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
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Penny Mordaunt (Secretary of State for Defence)
Commons

Armed Forces' Pay Review Body Report 2019

I am today announcing the Government’s decision on pay rises for the Armed Forces.

The Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body (AFPRB) has made its recommendation for the 2019-20 pay award of 2.9%. We are accepting this recommendation in full (to be implemented in September salaries, backdated to 1 April 2019), and I am today laying their 2019 report.

Last year, the Government announced the largest pay rise in nearly a decade for almost a million public sector workers. This year’s award builds on this and focuses attention on increasing pay for the most junior sailors, soldiers, and airmen and women, to ensure that they continue to receive a living wage. Consequently, the basic pay for other ranks on completion of their initial training will now be £20,000. This pay rise of over 6% represents an increase of £1,140 for over 7,200 newly trained sailors, soldiers, and airmen and airwomen.

The pay award also represents an annual increase of £995 in the nominal ‘average’ salary in the Armed Forces (which is at the Corporal level), as well as an annual increase of £769 in starting salary for an officer.

For all cohorts, this is in addition to the non-contributory defined benefit pension and access to incremental pay progression.

The AFPRB has also made recommendations on rises and changes to other targeted forms of remuneration and on increases to food and accommodation charges which have been accepted. Where applicable, these rate changes will also be backdated to 1 April 2019.

Thanks to the Government’s balanced approach to public finances – getting debt falling as a share of our economy, while investing in our vital services and keeping taxes low, we are able to continue our flexible approach to pay policy, allowing us to attract and retain the best people for our Armed Forces.

We consider all pay awards in light of wider pressures on public spending. Public sector pay needs to be fair both for public sector workers and the taxpayer. Around a quarter of all public spending is spent on pay and we need to ensure that our public services remain affordable for the future.

It is also vital that our world class public services continue modernising to meet rising demand for the incredible services they provide, which improve our lives and keep us safe.

WS
Home Office
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Sajid Javid (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Police Remuneration Review Body 2019 Government Response

The fifth annual report of the Police Remuneration Review Body was published today. In line with our letter setting the Body’s remit it has made recommendations on pay and allowances for police officers at all ranks in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The government has considered the recommendations of the report insofar as they relate to police officers in England and Wales, which the Home Office is responsible for. We wish to express thanks to the Chair and members of the Review Body for their work on the report and pay recommendations.

Last year, the government announced the largest pay rise in nearly a decade for almost a million public sector workers. Building on this, this year the government has accepted in full the recommendations of the PRRB that a consolidated increase of 2.5% should be awarded to all ranks at all pay points. It has also accepted a corresponding increase to London Weighting and the Dog Handlers' Allowance and an increase in the on-call allowance for officers in the federated ranks from £15 to £20 for each 24-hour period on-call. These will be implemented with effect from 1 September 2019.

We asked the PRRB to review the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s proposals for progression pay for police apprentices. The PRRB recommended that subject to further review in the next pay round, no change is made to the current arrangements for apprentice progression. The government has accepted this recommendation.

Thanks to the government’s balanced approach to public finances – getting debt falling as a share of our economy, while investing in our vital services and keeping taxes low – we are able to continue our flexible approach to pay policy, allowing us to attract and retain the best people for our police forces.

We consider all pay awards in light of wider pressures on public spending. Public sector pay needs to be fair both for public sector workers and the taxpayer. Around a quarter of all public spending is spent on pay and we need to ensure that our public services remain affordable for the future. In addition to their pay, police officers continue to benefit from defined benefit pensions, which are amongst the most generous available.

It is also vital that our world class public services continue modernising to meet rising demand for the incredible services they provide, which improve our lives and keep us safe.

The Police Remuneration Review Body Report (CP 139) has been laid before Parliament and copies are available in the Vote Office and on GOV.UK

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1730
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Ministry of Justice
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Mr David Gauke (The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice)
Commons

Government response to the Prison Service Pay Review Body recommendations 19/20

I am today announcing the government’s decision on pay rises for prison staff.

The Prison Service Pay Review Body has made its recommendations for the 2019-20 pay award and we are accepting these recommendations in full.

Last year, the government announced the largest pay rise in nearly a decade for almost a million public sector workers. Today we are building on that with a pay award that is worth at least 2.2% for all prison staff and 3% for our Band 3 officers on the ‘Fair and Sustainable’ terms and conditions. This is the second year in a row we have put in place awards over 2% for our prison staff and this year’s settlement represents the highest consolidated increase for over 10 years.

In addition to the headline increases we will also implement the totality of the other Review Body recommendations. This represents a full package for staff that will support us to recruit and retain prison officers and managers, contributing to safer prisons and reduced reoffending. In addition to their pay, prison officers continue to benefit from defined benefit pensions, which are amongst the most generous available.

For a Band 3 officer on the modern terms and conditions the pay settlement is worth on average £1,277.

Alongside this investment in pay, prison officers are being trained to be more effective and gain experience in critical areas. The key worker role within the new offender management in custody model is currently being rolled-out across prisons. This has been enabled by the investment in additional Band 3 officers, and supports officers at this grade to build more effective relationships with prisoners in order to improve safety and help reduce reoffending.

