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:

Show
Find by:
Close

WSID

Written Statement Indentifying Number – Every written statement in the House of Commons and House of Lords has a WSID per parliamentary session.
Showing 1-20 out of 419
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all statements
Print selected
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 22 January 2018
Made by: Mr Philip Hammond (The Chancellor to the Exchequer)
Commons

ECOFIN: 23 January 2018

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

Early Morning Session

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

Deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)

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

Current Financial Services Legislative Proposals

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

VAT: Simplification of Rates and Simplification for SME’s

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

Presidency Work Programme

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

European Semester 2018

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

Action Plan to Tackle Non-Performing Loans in Europe

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

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

Government Response to the Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Office will:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Funeral Expenses Payments

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

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

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

Migration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 19 January 2018
Made by: Esther McVey (The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions)
Commons

Welfare

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UK Military Support

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

WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 18 January 2018
Made by: Lucy Frazer (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice)
Commons

Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service

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

Courts and tribunals estate

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

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

Consultation on future estates strategy

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

Consultations on court closure proposals

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

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

The courts are:

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

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

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

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

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

Section 19(1) of the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 (the Act) requires the Secretary of State to report to Parliament as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of every relevant three-month period on the exercise of her TPIM powers under the Act during that period.

The level of information provided will always be subject to slight variations based on operational advice.

TPIM notices in force (as of 30 November 2017)

7

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

6

TPIM notices extended (during the reporting period)

2

TPIM notices revoked (during the reporting period)

0

TPIM notices revived (during the reporting period)

0

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

10

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

reporting period)

0

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

November 2017)

7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS402
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 18 January 2018
Made by: Greg Clark (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy )
Commons

Departmental Contingent Liability Notification (HM Land Registry Digital Mortgage Service)

Today I will lay before Parliament a Departmental Minute describing a new digital mortgage service, to be launched by HM Land Registry (HMLR) in 2018, and a resulting contingent liability.

It is normal practice when a Government Department proposes to undertake a contingent liability of £300,000 and above, for which there is no specific statutory authority, for the Department concerned to present Parliament with a minute giving particulars of the liability created and explaining the circumstances. It is also normal for the Department to refrain from incurring the liability until fourteen parliamentary sitting days after the issue of the minute, except in cases of special urgency.

HMLR’s new digital mortgage service will enable borrowers to sign mortgage deeds digitally, speed up the re-mortgage process and improve the customer experience. A new liability risk arises with this service because HMLR will certify the identity of a borrower when that person provides a digital signature in advance of registration. This liability sits outside of the scope of HMLR’s existing statutory compensation scheme (Schedule 8, Land Registration Act 2002).

The risk of the new liability occurring is considered low. The new process, where the borrower's identity has to be verified through GOV.UK Verify combined with HMLR’s independent security processes, should in fact reduce the overall risk of fraud. To date GOV.UK Verify has not identified a single example of fraud despite in excess of 1.25m citizens’ accounts having been created using the GOV.UK Verify service.

As with the existing indemnity, any costs incurred from this extension will be covered by HMLR’s resources as a Trading Fund.

Subject to no objections being received, I intend to authorise the proposal to undertake contingent liability for the digital mortgage service, after the usual fourteen parliamentary sitting days.


The Government will be taking further steps to improve the home buying and selling process, following the publication last year of a call for evidence.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS401
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 18 January 2018
Made by: Sir Alan Duncan (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Commons

Foreign Affairs Council: 22 January

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

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

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

Post Cotonou

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

Libya

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

MEPP

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

Council Conclusions

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

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS404
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 18 January 2018
Made by: Sarah Newton (Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work)
Commons

Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme Levy 2017/18

The Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (Levy) Regulations 2014 require active employers’ liability insurers to pay an annual levy based on their relative market share for the purpose of meeting the costs of the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS). This is in line with the commitment by the insurance industry to fund a scheme of last resort for sufferers of diffuse mesothelioma who have been unable to trace their employer or their employer’s insurer.

I can announce today that the total amount of the levy to be charged for 2017/18, the fourth year of the DMPS, is £33.5m. The amount will be payable by active insurers by the end of March 2018.

Individual active insurers will be notified in writing of their payment amount (i.e. their share of the levy), together with how the amount was calculated and payment arrangements. Insurers should be aware that it is a legal requirement to pay the levy within the set timescales.

