Written statements

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

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

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

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Department for Education
Made on: 14 December 2017
Made by: Justine Greening (The Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities)
Commons

Social Mobility Action Plan: Delivering Equality of Opportunity through Education

Today, 14 December 2017, I am publishing Unlocking Talent; Fulfilling Potential: A plan for improving social mobility through education.

This is an ambitious plan to put social mobility at the heart of education policy, helping to make Britain fit for the future. It sits alongside the work of other Departments, and brings together a coherent, concerted approach to begin to level up opportunity right across the education system.

Our education reforms are raising standards in schools: compared to 2010 there are now 1.9 million more pupils in good and outstanding schools. Our introduction of a central focus on phonics is transforming literacy rates for young children. There are record numbers of young people in education or training and more disadvantaged young people going to university.

But, in our country today, where you start still all too often determines where you finish. And while talent is spread evenly across the country, opportunity is not. If we are to make this a country which truly works for everyone, there is much more to be done to deliver equality of opportunity for every child, regardless of who they are or where they live.

We are under no illusion that this will be easy. Nor that education can do it alone. But it does play a vital role – equality of opportunity starts with education.

This plan will deliver action targeted towards the people and the places where it is needed most through five key ambitions. Firstly, there is an overarching ambition to provide additional support to parts of the country that need it to ensure no community is “left behind”. Then there are four life stage ambitions:

Ambition 1: Close the word gap in the early years: children with strong foundations start school in a position to progress, but too many children fall behind early. We need to tackle development gaps, especially key early language and literacy skills, including by boosting investment in English hubs and professional development for early years professionals.

Ambition 2: Close the attainment gap in school while continuing to raise standards for all: the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their more affluent peers is closing. But these pupils still remain behind their peers. We will build on recent reforms, and raise standards in the areas that need it most. This will include more support for teachers early in their careers, providing clear pathways to progression, and getting more great teachers in areas where there remain significant challenges.

Ambition 3: High quality post-16 education choices for all young people: we have more people going to university than ever before, including more disadvantaged young people, but we need to expand access further to the best universities. We are delivering a skills revolution including working with business to make technical education world class, backed by an extra £500 million pounds investment at the March 2017 Budget.

Ambition 4: Everyone achieving their full potential in rewarding careers: employment has grown, but we need to improve access for young people from lower income backgrounds to networks of advice, information and experiences of work through a new type of partnership with businesses and employers. We will also support adults to retrain/upskill.

To achieve these ambitions, we are shifting the way we work. We are focusing on what works: putting evidence and the heart of our approach, embedding and extending successful reforms, and spreading best practice.

We are also shifting focus on building lasting success through partnership: asking employers, education professionals, voluntary groups and many others to step up and join a united effort across the country to put social mobility at the heart of their work too.

Improving opportunity for the next generation of young people is one of the great challenges of our time; everyone must play their part. But the prize is huge: a country in which talent and potential are what matters more. A country where everyone can be at their best.

The plan will be published on the Department for Education’s website and copies will also be placed in the House Libraries.

Unlocking Talent; Fulfilling Potential (PDF Document, 2.63 MB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS341
WS
Department for Communities and Local Government
Made on: 14 December 2017
Made by: Sajid Javid (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Grenfell Tower fire six months on

Today marks six months since the Grenfell Tower tragedy and I am sure I speak for the whole House when I say our thoughts very much remain with those affected.

A national memorial service will take place at St Paul’s Cathedral today to mark this, which the Prime Minister, Ministerial colleagues and I will attend. This will provide the opportunity for us to remember those who tragically lost their lives and I hope offer some comfort to the bereaved and survivors. I am determined those who lost their lives, their families and friends, the survivors and the community will not be forgotten and are supported in getting the help they need and deserve.

On 11 December I wrote to all colleagues with an update on some of the work being undertaken to support those affected and I plan, with Mr Speaker’s permission, to make an Oral Statement to the House before recess.

Above all, I am determined that the lessons of the Grenfell fire are learnt and never forgotten so that a tragedy like this can never, ever happen again.

WS
Department of Health
Made on: 14 December 2017
Made by: Mr Philip Dunne (Minister of State for Health)
Commons

Draft health and care workforce strategy for England

I wish to update Parliament that on 13th December 2017, Health Education England published the consultation: 'Facing the Facts, Shaping the Future’ a draft health and care workforce strategy for England to 2027.

This draft strategy is for consultation with stakeholders and the public more widely and is the product of the whole national health system, including NHS England, NHS Improvement and Public Health England.

It announces system-wide reviews to assess the impact of technological changes on clinical professionals and on how best to support the informal workforce, made up of family, friends, carers and patients themselves, in the future.

Further information on the consultation and how to participate can be found at:

https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/planning-commissioning/workforce-strategy

I attach a copy of the draft strategy.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS347
WS
Leader of the House of Lords
Made on: 13 December 2017
Made by: Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Lord Privy Seal)
Lords

Committee on Standards in Public Life - 17th report on intimidation in public life

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

Today, I welcome the publication of the report by the Committee on Standards in Public Life on their review of the intimidation of Parliamentary Candidates.

I would like to place on record my thanks to the Committee for its thorough consideration of these issues. In July, I asked the Committee to undertake this review into the issue of abuse and intimidation experienced by Parliamentary candidates, including those who stood in the 2017 General Election campaign. The issue was highlighted by those across the political spectrum. Whilst robust debate is fundamental in an open democracy, threats to candidates and property goes well beyond that which should be regarded as acceptable by those in public life, and abuse will not be tolerated.

The Committee has consulted widely and members of both Houses, from across all parties, were invited to contribute. Today’s report addresses the roles of the main actors - in social media, the law, policing and prosecution, and political parties - and proposes a package of recommendations for both immediate and longer-term action. We will be giving full and thorough consideration to its recommendations. The Government plans to issue a response to the review in due course. This House may also wish to debate and consider the Committee’s recommendations.

