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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Department for International Trade
Made on: 21 February 2019
Made by: Baroness Fairhead (Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion)
Lords

Trade Continuity under a "No Deal" scenario

My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade (Dr Liam Fox) has today made the following statement.

The Government is today publishing revised guidance to UK and international businesses that use preferential trade terms under existing agreements between the EU and third countries to advise them about a scenario in which the UK leaves the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement. While a number of our continuity agreements are likely to be concluded by exit day, it is the duty of government to produce a highly cautious list of those that both may and will not be in place in order that businesses and individuals ensure that they are prepared for every eventuality. A list of these agreements and related advice is available on gov.uk here.

If the UK leaves with a deal, under the Withdrawal Agreement the EU has agreed that it will notify treaty partners that the UK is to be treated as a Member State for the purposes of its international agreements during the Implementation Period (IP), up until December 2020. This approach provides continuity and gives businesses and international partners the certainty and confidence they want and need.

Delivering a negotiated Withdrawal Agreement with the EU remains the Government’s top priority. Nevertheless, we continue to prepare for all eventualities, including 'no deal’. Therefore, in recent months, the Government has refocussed discussions with third countries to transition trade agreements to come into effect for day one after our EU exit, should the UK leave the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement. From the outset, we have been open and transparent with the EU about this programme of work.

Scope of the Trade Continuity programme

The Government is seeking continuity for existing EU trade agreements in which the UK participates as a member of the EU. These agreements constitute around 11% of our trade[1]. These agreements also cover a wide variety of relationships, including:

  • Free Trade Agreements (FTAs);
  • Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with developing nations;
  • Association Agreements, which cover broader economic and political cooperation;
  • Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) and;
  • Trade agreements with countries that are closely aligned with the EU

Businesses in the UK and partner countries are eligible for a range of preferential market access opportunities under the terms of these agreements. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • preferential duties for goods, including reductions in import tariff rates and quotas for reduced or nil rates of payable duties;
  • quotas for the import of goods with more relaxed rules of origin requirements;
  • enhanced market access for service providers;
  • protection from discrimination in public procurement opportunities across a range of sectors;
  • allowing parties to mutually recognise conformity assessment procedures;
  • the ability to complete mandatory inspections and tests on products close to the place of production; and
  • common standards on intellectual property.

The Government has been in extensive and constructive discussions with partner countries to transition these agreements to maintain their benefits and deliver as much continuity and stability as possible in our trade with these partners for businesses, consumers and investors as we leave the EU.

Progress Update

To date, the Government has signed trade agreements with Switzerland, Chile, the Faroe Islands, members of the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) Economic Partnership Agreement, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The Government is also close to formal agreement on text with Fiji and Papua New Guinea (Pacific) and arrangements are being made for their signature. It is likely these agreements will be transitioned in time for day one of exit.

We have also signed Mutual Recognition Agreements that allow continuity of trade with Australia and New Zealand, and the United States. Total UK-US trade in sectors covered by the US MRA agreement is worth up to £12.8 billion, based on recent average trade flows. These important agreements boost trade as UK exporters can ensure goods are compliant with trading partners’ technical regulations before they depart the UK, saving businesses time, money and resources.

Discussions with other partners continue with the aim of replicating the effects of existing EU agreements as far as possible. We are continuing to engage with those other partner countries to conclude agreements in time for exit day. Particularly intensive discussions are, for instance, happening now with partners such as SACU+M, EEA, Canada and South Korea. Other discussions are ongoing.

Where agreements have been signed and there are significant changes to trade-related provisions of trade agreements, including to ensure operability in a UK context, they will be set out in reports to Parliament. As is already the case with the Chile, ESA and the Faroe Islands agreements, the reports will sit alongside the treaty text and explanatory memorandum, when these are laid in Parliament as part of the treaty ratification process, as set out in the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. These and other relevant documents will be also placed on gov.uk when signed. Implementing legislation, including on the preferential tariffs and related rules of origin in these agreements will also be laid before Parliament. Details of these agreements will be available on gov.uk.

If the full parliamentary scrutiny processes to ratify some UK-third country agreements have not concluded by the end of March, we are considering whether there are other means through which we can bring their provisions into effect to provide the same certainty and continuity to business and stakeholders from day one.

One such option is provisional application, where the UK and the third country agree to apply a treaty, in full or in part, “provisionally” for a period of time before the full domestic scrutiny processes have completed and the treaty enters into force. Where possible, this would bridge a potential gap in coverage of preferential trade terms. The UK has used provisional application on a number of occasions in its independent treaty relations. The use of provisional application is also common practice for the EU’s international agreements.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, some agreements will not be concluded in time and therefore will not be in place for exit day. There are a range of reasons for this. Those agreements that will not be in place for exit day are Andorra, Japan, Turkey, and San Marino.

Certain countries raise specific issues in the context of transitioning trade agreements. For example, Turkey is in a unique position, being in a partial customs union with the EU. This is not, therefore, a pre-existing free trade agreement relationship that can be technically transitioned to the UK. For this reason, should the UK leave the EU without a withdrawal agreement it will not be possible to transition these arrangements on day one of exit. However, Turkey is an important partner for the UK, and we want to strengthen our trading partnership once we leave the EU. The Government is committed to exploring all options for enabling continuity of trade and will progress these with Turkey as soon as possible. For the same reasons, we will not reach trade continuity arrangements with San Marino or Andorra by 29th March in the event of a no deal.

The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement only entered into force as of 1st February 2019. In a no deal scenario, it will not be possible to have a bilateral agreement in place between the UK and Japan for 29th March. Therefore, UK-Japan trade will occur on a Most-Favoured Nation basis under WTO terms, as it did up until 31st January 2019 The Prime Ministers of Japan and the UK have, however, already agreed to secure an ambitious bilateral agreement, building on the deal already agreed between Japan and the EU, and Japan is supportive of future UK membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). We are continuing to work with Japan to realise these opportunities for a stronger trading relationship.

Additional provisions

The UK’s trade relationships are not just determined by trade agreements; we also participate in the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which allows developing countries, including Least Developed Countries and low to lower-middle income countries to receive preferential access to the UK market. The Government fully intends to continue the existing market access provided by these unilateral preference schemes.

