Written statements

Government Ministers and a small number of other Members of the two Houses can make a written statement to one or both Houses.

Written statements are published below shortly after receipt in Parliament. They also reproduced in the next edition of the Daily Report and of Hansard in the relevant House.

Written statements made before 17 November 2014 were published only in Hansard:

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WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 20 May 2020
Made by: Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Lord Privy Seal)
Lords

Honours update

My Rt Hon Friend the Prime Minister has made the following statement:

I would like to update Parliament on the Government’s plans for recognising the extraordinary contributions being made by so many in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) - and the forthcoming publication of Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

There is, understandably, huge appetite across the country to say thank you to all those on the frontline, within our communities and in our public services, who are supporting the nation through these unprecedented times.

The Government is clear that there will be a range of opportunities to mark the contributions of so many - but this must come at the appropriate time. Our current priority - and that of the front line services - remains tackling the current public health emergency.

I want to provide assurance today, however, that the moment to mark so many extraordinary actions will not be lost.

The honours system recognises exceptional contributions made across every part of the UK and will play a key role in demonstrating the nation’s gratitude to all those involved in the response. In this context, The Queen has graciously agreed that the Birthday Honours List, due to be published in June, should be postponed until the autumn. This step will allow us to ensure that the List, agreed before this public health emergency developed, reflects the COVID-19 effort, and comes at a time when we can properly celebrate the achievements of all those included.

We anticipate that COVID-19 recognition will happen across future honours lists, reflecting the on-going work being done by so many. To ensure we are capturing contributions from across the country I would encourage the public to put forward nominations for those they know are going above and beyond, which they can do through Gov.uk. These cases will be considered by the independent honours committees across a range of future honours lists.

Colonel Tom Moore, recently celebrating his 100th birthday, has become synonymous with the spirit of the current collective national effort. I have, exceptionally, recommended to The Queen that he be awarded a knighthood, in recognition of his extraordinary fundraising achievements, and as a signal of the kind of contributions we will want to mark in the months to come.

Further work is underway to identify the most appropriate ways and opportunities for the nation to express its gratitude and respect. The Government will make a further statement to the House in due course.

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 20 May 2020
Made by: Baroness Goldie (Minister of State , Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Contingent Liability

My hon. Friend the Minister of State for Defence Procurement (Jeremy Quin MP) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am today laying a Departmental Minute to advise that the Ministry of Defence has received approval from Her Majesty’s Treasury to recognise a new contingent liability associated with the operation of satellites conducting in-orbit research by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

The Departmental Minute describes the contingent liability that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) will hold as part of its Space Science & Technology Programme.

Dstl has installed a ground station at its Portsdown West site, which will contribute to supporting space research activities, upskilling civilian and military personnel in satellite mission operations, and task its first research satellites for the Ministry of Defence. Through this programme, MOD will develop the skills and capability to achieve its strategic objectives in the space domain.

The contingent liability will last the duration of Dstl’s operation of the satellites and will come into effect if a satellite collision was caused via Dstl operation. Mitigations are in place against risks to minimise likelihood and impact which are deemed to be 0.001-0.01%. Her Majesty’s Treasury has approved a value of up to £500 million for the contingent liability to cover the maximum estimated damage cost resulting from a collision. The MOD will note the liability in its accounts. May 2020

Departmental Minute (PDF Document, 38.27 KB)
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 20 May 2020
Made by: Mr Ben Wallace (Secretary of State for Defence)
Commons

Rebalancing of the Covid Support Force (including Reserves)

In late March, as the Government stepped up its response to the global pandemic, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) established the Covid Support Force (CSF), in anticipation of a sharp increase in requests for Military Assistance to the Civilian Authorities (MACA).

Approximately 20,000 personnel, with appropriate planning, logistical, and medical expertise, were grouped within the CSF and held at higher readiness, alongside forward-based aviation assets, to ensure Defence could respond wherever and whenever needed across the United Kingdom.

Since then the CSF has played a key role throughout the national response. On any given day approximately 4,000 are ‘deployed’ supporting other departments and organisations. Many thousands more service personnel and civil servants are contributing to the response through their routine employment within Defence Medical Services, Defence Science and Technology Laboratories, Defence Equipment & Support, and various military headquarters. Together they have answered 162 MACA requests, from patient recovery in the Orkney Islands to logistical support in the Channel Islands.

Some of this has been highly visible, such as helping to build Nightingale hospitals, delivering PPE to hospitals and Local Resilience Forums, and operating Mobile Testing Units. However, much of it has been out of sight from the public: whether supporting national-level strategy formation in DHSC and MHCLG; countering disinformation with the Cabinet Office, procuring PPE and medical equipment; or mentoring and liaising within Local Resilience Forums, and their devolved equivalents, as they react to the complex and varied situations in their local communities.

Those situations are currently improving, due to the public’s adherence to lockdown measures and the ability of other government departments to maintain essential services. As a result, the demand for CSF support has stabilised and it has not been necessary to deploy most of those personnel currently held at higher readiness.

It is appropriate that the MOD’s contribution and force posture are tailored to the evolving situation, so it can both respond to Covid-19 and continue fulfilling other critical defence outputs.

This rebalancing is conditions-based and conducted in consultation with other government departments; assessing how many personnel are required to fulfil current CSF tasks and respond to all future requests, including those requiring uplifts in personnel.

That total is currently determined to be 7,500 personnel and it is now prudent to release the remainder of the CSF – otherwise held indefinitely at higher readiness – so they can return to other tasks and preparations for future operations.

Additionally, 2,000 of the reservists who volunteered for mobilisation but are no longer required to fulfil MACA tasks, are now being engaged about the processes for demobilisation with a view to mitigating the impact both to them and their employers. They are testament to the nation’s resolve in this crisis and we are grateful for their enduring commitment.

The crisis is not over, so the CSF will continue assisting civilian authorities wherever required and no personnel – regular or reserve – will be withdrawn from tasks while the demand remains. Likewise, Defence’s wider contributions to the Covid-19 response, to the routine functioning of Government, and to the prosperity and wellbeing of society, all remain unaltered.

Defence is much more than its equipment and uniformed personnel. It is a community of public servants committing brains, brawn, and heart to ensure the nation’s defence and resilience. That community will continue to support our colleagues in health and social care, providing however many people are required, for as long it takes, to help them defeat this virus.

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 20 May 2020
Made by: Baroness Goldie (Minister in the House of Lords, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Rebalancing of the Covid Support Force (Including Reserves)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Ben Wallace MP) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

In late March, as the Government stepped up its response to the global pandemic, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) established the Covid Support Force (CSF), in anticipation of a sharp increase in requests for Military Assistance to the Civilian Authorities (MACA).

Approximately 20,000 personnel, with appropriate planning, logistical, and medical expertise, were grouped within the CSF and held at higher readiness, alongside forward-based aviation assets, to ensure Defence could respond wherever and whenever needed across the United Kingdom.

Since then the CSF has played a key role throughout the national response. On any given day approximately 4,000 are ‘deployed’ supporting other departments and organisations. Many thousands more service personnel and civil servants are contributing to the response through their routine employment within Defence Medical Services, Defence Science and Technology Laboratories, Defence Equipment & Support, and various military headquarters. Together they have answered 162 MACA requests, from patient recovery in the Orkney Islands to logistical support in the Channel Islands.

Some of this has been highly visible, such as helping to build Nightingale hospitals, delivering PPE to hospitals and Local Resilience Forums, and operating Mobile Testing Units. However, much of it has been out of sight from the public: whether supporting national-level strategy formation in DHSC and MHCLG; countering disinformation with the Cabinet Office, procuring PPE and medical equipment; or mentoring and liaising within Local Resilience Forums, and their devolved equivalents, as they react to the complex and varied situations in their local communities.

Those situations are currently improving, due to the public’s adherence to lockdown measures and the ability of other government departments to maintain essential services. As a result, the demand for CSF support has stabilised and it has not been necessary to deploy most of those personnel currently held at higher readiness.

It is appropriate that the MOD’s contribution and force posture are tailored to the evolving situation, so it can both respond to Covid-19 and continue fulfilling other critical defence outputs.

This rebalancing is conditions-based and conducted in consultation with other government departments; assessing how many personnel are required to fulfil current CSF tasks and respond to all future requests, including those requiring uplifts in personnel.

That total is currently determined to be 7,500 personnel and it is now prudent to release the remainder of the CSF – otherwise held indefinitely at higher readiness – so they can return to other tasks and preparations for future operations.

Additionally, 2,000 of the reservists who volunteered for mobilisation but are no longer required to fulfil MACA tasks, are now being engaged about the processes for demobilisation with a view to mitigating the impact both to them and their employers. They are testament to the nation’s resolve in this crisis and we are grateful for their enduring commitment.

The crisis is not over, so the CSF will continue assisting civilian authorities wherever required and no personnel – regular or reserve – will be withdrawn from tasks while the demand remains. Likewise, Defence’s wider contributions to the Covid-19 response, to the routine functioning of Government, and to the prosperity and wellbeing of society, all remain unaltered.

Defence is much more than its equipment and uniformed personnel. It is a community of public servants committing brains, brawn, and heart to ensure the nation’s defence and resilience. That community will continue to support our colleagues in health and social care, providing however many people are required, for as long it takes, to help them defeat this virus.

WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 20 May 2020
Made by: Lord True (Minister of State)
Lords

The European (Withdrawal) Act and Common Frameworks

My Hon. Friend, the Minister of State for the Cabinet Office (Chloe Smith) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I am today laying before Parliament a report, ‘The European Union (Withdrawal) Act and Common Frameworks: 26 December 2019 to 25 March 2020'. I am laying this report because it is a legal requirement under the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 for quarterly reports to be made to Parliament on the progress of the work to develop common frameworks. The report is available on Gov.uk and details the progress made between the UK Government and devolved administrations regarding the development of common frameworks. This report details progress made during the seventh 3-month reporting period, and sets out that no ‘freezing’ regulations have been brought forward under section 12 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act. A copy of the ‘The European Union (Withdrawal) Act and Common Frameworks: 26 December 2019 to 25 March 2020’ report has been placed in the library of both Houses. The publication of the report reflects the Government’s continued commitment to transparency.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS250
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 20 May 2020
Made by: Baroness Goldie (Minister in the House of Lords, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Chemical Weapons Convention - Declaration of Protective Programme for 2019

The UK's chemical protection programme is designed to protect against the use of chemical weapons. Such a programme is permitted by the Chemical Weapons Convention, with which the United Kingdom is fully compliant. Under the terms of the Convention, we are required to provide information annually to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. In accordance with the Government's commitment to openness, I am placing in the Library of the House a copy of the summary that has been provided to the Organisation outlining the UK's chemical protection programme in 2019.

WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 20 May 2020
Made by: Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Lords

Transport update

My Honourable Friend, the Minister of State for Transport (Andrew Stephenson), has made the following Ministerial Statement.

I have been asked by my Right Honourable Friend, the Secretary of State, to make this Written Ministerial Statement. This statement concerns the application of 17 July 2018 made by RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd (“the Applicant”) under the Planning Act 2008 for the proposed reopening and development of Manston Airport in Kent.

Under sub-section 107(1) of the Planning Act 2008, the Secretary of State must make his decision within 3 months of receipt of the Examining Authority’s report unless exercising the power under sub-section 107(3) to extend the deadline and make a Statement to the House of Parliament announcing the new deadline.

The Secretary of State received the Examining Authority’s report on the Manston Airport Development Consent Order application on 18 October 2019 and, following an earlier extension of 4 months, the current deadline for a decision is 18 May 2020.

The deadline for the decision is now to be extended to 10 July 2020 to enable further work to be carried out before determination of the application.

The decision to set a new deadline is without prejudice to the decision on whether to grant development consent.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS247
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 20 May 2020
Made by: Chloe Smith (Minister of State)
Commons

The European (Withdrawal) Act and Common Frameworks

I am today laying before Parliament a report, ‘The European Union (Withdrawal) Act and Common Frameworks: 26 December 2019 to 25 March 2020'. I am laying this report because it is a legal requirement under the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 for quarterly reports to be made to Parliament on the progress of the work to develop common frameworks. The report is available on Gov.uk and details the progress made between the UK Government and devolved administrations regarding the development of common frameworks. This report details progress made during the seventh 3-month reporting period, and sets out that no ‘freezing’ regulations have been brought forward under section 12 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act. A copy of the ‘The European Union (Withdrawal) Act and Common Frameworks: 26 December 2019 to 25 March 2020’ report has been placed in the library of both Houses. The publication of the report reflects the Government’s continued commitment to transparency.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS244
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 20 May 2020
Made by: Jeremy Quin (The Minister of State for Defence Procurement )
Commons

Contingent Liability

I am today laying a Departmental Minute to advise that the Ministry of Defence has received approval from Her Majesty’s Treasury to recognise a new contingent liability associated with the operation of satellites conducting in-orbit research by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

The Departmental Minute describes the contingent liability that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) will hold as part of its Space Science & Technology Programme.

Dstl has installed a ground station at its Portsdown West site, which will contribute to supporting space research activities, upskilling civilian and military personnel in satellite mission operations, and task its first research satellites for the Ministry of Defence. Through this programme, MOD will develop the skills and capability to achieve its strategic objectives in the space domain.

The contingent liability will last the duration of Dstl’s operation of the satellites and will come into effect if a satellite collision was caused via Dstl operation. Mitigations are in place against risks to minimise likelihood and impact which are deemed to be 0.001-0.01%. Her Majesty’s Treasury has approved a value of up to £500 million for the contingent liability to cover the maximum estimated damage cost resulting from a collision. The MOD will note the liability in its accounts. May 2020

Departmental Minute (PDF Document, 38.27 KB)
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 20 May 2020
Made by: James Heappey (Minister for the Armed Forces)
Commons

Chemical Weapons Convention - Declaration of Protective Programme for 2019

My noble Friend the Minister in the House of Lords (The Rt Hon Baroness Goldie DL) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The UK's chemical protection programme is designed to protect against the use of chemical weapons. Such a programme is permitted by the Chemical Weapons Convention, with which the United Kingdom is fully compliant. Under the terms of the Convention, we are required to provide information annually to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. In accordance with the Government's commitment to openness, I am placing in the Library of the House a copy of the summary that has been provided to the Organisation outlining the UK's chemical protection programme in 2019.

WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 20 May 2020
Made by: Andrew Stephenson (Minister of State for Transport)
Commons

Transport update

I have been asked by my Right Honourable Friend, the Secretary of State, to make this Written Ministerial Statement. This statement concerns the application of 17 July 2018 made by RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd (“the Applicant”) under the Planning Act 2008 for the proposed reopening and development of Manston Airport in Kent.

Under sub-section 107(1) of the Planning Act 2008, the Secretary of State must make his decision within 3 months of receipt of the Examining Authority’s report unless exercising the power under sub-section 107(3) to extend the deadline and make a Statement to the House of Parliament announcing the new deadline.

The Secretary of State received the Examining Authority’s report on the Manston Airport Development Consent Order application on 18 October 2019 and, following an earlier extension of 4 months, the current deadline for a decision is 18 May 2020.

The deadline for the decision is now to be extended to 10 July 2020 to enable further work to be carried out before determination of the application.

The decision to set a new deadline is without prejudice to the decision on whether to grant development consent.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS242
WS
Prime Minister
Made on: 20 May 2020
Made by: Boris Johnson (Prime Minister)
Commons

Honours Update

I would like to update Parliament on the Government’s plans for recognising the extraordinary contributions being made by so many in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) - and the forthcoming publication of Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

There is, understandably, huge appetite across the country to say thank you to all those on the frontline, within our communities and in our public services, who are supporting the nation through these unprecedented times.

The Government is clear that there will be a range of opportunities to mark the contributions of so many - but this must come at the appropriate time. Our current priority - and that of the front line services - remains tackling the current public health emergency.

I want to provide assurance today, however, that the moment to mark so many extraordinary actions will not be lost.

The honours system recognises exceptional contributions made across every part of the UK and will play a key role in demonstrating the nation’s gratitude to all those involved in the response. In this context, The Queen has graciously agreed that the Birthday Honours List, due to be published in June, should be postponed until the autumn. This step will allow us to ensure that the List, agreed before this public health emergency developed, reflects the COVID-19 effort, and comes at a time when we can properly celebrate the achievements of all those included.

We anticipate that COVID-19 recognition will happen across future honours lists, reflecting the on-going work being done by so many. To ensure we are capturing contributions from across the country I would encourage the public to put forward nominations for those they know are going above and beyond, which they can do through Gov.uk. These cases will be considered by the independent honours committees across a range of future honours lists.

Colonel Tom Moore, recently celebrating his 100th birthday, has become synonymous with the spirit of the current collective national effort. I have, exceptionally, recommended to The Queen that he be awarded a knighthood, in recognition of his extraordinary fundraising achievements, and as a signal of the kind of contributions we will want to mark in the months to come.

Further work is underway to identify the most appropriate ways and opportunities for the nation to express its gratitude and respect. The Government will make a further statement to the House in due course.

WS
Treasury
Made on: 19 May 2020
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (Minister of State)
Lords

Operation of the UK's Counter-Terrorist Asset Freezing Regime: 1 October 2019 to 31 December 2019

My honourable friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury (John Glen) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (TAFA 2010), the Treasury is required to prepare a quarterly report regarding its exercise of the powers conferred on it by Part 1 of TAFA 2010. This written statement satisfies that requirement for the period 1 October 2019 to 31 December 2019.

This report also covers the UK’s implementation of the UN’s ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida asset freezing regime (ISIL-AQ), and the operation of the EU’s asset freezing regime under EU Regulation (EC) 2580/2001 concerning external terrorist threats to the EU (also referred to as the CP 931 regime).

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

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

EU Regulation (2016/1686) was implemented on 22 September 2016. This permits the EU to make autonomous Al-Qaida and ISIL (Da’esh) listings.

