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 Defence
Made on: 22 February 2018
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Combat Air Strategy

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence (The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The British Aerospace industry has underpinned the Operational Advantage and Freedom of Action of the British military since the birth of airpower. It has long been an engine of national and local prosperity: made up of close to 2,500 companies, it generates more than £33.5 billion in turnover, and employs more than 128,000 people, some 26,000 of them in highly skilled research, design and engineering jobs. The Defence elements of that industry are particularly valuable: of the £73 billion brought into this country through Defence-related exports over ten years, around 85% was generated by aerospace, much of it specifically by the combat air sector[1].

The Government is committed to supporting growth and prosperity across British Industry, and Defence has a critical role to play in that commitment. My colleague the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy recently published an Industrial Strategy which reinforces our comprehensive support to the UK economy and our vision for a modern, internationally competitive UK industrial base. Following on from that my own Department published the Defence Industrial Policy refresh in December 2017 which made it clear that in a very few cases, a deeper analysis may be needed to establish whether our national security objectives would be served by specific sector approaches which help deliver long term value for money, Operational Advantage or Freedom of Action. Combat Air is one of these sectors.

Delivery of battle-winning capability to the UK’s Armed Forces is dependent on a number of vital national technologies and skills. This goes to the heart of our Operational Advantage and Freedom of Action and the Strategy will seek to ensure the UK maintains the ability to operate both independently and as part of international coalitions.

Recognising the importance of the Combat Air sector to UK military capability, Freedom of Action, prosperity and our industrial base, the MOD has decided to develop a Combat Air Strategy as part of the Modernising Defence Programme. Working closely with other Government Departments, industry and international partners, this work will define the UK’s future Combat Air aspirations, building on extant Government and Defence policies to identify the industrial capacity and capabilities necessary to deliver that ambition. In doing so, we will consider operational capability, technological advantage, economic benefits, industrial capability, capacity and skills, as well as international partnering, wider prosperity and export potential. The aim is to set the framework and timeline to assess options for the UK’s future Combat Air requirements and associated decision making. This should create a strong foundation for industry self-funded Research and Development and investment in skills, capacity and capability, whilst also testing UK industry’s ability to deliver our future requirements, remain sustainable and internationally competitive.

It will set out in practical terms how the MOD can deliver this critical military capability in an affordable way by establishing a more strategic relationship with UK industry, working with international partners and securing a competitive and sustainable industrial base to maximise prosperity.

[1] UK Defence and Security export statistics for 2016 released July 2017.

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Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 22 February 2018
Made by: Lord O'Shaughnessy (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health)
Lords

Gosport Investigation: Date of disclosure

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

The Gosport independent panel announced on 21st Feb that its disclosure to the Gosport families will be on 20th June 2018 in Portsmouth. The Gosport Independent Panel was formally established in July 2014. The Panel is chaired by Bishop James Jones and its role is to review the documentary evidence held across a range of organisations concerning the initial care of families’ relatives and the subsequent investigations into their deaths in Gosport War Memorial Hospital.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS478
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Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 22 February 2018
Made by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity )
Lords

Outcome of the judicial review of the UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations

My Hon Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment (Thérèse Coffey) has today made the following statement:

Clean air is one of the most basic requirements of a healthy environment for us all to live, work, and bring up families. Air pollution has improved significantly since 2010 but we recognise that there is more to do, particularly to improve pollution hotspots in our towns and cities.

Present problems with air quality in the UK are the direct result of the EU’s failed emissions testing regime, the actions of certain irresponsible car manufacturers, and the rapid increase in the number of diesel cars on the road since 2001. 21 other EU member states are also breaching legal air quality limits.

In July 2017 we published the UK Plan for Tackling Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations, and said that we will end the sale of all new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040. We are investing £3.5 billion to improve air quality and reduce harmful emissions.

Yesterday the High Court handed down judgment on the judicial review of the 2017 Plan.