To do so we have taken the necessary powers through the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018 to allow us to continue providing non-reciprocal reductions in tariffs to developing countries. Through this, the current beneficiaries of the EU’s GSP will be able to export to the UK after our EU exit on the same terms as at present. We will shortly be laying the necessary secondary legislation in Parliament.

This means that some countries will continue to be eligible for preferential tariff treatment under the UK’s newly established independent trade preferences scheme even if the relevant EU-partner country trade agreement has not yet been transitioned into a UK-partner country agreement.

You can find details of non-EU countries with whom we currently have in place arrangements for preferential trade, including both free trade agreements and unilateral preferences here.

[1] This 11% figure excludes Turkey (plus San Marino and Andorra) which is part of a customs union with the EU, and excludes Japan, as the Economic Partnership Agreement only came into force on 1st February 2019 and therefore business have only very recently been trading under this agreement.

[

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1352
WS
Department for International Trade
Made on: 21 February 2019
Made by: Dr Liam Fox (Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade)
Commons

Trade Continuity under a "No Deal" scenario

The Government is today publishing revised guidance to UK and international businesses that use preferential trade terms under existing agreements between the EU and third countries to advise them about a scenario in which the UK leaves the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement. While a number of our continuity agreements are likely to be concluded by exit day, it is the duty of government to produce a highly cautious list of those that both may and will not be in place in order that businesses and individuals ensure that they are prepared for every eventuality. A list of these agreements and related advice is available on gov.uk here.

If the UK leaves with a deal, under the Withdrawal Agreement the EU has agreed that it will notify treaty partners that the UK is to be treated as a Member State for the purposes of its international agreements during the Implementation Period (IP), up until December 2020. This approach provides continuity and gives businesses and international partners the certainty and confidence they want and need.

Delivering a negotiated Withdrawal Agreement with the EU remains the Government’s top priority. Nevertheless, we continue to prepare for all eventualities, including 'no deal’. Therefore, in recent months, the Government has refocussed discussions with third countries to transition trade agreements to come into effect for day one after our EU exit, should the UK leave the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement. From the outset, we have been open and transparent with the EU about this programme of work.

Scope of the Trade Continuity programme

The Government is seeking continuity for existing EU trade agreements in which the UK participates as a member of the EU. These agreements constitute around 11% of our trade[1]. These agreements also cover a wide variety of relationships, including:

  • Free Trade Agreements (FTAs);
  • Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with developing nations;
  • Association Agreements, which cover broader economic and political cooperation;
  • Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) and;
  • Trade agreements with countries that are closely aligned with the EU

Businesses in the UK and partner countries are eligible for a range of preferential market access opportunities under the terms of these agreements. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • preferential duties for goods, including reductions in import tariff rates and quotas for reduced or nil rates of payable duties;
  • quotas for the import of goods with more relaxed rules of origin requirements;
  • enhanced market access for service providers;
  • protection from discrimination in public procurement opportunities across a range of sectors;
  • allowing parties to mutually recognise conformity assessment procedures;
  • the ability to complete mandatory inspections and tests on products close to the place of production; and
  • common standards on intellectual property.

The Government has been in extensive and constructive discussions with partner countries to transition these agreements to maintain their benefits and deliver as much continuity and stability as possible in our trade with these partners for businesses, consumers and investors as we leave the EU.

Progress Update

To date, the Government has signed trade agreements with Switzerland, Chile, the Faroe Islands, members of the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) Economic Partnership Agreement, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The Government is also close to formal agreement on text with Fiji and Papua New Guinea (Pacific) and arrangements are being made for their signature. It is likely these agreements will be transitioned in time for day one of exit.

We have also signed Mutual Recognition Agreements that allow continuity of trade with Australia and New Zealand, and the United States. Total UK-US trade in sectors covered by the US MRA agreement is worth up to £12.8 billion, based on recent average trade flows. These important agreements boost trade as UK exporters can ensure goods are compliant with trading partners’ technical regulations before they depart the UK, saving businesses time, money and resources.

Discussions with other partners continue with the aim of replicating the effects of existing EU agreements as far as possible. We are continuing to engage with those other partner countries to conclude agreements in time for exit day. Particularly intensive discussions are, for instance, happening now with partners such as SACU+M, EEA, Canada and South Korea. Other discussions are ongoing.

Where agreements have been signed and there are significant changes to trade-related provisions of trade agreements, including to ensure operability in a UK context, they will be set out in reports to Parliament. As is already the case with the Chile, ESA and the Faroe Islands agreements, the reports will sit alongside the treaty text and explanatory memorandum, when these are laid in Parliament as part of the treaty ratification process, as set out in the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. These and other relevant documents will be also placed on gov.uk when signed. Implementing legislation, including on the preferential tariffs and related rules of origin in these agreements will also be laid before Parliament. Details of these agreements will be available on gov.uk.

If the full parliamentary scrutiny processes to ratify some UK-third country agreements have not concluded by the end of March, we are considering whether there are other means through which we can bring their provisions into effect to provide the same certainty and continuity to business and stakeholders from day one.

One such option is provisional application, where the UK and the third country agree to apply a treaty, in full or in part, “provisionally” for a period of time before the full domestic scrutiny processes have completed and the treaty enters into force. Where possible, this would bridge a potential gap in coverage of preferential trade terms. The UK has used provisional application on a number of occasions in its independent treaty relations. The use of provisional application is also common practice for the EU’s international agreements.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, some agreements will not be concluded in time and therefore will not be in place for exit day. There are a range of reasons for this. Those agreements that will not be in place for exit day are Andorra, Japan, Turkey, and San Marino.

Certain countries raise specific issues in the context of transitioning trade agreements. For example, Turkey is in a unique position, being in a partial customs union with the EU. This is not, therefore, a pre-existing free trade agreement relationship that can be technically transitioned to the UK. For this reason, should the UK leave the EU without a withdrawal agreement it will not be possible to transition these arrangements on day one of exit. However, Turkey is an important partner for the UK, and we want to strengthen our trading partnership once we leave the EU. The Government is committed to exploring all options for enabling continuity of trade and will progress these with Turkey as soon as possible. For the same reasons, we will not reach trade continuity arrangements with San Marino or Andorra by 29th March in the event of a no deal.

The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement only entered into force as of 1st February 2019. In a no deal scenario, it will not be possible to have a bilateral agreement in place between the UK and Japan for 29th March. Therefore, UK-Japan trade will occur on a Most-Favoured Nation basis under WTO terms, as it did up until 31st January 2019 The Prime Ministers of Japan and the UK have, however, already agreed to secure an ambitious bilateral agreement, building on the deal already agreed between Japan and the EU, and Japan is supportive of future UK membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). We are continuing to work with Japan to realise these opportunities for a stronger trading relationship.

Additional provisions

The UK’s trade relationships are not just determined by trade agreements; we also participate in the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which allows developing countries, including Least Developed Countries and low to lower-middle income countries to receive preferential access to the UK market. The Government fully intends to continue the existing market access provided by these unilateral preference schemes.

To do so we have taken the necessary powers through the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018 to allow us to continue providing non-reciprocal reductions in tariffs to developing countries. Through this, the current beneficiaries of the EU’s GSP will be able to export to the UK after our EU exit on the same terms as at present. We will shortly be laying the necessary secondary legislation in Parliament.

This means that some countries will continue to be eligible for preferential tariff treatment under the UK’s newly established independent trade preferences scheme even if the relevant EU-partner country trade agreement has not yet been transitioned into a UK-partner country agreement.

You can find details of non-EU countries with whom we currently have in place arrangements for preferential trade, including both free trade agreements and unilateral preferences here.

[1] This 11% figure excludes Turkey (plus San Marino and Andorra) which is part of a customs union with the EU, and excludes Japan, as the Economic Partnership Agreement only came into force on 1st February 2019 and therefore business have only very recently been trading under this agreement.

[

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1319
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 21 February 2019
Made by: Greg Clark (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Commons

Energy Policy

As set out to the House in the statement of 6 December 2018, the European Commission was expecting to make its initial decision regarding the UK Capacity Market in early 2019. The Commission have today confirmed that they are moving onto the next phase of its investigation into the Capacity Market. This is an important first step as we work to reinstate State aid approval for the Capacity Market as soon as possible.

In their announcement the Commission confirm that the General Court of the European Union did not rule that the GB Capacity Market was incompatible with State aid rules. The Commission have also made clear that the Court ruled on procedural grounds. This was on the basis that the Commission should have opened an in-depth investigation on certain elements of the scheme related to participation by demand side response operators.

In accordance with the Court’s judgment, the Commission have therefore launched a further investigation focussing on particular elements of the Capacity Market. We understand that this investigation will cover past and future capacity payments, including deferred payments in respect of the standstill period. Since 2014 the Commission has approved State aid for six capacity markets similar to the GB scheme. We will continue to work closely with the Commission as their investigation progresses and will ensure that market participants are regularly updated.

Separately, the Commission have recently chosen to appeal the General Court’s judgment that they did not follow the proper process to conclude in 2014 that the Capacity Market was compatible with EU State aid rules. I can confirm today that the UK Government will be supporting this appeal. The appeal does not affect the Commission’s separate process for considering State aid approval for the current Capacity Market scheme.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1318
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 21 February 2019
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

Energy Policy

My Rt hon Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Greg Clark), has today made the following statement:

As set out to the House in the statement of 6 December 2018, the European Commission was expecting to make its initial decision regarding the UK Capacity Market in early 2019. The Commission have today confirmed that they are moving onto the next phase of its investigation into the Capacity Market. This is an important first step as we work to reinstate State aid approval for the Capacity Market as soon as possible.

In their announcement the Commission confirm that the General Court of the European Union did not rule that the GB Capacity Market was incompatible with State aid rules. The Commission have also made clear that the Court ruled on procedural grounds. This was on the basis that the Commission should have opened an in-depth investigation on certain elements of the scheme related to participation by demand side response operators.

In accordance with the Court’s judgment, the Commission have therefore launched a further investigation focussing on particular elements of the Capacity Market. We understand that this investigation will cover past and future capacity payments, including deferred payments in respect of the standstill period. Since 2014 the Commission has approved State aid for six capacity markets similar to the GB scheme. We will continue to work closely with the Commission as their investigation progresses and will ensure that market participants are regularly updated.

Separately, the Commission have recently chosen to appeal the General Court’s judgment that they did not follow the proper process to conclude in 2014 that the Capacity Market was compatible with EU State aid rules. I can confirm today that the UK Government will be supporting this appeal. The appeal does not affect the Commission’s separate process for considering State aid approval for the current Capacity Market scheme.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1351
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 21 February 2019
Made by: Baroness Buscombe (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions)
Lords

Employment and Support Allowance

My honourable Friend, the Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work(Sarah Newton MP) has made the following Written Statement.

This Written Statement is a fifth update to the House on progress in reviewing and, where necessary, correcting past Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) underpayments and paying arrears following conversion from previous incapacity benefits.

Since my last update to the House in October 2018 we have made significant progress. Due to the complex nature of these cases they take considerably longer than the average ESA case to complete. To ensure we make rapid and accurate progress we have therefore increased the number of staff working on putting these cases right from around 400 to approximately 1,200. This additional resource has led to a substantial increase in the number of cases that we have reviewed, corrected and paid arrears where due.

We have made good progress and by 11 February had:

  • started 310,000 claimants on the reassessment journey;
  • paid arrears of over £328 million to 58,000 people; and,
  • completed action on 207,000 cases 1.

Based on the progress made since October we believe we are on track to complete work on the majority of the original 320,000 cases by April 2019 (Phase 1). Unfortunately, some cases where the claimant sadly died prior to the exercise starting, are taking a significant period of time to resolve due to difficulties in identifying the next of kin or executors. There are around 20,000 deceased cases included in Phase 1 that require review. While we continue to progress this work, we expect that the Department will need until the end of 2019 to complete these cases.

Following our announcement in July 2018 that we will review and pay cases back to the date they were converted from incapacity benefits to ESA, we are reviewing a further 250,000 cases (Phase 2), as set out in October. Activity in respect of this group is due to start shortly, and we aim to complete Phase 2 by the end of this year.

The cases included in this exercise were largely converted between 2011 and 2014. Revised operational guidance was put in place in October 2014 after individual cases that had been incorrectly converted came to light. As part of our commitment to correct all cases affected by this error, we decided to undertake additional testing of cases converted in 2015. This testing has shown that the error rate did not improve as quickly as expected and we therefore believe that it is prudent to review around a further 30,000 cases, that were converted from 2015 onwards. This reflects our commitment to ensure all those who may have been affected are identified and paid the arrears they are due.

The Department is publishing an updated ad hoc statistical publication today setting out further detail on the progress it has made in processing cases, including an updated estimate on forecast expenditure and the numbers affected. This will be published on Gov.uk.

These updated forecasts will feed into the Spring Statement 2019. The Department now estimates that around 600,000 cases require review and that by the end of the exercise around 210,000 arrears payments will have been made. The increase, compared to our previous estimate of 180,000, is based on assumptions made using evidence we have gathered from the checking exercise to date. The data shows an increase in the proportion of cases in error among some groups of claimants. In addition, based on sample testing we have also included an assumption of the proportion of errors likely to be identified in the further 30,000 cases that have been added to the exercise.

An updated Frequently Asked Question guide will also be deposited in the House library for further information.

1Some of these cases which were originally completed prior to our announcement in July 2018 that we will review and pay cases back to the date they were converted from incapacity benefits to ESA, will require further action.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1348
WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 21 February 2019
Made by: Steve Brine (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care)
Commons

Charges for NHS prescriptions, wigs and fabric supports

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Lords) (Baroness Blackwood) has made the following written statement:

Regulations will shortly be laid before Parliament to increase certain National Health Service charges in England from 1 April 2019.

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 £8.80 to £9 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 pre-payment 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 2019-20 can be found in the table below:

Charge from 1 April 2019 (£)

Prescription Charges

Single Charge

£9.00

3 month PPC (no change)

£29.10

12 month PPC (no change)

£104.00

Wigs and Fabric Supports

Surgical Brassiere

£29.50

Abdominal or spinal support

£44.55

Stock modacrylic wig

£72.80

Partial human hair wig

£192.85

Full bespoke human hair wig

£282.00

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1315
WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 21 February 2019
Made by: Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Lords))
Lords

Publication of consultation response: extension of legal rights to personal health budgets and integrated personal budgets

My hon. Friend the Minister of State for Care (Caroline Dinenage) has made the following written statement:

Today I am publishing the joint response from Government and NHS England to a recent consultation exploring extending legal rights to personal health budgets and integrated personal budgets. The response is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/personal-health-budgets-and-integrated-personal-budgets-extending-legal-rights, and a copy has also been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

Across the health and social care system, there is an ever-growing shift towards personalising care, including an increasing amount of people choosing to take on a budget. It is clear that people value being involved in the planning of their care, being able to make choices, and personalise their support in a way that best meets their bespoke needs. The evidence is clear; through personalised care, people are more satisfied, have better outcomes, and are able to explore more innovative approaches that better meet their individual needs.

The Government is therefore committed to increasing the extent to which people can exercise greater choice and control over their care. Personal health budgets, and all other features of a personalised care approach as set out within the Comprehensive Model of Personalised Care, including shared decision making and personalised care and support planning, are the key mechanisms for delivering this change.

Given this commitment, we consulted on potentially extending the legal rights to personal health budgets and integrated personal budgets, to the following five groups:

  • People with ongoing social care needs, who also make regular and ongoing use of relevant NHS services.
  • People eligible for Section 117 aftercare services and people of all ages with ongoing mental health needs who make regular and ongoing use of community based NHS mental health services.
  • People leaving the Armed Forces, who are eligible for ongoing NHS services.
  • People with a learning disability, autism or both, who are eligible for ongoing NHS care.
  • People who access wheelchair services whose posture and mobility needs impact their wider health and social care needs.

The outcome of the consultation was hugely positive, with 87% of respondents, on average, agreeing with each proposal made. At the same time, respondents outlined their positivity for personalised care more broadly, citing the positive impacts personalised care can bring to people’s lives.

We are committed to delivering an ambitious package of personalised care, that will enable up to five million people to benefit in the next decade. As part of this ambition, we now intend to take forward work to extend the legal rights to people eligible for Section 117 aftercare services, and people who access wheelchair services, whose posture and mobility needs impact their wider health and social care needs. We will also continue to further explore both the other groups we consulted on, and additional groups who we believe could also benefit from having a right to have a personal health budget.

We want personalised care to become business as usual; and the ambitious package set out in this response, the NHS Long Term Plan, and Universal Personalised Care will enable us to do this.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1349
WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 21 February 2019
Made by: Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Lords))
Lords

Charges for NHS prescriptions, wigs and fabric supports

Regulations will shortly be laid before Parliament to increase certain National Health Service charges in England from 1 April 2019.

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 £8.80 to £9 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 pre-payment 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 2019-20 can be found in the table below:

Charge from 1 April 2019 (£)

Prescription Charges

Single Charge

£9.00

3 month PPC (no change)

£29.10

12 month PPC (no change)

£104.00

Wigs and Fabric Supports

Surgical Brassiere

£29.50

Abdominal or spinal support

£44.55

Stock modacrylic wig

£72.80

Partial human hair wig

£192.85

Full bespoke human hair wig

£282.00

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1350
WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 21 February 2019
Made by: Caroline Dinenage (Minister of State for Care)
Commons

Publication of consultation response: extension of legal rights to personal health budgets and integrated personal budgets

Today I am publishing the joint response from Government and NHS England to a recent consultation exploring extending legal rights to personal health budgets and integrated personal budgets. The response is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/personal-health-budgets-and-integrated-personal-budgets-extending-legal-rights, and a copy has also been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

Across the health and social care system, there is an ever-growing shift towards personalising care, including an increasing amount of people choosing to take on a budget. It is clear that people value being involved in the planning of their care, being able to make choices, and personalise their support in a way that best meets their bespoke needs. The evidence is clear; through personalised care, people are more satisfied, have better outcomes, and are able to explore more innovative approaches that better meet their individual needs.

The Government is therefore committed to increasing the extent to which people can exercise greater choice and control over their care. Personal health budgets, and all other features of a personalised care approach as set out within the Comprehensive Model of Personalised Care, including shared decision making and personalised care and support planning, are the key mechanisms for delivering this change.

Given this commitment, we consulted on potentially extending the legal rights to personal health budgets and integrated personal budgets, to the following five groups:

  • People with ongoing social care needs, who also make regular and ongoing use of relevant NHS services.
  • People eligible for Section 117 aftercare services and people of all ages with ongoing mental health needs who make regular and ongoing use of community based NHS mental health services.
  • People leaving the Armed Forces, who are eligible for ongoing NHS services.
  • People with a learning disability, autism or both, who are eligible for ongoing NHS care.
  • People who access wheelchair services whose posture and mobility needs impact their wider health and social care needs.

The outcome of the consultation was hugely positive, with 87% of respondents, on average, agreeing with each proposal made. At the same time, respondents outlined their positivity for personalised care more broadly, citing the positive impacts personalised care can bring to people’s lives.

We are committed to delivering an ambitious package of personalised care, that will enable up to five million people to benefit in the next decade. As part of this ambition, we now intend to take forward work to extend the legal rights to people eligible for Section 117 aftercare services, and people who access wheelchair services, whose posture and mobility needs impact their wider health and social care needs. We will also continue to further explore both the other groups we consulted on, and additional groups who we believe could also benefit from having a right to have a personal health budget.

We want personalised care to become business as usual; and the ambitious package set out in this response, the NHS Long Term Plan, and Universal Personalised Care will enable us to do this.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1316
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 21 February 2019
Made by: Sarah Newton (Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work)
Commons

Employment and Support Allowance

This Written Statement is a fifth update to the House on progress in reviewing and, where necessary, correcting past Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) underpayments and paying arrears following conversion from previous incapacity benefits.

Since my last update to the House in October 2018 we have made significant progress. Due to the complex nature of these cases they take considerably longer than the average ESA case to complete. To ensure we make rapid and accurate progress we have therefore increased the number of staff working on putting these cases right from around 400 to approximately 1,200. This additional resource has led to a substantial increase in the number of cases that we have reviewed, corrected and paid arrears where due.

We have made good progress and by 11 February had:

  • started 310,000 claimants on the reassessment journey;
  • paid arrears of over £328 million to 58,000 people; and,
  • completed action on 207,000 cases 1.

Based on the progress made since October we believe we are on track to complete work on the majority of the original 320,000 cases by April 2019 (Phase 1). Unfortunately, some cases where the claimant sadly died prior to the exercise starting, are taking a significant period of time to resolve due to difficulties in identifying the next of kin or executors. There are around 20,000 deceased cases included in Phase 1 that require review. While we continue to progress this work, we expect that the Department will need until the end of 2019 to complete these cases.

Following our announcement in July 2018 that we will review and pay cases back to the date they were converted from incapacity benefits to ESA, we are reviewing a further 250,000 cases (Phase 2), as set out in October. Activity in respect of this group is due to start shortly, and we aim to complete Phase 2 by the end of this year.

The cases included in this exercise were largely converted between 2011 and 2014. Revised operational guidance was put in place in October 2014 after individual cases that had been incorrectly converted came to light. As part of our commitment to correct all cases affected by this error, we decided to undertake additional testing of cases converted in 2015. This testing has shown that the error rate did not improve as quickly as expected and we therefore believe that it is prudent to review around a further 30,000 cases, that were converted from 2015 onwards. This reflects our commitment to ensure all those who may have been affected are identified and paid the arrears they are due.

The Department is publishing an updated ad hoc statistical publication today setting out further detail on the progress it has made in processing cases, including an updated estimate on forecast expenditure and the numbers affected. This will be published on Gov.uk.

These updated forecasts will feed into the Spring Statement 2019. The Department now estimates that around 600,000 cases require review and that by the end of the exercise around 210,000 arrears payments will have been made. The increase, compared to our previous estimate of 180,000, is based on assumptions made using evidence we have gathered from the checking exercise to date. The data shows an increase in the proportion of cases in error among some groups of claimants. In addition, based on sample testing we have also included an assumption of the proportion of errors likely to be identified in the further 30,000 cases that have been added to the exercise.

An updated Frequently Asked Question guide will also be deposited in the House library for further information.

1Some of these cases which were originally completed prior to our announcement in July 2018 that we will review and pay cases back to the date they were converted from incapacity benefits to ESA, will require further action.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1317
WS
Treasury
Made on: 20 February 2019
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Public Service Pension Indexation and Revaluation 2019

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 8 April 2019 by 2.4 per cent, in line with the annual increase in the Consumer Prices Index up to September 2018, 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 2018. Public service schemes which rely on a measure of prices, therefore, will use the figure of 2.4 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 2018. Public service schemes which rely on a measure of earnings, therefore, will use the figure of 2.8 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

3.65%

2.8%

2.4%

3.9%

4.0%

2.4%

2.8%

2.4%

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1314
WS
Treasury
Made on: 20 February 2019
Made by: Lord Bates (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Public Service Pension Indexation and Revaluation 2019

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 8 April 2019 by 2.4 per cent, in line with the annual increase in the Consumer Prices Index up to September 2018, 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 2018. Public service schemes which rely on a measure of prices, therefore, will use the figure of 2.4 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 2018. Public service schemes which rely on a measure of earnings, therefore, will use the figure of 2.8 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

3.65%

2.8%

2.4%

3.9%

4.0%

2.4%

2.8%

2.4%

WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 20 February 2019
Made by: James Brokenshire (Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Local Government update

On 28 January, I announced £56.5 million of new funding to help councils prepare for Brexit as set out in a Written Ministerial Statement on local government Brexit funding. Part of that funding was £1.5 million in 2018/19 to local authorities facing immediate impacts from local ports.

I am today able to announce an increase of this funding from £1.5 million to £3.14 million. Its distribution to local authorities is set out in Table 1 below. This additional funding will support those authorities to plan and better mitigate against potential disruptions once we have exited the EU.

The funding will be divided between 19 district and unitary councils. These allocations are based on recent analysis and engagement and reflect a range of issues including the amount of EU goods managed and the wider strategic importance of these ports.

As part of the 28 January announcement, I retained £10 million for allocation during 2019/20 to respond to specific local costs that may only become evident in the months after we exit the EU. I will look carefully at any pressures which should be funded, including any emerging pressures relating to port functions or wider impacts on port areas.