The tables attached set out the key asset-freezing activity in the UK during the quarter.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS244
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 19 May 2020
Made by: Michael Gove (Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office )
Commons

Negotiations on the UK's future relationship with the EU: update

The Government has made a commitment to update Parliament on the progress of our future relationship negotiations with the EU. This statement provides an update on the third round of negotiations. It also notes that the UK’s draft legal texts are being made public today.

Negotiators from the UK and the EU held discussions through video conferencing on 11 – 15 May 2020 for the third round of negotiations on the UK-EU future relationship. This was a full and constructive negotiating round, covering the full range of issues with both sides discussing full legal texts. The round was opened by the UK’s Chief Negotiator, David Frost, and by the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, in a plenary session on 11 May. There were then discussions across all the issues and the session closed with a further plenary on 15 May.

Discussions covered all workstreams including:

  • Trade in Goods – Market access and rules of origin, trade remedies, customs, technical barriers to trade and SPS.

  • Trade in Services –Investment, temporary entry for business purposes, professional qualifications, professional and business services, financial services and digital.

  • Fisheries – Discussion on control and enforcement, conservation and sustainable exploitation, and scientific evidence, all principally on the basis of the draft Fisheries Framework Agreement provided to the EU the previous week.

  • Transport – Aviation and aviation safety, road haulage and passenger transport.

  • Energy – Civil nuclear cooperation, gas and electricity trading, climate change and carbon pricing.

  • Mobility and Social Security Coordination – Including the UK’s legal text on social security coordination.

  • Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice – UK presentation of the UK Law Enforcement Treaty with detailed discussions on operational capabilities.

  • Thematic cooperation – Covering health security; asylum and illegal migration; unaccompanied asylum-seeking children; cyber security; and security of information.

  • Participation in Union Programmes - General terms for UK participation in programmes, including provisions for financial contribution.

  • “Level Playing Field” - Including subsidies, competition policy, and trade and sustainable development.

  • Horizontal Issues - Governance arrangements, territorial scope.

Discussions showed that a standard Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, with other key agreements on issues like law enforcement, civil nuclear, and aviation alongside, all in line with the Political Declaration, could be agreed without major difficulties in the time available.

However, there remain some areas where we have significant differences of principle – notably fisheries, governance arrangements, and the so-called “level playing field”. It remains difficult to reach a mutually beneficial agreement while the EU maintains an ideological approach.

In order to facilitate discussions in the fourth Round and beyond, the Government is today making publicly available the draft legal texts we have shared with the Commission and which have formed the basis of our discussions, together of course with the EU’s draft Agreement. The UK texts are fully in line with the Government’s document “The Approach to the Future Negotiations” published on 27 February. Copies of the legal texts have been placed in the House Library and they are also available on GOV.UK.

This Government remains committed to a deal with a Free Trade Agreement at its core. We look forward to the fourth Round beginning on 1 June.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS239
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 19 May 2020
Made by: Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities)
Lords

Energy Performance of Buildings: A consultation on changes to The Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations 2012, No. 3118

My Rt. Hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Housing (Christhoper Pincher) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I wish to update the House on the publication of a consultation on changes to the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 (SI2012/3118).

The United Kingdom has set in law a target to bring its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 to help tackle climate change. Heating and powering buildings currently accounts for 40% of the UK’s total energy usage. We must ensure that buildings are constructed to high standards of energy efficiency and that the regime for regulating the energy performance of buildings is robust.

This consultation seeks views on proposals to amend existing requirements for inspecting heating and air conditioning systems in order to improve the regime and contribute to carbon emission reductions and energy efficiency savings. The new requirements aim to strengthen the effectiveness of the regime by increasing the threshold for inspection to focus on larger systems. It further aims to improve the regime’s impact by broadening the scope of inspection to include combined heating and ventilation systems and combined air conditioning and ventilation systems.

The Government proposes to retain its domestic arrangements (i.e. take the option of Alternative Measures). This means continuing to provide consumers with the advice necessary to make informed decisions on the energy efficiency of their heating systems and widening the scope to include combined heating and ventilation systems. The United Kingdom boiler market is the biggest in the world and has some of the most experienced manufacturers and installers. The United Kingdom’s equivalence reports, which are required to demonstrate that the domestic policy achieves the aims intended by the changes to the regulations, have demonstrated that the carbon savings attributable to the UK’s Alternative Measures were greater than those that would have been achieved through inspection. One of the key elements of the domestic regime is Boiler Plus whose standards are expected to help reduce carbon emissions by up to 2 MtCO2e[1] in Carbon Budget 4 (2023-2027)[2] and 3.2 MtCO2e in Carbon Budget 5 (2028-2032)[3], whilst enabling consumers to heat homes at a lower cost.

The consultation also proposes to amend the inspection regime for air conditioning systems increasing the threshold and widening the scope to include combined air conditioning and ventilation systems, bringing with it the benefits of a stronger regime set out above.

These measures are only part of our journey towards a cleaner, greener built environment. The Government is determined that we will be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it and improving the energy performance of our buildings will be a key factor in tackling climate change, achieving clean growth and safeguarding our planet for the future.

This Written Ministerial Statement covers England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in relation to the inspection of heating systems. It covers England and Wales in respect of the proposed changes to air conditioning inspections. The devolved administrations are considering similar changes.

The consultation document can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/energy-performance-of-buildings-changes-to-the-energy-performance-of-buildings-regulations-2012-no-3118

I am depositing a copy of the consultation in libraries of both the House of Commons and House of Lords.

[1] A metric measure used to compare the emissions from different greenhouse gases based upon their global warming potential (GWP).

[2] 4th carbon budget (2023 to 2027) 1,950 MtCO2e

[3] 5th carbon budget (2028 to 2032)1,725 MtCO2e

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS243
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 19 May 2020
Made by: Lord True (Minister of State)
Lords

Negotiations on the UK's future relationship with the EU: update

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Michael Gove) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

The Government has made a commitment to update Parliament on the progress of our future relationship negotiations with the EU. This statement provides an update on the third round of negotiations. It also notes that the UK’s draft legal texts are being made public today.

Negotiators from the UK and the EU held discussions through video conferencing on 11 – 15 May 2020 for the third round of negotiations on the UK-EU future relationship. This was a full and constructive negotiating round, covering the full range of issues with both sides discussing full legal texts. The round was opened by the UK’s Chief Negotiator, David Frost, and by the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, in a plenary session on 11 May. There were then discussions across all the issues and the session closed with a further plenary on 15 May.

Discussions covered all workstreams including:

  • Trade in Goods – Market access and rules of origin, trade remedies, customs, technical barriers to trade and SPS.

  • Trade in Services –Investment, temporary entry for business purposes, professional qualifications, professional and business services, financial services and digital.

  • Fisheries – Discussion on control and enforcement, conservation and sustainable exploitation, and scientific evidence, all principally on the basis of the draft Fisheries Framework Agreement provided to the EU the previous week.

  • Transport – Aviation and aviation safety, road haulage and passenger transport.

  • Energy – Civil nuclear cooperation, gas and electricity trading, climate change and carbon pricing.

  • Mobility and Social Security Coordination – Including the UK’s legal text on social security coordination.

  • Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice – UK presentation of the UK Law Enforcement Treaty with detailed discussions on operational capabilities.

  • Thematic cooperation – Covering health security; asylum and illegal migration; unaccompanied asylum-seeking children; cyber security; and security of information.

  • Participation in Union Programmes - General terms for UK participation in programmes, including provisions for financial contribution.

  • “Level Playing Field” - Including subsidies, competition policy, and trade and sustainable development.

  • Horizontal Issues - Governance arrangements, territorial scope.

Discussions showed that a standard Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, with other key agreements on issues like law enforcement, civil nuclear, and aviation alongside, all in line with the Political Declaration, could be agreed without major difficulties in the time available.

However, there remain some areas where we have significant differences of principle – notably fisheries, governance arrangements, and the so-called “level playing field”. It remains difficult to reach a mutually beneficial agreement while the EU maintains an ideological approach.

In order to facilitate discussions in the fourth Round and beyond, the Government is today making publicly available the draft legal texts we have shared with the Commission and which have formed the basis of our discussions, together of course with the EU’s draft Agreement. The UK texts are fully in line with the Government’s document “The Approach to the Future Negotiations” published on 27 February. Copies of the legal texts have been placed in the House Library and they are also available on GOV.UK.

This Government remains committed to a deal with a Free Trade Agreement at its core. We look forward to the fourth Round beginning on 1 June.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS245
WS
Treasury
Made on: 19 May 2020
Made by: John Glen (The Economic Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Operation of the UK's Counter-Terrorist Asset Freezing Regime: 1 October 2019 to 31 December 2019

Under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (TAFA 2010), the Treasury is required to prepare a quarterly report regarding its exercise of the powers conferred on it by Part 1 of TAFA 2010. This written statement satisfies that requirement for the period 1 October 2019 to 31 December 2019.

This report also covers the UK’s implementation of the UN’s ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida asset freezing regime (ISIL-AQ), and the operation of the EU’s asset freezing regime under EU Regulation (EC) 2580/2001 concerning external terrorist threats to the EU (also referred to as the CP 931 regime).

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

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

EU Regulation (2016/1686) was implemented on 22 September 2016. This permits the EU to make autonomous Al-Qaida and ISIL (Da’esh) listings.

The tables attached set out the key asset-freezing activity in the UK during the quarter.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS241
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Home Office
Made on: 19 May 2020
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Government Response to the Anthony Grainger Inquiry Report

My hon Friend the Minister of State for Crime, Policing and the Fire Service (Kit Malthouse) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

Today the Government has published its formal response to the Anthony Grainger Public Inquiry and a copy will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Anthony Grainger was shot dead on 3 March 2012 by an armed firearms officer of Greater Manchester Police as part of the covert investigation named Operation Shire. A public inquiry was announced by the then Home Secretary, Theresa May, in March 2016 to ascertain the circumstances surrounding Mr Grainger’s death.

I would like to thank His Honour Judge Teague for publishing his report and for leading this important work, from which we have learnt valuable lessons for the future. The previous Home Secretary Sajid Javid committed to provide a formal response, once the Government had fully considered the report, and any recommendations therein and we are now in a position to do so.

The Government accepts the Inquiry’s recommendation to the Home Office concerning the authorisation of new weapon systems. A revised Code of Practice for Armed Policing and Less Lethal Weapons was published by the College of Policing on 14 January 2020 making clear that all new less lethal weapons and specialist munitions for use by police forces in England and Wales, and all significant changes to these weapons, must be approved by the Home Secretary.

The majority of the AGI’s recommendations related to operational policing and these are matters on which Chief Officers are independent of Government. Nonetheless my officials engaged with the National Police Chiefs Council and Greater Manchester Police to ensure that they have responded to the concerns raised by the Inquiry and understand their plans to improve the safety of armed policing operations. Their responses have reassured me that lessons have been learnt to improve the safety of armed policing operations in the seven years since the death of Anthony Grainger.

These included developing and maintaining a national register of recommendations and lessons from inquests, investigations and inquiries; reviewing and improving the collection, analysis and dissemination of intelligence; and reviewing and improving the arrangements for the deployment of armed officers. I would like to thank the National Chiefs Police Council, Greater Manchester Police, HMICFRS and the College of Policing for their co-operation in responding to the Inquiry and the work that they have done to implement learning.

The police use of firearms, as with any use of force, must be necessary, proportionate and reasonable in the circumstances. It is essential that decisions by the police to use force of any kind are subject to proper scrutiny.

Our sympathy remains with Anthony Grainger’s family who have lost a loved one.

The Response to the Anthony Grainger Inquiry will be available to view on Gov.uk at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/response-to-the-anthony-grainger-public-inquiry

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS242
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Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 19 May 2020
Made by: Christopher Pincher (Minister of State for Housing )
Commons

Energy Performance of Buildings: A consultation on changes to The Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations 2012, No. 3118

I wish to update the House on the publication of a consultation on changes to the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 (SI2012/3118).

The United Kingdom has set in law a target to bring its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 to help tackle climate change. Heating and powering buildings currently accounts for 40% of the UK’s total energy usage. We must ensure that buildings are constructed to high standards of energy efficiency and that the regime for regulating the energy performance of buildings is robust.

This consultation seeks views on proposals to amend existing requirements for inspecting heating and air conditioning systems in order to improve the regime and contribute to carbon emission reductions and energy efficiency savings. The new requirements aim to strengthen the effectiveness of the regime by increasing the threshold for inspection to focus on larger systems. It further aims to improve the regime’s impact by broadening the scope of inspection to include combined heating and ventilation systems and combined air conditioning and ventilation systems.

The Government proposes to retain its domestic arrangements (i.e. take the option of Alternative Measures). This means continuing to provide consumers with the advice necessary to make informed decisions on the energy efficiency of their heating systems and widening the scope to include combined heating and ventilation systems. The United Kingdom boiler market is the biggest in the world and has some of the most experienced manufacturers and installers. The United Kingdom’s equivalence reports, which are required to demonstrate that the domestic policy achieves the aims intended by the changes to the regulations, have demonstrated that the carbon savings attributable to the UK’s Alternative Measures were greater than those that would have been achieved through inspection. One of the key elements of the domestic regime is Boiler Plus whose standards are expected to help reduce carbon emissions by up to 2 MtCO2e[1] in Carbon Budget 4 (2023-2027)[2] and 3.2 MtCO2e in Carbon Budget 5 (2028-2032)[3], whilst enabling consumers to heat homes at a lower cost.

The consultation also proposes to amend the inspection regime for air conditioning systems increasing the threshold and widening the scope to include combined air conditioning and ventilation systems, bringing with it the benefits of a stronger regime set out above.

These measures are only part of our journey towards a cleaner, greener built environment. The Government is determined that we will be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it and improving the energy performance of our buildings will be a key factor in tackling climate change, achieving clean growth and safeguarding our planet for the future.

This Written Ministerial Statement covers England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in relation to the inspection of heating systems. It covers England and Wales in respect of the proposed changes to air conditioning inspections. The devolved administrations are considering similar changes.

The consultation document can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/energy-performance-of-buildings-changes-to-the-energy-performance-of-buildings-regulations-2012-no-3118

I am depositing a copy of the consultation in libraries of both the House of Commons and House of Lords.

[1] A metric measure used to compare the emissions from different greenhouse gases based upon their global warming potential (GWP).

[2] 4th carbon budget (2023 to 2027) 1,950 MtCO2e

[3] 5th carbon budget (2028 to 2032)1,725 MtCO2e

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS240
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Home Office
Made on: 19 May 2020
Made by: Kit Malthouse (The Minister of State for Crime, Policing and the Fire Service)
Commons

Government Response to the Anthony Grainger Inquiry Report

Today the Government has published its formal response to the Anthony Grainger Public Inquiry and a copy will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Anthony Grainger was shot dead on 3 March 2012 by an armed firearms officer of Greater Manchester Police as part of the covert investigation named Operation Shire. A public inquiry was announced by the then Home Secretary, Theresa May, in March 2016 to ascertain the circumstances surrounding Mr Grainger’s death.

I would like to thank His Honour Judge Teague for publishing his report and for leading this important work, from which we have learnt valuable lessons for the future. The previous Home Secretary Sajid Javid committed to provide a formal response, once the Government had fully considered the report, and any recommendations therein and we are now in a position to do so.

The Government accepts the Inquiry’s recommendation to the Home Office concerning the authorisation of new weapon systems. A revised Code of Practice for Armed Policing and Less Lethal Weapons was published by the College of Policing on 14 January 2020 making clear that all new less lethal weapons and specialist munitions for use by police forces in England and Wales, and all significant changes to these weapons, must be approved by the Home Secretary.

The majority of the AGI’s recommendations related to operational policing and these are matters on which Chief Officers are independent of Government. Nonetheless my officials engaged with the National Police Chiefs Council and Greater Manchester Police to ensure that they have responded to the concerns raised by the Inquiry and understand their plans to improve the safety of armed policing operations. Their responses have reassured me that lessons have been learnt to improve the safety of armed policing operations in the seven years since the death of Anthony Grainger.

These included developing and maintaining a national register of recommendations and lessons from inquests, investigations and inquiries; reviewing and improving the collection, analysis and dissemination of intelligence; and reviewing and improving the arrangements for the deployment of armed officers. I would like to thank the National Chiefs Police Council, Greater Manchester Police, HMICFRS and the College of Policing for their co-operation in responding to the Inquiry and the work that they have done to implement learning.

The police use of firearms, as with any use of force, must be necessary, proportionate and reasonable in the circumstances. It is essential that decisions by the police to use force of any kind are subject to proper scrutiny.

Our sympathy remains with Anthony Grainger’s family who have lost a loved one.

The Response to the Anthony Grainger Inquiry will be available to view on Gov.uk at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/response-to-the-anthony-grainger-public-inquiry

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS238
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Department for International Trade
Made on: 19 May 2020
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (Secretary of State for Department for International Trade)
Commons

Trade policy update

As we recover from the unprecedented economic challenges posed by coronavirus, the UK will champion free trade, fight protectionism and remove trade barriers.

The Government has this morning (19 May) announced its new tariff regime - the UK Global Tariff (UKGT). This will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff on 1 January 2021 at the end of the transition period.

Our new tariff is tailored to the needs of the UK economy. It will support the country, by making it easier and cheaper for businesses to import goods from overseas.

It is a simpler, easier to use and lower tariff regime than the EU’s Common External Tariff (EU’s CET) and will be in pounds, not euros. It will scrap red tape and other unnecessary barriers to trade, reduce cost pressures and increase choice for consumers. It will also back UK industries to compete on the global stage.

The UKGT almost doubles the number of products that are tariff free relative to what is currently applied - with just under 50% of products now zero, compared to 27% in the EU’s CET.

