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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Ministry of Justice
Made on: 30 November 2017
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (The Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Chief Coroner’s fourth annual report to the Lord Chancellor

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, (Dr Phillip Lee) has made the following Written Statement.

"I am pleased to lay and publish the Chief Coroner’s fourth annual report to the Lord Chancellor on the operation of coroner services under section 36 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (‘the 2009 Act’). The report covers the period 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017.

In particular the Chief Coroner’s report sets out:

  • The continuing work to promote consistency in the resourcing of and practices in coroner offices across England and Wales;
  • The training and guidance that coroners and their officers have received and the engagement with a wide range of stakeholders;
  • Recommendations to improve coroner services further.

His Honour Sir Peter Thornton QC retired as Chief Coroner on 30 September 2016 and His Honour Judge Mark Lucraft QC took up post as Chief Coroner on 1 October 2016.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Sir Peter for his dedication to improving coroner services in England and Wales during his term as first Chief Coroner and the sound foundations he put in place for his successor, as well as for coroners more generally. Under his leadership the number of outstanding cases reduced; his guidance to coroners and training both to coroners and others have enhanced national standards and have brought a level of consistency to the coroner service across England and Wales, making sure that bereaved people are at its heart.

I would also like to record my appreciation for the fine work that Judge Lucraft has done since he took up post last year.

I am grateful too to coroners and their officers and other staff, for having supported both Chief Coroners to improve services for bereaved people and for their valued and continuing frontline work.

Copies of the report will be available in the Vote Office and in the Printed Paper Office. The document will also be available online, at gov.uk."

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS296
WS
Department for Communities and Local Government
Made on: 30 November 2017
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Local government improvement in Somerset and Suffolk

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Sajid Javid), has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am announcing today that having carefully considered all the material and representations I have received, I am ‘minded to’ implement two locally-led proposals for merging district councils in Somerset and Suffolk.

The first of these is a proposal Taunton Deane Borough Council and West Somerset District Council submitted to me in March 2017 to merge into a new, single district council. The second is a proposal Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council submitted in September 2017 similarly to merge into a new, single district council.

I am satisfied, on the basis of the information currently available to me, that each of these proposals fully meets the criteria that I told the House on 7 November 2017 (Official Report, 7 November 2017, col 48WS) I would use for assessing proposals for merging district councils, namely that:

  • the proposal is likely to improve local government in the area concerned;

  • the proposal commands local support, in particular that the merger is proposed by all councils which are to be merged and there is evidence of a good deal of local support; and

  • that the proposed merged area is a credible geography, consisting of two or more existing local government areas that are adjacent, and which, if established, would not pose an obstacle to locally-led proposals for authorities to combine to serve their communities better and would facilitate joint working between local authorities.

Before I take my final decisions on these proposed mergers there will now be a period until 19 January 2018 during which those interested may make further representations to me, including that if a proposal is implemented it is with suggested modifications. The final decisions would also be subject to Parliamentary approval.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS294
WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 30 November 2017
Made by: Lord Ashton of Hyde (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Lords

Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council

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

The Transport, Telecommunications, and Energy (TTE) Council will take place in Brussels on 4 and 5 December 2017. The UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU will represent the interests of the UK at the Telecommunications session on 4 December.

Telecoms
The Council will seek to gain a General Approach among EU Member States on the proposals laying down the renegotiated regulatory framework for the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). The UK is proposing to vote in favour, subject to scrutiny, having already submitted a formal request for scrutiny clearance or waiver, ahead of the Council vote.

The Presidency is expected to provide a progress update on the e-Privacy regulation, expected to be used as a means of highlighting the importance of privacy online.

Also tabled is a policy debate on the Commission's Initiative on the Free Flow of Data proposal.

The Presidency will provide information relating to the DSM initiative on 5G, with an update on the 5G Spectrum roadmap. Additional agenda items include information from the Presidency on European Electronic Communications Code, as well as the Council conclusions on cyber security and the Council’s action plan.

Other
The Council will be receiving information from the Bulgarian delegation, as the incoming Presidency in the first half of 2018, to set out their work programme for the next six months.

WS
Wales Office
Made on: 30 November 2017
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales)
Lords

Regulations to Commence the New Reserved Powers Model for Wales

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

I have today laid regulations specifying that the new reserved powers model of devolution for Wales will come into force on 1 April 2018. I consulted the First Minister of Wales and the Assembly’s Presiding Officer before making these regulations.

The new model places Welsh devolution on a firm foundation, with greater clarity on the boundary between matters that are reserved to Parliament and those which are devolved to the National Assembly for Wales.

The regulations also commence the further powers being devolved to the Assembly and Welsh Ministers under the 2017 Act, including powers over elections, transport and the environment. Most of these powers also come into force on 1 April.

The Wales Act 2017 delivers a clearer, fairer and stronger devolution settlement for Wales. Some parts of the Act are already in force, including provisions that:

  • reaffirm the government’s commitment to the permanence of the National Assembly for Wales (the Assembly) and the Welsh Government;
  • remove the requirement for a referendum before the devolution of income tax to Wales; and
  • double (to £1 billion) the amount Welsh Ministers can borrow to fund capital expenditure.

WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 30 November 2017
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Lords

1980 Hague Convention on Child Abduction

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

The Government has decided to opt in to the European Commission's proposals for Council Decisions authorising the acceptance by certain Member States of the accession of named countries to the 1980 Hague Convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction, in the interests of the EU. The acceptances are as follows:

• Luxembourg and Romania to accept Georgia and South Africa
• Croatia, the Netherlands, Portugal and Romania to accept San Marino
• Romania to accept Chile, Iceland and Bahamas
• Austria and Romania to accept Panama, Uruguay, Colombia and El Salvador
The UK has already accepted all of the named countries, and therefore these Council Decisions do not instruct the UK to take any action.
All EU Member States are party to the 1980 Hague Convention, the primary civil law international instrument which provides a mechanism to seek the prompt return of wrongfully removed or retained children to their country of habitual residence.

When a country wishes to accede to the Convention, it is necessary for an existing contracting state to accept that country's accession before the Convention can apply between them. It is the European Commission's view that there is exclusive competence on the EU for all matters relating to the 1980 Convention and that therefore Member States must be authorised by the EU to accept accessions by third countries and must do so collectively through Council decisions.

Although not anticipated in the proposals, the Government believes that the UK opt-in under the Protocol to Title V of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union applies and it has therefore asserted its right to choose whether to opt in and has decided that it is in the UK's best interests to do so.

The Government has taken this decision notwithstanding the fact that they dispute the Commission's claim to exclusive competence.

The Government believes that the wider significance of these proposals for external competence mean that it is in the UK's interests to participate fully in these negotiations, including having the ability to vote. These proposals must be agreed by unanimity within the EU Council.

WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 30 November 2017
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Lords

Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria

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

I wish to make a statement about the use of chemical weapons in Syria and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) - UN Joint Investigative Mechanism.

We condemn the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere. It is of great concern that chemical weapons attacks against civilians in Syria have continued, four years after the Syrian regime used sarin in Ghouta to such horrific effect in 2013.

The UN Security Council has made clear repeatedly, in resolutions 2118 (2013), 2209 (2015), and 2235 (2015), that there would be consequences for those responsible for using chemical weapons in Syria. The Security Council thus sent a clear signal that all chemical weapons attacks in Syria must cease.

On 26 October the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) issued its report on its investigation into the incident in Khan Sheikhoun of 4 April 2017 (available at www.un.org as document reference S/2017/904). When I updated the House in April I said that the Assad regime almost certainly gassed its own people, in breach of international law and the rules of war. Nearly 100 people died and hundreds more were injured in that terrible attack. Six months later the JIM concluded that it was ‘confident that the Syrian Arab Republic is responsible for the release of sarin’ at Khan Sheikhoun. The JIM also concluded that it was ‘confident that ISIL is responsible for the use of sulfur mustard’ at Um Housh on 15 and 16 September 2016. The JIM’s report is the result of a painstaking, independent investigation by UN investigators.

These were not isolated incidents. The JIM had already found that the regime used chlorine as a chemical weapon on at least three separate occasions in 2014 and 2015 and that Daesh used sulphur mustard once in 2015. The OPCW reported on 2 November that sarin was more than likely used on 30 March in Ltamenah, only 15 miles from Khan Sheikhoun. The OPCW continues to investigate further reports of alleged chemical attacks by both Daesh and the Syrian regime. It also continues to investigate “gaps, inconsistencies and inaccuracies” in Syria’s declaration of its chemical weapons programme.

I was appalled to see Russia veto three times the attempts by the UN Security Council to continue the JIM’s investigations. Those votes, bringing Russia’s vetoes on Syria to a total of eleven, demonstrated Russia’s overriding determination to protect their allies in the Syrian regime, whatever the crimes committed. Despite the fact that, in 2013, Russia said it had secured Syria’s agreement to destroy all its chemical weapons, Syria has continued to use them. Russia’s response to four confirmed chemical attacks by the Syrian regime and two by Daesh is to shut down further investigation.

The UK has been at the forefront of international efforts to ensure that reports of attacks are properly investigated and those responsible identified. The UK was proud to have supported both the JIM and the OPCW’s Fact Finding Mission, including contributing funding to the OPCW’s Syria Trust Funds, for destruction, verification and investigative activities. And we responded to the request for assistance from the investigators by sharing information which underpinned the conclusions the UK had reached nationally and which I set out to the House in April.

We will not let Russia’s actions to close down the JIM stop our efforts to uphold international law prohibiting the use of chemical weapons, and to identify and bring to justice those who violate that law. We fully support the OPCW’s ongoing investigations, and other investigations into crimes committed in Syria, such as the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry and the UN General Assembly’s International Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM). Working with our partners on the UN Security Council and in other fora, we will actively seek to hold to account those responsible for using chemical weapons and prevent such attacks happening again.

WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 30 November 2017
Made by: Karen Bradley (Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Commons

Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council

The Transport, Telecommunications, and Energy (TTE) Council will take place in Brussels on 4 and 5 December 2017. The UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU will represent the interests of the UK at the Telecommunications session on 4 December.

Telecoms
The Council will seek to gain a General Approach among EU Member States on the proposals laying down the renegotiated regulatory framework for the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). The UK is proposing to vote in favour, subject to scrutiny, having already submitted a formal request for scrutiny clearance or waiver, ahead of the Council vote.

The Presidency is expected to provide a progress update on the e-Privacy regulation, expected to be used as a means of highlighting the importance of privacy online.

Also tabled is a policy debate on the Commission's Initiative on the Free Flow of Data proposal.