Table 1: Allocation of funding to authorities

Port

Authority

Allocation (£)

1.Port of Dover

1. Dover

136,362

2. Folkestone and Hythe

136,362

2. Eurotunnel

Dover

136,362

Folkestone and Hythe

136,362

3. Ramsgate

3. Thanet

136,362

4. Goole

4. East Riding of Yorkshire

136,362

5. Hull

5. Hull City

136,362

6. Grimsby

6. North East Lincolnshire

136,362

7. Immingham (DBP, DfDS and C. Ro)

North East Lincolnshire

136,362

8. Portsmouth

7. Portsmouth City

136,362

9. Southampton General

8. Southampton City

136,362

10. Southampton Container

Southampton City

136,362

11. Ashford

9. Ashford

136,362

12. Ebbsfleet

10. Gravesham

136,362

11. Dartford

136,362

13. St Pancras

12. Camden

136,362

14. Manchester Airport

13. Manchester City

136,362

15. East Midlands Airport

14. North West Leicestershire

136,362

16. Stansted Airport

15. Uttlesford

136,362

17. Heathrow Airport

16. Hillingdon

136,362

18. Gatwick Airport

17. Crawley

136,362

19. Harwich

18. Tendring

136,362

20. Felixstowe

19. Suffolk Coastal

136,362

Total funding of £3,136,326.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1313
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 20 February 2019
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Local Government update

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

On 28 January, I announced £56.5 million of new funding to help councils prepare for Brexit as set out in a Written Ministerial Statement on local government Brexit funding. Part of that funding was £1.5 million in 2018/19 to local authorities facing immediate impacts from local ports.

I am today able to announce an increase of this funding from £1.5m to £3.14m. Its distribution to local authorities is set out in Table 1 below. This additional funding will support those authorities to plan and better mitigate against potential disruptions once we have exited the EU.

The funding will be divided between 19 district and unitary councils. These allocations are based on recent analysis and engagement and reflect a range of issues including the amount of EU goods managed and the wider strategic importance of these ports.

As part of the 28 January announcement, I retained £10 million for allocation during 2019/20 to respond to specific local costs that may only become evident in the months after we exit the EU. I will look carefully at any pressures which should be funded, including any emerging pressures relating to port functions or wider impacts on port areas.

Table 1: Allocation of funding to authorities

Port

Authority

Allocation (£)

1.Port of Dover

1. Dover

136,362

2. Folkestone and Hythe

136,362

2. Eurotunnel

Dover

136,362

Folkestone and Hythe

136,362

3. Ramsgate

3. Thanet

136,362

4. Goole

4. East Riding of Yorkshire

136,362

5. Hull

5. Hull City

136,362

6. Grimsby

6. North East Lincolnshire

136,362

7. Immingham (DBP, DfDS and C. Ro)

North East Lincolnshire

136,362

8. Portsmouth

7. Portsmouth City

136,362

9. Southampton General

8. Southampton City

136,362

10. Southampton Container

Southampton City

136,362

11. Ashford

9. Ashford

136,362

12. Ebbsfleet

10. Gravesham

136,362

11. Dartford

136,362

13. St Pancras

12. Camden

136,362

14. Manchester Airport

13. Manchester City

136,362

15. East Midlands Airport

14. North West Leicestershire

136,362

16. Stansted Airport

15. Uttlesford

136,362

17. Heathrow Airport

16. Hillingdon

136,362

18. Gatwick Airport

17. Crawley

136,362

19. Harwich

18. Tendring

136,362

20. Felixstowe

19. Suffolk Coastal

136,362

Total funding of £3,136,326.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1346
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 20 February 2019
Made by: Lord Young of Cookham (Lord in Waiting (Government Whip))
Lords

Reforms to Government Outsourcing

My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

Following Carillion’s liquidation in January 2018, the Government’s response ensured continuity of key public services. However, there has been increased scrutiny on the benefits and risks associated with the use of private sector to deliver public services. In light of this, we have been reviewing our outsourcing processes and considering lessons learned.

The review concluded that outsourcing, done well, can deliver significant benefits. It delivers economies of scale that mean services can be provided more efficiently, at lower cost and at better value for the taxpayer. Open and fair competition within free markets encourages creativity and innovation, meaning fresh perspectives and new solutions can be applied to existing policy challenges.

However, it also highlighted that we need to take steps to improve public service outcomes from outsourcing, increase our resilience to supplier failure and rebuild public trust in outsourcing. Today, I am pleased to announce that we have published new guidance for officials that will help government to work smarter with industry, set up contracts up for success and build a more diverse supplier base. These are:

  • Outsourcing Playbook and associated guidance - This will allow departments to make good outsourcing decisions, achieve value for money when outsourcing, and is aimed at everyone involved in the outsourcing of a public service.
  • Supplier Code of Conduct - We have reviewed and updated the Supplier Code of Conduct to ensure that it not only set out the behaviours taxpayers expect of Central Government's suppliers but includes what suppliers should expect of government.
  • Guidance on Corporate Financial Distress which suggests practical steps to take where contract managers have concerns over a supplier's financial health.

The principles of the “Outsourcing Playbook” will apply to all government outsourcing with a particular focus on complex first generation projects and subsequent generations where the service is being delivered in a different or novel way. The eleven key policies published today in the Playbook will ensure that the government gets more projects right from the start. It will promote a diverse and healthy marketplace - and we will have ‘living wills’ in the unlikely event of things going wrong.

In order to ensure that we take into account the wider social benefits to be derived from government contracts, we are extending the requirements of the Social Value Act in central government so that all major procurements will explicitly evaluate social value, where appropriate, rather than just consider it.

The Public Accounts Committee recommended that we review our approach to managing current strategic supplier risk. The revised approach will see the introduction of a new Memorandum of Understanding between the Cabinet Office and Strategic Suppliers that reflects a more mature relationship with industry, and provides greater flexibility in how Government manages situations.

In order to build the capability within Departments to outsource effectively and manage outsourced contracts, we are undertaking a programme to accredit and train 30,000 contract managers across the Civil Service by the end of 2021.

Taken together, the measures in this reform package is key to delivering value for money for taxpayers when services are outsourced, strengthening our resilience to supplier failure and rebuilding public trust in outsourcing.

A copy of the Outsourcing Playbook, Financial Distress Guidance and Supplier Code of Conduct have been placed in the library of both Houses.

WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 20 February 2019
Made by: Mr David Lidington (The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office)
Commons

Reforms to Government Outsourcing

Following Carillion’s liquidation in January 2018, the Government’s response ensured continuity of key public services. However, there has been increased scrutiny on the benefits and risks associated with the use of private sector to deliver public services. In light of this, we have been reviewing our outsourcing processes and considering lessons learned.

The review concluded that outsourcing, done well, can deliver significant benefits. It delivers economies of scale that mean services can be provided more efficiently, at lower cost and at better value for the taxpayer. Open and fair competition within free markets encourages creativity and innovation, meaning fresh perspectives and new solutions can be applied to existing policy challenges.

However, it also highlighted that we need to take steps to improve public service outcomes from outsourcing, increase our resilience to supplier failure and rebuild public trust in outsourcing. Today, I am pleased to announce that we have published new guidance for officials that will help government to work smarter with industry, set up contracts up for success and build a more diverse supplier base. These are:

  • Outsourcing Playbook and associated guidance - This will allow departments to make good outsourcing decisions, achieve value for money when outsourcing, and is aimed at everyone involved in the outsourcing of a public service.
  • Supplier Code of Conduct - We have reviewed and updated the Supplier Code of Conduct to ensure that it not only set out the behaviours taxpayers expect of Central Government's suppliers but includes what suppliers should expect of government.
  • Guidance on Corporate Financial Distress which suggests practical steps to take where contract managers have concerns over a supplier's financial health.

The principles of the “Outsourcing Playbook” will apply to all government outsourcing with a particular focus on complex first generation projects and subsequent generations where the service is being delivered in a different or novel way. The eleven key policies published today in the Playbook will ensure that the government gets more projects right from the start. It will promote a diverse and healthy marketplace - and we will have ‘living wills’ in the unlikely event of things going wrong.

In order to ensure that we take into account the wider social benefits to be derived from government contracts, we are extending the requirements of the Social Value Act in central government so that all major procurements will explicitly evaluate social value, where appropriate, rather than just consider it.

The Public Accounts Committee recommended that we review our approach to managing current strategic supplier risk. The revised approach will see the introduction of a new Memorandum of Understanding between the Cabinet Office and Strategic Suppliers that reflects a more mature relationship with industry, and provides greater flexibility in how Government manages situations.

In order to build the capability within Departments to outsource effectively and manage outsourced contracts, we are undertaking a programme to accredit and train 30,000 contract managers across the Civil Service by the end of 2021.

Taken together, the measures in this reform package is key to delivering value for money for taxpayers when services are outsourced, strengthening our resilience to supplier failure and rebuilding public trust in outsourcing.

A copy of the Outsourcing Playbook, Financial Distress Guidance and Supplier Code of Conduct have been placed in the library of both Houses.

WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 20 February 2019
Made by: Jesse Norman (Minister of State for Transport)
Commons

Drones: National campaign and extended ‘no fly’ zone around airports

My Noble Friend, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport (Baroness Sugg) has made the following Ministerial Statement

Today I am setting out the Government’s recent action on drones, including legislative amendments to the Air Navigation Order 2016 that will be laid before Parliament today.

Last year, the Government legislated to make flying drones above 400ft or within 1km of an airport boundary illegal. This 1km restriction measure was a first step in protecting our airports and aircraft whilst the Department gathered further evidence and engaged with stakeholders through our recent consultation.

The highly irresponsible and dangerous disruption caused by drones to flights at Gatwick and Heathrow airports recently highlighted the risks. While the use of drones at Gatwick and Heathrow was already illegal, it is extremely important that regulation provides protection which reduces, as much as possible, the airspace where drones and manned aircraft can come into close proximity with each other. Therefore, the Government has decided to extend the restriction zone around airports, as announced to Parliament in January.

The amendment laid today will put into law the extension of the restriction zone around protected aerodromes where drones cannot be flown without permission. The new restriction zone will include an airport’s aerodrome traffic zone (ATZ) as well as 5km by 1km extensions from the end of runways to protect take-off and landing paths. All drones will be restricted from flying within this zone unless appropriate permission is granted.

The extended restriction zone will come into force on the 13th March this year.

In addition to legislation, it is crucial that the public are aware of the rules on the use of drones, so today we are expanding our national campaign, in partnership with the Civil Aviation Authority, to boost public awareness.

The Department for Transport has today written to airports and local authorities asking them to publicise the new rules and to help to educate passengers and the public about responsible drone use. To help with this, the Department is providing a digital tool kit to explain the rules simply and clearly and to promote the Civil Aviation Authority’s Drone Safe campaign and Drone Code guidance. This includes maps detailing the new restriction zones at each individual airport.

The Government is preparing a new Drones Bill, which will give police powers to clamp down on those misusing drones and other small unmanned aircraft, including a power to access electronic data stored on drones with a warrant. In addition, the Home Office is also today announcing new stop and search powers for drones around aerodromes, which will also be included in the Bill.

These enforcement powers will complement legislation introduced last year which will require the mandatory registration of operators and the online competency testing of remote pilots for drones over 250g. These requirements will become a legal obligation in November this year and work with the new police powers to increase accountability and clamp down on irresponsible and dangerous behaviour.

The Home Office is further reviewing the UK’s response to the malicious use of drones, and will consider how best to protect the full range of the UK’s critical national infrastructure, as well as testing and evaluating technology to counter drones.

The Government will continue to work closely with industry and other partners on regulation, anticipating future innovations wherever possible in order to keep our airports secure and our airspace safe.

These actions will help to combat the misuse of drones, so that small unmanned aircraft can be used safely and securely, and continue to support the development and growth of this rapidly expanding new industry.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1310
WS
Home Office
Made on: 20 February 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Police Powers

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

Today I am announcing new stop and search powers for police to tackle acid attacks and the misuse of drones.

These new powers are being announced in response to the recent public consultation on extending stop and search to address the criminal misuse of unmanned aircraft (drones), laser pointers and corrosive substances.

Stop and search is an important tool for the police to prevent, detect and investigate offences, including some of the most violent and devastating, thereby helping the police to protect and safeguard the public. The use of stop and search, when proportionate, lawful, and intelligence-led, is an integral part of the policing response in tackling serious violence, and in preventing and deterring people from carrying weapons. However, it is also important that when stop and search is used it is done effectively, professionally, and, as far as possible, with community consent.

The Offensive Weapons Bill, which is currently before Parliament, will introduce the offence of possession of a corrosive substance in a public place and provisions to extend stop and search powers to cover this offence. The use of corrosive substances as a weapon can cause significant harm and injury to individuals, families and communities and we are determined to take strong action in order to prevent these horrendous attacks.

Following the incident at Gatwick Airport, the Government has been working closely with the police to examine whether they have the necessary powers to respond should the misuse of a drone cause widespread disruption to the operation of an aerodrome. The police have been clear that in certain circumstances, a power to stop and search a person in relation to offences concerning flying a drone within the restriction zone of a licensed aerodrome would enhance their ability to respond should a similar situation arise in the future. We consider such a power to be proportionate and beneficial in enabling the police to tackle incidents causing widespread disruption to the operation of aerodromes and the Government will continue to work with the police to define the detailed scope of this power.

In addition, the Government is working closely with the police to examine whether they have the appropriate powers to respond effectively to other offences, including around prisons, that might be committed using a drone. If this work reveals further meaningful operational gaps, the Government will take further legislative action.

The Government will also keep under review the adequacy of the existing powers to tackle offences related to the misuse of laser pointers.

I am grateful to the 223 individuals and organisations that responded to the consultation, including members of the public, the police service and other interested parties.

I am placing a copy of the Government response to the consultation in the House Libraries and on GOV.UK.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1343
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 20 February 2019
Made by: Baroness Sugg (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Lords

Drones: National campaign and extended ‘no fly’ zone around airports

Today I am setting out the Government’s recent action on drones, including legislative amendments to the Air Navigation Order 2016 that will be laid before Parliament today.

Last year, the Government legislated to make flying drones above 400ft or within 1km of an airport boundary illegal. This 1km restriction measure was a first step in protecting our airports and aircraft whilst the Department gathered further evidence and engaged with stakeholders through our recent consultation.

The highly irresponsible and dangerous disruption caused by drones to flights at Gatwick and Heathrow airports recently highlighted the risks. While the use of drones at Gatwick and Heathrow was already illegal, it is extremely important that regulation provides protection which reduces, as much as possible, the airspace where drones and manned aircraft can come into close proximity with each other. Therefore, the Government has decided to extend the restriction zone around airports, as announced to Parliament in January.

The amendment laid today will put into law the extension of the restriction zone around protected aerodromes where drones cannot be flown without permission. The new restriction zone will include an airport’s aerodrome traffic zone (ATZ) as well as 5km by 1km extensions from the end of runways to protect take-off and landing paths. All drones will be restricted from flying within this zone unless appropriate permission is granted.

The extended restriction zone will come into force on the 13th March this year.

In addition to legislation, it is crucial that the public are aware of the rules on the use of drones, so today we are expanding our national campaign, in partnership with the Civil Aviation Authority, to boost public awareness.

The Department for Transport has today written to airports and local authorities asking them to publicise the new rules and to help to educate passengers and the public about responsible drone use. To help with this, the Department is providing a digital tool kit to explain the rules simply and clearly and to promote the Civil Aviation Authority’s Drone Safe campaign and Drone Code guidance. This includes maps detailing the new restriction zones at each individual airport.

The Government is preparing a new Drones Bill, which will give police powers to clamp down on those misusing drones and other small unmanned aircraft, including a power to access electronic data stored on drones with a warrant. In addition, the Home Office is also today announcing new stop and search powers for drones around aerodromes, which will also be included in the Bill.

These enforcement powers will complement legislation introduced last year which will require the mandatory registration of operators and the online competency testing of remote pilots for drones over 250g. These requirements will become a legal obligation in November this year and work with the new police powers to increase accountability and clamp down on irresponsible and dangerous behaviour.

The Home Office is further reviewing the UK’s response to the malicious use of drones, and will consider how best to protect the full range of the UK’s critical national infrastructure, as well as testing and evaluating technology to counter drones.

The Government will continue to work closely with industry and other partners on regulation, anticipating future innovations wherever possible in order to keep our airports secure and our airspace safe.

These actions will help to combat the misuse of drones, so that small unmanned aircraft can be used safely and securely, and continue to support the development and growth of this rapidly expanding new industry.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1344
WS
Home Office
Made on: 20 February 2019
Made by: Sajid Javid (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Police Powers

Today I am announcing new stop and search powers for police to tackle acid attacks and the misuse of drones.

These new powers are being announced in response to the recent public consultation on extending stop and search to address the criminal misuse of unmanned aircraft (drones), laser pointers and corrosive substances.

Stop and search is an important tool for the police to prevent, detect and investigate offences, including some of the most violent and devastating, thereby helping the police to protect and safeguard the public. The use of stop and search, when proportionate, lawful, and intelligence-led, is an integral part of the policing response in tackling serious violence, and in preventing and deterring people from carrying weapons. However, it is also important that when stop and search is used it is done effectively, professionally, and, as far as possible, with community consent.

The Offensive Weapons Bill, which is currently before Parliament, will introduce the offence of possession of a corrosive substance in a public place and provisions to extend stop and search powers to cover this offence. The use of corrosive substances as a weapon can cause significant harm and injury to individuals, families and communities and we are determined to take strong action in order to prevent these horrendous attacks.

Following the incident at Gatwick Airport, the Government has been working closely with the police to examine whether they have the necessary powers to respond should the misuse of a drone cause widespread disruption to the operation of an aerodrome. The police have been clear that in certain circumstances, a power to stop and search a person in relation to offences concerning flying a drone within the restriction zone of a licensed aerodrome would enhance their ability to respond should a similar situation arise in the future. We consider such a power to be proportionate and beneficial in enabling the police to tackle incidents causing widespread disruption to the operation of aerodromes and the Government will continue to work with the police to define the detailed scope of this power.

In addition, the Government is working closely with the police to examine whether they have the appropriate powers to respond effectively to other offences, including around prisons, that might be committed using a drone. If this work reveals further meaningful operational gaps, the Government will take further legislative action.

The Government will also keep under review the adequacy of the existing powers to tackle offences related to the misuse of laser pointers.

I am grateful to the 223 individuals and organisations that responded to the consultation, including members of the public, the police service and other interested parties.

I am placing a copy of the Government response to the consultation in the House Libraries and on GOV.UK.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1311
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