The UKGT will make it easier for businesses to trade

  • Our tariff will be in pounds - not euros. Paid in pounds, calculated in pounds, this is a stable tariff for UK traders.
  • Our tariff cuts administrative costs for businesses. We are getting rid of needless tariffs which create administrative burdens. All tariffs below 2% are gone (e.g. fire extinguishers, school pencils and gardening tools, from 1.7% to 0%).
  • Our tariff is simpler to use. We will round tariffs down, making them simpler for traders to use (e.g. reading glasses from 2.9% to 2% and alarm clocks from 4.7% to 4%). We will also scrap the complex calculation - which results in over 13,000 tariff variations on products like biscuits, confectionery, and spreads - applied under the EU’s CET.
  • The UKGT will back UK manufacturing and production. We are dropping tariffs to zero across a wide range of products used in UK production (e.g. tools for tapping and threading metal move from 2.7% to 0%, and spanners and wrenches from 1.7% to 0%).
  • The UKGT will reduce cost pressures and increase choice for UK households. Tariffs have been removed on products that we do not produce, or do not produce much of in the UK. Removing these tariffs will reduce cost pressures for UK households and businesses (e.g. pistachios from 1.6% to 0% and cotton yarn from 4% to 0%).
  • Our tariff will protect developing countries. Tariffs have been retained on goods such as vanilla (6%), plantains (16%) and bed linen (12%) to support the preferential access of developing countries to the UK market.
  • We are cutting tariffs on over 100 products to back renewable energy, energy efficiency, carbon capture, and the circular economy through recycling and reducing single use plastics (e.g. thermostats from 2.1% to 0%, vacuum flasks from 6.7% to 0% and LED lamps from 3.7% to 0%).

The UKGT also retains tariffs on products across UK industries and sectors to help them compete on the global stage. Tariffs on products such as lamb, beef and poultry and finished cars will all see their tariff retained.

The Government has developed and tailored the UKGT to the needs of the whole UK economy. It was designed following a public consultation, which gave individuals and businesses across the UK an opportunity to provide their views and feedback. The Department for International Trade organised events with businesses and experts across the UK, including in the English regions and devolved nations, during the consultation process. The consultation received more than 1,300 responses.

The Government carefully considered all available evidence, including the consultation responses, in the development of the UKGT.

The summary of consultation responses and the Government’s response can be found on GOV.UK https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-uk-global-tariff. Copies will be placed in the House libraries.

For the first time in almost fifty years, the UK has set its own tariff schedule, aimed at boosting prosperity, supporting British industry, making it easier to bring goods into the UK and reducing cost pressures for consumers.

The full schedule can be found on GOV.UK https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-tariffs-from-1-january-2021.

WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 18 May 2020
Made by: Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Lords

Transport for London Extraordinary Funding and Financing

My Right Honourable friend, the Secretary of State for Transport (Grant Shapps), has made the following Ministerial Statement.

It is vital that we take the necessary steps to protect the services which our critical workers, such as NHS staff, rely on - both in London and all across the country.

So far, we have invested billions into maintaining essential services across rail, buses, trams and ferries outside London, including £30m over 12 weeks for light rail services in Sheffield, Manchester, West Midlands, Tyne and Wear, and Nottingham; almost £400m to protect vital bus routes and temporarily suspended rail operators’ franchise agreements to transfer all revenue and cost risk to government so that services continue to run.

This is alongside our wider agenda to level up transport networks across the whole country, including £5bn for buses and bikes announced back in February, £4.2bn for local transport settlements for eight Mayoral Combined Authorities subject to negotiations, a £1.7bn Transport Infrastructure Investment Fund to improve roads, repair bridges and fill millions of potholes; and the decision by government to take over the Northern network to protect services, drive up performance and rebuild passenger confidence.

We will continue to work with metro mayors, local authorities and transport operators all across the country to ensure that public transport is available for those who need it, including any ramp up in services required as people slowly start to return to work.

In order to keep vital public transport services running in London and further ramp up services to support social distancing, the Government agreed on Thursday 14 May a package of support for Transport for London. It comprises £1.095bn of new grant and a further loan facility of £505m. The support can be increased by a further £300m of grant and loan if revenue loss is higher than forecast at this time.

The settlement for TfL was needed for two reasons. Most important is the significant fall in revenue caused by covid-19. However, an important secondary factor was the pre-existing poor condition of TfL’s financial position as a result of decisions made over the last four years. Combined with significant cost increases and delays to Crossrail, this left TfL in serious financial difficulty even before the public health emergency.

It’s important to note that around half of all bus and rail journeys in England are made on its services and that London is by far the most public transport-dependent place in the UK. Almost half of all Londoners, more in inner London, do not have access to cars. London’s roads are the most congested in the UK; even with reduced passenger numbers and capacity, TfL’s services are still essential to allow critical workers to travel and the city to operate.

Unlike local transport authorities in other towns and cities across England, TfL is responsible for London's bus network, principal road routes, various rail networks including the London Underground, London Overground, Docklands Light Railway and TfL Rail, as well as trams, cycling provision, and river services. To protect these services, It is important therefore that the rescue package takes steps to put TfL back on a sustainable footing while ensuring fairness for the wider British taxpayer. As result, the Mayor intends to adhere to the proposal in TfL’s own business plan that fares should increase by RPI plus 1 per cent on all modes in January.

We have also set a number of other conditions, including: restoring services to 100 per cent of pre-Covid levels as soon as possible; requiring TfL to collect fares on buses while ensuring driver safety, which it had stopped doing during the crisis; easing congestion by the temporary suspension of free travel for over-60s in the morning peak and temporarily suspending free travel for under-18s all day. Disabled people will still be able to make use of their concession passes all day, and Special arrangements will be made for those children who qualify for free travel to schools.

These conditions are needed to avoid crowding and reduce the exposure of vulnerable groups. The Mayor has subsequently announced that the Congestion Charge will increase to £15, with extended hours of operation and has withdrawn the residents’ discount for new applications.

The Congestion Charge will continue to have exemptions for NHS and care workers and Blue badge holders. Local residents will continue to receive discounts.

To help avoid such drastic action in the future there will be an immediate and broad ranging Government-led review of TfL's future financial position and structure.

The decision to offer support was not taken lightly, but reflects the exceptional circumstances the country finds itself in. I consider it vital to keep services in London running to the maximum levels possible to allow safe transport of passengers. Our messaging remains that people should avoid using public transport and work from home wherever possible, but as measures are slowly lifted it is vital that Londoners who need to use TfL services feel safe and secure.

This deal will encourage help protect those who need to use public transport and help us move towards greener and healthier walking and cycling options. Importantly, it will also provide certainty and stability for London’s transport services in the future.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS240
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Department for Transport
Made on: 18 May 2020
Made by: Grant Shapps (Secretary of State for Transport)
Commons

Transport for London Extraordinary Funding and Financing

It is vital that we take the necessary steps to protect the services which our critical workers, such as NHS staff, rely on - both in London and all across the country.

So far, we have invested billions into maintaining essential services across rail, buses, trams and ferries outside London, including £30m over 12 weeks for light rail services in Sheffield, Manchester, West Midlands, Tyne and Wear, and Nottingham; almost £400m to protect vital bus routes and temporarily suspended rail operators’ franchise agreements to transfer all revenue and cost risk to government so that services continue to run.

This is alongside our wider agenda to level up transport networks across the whole country, including £5bn for buses and bikes announced back in February, £4.2bn for local transport settlements for eight Mayoral Combined Authorities subject to negotiations, a £1.7bn Transport Infrastructure Investment Fund to improve roads, repair bridges and fill millions of potholes; and the decision by government to take over the Northern network to protect services, drive up performance and rebuild passenger confidence.

We will continue to work with metro mayors, local authorities and transport operators all across the country to ensure that public transport is available for those who need it, including any ramp up in services required as people slowly start to return to work.

In order to keep vital public transport services running in London and further ramp up services to support social distancing, the Government agreed on Thursday 14 May a package of support for Transport for London. It comprises £1.095bn of new grant and a further loan facility of £505m. The support can be increased by a further £300m of grant and loan if revenue loss is higher than forecast at this time.

The settlement for TfL was needed for two reasons. Most important is the significant fall in revenue caused by covid-19. However, an important secondary factor was the pre-existing poor condition of TfL’s financial position as a result of decisions made over the last four years. Combined with significant cost increases and delays to Crossrail, this left TfL in serious financial difficulty even before the public health emergency.

It’s important to note that around half of all bus and rail journeys in England are made on its services and that London is by far the most public transport-dependent place in the UK. Almost half of all Londoners, more in inner London, do not have access to cars. London’s roads are the most congested in the UK; even with reduced passenger numbers and capacity, TfL’s services are still essential to allow critical workers to travel and the city to operate.

Unlike local transport authorities in other towns and cities across England, TfL is responsible for London's bus network, principal road routes, various rail networks including the London Underground, London Overground, Docklands Light Railway and TfL Rail, as well as trams, cycling provision, and river services. To protect these services, It is important therefore that the rescue package takes steps to put TfL back on a sustainable footing while ensuring fairness for the wider British taxpayer. As result, the Mayor intends to adhere to the proposal in TfL’s own business plan that fares should increase by RPI plus 1 per cent on all modes in January.

We have also set a number of other conditions, including: restoring services to 100 per cent of pre-Covid levels as soon as possible; requiring TfL to collect fares on buses while ensuring driver safety, which it had stopped doing during the crisis; easing congestion by the temporary suspension of free travel for over-60s in the morning peak and temporarily suspending free travel for under-18s all day. Disabled people will still be able to make use of their concession passes all day, and Special arrangements will be made for those children who qualify for free travel to schools.

These conditions are needed to avoid crowding and reduce the exposure of vulnerable groups. The Mayor has subsequently announced that the Congestion Charge will increase to £15, with extended hours of operation and has withdrawn the residents’ discount for new applications.

The Congestion Charge will continue to have exemptions for NHS and care workers and Blue badge holders. Local residents will continue to receive discounts.

To help avoid such drastic action in the future there will be an immediate and broad ranging Government-led review of TfL's future financial position and structure.

The decision to offer support was not taken lightly, but reflects the exceptional circumstances the country finds itself in. I consider it vital to keep services in London running to the maximum levels possible to allow safe transport of passengers. Our messaging remains that people should avoid using public transport and work from home wherever possible, but as measures are slowly lifted it is vital that Londoners who need to use TfL services feel safe and secure.

This deal will encourage help protect those who need to use public transport and help us move towards greener and healthier walking and cycling options. Importantly, it will also provide certainty and stability for London’s transport services in the future.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS237
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Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 18 May 2020
Made by: Mr Simon Clarke (Minister of State for Regional Growth and Local Government)
Commons

Contingencies Fund Advance

I hereby give notice of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s intention to seek an advance from the Contingencies Fund. The Department requires an advance of its cash requirement pending parliamentary approval of the Main Estimate 2020-21.

Parliamentary approval for additional resources of £1,415,000,000 will be sought in a Main Estimate for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £1,415,000,000 has been met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS236
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Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 18 May 2020
Made by: Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities)
Lords

Contingencies Fund Advance

My Hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Regional Growth and Local Government (Simon Clarke) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I hereby give notice of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s intention to seek an advance from the Contingencies Fund. The Department requires an advance of its cash requirement pending parliamentary approval of the Main Estimate 2020-21.

Parliamentary approval for additional resources of £1,415,000,000 will be sought in a Main Estimate for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £1,415,000,000 has been met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS239
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Department for International Trade
Made on: 18 May 2020
Made by: Lord Grimstone of Boscobel (Minister for Investment)
Lords

Negotiations on the UK’s future trading relationship with the US: Update

My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade (Liz Truss MP) has today made the following statement.

Around 200 negotiators from the UK and the US held the first round of negotiations for a UK-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between 5-15 May 2020.

More trade is essential if the UK is to overcome the unprecedented challenges posed by Covid-19. New FTAs will be an important factor in facing that economic challenge, providing new opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs who have faced significant challenges in this difficult period. An FTA with the US can help create opportunities for UK businesses, provide better jobs and boost the economy in every part of the country.

Both sides are hopeful that negotiations for a comprehensive trade agreement can proceed at an accelerated pace. Ambassador Lighthizer and I agreed that a second virtual round will take place in the weeks of 15 and 22 June, and that in advance of that negotiating teams will continue their work and meet virtually on a rolling basis, with meetings continuing throughout this week and beyond.

Negotiations over the past two weeks were conducted virtually but proceeded efficiently, with UK and US negotiators participating in extensive discussions in nearly 30 different negotiating groups covering all aspects of a comprehensive trade agreement. The discussions covered the following workstreams:

  • Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
  • Legal Group – Disputes
  • Trade Remedies
  • Rules of Origin
  • Investment
  • Legal Group – Core Text
  • Technical Barriers to Trade
  • Competition
  • Digital
  • Telecoms
  • Economics
  • Customs
  • Sectoral Annexes
  • Cross cutting services
  • Market Access for Goods, Overarching and Industrial Goods
  • Good Regulatory Practice (GRP)
  • Financial Services
  • Sustainability, Environment and Labour
  • General Coordination
  • Market Access for Goods, Agriculture
  • State Owned Enterprises
  • Services Sectors
  • Intellectual Property
  • Procurement
  • Sustainability, Anti-Corruption
  • Market Access for Goods, Textiles
  • Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS)
  • Subsidies

The meetings were positive and constructive, reflecting the mutual commitment to secure an ambitious agreement that significantly boosts trade and investment between our economies, the first and fifth largest in the world.

Both sides recognised the unprecedented circumstances in which these negotiations took place, with significant emphasis placed on supporting the post-Covid economic recovery.

During the meetings, the teams discussed their respective objectives and agreed on ambitious next steps for coming talks. Our preparatory work makes it possible for the UK and United States to quickly advance negotiations in a number of substantive areas that will shape our future bilateral trade relationship.

A number of areas showed particular progress, including where both teams identified positive alignment between respective negotiating positions. They identified a mutually high ambition for services, investment and digital trade, among other areas.

Both sides also set out a mutual commitment to creating new opportunities for businesses on both sides of the Atlantic and to delivering benefits for workers, consumers and farmers. This includes the confirmation that both sides will quickly pursue a standalone Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Chapter and will continue the UK-US SME Dialogue.

In the same manner as this negotiating round, discussions in the second round will cover all areas to be included in a Free Trade Agreement.

The Government is committed to negotiating a comprehensive agreement with the US and we look forward to making further progress at the next round of negotiations. The Government will make a further statement on progress following the second round of talks.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS238
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Department for International Trade
Made on: 18 May 2020
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (Secretary of State for Department for International Trade)
Commons

Negotiations on the UK’s future trading relationship with the US: Update

Around 200 negotiators from the UK and the US held the first round of negotiations for a UK-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between 5-15 May 2020.

More trade is essential if the UK is to overcome the unprecedented challenges posed by Covid-19. New FTAs will be an important factor in facing that economic challenge, providing new opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs who have faced significant challenges in this difficult period. An FTA with the US can help create opportunities for UK businesses, provide better jobs and boost the economy in every part of the country.

Both sides are hopeful that negotiations for a comprehensive trade agreement can proceed at an accelerated pace. Ambassador Lighthizer and I agreed that a second virtual round will take place in the weeks of 15 and 22 June, and that in advance of that negotiating teams will continue their work and meet virtually on a rolling basis, with meetings continuing throughout this week and beyond.

Negotiations over the past two weeks were conducted virtually but proceeded efficiently, with UK and US negotiators participating in extensive discussions in nearly 30 different negotiating groups covering all aspects of a comprehensive trade agreement. The discussions covered the following workstreams:

  • Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
  • Legal Group – Disputes
  • Trade Remedies
  • Rules of Origin
  • Investment
  • Legal Group – Core Text
  • Technical Barriers to Trade
  • Competition
  • Digital
  • Telecoms
  • Economics
  • Customs
  • Sectoral Annexes
  • Cross cutting services
  • Market Access for Goods, Overarching and Industrial Goods
  • Good Regulatory Practice (GRP)
  • Financial Services
  • Sustainability, Environment and Labour
  • General Coordination
  • Market Access for Goods, Agriculture
  • State Owned Enterprises
  • Services Sectors
  • Intellectual Property
  • Procurement
  • Sustainability, Anti-Corruption
  • Market Access for Goods, Textiles
  • Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS)
  • Subsidies

The meetings were positive and constructive, reflecting the mutual commitment to secure an ambitious agreement that significantly boosts trade and investment between our economies, the first and fifth largest in the world.

Both sides recognised the unprecedented circumstances in which these negotiations took place, with significant emphasis placed on supporting the post-Covid economic recovery.

During the meetings, the teams discussed their respective objectives and agreed on ambitious next steps for coming talks. Our preparatory work makes it possible for the UK and United States to quickly advance negotiations in a number of substantive areas that will shape our future bilateral trade relationship.

A number of areas showed particular progress, including where both teams identified positive alignment between respective negotiating positions. They identified a mutually high ambition for services, investment and digital trade, among other areas.

Both sides also set out a mutual commitment to creating new opportunities for businesses on both sides of the Atlantic and to delivering benefits for workers, consumers and farmers. This includes the confirmation that both sides will quickly pursue a standalone Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Chapter and will continue the UK-US SME Dialogue.

In the same manner as this negotiating round, discussions in the second round will cover all areas to be included in a Free Trade Agreement.

The Government is committed to negotiating a comprehensive agreement with the US and we look forward to making further progress at the next round of negotiations. The Government will make a further statement on progress following the second round of talks.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS235
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Treasury
Made on: 13 May 2020
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (Minister of State)
Lords

Exemption for coronavirus related reimbursed home office expenses

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

To support employees who are working from home and need to purchase home office equipment as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, a temporary tax exemption and National Insurance disregard will come into effect to ensure that the expense will not attract tax and NICs liabilities where reimbursed by the employer. The expenditure must meet the following two conditions to be eligible for relief:

  1. That equipment is obtained for the sole purpose of enabling the employee to work from home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, and

  2. The provision of the equipment would have been exempt from income tax if it had been provided directly to the employee by or on behalf of the employer (under section 316 of Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003).