I am pleased that the DMPS has seen three successful years of operation, assisting many sufferers of Diffuse Mesothelioma. The third Annual Report for the scheme was published on 30 November 2017 and is available on the gov.uk website. I hope that members of both Houses will welcome this announcement and give the DMPS their continued support.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS400
WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 18 January 2018
Made by: Jackie Doyle-Price (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health)
Commons

Health Technology Update

On Monday 15 January 2018 EMIS Group PLC (“EMIS”) notified NHS Digital regarding under-reporting of issues with their general practice clinical systems provided under the General Practice Systems of Choice (GPSoC) contract.

The Department of Health and Social Care was informed by NHS Digital who manages the contract on Tuesday 16 January. EMIS has today (Thursday 18 January 2018) informed the London Stock Exchange of this matter.

EMIS’s Chief Medical Officer has confirmed that an internal clinical safety review found no issues of concern. A review by NHS Digital’s clinical safety team has found no evidence that patient safety has been put at risk.

NHS Digital is conducting a detailed investigation to establish both the cause and accountability for the under reporting with the full cooperation of EMIS. Any settlement or other actions will be dependent on the outcome of this process. NHS Digital will also consider what lessons can be learned more widely.

I will provide a further update to Parliament once this important work is complete.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS399
WS
Home Office
Made on: 16 January 2018
Made by: Mr Nick Hurd (The Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service)
Commons

Opt-In Decision: Proposal for a Regulation amending Regulation (EU) 2016/794 for the purpose of establishing a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) watchlist

The Government has decided not to opt-in to the proposal for a Regulation amending Regulation (EU) 2016/794 for the purpose of establishing a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) watchlist.

As the UK does not participate in ETIAS itself, we do not expect to have direct access to the watchlist through this process. The Government also notes that there are a number of issues still to be resolved with regard to how the watchlist will be hosted by Europol and how it will function. As such, it is not clear whether opting-in could place any additional obligations on the UK. For these reasons, the Government has decided not to opt-in to the amending Regulation at this time.

Not opting in will not affect the operability of the Europol Regulation for the UK.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS397
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 16 January 2018
Made by: Boris Johnson (The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Commons

UK National Action Plan On Women, Peace And Security 2018-2022

Today marks the publication of the UK’s fourth National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (2018-2022) by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence, with support from the Stabilisation Unit.

The National Action Plan (NAP) is the UK Government’s five-year strategy that captures how we will meet our Women, Peace and Security (WPS) commitments under UN Security Council Resolution 1325, demonstrating how we will ensure better protection and empowerment of women in conflict situations overseas through our diplomatic, development and defence engagements alongside our bilateral and multilateral partners.

The UK is a global leader on Women, Peace and Security, taking the lead on drafting resolutions on this issue in the UN Security Council in the UN Security Council. In 2017 the FCO’s first ever Special Envoy for Gender Equality was appointed as part of wider UK ambition to eliminate all forms of gender inequality. The UK has continued work to increase women’s participation in conflict resolution in some of the most fragile countries in the world, including in Afghanistan, Somalia, and Syria. Along with Bangladesh and Canada, the UK launched the Women, Peace and Security Chief of Defence Network at the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial Conference in Vancouver in November 2017. The promotion of women in mediation in conflict resolution and countering violent extremism will continue at the Commonwealth Summit and beyond.

The UK continues to tackle gender-based violence, particularly violence against women and girls as the most prevalent form of gender-based violence. We continue to champion the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative to end sexual exploitation and abuse, working closely with our international partners.

This NAP has been developed based on lessons learned from the previous three UK NAPs, extensive consultation and new research and evidence on WPS. Key changes are:

• The NAP covers a longer, five-year period, enabling greater opportunity for the UK and implementing partners to demonstrate impact against our long-term objectives and outcomes.
• The NAP provides a vision of what the UK wants to achieve on WPS, not a fixed country-level implementation plan. This will enable us to respond flexibly to local realities and changes in the contexts, and to adapt programmes and activities to global and local developments.
• We have set out seven strategic outcomes, linked to the four pillars of UNSCR 1325, where the UK can demonstrate a comparative advantage and expect to see real progress over this period.
• We have retained inclusion of focus countries, recognising that this helps the UK to raise issues and work in partnership with governments, and to improve domestic and international visibility. We have increased the number from six to nine. They are: Afghanistan, Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Syria.
• The NAP 2018-22 sets out more clearly how it fits with wider HMG policies and strategies to ensure complementarity with other Government efforts.

We are grateful to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security for their active engagement on this important issue and would, in particular, like to thank Baroness Hodgson for her dedicated work in this area. We would also like to thank the civil society network, Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAPS), and the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security for the contribution they have made to the process of revising the NAP.

We will continue to consult with Parliament and civil society, including through the annual report on progress on the implementation of the NAP. The FCO will convene a new WPS steering group, chaired by Lord Ahmad, to bring together NGOs and academics with senior officials to provide accountability and leadership on this agenda. We will commission an external evaluation for a mid- and end of term assessment of how the strategic outcomes have been included through HMG’s planning and delivery processes.

A copy of the NAP has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses, and is available on gov.uk.

Report (PDF Document, 2.05 MB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS396
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 16 January 2018
Made by: Sir Alan Duncan (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Commons

Foreign Affairs Council – 11 December 2017

I attended the Foreign Affairs Council on 11 December, which was followed by a FAC (Development). The Council was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP), Federica Mogherini. The meeting was held in Brussels.

Ministers met the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, in the margins of the Council. The meeting was an opportunity for the European Union to reiterate its united and clear messages on the status of Jerusalem as future capital of two states, the importance of preserving a two-state solution and, on regional issues, the need to continue implementing the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal).

Foreign Affairs Council

EU Foreign Ministers discussed the Middle East, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), G5 Sahel Force and jointly, with Development Ministers, EU-Africa relations. Development Ministers discussed Aid for Trade.

The HRVP, in her introductory comments, also spoke about Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), Libya, her visit to Burma and Bangladesh and the Eastern Partnership Summit. I spoke about the historic opportunity in Zimbabwe and the need for the right policy mix to respond to developments there.

Middle East

The Council held discussions on the latest developments in the wider Middle East. I set out the UK position on Jerusalem, settlements, final status and the two state solution. Member States agreed to continue to respect the international consensus on Jerusalem including on the location of their diplomatic representations until the final status of Jerusalem is resolved. Ministers considered how the EU could limit escalation and preserve stability in the region, as well as consolidate progress in countries such as Lebanon.

Ministers expressed their concern at the serious deterioration of the situation in Yemen, which was witnessing the onset of a grave humanitarian catastrophe. They agreed to continue working to re-invigorate UN-led efforts towards a political solution to the conflict in Yemen in line with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Ministers recalled the continued EU support for the efforts of UN Special Envoy de Mistura in Syria.

Ministers underlined the importance of continuing and strengthening the EU's engagement on Iraq. The HRVP and the Commission are expected to present a proposal for a new strategy in January 2018.

Sahel

Ministers representing the Sahel countries set out their security and humanitarian needs. EU Ministers agreed that more needed to be done given the shared interests in the region.

EU-Africa relations

In a joint session with Foreign and Development Ministers, Ministers underlined the importance of the EU-Africa Summit and the need to continue working with African partners in an inclusive way.

Development - Aid for trade

The Council discussed the updated strategy on aid for trade which aims to improve the integration of developing countries into the international trading system and to enable trade and investment to contribute to reducing poverty.


Ministers agreed a number of measures without discussion:
The Council adopted a decision establishing Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO);
The Council adopted conclusions on DRC;
The Council adopted conclusions on Thailand;
The Council extended sanctions against the DRC
The Council agreed rules of procedure for the Joint Committee established by the Cooperation agreement on partnership and development between the European Union and the Afghanistan;
The Council adopted a decision to support the global reporting mechanism on illicit small arms and light weapons and other illicit conventional weapons and ammunition to reduce the risk of their illicit trade (‘iTrace III’);
The Council took note of the 19th Annual Report on EU exports of military technology and equipment;
The Council decided to provide support to the African, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and Caribbean regions to participate in the high-level fissile material (such as highly enriched uranium or plutonium) cut-off treaty expert preparatory group consultative process;
The Council approved a draft EU-China statement on climate change and clean energy;
The Council adopted conclusions on the European Court of Auditors' Special Report on the Bêkou EU trust fund;
The Council adopted conclusions on the 2016 Report on the Gender Action Plan II.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS398
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 15 January 2018
Made by: Mr Tobias Ellwood (Under Secretary of State for Defence)
Commons

War Pensions Scheme Uprating 2017

The new rates of war pensions and allowances proposed from April 2018 are set out in the tables below. The Annual uprating of war pensions and allowances for 2018 will take place from the week beginning 9 April. Rates for 2018 are increasing by 3.0 per cent in line with the September 2017 Consumer Price Index.

War Pensions Rates

RATES

RATES

(Weekly rates unless otherwise shown)

2017

2018

WAR PENSIONS

Disablement Pension (100% rates)

officer (£ per annum)

9,392.00

9,674.00

other ranks (weekly amount)

180.00

185.40

Age allowances payable from age 65

40%-50%

12.05

12.40

over 50% but not over 70%

18.55

19.10

over 70% but not over 90%

26.35

27.15

over 90%

37.10

38.20

Disablement gratuity (one-off payment)

specified minor injury (min.)

1,147.00

1,181.00

specified minor injury (max.)

8,559.00

8,816.00

1 – 5% gratuity

2,862.00

2,948.00

6 – 14% gratuity

6,363.00

6,554.00

15 – 19% gratuity

11,128.00

11,462.00

SUPPLEMENTARY ALLOWANCES

Unemployability allowance

Personal

111.20

114.55

adult dependency increase

61.80

63.65

increase for first child

14.35

14.80

increase for subsequent children

16.90

17.40

Invalidity allowance

higher rate

22.00

22.65

middle rate

14.30

14.70

lower rate

7.15

7.35

Constant attendance allowance

exceptional rate

135.80

139.80

intermediate rate

101.85

104.85

full day rate

67.90

69.90

Part-day rate

33.95

34.95


Comforts allowance

higher rate

29.20

30.10

lower rate

14.60

15.05

Mobility supplement

64.80

66.75

Allowance for lowered standard of occupation (maximum)

67.88

69.92

Therapeutic earnings limit (annual rate)

6,240.00

6,526.00

Exceptionally severe disablement allowance

67.90

69.90

Severe disablement occupational allowance

33.95

34.95

Clothing allowance (£ per annum)

232.00

239.00

Education allowance (£ per annum) (max)

120.00

120.00

WIDOW(ER)S BENEFITS

Widow(er)s' - other ranks (basic with children) (weekly amount)

136.50

140.60

Widow(er) - Officer higher rate both wars (basic with children) (£ per annum)

7,259.00

7,477.00

Childless widow(er)s' u-40 (other ranks) (weekly amount)

32.69

33.67

Widow(er) – Officer lower rate both wars (£ per annum)

2,521.00

2,597.00

Supplementary Pension

91.31

94.05

Age allowance

(a) age 65 to 69

15.55

16.00

(b) age 70 to 79

29.90

30.80

(c) age 80 and over

44.35

45.70

Children's allowance

Increase for first child

21.40

22.05

Increase for subsequent children

24.00

24.70

Orphan's pension

Increase for first child

24.50

25.25

Increase for subsequent children

26.80

27.60

Unmarried dependant living as spouse (max)

134.15

138.25

Rent allowance (maximum)

51.40

52.95

Adult orphan's pension (maximum)

104.90

108.05

WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 15 January 2018
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Tax-Free Childcare rollout update

In April 2017 the Government launched Tax-Free Childcare, which helps working parents with the cost of childcare with up to £2,000 of support per child. Today we will open the scheme to parents whose youngest child is under 9, or who turn 9 today. We will be opening the scheme to all remaining eligible families on 14th February. This means all eligible parents will be able to apply for Tax-Free Childcare before the end of this financial year.

This government is giving more help with the cost of childcare to working parents than ever before. We introduced Tax-Free Childcare in April 2017, and have doubled the free childcare available to working parents of 3 and 4 year olds to 30 hours a week. In 2019/20 we will be spending around £6bn on childcare support – a record amount of support.

Since opening the childcare service, through which parents apply for 30 hours free childcare and Tax-Free Childcare, more than 325,000 customers have successfully applied and are now using the service. Of these, more than 295,000 parents are eligible for 30 hours free childcare. Over 170,000 have a Tax-Free Childcare account and we have begun activity to further raise awareness of Tax-Free Childcare. We want to encourage more parents to take up the offer they are entitled to.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS394
WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 11 January 2018
Made by: Mr Steve Baker (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Exiting the European Union) )
Commons

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: analysis on the application of Standing Order No. 83L

I am today placing in the Library of the House the department’s analysis on the application of Standing Order No. 83L in respect of the amendments to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill made at Commons Committee stage and of the amendments proposed by the Government for Report stage. These amendments do not change the conclusion of the original analysis in the Bill’s explanatory notes.

STEVE BAKER MP

Expand all statements
Print selected
Showing 1-20 out of 419
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100