The Presidency will provide information relating to the DSM initiative on 5G, with an update on the 5G Spectrum roadmap. Additional agenda items include information from the Presidency on European Electronic Communications Code, as well as the Council conclusions on cyber security and the Council’s action plan.

Other
The Council will be receiving information from the Bulgarian delegation, as the incoming Presidency in the first half of 2018, to set out their work programme for the next six months.

WS
Department for Communities and Local Government
Made on: 30 November 2017
Made by: Sajid Javid (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Local government improvement in Somerset and Suffolk

I am announcing today that having carefully considered all the material and representations I have received, I am ‘minded to’ implement two locally-led proposals for merging district councils in Somerset and Suffolk.

The first of these is a proposal Taunton Deane Borough Council and West Somerset District Council submitted to me in March 2017 to merge into a new, single district council. The second is a proposal Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council submitted in September 2017 similarly to merge into a new, single district council.

I am satisfied, on the basis of the information currently available to me, that each of these proposals fully meets the criteria that I told the House on 7 November 2017 (Official Report, 7 November 2017, col 48WS) I would use for assessing proposals for merging district councils, namely that:

  • the proposal is likely to improve local government in the area concerned;

  • the proposal commands local support, in particular that the merger is proposed by all councils which are to be merged and there is evidence of a good deal of local support; and

  • that the proposed merged area is a credible geography, consisting of two or more existing local government areas that are adjacent, and which, if established, would not pose an obstacle to locally-led proposals for authorities to combine to serve their communities better and would facilitate joint working between local authorities.

Before I take my final decisions on these proposed mergers there will now be a period until 19 January 2018 during which those interested may make further representations to me, including that if a proposal is implemented it is with suggested modifications. The final decisions would also be subject to Parliamentary approval.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS291
WS
Wales Office
Made on: 30 November 2017
Made by: Alun Cairns (Secretary of State for Wales )
Commons

Regulations to Commence the New Reserved Powers Model for Wales

I have today laid regulations specifying that the new reserved powers model of devolution for Wales will come into force on 1 April 2018. I consulted the First Minister of Wales and the Assembly’s Presiding Officer before making these regulations.

The new model places Welsh devolution on a firm foundation, with greater clarity on the boundary between matters that are reserved to Parliament and those which are devolved to the National Assembly for Wales.

The regulations also commence the further powers being devolved to the Assembly and Welsh Ministers under the 2017 Act, including powers over elections, transport and the environment. Most of these powers also come into force on 1 April.

The Wales Act 2017 delivers a clearer, fairer and stronger devolution settlement for Wales. Some parts of the Act are already in force, including provisions that:

  • reaffirm the government’s commitment to the permanence of the National Assembly for Wales (the Assembly) and the Welsh Government;
  • remove the requirement for a referendum before the devolution of income tax to Wales; and
  • double (to £1 billion) the amount Welsh Ministers can borrow to fund capital expenditure.
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 30 November 2017
Made by: Sir Alan Duncan (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Commons

1980 Hague Convention on Child Abduction

The Government has decided to opt in to the European Commission's proposals for Council Decisions authorising the acceptance by certain Member States of the accession of named countries to the 1980 Hague Convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction, in the interests of the EU. The acceptances are as follows:

• Luxembourg and Romania to accept Georgia and South Africa
• Croatia, the Netherlands, Portugal and Romania to accept San Marino
• Romania to accept Chile, Iceland and Bahamas
• Austria and Romania to accept Panama, Uruguay, Colombia and El Salvador
The UK has already accepted all of the named countries, and therefore these Council Decisions do not instruct the UK to take any action.

All EU Member States are party to the 1980 Hague Convention, the primary civil law international instrument which provides a mechanism to seek the prompt return of wrongfully removed or retained children to their country of habitual residence.

When a country wishes to accede to the Convention, it is necessary for an existing contracting state to accept that country's accession before the Convention can apply between them. It is the European Commission's view that there is exclusive competence on the EU for all matters relating to the 1980 Convention and that therefore Member States must be authorised by the EU to accept accessions by third countries and must do so collectively through Council decisions.

Although not anticipated in the proposals, the Government believes that the UK opt-in under the Protocol to Title V of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union applies and it has therefore asserted its right to choose whether to opt in and has decided that it is in the UK's best interests to do so.

The Government has taken this decision notwithstanding the fact that they dispute the Commission's claim to exclusive competence.

The Government believes that the wider significance of these proposals for external competence mean that it is in the UK's interests to participate fully in these negotiations, including having the ability to vote. These proposals must be agreed by unanimity within the EU Council.

WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 30 November 2017
Made by: Boris Johnson (The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Commons

Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria

I wish to make a statement about the use of chemical weapons in Syria and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) - UN Joint Investigative Mechanism.

We condemn the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere. It is of great concern that chemical weapons attacks against civilians in Syria have continued, four years after the Syrian regime used sarin in Ghouta to such horrific effect in 2013.

The UN Security Council has made clear repeatedly, in resolutions 2118 (2013), 2209 (2015), and 2235 (2015), that there would be consequences for those responsible for using chemical weapons in Syria. The Security Council thus sent a clear signal that all chemical weapons attacks in Syria must cease.