The exemption is a temporary measure and will have effect from the day after the regulations come into force until the end of the tax year 2020/21.

HMRC will exercise its collection and management discretion and will not collect tax and NICs due on any reimbursed payments made from 16 March 2020 (the date the government recommended working from home) to the date these regulations take effect.

This measure is being announced outside the normal fiscal process in order to ensure that employers and employees are able effectively to manage their working from home arrangements as soon as possible.

The Government will lay the statutory instruments to update these charges before the House in due course. A tax information and impact note (TIIN) will be published at www.gov.uk/government/collections/tax-information-and-impact-notes-tiins.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS237
WS
Treasury
Made on: 13 May 2020
Made by: Jesse Norman (The Financial Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Exemption for coronavirus related reimbursed home office expenses

To support employees who are working from home and need to purchase home office equipment as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, a temporary tax exemption and National Insurance disregard will come into effect to ensure that the expense will not attract tax and NICs liabilities where reimbursed by the employer. The expenditure must meet the following two conditions to be eligible for relief:

  1. That equipment is obtained for the sole purpose of enabling the employee to work from home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, and

  2. The provision of the equipment would have been exempt from income tax if it had been provided directly to the employee by or on behalf of the employer (under section 316 of ITEPA).

The exemption is a temporary measure and will have effect from the day after the regulations come into force until the end of the tax year 2020/21.

HMRC will exercise its collection and management discretion and will not collect tax and NICs due on any reimbursed payments made from 16 March 2020 (the date the government recommended working from home) to the date these regulations take effect.

This measure is being announced outside the normal fiscal process in order to ensure that employers and employees are able effectively to manage their working from home arrangements as soon as possible.

The Government will lay the statutory instruments to update these charges before the House in due course. A tax information and impact note (TIIN) will be published at www.gov.uk/government/collections/tax-information-and-impact-notes-tiins.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS234
WS
Department for International Trade
Made on: 13 May 2020
Made by: Lord Grimstone of Boscobel (Minister for Investment)
Lords

The UK’s approach to Negotiations with Japan

My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade (Liz Truss MP) has today made the following statement.

Coronavirus is the biggest threat this country has faced in decades. The Government is doing all it can to protect business from the worst effects of coronavirus in the immediate term. We must take steps to support our economy, reduce impacts and provide opportunities for the future economic recovery.

More trade is essential if the UK is to overcome the unprecedented economic challenge posed by coronavirus. It can give us security at home and opportunities abroad – opening new markets for business, bringing investment, better jobs, higher wages and lower prices just as we need them most. At a time when protectionist barriers are on the rise, all countries need to work together to ensure long-term prosperity and international trade is central to this cooperation.

That is why we will use our voice as a new independent trading nation to champion free trade, fight protectionism and remove barriers at every opportunity. The Government’s ambition is to secure free trade agreements (FTAs) with countries covering 80% of UK trade within the next three years, to become a truly Global Britain.

An enhanced FTA with Japan, the 3rd largest economy in the world in 2018, represents significant opportunities throughout the economy, from agriculture to digital. It will also help us increase the resilience of our supply chains and the security of our whole economy as we diversify our trade.

A deal with Japan will be a driving force to maximise the UK’s advantage in the opportunities Asia Pacific affords. These bilateral negotiations are a logical first step to joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), given that Japan is CPTPP’s largest economy.

Japan is a developed economy with high standards and we are major investors in each other’s economies. Trade with Japan is integral to UK jobs and businesses. In 2018, around 9,500 VAT registered businesses exported £6bn worth of goods to Japan, employing 2.4 million people. Around 6,700 VAT registered business, employing 2.5 million people, imported £10bn worth of goods from Japan.

An enhanced FTA with Japan is therefore expected to deliver a significant and sustained long term boost to every region in the UK. Our analysis shows that in the long run, the UK economy could benefit from a £1.5 billion boost, as the trade deal could increase trade flows between both countries by £15.2 billion. UK workers’ wages could increase by £800 million in the long run as a result of the deal.

Total annual tariff reductions on goods imports from Japan could be worth up to around £275 million per year in the long run. Some 59% of all Japanese goods imported into the UK and 44% of all UK goods exported into Japan are used in supply chains (average 2016-2018). So as well as reducing the price of consumer goods, lower tariffs could also cut the costs of domestic production in both countries.

Removing trade barriers with Japan could deliver huge gains, both for the 8,000 UK Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) across the UK already exporting goods with Japan as well as those making plans to enter the Japanese market. For example, total annual tariff reductions on goods exports to Japan could be worth around £33 million per year in the long run.

The deal will also provide cutting edge provisions on digital trade that maximise opportunities for trade across all sectors of the economy, providing trust and stability for UK businesses, entrepreneurs and exporters. Such provisions will reduce trade barriers and make it easier for the SMEs already exporting goods to Japan. UK businesses will have the opportunity to lead on innovation, supporting the development of important emerging technologies, such as quantum computing. E-commerce and the creative industries will also benefit from the free flow of data and strong copyright provisions.

That is why today, the Department for International Trade is publishing a comprehensive document setting out the UK’s strategic approach to an enhanced FTA between the UK and Japan. We will be placing copies in the House libraries. The document is set out in three parts:

  • The Government’s negotiating objectives for an enhanced FTA with Japan, using the existing EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement as a basis.
  • The Government response to the Call for Input on trade negotiations with Japan, providing an overview of the responses received and setting out how these have fed into our policy development.
  • A Scoping Assessment providing a preliminary assessment of the potential long-term economic impacts of an enhanced FTA between the UK and Japan.

The objectives published today are informed by our Call for Input, which ran for six weeks between 20 September and 4 November 2019 and gave businesses, interest groups and members of the public the opportunity to highlight their priorities for a potential future agreement with Japan.

A deal with Japan will help us to deliver opportunity and unleash the potential of every part of our United Kingdom. Analysis in the Scoping Assessment shows a UK-Japan enhanced FTA could have a positive impact on every UK nation and region in the long run, with Scotland, the East Midlands and London expected to benefit the most.

We are engaging with the devolved administrations, crown dependencies and overseas territories to ensure that we develop an enhanced FTA that works for the whole of the UK.

Our negotiating objectives clearly set out our priorities for an ambitious and comprehensive agreement, which will build on our existing EPA to strengthen the economic relationship with one of our largest bilateral trading partners.

The Government is committed to transparency and we will continue to ensure that parliamentarians, UK citizens and businesses have access to the information they need on our trade negotiations.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS231
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 13 May 2020
Made by: Gavin Williamson (The Secretary of State for Education)
Commons

Education and childcare settings update

This week I have published guidance to set out how we will support early years, schools and colleges to welcome back more children from 1 June at the earliest.

It is over seven weeks since we asked schools, colleges, and childcare settings to allow only vulnerable children and those of critical workers to attend, and I encourage them to continue to take up this offer. This has been a huge ask of teachers, parents and children. I am immensely grateful for the response of all those working in education, childcare and children’s social care who have undoubtedly helped to support the NHS and save lives.

But we all know the best place for children to be educated is in school and it was always my intention to get them back there as soon as the scientific advice allowed.

As the Prime Minister has confirmed, we are now past the peak of the virus and he has set out a roadmap for the next phases of our recovery. If progress continues to be made we expect that, from 1 June at the earliest, we will be able to begin a phased return to school, college and childcare for children and young people in key transition years, alongside the priority groups currently eligible to attend:

  • Primary schools in England will be able to welcome back nursery, reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children, in smaller class sizes.
  • Nurseries and other early years providers, including childminders, will be able to begin welcoming back children of all ages.
  • Secondary schools and colleges will be able to provide some face-to-face support for Year 10, Year 12, and 16-19 college students who are due to take key exams and assessments next year.

I have published the following guidance to support education and childcare settings to prepare for these changes on Gov.uk.

  • Actions for educational and childcare settings
  • Implementing protective measures in education childcare settings
  • Information for parents and carers
  • Initial planning framework

This guidance sets out protective measures that settings should put in place to reduce the risk of transmission. These include children and young people staying within their new, smaller, classes wherever possible and limiting contact between different groups. We have also set out a range of additional protective measures including frequent cleaning, encouraging good hand and respiratory hygiene, considering refreshing the timetable to limit movement and stagger break and lunchtimes, and using outdoor space.

Staff and pupils in all settings will be eligible for testing if they become ill with coronavirus symptoms, as will members of their households, to enable a track and trace approach to be taken in response to any confirmed cases.

We continue to follow the best medical and scientific advice and believe that this phased return is the most sensible course of action to take. We will only do this provided that the five key tests set by Government justify the changes at the time

We will also be updating our guidance for early years settings to confirm that paid childcare can be provided to the children of one household from today, Wednesday 13 May, including by childminders, who may choose to look after the children of one household if they are not already looking after vulnerable children or those of critical workers.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS232
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 13 May 2020
Made by: Baroness Berridge (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System)
Lords

Education and childcare settings update

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education (Gavin Williamson) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

This week I have published guidance to set out how we will support early years, schools and colleges to welcome back more children from 1 June at the earliest.

It is over seven weeks since we asked schools, colleges, and childcare settings to allow only vulnerable children and those of critical workers to attend, and I encourage them to continue to take up this offer. This has been a huge ask of teachers, parents and children. I am immensely grateful for the response of all those working in education, childcare and children’s social care who have undoubtedly helped to support the NHS and save lives.

But we all know the best place for children to be educated is in school and it was always my intention to get them back there as soon as the scientific advice allowed.

As the Prime Minister has confirmed, we are now past the peak of the virus and he has set out a roadmap for the next phases of our recovery. If progress continues to be made we expect that, from 1 June at the earliest, we will be able to begin a phased return to school, college and childcare for children and young people in key transition years, alongside the priority groups currently eligible to attend:

  • Primary schools in England will be able to welcome back nursery, reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children, in smaller class sizes.
  • Nurseries and other early years providers, including childminders, will be able to begin welcoming back children of all ages.
  • Secondary schools and colleges will be able to provide some face-to-face support for Year 10, Year 12, and 16-19 college students who are due to take key exams and assessments next year.

I have published the following guidance to support education and childcare settings to prepare for these changes on Gov.uk.

  • Actions for educational and childcare settings
  • Implementing protective measures in education childcare settings
  • Information for parents and carers
  • Initial planning framework

This guidance sets out protective measures that settings should put in place to reduce the risk of transmission. These include children and young people staying within their new, smaller, classes wherever possible and limiting contact between different groups. We have also set out a range of additional protective measures including frequent cleaning, encouraging good hand and respiratory hygiene, considering refreshing the timetable to limit movement and stagger break and lunchtimes, and using outdoor space.

Staff and pupils in all settings will be eligible for testing if they become ill with coronavirus symptoms, as will members of their households, to enable a track and trace approach to be taken in response to any confirmed cases.

We continue to follow the best medical and scientific advice and believe that this phased return is the most sensible course of action to take. We will only do this provided that the five key tests set by Government justify the changes at the time

We will also be updating our guidance for early years settings to confirm that paid childcare can be provided to the children of one household from today, Wednesday 13 May, including by childminders, who may choose to look after the children of one household if they are not already looking after vulnerable children or those of critical workers.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS236
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 13 May 2020
Made by: Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities)
Lords

Planning update

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

Virtual working and planning – Responding to Covid – 19 Restrictions

Introduction

The planning system has a vital role to play in enabling the delivery of housing and economic growth that will support the UK’s economic recovery. It is important that the system continues to operate effectively, ensuring that all those involved, including local authorities, the Planning Inspectorate, developers, statutory consultees, local communities and others can engage in the process while adhering to the Government’s guidance on social distancing.

This Statement sets out the Government’s expectations for how the planning system should be operating during the COVID-19 emergency. It applies to applications and appeals under the Town and Country Planning Act; Development Consent Orders under the Planning Act 2008; the Compulsory Purchase Order regime and to development plans, including neighbourhood plans and spatial development strategies.

The role of digital

Local planning authorities and the Planning Inspectorate drive the planning process forward and should ensure that it continues to operate effectively to support economic recovery. Moving to digital events and processes will be critical. This means adapting to working virtually, including virtual hearings and events (such as using video-conferencing and/or telephone) and making documents available for inspection online. The Government expects everyone involved in the planning process to engage proactively.

The Government considers that the current legislative framework allows for virtual hearings. It is confident that processes can be put in place in the vast majority of cases to allow for the participation of all parties. The Government recognises that the method by which hearings and events are conducted is a matter for the Inspectorate, operating in accordance with their legal obligations, and it expects these arrangements to be made as the default method of operation in the vast majority of cases. The Government recognises that in exceptional circumstances it may not be fair to proceed virtually and that alternative arrangements may be needed. These alternative arrangements should be taken forward speedily, where possible, taking into account the Government’s guidance on social distancing.

The Government expects opportunities for virtual hearings and processes to be maximised. It will draw from current and emerging practice to inform policy and process in the longer term.

Virtual events

The Government fully supports the Planning Inspectorate’s programme for moving to digital inquiries, hearings, meetings and other events. Digital events present opportunities to increase participation in planning processes which are important for local communities and will minimise the impacts of delays to planning decisions which might otherwise occur due to the requirements for social distancing.

The Inspectorate conducted the first digital hearing event on 11 May and will be quickly scaling up in relation to further virtual events during May and early June where this is consistent with fair participation. In doing so it will accommodate essential legal and procedural requirements. The Government expects events to be taking place virtually by mid-June, other than in exceptional circumstances.

The Government expects Inspectors and Examining Authorities to take decisions about whether and how virtual events should proceed and to consider the practical measures needed to ensure fair participation.

The Courts have led in demonstrating the successful use of technology to continue their work. Recognising that the use of technology to support virtual planning events may be challenging, the Government expects that appropriate measures are put in place by the Inspectorate to test the technology and ensure that it enables fair participation. It also expects the Inspectorate to identity those more exceptional circumstances where a virtual event may not be appropriate, making decisions about how to proceed based on the facts of each particular case.

Digital documentation

The effects of COVID-19 mean that it is not always possible to access public buildings. As a result, access to planning documents by making them physically available for inspection at local libraries, council offices etc, is now not available. During these exceptional circumstances, the Government considers that online inspection of documents should be the default position across all planning regimes, and it is actively exploring all options to achieve this.

The Government recognises there are sections of the community with limited or no access to the internet and authorities and developers should take reasonable steps to ensure those without access are involved and consider alternative and creative ways to achieve this where possible. This could for example, include sending out documents by CD or USB stick where this meets the needs of those requesting such documents.

As restrictions are eased, planning authorities and others should integrate the range of methods that are available to them into their approaches to ensure all sections of the community are reached as thoroughly as is practically possible.

Site Visits

Site visits, whether conducted by local authorities, planning inspectors or statutory consultees, are an important part of the process of considering development proposals and plans. Where site visits are required or necessary, they should be undertaken in line with the Government’s guidance on social distancing and safety requirements. .

The Planning Inspectorate will be restarting site visits from mid-May. The Government supports the Inspectorate’s determination to facilitate site visits. It will expect Inspectors to use their judgement in deciding if a site visit is necessary or whether alternative approaches are acceptable, taking account of the particular circumstances.

Publicity and community engagement

The Government will introduce from tomorrow temporary regulations to supplement the existing statutory publicity arrangements for planning applications, listed building consent applications and environmental statements for EIA development.

Local planning authorities (and applicants of EIA development under the TCPA) now have the flexibility to take other reasonable steps to publicise applications if they cannot discharge the specific requirements for site notices, neighbour notifications or newspaper publicity. These steps will notify people who are likely to have an interest in the application and indicate where further information about it can be viewed online. These steps can include the use of social media and other electronic communications and must be proportionate to the scale and nature of the proposed development.

Guidance to accompany these regulations will also be published to highlight what alternative publicity local planning authorities could undertake. In particular, if local newspapers are not circulating in their area, authorities should seek to use local online news portals in the first instance.

In relation to development plans, the Government has issued additional planning guidance on reviewing and updating Statements of Community Involvement and Neighbourhood Planning to support authorities and neighbourhood planning groups in engaging with their communities on their plans at this time

Guidance and Advice

The Planning Inspectorate has published and regularly updates guidance on its work during the COVID-19 social distancing measures, which can be viewed here (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-planning-inspectorate-guidance).

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS235
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 13 May 2020
Made by: Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities)
Lords

Construction update

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

Our Plan to Rebuild: the UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy published by the Government on Monday 11 May makes clear that construction work can be undertaken across England providing sites are able to operate safely in line with the new COVID-19 Secure guidelines. A number of developers have already announced plans to restart work on sites.

In doing so, the Government recognises that the construction industry needs to be able to adapt its normal practices. As part of this, temporary extensions to working hours may be required on some sites to facilitate safe working and allow tasks to be completed where social distancing can be challenging. Longer working hours may also be needed to facilitate social distancing in the wider community, for instance by reducing pressure on public transport. It might be necessary to start work earlier in the day or work until later in the evenings.

However, many construction sites in England are subject to controls which restrict their hours of operation. These controls include planning conditions, which might directly restrict working hours or which might restrict working hours through a construction management plan. These conditions may be necessary, for example, to make the development acceptable to local residents and businesses who might otherwise suffer from traffic, noise and other local amenity issues.

The purpose of this Written Ministerial Statement is to make clear that, with immediate effect, local planning authorities should take a swift and positive approach to requests from developers and site operators for greater flexibility around construction site working hours. This is to ensure that, where appropriate, planning conditions are not a barrier to allowing developers the flexibility necessary to facilitate the safe operation of construction sites during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to proceed at pace with work otherwise delayed as a result of COVID-19.

The National Planning Policy Framework already emphasises that planning enforcement is a discretionary activity and local planning authorities should act proportionately in responding to suspected breaches of planning control.