The judge dismissed two of the three complaints considered during the case in relation to England. Specifically he found that there is no error in Government’s approach to tackling NO2 concentration exceedances in areas with some of the worst air quality problems, and that the national air quality modelling and monitoring that underpin the Plan are compliant with our legal requirements.

In relation to five cities identified in 2015 as having particularly marked air quality challenges, Birmingham, Nottingham, Derby, Southampton and Leeds, the judge found that the Government’s approach to tackling their exceedances was “sensible, rational and lawful”.

We welcome the fact that the Court has dismissed the complaint relating to these areas with major air quality problems and has found that we are taking appropriate action. We are also pleased that the Court agrees that our evidence in support of the 2017 Plan is sound.

In relation to local authority areas which are expected to achieve compliance between 2018 and 2021, Ministers have already offered significant support, and as recognised in the judgment have “urged and encouraged” them to come up with proposals to improve air quality. However, the Court found that the Government should have legally required the local authorities to take such steps, but acknowledged that further action will not be required in 12 areas where compliance will be achieved this year.

We had previously considered that it was sufficient to take a pragmatic, less formal approach to such areas. However, in view of the Court’s judgment, we are prepared to take a more formal line with the other 33 local authorities.

We have already been corresponding with the relevant local authorities to offer them support in identifying measures to improve local air quality. These authorities had already been asked to provide initial information by 28th February on the action they are taking. They have now been asked to attend a meeting on 28th February to discuss their plans, and whether there are any additional actions they can take to accelerate achieving compliance with legal limits for NO2 concentrations. We also now intend in March to issue legally binding directions requiring these areas to undertake studies to identify any such measures.

As required by the court order, we will publish a supplement to the 2017 Plan by 5th October, drawing on the findings from local authorities’ feasibility studies.

The Welsh Government was also a defendant in the judicial review. Air quality is a devolved policy area in the UK; each Devolved Administration has responsibility for meeting its own obligations under the Ambient Air Quality Directive.

The Welsh Ministers indicated that they recognise that the Welsh element of the Air Quality Plan does not satisfy legal requirements. They have undertaken to publish a supplemental plan, following consultation, by 31 July 2018.

As we set out in the 2017 Plan, this Government is committed to improving air quality, and we have pledged to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited it. Later this year we will be publishing a comprehensive Clean Air Strategy which will set out further steps to tackle air pollution.

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Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 21 February 2018
Made by: Lord Callanan (Minister of State for Exiting the European Union)
Lords

Implementation Period Update

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

I am today publishing the UK’s response to the European Commission’s draft legal text on arrangements for the implementation period, copies of which will be deposited in the libraries of both Houses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS476
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HM Treasury
Made on: 21 February 2018
Made by: Lord Bates (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Public Service Pension Indexation and Revaluation 2018

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

Legislation governing public service pensions requires them to be increased annually by the same percentage as additional pensions (State Earnings Related Pension and State Second Pension). Public service pensions will therefore be increased from 9 April 2018 by 3 per cent, in line with the annual increase in the Consumer Prices Index up to September 2017, except for those public service pensions which have been in payment for less than a year, which will receive a pro-rata increase.

Separately, in the new career average public service pension schemes, pensions in accrual are revalued annually in relation to either prices or earnings depending on the terms specified in their scheme regulations. The Public Service Pensions Act 2013 requires HMT to specify a measure of prices and of earnings to be used for revaluation by these schemes.

The prices measure is the Consumer Prices Index up to September 2017. Public service schemes which rely on a measure of prices, therefore, will use the figure of 3 per cent for the prices element of revaluation.

The earnings measure is the Whole Economy Average Weekly Earnings (non-seasonally adjusted and including bonuses and arrears) up to September 2017. Public service schemes which rely on a measure of earnings, therefore, will use the figure of 3 per cent for the earnings element of revaluation.