Thanks to the government’s balanced approach to public finances – getting debt falling as a share of our economy, while investing in our vital services and keeping taxes low – we are able to continue our flexible approach to pay policy, allowing us to attract and retain the best people for our prisons.

We consider all pay awards in light of wider pressures on public spending. Public sector pay needs to be fair both for public sector workers and the taxpayer. Around a quarter of all public spending is spent on pay and we need to ensure that our public services remain affordable for the future.

It is also vital that our world class public services continue modernising to meet rising demand for the incredible services they provide, which improve our lives and keep us safe.

The report has been laid before Parliament today 22 July 2019 and a copy is attached. I am grateful to the Chair and members of the Review Body for their report.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1735
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Cabinet Office
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Kevin Foster (Minister for the Constitution)
Commons

Electoral Integrity Update

Today, the Cabinet Office published its evaluation of the 2019 voter ID pilots. The evaluation shows that a diverse range of local authorities delivered successful pilots. We know this because for the second successive year, the overwhelming majority of people who came to polling stations were able to cast their vote without difficulty.

When surveyed, people in areas testing the poll card model, and the mixed photographic and non-photographic model were significantly more confident in - and satisfied with - the process of casting their vote after polling day. Perceptions that there were sufficient safeguards in place to prevent voter fraud at polling stations increased in areas trialing photographic ID and mixed ID models.

Locally issued ID was made available, free of charge, whenever an elector was unsure that they were able to produce the required ID. In Pendle and Woking, 100 such voters made use of the provision. Woking, who were piloting voter ID for a second year, found the number of people who did not return after being asked to present ID had decreased from 2018. Electoral administrators from Woking have inferred this may be due to local electors viewing the ID requirements as the new standard.

Alongside the Government’s evaluation, the Electoral Commission will publish their evaluation on the voter ID pilots today.

Electoral fraud is an unacceptable crime that strikes at a core principle of our democracy - that everyone’s vote matters. In our current system, there is undeniable potential for electoral fraud and the perception of this undermines public confidence in our democracy.

The success of both rounds of voter ID pilots shows voter ID is a reasonable and proportionate measure to prevent this. Ensuring your vote is yours, and yours alone. The introduction of this measure across Great Britain will strengthen the integrity of our electoral system and give the public confidence our elections are secure and fit for the 21st century.

Both last year’s pilots and decades of experience of Northern Ireland - including at the most recent local elections - show voter ID does not have an adverse effect on election turnout or participation. We remain committed to rolling out this effective anti-fraud measure and bringing the whole of the United Kingdom into line with Northern Ireland, which has required ID to vote in elections since 1985.

Running pilots again in 2019 allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of how voter ID will work on a wider scale - and what works best for voters before national roll out. We will continue to look carefully at the evaluations from both the 2018 and 2019 pilots to help inform our next steps and shape how the final policy will look when it is introduced.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1727
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Department for Education
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Mr Damian Hinds (The Secretary of State for Education)
Commons

Teachers Update

The School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) has recommended a 2.75% uplift to the minima and maxima of all pay ranges and allowances in the national pay framework, which is due to be implemented in Autumn 2019.

Last year, the government announced the largest pay rise in nearly a decade for almost a million public sector workers. Building on this, this year I have decided to accept in full the STRB’s recommendations for a 2.75% uplift to the minima and maxima of all pay ranges and allowances.

The pay award will both raise starting salaries and increase the competitiveness of the pay framework. As a result, minimum starting salaries for classroom teachers will see an increase between £652 (Rest of England) and £816 (Inner London), and classroom teachers at the top of the main pay range could see an increase between £963 and £1,110. For more experienced classroom teachers at the top of the upper pay range, it could mean an increase of between £1,084 and £1,327.

As a result, the pay ranges for all teachers and leaders will see an uplift. Thanks to the flexible performance-based pay system we have, schools can choose to give teachers and leaders a higher pay rise where this is appropriate to their local context and budget

As this award is more than the 2% we assessed was affordable in our evidence to the STRB, I will invest a further £105 million into the existing Teachers’ Pay Grant this financial year. This is on top of the £321 million funding that schools are already receiving through the Teachers’ Pay Grant in 2019-20.

Last year, we specifically targeted early career pay because of the growing retention challenges within the first 5 years of a teacher’s career. The STRB has recognised the improvements we have made to the unqualified and main pay ranges following the 2% uplift to the main pay range in 2017 and 3.5% uplift to both in 2018.

It is now vitally important to increase the competitiveness of the pay framework and help address the teacher supply challenges across the workforce. This year’s pay award will also support the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, which I published in January this year. The strategy underpins the Early Career Framework, which provides a fully funded 2-year package of support for all early career teachers.

In addition to their pay, teachers continue to benefit from defined benefit pensions, which are amongst the most generous available.

Thanks to the government’s balanced approach to public finances – getting debt to fall as a share of our economy, while investing in our vital services and keeping taxes low – we are able to continue our flexible approach to pay policy, allowing us to attract and retain the best people for our schools.

