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
Department of Health
Made on: 06 December 2017
Made by: Mr Philip Dunne (Minister of State for Health)
Commons

Agenda of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council: 8 December 2017

My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Lord O'Shaughnessy) has made the following statement:

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will meet on 8 December in Brussels.

For the health part of the meeting there will be three main agenda items on the Draft Council Conclusions on Health in Digital Society; the Draft Council Conclusions on the cross border aspects in alcohol policy; and Pharmaceutical Policy in the EU – which will cover the following:

  • Report on the State of Paediatric Medicines in the EU – 10 Years of the EU Paediatric Regulation – Information by the commission.
  • Issues related to European Patients Access to treatment – Information from the Romanian Delegation.
  • Lack of drug availability in Greece – Information from the Greek delegation.

Under Any Other Business, there will also be reports on:

  • Valproate and teratogenic medicinal products – Information from the Belgian delegation.
  • State of Health in the EU – Information from the Commission, OECD, and the European Observatory.
  • Annual Growth Survey 2018 – Information from the Commission.
  • Steering Group on Health Promotion, Disease Prevention and Management of Non-Communicable Disease – Information from the Commission.
  • Outcome of the high level meeting ‘AMR: One Health Action Plan and evidence based policy making’ (Brussels, 23 November 2017) – Information from the Presidency.
  • Work Programme of the Incoming Presidency – Information from the Bulgarian Delegation.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS311
WS
Department of Health
Made on: 06 December 2017
Made by: Lord O'Shaughnessy (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health)
Lords

Agenda of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council: 8 December 2017

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will meet on 8 December in Brussels.

For the health part of the meeting there will be three main agenda items on the Draft Council Conclusions on Health in Digital Society; the Draft Council Conclusions on the cross border aspects in alcohol policy; and Pharmaceutical Policy in the EU – which will cover the following:

  • Report on the State of Paediatric Medicines in the EU – 10 Years of the EU Paediatric Regulation – Information by the commission.
  • Issues related to European Patients Access to treatment – Information from the Romanian Delegation.
  • Lack of drug availability in Greece – Information from the Greek delegation.

Under Any Other Business, there will also be reports on:

  • Valproate and teratogenic medicinal products – Information from the Belgian delegation.
  • State of Health in the EU – Information from the Commission, OECD, and the European Observatory.
  • Annual Growth Survey 2018 – Information from the Commission.
  • Steering Group on Health Promotion, Disease Prevention and Management of Non-Communicable Disease – Information from the Commission.
  • Outcome of the high level meeting ‘AMR: One Health Action Plan and evidence based policy making’ (Brussels, 23 November 2017) – Information from the Presidency.
  • Work Programme of the Incoming Presidency – Information from the Bulgarian Delegation.
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS316
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 06 December 2017
Made by: Margot James (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Commons

EU Insolvency Regulation

The UK has opted in to the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council updating the lists of insolvency proceedings and insolvency office-holders in Annexes A and B to Regulation (EU) 2015/848 on insolvency proceedings. The UK had previously opted in to the underlying Regulation on insolvency proceedings in 2015. Amendments to the annexes of the Regulation trigger a new opt-in decision.

The annexes list the different insolvency procedures and insolvency office-holders in each Member State governed by the Regulation. Amendments are made from time to time to reflect changes to Member States’ domestic insolvency laws. The current proposal relates to new Belgian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Latvian and Portuguese insolvency procedures and the amendments are considered necessary to ensure that the lists of Member States’ domestic insolvency laws are kept up to date. My officials have reviewed the new procedures and agree with the European Commission’s assessment that they properly fall within the scope of insolvency proceedings governed by the Regulation.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS310
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 06 December 2017
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy )
Lords

EU Insolvency Regulation

My hon Friend the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility (Margot James), has today made the following statement:

The UK has opted in to the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council updating the lists of insolvency proceedings and insolvency office-holders in Annexes A and B to Regulation (EU) 2015/848 on insolvency proceedings. The UK had previously opted in to the underlying Regulation on insolvency proceedings in 2015. Amendments to the annexes of the Regulation trigger a new opt-in decision.

The annexes list the different insolvency procedures and insolvency office-holders in each Member State governed by the Regulation. Amendments are made from time to time to reflect changes to Member States’ domestic insolvency laws. The current proposal relates to new Belgian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Latvian and Portuguese insolvency procedures and the amendments are considered necessary to ensure that the lists of Member States’ domestic insolvency laws are kept up to date. My officials have reviewed the new procedures and agree with the European Commission’s assessment that they properly fall within the scope of insolvency proceedings governed by the Regulation.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS315
WS
Home Office
Made on: 06 December 2017
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Justice and Home Affairs pre-Council statement

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

The EU Justice and Home Affairs Council of Ministers will meet on 7 and 8 December in Brussels. I will represent the UK for Interior day. The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, the rt hon David Lidington MP will represent the UK for Justice day.

Interior day (07 December) will begin with an exchange of views on the interim report and recommendations of the High-level Expert Group on Radicalisation (HLEG-R), which was set up to consider how best to address radicalisation in EU Member States. The non-EU Counter-Terrorism Group (CTG) will present to Council their assessment of the terrorist threat in the EU, and update on recent capability developments, including on work needed to improve cooperation with the law enforcement community. I will intervene positively in support of HLEG-R and CTG activities.

This will be followed by a discussion on cooperation between Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations and EU JHA agencies. This work aims to join up the activity of JHA agencies more effectively with EU security and defence missions in third countries. The Commission will identify lessons that can be learnt from existing cooperation, such as Operation Sophia (tackling migrant traffickers in the Central Mediterranean) for other CSDP operations and JHA agencies. The UK supports improving cooperation in this area and I will endorse this work-stream.

The Commission will update on the state of play on implementation of the Directive on the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data. The UK has the most developed capability for processing PNR data in Europe and will continue to offer advice and support to Member States in the development of their own capabilities.

There will be a progress report on the technical discussions on improving interoperability of EU information systems, following the recommendations made by a High Level Expert Group in June. The Commission is also expected to set out the principles behind their forthcoming legislative proposal on this issue. The UK supports efforts to improve interoperability of EU information systems, but we will need to scrutinise the proposal when it is published.

This will be followed by a progress report from the Presidency on negotiations on the reform of the Common European Asylum System. The UK has not opted in to the majority of these measures, and I am unlikely to intervene on this item.

The Presidency will then seek a General Approach on the proposed EU-LISA Regulation. The Government has opted in to the draft Regulation and has no concerns with the text, but as the proposals have not cleared Parliamentary Scrutiny, I will abstain on the vote in Council.

At a working lunch Ministers will debate the strengthening of the Schengen area which is likely to focus on improving Schengen border management through a variety of coordinated actions, including the proposed Schengen internal borders legislative package which was published in September. The UK does not participate in the Schengen border free zone and I will not intervene in this discussion.

In the afternoon, the Presidency will provide an update on discussions exploring the implications of the Court of Justice of the European Union judgment in the TELE2 / Watson case from December 2016, and the circumstances in which Member States can require the retention of communications data. The UK continues to play a leading role in these discussions. I will update the Council on the proposed UK approach reflecting the principles set out in our consultation, launched on 30 November, on new safeguards for the use of communications data.

In addition, there will be a policy debate on best practice in tackling encrypted data. The UK is supportive of work in this area and is keen to ensure that law enforcement can access the data they need to protect the public, but that any proposals do not weaken internet security or jeopardise existing good cooperation with service providers.

Finally the Council will received updates on the Third meeting of the Central Mediterranean Contact Group which took place in Bern on 13 November 2017; the outcomes of the EU Internet Forum meeting on 6 December; and the Presidency’s mid-term review of the JHA strategic guidelines. The incoming Bulgarian Presidency will also give a presentation on their work programme and priorities.

Justice day (08 December) will begin with the Presidency seeking a General Approach on the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) Directive and the Regulation regarding exchange of information on third country nationals (ECRIS-TCN). There appears to be broad agreement on the text prior to the JHA Council, which the Government can support, although as the proposals have not cleared Parliamentary Scrutiny, we will abstain on any vote in Council.

A second General Approach will be sought on Justice day for the proposed Regulation on mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders. Whilst there is not yet agreement among Member States on whether this should take the form of a Regulation or a Directive, we expect the Presidency to seek a Qualified Majority on the basis of a Regulation. The UK remains neutral on this question. This proposal has not yet cleared Parliamentary Scrutiny and so we will abstain should there be a vote.

There will be an update from the Presidency to Ministers on progress on the EU accession to the European Convention of Human Rights, following ECJ Opinion 2/13 in December 2014. Although progress has been slow, the responsible working group in the Council has now held a first discussion on all but one of the issues raised by the Court’s opinion. The outstanding issue is the question of whether Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) would fall within the jurisdiction of the ECtHR after accession; a paper on this is expected from the Commission. The Presidency is expected to ask the Commission for an update on the timing of this paper, but no questions will be posed of Ministers.

The lunchtime discussion will be on preparations for the next e-justice strategy and action plan.

Justice day will resume with a policy debate on the recast Brussels IIa Regulation. The Presidency will be asking Ministers to confirm that the recast Brussels IIa Regulation should abolish for all types of judgments the procedure by which judgments from one country are recognised for enforcement in another (known as exequatur) and that the method by which this is done should be considered further by the negotiations working group. The UK continues to support the abolition of exequatur subject to the inclusion of sufficient safeguards.

Finally, there will be a policy debate on the draft proposals for a Directive on Preventive Restructuring, Second Chance and Insolvency Proceedings. The Presidency has set out conclusions for agreement by Ministers on the future direction of work. The UK is generally supportive of these conclusions.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS314
WS
Home Office
Made on: 06 December 2017
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Justice and Home Affairs pre-Council statement

The EU Justice and Home Affairs Council of Ministers will meet on 7 and 8 December in Brussels. I will represent the UK for Interior day. The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, the rt hon David Lidington MP will represent the UK for Justice day.

Interior day (07 December) will begin with an exchange of views on the interim report and recommendations of the High-level Expert Group on Radicalisation (HLEG-R), which was set up to consider how best to address radicalisation in EU Member States. The non-EU Counter-Terrorism Group (CTG) will present to Council their assessment of the terrorist threat in the EU, and update on recent capability developments, including on work needed to improve cooperation with the law enforcement community. I will intervene positively in support of HLEG-R and CTG activities.

This will be followed by a discussion on cooperation between Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations and EU JHA agencies. This work aims to join up the activity of JHA agencies more effectively with EU security and defence missions in third countries. The Commission will identify lessons that can be learnt from existing cooperation, such as Operation Sophia (tackling migrant traffickers in the Central Mediterranean) for other CSDP operations and JHA agencies. The UK supports improving cooperation in this area and I will endorse this work-stream.

The Commission will update on the state of play on implementation of the Directive on the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data. The UK has the most developed capability for processing PNR data in Europe and will continue to offer advice and support to Member States in the development of their own capabilities.

There will be a progress report on the technical discussions on improving interoperability of EU information systems, following the recommendations made by a High Level Expert Group in June. The Commission is also expected to set out the principles behind their forthcoming legislative proposal on this issue. The UK supports efforts to improve interoperability of EU information systems, but we will need to scrutinise the proposal when it is published.

This will be followed by a progress report from the Presidency on negotiations on the reform of the Common European Asylum System. The UK has not opted in to the majority of these measures, and I am unlikely to intervene on this item.

The Presidency will then seek a General Approach on the proposed EU-LISA Regulation. The Government has opted in to the draft Regulation and has no concerns with the text, but as the proposals have not cleared Parliamentary Scrutiny, I will abstain on the vote in Council.

At a working lunch Ministers will debate the strengthening of the Schengen area which is likely to focus on improving Schengen border management through a variety of coordinated actions, including the proposed Schengen internal borders legislative package which was published in September. The UK does not participate in the Schengen border free zone and I will not intervene in this discussion.

In the afternoon, the Presidency will provide an update on discussions exploring the implications of the Court of Justice of the European Union judgment in the TELE2 / Watson case from December 2016, and the circumstances in which Member States can require the retention of communications data. The UK continues to play a leading role in these discussions. I will update the Council on the proposed UK approach reflecting the principles set out in our consultation, launched on 30 November, on new safeguards for the use of communications data.

In addition, there will be a policy debate on best practice in tackling encrypted data. The UK is supportive of work in this area and is keen to ensure that law enforcement can access the data they need to protect the public, but that any proposals do not weaken internet security or jeopardise existing good cooperation with service providers.

Finally the Council will received updates on the Third meeting of the Central Mediterranean Contact Group which took place in Bern on 13 November 2017; the outcomes of the EU Internet Forum meeting on 6 December; and the Presidency’s mid-term review of the JHA strategic guidelines. The incoming Bulgarian Presidency will also give a presentation on their work programme and priorities.

Justice day (08 December) will begin with the Presidency seeking a General Approach on the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) Directive and the Regulation regarding exchange of information on third country nationals (ECRIS-TCN). There appears to be broad agreement the text prior to the JHA Council, which the Government can support, although as the proposals have not cleared Parliamentary Scrutiny, we will abstain on any vote in Council.

A second General Approach will be sought on Justice day for the proposed Regulation on mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders. Whilst there is not yet agreement among Member States on whether this should take the form of a Regulation or a Directive, we expect the Presidency to seek a Qualified Majority on the basis of a Regulation. The UK remains neutral on this question. This proposal has not yet cleared Parliamentary Scrutiny and so we will abstain should there be a vote.

There will be an update from the Presidency to Ministers on progress on the EU accession to the European Convention of Human Rights, following ECJ Opinion 2/13 in December 2014. Although progress has been slow, the responsible working group in the Council has now held a first discussion on all but one of the issues raised by the Court’s opinion. The outstanding issue is the question of whether Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) would fall within the jurisdiction of the ECtHR after accession; a paper on this is expected from the Commission. The Presidency is expected to ask the Commission for an update on the timing of this paper, but no questions will be posed of Ministers.

The lunchtime discussion will be on preparations for the next e-justice strategy and action plan.

Justice day will resume with a policy debate on the recast Brussels IIa Regulation. The Presidency will be asking Ministers to confirm that the recast Brussels IIa Regulation should abolish for all types of judgments the procedure by which judgments from one country are recognised for enforcement in another (known as exequatur) and that the method by which this is done should be considered further by the negotiations working group. The UK continues to support the abolition of exequatur subject to the inclusion of sufficient safeguards.

Finally, there will be a policy debate on the draft proposals for a Directive on Preventive Restructuring, Second Chance and Insolvency Proceedings. The Presidency has set out conclusions for agreement by Ministers on the future direction of work. The UK is generally supportive of these conclusions.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS309
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 05 December 2017
Made by: Mel Stride (The Financial Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Protocol to the Double Taxation Convention between the United Kingdom and the Swiss Federal Council

A Protocol to the 1977 Double Taxation Convention with Switzerland was signed on 30 November 2017. The text of the Protocol 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: HLWS308
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 05 December 2017
Made by: Lord Bates (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Protocol to the Double Taxation Convention between the United Kingdom and the Swiss Federal Council

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

A Protocol to the 1977 Double Taxation Convention with Switzerland was signed on 30 November 2017. The text of the Protocol 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: HCWS313
WS
Wales Office
Made on: 05 December 2017
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales)
Lords

Macur Review Report

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

On 17 March 2016 my predecessor, the right honourable member for Preseli Pembrokeshire, announced the publication of the Report of Lady Justice Macur’s Independent Review of the Tribunal of Inquiry into the abuse of children in care in the former county council areas of Gwynedd and Clwyd in North Wales since 1974.

Amongst other reasons, the Report was redacted to avoid prejudicing ongoing and upcoming criminal prosecutions and trials. Most of the redactions in this category concerned the former North Wales Police superintendent, Gordon Anglesea. Following his criminal trial at Mold Crown Court, on 4 October Gordon Anglesea was sentenced at Mold Crown Court to twelve years’ custody for an indecent assault against one boy and three indecent assaults against another boy. On 15 December 2016 Anglesea died in HMP Rye Hill.

In light of Gordon Anglesea’s death, there is no reason for his name to continue to be redacted and I have today laid a revised version of the Macur Review Report with references to Gordon Anglesea reinstated. The other redactions in the Report remain.

WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 05 December 2017
Made by: Lord Ashton of Hyde (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Lords

Heritage Statement

My hon. Friend the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, has today made the following statement in the House of Commons.

I am today publishing a Heritage Statement, setting out the direction and priorities for the heritage sector in the coming years.

The Statement builds on the commitments we made in last year’s Culture White Paper. It links the heritage agenda to our wider agendas and strategies for industry, for regeneration and placemaking, for skills, for the environment, and for an internationalist, outward-looking Britain. It applies to England only, except where it relates to international issues and UK-wide policies and programmes.

The Statement is structured around four key themes: places, people, international, and sustainability and resilience. It focuses on areas where the government can help to support and develop the heritage sector and add value to the work of heritage organisations and the many thousands of specialists, professionals and volunteers who care for and manage our heritage.

The Heritage Statement is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-heritage-statement-2017.

WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 05 December 2017
Made by: Baroness Buscombe (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions)
Lords

Agenda of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) 7th December 2017, Brussels

My honourable Friend the Minister of State for Employment (Damian Hinds MP) has made the following Written Statement.

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will take place on 7th December 2017 in Brussels. Damian Hinds, Minister of State for Employment, will represent the UK.

The Council will be invited to agree a partial General approach on the revision of Regulations on coordination of social security systems – Long-Term Care and Family Benefits (883/04 and 987/09).

The Council will be invited to agree a General approach on the European Accessibility Act.

The Council will receive a progress report on the draft Directive on equal treatment (Art. 19) and the draft Directive on work-life balance.

The Council will be invited to give political agreement to the Directive on Maritime Labour Convention (implementing a Social Partner Agreement).

As part of the Semester process the European Commission will present the Annual Growth Survey 2018, the draft Joint Employment Report, the Alert Mechanism Report and the draft Recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area. They will also seek the views and approval of Member States on the employment and social aspects of the Recommendation on the euro area.

The Council will be invited to adopt Council Conclusions on the following three topics: the Future of Work: Making it e-Easy; enhancing community-based support and care for independent living; and on enhanced measures to reduce horizontal gender segregation in education and employment.

Under any other business, the Commission will present information on the EU Action Plan 2017-2019 on tackling the gender pay gap and on concluding the year of focused actions to eliminate gender-based violence. The Swedish delegation and the Commission will present information on the Social Summit (Gothenburg, 17th November 2017) and the Bulgarian delegation will present the work programme of its incoming Presidency.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS310
WS
Wales Office
Made on: 05 December 2017
Made by: Alun Cairns (Secretary of State for Wales )
Commons

Macur Review Report

On 17 March 2016 my predecessor, the right honourable member for Preseli Pembrokeshire, announced the publication of the Report of Lady Justice Macur’s Independent Review of the Tribunal of Inquiry into the abuse of children in care in the former county council areas of Gwynedd and Clwyd in North Wales since 1974.

Amongst other reasons, the Report was redacted to avoid prejudicing ongoing and upcoming criminal prosecutions and trials. Most of the redactions in this category concerned the former North Wales Police superintendent, Gordon Anglesea. Following his criminal trial at Mold Crown Court, on 4 October Gordon Anglesea was sentenced at Mold Crown Court to twelve years’ custody for an indecent assault against one boy and three indecent assaults against another boy. On 15 December 2016 Gordon Anglesea died in HMP Rye Hill.

In light of Gordon Anglesea’s death there is no reason for his name to continue to be redacted, except where there is any risk that victims, witness or other individuals might be identified. I have today therefore laid a revised version of the Macur Review Report with references to Gordon Anglesea reinstated except where an ongoing risk has been identified. The other redactions in the Report remain.

WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 05 December 2017
Made by: John Glen (Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism)
Commons

Heritage Statement

I am today publishing a Heritage Statement, setting out the direction and priorities for the heritage sector in the coming years.

The Statement builds on the commitments we made in last year’s Culture White Paper. It links the heritage agenda to our wider agendas and strategies for industry, for regeneration and placemaking, for skills, for the environment, and for an internationalist, outward-looking Britain. It applies to England only, except where it relates to international issues and UK-wide policies and programmes.

The Statement is structured around four key themes: places, people, international, and sustainability and resilience. It focuses on areas where the government can help to support and develop the heritage sector and add value to the work of heritage organisations and the many thousands of specialists, professionals and volunteers who care for and manage our heritage.

The Heritage Statement is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-heritage-statement-2017.

WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 05 December 2017
Made by: Damian Hinds (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Agenda of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) 7th December 2017, Brussels

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will take place on 7th December 2017 in Brussels. Damian Hinds, Minister of State for Employment, will represent the UK.

The Council will be invited to agree a partial General approach on the revision of Regulations on coordination of social security systems – Long-Term Care and Family Benefits (883/04 and 987/09).

The Council will be invited to agree a General approach on the European Accessibility Act.

The Council will receive a progress report on the draft Directive on equal treatment (Art. 19) and the draft Directive on work-life balance.

The Council will be invited to give political agreement to the Directive on Maritime Labour Convention (implementing a Social Partner Agreement).

As part of the Semester process the European Commission will present the Annual Growth Survey 2018, the draft Joint Employment Report, the Alert Mechanism Report and the draft Recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area. They will also seek the views and approval of Member States on the employment and social aspects of the Recommendation on the euro area.

The Council will be invited to adopt Council Conclusions on the following three topics: the Future of Work: Making it e-Easy; enhancing community-based support and care for independent living; and on enhanced measures to reduce horizontal gender segregation in education and employment.

Under any other business, the Commission will present information on the EU Action Plan 2017-2019 on tackling the gender pay gap and on concluding the year of focused actions to eliminate gender-based violence. The Swedish delegation and the Commission will present information on the Social Summit (Gothenburg, 17th November 2017) and the Bulgarian delegation will present the work programme of its incoming Presidency.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS305
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 04 December 2017
Made by: Mr Robert Goodwill (Minister of State for Children and Families)
Commons

Childcare update

Today the Government is launching a public consultation on its proposed approach to revising the eligibility criteria for the early education entitlement for disadvantaged 2 year olds in light of the roll out of Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is replacing a number of qualifying benefits for the two-year-old entitlement, including Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit and Income Support.

The early education entitlement for two-year-olds was introduced nationally in September 2013 and subsequently extended in September 2014 to include low income working families. We want it to continue to be the case that a wider group of less advantaged children can benefit from high quality early education.

Subject to the outcome of this consultation, we propose to introduce a net earned income threshold of £15,400 per annum for those in receipt of Universal Credit. This threshold would increase the number of children benefitting – around 8,000 more children taking up this entitlement once Universal Credit is fully rolled out and in steady state. We do not propose to change any of the other eligibility criteria for the two-year-old entitlement.

Two-year-olds do not lose their entitlement once it has started so no child who has commenced their entitlement would lose it as a result of the introduction of the new earnings threshold.

If, following the public consultation and subject to the will of the House, the Government decides to take forward its proposals, we expect the revised regulations to come into force in April 2018, in time for the summer term.

The ‘Eligibility for the free early education entitlement for disadvantaged two-year-olds under Universal Credit’ consultation will commence today and run for six weeks. The consultation document, containing full details of the proposals and inviting responses, will be published on the Department for Education’s website. Copies of the consultation document will also be placed in the House Libraries.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS304
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 04 December 2017
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System)
Lords

Childcare update

My honourable friend the Minister of State for Children and Families (Robert Goodwill) has made the following written ministerial statement.

Today the Government is launching a public consultation on its proposed approach to revising the eligibility criteria for the early education entitlement for disadvantaged 2 year olds in light of the roll out of Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is replacing a number of qualifying benefits for the two-year-old entitlement, including Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit and Income Support.

The early education entitlement for two-year-olds was introduced nationally in September 2013 and subsequently extended in September 2014 to include low income working families. We want it to continue to be the case that a wider group of less advantaged children can benefit from high quality early education.

Subject to the outcome of this consultation, we propose to introduce a net earned income threshold of £15,400 per annum for those in receipt of Universal Credit. This threshold would increase the number of children benefitting – around 8,000 more children taking up this entitlement once Universal Credit is fully rolled out and in steady state. We do not propose to change any of the other eligibility criteria for the two-year-old entitlement.

Two-year-olds do not lose their entitlement once it has started so no child who has commenced their entitlement would lose it as a result of the introduction of the new earnings threshold.

If, following the public consultation and subject to the will of the House, the Government decides to take forward its proposals, we expect the revised regulations to come into force in April 2018, in time for the summer term.

The ‘Eligibility for the free early education entitlement for disadvantaged two-year-olds under Universal Credit’ consultation will commence today and run for six weeks. The consultation document, containing full details of the proposals and inviting responses, will be published on the Department for Education’s website. Copies of the consultation document will also be placed in the House Libraries.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS309
WS
Department for Communities and Local Government
Made on: 04 December 2017
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Update on planning and capacity

My Hon. Friend, the Minister for Housing and Planning (Alok Sharma), has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Our Housing White Paper is clear that fixing our broken market requires solutions that look to the long-term. It requires action to boost local authority planning capacity to plan strategically and across local authority boundaries; to support local authorities to take a proactive role in planning for high-quality and scale; and to encourage local authority ambition and leadership in the delivery of new communities, not just new housing estates.

As part of our commitment to those goals, today I am:

  • inviting bids from local authorities and third sector organisations to a £25 million Planning Delivery Fund to support joint working, quality and innovation;

  • allocating £3 million of capacity funding to the fourteen garden villages in our programme; and,

  • publishing a consultation of Regulations which will enable the creation of locally led New Town Development Corporations, as an effective vehicle for the delivery of new garden towns.

The £25 million Planning Delivery Fund, which is now open for bids, was first announced in the Housing White Paper and will support ambitious local authorities in areas of high housing need to plan for new homes and infrastructure.

The Planning Delivery Fund will provide the most ambitious local planning authorities with the skills, capacity or capability they need to deliver high quality housing growth at scale and implement our wider planning reforms. We want to support the type of joint working and strategic planning which has been demonstrated in Oxfordshire. A commitment to bring forward for adoption a Joint Statutory Spatial Plan across authorities is part of Oxfordshire’s recently announced housing deal.

In the Housing White Paper, we announced our ambition to increase nationally set planning fees to 20 per cent. Although this will partially address the issue of planning department funds, it does not go far enough to ensure local authorities are equipped with the appropriate resources, particularly in specialist areas such as design. The Government believes that good design is fundamental to creating attractive, safe and healthy places where people genuinely want to live and to ensure development is acceptable to communities.

The Government is initially opening up £11 million of the £25 million Planning Delivery Fund for financial years 2017/18 to 2018/19, to support and encourage:

  • more and better joint working, across local authority boundaries, ensuring that there are the skills and capacity where needed to plan strategically for housing growth, and to manage delivery of new homes and infrastructure;

  • a step change in design quality of new development, as well as design advice and support to local authorities delivering growth; and,

  • innovation in the planning system, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of processes and enable the delivery of more high quality homes.

Accordingly, bids are invited for awards from three dedicated funding streams: a Joint Working Fund, a Design Quality Fund, and an Innovation Fund. A copy of the prospectus, including the funding criteria and how to submit a bid have been published (available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/planning-delivery-fund-prospectus).

Across England, we are currently supporting twenty-four locally-led garden cities, towns and villages to be exemplars of high quality, good design and best practice. Together they have the potential for approximately 220,000 homes.

Our support has helped foster ambition and innovation and to accelerate the pace of delivery, with over 10,000 new homes now started. We have provided £16 million of capacity funding to date, including an additional £2.5 million to the garden towns in our programme in October. We are now allocating a further £3 million to the fourteen garden villages in our programme to fund dedicated staff, master-planning and other studies and assessments that are key to successful, high quality delivery.

The Budget announced that we would support the delivery of another five locally led new garden towns, bringing together public and private capital and using appropriate delivery vehicles such as development corporations. We intend to publish in the Spring a prospectus inviting expressions of interest in ambitious, locally supported, proposals for high quality new garden communities at scale. We will continue to explore with local authorities opportunities for planning freedoms where these will enable additional housing growth in our garden cities, towns and villages or elsewhere. We will not be limited to supporting just five new garden communities, but will look to support as many as we can, around the country.

In line with our locally led approach, we do not wish to prescribe any particular delivery model, but to facilitate local authority leadership and ambition.

Our Housing White Paper committed to legislating to enable the creation of New Town Development Corporations, overseen by the local authority or authorities covering the area proposed for the new garden community, rather than by the Secretary of State. As bodies with statutory objectives focussed on the development of the new town and with significant independence, we consider that New Town Development Corporations are well placed to manage complex co-ordination challenges across local authority boundaries and create long term planning and investment confidence, where local authorities consider these are the right delivery vehicle.

Section 16 of the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 enables the Secretary of State, through an affirmative resolution statutory instrument, to appoint one or more local authorities to oversee the development of a new town by a New Town Development Corporation. It also enables the Secretary of State to make Regulations about how that oversight is to take place.

We are now consulting on a draft of those Regulations. Our focus is on ensuring that we maximise the transfer of oversight functions from the Secretary of State to the local authority or authorities and the independence of the Development Corporation, and support quality and long-term stewardship within the garden community.

Copies of the consultation document have been placed in the libraries of both Houses and is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-new-towns-act-1981-local-authority-oversight-regulations.

WS
Department for Communities and Local Government
Made on: 04 December 2017
Made by: Alok Sharma (Minister of State for Housing & Planning)
Commons

Update on planning and capacity

Our Housing White Paper is clear that fixing our broken market requires solutions that look to the long-term. It requires action to boost local authority planning capacity to plan strategically and across local authority boundaries; to support local authorities to take a proactive role in planning for high-quality and scale; and to encourage local authority ambition and leadership in the delivery of new communities, not just new housing estates.

As part of our commitment to those goals, today I am:

  • inviting bids from local authorities and third sector organisations to a £25 million Planning Delivery Fund to support joint working, quality and innovation;

  • allocating £3 million of capacity funding to the fourteen garden villages in our programme; and,

  • publishing a consultation of Regulations which will enable the creation of locally led New Town Development Corporations, as an effective vehicle for the delivery of new garden towns.

The £25 million Planning Delivery Fund, which is now open for bids, was first announced in the Housing White Paper and will support ambitious local authorities in areas of high housing need to plan for new homes and infrastructure.

The Planning Delivery Fund will provide the most ambitious local planning authorities with the skills, capacity or capability they need to deliver high quality housing growth at scale and implement our wider planning reforms. We want to support the type of joint working and strategic planning which has been demonstrated in Oxfordshire. A commitment to bring forward for adoption a Joint Statutory Spatial Plan across authorities is part of Oxfordshire’s recently announced housing deal.

In the Housing White Paper, we announced our ambition to increase nationally set planning fees to 20 per cent. Although this will partially address the issue of planning department funds, it does not go far enough to ensure local authorities are equipped with the appropriate resources, particularly in specialist areas such as design. The Government believes that good design is fundamental to creating attractive, safe and healthy places where people genuinely want to live and to ensure development is acceptable to communities.

The Government is initially opening up £11 million of the £25 million Planning Delivery Fund for financial years 2017/18 to 2018/19, to support and encourage:

  • more and better joint working, across local authority boundaries, ensuring that there are the skills and capacity where needed to plan strategically for housing growth, and to manage delivery of new homes and infrastructure;

  • a step change in design quality of new development, as well as design advice and support to local authorities delivering growth; and,

  • innovation in the planning system, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of processes and enable the delivery of more high quality homes.

Accordingly, bids are invited for awards from three dedicated funding streams: a Joint Working Fund, a Design Quality Fund, and an Innovation Fund. A copy of the prospectus, including the funding criteria and how to submit a bid have been published (available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/planning-delivery-fund-prospectus).

Across England, we are currently supporting twenty-four locally-led garden cities, towns and villages to be exemplars of high quality, good design and best practice. Together they have the potential for approximately 220,000 homes.

Our support has helped foster ambition and innovation and to accelerate the pace of delivery, with over 10,000 new homes now started. We have provided £16 million of capacity funding to date, including an additional £2.5 million to the garden towns in our programme in October. We are now allocating a further £3 million to the fourteen garden villages in our programme to fund dedicated staff, master-planning and other studies and assessments that are key to successful, high quality delivery.

The Budget announced that we would support the delivery of another five locally led new garden towns, bringing together public and private capital and using appropriate delivery vehicles such as development corporations. We intend to publish in the Spring a prospectus inviting expressions of interest in ambitious, locally supported, proposals for high quality new garden communities at scale. We will continue to explore with local authorities opportunities for planning freedoms where these will enable additional housing growth in our garden cities, towns and villages or elsewhere. We will not be limited to supporting just five new garden communities, but will look to support as many as we can, around the country.

In line with our locally led approach, we do not wish to prescribe any particular delivery model, but to facilitate local authority leadership and ambition.

Our Housing White Paper committed to legislating to enable the creation of New Town Development Corporations, overseen by the local authority or authorities covering the area proposed for the new garden community, rather than by the Secretary of State. As bodies with statutory objectives focussed on the development of the new town and with significant independence, we consider that New Town Development Corporations are well placed to manage complex co-ordination challenges across local authority boundaries and create long term planning and investment confidence, where local authorities consider these are the right delivery vehicle.

Section 16 of the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 enables the Secretary of State, through an affirmative resolution statutory instrument, to appoint one or more local authorities to oversee the development of a new town by a New Town Development Corporation. It also enables the Secretary of State to make Regulations about how that oversight is to take place.

We are now consulting on a draft of those Regulations. Our focus is on ensuring that we maximise the transfer of oversight functions from the Secretary of State to the local authority or authorities and the independence of the Development Corporation, and support quality and long-term stewardship within the garden community.

Copies of the consultation document have been placed in the libraries of both Houses and is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-new-towns-act-1981-local-authority-oversight-regulations.

WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 04 December 2017
Made by: Lord Bates (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

ECOFIN: 5 December 2017

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

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will be held in Brussels on 05 December. EU Finance Ministers will discuss the following items:

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President will brief Ministers on the outcomes of the 04 December meeting of the Eurogroup, and the Commission will provide an update on the current economic situation in the EU. The Chair of the European Fiscal Board (EFB) will present the EFB’s annual report followed by an exchange of views.

Strengthening of the Banking Union

The Council will be invited to take note of both the Presidency progress report on the European Deposit Insurance Scheme and information from the Commission on the state of play of the action plan to tackle non-performing loans in Europe. ECOFIN Council will also hold a policy debate on the banking risk reduction package.

Current financial services legislative proposals

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

VAT administrative cooperation

The Commission will provide information on new proposals relating to VAT administrative cooperation measures.

Council conclusions on "The EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes"

The Council will be invited to adopt Council conclusions which include the finalised EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.

Council Decisions on the implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact

Ministers will be invited to adopt a Council Decision to close the UK’s Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) and a Decision and Recommendation on Romania’s compliance with the EU’s fiscal rules.

European Semester 2018

The Commission will present the Annual Growth Survey 2018, the Alert Mechanism Report 2018 and a Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the economic policy of the euro-area. Ministers will provide their initial reactions.

EIB proposal to establish a European Development Bank

Ministers will receive information on an EIB initiative to create a subsidiary dedicated to development.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS307
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 04 December 2017
Made by: Mr Philip Hammond (The Chancellor of the Exchequer)
Commons

ECOFIN: 5 December 2017

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will be held in Brussels on 05 December. EU Finance Ministers will discuss the following items:

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President will brief Ministers on the outcomes of the 04 December meeting of the Eurogroup, and the Commission will provide an update on the current economic situation in the EU. The Chair of the European Fiscal Board (EFB) will present the EFB’s annual report followed by an exchange of views.

Strengthening of the Banking Union

The Council will be invited to take note of both the Presidency progress report on the European Deposit Insurance Scheme and information from the Commission on the state of play of the action plan to tackle non-performing loans in Europe. ECOFIN Council will also hold a policy debate on the banking risk reduction package.

Current financial services legislative proposals

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

VAT administrative cooperation

The Commission will provide information on new proposals relating to VAT administrative cooperation measures.

Council conclusions on "The EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes"

The Council will be invited to adopt Council conclusions which include the finalised EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.

Council Decisions on the implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact

Ministers will be invited to adopt a Council Decision to close the UK’s Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) and a Decision and Recommendation on Romania’s compliance with the EU’s fiscal rules.

European Semester 2018

The Commission will present the Annual Growth Survey 2018, the Alert Mechanism Report 2018 and a Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the economic policy of the euro-area. Ministers will provide their initial reactions.

EIB proposal to establish a European Development Bank

Ministers will receive information on an EIB initiative to create a subsidiary dedicated to development.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS302
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