Where only a short term or modest increase to working hours is required, local planning authorities should, having regard to the reason for the condition and to their legal obligations, not seek to undertake enforcement action.

Where developers require longer term or more significant changes to working hours, they should apply to the local planning authority to temporarily amend a condition or a construction management plan in the usual way. In doing so, it will be important for applicants to consider potential impacts and, where necessary, to put forward brief plans to manage concerns, drawing on existing good practice. In return, local planning authorities should respond speedily and sympathetically and engage positively with applicants to find solutions. Local authorities should prioritise these types of applications and give early clarity on the acceptability of extended hours to developers. They should ensure that decisions are issued quickly – with the aim of doing so within 10 working days.

In allowing greater flexibility, the Government recognises the need to mitigate the impact that any temporary relaxation of working hours could have on local residents and businesses. Requests to extend working hours should be proportionate and should not involve working on Sundays or bank holidays.

However, local authorities should not refuse requests to extend working hours until 9pm, Monday to Saturday without very compelling reasons for rejection. In some cases, such as in areas without residential properties, extending working hours beyond this, including allowing 24 hour working where appropriate, may be justified. In all cases, sympathetic site management should be demonstrated to mitigate local impacts and local authorities should show best endeavours to facilitate such requests.

Applications should only be refused where there are very compelling reasons such as significant impact on neighbouring businesses or uses which are particularly sensitive to noise, dust or vibration, which cannot be overcome through other mitigation, or where impacts on densely populated areas would be unreasonable.

Any temporary changes to construction working hours conditions granted by local planning authorities should not extend beyond 13 May 2021.

This Statement covers England only. The need for the Statement will be reviewed when the requirement for social distancing on construction sites diminishes.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS234
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 13 May 2020
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Planning update

Virtual working and planning – Responding to Covid – 19 Restrictions

Introduction

The planning system has a vital role to play in enabling the delivery of housing and economic growth that will support the UK’s economic recovery. It is important that the system continues to operate effectively, ensuring that all those involved, including local authorities, the Planning Inspectorate, developers, statutory consultees, local communities and others can engage in the process while adhering to the Government’s guidance on social distancing.

This Statement sets out the Government’s expectations for how the planning system should be operating during the COVID-19 emergency. It applies to applications and appeals under the Town and Country Planning Act; Development Consent Orders under the Planning Act 2008; the Compulsory Purchase Order regime and to development plans, including neighbourhood plans and spatial development strategies.

The role of digital

Local planning authorities and the Planning Inspectorate drive the planning process forward and should ensure that it continues to operate effectively to support economic recovery. Moving to digital events and processes will be critical. This means adapting to working virtually, including virtual hearings and events (such as using video-conferencing and/or telephone) and making documents available for inspection online. The Government expects everyone involved in the planning process to engage proactively.

The Government considers that the current legislative framework allows for virtual hearings. It is confident that processes can be put in place in the vast majority of cases to allow for the participation of all parties. The Government recognises that the method by which hearings and events are conducted is a matter for the Inspectorate, operating in accordance with their legal obligations, and it expects these arrangements to be made as the default method of operation in the vast majority of cases. The Government recognises that in exceptional circumstances it may not be fair to proceed virtually and that alternative arrangements may be needed. These alternative arrangements should be taken forward speedily, where possible, taking into account the Government’s guidance on social distancing.

The Government expects opportunities for virtual hearings and processes to be maximised. It will draw from current and emerging practice to inform policy and process in the longer term.

Virtual events

The Government fully supports the Planning Inspectorate’s programme for moving to digital inquiries, hearings, meetings and other events. Digital events present opportunities to increase participation in planning processes which are important for local communities and will minimise the impacts of delays to planning decisions which might otherwise occur due to the requirements for social distancing.

The Inspectorate conducted the first digital hearing event on 11 May and will be quickly scaling up in relation to further virtual events during May and early June where this is consistent with fair participation. In doing so it will accommodate essential legal and procedural requirements. The Government expects events to be taking place virtually by mid-June, other than in exceptional circumstances.

The Government expects Inspectors and Examining Authorities to take decisions about whether and how virtual events should proceed and to consider the practical measures needed to ensure fair participation.

The Courts have led in demonstrating the successful use of technology to continue their work. Recognising that the use of technology to support virtual planning events may be challenging, the Government expects that appropriate measures are put in place by the Inspectorate to test the technology and ensure that it enables fair participation. It also expects the Inspectorate to identity those more exceptional circumstances where a virtual event may not be appropriate, making decisions about how to proceed based on the facts of each particular case.

Digital documentation

The effects of COVID-19 mean that it is not always possible to access public buildings. As a result, access to planning documents by making them physically available for inspection at local libraries, council offices etc, is now not available. During these exceptional circumstances, the Government considers that online inspection of documents should be the default position across all planning regimes, and it is actively exploring all options to achieve this.

The Government recognises there are sections of the community with limited or no access to the internet and authorities and developers should take reasonable steps to ensure those without access are involved and consider alternative and creative ways to achieve this where possible. This could for example, include sending out documents by CD or USB stick where this meets the needs of those requesting such documents.

As restrictions are eased, planning authorities and others should integrate the range of methods that are available to them into their approaches to ensure all sections of the community are reached as thoroughly as is practically possible.

Site Visits

Site visits, whether conducted by local authorities, planning inspectors or statutory consultees, are an important part of the process of considering development proposals and plans. Where site visits are required or necessary, they should be undertaken in line with the Government’s guidance on social distancing and safety requirements. .

The Planning Inspectorate will be restarting site visits from mid-May. The Government supports the Inspectorate’s determination to facilitate site visits. It will expect Inspectors to use their judgement in deciding if a site visit is necessary or whether alternative approaches are acceptable, taking account of the particular circumstances.

Publicity and community engagement

The Government will introduce from tomorrow temporary regulations to supplement the existing statutory publicity arrangements for planning applications, listed building consent applications and environmental statements for EIA development.

Local planning authorities (and applicants of EIA development under the TCPA) now have the flexibility to take other reasonable steps to publicise applications if they cannot discharge the specific requirements for site notices, neighbour notifications or newspaper publicity. These steps will notify people who are likely to have an interest in the application and indicate where further information about it can be viewed online. These steps can include the use of social media and other electronic communications and must be proportionate to the scale and nature of the proposed development.

Guidance to accompany these regulations will also be published to highlight what alternative publicity local planning authorities could undertake. In particular, if local newspapers are not circulating in their area, authorities should seek to use local online news portals in the first instance.

In relation to development plans, the Government has issued additional planning guidance on reviewing and updating Statements of Community Involvement and Neighbourhood Planning to support authorities and neighbourhood planning groups in engaging with their communities on their plans at this time

Guidance and Advice

The Planning Inspectorate has published and regularly updates guidance on its work during the COVID-19 social distancing measures, which can be viewed here (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-planning-inspectorate-guidance).

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS231
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 13 May 2020
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Construction update

Our Plan to Rebuild: the UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy published by the Government on Monday 11 May makes clear that construction work can be undertaken across England providing sites are able to operate safely in line with the new COVID-19 Secure guidelines. A number of developers have already announced plans to restart work on sites.

In doing so, the Government recognises that the construction industry needs to be able to adapt its normal practices. As part of this, temporary extensions to working hours may be required on some sites to facilitate safe working and allow tasks to be completed where social distancing can be challenging. Longer working hours may also be needed to facilitate social distancing in the wider community, for instance by reducing pressure on public transport. It might be necessary to start work earlier in the day or work until later in the evenings.

However, many construction sites in England are subject to controls which restrict their hours of operation. These controls include planning conditions, which might directly restrict working hours or which might restrict working hours through a construction management plan. These conditions may be necessary, for example, to make the development acceptable to local residents and businesses who might otherwise suffer from traffic, noise and other local amenity issues.

The purpose of this Written Ministerial Statement is to make clear that, with immediate effect, local planning authorities should take a swift and positive approach to requests from developers and site operators for greater flexibility around construction site working hours. This is to ensure that, where appropriate, planning conditions are not a barrier to allowing developers the flexibility necessary to facilitate the safe operation of construction sites during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to proceed at pace with work otherwise delayed as a result of COVID-19.

The National Planning Policy Framework already emphasises that planning enforcement is a discretionary activity and local planning authorities should act proportionately in responding to suspected breaches of planning control.

Where only a short term or modest increase to working hours is required, local planning authorities should, having regard to the reason for the condition and to their legal obligations, not seek to undertake enforcement action.

Where developers require longer term or more significant changes to working hours, they should apply to the local planning authority to temporarily amend a condition or a construction management plan in the usual way. In doing so, it will be important for applicants to consider potential impacts and, where necessary, to put forward brief plans to manage concerns, drawing on existing good practice. In return, local planning authorities should respond speedily and sympathetically and engage positively with applicants to find solutions. Local authorities should prioritise these types of applications and give early clarity on the acceptability of extended hours to developers. They should ensure that decisions are issued quickly – with the aim of doing so within 10 working days.

In allowing greater flexibility, the Government recognises the need to mitigate the impact that any temporary relaxation of working hours could have on local residents and businesses. Requests to extend working hours should be proportionate and should not involve working on Sundays or bank holidays.

However, local authorities should not refuse requests to extend working hours until 9pm, Monday to Saturday without very compelling reasons for rejection. In some cases, such as in areas without residential properties, extending working hours beyond this, including allowing 24 hour working where appropriate, may be justified. In all cases, sympathetic site management should be demonstrated to mitigate local impacts and local authorities should show best endeavours to facilitate such requests.

Applications should only be refused where there are very compelling reasons such as significant impact on neighbouring businesses or uses which are particularly sensitive to noise, dust or vibration, which cannot be overcome through other mitigation, or where impacts on densely populated areas would be unreasonable.

Any temporary changes to construction working hours conditions granted by local planning authorities should not extend beyond 13 May 2021.

This Statement covers England only. The need for the Statement will be reviewed when the requirement for social distancing on construction sites diminishes.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS230
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 13 May 2020
Made by: Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Lords

Transport Update

My Right Honourable friend, the Secretary of State for Transport (Grant Shapps), has made the following Ministerial Statement

This statement concerns the Development Consent Order application for the M25 Junction 10/A3 Wisley Interchange Improvement made by Highways England under the Planning Act 2008, which had been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on 19 June 2019.

Under section 98(1) of the Act the Examining Authority appointed to examine the application must complete its examination within six months. Under section 98(4) the Examining Authority must submit its recommendation report to the Secretary of State within three months of its completion of the examination. Under section 107(1) of the Act, following receipt of the Examining Authority’s recommendation report, the Secretary of State must decide whether to grant development consent within three months.

Sections 98(4) and 107(3) of the Act give the relevant Secretary of State power to set new deadlines in respect of the above which are later than the statutory maxima. For this application, the relevant Secretary of State is the Secretary of State for Transport. In exercising this power, the Secretary of State for Transport must, amongst other things, make a statement to Parliament announcing the new deadlines.

The examination for the M25 Junction 10 DCO began on 12 November 2019 and is due to close on 12 May 2020. The recommendation report would need to be sent to the Secretary of State on or before 12 August 2020. A decision in this case would therefore be made on or before 12 November 2020.

The deadline for the completion of the examination is to be extended to 12 July 2020 (an extension of two months) to enable examination hearings postponed in the light of Government advice concerning coronavirus (COVID-19) to be rescheduled and held in a virtual forum. Consequently, the deadline for the Examining Authority to submit its recommendation report to the Secretary of State for Transport is amended to 12 October 2020 and the deadline for the Secretary of State for Transport to take his decision is amended to 12 January 2021.

The decision to extend the examination under the Planning Act 2008 regime is not taken lightly and reflects the exceptional public health circumstances the country finds itself in.

The decision to set new deadlines is without prejudice to the decision on whether to grant development consent.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS233
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 13 May 2020
Made by: Lord Callanan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Climate Change and Corporate Responsibility )
Lords

Business Update

My Right Honourable friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Alok Sharma) has today made the following statement:

I am tabling this statement for the benefit of Honourable and Right Honourable Members to bring to their attention the changes we have made to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme so that more businesses can access the finance they need.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme was launched on 23 March and is facilitated by the Government-owned British Business Bank and delivered through its delivery partners. Lenders offer loans of up to £5 million to support small and medium sized businesses with a turnover up to £45 million that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme was launched on 20 April. Lenders can offer loans of up to £50 million to support viable businesses with a turnover of £45 million and above that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

On 3 April we announced changes to the CBILS scheme. The first change was to the use of personal guarantees under the scheme. Since the launch of CBILS, lenders had been permitted, but not obliged, to require a personal guarantee from businesses for loans of any size provided through CBILS. Lenders were never and will never be permitted under any circumstances to use business directors’ or their families’ principal residence as security. We made changes to the use of personal guarantees through the scheme to provide further reassurance regarding personal assets during this difficult time.

The largest CBILS lenders had already confirmed, on a voluntary basis, that they would not require personal guarantees for CBILS loans under £250,000. The changes we made to the terms of the scheme mean that no lender will be permitted to require a personal guarantee for loans or other CBILS facilities under £250,000.

For CBILS loans over £250,000, lenders are still permitted to require a personal guarantee, although under no circumstances may they use primary personal residences for this. Upon launch, in the event of a default, lenders were previously expected to seek to recover the loss from business assets and then using any personal guarantees. Only when these had been exhausted were they permitted to claim the residual loss under the guarantee agreement. We made changes to these terms so that lenders may now only look to the personal guarantee for a maximum of 20 per cent of the remaining debt before claiming 80 per cent of the residual loss under the guarantee agreement.

The second change concerned the requirements businesses had to meet to access CBILS. At launch, CBILS was designed to support SMEs unable to secure finance on commercial terms. Because CBILS was only available to companies that could not otherwise secure a debt facility, it meant that preferable terms, such as the government’s coverage of initial interest payments, were unavailable to those businesses that were able to secure facilities on commercial terms.

We therefore removed this requirement, meaning CBILS can now support lending to smaller businesses even where they could have secured a loan on commercial terms. This means that in addition to meeting company size and sectoral restrictions, the only other requirement for businesses is to be able to demonstrate they have been adversely affected by Covid-19 and for lenders to judge that the business is viable. This means that more businesses affected by the outbreak will be able to benefit from a CBILS facility and the government’s 12-month Business Interruption Payment and resulting lower initial repayments.

On 27 April, we announced further changes to the scheme. The cap on gross Government liability at the level of the lender’s whole CBILS portfolio has now been removed. Previously the Government’s gross liability was capped at 75 per cent of losses across the lender’s whole CBILS portfolio. Removing the portfolio cap therefore gives lenders an 80 per cent guarantee across all CBILS lending. This change should provide further confidence to lenders to support the timely supply of finance to businesses.

We are also removing the ‘forward looking’ element of the viability test. The current economic uncertainty means that many businesses are having difficulties providing cashflow forecasts, which is slowing down some lending decisions. Allowing lenders to base lending decisions purely on an assessment of business liability pre Covid-19 removes the requirement for lenders to ask for evidence of future cashflow, thereby speeding up lending decisions.

Finally, charities and Further Education colleges need no longer show that at least 50 per cent of their income comes from trading to be eligible for both CBILS and CLBILS loans. In practice, this requirement precluded a large number of organisations in these sectors from accessing support through these schemes, and its removal will support these organisations to access both schemes.

The removal of the portfolio cap increases the statutory contingent liability of the CBILS scheme, and I will be laying an updated Departmental Minute today containing a description of that revised liability undertaken. The other changes do not impact the statutory contingent liability of the CBILS scheme.

The removal of the requirement for at least 50 per cent of the income of charities and Further Education colleges to come from trading to be eligible for CLBILS also does not impact the statutory contingent liability of the CLBILS scheme.

For more information on this and other support for business, please go to https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/

WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 13 May 2020
Made by: Grant Shapps (Secretary of State for Transport)
Commons

Transport Update

This statement concerns the Development Consent Order application for the M25 Junction 10/A3 Wisley Interchange Improvement made by Highways England under the Planning Act 2008, which had been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on 19 June 2019.

Under section 98(1) of the Act the Examining Authority appointed to examine the application must complete its examination within six months. Under section 98(4) the Examining Authority must submit its recommendation report to the Secretary of State within three months of its completion of the examination. Under section 107(1) of the Act, following receipt of the Examining Authority’s recommendation report, the Secretary of State must decide whether to grant development consent within three months.

Sections 98(4) and 107(3) of the Act give the relevant Secretary of State power to set new deadlines in respect of the above which are later than the statutory maxima. For this application, the relevant Secretary of State is the Secretary of State for Transport. In exercising this power, the Secretary of State for Transport must, amongst other things, make a statement to Parliament announcing the new deadlines.

The examination for the M25 Junction 10 DCO began on 12 November 2019 and is due to close on 12 May 2020. The recommendation report would need to be sent to the Secretary of State on or before 12 August 2020. A decision in this case would therefore be made on or before 12 November 2020.

The deadline for the completion of the examination is to be extended to 12 July 2020 (an extension of two months) to enable examination hearings postponed in the light of Government advice concerning coronavirus (COVID-19) to be rescheduled and held in a virtual forum. Consequently, the deadline for the Examining Authority to submit its recommendation report to the Secretary of State for Transport is amended to 12 October 2020 and the deadline for the Secretary of State for Transport to take his decision is amended to 12 January 2021.

The decision to extend the examination under the Planning Act 2008 regime is not taken lightly and reflects the exceptional public health circumstances the country finds itself in.

