments apply whilst both the UK and France are participants in the Dublin Regulation.
  • The deployment of a UK Liaison Officer to France by 1 April 2018.

The Government has not agreed to any new obligations to take more unaccompanied children from Europe. The commitments set out in the Treaty and this Written Ministerial Statement will improve joint working with France and support the delivery of existing obligations.

The deal that we have done yesterday recognises the importance of the juxtapose controls for both the UK and France, and seals confirmation by President Macron to ensuring that we work together to operate them as efficiently as possible, and sets up a new phase of cooperation that will enable us to break the cycle of camps forming in northern France.

We have a shared interest in cooperating with France on our whole of route approach to migration and the commitments set out at the UK France Summit and in this Written Ministerial Statement further underline the value of our enduring strategic relationship.

WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 19 January 2018
Made by: Baroness Buscombe (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions)
Lords

Welfare

My Right Honourable Friend the The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (The Rt. Hon.Esther McVey MP) has made the following Written Statement.

Supporting people with mental health conditions is a top priority for this Government. We are committed to ensuring our welfare system is a strong safety net for those who need it. That is why we spend over £50 billion a year supporting people with disabilities and health conditions –more than ever before.

Disabled people and people with health conditions, including mental health conditions, deserve the very best support. Personal Independence Payment (PIP) replaced the out-dated Disability Living Allowance (DLA) system, with 66% of PIP recipients with mental health conditions receiving the higher rate of the benefit, compared to just 22% under DLA.

On 21st December 2017 the High Court published its judgment in the judicial review challenge against regulation 2(4) of the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 S.I. 2017/194. The Regulations reversed the effect of the Upper Tribunal judgment in MH.

I wish to inform the House that, after careful consideration, I have decided not to appeal the High Court judgment. My Department will now take all steps necessary to implement the judgment in MH in the best interests of our claimants, working closely with disabled people and key stakeholders over the coming months.

Although I and my Department accept the High Court’s judgment, we do not agree with some of the detail contained therein. Our intention has always been to deliver the policy intent of the original regulations, as approved by Parliament, and to provide the best support to claimants with mental health conditions.

The Department for Work and Pensions will now undertake an exercise to go through all affected cases in receipt of PIP and all decisions made following the judgment in MH to identify anyone who may be entitled to more as a result of the judgment. We will then write to those individuals affected, and all payments will be backdated to the effective date in each individual claim.

I hope that by making this statement it is clear that the Government is committed to improving the lives of people with mental health conditions.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS414
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 19 January 2018
Made by: Esther McVey (The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions)
Commons

Welfare

Supporting people with mental health conditions is a top priority for this Government. We are committed to ensuring our welfare system is a strong safety net for those who need it. That is why we spend over £50 billion a year supporting people with disabilities and health conditions –more than ever before.

Disabled people and people with health conditions, including mental health conditions, deserve the very best support. Personal Independence Payment (PIP) replaced the out-dated Disability Living Allowance (DLA) system, with 66% of PIP recipients with mental health conditions receiving the higher rate of the benefit, compared to just 22% under DLA.

On 21st December 2017 the High Court published its judgment in the judicial review challenge against regulation 2(4) of the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 S.I. 2017/194. The Regulations reversed the effect of the Upper Tribunal judgment in MH.

I wish to inform the House that, after careful consideration, I have decided not to appeal the High Court judgment. My Department will now take all steps necessary to implement the judgment in MH in the best interests of our claimants, working closely with disabled people and key stakeholders over the coming months.

Although I and my Department accept the High Court’s judgment, we do not agree with some of the detail contained therein. Our intention has always been to deliver the policy intent of the original regulations, as approved by Parliament, and to provide the best support to claimants with mental health conditions.

The Department for Work and Pensions will now undertake an exercise to go through all affected cases in receipt of PIP and all decisions made following the judgment in MH to identify anyone who may be entitled to more as a result of the judgment. We will then write to those individuals affected, and all payments will be backdated to the effective date in each individual claim.

I hope that by making this statement it is clear that the Government is committed to improving the lives of people with mental health conditions.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS407
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 18 January 2018
Made by: Gavin Williamson (Secretary of State for Defence)
Commons

UK Military Support

I wish to inform the House of the Government’s intent to deploy three CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopters to Mali to provide logistical support to French operations in the Sahel region, following French requests for additional support for Operation BARKHANE. This deployment forms an important element of our agreement at the Sandhurst Summit to work more closely with the French to counter terrorism and instability in the Sahel, and strengthen our cooperation in this region. We will continue to co-ordinate the deployment with the French and update the House in due course.

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 18 January 2018
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State , (Ministry of Defence), Lords)
Lords

UK Military Support

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Gavin Williamson) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I wish to inform the House of the Government’s intent to deploy three CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopters to Mali to provide logistical support to French operations in the Sahel region, following French requests for additional support for Operation BARKHANE. This deployment forms an important element of our agreement at the Sandhurst Summit to work more closely with the French to counter terrorism and instability in the Sahel, and strengthen our cooperation in this region. We will continue to co-ordinate the deployment with the French and update the House in due course.

WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 18 January 2018
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (The Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Lucy Frazer QC) has made the following Written Statement.

"Together with the senior judiciary, the Government is committed to modernising the justice system. HM Courts & Tribunals Service’s long-term reform programme is already delivering benefits by making access to justice quicker and easier whilst ensuring fairness. HM Courts & Tribunals Service’s £1 billion reform programme is ambitious, ensuring justice is accessible but proportionate and making use of the technology available in the modern world. It will provide modern IT and processes, and focused services to support those who require court services. It covers all jurisdictions and touches every aspect of the system, including making more effective use of its physical places, spaces and buildings.

Courts and tribunals estate

It is important that when the programme of reform is complete we have the right buildings in the right places that can take full advantage of the opportunities that modernisation brings. They should be flexible, efficient and offer the best possible environment for those who seek justice, and our approach should reflect the greater use of digital services.

I am, today, announcing the publication of six separate, but related, consultations about the HM Courts & Tribunals Service estate.

Consultation on future estates strategy

The first consultation, Fit for the future: Transforming the Courts and Tribunals Estate, provides an outline of reform activities which are either underway or planned. It outlines the three core principles behind our approach – ensuring access to justice, providing value for money for the taxpayer and ensuring efficiency in the long term – and a proposed approach to future consultations on changes to the estate as HMCTS reform initiatives deliver results.

Consultations on court closure proposals

While consideration of the demands on the courts and tribunals estate in the context of reform is important, we also need to assess the existing estate to make sure it is efficient and offers value for money to taxpayers now. To this end, a key consideration in management of the estate is that we only operate buildings that we need, eliminating duplication and overlapping service provision, with the savings recycled back into the reform programme.

I am therefore, today announcing five separate consultations on proposals to close eight courts. These proposals are being made under the existing courts and tribunals estates principles and current processes and workloads.

The courts are:

  • Banbury Magistrates’ and County Court and Maidenhead Magistrates’ Court (in a single consultation for the court estate in the Thames Valley),
  • Cambridge Magistrates’ Court,
  • Chorley Magistrates’ Court and Fleetwood Magistrates’ Court (in a single consultation for the court estate in Lancashire),
  • Northallerton Magistrates’ Court, and
  • Wandsworth County Court, and Blackfriars Crown Court (in a single consultation for the court estate in London).

All consultations will begin on 18 January 2018 and run for 10 weeks. A response to the consultations will be published following proper consideration of all views submitted.

A copy of the consultation documents will be placed in the Libraries of both houses."

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS412
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 18 January 2018
Made by: Lucy Frazer (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice)
Commons

Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service

Together with the senior judiciary, the Government is committed to modernising the justice system. HM Courts & Tribunals Service’s long-term reform programme is already delivering benefits by making access to justice quicker and easier whilst ensuring fairness. HM Courts & Tribunals Service’s £1 billion reform programme is ambitious, ensuring justice is accessible but proportionate and making use of the technology available in the modern world. It will provide modern IT and processes, and focused services to support those who require court services. It covers all jurisdictions and touches every aspect of the system, including making more effective use of its physical places, spaces and buildings.

Courts and tribunals estate

It is important that when the programme of reform is complete we have the right buildings in the right places that can take full advantage of the opportunities that modernisation brings. They should be flexible, efficient and offer the best possible environment for those who seek justice, and our approach should reflect the greater use of digital services.

I am, today, announcing the publication of six separate, but related, consultations about the HM Courts & Tribunals Service estate.

Consultation on future estates strategy

The first consultation, Fit for the future: Transforming the Courts and Tribunals Estate, provides an outline of reform activities which are either underway or planned. It outlines the three core principles behind our approach – ensuring access to justice, providing value for money for the taxpayer and ensuring efficiency in the long term – and a proposed approach to future consultations on changes to the estate as HMCTS reform initiatives deliver results.

Consultations on court closure proposals

While consideration of the demands on the courts and tribunals estate in the context of reform is important, we also need to assess the existing estate to make sure it is efficient and offers value for money to taxpayers now. To this end, a key consideration in management of the estate is that we only operate buildings that we need, eliminating duplication and overlapping service provision, with the savings recycled back into the reform programme.

I am therefore, today announcing five separate consultations on proposals to close eight courts. These proposals are being made under the existing courts and tribunals estates principles and current processes and workloads.

The courts are:

  • Banbury Magistrates’ and County Court and Maidenhead Magistrates’ Court (in a single consultation for the court estate in the Thames Valley),
  • Cambridge Magistrates’ Court,
  • Chorley Magistrates’ Court and Fleetwood Magistrates’ Court (in a single consultation for the court estate in Lancashire),
  • Northallerton Magistrates’ Court, and
  • Wandsworth County Court, and Blackfriars Crown Court (in a single consultation for the court estate in London).

All consultations will begin on 18 January 2018 and run for 10 weeks. A response to the consultations will be published following proper consideration of all views submitted.

A copy of the consultation documents will be placed in the Libraries of both houses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS405
WS
Home Office
Made on: 18 January 2018
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (01 September 2017 to 30 November 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 30 November 2017)

7

TPIM notices in respect of British citizens (as of 30 November 2017)

6

TPIM notices extended (during the reporting period)

2

TPIM notices revoked (during the reporting period)

0

TPIM notices revived (during the reporting period)

0

Variations made to measures specified in TPIM notices (during the reporting period)

10

Applications to vary measures specified in TPIM notices refused (during the

reporting period)

0

The number of current subjects relocated under TPIM legislation (as of 30

November 2017)

7

The TPIM Review Group (TRG) keeps every TPIM notice under regular and formal review. The most recent TRG meetings took place on 4, 6, 26 and 27 September. The next round of TRG’s will take place during December 2017.

On 11 October 2017 a TPIM subject was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment following an earlier guilty plea to two breaches of the association measure of the TPIM notice.

The case of Secretary of State for the Home Department v LF [2017] EWHC 26859 (Admin) was heard at the High Court between 17 and 21 July 2017. In a judgment dated 30 October 2017 Mrs Justice Laing upheld the Secretary of State’s decision to impose a TPIM notice on LF. In the same judgment Mrs Justice Laing ordered a minor variation to LF’s police reporting requirement. This judgment can be found at www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2017/2685.html

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS403
WS
Home Office
Made on: 18 January 2018
Made by: Mr Ben Wallace (The Minister of State for Security)
Commons

Criminal Finances: EU directive on combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment

The Government has decided that the UK will not opt in to the Directive on combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment.

The UK’s domestic legislation is already compliant with the majority of the Directive’s measures, and in relation to the offences and sentences set out in the Directive, the UK goes further than the standards set within the Directive for:

  • The effective cooperation for the fraudulent use of payment instruments, and;
  • The preparatory offences, the use of information systems and other tools to support fraudulent use.

Following careful consideration we have concluded that there would be no benefit to the UK opting in to this measure.

The UK strongly supports international efforts to tackle fraud. The UK works closely with other EU Member States and will continue to do so despite the decision not to opt in. The UK has consistently advocated that international cooperation is required to tackle fraud, and we are committed to supporting Member States, and other countries, in this regard.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS402
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 18 January 2018
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Lords

Foreign Affairs Council: 22 January

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

I will attend the Foreign Affairs Council on 22 January. The Foreign Affairs Council will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP), Federica Mogherini. The meeting will be held in Brussels.

The agenda for the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) is expected to include a breakfast with the President of the European Investment Bank as well as discussions on the Post Cotonou Agreement, Libya and the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP). There will be a lunch with the President of the Palestinian National Authority (PA), Mahmoud Abbas.

The HRVP is expected to cover Iran, Conclusions on Iraq, Zimbabwe, the Integrated Approach of the EU Global Strategy and EU priorities at the Council of Europe in her introductory remarks.

Post Cotonou

Ministers will discuss developments in the negotiations on a post 2020 agreement with the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP) which will replace the current Cotonou Agreement.

Libya

The EUVP will debrief on the outcomes from the European Union - African Union - United Nations (EU-AU-UN) Taskforce meeting that took place on 14 December and outline the next steps. A substantial discussion on Libya will follow covering politics, migration, counter-terrorism and Common Security and Defence Policy. Ministers will discuss the latest political developments, including obstacles in the peace process, perhaps with particular reference to the challenges facing the UN Special Representative Ghassan Salame.
We will be encouraging EU members to continue supporting the UN-led process and will continue to offer our support to the EU-AU-UN Taskforce.

MEPP

Ministers will host Palestinian President Abbas for a lunch and discuss prospects for the MEPP, including longstanding EU support for a negotiated two-state solution and EU support for Palestinian reconciliation.

Council Conclusions

The FAC is expected to adopt Conclusions on Iraq, Zimbabwe and the Integrated Approach of the EU Global Strategy.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS408
WS
Home Office
Made on: 18 January 2018
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (01 September 2017 to 30 November 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 30 November 2017)

7

TPIM notices in respect of British citizens (as of 30 November 2017)

6

TPIM notices extended (during the reporting period)

2

TPIM notices revoked (during the reporting period)

0

TPIM notices revived (during the reporting period)

0

Variations made to measures specified in TPIM notices (during the reporting period)

10

Applications to vary measures specified in TPIM notices refused (during the

reporting period)

0

The number of current subjects relocated under TPIM legislation (as of 30

November 2017)

7

The TPIM Review Group (TRG) keeps every TPIM notice under regular and formal review. The most recent TRG meetings took place on 4, 6, 26 and 27 September. The next round of TRG’s will take place during December 2017.

On 11 October 2017 a TPIM subject was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment following an earlier guilty plea to two breaches of the association measure of the TPIM notice.

The case of Secretary of State for the Home Department v LF [2017] EWHC 26859 (Admin) was heard at the High Court between 17 and 21 July 2017. In a judgment dated 30 October 2017 Mrs Justice Laing upheld the Secretary of State’s decision to impose a TPIM notice on LF. In the same judgment Mrs Justice Laing ordered a minor variation to LF’s police reporting requirement. This judgment can be found at www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2017/2685.html

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS411
WS
Home Office
Made on: 18 January 2018
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Criminal Finances: EU directive on combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment

My rt hon Friend the Minister of State for Security (Ben Wallace) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

The Government has decided that the UK will not opt in to the Directive on combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment.

The UK’s domestic legislation is already compliant with the majority of the Directive’s measures, and in relation to the offences and sentences set out in the Directive, the UK goes further than the standards set within the Directive for:

  • The effective cooperation for the fraudulent use of payment instruments, and;
  • The preparatory offences, the use of information systems and other tools to support fraudulent use.

Following careful consideration we have concluded that there would be no benefit to the UK opting in to this measure.

The UK strongly supports international efforts to tackle fraud. The UK works closely with other EU Member States and will continue to do so despite the decision not to opt in. The UK has consistently advocated that international cooperation is required to tackle fraud, and we are committed to supporting Member States, and other countries, in this regard.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS410
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