On 26 October the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) issued its report on its investigation into the incident in Khan Sheikhoun of 4 April 2017 (available at www.un.org as document reference S/2017/904). When I updated the House in April I said that the Assad regime almost certainly gassed its own people, in breach of international law and the rules of war. Nearly 100 people died and hundreds more were injured in that terrible attack. Six months later the JIM concluded that it was ‘confident that the Syrian Arab Republic is responsible for the release of sarin’ at Khan Sheikhoun. The JIM also concluded that it was ‘confident that ISIL is responsible for the use of sulfur mustard’ at Um Housh on 15 and 16 September 2016. The JIM’s report is the result of a painstaking, independent investigation by UN investigators.

These were not isolated incidents. The JIM had already found that the regime used chlorine as a chemical weapon on at least three separate occasions in 2014 and 2015 and that Daesh used sulphur mustard once in 2015. The OPCW reported on 2 November that sarin was more than likely used on 30 March in Ltamenah, only 15 miles from Khan Sheikhoun. The OPCW continues to investigate further reports of alleged chemical attacks by both Daesh and the Syrian regime. It also continues to investigate “gaps, inconsistencies and inaccuracies” in Syria’s declaration of its chemical weapons programme.

I was appalled to see Russia veto three times the attempts by the UN Security Council to continue the JIM’s investigations. Those votes, bringing Russia’s vetoes on Syria to a total of eleven, demonstrated Russia’s overriding determination to protect their allies in the Syrian regime, whatever the crimes committed. Despite the fact that, in 2013, Russia said it had secured Syria’s agreement to destroy all its chemical weapons, Syria has continued to use them. Russia’s response to four confirmed chemical attacks by the Syrian regime and two by Daesh is to shut down further investigation.

The UK has been at the forefront of international efforts to ensure that reports of attacks are properly investigated and those responsible identified. The UK was proud to have supported both the JIM and the OPCW’s Fact Finding Mission, including contributing funding to the OPCW’s Syria Trust Funds, for destruction, verification and investigative activities. And we responded to the request for assistance from the investigators by sharing information which underpinned the conclusions the UK had reached nationally and which I set out to the House in April.

We will not let Russia’s actions to close down the JIM stop our efforts to uphold international law prohibiting the use of chemical weapons, and to identify and bring to justice those who violate that law. We fully support the OPCW’s ongoing investigations, and other investigations into crimes committed in Syria, such as the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry and the UN General Assembly’s International Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM). Working with our partners on the UN Security Council and in other fora, we will actively seek to hold to account those responsible for using chemical weapons and prevent such attacks happening again.

WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 30 November 2017
Made by: Damian Green (First Secretary of State)
Commons

Ministerial Correction

During Prime Minister's Questions on 29 November 2017, in answer to the question from the Hon Member for Battersea, I should have said that spending on disability is £50 billion.

WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 29 November 2017
Made by: Claire Perry (Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry)
Commons

The Twenty Third Conference of the Parties (COP 23) Bonn, Germany 6th to 17th November 2017

The annual Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations framework convention on climate change took place in Bonn, Germany, from 6-17 November. I led the United Kingdom delegation, accompanied by my honourable friend Dr Thérèse Coffey (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment). As demonstration of the UK’s action at all levels, the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the Environment Roseanna Cunningham also attended.

The UK’s priorities for COP23 were to maintain the global political momentum to combat climate change and to promote the UK’s global climate leadership. We demonstrated this commitment to combating climate change through a series of high profile announcements, most prominently the UK-Canada Powering Past Coal Alliance to phase out unabated coal power, joined at COP23 by 28 countries and States. We announced over £300m of programmes to support developing countries tackle climate change. This included £177m for sustainable infrastructure in Latin America; £40m for a climate fund with Germany for reducing emissions in developing countries; £27.5m to help the world’s largest cities tackle climate change; and £62m towards two initiatives to support Latin America halt deforestation. We also announced that we will double our funding for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2017 to £230,000 – the scientific body whose evidence underpins global climate action.

The context of this COP gave it particular significance, in particular given the recent series of devastating extreme weather events, Fiji as the first Small Island Developing State Presidency, and the US’s intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

In the negotiations we succeeded in keeping the process on track towards agreeing the rules that will underpin the Paris Agreement by the end of 2018, and in creating the conditions for a collective raising of ambition by 2020. Outside negotiations we highlighted our impressive domestic and international action including the recent Clean Growth Strategy, and opportunities for the UK’s low carbon sector. Since 1990, we have cut emissions by 42 per cent while our economy has grown by two thirds. This means that we have reduced emissions faster than any other G7 nation, while leading the G7 group of countries in growth in national income over this period.

The Green is Great UK Pavilion had nearly 50 events showcasing UK low carbon expertise and opportunities. Highlights included the international launch of the Clean Growth Strategy, the signing of the ‘Because the Oceans declaration’, and the showcasing of UK business, academic and NGO expertise.

During COP the UK ratified two important climate change agreements: the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol (on developed country action before 2020) and the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol (on phasing down hydrofluorocarbons), one of the first countries in the world to do so.

The UK, negotiating as part of the EU, secured its main negotiation objectives: progress in the multiple negotiating tracks on the work needed to implement the Paris Agreement; and a clear vision for next year’s ‘Talanoa Dialogue’ – a collective process which will take stock of current efforts and drive future global ambition.