The decision to set new deadlines is without prejudice to the decision on whether to grant development consent.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS229
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 13 May 2020
Made by: Alok Sharma (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy )
Commons

Business Update

I am tabling this statement for the benefit of Honourable and Right Honourable Members to bring to their attention the changes we have made to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme so that more businesses can access the finance they need.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme was launched on 23 March and is facilitated by the Government-owned British Business Bank and delivered through its delivery partners. Lenders offer loans of up to £5 million to support small and medium sized businesses with a turnover up to £45 million that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme was launched on 20 April. Lenders can offer loans of up to £50 million to support viable businesses with a turnover of £45 million and above that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

On 3 April we announced changes to the CBILS scheme. The first change was to the use of personal guarantees under the scheme. Since the launch of CBILS, lenders had been permitted, but not obliged, to require a personal guarantee from businesses for loans of any size provided through CBILS. Lenders were never and will never be permitted under any circumstances to use business directors’ or their families’ principal residence as security. We made changes to the use of personal guarantees through the scheme to provide further reassurance regarding personal assets during this difficult time.

The largest CBILS lenders had already confirmed, on a voluntary basis, that they would not require personal guarantees for CBILS loans under £250,000. The changes we made to the terms of the scheme mean that no lender will be permitted to require a personal guarantee for loans or other CBILS facilities under £250,000.

For CBILS loans over £250,000, lenders are still permitted to require a personal guarantee, although under no circumstances may they use primary personal residences for this. Upon launch, in the event of a default, lenders were previously expected to seek to recover the loss from business assets and then using any personal guarantees. Only when these had been exhausted were they permitted to claim the residual loss under the guarantee agreement. We made changes to these terms so that lenders may now only look to the personal guarantee for a maximum of 20 per cent of the remaining debt before claiming 80 per cent of the residual loss under the guarantee agreement.

The second change concerned the requirements businesses had to meet to access CBILS. At launch, CBILS was designed to support SMEs unable to secure finance on commercial terms. Because CBILS was only available to companies that could not otherwise secure a debt facility, it meant that preferable terms, such as the government’s coverage of initial interest payments, were unavailable to those businesses that were able to secure facilities on commercial terms.

We therefore removed this requirement, meaning CBILS can now support lending to smaller businesses even where they could have secured a loan on commercial terms. This means that in addition to meeting company size and sectoral restrictions, the only other requirement for businesses is to be able to demonstrate they have been adversely affected by Covid-19 and for lenders to judge that the business is viable. This means that more businesses affected by the outbreak will be able to benefit from a CBILS facility and the government’s 12-month Business Interruption Payment and resulting lower initial repayments.

On 27 April, we announced further changes to the scheme. The cap on gross Government liability at the level of the lender’s whole CBILS portfolio has now been removed. Previously the Government’s gross liability was capped at 75 per cent of losses across the lender’s whole CBILS portfolio. Removing the portfolio cap therefore gives lenders an 80 per cent guarantee across all CBILS lending. This change should provide further confidence to lenders to support the timely supply of finance to businesses.

We are also removing the ‘forward looking’ element of the viability test. The current economic uncertainty means that many businesses are having difficulties providing cashflow forecasts, which is slowing down some lending decisions. Allowing lenders to base lending decisions purely on an assessment of business liability pre Covid-19 removes the requirement for lenders to ask for evidence of future cashflow, thereby speeding up lending decisions.

Finally, charities and Further Education colleges need no longer show that at least 50 per cent of their income comes from trading to be eligible for both CBILS and CLBILS loans. In practice, this requirement precluded a large number of organisations in these sectors from accessing support through these schemes, and its removal will support these organisations to access both schemes.

The removal of the portfolio cap increases the statutory contingent liability of the CBILS scheme, and I will be laying an updated Departmental Minute today containing a description of that revised liability undertaken. The other changes do not impact the statutory contingent liability of the CBILS scheme.

The removal of the requirement for at least 50 per cent of the income of charities and Further Education colleges to come from trading to be eligible for CLBILS also does not impact the statutory contingent liability of the CLBILS scheme.

For more information on this and other support for business, please go to https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/

WS
Department for International Trade
Made on: 13 May 2020
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (Secretary of State for Department of International Trade)
Commons

The UK’s approach to Negotiations with Japan

Coronavirus is the biggest threat this country has faced in decades. The Government is doing all it can to protect business from the worst effects of coronavirus in the immediate term. We must take steps to support our economy, reduce impacts and provide opportunities for the future economic recovery.

More trade is essential if the UK is to overcome the unprecedented economic challenge posed by coronavirus. It can give us security at home and opportunities abroad – opening new markets for business, bringing investment, better jobs, higher wages and lower prices just as we need them most. At a time when protectionist barriers are on the rise, all countries need to work together to ensure long-term prosperity and international trade is central to this cooperation.

That is why we will use our voice as a new independent trading nation to champion free trade, fight protectionism and remove barriers at every opportunity. The Government’s ambition is to secure free trade agreements (FTAs) with countries covering 80% of UK trade within the next three years, to become a truly Global Britain.

An enhanced FTA with Japan, the 3rd largest economy in the world in 2018, represents significant opportunities throughout the economy, from agriculture to digital. It will also help us increase the resilience of our supply chains and the security of our whole economy as we diversify our trade.

A deal with Japan will be a driving force to maximise the UK’s advantage in the opportunities Asia Pacific affords. These bilateral negotiations are a logical first step to joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), given that Japan is CPTPP’s largest economy.

Japan is a developed economy with high standards and we are major investors in each other’s economies. Trade with Japan is integral to UK jobs and businesses. In 2018, around 9,500 VAT registered businesses exported £6bn worth of goods to Japan, employing 2.4 million people. Around 6,700 VAT registered business, employing 2.5 million people, imported £10bn worth of goods from Japan.

An enhanced FTA with Japan is therefore expected to deliver a significant and sustained long term boost to every region in the UK. Our analysis shows that in the long run, the UK economy could benefit from a £1.5 billion boost, as the trade deal could increase trade flows between both countries by £15.2 billion. UK workers’ wages could increase by £800 million in the long run as a result of the deal.

Total annual tariff reductions on goods imports from Japan could be worth up to around £275 million per year in the long run. Some 59% of all Japanese goods imported into the UK and 44% of all UK goods exported into Japan are used in supply chains (average 2016-2018). So as well as reducing the price of consumer goods, lower tariffs could also cut the costs of domestic production in both countries.

Removing trade barriers with Japan could deliver huge gains, both for the 8,000 UK Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) across the UK already exporting goods with Japan as well as those making plans to enter the Japanese market. For example, total annual tariff reductions on goods exports to Japan could be worth around £33 million per year in the long run.

The deal will also provide cutting edge provisions on digital trade that maximise opportunities for trade across all sectors of the economy, providing trust and stability for UK businesses, entrepreneurs and exporters. Such provisions will reduce trade barriers and make it easier for the SMEs already exporting goods to Japan. UK businesses will have the opportunity to lead on innovation, supporting the development of important emerging technologies, such as quantum computing. E-commerce and the creative industries will also benefit from the free flow of data and strong copyright provisions.

That is why today, the Department for International Trade is publishing a comprehensive document setting out the UK’s strategic approach to an enhanced FTA between the UK and Japan. We will be placing copies in the House libraries. The document is set out in three parts:

  • The Government’s negotiating objectives for an enhanced FTA with Japan, using the existing EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement as a basis.
  • The Government response to the Call for Input on trade negotiations with Japan, providing an overview of the responses received and setting out how these have fed into our policy development.
  • A Scoping Assessment providing a preliminary assessment of the potential long-term economic impacts of an enhanced FTA between the UK and Japan.

The objectives published today are informed by our Call for Input, which ran for six weeks between 20 September and 4 November 2019 and gave businesses, interest groups and members of the public the opportunity to highlight their priorities for a potential future agreement with Japan.

A deal with Japan will help us to deliver opportunity and unleash the potential of every part of our United Kingdom. Analysis in the Scoping Assessment shows a UK-Japan enhanced FTA could have a positive impact on every UK nation and region in the long run, with Scotland, the East Midlands and London expected to benefit the most.

We are engaging with the devolved administrations, crown dependencies and overseas territories to ensure that we develop an enhanced FTA that works for the whole of the UK.

Our negotiating objectives clearly set out our priorities for an ambitious and comprehensive agreement, which will build on our existing EPA to strengthen the economic relationship with one of our largest bilateral trading partners.

The Government is committed to transparency and we will continue to ensure that parliamentarians, UK citizens and businesses have access to the information they need on our trade negotiations.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS233
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 12 May 2020
Made by: Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Lords

Transport Update

My Right Honourable friend, the Secretary of State for Transport (Grant Shapps), has made the following Ministerial Statement.

This statement concerns the application for the A38 Derby Junctions Development Consent Order made by Highways England under the Planning Act 2008, which had been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on 23 April 2019.

Under section 98(1) of the Planning Act 2008 the Examining Authority appointed to examine the application must complete its examination within six months. Under section 98(4) the Examining Authority must submit its recommendation report to the Secretary of State within three months of its completion of the examination. The examination began on 8 October 2019 and was due to close on 8 April 2020. The recommendation report would need to be sent to the Secretary of State on or before 8 July 2020.

Under section 107(1) of the Act, following receipt of the Examining Authority’s recommendation report, the Secretary of State must decide whether to grant development consent. A decision in this case would therefore be made on or before 8 October 2020.

Sub-sections 98(4) and 107(3) of the Act give the relevant Secretary of State power to set new deadlines in respect of the above which are later than the statutory maxima. For this application, the relevant Secretary of State is the Secretary of State for Transport. In exercising this power, the Secretary of State for Transport must, amongst other things, make a statement to Parliament announcing the new deadlines.

The deadline for the completion of the examination is to be extended to 8 September 2020 (an extension of five months) to enable examination hearings postponed in the light of Government advice concerning coronavirus (COVID-19) to be rescheduled and held in a virtual forum. Consequently, the deadline for the Examining Authority to submit its recommendation report to the Secretary of State for Transport is amended to 8 December 2020 and the deadline for the Secretary of State for Transport to take his decision is amended to 8 March 2021.

The decision to extend an examination under the Planning Act 2008 regime is not taken lightly and reflects the exceptional public health circumstances the country finds itself in.

The decision to set a new deadline is without prejudice to the decision on whether to grant development consent.






This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS226
WS
Treasury
Made on: 12 May 2020
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (Minister of State)
Lords

Economy Update

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

The Government’s economic plan is one of the most comprehensive in the world.

We have provided:

  • Billions of pounds of grants and loans for businesses
  • Tens of billions of pounds of deferred taxes
  • Income protection for millions of the self-employed
  • And a strengthened safety net to protect millions of the most vulnerable people.

These schemes speak to my and this Conservative government’s values. We believe in the dignity of work. And we are doing everything we can to protect people currently unable to work.

Yesterday, my Right Honourable Friend the Prime Minister set out our plan for the next phase of the public health response. Today I can confirm the next stage of our Jobs Retention Scheme.

The scheme has been a world-leading economic intervention, supporting livelihoods and protecting futures. 7.5 million jobs have been furloughed – jobs we could have lost if we had not acted. Nearly a million businesses who could have closed shop for good. And as we reopen the economy we will need to support people back to work. We will do so in a measured way.

I can announce the job retention scheme will be extended, for four months, until the end of October. By that point, we will have provided eight months of support to British people and businesses.

Until the end of July, there will be no changes whatsoever. Then from August to October the scheme will continue, for all sectors and regions of the UK, but with greater flexibility to support the transition back to work. Employers currently using the scheme will be able to bring furloughed employees back part time. And to change their incentives, we will ask employers to start sharing, with government, the costs of paying people’s salaries.

Full details will follow by the end of May, but I want to assure people today of one thing that won’t change: Workers will, through the combined efforts of government and employers, continue to receive the same overall level of support as they do now, at 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500. I’m extending this scheme because I won’t give up on the people who rely on it.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS229
WS
Treasury
Made on: 12 May 2020
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (Minister of State)
Lords

IMF Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust

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

The Government have today augmented the UK’s 2010 agreement to lend to the International Monetary Fund’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust by a total of 2 billion Special Drawing Rights (approximately £2.2 billion) to support economic recovery and response to COVID-19 in the most vulnerable countries. This takes the total UK agreement to up to 4 billion Special Drawing Rights (approximately £4.4 billion). A copy of the agreement will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses in due course.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS228
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 12 May 2020
Made by: Baroness Goldie (Minister of State, Ministry of Defecne)
Lords

Service Complaints Ombudsman’s Annual Report 2019

My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Defence People and Veterans (Johnny Mercer MP) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am pleased to lay before Parliament today the Service Complaints Ombudsman’s Annual Report for 2019 on the fairness, effectiveness and efficiency of the Service complaints system.

This report is published by Nicola Williams – her last as Ombudsman - and covers the fourth year of operation of the reformed Service complaints system and the work of her office in 2019.

The findings of the Report and the new recommendations made will now be considered fully by MOD, and a formal response to the Ombudsman will follow once that work is complete.


WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 12 May 2020
Made by: Johnny Mercer (The Minister for Defence People and Veterans )
Commons

Service Complaints Ombudsman’s Annual Report 2019

I am pleased to lay before Parliament today the Service Complaints Ombudsman’s Annual Report for 2019 on the fairness, effectiveness and efficiency of the Service complaints system.

This report is published by Nicola Williams – her last as Ombudsman - and covers the fourth year of operation of the reformed Service complaints system and the work of her office in 2019.

The findings of the Report and the new recommendations made will now be considered fully by MOD, and a formal response to the Ombudsman will follow once that work is complete.

WS
Treasury
Made on: 12 May 2020
Made by: Rishi Sunak (The Chancellor of the Exchequer)
Commons

Economy Update

The Government’s economic plan is one of the most comprehensive in the world.

We have provided:

  • Billions of pounds of grants and loans for businesses
  • Tens of billions of pounds of deferred taxes
  • Income protection for millions of the self-employed
  • And a strengthened safety net to protect millions of the most vulnerable people.

These schemes speak to my and this Conservative government’s values. We believe in the dignity of work. And we are doing everything we can to protect people currently unable to work.

Yesterday, my Right Honourable Friend the Prime Minister set out our plan for the next phase of the public health response. Today I can confirm the next stage of our Jobs Retention Scheme.

The scheme has been a world-leading economic intervention, supporting livelihoods and protecting futures. 7.5 million jobs have been furloughed – jobs we could have lost if we had not acted. Nearly a million businesses who could have closed shop for good. And as we reopen the economy we will need to support people back to work. We will do so in a measured way.

I can announce the job retention scheme will be extended, for four months, until the end of October. By that point, we will have provided eight months of support to British people and businesses.

Until the end of July, there will be no changes whatsoever. Then from August to October the scheme will continue, for all sectors and regions of the UK, but with greater flexibility to support the transition back to work. Employers currently using the scheme will be able to bring furloughed employees back part time. And to change their incentives, we will ask employers to start sharing, with government, the costs of paying people’s salaries.

Full details will follow by the end of May, but I want to assure people today of one thing that won’t change: Workers will, through the combined efforts of government and employers, continue to receive the same overall level of support as they do now, at 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500. I’m extending this scheme because I won’t give up on the people who rely on it.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS226
WS
Treasury
Made on: 12 May 2020
Made by: Rishi Sunak (The Chancellor of the Exchequer)
Commons

IMF Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust

The Government have today augmented the UK’s 2010 agreement to lend to the International Monetary Fund’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust by a total of 2 billion Special Drawing Rights (approximately £2.2 billion) to support economic recovery and response to COVID-19 in the most vulnerable countries. This takes the total UK agreement to up to 4 billion Special Drawing Rights (approximately £4.4 billion). A copy of the agreement will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses in due course.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS225
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 12 May 2020
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Donation of £1 million to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation

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

It is the normal practice when a government department proposes to make a gift of a value exceeding £300,000, for the department concerned to present to the House of Commons a minute giving particulars of the gift and explaining the circumstances; and to refrain from making the gift until fourteen parliamentary sitting days after the issue of the minute, except in cases of special urgency.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on 27 January 2020 made a formal joint announcement of a donation by the UK Government of £1 million to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation. This donation reflects HMG’s strong commitment to Holocaust remembrance in this the 75th anniversary year of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The donation will be funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government at a cost of £500,000 each. This is a gift donation with no preconditions attached. There is however a precedent for this donation. In 2011 the then Foreign Secretary and then Communities Secretary announced a £2.15 million donation to the Foundation over three years. The Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation was founded in 2009 and collects funding for the preservation and maintenance of the grounds and remnants of the former Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II Birkenau concentration camps, which are supervised by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim, Poland. The proposed donation has a symbolic value; moreover, preserving Auschwitz-Birkenau contributes to the continuation of Holocaust education. Several thousand UK citizens visit Auschwitz-Birkenau each year and it provides a lasting memorial to the dangers of antisemitism, extremism and racism in general.

The Treasury has approved the proposal in principle. If, during the period of fourteen parliamentary sitting days beginning on the date on which this minute was laid before the House of Commons, a Member signifies an objection by giving notice of a Parliamentary Question or a Motion relating to the minute, or by otherwise raising the matter in the House, final approval of the gift will be withheld pending an examination of the objection.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS227
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 12 May 2020
Made by: Lord Callanan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Climate Change and Corporate Responsibility )
Lords

Business Finance Update

My Right Honourable friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Alok Sharma) has today made the following statement:

I am tabling this statement for the benefit of Honourable and Right Honourable Members to bring to their attention the details of the new Bounce Back Loans Scheme (BBLS).

The Bounce Back Loans Scheme was launched on 4 May, and is facilitated by the Government-owned British Business Bank and delivered through its delivery partners. Lenders offer term loans of between £2,000 and £50,000 to support small businesses that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The scheme is available on a temporary basis for an initial period of six months and can be extended as required. The key parameters of the scheme are as follows:

  • BBLS will provide term loans only for a term of six years, with businesses able to access loans equivalent to 25 per cent of their turnover from £2,000 up to a maximum loan size of £50,000. The interest rate will be standardised across all lenders and fixed at 2.5 per cent. There will be no fees for borrowers to access the scheme.