The Committee’s report provides a body of evidence showing the extent and seriousness of the problem. It considers the risks to freedom of speech, diversity, and debate and to our representative democracy if action is not taken. We need to protect our freedom of speech and the vitality of our political system, and the freedom and diversity of participation in that system, as well as ensuring the integrity of the democratic process

The report finds that intimidation is not a new phenomenon, but its scale and intensity, which has been accelerated by social media, is a serious issue.

It is not just politicians who have experienced unwarranted abuse – it has included journalists and other prominent figures in public life. Everyone deserves to be treated with tolerance and respect, and the British liberties of freedom of speech and freedom of association must always operate within the law. All those in public life need to demonstrate their opposition to intimidation and call it out, and report it when they see it. We must all work together to combat this issue.

Copies of the report have been laid in the Journal Office, the Printed Paper Office and deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 13 December 2017
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Lords

The ongoing campaign against Daesh

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

Daesh no longer hold significant territory in Iraq or Syria. Thanks to the courage and resolve of the Iraqi Security Forces, our partners in Syria and the unwavering support of the 74 member Global Coalition, in which we play a leading role, millions of people have been liberated from Daesh’s control in both Iraq and Syria.

Daesh is failing, but not yet beaten. They continue to pose a threat to Iraq from across the Syrian border and as an insurgent presence. It is also a global terrorist network. Daesh has the ability to plan and inspire terrorist attacks at home and abroad. Therefore, we will act to protect the UK and our allies, as long as necessary.

We must be prepared for Daesh to change its form by returning to its insurgent roots and making ever stronger efforts to lure more adherents to its ideology. So we will continue to tackle Daesh on simultaneous fronts, which includes preventing the return of foreign terrorist fighters to their country of origin, including the UK and Europe. We will continue to degrade Daesh’s poisonous propaganda, decrease their ability to generate revenue and deny them a safe haven online.

It is vital that we also address the underlying causes of Daesh’s rise. To truly defeat Daesh requires long-term work to address the grievances it feeds off.

That is why we will continue to work with and support the Government of Iraq in its efforts to deliver the reforms and reconciliation needed to rebuild public trust in the Iraqi state and unite all Iraqis against extremism, including giving them the security, jobs and opportunities they deserve.

In Syria, Asad created the space for Daesh by releasing extremist prisoners and by causing untold suffering to his people. His brutality is evident in the siege and bombardment of almost 400,000 people in Eastern Ghouta, which is a replication of the Aleppo siege this time last year. We remain committed to securing a political settlement that ends the conflict and brings about a transition away from Asad. To this end, we welcome the agreement in Riyadh of a new Syrian opposition negotiating team and the resumption of UN-mediated peace talks in Geneva this month.

The ranks of the Global Coalition continue to grow as more and more countries answer the call to action against Daesh. We will continue to take whatever steps are necessary to protect the British people and our allies.

WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 13 December 2017
Made by: Lord Callanan (Minister of State for Exiting the European Union)
Lords

Procedures for the Approval and Implementation of EU Exit Agreements

My Rt Hon. Friend, David Davis MP, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, has made the following statement:

The UK will exit the EU on 29 March 2019. We are currently negotiating the terms of our withdrawal (and hope shortly to move on to the terms of our future relationship). This note sets out the role of Parliament in approving the resulting agreements and how they will be brought into force.

Background

There will be at least two agreements.

A Withdrawal Agreement will be negotiated under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) whilst the UK is a member of the EU. It will set out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (including an agreement on citizens’ rights, Northern Ireland and any financial settlement), as well as the details of any implementation period agreed between both sides.

Article 50(2) of the TEU sets out that the Withdrawal Agreement should take account of the terms for the departing Member State’s future relationship with the EU. At the same time as we negotiate the Withdrawal Agreement, we will therefore also negotiate the terms for our future relationship.

However as the Prime Minister made clear in her Florence speech, the European Union considers that it is not “legally able to conclude an agreement with the UK as an external partner while it is itself still part of the European Union”. This is because the EU treaties require that the agreement governing our future relationship can only be legally concluded once the UK is a third country (i.e. once it has left the EU). So the Withdrawal Agreement will be followed shortly after we have left by one or more agreements covering different aspects of the future relationship.

How will the Withdrawal Agreement be approved and brought into force?

The Withdrawal Agreement will need to be signed by both parties and concluded by the EU and ratified by the UK before it can enter into force. The UK approval and EU approval processes can operate in parallel.

The EU’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, has said that he wants to have finalised the Withdrawal Agreement by October 2018. In Europe, the agreement will then require the consent of the European Parliament and final sign off by the Council acting by a qualified majority. It will not require separate approval or ratification by the individual Member States.

In the UK, the Government has committed to hold a vote on the final deal in Parliament as soon as possible after the negotiations have concluded. This vote will take the form of a resolution in both Houses of Parliament and will cover both the Withdrawal Agreement and the terms for our future relationship. The Government will not implement any parts of the Withdrawal Agreement - for example by using Clause 9 of the European Union (Withdrawal) bill - until after this vote has taken place.

In addition to this vote, the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 (CRAG) normally requires the Government to place a copy of any treaty subject to ratification before both Houses of Parliament for a period of at least 21 sitting days, after which the treaty may be ratified unless there is a resolution against this. If the House of Commons resolves against ratification the Government can lay a statement explaining why it considers the treaty should still be ratified and there is then a further 21 sitting days during which the House of Commons may decide whether to resolve again against ratification. The Government is only able to ratify the agreement if the House of Commons does not resolve against the agreement.

If Parliament supports the resolution to proceed with the Withdrawal Agreement and the terms for our future relationship, the Government will bring forward a Withdrawal Agreement & Implementation Bill to give the Withdrawal Agreement domestic legal effect. The Bill will implement the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement in UK law as well as providing a further opportunity for parliamentary scrutiny. This legislation will be introduced before the UK exits the EU and the substantive provisions will only take effect from the moment of exit. Similarly, we expect any steps taken through secondary legislation to implement any part of the Withdrawal Agreement will only be operational from the moment of exit, though preparatory provisions may be necessary in certain cases.

How will the agreement governing the UK’s future relationship with the EU be approved and brought into force?

As described above, the agreement governing our future relationship with the EU can only be legally concluded once the UK has left the EU. This may take the form of a single agreement or a number of agreements covering different aspects of the relationship.

Whatever their final form, agreements on the future relationship are likely to require the consent of the European Parliament and conclusion by the Council. If both the EU and Member States are exercising their competences in an agreement, Member States will also need to ratify it.

In the UK, the Government will introduce further legislation where it is needed to implement the terms of the future relationship into UK law, providing yet another opportunity for proper parliamentary scrutiny.

The CRAG process is also likely to apply to agreements on our future relationship, depending on the final form they take.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS342
WS
Prime Minister
Made on: 13 December 2017
Made by: Mrs Theresa May (Prime Minister)
Commons

Committee on Standards in Public Life - 17th report on intimidation in public life

Today, I welcome the publication of the report by the Committee on Standards in Public Life on their review of the intimidation of Parliamentary Candidates.

I would like to place on record my thanks to the Committee for its thorough consideration of these issues. In July, I asked the Committee to undertake this review into the issue of abuse and intimidation experienced by Parliamentary candidates, including those who stood in the 2017 General Election campaign. The issue was highlighted by those across the political spectrum. Whilst robust debate is fundamental in an open democracy, threats to candidates and property goes well beyond that which should be regarded as acceptable by those in public life, and abuse will not be tolerated.

The Committee has consulted widely and members of both Houses, from across all parties, were invited to contribute. Today’s report addresses the roles of the main actors – in social media, the law, policing and prosecution, and political parties – and proposes a package of recommendations for both immediate and longer-term action. We will be giving full and thorough consideration to its recommendations. The Government plans to issue a response to the review in due course. This House may also wish to debate and consider the Committee’s recommendations.

The Committee’s report provides a body of evidence showing the extent and seriousness of the problem. It considers the risks to freedom of speech, diversity, and debate and to our representative democracy if action is not taken. We need to protect our freedom of speech and the vitality of our political system, and the freedom and diversity of participation in that system, as well as ensuring the integrity of the democratic process.

The report finds that intimidation is not a new phenomenon, but its scale and intensity, which has been accelerated by social media, is a serious issue.

It is not just politicians who have experienced unwarranted abuse – it has included journalists and other prominent figures in public life. Everyone deserves to be treated with tolerance and respect, and the British liberties of freedom of speech and freedom of association must always operate within the law. All those in public life need to demonstrate their opposition to intimidation and call it out, and report it when they see it. We must all work together to combat this issue.

Copies of the report have been laid in the Journal Office, the Printed Paper Office and deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 13 December 2017
Made by: Boris Johnson (The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Commons

The ongoing campaign against Daesh

Daesh no longer hold significant territory in Iraq or Syria. Thanks to the courage and resolve of the Iraqi Security Forces, our partners in Syria and the unwavering support of the 74 member Global Coalition, in which we play a leading role, millions of people have been liberated from Daesh’s control in both Iraq and Syria.

Daesh is failing, but not yet beaten. They continue to pose a threat to Iraq from across the Syrian border and as an insurgent presence. It is also a global terrorist network. Daesh has the ability to plan and inspire terrorist attacks at home and abroad. Therefore, we will act to protect the UK and our allies, as long as necessary.

We must be prepared for Daesh to change its form by returning to its insurgent roots and making ever stronger efforts to lure more adherents to its ideology. So we will continue to tackle Daesh on simultaneous fronts, which includes preventing the return of foreign terrorist fighters to their country of origin, including the UK and Europe. We will continue to degrade Daesh’s poisonous propaganda, decrease their ability to generate revenue and deny them a safe haven online.

It is vital that we also address the underlying causes of Daesh’s rise. To truly defeat Daesh requires long-term work to address the grievances it feeds off.

That is why we will continue to work with and support the Government of Iraq in its efforts to deliver the reforms and reconciliation needed to rebuild public trust in the Iraqi state and unite all Iraqis against extremism, including giving them the security, jobs and opportunities they deserve.

In Syria, Asad created the space for Daesh by releasing extremist prisoners and by causing untold suffering to his people. His brutality is evident in the siege and bombardment of almost 400,000 people in Eastern Ghouta, which is a replication of the Aleppo siege this time last year. We remain committed to securing a political settlement that ends the conflict and brings about a transition away from Asad. To this end, we welcome the agreement in Riyadh of a new Syrian opposition negotiating team and the resumption of UN-mediated peace talks in Geneva this month.

The ranks of the Global Coalition continue to grow as more and more countries answer the call to action against Daesh. We will continue to take whatever steps are necessary to protect the British people and our allies.

WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 13 December 2017
Made by: Mr David Davis (Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union)
Commons

Procedures for the Approval and Implementation of EU Exit Agreements

The UK will exit the EU on 29 March 2019. We are currently negotiating the terms of our withdrawal (and hope shortly to move on to the terms of our future relationship). This note sets out the role of Parliament in approving the resulting agreements and how they will be brought into force.

Background

There will be at least two agreements.

A Withdrawal Agreement will be negotiated under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) whilst the UK is a member of the EU. It will set out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (including an agreement on citizens’ rights, Northern Ireland and any financial settlement), as well as the details of any implementation period agreed between both sides.

Article 50(2) of the TEU sets out that the Withdrawal Agreement should take account of the terms for the departing Member State’s future relationship with the EU. At the same time as we negotiate the Withdrawal Agreement, we will therefore also negotiate the terms for our future relationship.

However as the Prime Minister made clear in her Florence speech, the European Union considers that it is not “legally able to conclude an agreement with the UK as an external partner while it is itself still part of the European Union”. This is because the EU treaties require that the agreement governing our future relationship can only be legally concluded once the UK is a third country (i.e. once it has left the EU). So the Withdrawal Agreement will be followed shortly after we have left by one or more agreements covering different aspects of the future relationship.

How will the Withdrawal Agreement be approved and brought into force?

The Withdrawal Agreement will need to be signed by both parties and concluded by the EU and ratified by the UK before it can enter into force. The UK approval and EU approval processes can operate in parallel.

The EU’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, has said that he wants to have finalised the Withdrawal Agreement by October 2018. In Europe, the agreement will then require the consent of the European Parliament and final sign off by the Council acting by a qualified majority. It will not require separate approval or ratification by the individual Member States.

In the UK, the Government has committed to hold a vote on the final deal in Parliament as soon as possible after the negotiations have concluded. This vote will take the form of a resolution in both Houses of Parliament and will cover both the Withdrawal Agreement and the terms for our future relationship. The Government will not implement any parts of the Withdrawal Agreement - for example by using Clause 9 of the European Union (Withdrawal) bill - until after this vote has taken place.

In addition to this vote, the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 (CRAG) normally requires the Government to place a copy of any treaty subject to ratification before both Houses of Parliament for a period of at least 21 sitting days, after which the treaty may be ratified unless there is a resolution against this. If the House of Commons resolves against ratification the Government can lay a statement explaining why it considers the treaty should still be ratified and there is then a further 21 sitting days during which the House of Commons may decide whether to resolve again against ratification. The Government is only able to ratify the agreement if the House of Commons does not resolve against the agreement.

If Parliament supports the resolution to proceed with the Withdrawal Agreement and the terms for our future relationship, the Government will bring forward a Withdrawal Agreement & Implementation Bill to give the Withdrawal Agreement domestic legal effect. The Bill will implement the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement in UK law as well as providing a further opportunity for parliamentary scrutiny. This legislation will be introduced before the UK exits the EU and the substantive provisions will only take effect from the moment of exit. Similarly, we expect any steps taken through secondary legislation to implement any part of the Withdrawal Agreement will only be operational from the moment of exit, though preparatory provisions may be necessary in certain cases.

How will the agreement governing the UK’s future relationship with the EU be approved and brought into force?

As described above, the agreement governing our future relationship with the EU can only be legally concluded once the UK has left the EU. This may take the form of a single agreement or a number of agreements covering different aspects of the relationship.

Whatever their final form, agreements on the future relationship are likely to require the consent of the European Parliament and conclusion by the Council. If both the EU and Member States are exercising their competences in an agreement, Member States will also need to ratify it.

In the UK, the Government will introduce further legislation where it is needed to implement the terms of the future relationship into UK law, providing yet another opportunity for proper parliamentary scrutiny.

The CRAG process is also likely to apply to agreements on our future relationship, depending on the final form they take.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS337
WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 12 December 2017
Made by: Lord Ashton of Hyde (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Lords

Post-Council Written Ministerial Statement for Telecoms, Transport and Energy Council

My Right Honourable Friend, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Karen Bradley) has made the following Statement:

The Telecoms, Transport and Energy (TTE) Council took place in Brussels on 4 and 5 December 2017. The UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU represented the interests of the UK at the Telecoms session of this Council, which took place on 4 December.

Telecoms

The Member States unanimously agreed a General Approach on the proposals laying down the renegotiated regulatory framework for the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). This was the only item put forward by the Presidency for which a formal agreement was required. A scrutiny waiver was secured from the European Scrutiny Committee (House of Commons), and the European Union Committee (House of Lords) had cleared this item from scrutiny ahead of the Council.

The main policy debate at the Council centred on the Commission's Initiative on the Free Flow of Data proposal. The Commission’s aim is for this file to be completed by mid-2018, and there was significant support from most member states for work to be expedited, with the expectation that an informal mandate for trilogue discussions could be agreed at Coreper on 20 December.

The Council agreed a 5G Spectrum Roadmap, a non-binding document which sets out milestones for the release of Spectrum necessary for enabling 5G technologies. The UK agreed with the proposed timetable.

The Presidency also provided a progress update on the e-Privacy regulation information on the progress of the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC).

Council conclusions were adopted on the review of the EU Cybersecurity Strategy and draft Council Action Plan for their implementation. The UK supported their adoption.

Other

The Council received information from the Bulgarian delegation, as the incoming presidency for the first half of 2018, setting out their work programme for the next six months. They highlighted a number of priorities for their presidency, aimed primarily at moving the Digital Single Market agenda forward during 2018 including:

  • Proceeding with informal trilogue discussions with the European Parliament on the proposal for EECC;

  • Reaching political agreement on BEREC, advancing the discussions at this Council

  • Continue to to progress both Free Flow of Fata , e-Privacy and Cybersecurity.

The next Council is scheduled for 7-8 June 2018 with Telecoms expected to take place on 8 June.



WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 12 December 2017
Made by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity)
Lords

Animal Welfare

My Right Hon Friend the Secretary of State (Michael Gove) has today made the following statement.

I am delighted to publish today a draft Animal Welfare (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) Bill which will reflect the principle of animal sentience in domestic law and increase maximum sentences for animal cruelty tenfold, from six months to five years in England and Wales.

This draft Bill will embed the principle that animals are sentient beings, capable of feeling pain and pleasure, more clearly than ever before in domestic law. There was never any question that our policies on animal welfare are driven by the fact that animals are sentient beings, and I am keen to reinforce this in legislation as we leave the EU.

The Government is committed to raising animal welfare standards, and to ensuring animals will not lose any recognitions or protections once we leave the EU. The draft Bill I am publishing makes our recognition of animal sentience clear. It contains an obligation, directed towards government, to pay regard to the welfare needs of animals when formulating and implementing government policy.

This provision does not apply to Ministers in the devolved governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. I look forward to working closely with my devolved colleagues and I will be exploring with them the best way forward on this important matter, including whether they wish to take a similar or different approach.

In addition we will not tolerate cruelty against animals and we will give the courts the tools they need to deal with abhorrent acts of animal cruelty. This draft Bill increases the maximum penalty for animal welfare offences in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 from six months to five years’ imprisonment.

This applies to the most serious offences under the Act – causing unnecessary suffering, illegally mutilating an animal, illegally docking a dog’s tail, illegal poisoning and encouraging an animal fight. My proposed increased maximum penalties will also apply to convictions relating to attacks on service animals, including guide dogs, police and military dogs. This provision will apply in England and Wales.

The draft Bill that I am publishing today is subject to a seven week consultation, ending on 31st January. It is part of a wider programme to deliver world-leading standards of animal welfare in the years ahead. We are making CCTV mandatory in slaughterhouses, banning plastic microbeads which harm marine life, and have set out proposals for a total ban on ivory sales which contribute to the poaching of elephants. This is the start of our ambition to set a global gold standard for animal welfare as we leave the EU.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS340
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 12 December 2017
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State , Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Afghanistan - Locally Employed Staff

My hon. Friend the Minister of State for Armed Forces (The Rt Hon Mark Lancaster) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

In June 2013, the Government decided that it would draw down employment of its Locally Employed Staff in Afghanistan by the end of 2017 and put policies in place to support those affected. I am responsible for overseeing and assuring the delivery of these policies on behalf of the interested Government Departments.

In terms of the implementation of these policies, the Ministry of Defence will have made the last of its local staff redundant by the end of the year, allowing them to access one of the three generous packages under our Ex-Gratia Redundancy scheme: these comprise financial support for 18 months, training and financial support for five years, or, for those in eligible roles, relocation to the UK.

So far, over 800 former staff have benefitted from one of our redundancy options. Under the training offer some of our local staff are studying to be doctors or lawyers, completing their high school education, or improving their English language skills. In some cases, former staff members have chosen to gift their training to a family member, which has in many cases provided wives and daughters with the opportunity for further education or upskilling. These individuals will be better placed to play their part in working for a brighter future for their country.

The scheme has relocated more than 385 former staff and their families to the UK, and we expect around another 60 families to relocate over the next year or so. Of the 385, 12 individuals received Ex-Gratia compensation payments for injuries they sustained whilst working with UK forces. These were paid before they had decided to relocate to the UK and, some months ago, we initiated work to review the payments to adjust them for the different economic conditions of life in the UK. These were extremely brave people who worked alongside our soldiers on patrol, and who in some cases suffered profoundly life-changing injuries as a result of improvised explosive devices or small arms fire. The UK Government recognises that it has a special debt of gratitude to these individuals and we aim to complete this review by the spring of next year, giving priority to the more severely disabled cases.

Additionally, our Intimidation Policy continues to support all former staff who experience intimidation within Afghanistan as a result of their employment with the UK. This policy is delivered by an expert team based in Kabul, including a member of either the Home Office Constabulary or MOD Police to investigate the claims. This dedicated team has now assisted over 400 staff by providing bespoke security advice and, in over 30 cases, funding relocations to safe areas within Afghanistan. The level of intimidation faced has not so far been such that an individual has had to be relocated to the UK in order to ensure their safety. However, the changing security position in Afghanistan is kept under careful review.

The Government remains confident that the UK’s arrangements for addressing intimidation concerns meet our commitment to protect our former locally employed staff and we have taken a number of steps to assure these arrangements. Notably, I chair a cross-Government Locally Employed Civilian Assurance Committee. This plays a valuable role in scrutinising the application of the Intimidation Policy and ensuring that it is effectively administered and that Afghan staff who feel threatened due to their employment by the UK are properly supported. Members include peers from the House of Lords, a suitably experienced Police detective, and a former local staff member who provides invaluable insight and advice. More recently, we have also welcomed the former Chief of Defence Staff, Lord Stirrup, and the Bishop of Colchester into our ranks. The Committee has met five times, most recently looking at the line between what justifies relocation within Afghanistan and to the UK, and at whether our Intimidation Investigation Unit makes a reasonable assessment of the danger to an individual when the intimidation concern is first raised with the Unit. The 14 cases that have been reviewed by the Committee to date demonstrate that the intimidation policy was effectively applied on these occasions. We recognise that this is a relatively small sample and will continue to review cases until we are confident that we have reasonable evidence that the policy is being properly applied. The Department has accepted a number of areas where arrangements need to be fine-tuned and has taken action accordingly. The Committee has also kept under review the security situation in Afghanistan as it relates to the risk of intimidation and the viability of mitigation measures. No issues have so far been raised in this respect.

As an additional layer of assurance, a barrister from outside the Department, and more recently a member of the Government Legal Service, have continued to conduct regular reviews of at least 20% of closed intimidation cases to ensure that the decisions are robust. The most recent review took place in November this year and concluded that the decisions taken by the investigation unit are fair and appropriate.

It is the Government’s belief that our Ex-Gratia Redundancy Scheme and Intimidation Policy remain fit for purpose and properly meet our responsibilities to men and women who played such an important part in our efforts to bring peace and security to Afghanistan.

WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 12 December 2017
Made by: Lord Callanan (Minister of State for Exiting the European Union)
Lords

General Affairs Council December 2017

I will be attending the General Affairs Council in Brussels on 12 December 2017 to represent the UK’s interests. Until we leave the European Union, we remain committed to fulfilling our rights and obligations as a full member.

The provisional agenda includes:

Preparation of the European Council, 14 to 15 December 2017: Draft conclusions

The Estonian Presidency will present the final draft conclusions on the agenda for the December European Council.

European Council follow-up

The Presidency will provide an update on the implementation of the October European Council (OEC) Conclusions. The OEC agenda included: Migration; Digital; Defence; and External Relations, which involved discussions on Turkey, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Iran.

Legislative programming - Joint declaration on interinstitutional programming

Following the exchange of views on the 2018 Commission Work Programme at the November General Affairs Council, the Presidency will present the ‘Joint Declaration’ of the European Parliament, European Commission and Council of Ministers, which sets out the priorities for 2018.

European Semester 2018 - Annual Growth Survey

The Commission launched this year’s European Semester on 22 November and is due to present this year’s Annual Growth Survey.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS336
WS
Department of Health
Made on: 12 December 2017
Made by: Lord O'Shaughnessy (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health)
Lords

Update on organ donation in England

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

In October 2017, the Prime Minister announced the Government’s intention to change the law on organ donation in England by introducing the principle of “opt-out consent”, in a bid to save the lives of the 6,500 people currently waiting for an organ transplant.

Today the Government has launched a consultation to begin an open conversation about this change to opt-out organ donation, including how to encourage more conversations about personal decisions and what role families should have when their relative has consented to donate.

Currently, 80 percent of people say they would be willing to donate their organs but only 36 percent register to become an organ donor. Three people die every day in need of a suitable organ. Figures from NHS Blood and Transplant show that around 1100 families in the UK decided not to allow organ donation because they were unsure, or did not know whether their relatives would have wanted to donate an organ or not. The Government’s intention is that changing the system to an opt-out model of consent will mean more viable organs become available for use in the NHS, potentially saving thousands of lives.

The consultation is open for the next three months, providing an opportunity for as many people as possible in England to give their views, including people from religious groups, patient groups, the clinical transplant community, and black, Asian and other minority communities.

It is important to ensure that moving to an opt-out system of consent will honour a person’s decision on what happens to their body after death, and the consultation seeks views on how we can make sure this is the case.

The consultation also seeks views on a number of related issues, including ways in which it can be made easier for people to register their decision on organ and tissue donation. The consultation invites views on the potential impact proposals could have on certain groups who have protected characteristics in law such as disability, race, religion or belief. Questions are asked to help determine how family members should be involved in confirming decisions in future. The Government also proposes a number of exclusions and safeguards to the general rule of consent under the proposed new system. This includes the position of children, people with limited mental capacity, the armed forces and temporary residents.

The consultation is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/introducing-opt-out-consent-for-organ-and-tissue-donation-in-england . An Impact Assessment has been published alongside the consultation and can be accessed in the same place as the link above on gov.uk and is also attached.

The outcome of the consultation will inform the Government’s next steps and its proposals for legislation to bring the new system of consent into effect.

Impact Assessment (PDF Document, 706.68 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS338
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 12 December 2017
Made by: Baroness Sugg (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Lords

EU Transport Council

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

I attended the only formal Transport Council under the Estonian Presidency (the Presidency) in Brussels on Tuesday 5th December.

First, the Council noted the Presidency’s progress report, summarising discussions to date at official level, on Phase One of the Mobility Package. Work has focused on proposals designed to improve the clarity and enforcement of the EU road transport market (the 'market pillar') and proposals on the application of social legislation in road transport (the 'social pillar'). I broadly supported the progress made, emphasised the UK’s commitment to a constructive safety-first approach to updating the rules, but also registered concerns over the proposed extension of scope of part of the regulations to small vans.

Following this, the Council adopted three sets of Council Conclusions: on progress in Trans-European Network-Transport (TEN-T) and Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the Digitalisation of Transport, and the mid-term evaluation of Galileo, EGNOS and European GNSS Agency.

Next, the Presidency held a policy debate on the “road charging pillar” of the Mobility Package. The proposals to amend the existing Directives on HGV road tolls and user charges ('Eurovignette') and the interoperability of electronic road toll systems ('EETS') set out rules for charging vehicles using the road (but do not mandate such charging) and promote better functioning of charging across national barriers. The UK broadly welcomed provisions on improving the functioning and enforcement of electronic road tolling systems. However, the UK said we were opposed to proposals to broaden the scope of EU charging rules to include cars, and had concerns about the proposed phasing-out of time-based road charging and measures mandating hypothecation of revenues from congestion charging.

Following this, the Council noted the Presidency’s progress report on official level discussions on Safeguarding Competition in Air Transport. The UK did not dispute the need for fair competition but urged caution on proposals for regulatory measures; it was important to avoid potential negative impacts on the liberalised aviation market, connectivity, consumers, and Member States’ bilateral aviation agreements with third countries.

Under Any Other Business, several items were discussed. Notably, Commissioner Bulc presented the Commission’s recently published second phase of the Mobility Package, provided an update on the implementation of the extensive Aviation Strategy, alongside a Communication on Military Mobility, and noted progress on rail passenger rights negotiations; Finland called for reconsideration of the Summertime Directive; Germany updated on the second high-level group on automated and connected cars; Poland drew attention to the 2018 International Maritime Days; France promoted her proposed declaration at the upcoming “one planet” summit calling on the IMO to adopt an ambitious strategy for the decarbonisation of international shipping; and Bulgaria presented transport plans for her incoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS337
WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 12 December 2017
Made by: Karen Bradley (Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Commons

Post-Council Written Ministerial Statement for Telecoms, Transport and Energy Council

The Telecoms, Transport and Energy (TTE) Council took place in Brussels on 4 and 5 December 2017. The UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU represented the interests of the UK at the Telecoms session of this Council, which took place on 4 December.

Telecoms

The Member States unanimously agreed a General Approach on the proposals laying down the renegotiated regulatory framework for the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). This was the only item put forward by the Presidency for which a formal agreement was required. A scrutiny waiver was secured from the European Scrutiny Committee (House of Commons), and the European Union Committee (House of Lords) had cleared this item from scrutiny ahead of the Council.

The main policy debate at the Council centred on the Commission's Initiative on the Free Flow of Data proposal. The Commission’s aim is for this file to be completed by mid-2018, and there was significant support from most member states for work to be expedited, with the expectation that an informal mandate for trilogue discussions could be agreed at Coreper on 20 December.

The Council agreed a 5G Spectrum Roadmap, a non-binding document which sets out milestones for the release of Spectrum necessary for enabling 5G technologies. The UK agreed with the proposed timetable.

The Presidency also provided a progress update on the e-Privacy regulation information on the progress of the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC).

Council conclusions were adopted on the review of the EU Cybersecurity Strategy and draft Council Action Plan for their implementation. The UK supported their adoption.

Other

The Council received information from the Bulgarian delegation, as the incoming presidency for the first half of 2018, setting out their work programme for the next six months. They highlighted a number of priorities for their presidency, aimed primarily at moving the Digital Single Market agenda forward during 2018 including:

  • Proceeding with informal trilogue discussions with the European Parliament on the proposal for EECC;

  • Reaching political agreement on BEREC, advancing the discussions at this Council

  • Continue to to progress both Free Flow of Fata , e-Privacy and Cybersecurity.

The next Council is scheduled for 7-8 June 2018 with Telecoms expected to take place on 8 June.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 12 December 2017
Made by: Michael Gove (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Commons

Animal Welfare

I am delighted to publish today a draft Animal Welfare (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) Bill which will reflect the principle of animal sentience in domestic law and increase maximum sentences for animal cruelty tenfold, from six months to five years in England and Wales.

This draft Bill will embed the principle that animals are sentient beings, capable of feeling pain and pleasure, more clearly than ever before in domestic law. There was never any question that our policies on animal welfare are driven by the fact that animals are sentient beings, and I am keen to reinforce this in legislation as we leave the EU.

The Government is committed to raising animal welfare standards, and to ensuring animals will not lose any recognitions or protections once we leave the EU. The draft Bill I am publishing makes our recognition of animal sentience clear. It contains an obligation, directed towards government, to pay regard to the welfare needs of animals when formulating and implementing government policy.

This provision does not apply to Ministers in the devolved governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. I look forward to working closely with my devolved colleagues and I will be exploring with them the best way forward on this important matter, including whether they wish to take a similar or different approach.

In addition we will not tolerate cruelty against animals and we will give the courts the tools they need to deal with abhorrent acts of animal cruelty. This draft Bill increases the maximum penalty for animal welfare offences in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 from six months to five years’ imprisonment.

This applies to the most serious offences under the Act – causing unnecessary suffering, illegally mutilating an animal, illegally docking a dog’s tail, illegal poisoning and encouraging an animal fight. My proposed increased maximum penalties will also apply to convictions relating to attacks on service animals, including guide dogs, police and military dogs. This provision will apply in England and Wales.

The draft Bill that I am publishing today is subject to a seven week consultation, ending on 31st January. It is part of a wider programme to deliver world-leading standards of animal welfare in the years ahead. We are making CCTV mandatory in slaughterhouses, banning plastic microbeads which harm marine life, and have set out proposals for a total ban on ivory sales which contribute to the poaching of elephants. This is the start of our ambition to set a global gold standard for animal welfare as we leave the EU.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS335
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 12 December 2017
Made by: Mark Lancaster (Minister of State , Ministry of Defence)
Commons

Afghanistan - Locally Employed Staff

In June 2013, the Government decided that it would draw down employment of its Locally Employed Staff in Afghanistan by the end of 2017 and put policies in place to support those affected. I am responsible for overseeing and assuring the delivery of these policies on behalf of the interested Government Departments.

In terms of the implementation of these policies, the Ministry of Defence will have made the last of its local staff redundant by the end of the year, allowing them to access one of the three generous packages under our Ex-Gratia Redundancy scheme: these comprise financial support for 18 months, training and financial support for five years, or, for those in eligible roles, relocation to the UK.

So far, over 800 former staff have benefitted from one of our redundancy options. Under the training offer some of our local staff are studying to be doctors or lawyers, completing their high school education, or improving their English language skills. In some cases, former staff members have chosen to gift their training to a family member, which has in many cases provided wives and daughters with the opportunity for further education or upskilling. These individuals will be better placed to play their part in working for a brighter future for their country.

The scheme has relocated more than 385 former staff and their families to the UK, and we expect around another 60 families to relocate over the next year or so. Of the 385, 12 individuals received Ex-Gratia compensation payments for injuries they sustained whilst working with UK forces. These were paid before they had decided to relocate to the UK and, some months ago, we initiated work to review the payments to adjust them for the different economic conditions of life in the UK. These were extremely brave people who worked alongside our soldiers on patrol, and who in some cases suffered profoundly life-changing injuries as a result of improvised explosive devices or small arms fire. The UK Government recognises that it has a special debt of gratitude to these individuals and we aim to complete this review by the spring of next year, giving priority to the more severely disabled cases.

Additionally, our Intimidation Policy continues to support all former staff who experience intimidation within Afghanistan as a result of their employment with the UK. This policy is delivered by an expert team based in Kabul, including a member of either the Home Office Constabulary or MOD Police to investigate the claims. This dedicated team has now assisted over 400 staff by providing bespoke security advice and, in over 30 cases, funding relocations to safe areas within Afghanistan. The level of intimidation faced has not so far been such that an individual has had to be relocated to the UK in order to ensure their safety. However, the changing security position in Afghanistan is kept under careful review.

The Government remains confident that the UK’s arrangements for addressing intimidation concerns meet our commitment to protect our former locally employed staff and we have taken a number of steps to assure these arrangements. Notably, I chair a cross-Government Locally Employed Civilian Assurance Committee. This plays a valuable role in scrutinising the application of the Intimidation Policy and ensuring that it is effectively administered and that Afghan staff who feel threatened due to their employment by the UK are properly supported. Members include peers from the House of Lords, a suitably experienced Police detective, and a former local staff member who provides invaluable insight and advice.
More recently, we have also welcomed the former Chief of Defence Staff, Lord Stirrup, and the Bishop of Colchester into our ranks. The Committee has met five times, most recently looking at the line between what justifies relocation within Afghanistan and to the UK, and at whether our Intimidation Investigation Unit makes a reasonable assessment of the danger to an individual when the intimidation concern is first raised with the Unit. The 14 cases that have been reviewed by the Committee to date demonstrate that the intimidation policy was effectively applied on these occasions. We recognise that this is a relatively small sample and will continue to review cases until we are confident that we have reasonable evidence that the policy is being properly applied. The Department has accepted a number of areas where arrangements need to be fine-tuned and has taken action accordingly. The Committee has also kept under review the security situation in Afghanistan as it relates to the risk of intimidation and the viability of mitigation measures. No issues have so far been raised in this respect.

As an additional layer of assurance, a barrister from outside the Department, and more recently a member of the Government Legal Service, have continued to conduct regular reviews of at least 20% of closed intimidation cases to ensure that the decisions are robust. The most recent review took place in November this year and concluded that the decisions taken by the investigation unit are fair and appropriate.

It is the Government’s belief that our Ex-Gratia Redundancy Scheme and Intimidation Policy remain fit for purpose and properly meet our responsibilities to men and women who played such an important part in our efforts to bring peace and security to Afghanistan.

WS
Department of Health
Made on: 12 December 2017
Made by: Jackie Doyle-Price (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health)
Commons

Update on organ donation in England

In October 2017, the Prime Minister announced the Government’s intention to change the law on organ donation in England by introducing the principle of “opt-out consent”, in a bid to save the lives of the 6,500 people currently waiting for an organ transplant.

Today the Government has launched a consultation to begin an open conversation about this change to opt-out organ donation, including how to encourage more conversations about personal decisions and what role families should have when their relative has consented to donate.

Currently, 80 percent of people say they would be willing to donate their organs but only 36 percent register to become an organ donor. Three people die every day in need of a suitable organ. Figures from NHS Blood and Transplant show that around 1100 families in the UK decided not to allow organ donation because they were unsure, or did not know whether their relatives would have wanted to donate an organ or not. The Government’s intention is that changing the system to an opt-out model of consent will mean more viable organs become available for use in the NHS, potentially saving thousands of lives.

The consultation is open for the next three months, providing an opportunity for as many people as possible in England to give their views, including people from religious groups, patient groups, the clinical transplant community, and black, Asian and other minority communities.

It is important to ensure that moving to an opt-out system of consent will honour a person’s decision on what happens to their body after death, and the consultation seeks views on how we can make sure this is the case.

The consultation also seeks views on a number of related issues, including ways in which it can be made easier for people to register their decision on organ and tissue donation. The consultation invites views on the potential impact proposals could have on certain groups who have protected characteristics in law such as disability, race, religion or belief. Questions are asked to help determine how family members should be involved in confirming decisions in future. The Government also proposes a number of exclusions and safeguards to the general rule of consent under the proposed new system. This includes the position of children, people with limited mental capacity, the armed forces and temporary residents.

The consultation is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/introducing-opt-out-consent-for-organ-and-tissue-donation-in-england . An Impact Assessment has been published alongside the consultation and can be accessed in the same place as the link above on gov.uk and is also attached.

The outcome of the consultation will inform the Government’s next steps and its proposals for legislation to bring the new system of consent into effect.

Impact Assessment (PDF Document, 706.68 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS332
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 12 December 2017
Made by: Chris Grayling (Secretary of State for Transport)
Commons

EU Transport Council

I attended the only formal Transport Council under the Estonian Presidency (the Presidency) in Brussels on Tuesday 5th December.

First, the Council noted the Presidency’s progress report, summarising discussions to date at official level, on Phase One of the Mobility Package. Work has focused on proposals designed to improve the clarity and enforcement of the EU road transport market (the 'market pillar') and proposals on the application of social legislation in road transport (the 'social pillar'). I broadly supported the progress made, emphasised the UK’s commitment to a constructive safety-first approach to updating the rules, but also registered concerns over the proposed extension of scope of part of the regulations to small vans.

Following this, the Council adopted three sets of Council Conclusions: on progress in Trans-European Network-Transport (TEN-T) and Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the Digitalisation of Transport, and the mid-term evaluation of Galileo, EGNOS and European GNSS Agency.

Next, the Presidency held a policy debate on the “road charging pillar” of the Mobility Package. The proposals to amend the existing Directives on HGV road tolls and user charges ('Eurovignette') and the interoperability of electronic road toll systems ('EETS') set out rules for charging vehicles using the road (but do not mandate such charging) and promote better functioning of charging across national barriers. The UK broadly welcomed provisions on improving the functioning and enforcement of electronic road tolling systems. However, the UK said we were opposed to proposals to broaden the scope of EU charging rules to include cars, and had concerns about the proposed phasing-out of time-based road charging and measures mandating hypothecation of revenues from congestion charging.

Following this, the Council noted the Presidency’s progress report on official level discussions on Safeguarding Competition in Air Transport. The UK did not dispute the need for fair competition but urged caution on proposals for regulatory measures; it was important to avoid potential negative impacts on the liberalised aviation market, connectivity, consumers, and Member States’ bilateral aviation agreements with third countries.

Under Any Other Business, several items were discussed. Notably, Commissioner Bulc presented the Commission’s recently published second phase of the Mobility Package, provided an update on the implementation of the extensive Aviation Strategy, alongside a Communication on Military Mobility, and noted progress on rail passenger rights negotiations; Finland called for reconsideration of the Summertime Directive; Germany updated on the second high-level group on automated and connected cars; Poland drew attention to the 2018 International Maritime Days; France promoted her proposed declaration at the upcoming “one planet” summit calling on the IMO to adopt an ambitious strategy for the decarbonisation of international shipping; and Bulgaria presented transport plans for her incoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS331
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