Other important outcomes from the negotiations included agreement to showcase and accelerate work on pre-2020 action; agreement of a Gender Action Plan and a Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform to promote greater inclusion in climate action and UN processes; and the launch of an Ocean Pathway Partnership to strengthen the inclusion of oceans in the UN climate process.

Climate change will rightly continue to be at the forefront of international activity over the next year; President Macron will host the One Planet Summit in Paris next month; it will feature strongly at the Commonwealth Summit in April 2018; it will be prominent in the work of the G7 and G20, hosted by Canada and Argentina respectively; and California will host a major summit for cities and regions in September 2018. Meanwhile the “Talanoa Dialogue” process will run through the year culminating in COP24 in Katowice, Poland and there is further detailed work to be done to conclude the Paris ‘rulebook’ by the end of COP24.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS285
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 29 November 2017
Made by: Richard Harrington (Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy )
Commons

Oil and Gas Authority

My Rt. Hon. Friend Greg Clark (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) has today laid before Parliament a Direction ensuring that the Oil and Gas Authority consults the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on onshore hydraulic fracturing operations.

Under Section 4A of the Petroleum Act 1998 (inserted by Section 50 of the Infrastructure Act 2015), operators who wish to conduct associated hydraulic fracturing must apply for a Hydraulic Fracturing Consent from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Hydraulic Fracturing Consent was introduced in the Infrastructure Act 2015 as an additional step to the existing regulatory and permitting regime. However, it does not apply to wells drilled before the 2015 Act came to force and these are not captured by the requirement to seek a Hydraulic Fracturing Consent.

Today’s Direction closes this loophole and ensures that the same approach for consent is taken for all relevant hydraulic fracturing operations, including where the associated well was drilled prior to the 2015 Act coming into force. For these operations, operators will be expected to meet the same set of standards as required to obtain Hydraulic Fracturing Consent, laid out in the Infrastructure Act 2015. The Government has been clear that shale development must be safe and environmentally sound. The UK has a robust regulatory system which provides a comprehensive regime for exploratory activities and this direction will ensure that all relevant hydraulic fracturing operations are subject to this final step of scrutiny.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS286
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 29 November 2017
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy )
Lords

Oil and Gas Authority

My hon friend Richard Harrington (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) has made the following written ministerial statement:

My Rt. Hon. Friend Greg Clark (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) has today laid before Parliament a Direction ensuring that the Oil and Gas Authority consults the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on onshore hydraulic fracturing operations.

Under Section 4A of the Petroleum Act 1998 (inserted by Section 50 of the Infrastructure Act 2015), operators who wish to conduct associated hydraulic fracturing must apply for a Hydraulic Fracturing Consent from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Hydraulic Fracturing Consent was introduced in the Infrastructure Act 2015 as an additional step to the existing regulatory and permitting regime. However, it does not apply to wells drilled before the 2015 Act came to force and these are not captured by the requirement to seek a Hydraulic Fracturing Consent.

Today’s Direction closes this loophole and ensures that the same approach for consent is taken for all relevant hydraulic fracturing operations, including where the associated well was drilled prior to the 2015 Act coming into force. For these operations, operators will be expected to meet the same set of standards as required to obtain Hydraulic Fracturing Consent, laid out in the Infrastructure Act 2015. The Government has been clear that shale development must be safe and environmentally sound. The UK has a robust regulatory system which provides a comprehensive regime for exploratory activities and this direction will ensure that all relevant hydraulic fracturing operations are subject to this final step of scrutiny.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS288
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 29 November 2017
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy )
Lords

The Twenty Third Conference of the Parties (COP 23) Bonn, Germany 6th to 17th November 2017

My honourable friend the Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry (Claire Perry) has made the following written ministerial statement:

The annual Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations framework convention on climate change took place in Bonn, Germany, from 6-17 November. I led the United Kingdom delegation, accompanied by my honourable friend Dr Thérèse Coffey (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment). As demonstration of the UK’s action at all levels, the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the Environment Roseanna Cunningham also attended.

The UK’s priorities for COP23 were to maintain the global political momentum to combat climate change and to promote the UK’s global climate leadership. We demonstrated this commitment to combating climate change through a series of high profile announcements, most prominently the UK-Canada Powering Past Coal Alliance to phase out unabated coal power, joined at COP23 by 28 countries and States. We announced over £300m of programmes to support developing countries tackle climate change. This included £177m for sustainable infrastructure in Latin America; £40m for a climate fund with Germany for reducing emissions in developing countries; £27.5m to help the world’s largest cities tackle climate change; and £62m towards two initiatives to support Latin America halt deforestation. We also announced that we will double our funding for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2017 to £230,000 – the scientific body whose evidence underpins global climate action.

The context of this COP gave it particular significance, in particular given the recent series of devastating extreme weather events, Fiji as the first Small Island Developing State Presidency, and the US’s intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

In the negotiations we succeeded in keeping the process on track towards agreeing the rules that will underpin the Paris Agreement by the end of 2018, and in creating the conditions for a collective raising of ambition by 2020. Outside negotiations we highlighted our impressive domestic and international action including the recent Clean Growth Strategy, and opportunities for the UK’s low carbon sector. Since 1990, we have cut emissions by 42 per cent while our economy has grown by two thirds. This means that we have reduced emissions faster than any other G7 nation, while leading the G7 group of countries in growth in national income over this period.

The Green is Great UK Pavilion had nearly 50 events showcasing UK low carbon expertise and opportunities. Highlights included the international launch of the Clean Growth Strategy, the signing of the ‘Because the Oceans declaration’, and the showcasing of UK business, academic and NGO expertise.

During COP the UK ratified two important climate change agreements: the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol (on developed country action before 2020) and the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol (on phasing down hydrofluorocarbons), one of the first countries in the world to do so.

The UK, negotiating as part of the EU, secured its main negotiation objectives: progress in the multiple negotiating tracks on the work needed to implement the Paris Agreement; and a clear vision for next year’s ‘Talanoa Dialogue’ – a collective process which will take stock of current efforts and drive future global ambition.

Other important outcomes from the negotiations included agreement to showcase and accelerate work on pre-2020 action; agreement of a Gender Action Plan and a Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform to promote greater inclusion in climate action and UN processes; and the launch of an Ocean Pathway Partnership to strengthen the inclusion of oceans in the UN climate process.

Climate change will rightly continue to be at the forefront of international activity over the next year; President Macron will host the One Planet Summit in Paris next month; it will feature strongly at the Commonwealth Summit in April 2018; it will be prominent in the work of the G7 and G20, hosted by Canada and Argentina respectively; and California will host a major summit for cities and regions in September 2018. Meanwhile the “Talanoa Dialogue” process will run through the year culminating in COP24 in Katowice, Poland and there is further detailed work to be done to conclude the Paris ‘rulebook’ by the end of COP24.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS289
WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 29 November 2017
Made by: Matt Hancock (Minister of State for Digital )
Commons

Update on cyber security and data protection

Uber has today estimated that the data breach which occured in October 2016 has affected approximately 2.7 million user accounts in the UK that were using its service or working for the company in the UK at that time.

Uber have stated that this information included names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers related to accounts globally. Uber have stated they have not seen any indication that trip location history, credit card numbers, bank account numbers or dates of birth were downloaded. Based on current information, Uber have stated that they have not seen evidence that financial details have been compromised.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have directed Uber to provide them with technical reports that should help UK authorities, in particular the ICO and National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), to verify these figures and whether any additional types of personal data have been compromised. The Government expects Uber to cooperate fully and promptly with the ICO and the NCSC.

The ICO and NCSC will continue to work tirelessly with Uber to ensure this information is correct. The Government expects Uber to respond fully to the incident with the urgency it demands and to provide the appropriate support to its customers and drivers in the UK. Uber users should continue to be vigilant and follow the advice from the NCSC, which can be found on their website.

The Government takes both the protection of personal data and the right to privacy extremely seriously. It is always the company's responsibility to identify when UK citizens have been affected as part of a data breach and to take steps to reduce any harm to consumers, and it is welcome Uber has done this.

The Government is strengthening the UK’s data protection regime through a new Data Protection Bill, which will give more powers to the ICO to defend consumer interests and issue higher fines of up to £18 million or four per cent of global turnover, in cases of the most serious data breaches.

The ICO, NCSC and other relevant authorities in the UK and overseas will continue to work together to ensure the data protection interests of UK citizens are upheld.

WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 29 November 2017
Made by: Stephen Barclay (The Economic Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Operation of the UK’s Counter-Terrorist Asset Freezing Regime: 1 April 2017 to 30 June 2017

Under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (TAFA 2010), the Treasury is required to report to Parliament, quarterly, on its operation of the UK’s asset freezing regime mandated by UN Security Council Resolutions 1373 and 1452.

This report covers the period from 1 April 2017 to 30 June 2017. This report also covers the UK implementation of the UN’s ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida asset freezing regime (ISIL-AQ) and the operation of the EU asset freezing regime in the UK under EU Regulation (EC) 2580/2001 which implements UNSCR 1373 against external terrorist threats to the EU.

Under the ISIL-AQ asset freezing regime, the UN has responsibility for designations and the Treasury, through its Office of Financial Sanctions implementation (OFSI), has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida (Asset-Freezing) Regulations 2011.

Under EU Regulation 2580/2001, the EU has responsibility for designations and OFSI has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under Part 1 of TAFA 2010.

A new EU asset freezing regime under EU Regulation (2016/1686) was implemented on 22 September 2016. This permits the EU to make autonomous Al-Qaida and ISIL (Da’esh) listings. Once a designation is made under this regime it will appear in the table attached.

Annexes A and B to this statement provide a breakdown, by name, of all those designated by the UK and the EU in pursuance of UN Security Council Resolution 1373.

The attached table sets out the key asset-freezing activity in the UK during the quarter.

Annex A: Designated persons under TAFA 2010 by name[1]

INDIVIDUALS

  1. Hamed ABDOLLAHI*

  2. Imad Khalil AL-ALAMI

  3. Abdelkarim Hussein AL-NASSER*

  4. Ibrahim Salih AL-YACOUB*

  5. Manssor ARBABSIAR*

  6. Usama HAMDAN

  7. Hasan IZZ-AL-DIN*

  8. Mohammed KHALED

  9. Musa Abu MARZOUK

  10. Khalid MISHAAL

  11. Khalid Sheikh MOHAMMED*

  12. Abdul Reza SHAHLAI*

  13. Ali Gholam SHAKURI*

  14. Qasem SOLEIMANI*

ENTITIES

  1. BASQUE FATHERLAND AND LIBERTY (ETA)

  2. EJERCITO DE LIBERACION NACIONAL (ELN)*

  3. HIZBALLAH MILITARY WING, INCLUDING EXTERNAL SECURITY ORGANISATION*

  4. POPULAR FRONT FOR THE LIBERATION OF PALESTINE - GENERAL COMMAND (PFLP-GC)*

  5. POPULAR FRONT FOR THE LIBERATION OF PALESTINE (PFLP)*

  6. SENDERO LUMINOSO (SL)*

Annex B: Persons designated by the EU under Council Regulation (EC) 2580/2001[2]

PERSONS

  1. Hamed ABDOLLAHI*

  2. Abdelkarim Hussein AL-NASSER*

  3. Ibrahim Salih AL-YACOUB*

  4. Manssor ARBABSIAR*

  5. Mohammed BOUYERI

  6. Hassan Hassan EL HAJJ

  7. Hasan IZZ-AL-DIN*

  8. Farad MELIAD

  9. Khalid Sheikh MOHAMMED*

  10. Dalokay SANLI

  11. Abdul Reza SHAHLAI*

  12. Ali Gholam SHAKURI*

  13. Qasem SOLEIMANI*

GROUPS AND ENTITIES

  1. ABU NIDAL ORGANISATION (ANO)

  2. AL-AQSA E.V.

  3. AL-AQSA MARTYRS' BRIGADE

  4. BABBAR KHALSA

  5. COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES, INCLUDING NEW PEOPLE'S ARMY (NPA), PHILIPPINES

  6. DEVRIMCI HALK KURTULU PARTISI-CEPHESI — DHKP/C (REVOLUTIONARY PEOPLE’S LIBERATION ARMY/FRONT/PARTY)

  7. EJÉRCITO DE LIBERACIÓN NACIONAL (NATIONAL LIBERATION ARMY)*

  8. GAMA'A AL-ISLAMIYYA (A.K.A. AL-GAMA'A AL-ISLAMIYYA) (ISLAMIC GROUP — IG)

  9. HAMAS, INCLUDING HAMAS-IZZ AL-DIN AL-QASSEM

  10. HIZBALLAH MILITARY WING, INCLUDING EXTERNAL SECURITY ORGANISATION

  11. HIZBUL MUJAHIDEEN (HM)

  12. ISLAMI BÜYÜK DOĞU AKINCILAR CEPHESI (IBDA-C) (GREAT ISLAMIC EASTERN WARRIORS FRONT)

  13. KHALISTAN ZINDABAD FORCE (KZF)

  14. KURDISTAN WORKERS PARTY (PKK) (A.K.A. KONGRA-GEL)

  15. LIBERATION TIGERS OF TAMIL EELAM (LTTE)

  16. PALESTINIAN ISLAMIC JIHAD (PIJ)

  17. POPULAR FRONT FOR THE LIBERATION OF PALESTINE — GENERAL COMMAND (PFLP GC)*

  18. POPULAR FRONT FOR THE LIBERATION OF PALESTINE (PFLP)*

  19. SENDERO LUMINOSO (SL) (SHINING PATH)*

  20. TEYRBAZEN AZADIYA KURDISTAN (TAK)

[1] For full listing details please refer to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/current-list-of-designated-persons-terrorism-and-terrorist-financing

[2] For full listing details please refer to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/current-list-of-designated-persons-terrorism-and-terrorist-financing

* EU listing rests on UK designation under TAFA 2010.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS284
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 29 November 2017
Made by: Stephen Barclay (The Economic Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Operation of the UK’s Counter-Terrorist Asset Freezing Regime: 1 January 2017 to 31 March 2017

Under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (TAFA 2010), the Treasury is required to report to Parliament, quarterly, on its operation of the UK’s asset freezing regime mandated by UN Security Council Resolutions 1373 and 1452.

This report covers the period from 1 January 2017 to 31 March 2017. This report also covers the UK implementation of the UN’s ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida asset freezing regime (ISIL-AQ) and the operation of the EU asset freezing regime in the UK under EU Regulation (EC) 2580/2001 which implements UNSCR 1373 against external terrorist threats to the EU.

Under the ISIL-AQ asset freezing regime, the UN has responsibility for designations and the Treasury, through its Office of Financial Sanctions implementation (OFSI), has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida (Asset-Freezing) Regulations 2011.

Under EU Regulation 2580/2001, the EU has responsibility for designations and OFSI has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under Part 1 of TAFA 2010.

A new EU asset freezing regime under EU Regulation (2016/1686) was implemented on 22 September 2016. This permits the EU to make autonomous Al-Qaida and ISIL (Da’esh) listings. Once a designation is made under this regime it will appear in the table attached.

Annexes A and B to this statement provide a breakdown, by name, of all those designated by the UK and the EU in pursuance of UN Security Council Resolution 1373.

The table attached sets out the key asset-freezing activity in the UK during the quarter.