  • The percentage of net (post-recovery) losses for each loan that is guaranteed by the Government will be 100 per cent, with no cap on gross Government liability at the level of the lender’s whole BBLS portfolio. Personal guarantees are not permitted, although some personal assets could be claimed as part of recovery from sole traders. Sole traders’ principal private residence and vehicle may never be claimed as part of recovery.

  • A Government grant (‘the business interruption payment’) will be provided for the benefit of businesses, equal to the interest incurred on the facility for the first twelve months. Businesses will not be required to make any repayments on capital during the first twelve months of the facility.

The Government will be subject to a new contingent liability as a result of the Bounce Back Loans Scheme, and I will be laying a Departmental Minute today containing a description of the liability undertaken.

For more information on this and other support for business, please go to https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/

WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 12 May 2020
Made by: Dominic Raab (Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Donation of £1 million to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation

It is the normal practice when a government department proposes to make a gift of a value exceeding £300,000, for the department concerned to present to the House of Commons a minute giving particulars of the gift and explaining the circumstances; and to refrain from making the gift until fourteen parliamentary sitting days after the issue of the minute, except in cases of special urgency.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on 27 January 2020 made a formal joint announcement of a donation by the UK Government of £1 million to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation. This donation reflects HMG’s strong commitment to Holocaust remembrance in this the 75th anniversary year of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The donation will be funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government at a cost of £500,000 each. This is a gift donation with no preconditions attached. There is however a precedent for this donation. In 2011 the then Foreign Secretary and then Communities Secretary announced a £2.15 million donation to the Foundation over three years. The Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation was founded in 2009 and collects funding for the preservation and maintenance of the grounds and remnants of the former Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II Birkenau concentration camps, which are supervised by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim, Poland. The proposed donation has a symbolic value; moreover, preserving Auschwitz-Birkenau contributes to the continuation of Holocaust education. Several thousand UK citizens visit Auschwitz-Birkenau each year and it provides a lasting memorial to the dangers of antisemitism, extremism and racism in general.

The Treasury has approved the proposal in principle. If, during the period of fourteen parliamentary sitting days beginning on the date on which this minute was laid before the House of Commons, a Member signifies an objection by giving notice of a Parliamentary Question or a Motion relating to the minute, or by otherwise raising the matter in the House, final approval of the gift will be withheld pending an examination of the objection.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS223
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Department for Transport
Made on: 12 May 2020
Made by: Grant Shapps (Secretary of State for Transport)
Commons

Transport Update

This statement concerns the application for the A38 Derby Junctions Development Consent Order made by Highways England under the Planning Act 2008, which had been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on 23 April 2019.

Under section 98(1) of the Planning Act 2008 the Examining Authority appointed to examine the application must complete its examination within six months. Under section 98(4) the Examining Authority must submit its recommendation report to the Secretary of State within three months of its completion of the examination. The examination began on 8 October 2019 and was due to close on 8 April 2020. The recommendation report would need to be sent to the Secretary of State on or before 8 July 2020.

Under section 107(1) of the Act, following receipt of the Examining Authority’s recommendation report, the Secretary of State must decide whether to grant development consent. A decision in this case would therefore be made on or before 8 October 2020.

Sub-sections 98(4) and 107(3) of the Act give the relevant Secretary of State power to set new deadlines in respect of the above which are later than the statutory maxima. For this application, the relevant Secretary of State is the Secretary of State for Transport. In exercising this power, the Secretary of State for Transport must, amongst other things, make a statement to Parliament announcing the new deadlines.

The deadline for the completion of the examination is to be extended to 8 September 2020 (an extension of five months) to enable examination hearings postponed in the light of Government advice concerning coronavirus (COVID-19) to be rescheduled and held in a virtual forum. Consequently, the deadline for the Examining Authority to submit its recommendation report to the Secretary of State for Transport is amended to 8 December 2020 and the deadline for the Secretary of State for Transport to take his decision is amended to 8 March 2021.

The decision to extend an examination under the Planning Act 2008 regime is not taken lightly and reflects the exceptional public health circumstances the country finds itself in.

The decision to set a new deadline is without prejudice to the decision on whether to grant development consent.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS227
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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 11 May 2020
Made by: Alok Sharma (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Commons

Business Update

The government today published new guidance to help UK employers get their businesses back up and running and workplaces operating as safely as possible.

The new guidance covers eight workplace settings from outdoor environments and construction sites to factories and takeaways and sets out practical steps for businesses.

The government has consulted approximately 250 stakeholders in preparing the guidance. It has been developed with input from firms, unions, industry bodies and the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), to develop best practice on the safest ways of working across the economy, providing people with the confidence they need to return to work.

The guidance applies to businesses currently open. This also includes guidance for shops which we believe may be in a position to begin a phased reopening at the earliest from the 1 June. Guidance for other sectors that are not currently open will be developed and published ahead of those establishments opening to give those businesses time to plan. The Government will also shortly set up taskforces to work with these sectors to develop safe ways for them to open at the earliest point at which it is safe to do so, as well as pilot re-openings to test businesses’ ability to adopt the guidelines.

As part of today’s announcement, the government has made available up to an extra £14 million for the HSE, equivalent to an increase of 10% of their budget, for extra call centre employees, inspectors and equipment if needed.

The guidance is available at gov.uk/workingsafely.

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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 11 May 2020
Made by: Alok Sharma (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Commons

Business Finance Update

I am tabling this statement for the benefit of Honourable and Right Honourable Members to bring to their attention the details of the new Bounce Back Loans Scheme (BBLS).

The Bounce Back Loans Scheme was launched on 4 May, and is facilitated by the Government-owned British Business Bank and delivered through its delivery partners. Lenders offer term loans of between £2,000 and £50,000 to support small businesses that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The scheme is available on a temporary basis for an initial period of six months and can be extended as required. The key parameters of the scheme are as follows:

  • BBLS will provide term loans only for a term of six years, with businesses able to access loans equivalent to 25 per cent of their turnover from £2,000 up to a maximum loan size of £50,000. The interest rate will be standardised across all lenders and fixed at 2.5 per cent. There will be no fees for borrowers to access the scheme.

  • The percentage of net (post-recovery) losses for each loan that is guaranteed by the Government will be 100 per cent, with no cap on gross Government liability at the level of the lender’s whole BBLS portfolio. Personal guarantees are not permitted, although some personal assets could be claimed as part of recovery from sole traders. Sole traders’ principal private residence and vehicle may never be claimed as part of recovery.

  • A Government grant (‘the business interruption payment’) will be provided for the benefit of businesses, equal to the interest incurred on the facility for the first twelve months. Businesses will not be required to make any repayments on capital during the first twelve months of the facility.

The Government will be subject to a new contingent liability as a result of the Bounce Back Loans Scheme, and I will be laying a Departmental Minute today containing a description of the liability undertaken.

For more information on this and other support for business, please go to https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/

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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 11 May 2020
Made by: Lord Callanan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Climate Change and Corporate Responsibility))
Lords

Business Update

My Right Honourable friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Alok Sharma) has today made the following statement:The government today published new guidance to help UK employers get their businesses back up and running and workplaces operating as safely as possible.

The new guidance covers eight workplace settings from outdoor environments and construction sites to factories and takeaways and sets out practical steps for businesses.

The government has consulted approximately 250 stakeholders in preparing the guidance. It has been developed with input from firms, unions, industry bodies and the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), to develop best practice on the safest ways of working across the economy, providing people with the confidence they need to return to work.

The guidance applies to businesses currently open. This also includes guidance for shops which we believe may be in a position to begin a phased reopening at the earliest from the 1 June. Guidance for other sectors that are not currently open will be developed and published ahead of those establishments opening to give those businesses time to plan. The Government will also shortly set up taskforces to work with these sectors to develop safe ways for them to open at the earliest point at which it is safe to do so, as well as pilot re-openings to test businesses’ ability to adopt the guidelines.

As part of today’s announcement, the government has made available up to an extra £14 million for the HSE, equivalent to an increase of 10% of their budget, for extra call centre employees, inspectors and equipment if needed.

The guidance is available at gov.uk/workingsafely.

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Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 05 May 2020
Made by: Lord Bethell (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Innovation)
Lords

Covid-19 Update

My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (Matt Hancock) has made the following written statement:

Yesterday we launched the NHS Covid-19 app (“the app”) for initial rollout on the Isle of Wight over the next two weeks.

This is the first phase in the development and roll out of a national ‘test and trace’ programme which will bring together the app, expanded web and phone-based contact tracing, and swab testing for those with potential Covid-19 symptoms. This is a vital part of our plans as we move towards the second phase in our battle against Covid-19.

The app has been built by a team including world-leading doctors, scientists and tech experts. If someone installs the app, it will start logging the distance between their phone and other phones nearby that also have the app installed. If a person becomes unwell with symptoms of Covid-19, they can report this through the app, which will then anonymously alert other app users that they have come into significant contact with over the previous few days and provide appropriate advice. The app, which takes full consideration of privacy and security, has already been tested in closed conditions at an RAF base.

This initial rollout will provide valuable insights into how the public respond to and use the app and how we can improve it further. There will be no changes to social distancing measures during this initial rollout phase.

Using the app is voluntary but the more residents who download the app, the more informed our national response will be. The Isle of Wight is leading the way for the UK, for which we thank them.

The more rapidly we can identify people at risk of infection and provide them with advice on what action they should take, the more effectively we can reduce the spread of the virus. The test and trace programme will play an increasingly important part in our wider strategy to save lives and protect the health and care system.

Further details of the national roll out will be available soon.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS222
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Home Office
Made on: 05 May 2020
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Publication of the 2nd Annual Report of the Biometrics and Forensics Ethics Group

Today I am pleased to announce the publication of the 2nd annual report of the Biometrics and Forensic Ethics Group. The Group provides Ministers with independent advice on matters relating to data ethics and ethical issues in forensic science and biometrics.

I would like to thank the Group for their strategic advice concerning the use and retention of biometric identifiers and for their advice on the development and testing of new biometric technologies.

The group have made four recommendations covering; the testing and use of Live Facial Recognition technologies by police forces; the design and implementation of Data Privacy Impact Assessments with the Home Office; and the use of familial DNA analysis results in assessing the value of genetic genealogy techniques for law enforcement.

In addition, the group continue to recommend a review of biometric retention and deletion schedules, particularly regarding custody images.

The Biometrics and Forensics Ethics Group annual report can be viewed on the website of the Group at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/biometrics-and-forensics-ethics-group and a copy will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS223
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Home Office
Made on: 05 May 2020
Made by: Kit Malthouse (The Minister of State for Crime, Policing and the Fire Service)
Commons

Publication of the 2nd Annual Report of the Biometrics and Forensics Ethics Group

My Noble Friend the Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

Today I am pleased to announce the publication of the 2nd annual report of the Biometrics and Forensic Ethics Group. The Group provides Ministers with independent advice on matters relating to data ethics and ethical issues in forensic science and biometrics.

I would like to thank the Group for their strategic advice concerning the use and retention of biometric identifiers and for their advice on the development and testing of new biometric technologies.

The group have made four recommendations covering; the testing and use of Live Facial Recognition technologies by police forces; the design and implementation of Data Privacy Impact Assessments with the Home Office; and the use of familial DNA analysis results in assessing the value of genetic genealogy techniques for law enforcement.

In addition, the group continue to recommend a review of biometric retention and deletion schedules, particularly regarding custody images.

The Biometrics and Forensics Ethics Group annual report can be viewed on the website of the Group at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/biometrics-and-forensics-ethics-group and a copy will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS219
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Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 05 May 2020
Made by: Matt Hancock (Secretary of State for Health and Social Care)
Commons

Covid-19 Update

Yesterday we launched the NHS Covid-19 app (“the app”) for initial rollout on the Isle of Wight over the next two weeks.

This is the first phase in the development and roll out of a national ‘test and trace’ programme which will bring together the app, expanded web and phone-based contact tracing, and swab testing for those with potential Covid-19 symptoms. This is a vital part of our plans as we move towards the second phase in our battle against Covid-19.

The app has been built by a team including world-leading doctors, scientists and tech experts. If someone installs the app, it will start logging the distance between their phone and other phones nearby that also have the app installed. If a person becomes unwell with symptoms of Covid-19, they can report this through the app, which will then anonymously alert other app users that they have come into significant contact with over the previous few days and provide appropriate advice. The app, which takes full consideration of privacy and security, has already been tested in closed conditions at an RAF base.

This initial rollout will provide valuable insights into how the public respond to and use the app and how we can improve it further. There will be no changes to social distancing measures during this initial rollout phase.

Using the app is voluntary but the more residents who download the app, the more informed our national response will be. The Isle of Wight is leading the way for the UK, for which we thank them.

The more rapidly we can identify people at risk of infection and provide them with advice on what action they should take, the more effectively we can reduce the spread of the virus. The test and trace programme will play an increasingly important part in our wider strategy to save lives and protect the health and care system.

Further details of the national roll out will be available soon.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS220
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Department for Education
Made on: 04 May 2020
Made by: Baroness Berridge (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System)
Lords

Contingencies Fund Advance

My right honourable friend the Minister of State for School Standards (Nick Gibb) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) intends to redeploy some employed staff and allocate some contracted inspectors to support government departments, their agencies, local authorities and the education and care sectors (including schools, further education colleges, nurseries and children’s homes) during the period in which routine inspection has temporarily paused as a consequence of Covid-19.

The Government supports this approach, and the Secretary of State for Education has assigned an additional function to HM Chief Inspector for this purpose, under section 118(4) of the Education and Inspections Act 2006. A copy of the Secretary of State’s letter to Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector confirming this additional function will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Ofsted requires an advance to support the redeployment until the 2020-21 ambit is agreed through the passage of the Supply and Appropriation (Main Estimates) Act 2020 in July.

Parliamentary approval for resources of £32,000,000 for this new expenditure will be sought in a Main Estimate for the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £32,000,000 will be met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund

As Ofsted is a non-ministerial department, I am making this statement on behalf of its Accounting Officer, to ensure that Parliament is informed of this advance from the Contingencies Fund in the normal way.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS221
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Department for Education
Made on: 04 May 2020
Made by: Nick Gibb (The Minister of State for School Standards)
Commons

Contingencies Fund Advance

The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) intends to redeploy some employed staff and allocate some contracted inspectors to support government departments, their agencies, local authorities and the education and care sectors (including schools, further education colleges, nurseries and children’s homes) during the period in which routine inspection has temporarily paused as a consequence of Covid-19.

The Government supports this approach, and the Secretary of State for Education has assigned an additional function to HM Chief Inspector for this purpose, under section 118(4) of the Education and Inspections Act 2006. A copy of the Secretary of State’s letter to Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector confirming this additional function will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Ofsted requires an advance to support the redeployment until the 2020-21 ambit is agreed through the passage of the Supply and Appropriation (Main Estimates) Act 2020 in July.

Parliamentary approval for resources of £32,000,000 for this new expenditure will be sought in a Main Estimate for the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £32,000,000 will be met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund

As Ofsted is a non-ministerial department, I am making this statement on behalf of its Accounting Officer, to ensure that Parliament is informed of this advance from the Contingencies Fund in the normal way.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS218
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Treasury
Made on: 30 April 2020
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (Minister of State)
Lords

Convergence Programme

Article 121 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) requires the UK to send an annual convergence programme to the European Commission reporting upon its fiscal situation and policies. Submitting the annual convergence programme remains a legal requirement during the Transition Period, as set out in the Withdrawal Agreement.

Once approved by both Houses of Parliament, the UK’s convergence programme will be sent to the European Commission. This deadline was set in accordance with the European semester timetable for both convergence and national reform programmes.

Section 5 of the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1993 requires that the content of the convergence programme must be drawn from an assessment of the UK’s economic and budgetary position which has been presented to Parliament by the Government for its approval. This assessment is based on the Spring Budget 2020 report and the most recent Office for Budget Responsibility’s “Economic and Fiscal Outlook” and it is this content, not the convergence programme itself, which requires the approval of the House for the purposes of the Act.

Article 121, along with Article 126 of the TFEU, is the legal basis for the Stability and Growth Pact, which is the co-ordination mechanism for EU fiscal policies and requires Member States, and the United Kingdom during the Transition Period, to avoid excessive government deficits. Although the UK participates in the Stability and Growth Pact, by virtue of its protocol to the Treaty opting out of the euro, it is only required to "endeavour to avoid" excessive deficits. Unlike the euro area States, the UK is not subject to sanctions at any stage of the European semester process.

A Motion to Approve has been passed in the House of Commons and subject to the progress of parliamentary business, a debate will take place in the House of Lords, in order for both Houses to approve this assessment before the convergence programme is sent to the European Commission. To inform the debate I will deposit a copy of a document in the House of Lords Library early next week.

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Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 29 April 2020
Made by: Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities)
Lords

Local Government Finance update

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

I wish to set out to the House the financial support my department has provided to local government so that it can fulfil its essential role in the national response to covid-19.

Additional Funding

In total I have announced over £3.2 billion of additional funding for councils to support their continued efforts to address the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in their communities, both through increased expenditure and those budgetary pressures that arise from falls in income during the lockdown period.

Recognising that councils are best placed to decide how to meet pressures in their local area, this funding has not been ringfenced; however, we expect councils to prioritise spending in those areas where we asked them to carry out extra work and new tasks, in particular, in relation to adult social care, children’s services, public health services, shielding the vulnerable, homelessness and rough sleeping, supporting the NHS, and managing excess deaths.

An initial £1.6 billion of funding was announced on 19 March, and allocated based on a mixture of the Adult Social Care Relative Needs Formula; and the 2013-14 Settlement Funding Assessment, which is a measure of general service needs – both of which are familiar formulations to local councils. Further details of this allocation, broken down by individual local authority, can be found on the government website.