Revaluation is one part of the amount of pension that members earn in a year and needs to be considered in conjunction with the amount of in year accrual. Typically, schemes with lower revaluation will have faster accrual and therefore members will earn more pension per year. The following list shows how the main public service schemes will be affected by revaluation:

Scheme

Police

Fire

Civil

Service

NHS

Teachers

LGPS

Armed

Forces

Judicial

Revaluation for active member

4.25%

3%

3%

4.5%

4.6%

3%

3%

3%

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS474
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Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 21 February 2018
Made by: Lord O'Shaughnessy (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health)
Lords

Charges for NHS prescriptions and wigs and fabric supports

Regulations will shortly be laid before Parliament to increase certain National Health Service charges in England from 1 April 2018.

In the 2015 Spending Review, the government committed to support the Five Year Forward View with £10 billion investment in real terms by 2020-21 to fund frontline NHS services. Alongside this, the government expects the NHS to deliver £22 billion of efficiency savings to secure the best value from NHS resources and Primary Care must play its part.

This year, therefore, we have increased the prescription charge by 20 pence from £8.60 to £8.80 for each medicine or appliance dispensed. To ensure that those with the greatest need, and who are not already exempt from the charge, are protected we have frozen the cost of the prescription prepayment certificates (PPC) for another year. The 3 month PPC remains at £29.10 and the cost of the annual PPC will stay at £104. Taken together, this means prescription charge income is expected to rise broadly in line with inflation.

Charges for wigs and fabric supports will also be increased in line with inflation.

Details of the revised charges for 2018-19 can be found in the table below:

Charge from 1 April 2018 (£)

Prescription Charges

Single Charge

£8.80

3 month PPC (no change)

£29.10

12 month PPC (no change)

£104.00

Wigs and Fabric Supports

Surgical Brassiere

£28.85

Abdominal or spinal support

£43.60

Stock modacrylic wig

£71.25

Partial human hair wig

£188.70

Full bespoke human hair wig

£275.95

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS475
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Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 20 February 2018
Made by: Lord O'Shaughnessy (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health)
Lords

Introducing Fixed Recoverable costs in lower value clinical negligence claims – The Consultation response

Today I am publishing a document summarising the responses we received to our consultation ‘Introducing fixed recoverable costs in lower value clinical negligence claims’.

Following the end of the consultation in May 2017, the Right Honourable Lord Justice Jackson published a report “Review of Civil Litigation Costs: Supplemental Report Fixed Recoverable Costs”, which included a recommendation that The Civil Justice Council should, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Social Care, set up a working party with both claimant and defendant representatives to develop a bespoke process for clinical negligence claims initially up to £25,000 together with a grid of Fixed Recoverable Costs for such cases.

Ministers at the Department of Health and Social Care and the Ministry of Justice have accepted this recommendation and I would like to inform Parliament that work has commenced in setting up the working party with both claimant and defendant representatives.

The document I am publishing today sets out a summary of what we heard in our consultation, and points to The Civil Justice Council working group as the next step in developing the Fixed Recoverable Costs policy. I attach a copy of the consultation response and the report into fixed cost proposals by Professor Paul Fenn.

FRC consultation response (PDF Document, 416.56 KB)
Professor Fenn report (PDF Document, 693.11 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS472
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Leader of the House of Lords
Made on: 20 February 2018
Made by: Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (The Lord Privy Seal)
Lords

Lord Speaker’s Committee on the Size of the House of Lords

On 20 December 2016, the Lord Speaker established a committee to explore methods by which the size of the House of Lords can be reduced, commensurate with its current role and functions. The report of the committee was published on 31 October 2017 and it was debated by the House of Lords on 19 December 2017.

Today the Prime Minister has written to the Lord Speaker to set out her views on the committee's recommendations. The letter is attached.

PM to Lord Speaker - Burns report (PDF Document, 239.63 KB)
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Ministry of Justice
Made on: 20 February 2018
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (The Lords Spokesperson )
Lords

United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT)

My right honourable friend the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (David Gauke) has made the following Written Statement.

“The OPCAT, which the UK ratified in December 2003, requires States Parties to establish a “National Preventive Mechanism” (NPM) to carry out visits to places of detention to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The Government established the independent UK NPM in March 2009, and extended its membership in December 2013, and in January 2017. The UK NPM is currently composed of 21 scrutiny bodies covering the whole of the UK, and prepares annual reports on its activities. It also has an independent website at www.nationalpreventivemechanism.org.uk

Following previous practice, I have presented to Parliament the 8th NPM’s annual report (Command Paper 9563). This report covers the period from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017. I commend the important work that the NPM has carried out over this period and the NPM’s independent role in safeguarding the human rights of detainees across the UK. I also note the NPM’s observations around prisons, children in detention, police and court custody, immigration detention, and health and social care detentions.”

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS469
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Home Office
Made on: 20 February 2018
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

The agreement reached with the European Union (EU) to safeguard the rights of EU citizens who are resident in the United Kingdom (UK) following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU following the Opposition Day Debate on 29 November 2017

My rt hon Friend the Minister of State for Immigration (Caroline Nokes) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

The Government has been clear since the start of negotiations with the EU that protecting the rights of EU citizens in the UK, together with the rights of UK nationals living in EU countries, was its first priority.

Since the opposition day debate on 29 November 2017 secured by the hon Member for North East Fife on the vital issue of safeguarding citizens’ rights, we have delivered on that commitment and reached an agreement with our EU partners on citizens’ rights. The agreement was set out as part of a joint report issued on 8 December 2017, and provides more than three million EU citizens living in the UK with certainty about their future rights and, most importantly, allows them and their families to stay in the UK.

The agreement will protect EU citizens who have been exercising free movement rights in the UK at the time of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Family members, including those from outside the EU, living lawfully in the UK with a qualifying EU citizen at this point are also protected.

As part of our citizens’ rights agreement, we have agreed with the EU that we will introduce a new settled status scheme under UK law for EU citizens and their family members who are covered by the agreement. Those who have already had five years of continuous residence in the UK will be eligible to apply for settled status. Others will be able to remain in the UK to build up their five years’ residence.

We have agreed with the EU that the eligibility criteria for UK settled status will be the same as, or more favourable than, those set out in the EU Directive 2004/38/EC for acquiring permanent residence. In line with this, we have already committed to setting the evidence requirements to suit the demands of this unique situation and have taken a unilateral decision to introduce more favourable provisions to ensure that everyone lawfully in the UK on exit day will be able to stay. For example, we will not require evidence that economically inactive EU citizens have previously held comprehensive sickness insurance or apply a ‘genuine and effective’ work test. We are engaging closely with representative bodies for EU citizens in the UK to understand all the different circumstances under which they have built their lives in the UK so as to tailor evidential requirements appropriately.

Those who obtain settled status under the agreement on citizens’ rights will be granted indefinite leave to remain in UK law. This status will provide the holder with the same access to benefits, education and healthcare as those who have obtained permanent residence under EU law.

In addition, those granted indefinite leave to remain in line with this agreement will also benefit from certain more favourable entitlements than those with permanent residence under EU law. For example, their status will not lapse unless they have been continuously absent from the UK for over five years, as opposed to two years.

Importantly, our agreement on citizens’ rights has also opened the door for us to finalise work on the development and delivery of the new system for settled status applications.

The scheme, which will open for applications by the end of 2018, will be streamlined, user-friendly and will draw on existing government data to minimise the burden on applicants to provide evidence.

The Home Office will work with applicants to ensure that their application is not refused on minor technicalities, and caseworkers considering applications will exercise discretion in favour of the applicant where appropriate. As a result, we expect the vast majority of cases to be granted.

To ensure all EU citizens and their families have enough time to apply for UK status, the scheme will remain open for applications for at least two years after the UK leaves the EU. During this period, they will enjoy the rights conferred by the agreement. The application fee will not exceed the cost charged to British citizens for a UK passport, and for those who already have a valid permanent residence document there will be a simple process to exchange this for a new settled status document which will be free of charge.

The agreement reached in December will now be converted into the legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement. The Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill will incorporate the contents of the Withdrawal Agreement, including the agreement on citizens’ rights, into UK law by primary legislation. This will mean that the agreement on citizens’ rights will have direct effect in UK law and EU citizens can rely directly on it.

We are pleased with the progress we have made on citizens’ rights. Reaching an agreement with the EU on this and other separation issues is an important step on our journey towards a new relationship with our European partners.

The Government hugely values the contributions that EU citizens and their families make to the economic, social and cultural fabric of this country, and we have been clear from the start that we want them to stay. The agreement we have reached with the EU will allow EU citizens to do this and continue living their lives as they do now.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS471
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HM Treasury
Made on: 20 February 2018
Made by: Lord Bates (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Updated EVEL analysis

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

I have today published a written submission outlining the Government’s analysis of how the English Votes for English Laws principle relates to all Government amendments tabled for Report Stage of Finance (No.2) Bill.

The department’s assessment is that the amendments do not change the territorial application of the Bill. The analysis holds if all the Government amendments be accepted.

I have deposited a copy of the submission in the Libraries of the House.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS470
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HM Treasury
Made on: 20 February 2018
Made by: Lord Bates (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

ECOFIN: 20 February 2018

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

A meeting of The Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will be held in Brussels on 20 February 2018. The UK will be represented by Mark Bowman (Director General, International and EU, HM Treasury). European Union Finance Ministers will discuss the following:

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President will brief Ministers on the outcomes of the 19 February meeting of the Eurogroup, and the European Commission will provide an update on the current economic situation in the EU.

Financial Services Legislation

The Bulgarian Presidency will present information on current financial services legislative proposals, followed by an exchange of views.

Sustainable Finance

The Council will hold an exchange of views on the recommendations of the High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance.

Discharge of the 2016 EU Budget

Ministers will be asked to approve a Council recommendation to discharge to the European Commission in respect of the 2016 EU Budget.

EU Budget Guidelines for 2019

Ministers will be asked to approve Council conclusions on the EU Budget guidelines for 2019.

Public Procurement and Strategic Investment

The European Commission will present information on the public procurement strategy it adopted on 03 October 2017.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS468
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Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 20 February 2018
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Strengthening consumer redress in the housing market: a consultation

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

The Government believes that consumers should have swift, effective routes to complain and access resolution when things go wrong with their home – whether they are a tenant, or a homeowner.

We are concerned that the current redress landscape is confusing and does not always support this. There are multiple redress providers, and each operating different practices. Even this array of schemes does not provide for every eventuality. Some people have no option but to take a grievance through the courts.

On Sunday 18 February the Government launched a public consultation on strengthening redress in housing. The consultation is open to consumers, providers of housing services, and existing redress schemes, and asks how we can make the system simpler and more effective for consumers.

It asks about consumers’ experiences of redress, and how to improve ‘in–house’ complaint processes to ensure that issues get resolved as quickly as possible.

It considers the practices redress schemes should adopt in terms of timeliness, accessibility and transparency; and considers the powers that schemes require to operate effectively.

It also considers gaps in redress, and how these could be filled. This includes consideration of how to implement our commitment to require that all private landlords join a redress scheme, as well as improving access to redress for buyers of new-build homes.

Finally, the consultation also seeks views on whether redress should be consolidated into a Single Housing Ombudsman service and, if so, what form this might take.

The policy proposals primarily relate to England. The UK Government will be discussing these issues with devolved administrations where existing legislation also has scope outside England.

The consultation will run for eight weeks and ends on 16 April 2018.

Copies of the consultation document will be placed in the House Library and are available on the Government’s website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/strengthening-consumer-redress-in-housing

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS467
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Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 20 February 2018
Made by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity, and Lords Minister)
Lords

Bovine TB

My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Michael Gove) has today made the following statement.

Five years into the current bTB strategy, drafted in 2013 and published a year later, the time is right to review progress on the various elements of the strategy. I envisage further reviews will take place at five yearly intervals in the future.

The purpose of the review is to consider progress made to date and what further actions might need to be prioritised now in order to ensure we maintain progress towards our target of becoming officially TB free after twenty five years.

Bovine TB is a slow moving insidious disease which presents major challenges. It can be difficult to detect; it can be harboured in the wildlife population; no vaccine is fully effective and none of our diagnostic tests are perfect. The review will be forward looking. Its aim is to identify what actions we could take now to ensure that other elements of the strategy such as cattle vaccination or improved genetic resistance, are ready to deploy at later phases of the strategy.

We now have over twenty cull zones that are operational and we envisage additional ones for 2018. Although it is too early to make definitive conclusions, early analysis suggests that the first two cull zones are seeing the anticipated impact in terms of reduced incidence of the disease. However, we do need to consider what further steps or actions should follow the conclusion of each four year cull. After all, none of us wants to be culling badgers forever. The review will therefore also consider such issues.

The review will be led and overseen by an external Chair and I am delighted that Professor Sir Charles Godfray has agreed to take on this role. Professor Godfray is a population biologist with interests including ecology and epidemiology, currently based at the University of Oxford where he is Director of the Oxford Martin School. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society. He chaired the Independent Scientific Review of the Randomised Badger Control Trial, and is Chair of Defra’s Science Advisory Council.

The Chair will be supported by a small working group, membership of which will be confirmed in due course. The Chief Veterinary Officer and the Director of Animal and Plant Health will provide oversight within the Department.

The review is expected to commence in March and complete by the end of September 2018. The findings will be submitted to Defra Ministers for consideration and a final report published in due course.

As well as this work, Defra has launched a consultation on the principle of allowing badger control in the Low Risk Area to enable rapid action to tackle outbreaks at the local level where there is evidence of infection in badgers and linked with infection in cattle, and help preserve the area’s low disease incidence. Any decision on whether or not to implement badger control in the Low Risk Area will be taken by the Secretary of State following the consultation, once all the responses have been considered alongside relevant scientific evidence and veterinary advice.

The terms of reference for the review and the consultation have been published on the GOV.UK website and placed in the Libraries of the House.

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 08 February 2018
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

National Memorial to British Victims of Overseas Terrorism

My right hon. Friend the Minister for Defence People and Veterans (Tobias Ellwood) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am pleased to inform Parliament that the National Memorial to British Victims of Overseas Terrorism has now been completed at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, and is open to the public to visit.

The process to select the artist and design for the Memorial began with a public online consultation in 2016. This consultation identified strong public support and set out what was important to those with an interest in the Memorial.

I am grateful to Baroness Chalker of Wallasey and the other members of the independent Panel which took forward the selection of the artists and design for the Memorial. They based their decisions on the results of the consultation in 2016.

The overarching themes of the consultation were that the Memorial should be a place of remembrance, where people could pay their respects to those who had lost their lives. It was also clear that the Memorial should be a place of contemplation and reflection, with many respondents suggesting that the Memorial should be a place of tranquillity and quiet reflection, and a place for families to visit and sit.

I am pleased with the way that the artist, Alison Wilding, and maker and sculptor, Adam Kershaw have responded to these themes, through their work, Still Water.

I am grateful also to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whose officials have delivered this project on my behalf. Those Departments that have a direct responsibility for supporting the families of victims of overseas terrorism will now work together to ensure that the families of future victims of terrorism overseas are connected with the Memorial sensitively, and by the most appropriate part of Government at the time. The new, cross-Government Victims of Terrorism Unit is well-placed to consider this work.

On 17 May 2018, on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government, I will be hosting a Dedication Ceremony at the site of the Memorial for families that have successfully applied online to attend. Further information, including how to apply to attend the event, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-memorial-dedication-ceremony

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Department for Education
Made on: 08 February 2018
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System)
Lords

Social Work England update

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families (Nadhim Zahawi) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

My honourable friend the Minister of State at the Department of Health and Social Care (Caroline Dinenage) and I are today launching a public consultation on the policy to establish regulations and the regulatory framework for Social Work England. The framework and the regulations within it are to be made under Part 2 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017.

Social work is a complex and challenging profession. The best social workers deliver truly excellent provision that has the power to transform the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

We want all social workers to be equipped to deliver outstanding services. Key to delivering on this vision is a highly skilled and expert workforce. We have developed a significant reform programme, across child and family and adult social work, to improve both the quality of social work practice, and the systems which support social workers.

A fundamental part of this reform programme is delivering on our commitment to establish Social Work England: a new, specialist regulator for social workers in England. Like the other health and social care regulators across the UK, Social Work England’s primary objective will be protection of the public. It will achieve its objective through setting professional, education and training standards for social workers, and providing assurance that those registered meet the standards, are qualified and remain fit to practise. By doing so, it will promote public confidence and trust in this vital profession.

Health and social care professional regulation is undergoing change. While the regulators are generally effective in protecting the public from serious harm, there has been criticism, including from the regulators themselves, that the system can be slow, inefficient, overly adversarial and confusing to patients and the public. Government recognises that the regulation of all healthcare professionals needs to be faster, simpler, better and less costly and is reviewing the regulation of healthcare professionals through its consultation Promoting professionalism, reforming regulation. Social Work England is at the forefront of this reform.

Therefore, the regulatory framework for Social Work England, described in this consultation, aims to take account of the latest thinking, enabling the regulator to be more streamlined, proportionate and efficient. Social Work England will be able to operate systems and processes which adapt to emerging opportunities, challenges and best practice, ensuring professional regulation reflects the changing reality of delivering social work practice safely and effectively.

The consultation will run for six weeks and ends on 21 March. It seeks views on a range of key issues. A copy of the draft regulatory framework forms part of the consultation.

Copies of the consultation document will be placed in the House Library and available on the Government’s website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications?keywords=&publication_filter_option=consultations&topics%5B%5D=all&departments%5B%5D=department-for-education&official_document_status=all&world_locations%5B%5D=all&from_date=&to_date=.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS463
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Cabinet Office
Made on: 08 February 2018
Made by: Lord Young of Cookham (Lord in Waiting (Government Whip))
Lords

Infected Blood Inquiry

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am announcing today the appointment of Sir Brian Langstaff to head the public inquiry into the Infected Blood scandal. The inquiry will be established under the 2005 Inquiries Act, with full powers, including the power to compel the ​production of documents, and to summon witnesses to give evidence on oath.

In relation to the appointment of the Chair, the Lord Chief Justice was asked to recommend a judge who, in his view, would be best suited to the task. The Lord Chief Justice recommended Sir Brian Langstaff: a highly respected and hugely experienced High Court judge. I have accepted the Lord Chief Justice’s recommendation.

Sir Brian will be the full time Chair of the Inquiry from 1 May following his retirement from the High Court. However, in order that those who have been affected by this tragedy face no further undue delay, he will use the intervening period to conduct a further consultation on the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference

The infected blood scandal of the ’70s and ’80s was an appalling tragedy that should never have happened. The victims of this tragedy who have endured so much pain and hardship deserve answers. It is crucial that their views are properly reflected in the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference. He will want to listen carefully to the voices of those that have suffered before making a recommendation to me on what the scope of the Inquiry should be. I will return to Parliament with the final terms of reference as soon as this process has been completed.

The Government will ensure that the inquiry has the resources that it needs to complete its work. The Inquiry will, of course, also be independent of the Government.

It is very important that the Inquiry can identify why and how this tragedy occurred and provide answers for the all victims who have suffered so terribly, and can identify lessons to be learned so that a tragedy of this scale can never happen again.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 08 February 2018
Made by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity)
Lords

January Agriculture and Fisheries Council

My Hon Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment (Thérèse Coffey) has today made the following statement.

I represented the United Kingdom at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 29 January in Brussels.

Council began with a presentation by the Bulgarian Presidency, outlining its work programme until the end of June. This set out that discussion on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be prioritised in Agriculture and Fisheries Council; regular updates on EU agricultural markets will continue, along with a discussion of proposals for strengthening the position of farmers in the food supply chain; and items on a Spirit Drink Regulation, forestry, animal health and veterinary medicines will also feature.

The focus of this Council was an exchange of views on the Common Agricultural Policy post 2020. Member states displayed a variety of positions regarding the future direction of the CAP. The UK committed to working closely with EU colleagues in tackling shared challenges in farming policy, and signalled future efforts by the UK Government to bring together agriculture and environment policy, such as the 25 year Environment Plan for England.

The Council moved on to EU agriculture markets, and Commissioner Hogan gave an update on the sugar, dairy and pigmeat markets. Alongside this update, the French and Belgian delegations prompted a further discussion with their ideas for releasing EU stocks of Skimmed Milk Powder. The Polish delegation requested further discussion on the EU pigmeat market. Commissioner Hogan then updated the Council on December’s WTO Ministerial Conference and trade negotiations with Mercosur.

There were four further items discussed under ‘Any other business’:

  • the German delegation presented the conclusions of the Agriculture Ministers Conference 2018 in the context of the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (Berlin, 20 January 2018)

  • the French delegation presented the conclusions from the Ministerial Conference on Xylella fastidiosa (Paris, 1 December 2017)

  • the German delegation presented conclusions from the high-level meeting on African swine fever (ASF) at the International Green Week (Berlin, 19 January 2018)

  • the Czech delegation highlighted the involvement of European research in eradicating African swine fever in the EU.

On 23 June 2016, the EU referendum took place and the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Until we leave the EU, the UK remains a full member of the European Union and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. During this period the Government will continue to negotiate, implement and apply EU legislation. The outcome of these negotiations will determine what arrangements apply in relation to EU legislation in future once the UK has left the EU.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS461
WS
Leader of the House of Lords
Made on: 08 February 2018
Made by: Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (The Lord Privy Seal)
Lords

Working Group on an Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy

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

In November, my Rt Hon Friend the Prime Minister convened a cross-party Working Group to establish a new independent complaints and grievance procedure, in response to reports of sexual harassment and bullying in parliament.

As Chairman of the Working Group, I am pleased to confirm that all members of the Working Group and all Party Leaders have agreed a report which is being published today.

I attach a copy of the report of the Working Group to this statement for the convenience of members.

WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 08 February 2018
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Local government improvement improvement in Suffolk

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

On 7 November and 30 November respectively I told the House that I was minded to implement, subject to Parliamentary approval, locally-supported proposals I had received from the respective councils to merge district councils in East Suffolk and in West Suffolk, and I invited representations before I took my final decisions on these proposals.

Having carefully considered all the representations I have received and all the relevant information available to me, I am today announcing that I have decided to implement, subject to Parliamentary approval, both proposals – that is to merge Suffolk Coastal and Waveney district councils to become a new single district council named East Suffolk, and to merge Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council to become a new single district council named West Suffolk.

I have reached my decisions having regard to the criteria for district council mergers I announced to the House on 7 November. I am satisfied that these criteria are met and that both new district councils are likely to improve local government and service delivery in their areas, command a good deal of local support, and that each council area is a credible geography.

I now intend to prepare and lay before Parliament drafts of the necessary secondary legislation to give effect to my decisions. My intention is that if Parliament approves this legislation the new councils will be established on 1 April 2019 with the first elections to the councils held on 2 May 2019.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS462
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