Annex A: Designated persons under TAFA 2010 by name[1]

INDIVIDUALS

  1. Hamed ABDOLLAHI*

  2. Imad Khalil AL-ALAMI

  3. Abdelkarim Hussein AL-NASSER*

  4. Ibrahim Salih AL-YACOUB*

  5. Manssor ARBABSIAR*

  6. Usama HAMDAN

  7. Hasan IZZ-AL-DIN*

  8. Mohammed KHALED

  9. Musa Abu MARZOUK

  10. Khalid MISHAAL

  11. Khalid Sheikh MOHAMMED*

  12. Abdul Reza SHAHLAI*

  13. Ali Gholam SHAKURI*

  14. Qasem SOLEIMANI*

ENTITIES

  1. BASQUE FATHERLAND AND LIBERTY (ETA)

  2. EJERCITO DE LIBERACION NACIONAL (ELN)*

  3. HIZBALLAH MILITARY WING, INCLUDING EXTERNAL SECURITY ORGANISATION*

  4. POPULAR FRONT FOR THE LIBERATION OF PALESTINE - GENERAL COMMAND (PFLP-GC)*

  5. POPULAR FRONT FOR THE LIBERATION OF PALESTINE (PFLP)*

  6. SENDERO LUMINOSO (SL)*

Annex B: Persons designated by the EU under Council Regulation (EC) 2580/2001[2]

PERSONS

  1. Hamed ABDOLLAHI*

  2. Abdelkarim Hussein AL-NASSER*

  3. Ibrahim Salih AL-YACOUB*

  4. Manssor ARBABSIAR*

  5. Mohammed BOUYERI

  6. Hassan Hassan EL HAJJ

  7. Hasan IZZ-AL-DIN*

  8. Farad MELIAD

  9. Khalid Sheikh MOHAMMED*

  10. Dalokay SANLI

  11. Abdul Reza SHAHLAI*

  12. Ali Gholam SHAKURI*

  13. Qasem SOLEIMANI*

GROUPS AND ENTITIES

  1. ABU NIDAL ORGANISATION (ANO)

  2. AL-AQSA E.V.

  3. AL-AQSA MARTYRS' BRIGADE

  4. BABBAR KHALSA

  5. COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES, INCLUDING NEW PEOPLE'S ARMY (NPA), PHILIPPINES

  6. DEVRIMCI HALK KURTULU PARTISI-CEPHESI — DHKP/C (REVOLUTIONARY PEOPLE’S LIBERATION ARMY/FRONT/PARTY)

  7. EJÉRCITO DE LIBERACIÓN NACIONAL (NATIONAL LIBERATION ARMY)*

  8. GAMA'A AL-ISLAMIYYA (A.K.A. AL-GAMA'A AL-ISLAMIYYA) (ISLAMIC GROUP — IG)

  9. HAMAS, INCLUDING HAMAS-IZZ AL-DIN AL-QASSEM

  10. HIZBALLAH MILITARY WING, INCLUDING EXTERNAL SECURITY ORGANISATION

  11. HIZBUL MUJAHIDEEN (HM)

  12. HOFSTADGROEP

  13. ISLAMI BÜYÜK DOĞU AKINCILAR CEPHESI (IBDA-C) (GREAT ISLAMIC EASTERN WARRIORS FRONT)

  14. KHALISTAN ZINDABAD FORCE (KZF)

  15. KURDISTAN WORKERS PARTY (PKK) (A.K.A. KONGRA-GEL)

  16. LIBERATION TIGERS OF TAMIL EELAM (LTTE)

  17. PALESTINIAN ISLAMIC JIHAD (PIJ)

  18. POPULAR FRONT FOR THE LIBERATION OF PALESTINE — GENERAL COMMAND (PFLP GC)*

  19. POPULAR FRONT FOR THE LIBERATION OF PALESTINE (PFLP)*

  20. SENDERO LUMINOSO (SL) (SHINING PATH)*

  21. TEYRBAZEN AZADIYA KURDISTAN (TAK)

[1] For full listing details please refer to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/current-list-of-designated-persons-terrorism-and-terrorist-financing

[2] For full listing details please refer to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/current-list-of-designated-persons-terrorism-and-terrorist-financing

* EU listing rests on UK designation under TAFA 2010.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS283
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 29 November 2017
Made by: Joseph Johnson (Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation)
Commons

Competitiveness Council, 30 November – 1 December: Pre-Council Statement.

The Competitiveness Council will take place on 30 November and 1 December in Brussels.

Day one – Internal Market and Industry

The Council will aim to agree a General Approach on the Single Digital Gateway. The objective of the Single Digital Gateway proposal is to remove barriers to the single market created by lack of easy access to high quality information and Government services online.

The Commission will then present a Competitiveness check-up including details of the objectives of the EU Industrial Strategy. This will lead into a discussion on the EU industrial strategy, where the Estonian Presidency will present a report. The Council will be invited to adopt Conclusions on the Commission’s communication on ‘A Renewed EU Industrial Policy Strategy’.

The Council will then discuss a number of AOB points on geo-blocking, the European Defence Industrial Development Programme, the Digital Single Market, the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court, the European SME Action Programme, the public procurement package and the traceability system of tobacco products. In these AOB points the Council will be given information by the Presidency or by a Member State delegation.

The day will end with a presentation by the Bulgarian delegation on details of their upcoming Presidency


Day two – Space and Research

The Council will adopt Council conclusions on the Mid-term evaluation of the Copernicus programme. This will be followed by an exchange of views on the way forward for EU space programmes.

The afternoon session will begin with a discussion on Council conclusions “From the Interim Evaluation of Horizon 2020 towards the ninth Framework Programme”. The Council will then debate the mission-orientated approach proposed for the ninth Framework Programme.

Under AOB, the Commission will provide information on the state of play with Open Science.

Day two will conclude with information from the Bulgarian delegation on their incoming presidency work programme.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS281
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