On 18 April I announced a further £1.6 billion to support councils in their continued response to the pandemic. Full details of the allocation of this further funding were announced on 28 April 2020 and have, once again, been made available on the Government website. These additional allocations have been made on a per capita basis, using the latest ONS population projections. This reflects that this is a national emergency and there are a range of pressures across local government. For two-tier areas, the split of this funding between county and district authorities will be 65:35. This provides significantly more funding to district councils than the first round of allocations reflecting the impact that a reduction in incomes from sales, fees and charges has had, particularly on these councils. However, this formulation also continues to reflect the acute pressures on social care.

Of the additional funding, £28.5 million will support standalone fire and rescue authorities (including Greater Manchester Fire). In addition, the Home Office will launch a £6 million Fire Covid-19 Contingency Fund specifically to support fire and rescue authorities who incur significant costs as a result of additional duties during the covid-19 outbreak.

Cashflow Support

On 16 April, I announced measures to provide cashflow support to authorities. These were intended in part to mitigate the impact of temporary delays in tax payments. These measures include deferring the payment of the central government share of business rates by councils: payments collectively worth £2.6 billion; and, bringing forward central government payments of social care grants worth £850 million, so that they are paid entirely in April rather than in April, May, and June.

Future Reform

I am committed to reforming the funding framework for local government so that it is simpler, more up to date, and more transparent. However, in order to ensure that we get these reforms right, both the Government and councils need to work together to arrive at the right approach. Neither we nor councils currently have the capacity, nor the necessary degree of financial certainty, to engage properly with these reforms now. As such, I have announced that we will be suspending implementation of the Review of Relative Needs and Resources and the planned increase to 75% business rates retention in 2021-22. These decisions will allow councils to focus on meeting the immediate public health challenge posed by the pandemic.

The Government will work closely with local councils as it determines how best to treat accumulated business rates growth and the local government finance settlement in 2021-22.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS220
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Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 29 April 2020
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Local Government Finance update

I wish to set out to the House the financial support my department has provided to local government so that it can fulfil its essential role in the national response to covid-19.

Additional Funding

In total I have announced over £3.2 billion of additional funding for councils to support their continued efforts to address the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in their communities, both through increased expenditure and those budgetary pressures that arise from falls in income during the lockdown period.

Recognising that councils are best placed to decide how to meet pressures in their local area, this funding has not been ringfenced; however, we expect councils to prioritise spending in those areas where we asked them to carry out extra work and new tasks, in particular, in relation to adult social care, children’s services, public health services, shielding the vulnerable, homelessness and rough sleeping, supporting the NHS, and managing excess deaths.

An initial £1.6 billion of funding was announced on 19 March, and allocated based on a mixture of the Adult Social Care Relative Needs Formula; and the 2013-14 Settlement Funding Assessment, which is a measure of general service needs – both of which are familiar formulations to local councils. Further details of this allocation, broken down by individual local authority, can be found on the government website.

On 18 April I announced a further £1.6 billion to support councils in their continued response to the pandemic. Full details of the allocation of this further funding were announced on 28 April 2020 and have, once again, been made available on the Government website. These additional allocations have been made on a per capita basis, using the latest ONS population projections. This reflects that this is a national emergency and there are a range of pressures across local government. For two-tier areas, the split of this funding between county and district authorities will be 65:35. This provides significantly more funding to district councils than the first round of allocations reflecting the impact that a reduction in incomes from sales, fees and charges has had, particularly on these councils. However, this formulation also continues to reflect the acute pressures on social care.

Of the additional funding, £28.5 million will support standalone fire and rescue authorities (including Greater Manchester Fire). In addition, the Home Office will launch a £6 million Fire Covid-19 Contingency Fund specifically to support fire and rescue authorities who incur significant costs as a result of additional duties during the covid-19 outbreak.

Cashflow Support

On 16 April, I announced measures to provide cashflow support to authorities. These were intended in part to mitigate the impact of temporary delays in tax payments. These measures include deferring the payment of the central government share of business rates by councils: payments collectively worth £2.6 billion; and, bringing forward central government payments of social care grants worth £850 million, so that they are paid entirely in April rather than in April, May, and June.

Future Reform

I am committed to reforming the funding framework for local government so that it is simpler, more up to date, and more transparent. However, in order to ensure that we get these reforms right, both the Government and councils need to work together to arrive at the right approach. Neither we nor councils currently have the capacity, nor the necessary degree of financial certainty, to engage properly with these reforms now. As such, I have announced that we will be suspending implementation of the Review of Relative Needs and Resources and the planned increase to 75% business rates retention in 2021-22. These decisions will allow councils to focus on meeting the immediate public health challenge posed by the pandemic.

The Government will work closely with local councils as it determines how best to treat accumulated business rates growth and the local government finance settlement in 2021-22.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS216
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Treasury
Made on: 29 April 2020
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (Minister of State)
Lords

Bilateral loan to Ireland

My honourable friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury (John Glen) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I would like to update Parliament on the loan to Ireland.

In December 2010, the UK agreed to provide a bilateral loan of £3.2 billion as part of a €67.5 billion international assistance package for Ireland. The loan was disbursed in 8 tranches, and the final tranche was drawn down on 26 September 2013. Ireland has made interest payments on the loan every six months since the first disbursement.

HM Treasury has today provided a further Report to Parliament in relation to the loan as required under the Loans to Ireland Act 2010. The Report relates to the period from 1 October 2019 to 31 March 2020. It reports fully on the one principal repayment and one regular interest payment received by HM Treasury during this period, and sets out details of future payments up to the final repayment on 26 March 2021.

HM Treasury received a further payment on 20 April 2020, after the scope of the report published today. In line with the agreed repayment schedule, HM Treasury received a total payment of £406,672,904.07 from Ireland. This comprises the repayment of £403,370,000 in principal and £3,302,904.07 in accrued interest. The total outstanding principal on the loan is £1,613,480,000, and the Government continues to expect the loan to be repaid in full and on time.

A written ministerial statement on the previous statutory report regarding the loan to Ireland was issued to Parliament on 3 October 2019, Official Report, column 62WS.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS219
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Treasury
Made on: 29 April 2020
Made by: John Glen (The Economic Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Bilateral loan to Ireland

I would like to update Parliament on the loan to Ireland.

In December 2010, the UK agreed to provide a bilateral loan of £3.2 billion as part of a €67.5 billion international assistance package for Ireland. The loan was disbursed in 8 tranches, and the final tranche was drawn down on 26 September 2013. Ireland has made interest payments on the loan every six months since the first disbursement.

HM Treasury has today provided a further Report to Parliament in relation to the loan as required under the Loans to Ireland Act 2010. The Report relates to the period from 1 October 2019 to 31 March 2020. It reports fully on the one principal repayment and one regular interest payment received by HM Treasury during this period, and sets out details of future payments up to the final repayment on 26 March 2021.

HM Treasury received a further payment on 20 April 2020, after the scope of the report published today. In line with the agreed repayment schedule, HM Treasury received a total payment of £406,672,904.07 from Ireland. This comprises the repayment of £403,370,000 in principal and £3,302,904.07 in accrued interest. The total outstanding principal on the loan is £1,613,480,000, and the Government continues to expect the loan to be repaid in full and on time.

A written ministerial statement on the previous statutory report regarding the loan to Ireland was issued to Parliament on 3 October 2019, Official Report, column 62WS.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS215
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Cabinet Office
Made on: 29 April 2020
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (Minister of State)
Lords

Notification of Contingent Liability

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Rt Hon Michael Gove MP) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

During the course of the coronavirus outbreak, the Government’s strategy to increase ventilator capacity has focused on procuring more devices from existing manufacturers overseas, scaling up production of existing ventilator suppliers, and working with industry to design and manufacture new devices.

The Ventilator Challenge was launched in March. At present, two devices from the Ventilator Challenge are ready for use in hospitals, with the Penlon ESO2 device becoming the first newly-adapted device to receive approval for use during the pandemic from the regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). A number of other devices are currently undergoing tests for regulatory approval.

Given the unprecedented circumstances of the pandemic, Cabinet Office has given indemnities both against IP infringement, in respect of the designs, and against product liability claims against the manufacturers of Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System (RMVS) products.

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

Unfortunately, due to the urgent need to finalise the deal and the confidential commercial nature of the negotiations, it was not possible to notify Parliament of the particulars of the liability and allow the required 14 days’ notice prior to the liabilities going live. A delay would have resulted in an unacceptable delay in lifesaving equipment being provided to the NHS.

The precise commercial terms which have been negotiated for each supplier are, and will remain, commercially confidential. While it is difficult to estimate the potential liability exposure, it could exceed £300,000. For this reason, I am informing Parliament of these arrangements.

On this basis, I have today laid before Parliament a Departmental Minute setting out what these indemnities are.

The Treasury approved these liabilities before they were activated. However, if any Member of Parliament has concerns, he/she may write to me and I will be happy to examine their concerns and provide a response.



Departmental Minute (PDF Document, 51.71 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS216
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 29 April 2020
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (Minister of State)
Lords

Digital Identity and GOV.UK Verify Programme Update

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Rt Hon Michael Gove MP) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I would like to update the House on the GOV.UK Verify programme and the provision of digital identity services to government, following the WMS of October 2018 by the former Minister for Implementation, Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP.

As you will know, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has led to unprecedented demand for key online services using digital identity such as Universal Credit. In this light, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury has given approval to the Cabinet Office to continue GOV.UK Verify operations for up to a further 18 months.

The Government has also taken steps to bolster the resilience of the service which is facing an unprecedented level of usage.

During this time the Government will continue to update the House on our broader work as it progresses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS217
WS
Treasury
Made on: 29 April 2020
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (Minister of State)
Lords

Treasury Update

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

The Government warmly welcomes the expertise and resources offered by those who wish to come to the UK to combat the coronavirus, from anaesthetists through to engineers working on ventilator design and production.

However, the actions and presence of these individuals in the UK could inadvertently and unfairly affect their own tax residence status, and potentially deter others from giving their assistance.

Accordingly, the Government will legislate in Finance Bill 2020 to amend the Statutory Residence Test (SRT) to ensure that any period(s) between 1 March and 1 June 2020 spent in the UK by individuals working on coronavirus disease related activities in specified sectors will not count towards the residence test.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS218
WS
Treasury
Made on: 29 April 2020
Made by: Jesse Norman (The Financial Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Treasury Update

The Government warmly welcomes the expertise and resources offered by those who wish to come to the UK to combat the coronavirus, from anaesthetists through to engineers working on ventilator design and production.

However, the actions and presence of these individuals in the UK could inadvertently and unfairly affect their own tax residence status, and potentially deter others from giving their assistance.

Accordingly, the Government will legislate in Finance Bill 2020 to amend the Statutory Residence Test (SRT) to ensure that any period(s) between 1 March and 1 June 2020 spent in the UK by individuals working on coronavirus disease related activities in specified sectors will not count towards the residence test.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS212
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 29 April 2020
Made by: Michael Gove (Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office )
Commons

Digital Identity and GOV.UK Verify Programme Update

I would like to update the House on the GOV.UK Verify programme and the provision of digital identity services to government, following the WMS of October 2018 by the former Minister for Implementation, Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP.

As you will know, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has led to unprecedented demand for key online services using digital identity such as Universal Credit. In this light, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury has given approval to the Cabinet Office to continue GOV.UK Verify operations for up to a further 18 months.

The Government has also taken steps to bolster the resilience of the service which is facing an unprecedented level of usage.

During this time the Government will continue to update the House on our broader work as it progresses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS213
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 29 April 2020
Made by: Michael Gove (Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office )
Commons

Notification of Contingent Liability

During the course of the coronavirus outbreak, the Government’s strategy to increase ventilator capacity has focused on procuring more devices from existing manufacturers overseas, scaling up production of existing ventilator suppliers, and working with industry to design and manufacture new devices.

The Ventilator Challenge was launched in March. At present, two devices from the Ventilator Challenge are ready for use in hospitals, with the Penlon ESO2 device becoming the first newly-adapted device to receive approval for use during the pandemic from the regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). A number of other devices are currently undergoing tests for regulatory approval.

Given the unprecedented circumstances of the pandemic, Cabinet Office has given indemnities both against IP infringement, in respect of the designs, and against product liability claims against the manufacturers of Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System (RMVS) products.

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

Unfortunately, due to the urgent need to finalise the deal and the confidential commercial nature of the negotiations, it was not possible to notify Parliament of the particulars of the liability and allow the required 14 days’ notice prior to the liabilities going live. A delay would have resulted in an unacceptable delay in lifesaving equipment being provided to the NHS.

The precise commercial terms which have been negotiated for each supplier are, and will remain, commercially confidential. While it is difficult to estimate the potential liability exposure, it could exceed £300,000. For this reason, I am informing Parliament of these arrangements.

On this basis, I have today laid before Parliament a Departmental Minute setting out what these indemnities are.

The Treasury approved these liabilities before they were activated. However, if any Member of Parliament has concerns, he/she may write to me and I will be happy to examine their concerns and provide a response.



Departmental Minute (PDF Document, 51.71 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS214
WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 29 April 2020
Made by: Jo Churchill (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care))
Commons

Ministerial Correction – HL2971

My Noble Friend the Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Innovation (Lord Bethell of Romford) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I would like to inform the House that a written answer I gave on 15 April to the Noble Lord Sharkey contained information that was out of date at the time of answering. I wish to correct the formal record.

In my reply, I stated that information on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) methods review was not yet available. However, information had been shared by NICE that updates my answer as it originally stood, therefore, making the information provided on 15th April out of date.

The updated position is that NICE has considered its ability to carry out and complete the methods and process update and has decided to extend the timelines. NICE now plans to hold a 6-week public consultation on proposals in October 2020 and a further consultation on a draft programme manual in February 2021, with implementation in June 2021.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS208
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 29 April 2020
Made by: Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Lords

Transport Update

My Right Honourable friend, the Secretary of State for Transport (Grant Shapps), has made the following Ministerial Statement.

This statement confirms that it has been necessary to extend the deadlines for decisions on the following five applications made under the Planning Act as indicated below to allow for further work to be carried out before they are determined by the Secretary of State:

  • Lake Lothing 3rd Crossing Lowestoft: for the proposed development by Suffolk County Council of a new multi-span single highway opening bascule bridge over Lake Lothing in Lowestoft. The Secretary of State received the Examining Authority’s report on 5 September 2019 and the current deadline for a decision was 5 December 2019. The deadline is now extended to 5 May 2020;

  • West Midlands Strategic Rail Freight Interchange: for the proposed development by Four Ashes Limited of a new Strategic Rail Freight Interchange and other supporting infrastructure works near Junction 12 of the M6 motorway in South Staffordshire District. The Secretary of State received the Examining Authority’s report on 27 November 2019 and the current deadline for a decision was 27 February 2020. The deadline is now extended to 5 May 2020;

  • A303 Sparkford to Ilchester Dualling: for the proposed development by Highways England of a continuous dual carriageway on the A303 linking the Podimore Bypass and the Sparkford Bypass. The Secretary of State received the Examining Authority’s report on 12 September 2019 and the current deadline for a decision was 12 December 2019. The deadline is now extended to 17 July 2020;

  • A63 Castle Street Improvement – Hull: for the proposed improvement by Highways England of approximately 1.5km of the A63 and connecting side roads in Hull between Ropery Street and the Market Place/Queen Street junction. The Secretary of State received the Examining Authority’s report on 24 December 2019 and the current deadline for a decision was 24 March 2020. The deadline is now extended to 31 May 2020; and

  • A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down: for the proposed construction by Highways England of a new two-lane dual carriageway for the A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down in Wiltshire. The Secretary of State received the Examining Authority’s report on the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down Development Consent Order application on 2 January 2020 and the current deadline for a decision was 2 April 2020. The deadline is now extended to 17 July 2020.

    Under section 107(1) of the Planning Act 2008, the Secretary of State must make his decision within 3 months of receipt of the Examining Authority’s report unless exercising the power under section 107(3) to extend the deadline and make a Statement to the House of Parliament announcing the new deadline.

    The Department will also endeavour to issue decisions ahead of the deadlines above wherever possible.

    The decision to set new deadlines is without prejudice to the decisions on whether to give development consent for the above applications.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS212
WS
Home Office
Made on: 29 April 2020
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

The Misuse of Drugs (Coronavirus) (Amendments Relating to the Supply of Controlled Drugs During a Pandemic etc.) Regulations 2020

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

Today, the Government is laying the Misuse of Drugs (Coronavirus) (Amendments Relating to the Supply of Controlled Drugs During a Pandemic etc.) Regulations 2020 (‘the 2020 Regulations’) in the House.

These regulations enable emergency supply of controlled drugs during a pandemic and will come into force on 30 April 2020.

The instrument amends the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 (‘the 2001 Regulations’) in order to allow pharmacists at a registered pharmacy business to supply, in a pandemic situation, medicines without a prescription, where the patient has been receiving a Schedule 2, 3 or Part 1 Schedule 4 controlled drug as part of on-going treatment, and to supply Schedule 2, 3 or Part 1 Schedule 4 controlled drugs under a Serious Shortage Protocol. The amendments also allow pharmacists, in a pandemic situation, to change the intervals on instalment prescriptions for Schedule 2 and 3 controlled drugs without the immediate need for a new prescription from an authorised prescriber under the 2001 Regulations, with the approval of the prescriber or their appointed representative.

The amendments are enabling and would only be used in limited circumstances following an announcement by the Secretary of State and under conditions specified by the health service in the area(s) to which the announcement applies.

On 1 April 2020, I wrote to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), to set out the proposed measures and to seek its advice. The ACMD provided its advice on 7 April, and this is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/acmd-advice-on-covid-19-emergency-legislation-to-enable-supply-of-controlled-drugs

I have considered the ACMD advice carefully, consulted with the Department of Health and Social Care, and agreed to all the recommendations. Further explanation of the legislative changes is set out in the Explanatory Memorandum attached to the 2020 Regulations.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS214
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 29 April 2020
Made by: