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
Home Office
Made on: 11 October 2017
Made by: Brandon Lewis (The Minister of State for Immigration)
Commons

Grenfell Tower Fire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Internet Safety Strategy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alleged Serious and Significant Offences (Diplomatic Immunity): 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016

Driving without insurance

Qatar 1

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

Saudi Arabia 1

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

Guinea 1

Pakistan 1

Driving under the influence of alcohol

Botswana 1

Russia 2

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

Saudi Arabia 1

Actual bodily harm (a)

Libya 1

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

Libya 1

Possession of an offensive weapon (a)

Libya 1

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


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

Sexual Assault

European Bank of Reconstruction and Development 1


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diplomatic Mission/International Organisation

2016

Amount of Outstanding Fines

(excluding congestion charge)

£

Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan

£83,215

High Commission for the Federal Republic of Nigeria

£30,024

Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia

£19,202

Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan

£17,985

High Commission for the Republic of Zambia

£11,220

Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan

£10,610

High Commission for Malaysia

£7,740

Embassy of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire

£7,040

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

£6,440

Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman

£4,650

Embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

£4,565

High Commission for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

£4,050

Embassy of France

£4,035

Embassy of the United Arab Emirates

£3,850

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

£3,770

Embassy of the Republic of Liberia

£3,375

Embassy of the State of Qatar

£2,985

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam

£2,665

Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan

£2,580

Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

£2,520

High Commission for the United Republic of Tanzania

£2,055

Embassy of Libya

£1,935

Embassy of the Republic of Angola

£1,895

High Commission for Sierra Leone

£1,820

Embassy of the Republic of Yemen

£1,815

High Commission for the Republic of Ghana

£1,780

Embassy of the Republic of Iraq

£1,575

People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria

£1,435

Embassy of the People's Republic of China

£1,365

Embassy of the Republic of Kosovo

£1,235

Embassy of the State of Kuwait

£1,225

High Commission for the Republic of South Africa

£1,195

Embassy of Georgia

£1,065

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

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

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

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

Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan

£109,599

High Commission for the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

£107,427

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran

£104,688

Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe

£79,852

High Commission for the Republic of Zambia

£39,081

Uganda High Commission

£36,885

Embassy of the Republic of Angola

£32,273

Embassy of the Republic of Liberia

£29,559

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

£28,652

Embassy of Libya

£26,186

Embassy of the State of Qatar

£25,890

High Commission for the Republic of Cameroon

£25,126

Embassy of the Republic of Albania

£24,165

High Commission for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

£23,846

Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt

£23,120

Embassy of Ukraine

£15,675

High Commission for Sierra Leone

£14,641

Embassy of the United Arab Emirates

£13,866

Embassy of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire

£13,098

Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania

£12,359


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

COUNTRY

NUMBER OF FINES

TOTAL OUTSTANDING

Embassy of the United States of America

96,274

£ 11,544,455

Embassy of Japan

63,869

£ 7,629,370

High Commission for the Federal Republic of Nigeria

54,237

£ 6,481,620

Embassy of the Russian Federation

47,760

£ 5,603,320

Office of the High Commissioner for India

40,929

£ 4,991,125

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany

36,258

£ 4,221,590

Embassy of the Republic of Poland

31,780

£ 3,854,130

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China

30,317

£ 3,805,465

Office of the High Commissioner for Ghana

28,630

£ 3,465,960

Embassy of the Republic of Sudan

26,161

£ 3,048,475

Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan

24,032

£ 2,947,595

High Commission for Kenya

20,844

£ 2,453,305

Embassy of France

17,570

£ 2,090,815

High Commission for the United Republic of Tanzania

16,183

£ 1,893,325

High Commission for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

15,979

£ 1, 971,105

Embassy of Spain

15,855

£ 1,893,420

Embassy of the Republic of Korea

14,777

£ 1,805,150

Embassy of Romania

13,069

£ 1,547,415

High Commission for the Republic of South Africa

12,963

£ 1,503,195

Embassy of the Republic of Cuba

12,744

£ 1,557,555

Embassy of Algeria

12,694

£ 1,495,660

High Commission for Sierra Leone

12,038

£ 1,404,675

Embassy of Greece

12,028

£ 1,419,575

Embassy of Ukraine

11,759

£ 1,380,430

Embassy of Hungary

9,157

£ 1,097,580

High Commission for the Republic of Cyprus

8,588

£ 1,030,060

High Commission for the Republic of Zambia

7,481

£ 882,040

Embassy of the Republic of Yemen

7,475

£ 889,990

Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria

6,853

£ 797,035

High Commission for the Republic of Cameroon

5,923

£ 692,170

Embassy of the Republic of Belarus

5,796

£ 680,595

High Commission for the Republic of Malawi

5,576

£ 663,380

High Commission for Botswana

5,515

£ 667,605

Embassy of the Slovak Republic

5,493

£ 641,215

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

5,243

£ 608,795

High Commission for the Republic of Namibia

5,186

£ 602,145

High Commission for the Republic of Mozambique

5,182

£ 611,340

Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe

5,120

£ 575,910

High Commission for Kingdom of Swaziland

5,008

£ 581,510

Embassy of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire

4,673

£ 553,865

High Commission for Malta

4,533

£ 546,420

Embassy of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea

4,428

£ 519,215

Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania

4,353

£ 521,270

Embassy of the Republic of Turkey

4,344

£ 530,465

Embassy of Austria

4,290

£ 513,005

High Commission for Mauritius

4,223

£ 494,495

High Commission for the Kingdom of Lesotho

3,993

£ 467,055

High Commission for Uganda

3,872

£ 464,420

Embassy of the Republic of Liberia

3,772

£ 457,905

Embassy of Belgium

3,597

£ 430,060

Embassy of the Czech Republic

3,529

£ 407,600

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

3,350

£ 395,400

Embassy of the Republic of Guinea

3,314

£ 385,265

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

3,213

£ 386,600

Embassy of Denmark

2,981

£ 356,010

High Commission for Jamaica

2,909

£ 345,545

Embassy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

2,727

£ 338,580

Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco

2,713

£ 344,840

Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan

2,612

£ 333,520

High Commission for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

2,505

£ 315,670

Embassy of Tunisia

2,353

£ 288,890

Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt

2,290

£ 241,725

Embassy of Portugal

2,263

£ 278,035

Embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

2,221

£ 255,675

Embassy of the Republic of Latvia

2,196

£ 265,155

Embassy of Finland

2,160

£ 258,490

Embassy of Luxembourg

2,018

£ 243,470

Embassy of the Republic of Iraq

1,971

£ 248,535

High Commission for Antigua & Barbuda

1,966

£ 232,570

Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia

1,958

£ 239,025

Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

1,808

£ 197,875

High Commission for Belize

1,670

£ 206,635

Embassy of Estonia

1,437

£ 177,645

Embassy of the Dominican Republic

1,221

£ 146,260

Embassy of the State of Eritrea

1,209

£ 142,925

High Commission for Guyana

1,102

£ 129,105

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

1,021

£ 126,795

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania

982

£ 103,590

High Commission for the Republic of the Maldives

961

£ 116,325

High Commission for Seychelles

908

£ 111,365

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

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

Internet Safety Strategy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alleged Serious and Significant Offences (Diplomatic Immunity): 2016

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

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

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

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

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

2016

Driving without insurance

Qatar 1

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

Saudi Arabia 1

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

Guinea 1

Pakistan 1

Driving under the influence of alcohol

Botswana 1

Russia 2

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

Saudi Arabia 1

Actual bodily harm (a)

Libya 1

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

Libya 1

Possession of an offensive weapon (a)

Libya 1

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


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

Sexual Assault

European Bank of Reconstruction and Development 1


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diplomatic Mission/International Organisation

2016

Amount of Outstanding Fines

(excluding congestion charge)

£

Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan

£83,215

High Commission for the Federal Republic of Nigeria

£30,024

Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia

£19,202

Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan

£17,985

High Commission for the Republic of Zambia

£11,220

Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan

£10,610

High Commission for Malaysia

£7,740

Embassy of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire

£7,040

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

£6,440

Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman

£4,650

Embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

£4,565

High Commission for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

£4,050

Embassy of France

£4,035

Embassy of the United Arab Emirates

£3,850

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

£3,770

Embassy of the Republic of Liberia

£3,375

Embassy of the State of Qatar

£2,985

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam

£2,665

Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan

£2,580

Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

£2,520

High Commission for the United Republic of Tanzania

£2,055

Embassy of Libya

£1,935

Embassy of the Republic of Angola

£1,895

High Commission for Sierra Leone

£1,820

Embassy of the Republic of Yemen

£1,815

High Commission for the Republic of Ghana

£1,780

Embassy of the Republic of Iraq

£1,575

People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria

£1,435

Embassy of the People's Republic of China

£1,365

Embassy of the Republic of Kosovo

£1,235

Embassy of the State of Kuwait

£1,225

High Commission for the Republic of South Africa

£1,195

Embassy of Georgia

£1,065

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

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

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

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

Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan

£109,599

High Commission for the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

£107,427

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran

£104,688

Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe

£79,852

High Commission for the Republic of Zambia

£39,081

Uganda High Commission

£36,885

Embassy of the Republic of Angola

£32,273

Embassy of the Republic of Liberia

£29,559

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

£28,652

Embassy of Libya

£26,186

Embassy of the State of Qatar

£25,890

High Commission for the Republic of Cameroon

£25,126

Embassy of the Republic of Albania

£24,165

High Commission for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

£23,846

Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt

£23,120

Embassy of Ukraine

£15,675

High Commission for Sierra Leone

£14,641

Embassy of the United Arab Emirates

£13,866

Embassy of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire

£13,098

Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania

£12,359


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

COUNTRY

NUMBER OF FINES

TOTAL OUTSTANDING

Embassy of the United States of America

96,274

£ 11,544,455

Embassy of Japan

63,869

£ 7,629,370

High Commission for the Federal Republic of Nigeria

54,237

£ 6,481,620

Embassy of the Russian Federation

47,760

£ 5,603,320

Office of the High Commissioner for India

40,929

£ 4,991,125

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany

36,258

£ 4,221,590

Embassy of the Republic of Poland

31,780

£ 3,854,130

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China

30,317

£ 3,805,465

Office of the High Commissioner for Ghana

28,630

£ 3,465,960

Embassy of the Republic of Sudan

26,161

£ 3,048,475

Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan

24,032

£ 2,947,595

High Commission for Kenya

20,844

£ 2,453,305

Embassy of France

17,570

£ 2,090,815

High Commission for the United Republic of Tanzania

16,183

£ 1,893,325

High Commission for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

15,979

£ 1, 971,105

Embassy of Spain

15,855

£ 1,893,420

Embassy of the Republic of Korea

14,777

£ 1,805,150

Embassy of Romania

13,069

£ 1,547,415

High Commission for the Republic of South Africa

12,963

£ 1,503,195

Embassy of the Republic of Cuba

12,744

£ 1,557,555

Embassy of Algeria

12,694

£ 1,495,660

High Commission for Sierra Leone

12,038

£ 1,404,675

Embassy of Greece

12,028

£ 1,419,575

Embassy of Ukraine

11,759

£ 1,380,430

Embassy of Hungary

9,157

£ 1,097,580

High Commission for the Republic of Cyprus

8,588

£ 1,030,060

High Commission for the Republic of Zambia

7,481

£ 882,040

Embassy of the Republic of Yemen

7,475

£ 889,990

Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria

6,853

£ 797,035

High Commission for the Republic of Cameroon

5,923

£ 692,170

Embassy of the Republic of Belarus

5,796

£ 680,595

High Commission for the Republic of Malawi

5,576

£ 663,380

High Commission for Botswana

5,515

£ 667,605

Embassy of the Slovak Republic

5,493

£ 641,215

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

5,243

£ 608,795

High Commission for the Republic of Namibia

5,186

£ 602,145

High Commission for the Republic of Mozambique

5,182

£ 611,340

Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe

5,120

£ 575,910

High Commission for Kingdom of Swaziland

5,008

£ 581,510

Embassy of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire

4,673

£ 553,865

High Commission for Malta

4,533

£ 546,420

Embassy of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea

4,428

£ 519,215

Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania

4,353

£ 521,270

Embassy of the Republic of Turkey

4,344

£ 530,465

Embassy of Austria

4,290

£ 513,005

High Commission for Mauritius

4,223

£ 494,495

High Commission for the Kingdom of Lesotho

3,993

£ 467,055

High Commission for Uganda

3,872

£ 464,420

Embassy of the Republic of Liberia

3,772

£ 457,905

Embassy of Belgium

3,597

£ 430,060

Embassy of the Czech Republic

3,529

£ 407,600

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

3,350

£ 395,400

Embassy of the Republic of Guinea

3,314

£ 385,265

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

3,213

£ 386,600

Embassy of Denmark

2,981

£ 356,010

High Commission for Jamaica

2,909

£ 345,545

Embassy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

2,727

£ 338,580

Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco

2,713

£ 344,840

Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan

2,612

£ 333,520

High Commission for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

2,505

£ 315,670

Embassy of Tunisia

2,353

£ 288,890

Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt

2,290

£ 241,725

Embassy of Portugal

2,263

£ 278,035

Embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

2,221

£ 255,675

Embassy of the Republic of Latvia

2,196

£ 265,155

Embassy of Finland

2,160

£ 258,490

Embassy of Luxembourg

2,018

£ 243,470

Embassy of the Republic of Iraq

1,971

£ 248,535

High Commission for Antigua & Barbuda

1,966

£ 232,570

Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia

1,958

£ 239,025

Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

1,808

£ 197,875

High Commission for Belize

1,670

£ 206,635

Embassy of Estonia

1,437

£ 177,645

Embassy of the Dominican Republic

1,221

£ 146,260

Embassy of the State of Eritrea

1,209

£ 142,925

High Commission for Guyana

1,102

£ 129,105

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

1,021

£ 126,795

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania

982

£ 103,590

High Commission for the Republic of the Maldives

961

£ 116,325

High Commission for Seychelles

908

£ 111,365

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Justice and Home Affairs pre-Council statement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Justice and Home Affairs pre-Council statement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General Affairs Council September 2017

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

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

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

Presentation of the Priorities of the Estonian Presidency

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

Preparation of the European Council on 19-20 October 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Legislative Programming for 2018, Letter of Intent

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

AOB

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

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

General Affairs Council September 2017

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

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

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

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

Presentation of the Priorities of the Estonian Presidency

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

Preparation of the European Council on 19-20 October 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Legislative Programming for 2018, Letter of Intent

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

AOB

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

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

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

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

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

Early Morning Session

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

Current Financial Service Legislative Proposals

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

Definitive VAT System

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

European Semester 2017

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

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

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

Climate Finance for COP23

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

Digital Taxation

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

Implementation of Financial Services Legislation

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

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

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

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

Working Session I

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

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

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

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

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

Working Session II

a) Corporate Taxation Challenges of the Digital Economy

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

b) Cost Efficiency and Sustainability of Customs IT Systems

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

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

Double Taxation Convention between the United Kingdom and Belarus

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

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

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

Royal Air Force Battle Honours

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

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

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

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

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

No 7 Squadron RAF

No XXIV Squadron RAF

No 33 Squadron RAF

No 47 Squadron RAF

No 230 Squadron RAF

No 1 Squadron RAF Regiment

No 26 Squadron RAF Regiment

No 34 Squadron RAF Regiment

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

No II (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No IX (Bomber) Squadron RAF

No 10 Squadron RAF

No 12 (Bomber) Squadron RAF

No XIII Squadron RAF

No 14 Squadron RAF

No 18 Squadron RAF

No 27 Squadron RAF

No XXVIII (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No 30 Squadron RAF

No 31 Squadron RAF

No 32 (The Royal) Squadron RAF

No 39 (Photographic Reconnaissance) Squadron RAF

No 51 Squadron RAF

No LXX Squadron RAF

No 99 Squadron RAF

No 101 Squadron RAF

No 120 Squadron RAF

No 201 Squadron RAF

No 206 Squadron RAF

No 216 Squadron RAF

No 617 Squadron RAF

No II Squadron RAF Regiment

No 3 Squadron RAF Regiment

No 15 Squadron RAF Regiment

No 51 Squadron RAF Regiment

No 63 Squadron RAF Regiment

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

No II (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No IX (Bomber) Squadron RAF

No 47 Squadron RAF

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

No 3 (Fighter) Squadron RAF

No V (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No VIII Squadron RAF

No XI Squadron RAF

No 30 Squadron RAF

No 32 (The Royal) Squadron RAF

No 51 Squadron RAF

No 99 Squadron RAF

No 101 Squadron RAF

No 216 Squadron RAF

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

Double Taxation Convention between the United Kingdom and Belarus

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

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

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

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

Early Morning Session

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

Current Financial Service Legislative Proposals

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

Definitive VAT System

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

European Semester 2017

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

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

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

Climate Finance for COP23

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

Digital Taxation

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

Implementation of Financial Services Legislation

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

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

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

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

Working Session I

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

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

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

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

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

Working Session II

a) Corporate Taxation Challenges of the Digital Economy

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

b) Cost Efficiency and Sustainability of Customs IT Systems

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

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

Royal Air Force Battle Honours

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

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

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

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

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

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

No 7 Squadron RAF

No XXIV Squadron RAF

No 33 Squadron RAF

No 47 Squadron RAF

No 230 Squadron RAF

No 1 Squadron RAF Regiment

No 26 Squadron RAF Regiment

No 34 Squadron RAF Regiment

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

No II (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No IX (Bomber) Squadron RAF

No 10 Squadron RAF

No 12 (Bomber) Squadron RAF

No XIII Squadron RAF

No 14 Squadron RAF

No 18 Squadron RAF

No 27 Squadron RAF

No XXVIII (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No 30 Squadron RAF

No 31 Squadron RAF

No 32 (The Royal) Squadron RAF

No 39 (Photographic Reconnaissance) Squadron RAF

No 51 Squadron RAF

No LXX Squadron RAF

No 99 Squadron RAF

No 101 Squadron RAF

No 120 Squadron RAF

No 201 Squadron RAF

No 206 Squadron RAF

No 216 Squadron RAF

No 617 Squadron RAF

No II Squadron RAF Regiment

No 3 Squadron RAF Regiment

No 15 Squadron RAF Regiment

No 51 Squadron RAF Regiment

No 63 Squadron RAF Regiment

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

No II (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No IX (Bomber) Squadron RAF

No 47 Squadron RAF

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

No 3 (Fighter) Squadron RAF

No V (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No VIII Squadron RAF

No XI Squadron RAF

No 30 Squadron RAF

No 32 (The Royal) Squadron RAF

No 51 Squadron RAF

No 99 Squadron RAF

No 101 Squadron RAF

No 216 Squadron RAF

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

Northern Ireland Update

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

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

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

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

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

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