We consider all pay awards in light of wider pressures on public spending. Public sector pay needs to be fair both for public sector workers and the taxpayer. Around a quarter of all public spending is spent on pay and we need to ensure that our public services remain affordable for the future.

It is also vital that our world class public services continue to modernise to meet rising demand for the incredible services they provide, which improve our lives and keep us safe.

I am grateful for the in-depth considerations the STRB has given in concluding their report and recommendations for the 2019 teachers’ pay award.

I will deposit in the House libraries a full list of the recommendations and my proposed approach for all pay and allowance ranges.

My officials will write to all of the statutory consultees involved in the STRB’s 29th remit and invite them to contribute to a consultation on my response to these recommendations and on a revised School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document and Pay Order. The consultation will last for 8 weeks.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1746
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Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Matt Hancock (Secretary of State for Health and Social Care)
Commons

Government response to the 47th report of the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration

I am responding on behalf of my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister to the 47th Report of the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB). The report has been laid before Parliament today (Cm148) and a copy is attached. I am grateful to the Chair and members of the DDRB for their report.

The government is today announcing pay rises for Doctors and Dentists working across the NHS.

Building on our ambition to make the NHS the Best Place to Work, as set out in the NHS Interim People Plan, this is a pay rise that recognises the hard work and dedication of Doctors and Dentists and puts forward an approach for a potential multi-year deal with contract reform for specialty and associate specialist (SAS) doctors to enhance recruitment, retention, morale and productivity for this group.

We have recently agreed multi-year deals for both non-medical Agenda for Change staff and Doctors and Dentists in training and this is part of our approach to make the NHS the best employer in the world whilst supporting the NHS workforce to deliver excellent patient care.

Thanks to the government’s balanced approach to public finances – getting debt falling as a share of our economy, while investing in our vital services and keeping taxes low, we are able to continue our flexible approach to pay policy, allowing us to attract and retain the best people for our hospitals.

We consider all pay awards in light of wider pressures on public spending. Public sector pay needs to be fair both for public sector workers and the taxpayer. Around a quarter of all public spending is spent on pay and we need to ensure that our public services remain affordable for the future.

It is also vital that our world class public services continue modernising to meet rising demand for the incredible services they provide, which improve our lives and keep us safe.

This pay rise represents one of the biggest uplifts in pay for medical staff for over a decade. In addition to their pay, medical staff continue to benefit from defined benefit pensions, which are amongst the most generous available.

Today’s pay award is worth:

  • Between £1,940 and £2,630 for consultants
  • Between £970 and £1,820 for Specialty Doctors
  • Between £1,360 and £2,250 for Associate Specialists

The DDRB were asked not to make a pay recommendation for General Medical Practitioners as this is the first year of the recently announced five-year contract deal. As part of this agreement, core general practice funding will increase by £978 million per year by 2023/24 providing greater certainty for GMPs to plan ahead.

The Government’s response to the DDRB recommendations takes account of affordability in the context of the NHS Long Term Plan and the 2019 Spending Review. Given the NHS budget is now set for the next five years, there is a direct trade-off between pay and staff numbers and our response takes account of this trade-off.

The Government’s response is as follows:

Consultants

  • A 2.5% general uplift in pay backdated to April 2019.
  • the value of both national and old style local clinical excellence awards (CEAs) to be frozen

Specialty Doctors (new grade 2008) and Associate Specialist (closed grade) (SAS doctors)

The government takes note of the DDRB’s comments on the particular issues of morale and motivation in relation to this group that led to their pay recommendation. We agree that investment in raising the profile and attractiveness of SAS doctor roles is important and we are committing to negotiations on a multi-year pay agreement, incorporating contract reform for SAS doctors. SAS doctors will receive

  • A 2.5% general uplift in pay backdated to April 2019.
  • The potential for an additional 1%, on top of the 2.5% already paid to be added to pay in 2020/21 conditional on contract reform, through a multi-year agreement.

Doctors and dentists in training

On 27 June the government announced that Junior Doctors had overwhelmingly backed a four year deal incorporating pay increases and improved flexibility and working conditions. This brings to an end the junior doctors dispute and the British Medical Association (BMA) and NHS Employers have now collectively agreed the amended Junior Doctor Contract.

The four year deal guarantees pay increases of 2% per annum for the next four years and there will in addition be around £90m of investment into the contract including a new pay point for the most senior doctors in training, an allowance for those working less than full time to support flexible working and increased pay for those working the most weekends or whose shifts end in the early hours of the morning. Taken alongside an 8.2% four year pay rise, this will give junior doctors and current medical students the support they fully deserve.

General Dental Practitioners

  • A 2.5% general uplift in the pay element of their contract backdated to April 2019.

General Medical Practitioner Trainers and Appraisers

  • A 2.5% increase in full to the value of the GMP trainers grant and the GMP appraisers’ grant.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1729
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Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Matt Hancock (Secretary of State for Health and Social Care)
Commons

Government response to the 32nd report of the NHS Pay Review Body

I am responding on behalf of my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister to the 32nd Report of the NHS Pay review Body (NHSPRB). The report has been laid before Parliament today (Cm 147). Copies of the report are available to hon Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.

This is the second year of the three-year Agenda for Change pay and contract reform deal (2018/2019 to 2020/2021), the NHSPRB was asked therefore not to make any pay recommendations for 2019/2020.

The Government welcomes the 32nd report of the NHSPRB and is grateful to the Chair and members for all their work and helpful observations, on effective workforce planning and how best to support the development of the NHS workforce.

We are pleased that their observations broadly reflect the themes published in the Interim People Plan and will help inform the upcoming final People Plan.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1728
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Cabinet Office
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Mr David Lidington (Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office)
Commons

Conflict, Stability and Security Fund Allocations 2019/20

My right honourable friend Lord Young of Cookham made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I wish to update the House on the progress of the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) for the Financial Year 2018/19, as well as to announce the initial regional and thematic allocations for this financial year 2019/20.

The CSSF is a cross-government fund which uses both official development assistance (ODA) and non-ODA resources to deliver against both national security and UK Aid objectives, through security, defence, peacekeeping, peace-building and stability activity. In 2018/19, the CSSF spent £1,256.8 million against a cross-government allocation of £1,258.8 million (99.84%). A further breakdown of spend against regional and thematic allocation, by department and by discretionary and non-discretionary spend is included in the CSSF’s Annual Report for 2018/19, published today.

The report includes examples of successful programmes and results as well as ways in which the CSSF has made improvements. A copy of this document is attached and has been published on Gov.uk.

FY 19/20 Allocations

Allocation

Non-ODA

ODA

Total

Middle East North Africa

£20.0 m

£157.3 m

£177.3 m

South Asia

£17.7 m

£89.6 m

£107.3 m

Africa (sub-Saharan)

£33.6 m

£61.3 m

£94.9 m

Overseas Territories

£51.6 m

£5.1m

£56.7 m

Eastern Europe, Central Asia

£23.2 m

£28.8 m

£52.0 m

Western Balkans

£7.5m

£36.0 m

£43.5 m

Americas

£0.3 m

£11.8 m

£12.1 m

Good Governance Fund (Western Balkans and Eastern Europe)

-

£35.9 m

£35.9 m

Asia Pacific

£0.3

£5.2 m

£5.5 m

REGIONAL TOTAL

£154.2 m

£431.0 m

£585.2 m

Migration

£10.0 m

£17.5 m

£27.5 m

Counter Terrorism Programme Fund

£13.3 m

£12.6 m

£25.9 m

Multilateral Strategy

£4.0 m

£18.6 m

£22.6 m

National Security Communications

£2.5 m

-

£2.5 m

Serious and Organised Crime

£3.0 m

£12.0 m

£15.0 m

Commonwealth 18-20 Fund

-

£36.3 m

£36.3 m

THEMATIC TOTAL

£32.8 m

£97.0 m

£129.8 m

Peacekeeping

£291.0 m

£86.1 m

£377.1 m

MOD Deployed Military Activity Pool

£50.0 m

-

£50.0 m

MOD Afghan Security – Operation TORAL

£110.0 m

-

£110.0 m

MOD Operation TOSCA – UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus

£18.1 m

-

£18.1 m

MOD UN Operations in Africa – Operation CATAN (Somalia) and Operation TRENTON (South Sudan)

£19.4 m

-

£19.4 m

Non-Discretionary TOTAL

£488.5 m

£86.1 m

£574.6 m

Corporate Delivery Support & Other (this includes Stabilisation Unit, Joint Funds Unit and pilot activities)

-

£16.0 m

£16.0 m

TOTAL CSSF

£675.5 m

£630.1 m

£1301.2 m

CSSF: Annual Report 2018/2019 (PDF Document, 4.32 MB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1714
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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Chris Skidmore (Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation)
Commons

Industrial Strategy Update

Our modern Industrial Strategy is a long-term plan to boost productivity and earning power for people throughout the country.

We set out to work in partnership with places to develop Local Industrial Strategies. These strategies are central to our aim of creating prosperous communities across the country. They are being developed locally and agreed with government, establishing a strong collaborative approach. They are long-term, based on clear evidence and aligned to the modern Industrial Strategy.

On 16 May we launched the first of these strategies – the West Midlands Local Industrial Strategy. We followed this with the Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy on 13 June. Now, alongside local partners, we are launching the next Local Industrial Strategies for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc (Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Oxfordshire and the South East Midlands) and the West of England.

The Oxford-Cambridge Arc Local Industrial Strategies mark a major contribution to the government's wider work on the Arc with their focus on driving productivity by outlining shared priorities across the region as a whole.

The four strategies set out how partners across the Arc will work to: harness the collective strength of the Arc’s research base, driving greater collaboration in science and research; provide the skills needed for the future economy; maximise the benefits of new transport, energy and digital infrastructure; improve business support and finance for high growth companies and encourage foreign direct investment; and take a Natural Capital planning approach to development, contributing to the Clean Growth grand challenge mission.

  • Buckinghamshire aims to grow the county’s creative, space, advanced manufacturing and digital health sectors, building on the world-leading assets it already has such as the Westcott Space Cluster and Pinewood Studios;

  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough aims to build an industrial ecosystem that is globally known for tackling the biggest challenges facing society, with interventions tailored to the needs of each of its sub-economies: Greater Cambridge, Greater Peterborough and The Fens;

  • Oxfordshire plans to build on the county’s world leading science and tech clusters to be a pioneer for transformative technologies and sectors, with its overarching ambition for the county to be a top three global innovation ecosystem by 2040;

  • The South East Midlands’ overarching ambition is to position the area as the ‘Connected Core’ of the Arc, a place with the right R&D assets, business environment and networks to foster, test and commercialise new innovations.

The West of England Local Industrial Strategy focuses on four key priorities:

  • Strengthening innovation and driving productivity by: Connecting researchers, businesses and residents through a Global Centre of Innovation Excellence, and testing new products and services through a new West of England Network of Living Labs;

  • Supporting all residents to contribute to and benefit from economic success by: targeting support to communities facing challenges, tailoring employment and skills support and linking everyone to jobs, training and services through better physical and digital infrastructure, that is accessible, sustainable and low carbon;

  • Providing businesses with the space, networks and skills they need to boost productivity, grow and thrive by: encouraging uptake of modern technology, management and leadership practices; including more regional providers in businesses’ supply chains and widening access to public procurement for small businesses; and supporting low carbon business models;

  • Investing in infrastructure that reduces energy demand, lowers carbon emissions and is resilient to the impacts of climate change, supporting businesses to adopt new clean technology and energy efficiency measures.

Copies of these five Local Industrial Strategies will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1726
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Department for International Trade
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Dr Liam Fox (Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade)
Commons

Response to the consultation on UK Export Finance’s Foreign Content policy

The Government will today publish the response to the consultation on UK Export Finance’s (UKEF) Foreign Content policy. It sets out the approach UKEF will take to determine the level of non-UK goods, services and intangible assets in transaction supported by UKEF.

The purpose of the new approach is to ensure that UKEF’s support is flexible and meets the needs of UK exporters to help them win business overseas, fulfilling UKEF’s mission to ensure that no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance from the private sector, while operating at no net cost to the taxpayer.

The consultation, published in April 2019, was part of UKEF’s commitment in the Government’s Export Strategy to review its products and policies to ensure they reflect the full breadth of its capability and the needs of business. The consultation received 28 responses, which were largely supportive of the approach proposed by Government in the consultation and reinforced the need for its foreign content policy to adapt to increasingly globalised supply chains.

The new policy ensures that UKEF will implement a principles-based approach to Foreign Content, recognising the full contribution of the UK supply chain. This approach will supplement UKEF’s current UK content requirement, making it easier for UKEF to consider support for scenarios which are outside of a specific export contract, but which nevertheless are conducive to supporting and developing UK exports.

This approach will broaden the availability of UKEF support for all sectors including those to which it has not traditionally provided support. To align with this expectation, UKEF will be updating its definitions to clarify UKEF’s ability to support intangible assets.

A copy of the consultation response will be placed in the libraries of the House.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1745
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Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 19 July 2019
Made by: Lord Ashton of Hyde (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Lords

Equality and listed events

This statement has been made to correct a previous statement HLWS1710 made on 18 July 2019

"In the statement of 18 July made by the Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Jeremy Wright) on Equality and Listed events, which I repeated in this house, I stated “Broadcasters currently meeting these criteria are BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, Channel 4 and Channel 5". This should have read "Broadcasters currently meeting these criteria include BBC1, BBC2, ITV1 and Channel 4."

This is a corrected version of the statement made on Thursday (HLWS1710).

I have written today to the BBC, S4C, Ofcom and The International Paralympic Committee in a limited consultation on adding the Paralympic Games to the Listed Events Regime. I have also copied the letter to Channel 4 who currently hold the broadcasting rights for the next Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020, to other eligible Free To Air broadcasters, and to the Sport and Recreation Alliance.

The Broadcasting Act 1996 gives the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport discretion to designate sporting and other events of national interest as listed events. Once listed, broadcasting rights to such events must be offered to the main free-to-air terrestrial broadcasters (“qualifying broadcasters”) on fair and reasonable terms. Qualifying broadcasters are those which reach 95% coverage of UK viewers and at no additional cost to the viewer than the television licence fee. Broadcasters currently meeting these criteria include BBC1, BBC 2, ITV1 and Channel 4.

The current list, compiled in 1998, consists of two categories of events:

  • Group A, in which full live coverage must be offered to the qualifying broadcasters; and

  • Group B, in which live coverage may be broadcast on subscription television as long as secondary coverage is offered to qualifying broadcasters.

Under section 97 of the Broadcasting Act 1996, the Secretary of State is able to amend the list providing that they have consulted with the statutory consultees. In my letter I have asked consultees to consider the following:

  • whether, based on the guidance and criteria given, the Paralympic Games should be added to the list;

  • whether the Paralympic Games should be listed under Group A or Group B of the list;

  • other factors affecting the likely costs and benefits to the sport concerned, to the broadcasting industry and to viewers, as set out in the guidance on the criteria for listing; and

  • any other factors relevant to the final decision.

While the Government does not wish to reopen the list of events for a full review, it is committed to supporting more equality in the coverage of sport on TV, and in particular, disability and women in sport. It is for this reason that I am considering whether to exercise discretion to add the Paralympics to the list, and that I intend on holding a consultation later this year on adding women’s sporting equivalent events to the regime that match the men’s events.

I will inform the House of the outcome once I have discussed fully with statutory consultees.

WS
Department for International Trade
Made on: 18 July 2019
Made by: Dr Liam Fox (Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade)
Commons

Prime Minister's Trade Envoys

The Prime Minister has today approved two new appointments to the Trade Envoy programme. Ian Austin MP has been appointed as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Israel, and Lord Risby as Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Lebanon (this is in addition to his current role as PM’s Trade Envoy to Algeria) These new appointments take the total number of Trade Envoys to 27 parliamentarians covering 58 markets. The Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy programme is an unpaid and voluntary cross-party network, who support the UK’s ambitious trade and investment agenda in global markets.”

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1722
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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 18 July 2019
Made by: Kelly Tolhurst (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility) )
Commons

Business Update

Today, I will publish the Government response to our consultation on Updating the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988, which set fire resistance requirements for cover materials and fillings used to make domestic upholstered furniture.

The review aimed to ensure that our legislative framework maintains fire safety for consumers, reflects technological advances in furniture manufacturing practices, and facilitates a reduction in the use of hazardous flame-retardant chemicals as a means of making furniture fire resistant.

The consultation sought views on proposals to amend the testing regime. It also sought views on proposals for clarifying and amending the scope of the regulations, strengthening the traceability requirements to bring furniture into line with other product sectors, updating labelling rules, and extending the time period for trading standards to institute legal proceedings.

The Government is committed to protecting consumers from all safety risks, but we will not compromise on fire safety. During the course of the review, to ensure the highest standards, we sought the views of Chief Scientific Advisors from relevant departments across government.

The Government will now develop a new approach to address the different sources and chemical risks posed by fire to upholstered furniture and furnishings. It will focus on safety outcomes [such as reduced risk of ignition, reduced risk of fire spread] and will be underpinned by a set of essential safety requirements which all upholstered furniture placed on the market must meet.

This approach is consistent with that taken for other consumer products. The [new] legislation will be supported by British Standards which will be developed by the British Standards Institution in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders, including industry, fire-safety experts and consumer representatives.

This new approach will continue to ensure that manufacturers place only safe products on the UK market. I will consult on the detail of this new approach in due course. In the meantime, the existing Regulations will continue to apply.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1721
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Department for International Trade
Made on: 18 July 2019
Made by: Viscount Younger of Leckie (Government Whip)
Lords

Prime Minister's Trade Envoys

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

The Prime Minister has today approved two new appointments to the Trade Envoy programme. Ian Austin MP has been appointed as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Israel, and Lord Risby as Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Lebanon (this is in addition to his current role as PM’s Trade Envoy to Algeria) These new appointments take the total number of Trade Envoys to 27 parliamentarians covering 58 markets. The Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy programme is an unpaid and voluntary cross-party network, who support the UK’s ambitious trade and investment agenda in global markets.”

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1760
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 18 July 2019
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

Business Update

My hon Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility (Kelly Tolhurst) has today made the following statement:

Today, I will publish the Government response to our consultation on Updating the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988, which set fire resistance requirements for cover materials and fillings used to make domestic upholstered furniture.

The review aimed to ensure that our legislative framework maintains fire safety for consumers, reflects technological advances in furniture manufacturing practices, and facilitates a reduction in the use of hazardous flame-retardant chemicals as a means of making furniture fire resistant.

The consultation sought views on proposals to amend the testing regime. It also sought views on proposals for clarifying and amending the scope of the regulations, strengthening the traceability requirements to bring furniture into line with other product sectors, updating labelling rules, and extending the time period for trading standards to institute legal proceedings.

The Government is committed to protecting consumers from all safety risks, but we will not compromise on fire safety. During the course of the review, to ensure the highest standards, we sought the views of Chief Scientific Advisors from relevant departments across government.

The Government will now develop a new approach to address the different sources and chemical risks posed by fire to upholstered furniture and furnishings. It will focus on safety outcomes [such as reduced risk of ignition, reduced risk of fire spread] and will be underpinned by a set of essential safety requirements which all upholstered furniture placed on the market must meet.

This approach is consistent with that taken for other consumer products. The [new] legislation will be supported by British Standards which will be developed by the British Standards Institution in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders, including industry, fire-safety experts and consumer representatives.

This new approach will continue to ensure that manufacturers place only safe products on the UK market. I will consult on the detail of this new approach in due course. In the meantime, the existing Regulations will continue to apply.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1759
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 18 July 2019
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Defence Fire and Rescue Project

I am announcing the outcome of the Defence Fire and Rescue Project which has been examining potential improvements in how Fire and Rescue Services are provided to the Ministry of Defence, both in the United Kingdom and overseas.

In June 2018, I announced the Ministry of Defence’s intention to award the Defence Fire and Rescue Project contract to Capita Business Services Limited and I can today confirm this to be the case. Following a competitive bidding process Capita’s bid was deemed to deliver the best technical solution and the best value for money for Defence. The 12-year contract is worth £525 million and will mark a step change in capability for Defence’s Fire and Rescue capability.

The project will deliver a range of benefits whilst sustaining our worldwide fire and rescue capability. These benefits include improved safety for firefighter personnel and those they protect as well as fire risk management for the Department. This will be achieved through the investment in new equipment, technology and training which the contract will enable to happen faster than it otherwise would. In addition, we expect the contract to deliver significant financial savings over the course of its lifespan; money which can be reinvested into other areas of the Defence budget.

I can assure Parliament that these proposed contractual arrangements with Capita have been subject to thorough scrutiny and due diligence processes conducted across Government, including in the Ministry of Defence, Cabinet Office and HM Treasury. These assurance processes included the financial sustainability of Capita and tested their technical expertise to deliver the contract in a sustainable and resilient manner. Safeguards are in place to ensure there is no break in service provision. Capita have experience in delivering Fire and Rescue service provision as they already operate the internationally recognised Fire Service College at Moreton-in-Marsh.

Initially, around 560 MOD Civil Servants, mainly firefighting personnel, are expected to transfer under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations to Capita as the contract is implemented over the next few years. Fire station managers, their staff and Trade Union representatives of the civilian workforce have been consulted throughout the project and are being formally told of the contract award today. I would like to pay tribute to the work they have and will continue to undertake for Defence. The Royal Air Force and Royal Navy will continue to employ firefighters. Over time there will be a reduction in the number of firefighters in the Royal Air Force due to the introduction of new technology and there may be opportunities in the future for some roles becoming Sponsored Reserves.

I can confirm that existing fire and rescue services provided to the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston, the Defence Science and Technical Laboratory in Porton Down and at US visiting forces bases in the United Kingdom are unaffected by these changes. The Defence Fire Training and Development Centre at Manston will close in due course with training transferred to Capita’s existing fire training facility at Moreton-in-Marsh. The award of this contract will enable the Ministry of Defence to vacate large elements of the Manston site which will be released to support economic development, potentially including housing, in the local area.

This has been a complex procurement with a delay in the award of the contract following a legal challenge from Serco Ltd, the other final bidder. We have now mutually agreed an out-of-court settlement of £10 million which provides better value for money for the tax payer than an uncertain and costly court case. I can confirm that the MOD’s Accounting Officer has commissioned an independent review to ensure we learn from this acquisition process. This will be led by Tony Poulter, a non-executive director at the Department for Transport. The findings of the review will be published after the summer.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1758
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Department for International Development
Made on: 18 July 2019
Made by: Baroness Sugg (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development)
Lords

Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak: Update on UK Response

My Rt Hon Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development, has today made the following statement:

It is nearly a year since the declaration of the tenth Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This is the second largest Ebola outbreak and the first in a conflict zone. The risks remain very high. And we need – as an international community – to keep a relentless focus on these issues: addressing failings in public health systems, controlling cross-border transmission, working with communities, and getting the basics right on surveillance, tracing, vaccination and treatment.

Since my oral statement to the House on 20 May, the number of cases has continued to grow and despite successes in some areas, new geographic areas have been affected - including Goma in the DRC and across the border in Uganda. Yesterday the World Health Organisation declared this outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. This declaration is highly significant and will bring more focus and instruments to bear on the crisis. The UK has been a major donor since the start. This week we have announced up to an additional £50 million of support to combat the outbreak in the DRC. We have also been pushing hard at meetings of the G7 development ministers, WHO and at the UN for more support from other countries.

The affected part of the DRC has suffered from decades of conflict and under-development, is an opposition stronghold, and there is a deep mistrust of national and international institutions. Despite the best efforts of front-line health workers, the response has struggled to gain trust, and responders have been the direct target of multiple attacks. The outbreak has spread to new health zones in the current two provinces, and several areas that were previously under control are now seeing new cases again. As of 14 July, there have been 2,501 cases, of which 2,407 are confirmed and 94 are probable. In total, there have been 1,668 deaths (1,574 confirmed and 94 probable) and 700 people have recovered. This is the most complex public health emergency in recent history.

For the first time in this outbreak, three cases were confirmed in Uganda in June. This represents the sixth outbreak Uganda has had since 2000. Uganda’s Ministry of Health, with good support from the DRC and significant assistance on preparedness from the UK, reacted swiftly to this long-anticipated outbreak. While Uganda deserves praise for containing these cases, there is no room for complacency, particularly in addressing resources for health facilities where public health systems are weak.

A record number of health zones have now been affected in the DRC. The city of Goma, on the border with Rwanda, has in the last week confirmed its first case. The confirmed case in Goma is a significant development and may increase the risk of further transmission to other areas of the DRC and neighbouring countries. Goma is a significant regional trading and transport hub and we are therefore closely monitoring the situation. We are also asking the WHO to increase its focus on preparedness in the region, particularly in South Sudan and Burundi.

I am thankful for the prompt response by staff at the Ebola Treatment Centre, in Goma, which I visited on my recent trip to the DRC. However, it was clear during my time there that some measures, such as temperature checks at the hospital entrance, are not consistently applied and could be improved. I also visited the Ebola Treatment Centre in Katwa that has been rebuilt after being burned down in February. This centre seemed to have a good focus on basic procedures and to be making good use of the latest technology, including transparent cubes which allow doctors and families to interact with patients without wearing full protective gear.

I want to once again commend the bravery of the Congolese and international frontline responders who are working incredibly hard to end this outbreak. But they must have adequate support. To ensure a successful response, the UK is committed to supporting the response financially, but also through sending UK-funded experts to the region, including data analysts, response coordinators and managers.

The WHO and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) convened a meeting in Geneva on the 15 July to focus attention and signal a reset of the response. I was privileged to be able to represent the UK at that meeting, which was timely, as a new Strategic Response Plan (SRP4) covering the next six months of the response will shortly be published.

In Geneva I made clear the UK’s ongoing support to the Government of DRC and the region more broadly, with a new commitment of up to £50 million for the response in the DRC. So far, UK aid has provided technical experts to eastern DRC, including senior epidemiologists, data scientists and a clinical trials specialist, and previously funded the development of a vaccine, which has helped to contain the outbreak. More than 160,000 doses have been administered to at-risk people in the DRC and neighbouring countries. The vaccine has proved to be over 97% effective and is a vital part of the response in this fragile and complex environment. However, vaccination alone will not end this outbreak, and stronger community ownership is essential. We need to build trust in the response. To end this outbreak people with symptoms of Ebola need to come forward and seek treatment. Effective isolation and treatment will improve their chance of survival and allow the response to follow up quickly and vaccinate those who they have been in contact with.

I also made clear in Geneva that we expect other countries to play a bigger role in the response as a matter of urgency. They need to step up their efforts and funding. The US and UK are the two the biggest bilateral donors to the response and although other countries have given some financial support, more is needed. Other countries, particularly francophone countries, which have a presence and history in the region, must support the response with funding, technical expertise and political support.

The UK will also continue to play a leading role in regional preparedness – where we are the largest donor. Events in Uganda demonstrate the value of investing in preparedness activities and health systems strengthening; quick action saves both lives and costs in the long term. Again, other countries should step up their support to avoid a crisis that destabilises the wider region.

The risk of Ebola to the UK population remains very low. Public Health England continues to monitor the situation daily and review the risk assessment on a two-weekly basis. The UK Government continues to work across all departments to ensure all relevant expertise is brought to bare on tackling this important issue.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1756
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Department for Education
Made on: 18 July 2019
Made by: Viscount Younger of Leckie (The Lords Spokesperson (Department for Education) (Higher Education))
Lords

Student Loans Company Update

My honourable friend Chris Skidmore, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, has made the following written statement.

I am announcing that the Tailored Review of the Student Loans Company has been published today.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) is a non-profit making Government-owned organisation, which pays loans and grants to students, universities and colleges in the UK.

The principal aim of Tailored Reviews, which are carried out according to Cabinet Office guidance, is to ensure that public bodies remain fit for purpose, well governed and properly accountable for what they do. The full report can be read on gov.uk.

This Review involved consultation with a broad range of stakeholders, including SLC staff, the Department of Education, the Devolved Administrations, UKGI and HMRC.

The Review found that the SLC is functioning relatively well, meeting the majority of its performance targets even with significant operational growth. However, it is facing some significant operational challenges, particularly from outdated legacy IT systems, a workforce experiencing high turnover and a complex policy commissioning cycle.

The SLC’s own Transformation Programme seeks to address some of the issues and the Tailored Review provides additional and complementary recommendations.

The Department for Education is committed to working with the SLC and other stakeholders to develop and implement an action plan to take forward all 39 recommendations.

Copies of the Review will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1753
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Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 18 July 2019
Made by: Lord Callanan (Minister of State for Exiting the European Union)
Lords

General Affairs Council, July 2019

I will attend the General Affairs Council in Brussels on 18 July 2019 to represent the UK. Until we leave the European Union, we remain committed to fulfilling our rights and obligations as a full Member State and continue to act in good faith.

The provisional agenda includes:

Multiannual Financial Framework 2021 - 2027

The Finnish Presidency will present its plan for approaching the next phase of negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). The intention is for Member States to reach an agreement on the negotiations by the end of the year.

Presentation of the priorities of the Finnish Presidency

Finland took up the EU Presidency from 1 July and will hold it until 31 December. The Presidency will deliver a presentation on its priorities which include: strengthening common values and the rule of law; making the EU more competitive and socially inclusive; strengthening the EU’s position as a global leader in climate action; and protecting the security of citizens comprehensively.

Implementation of the Strategic Agenda 2019-2024

Ministers will discuss the implementation of the new EU Strategic Agenda 2019-24. The Strategic Agenda sets the overarching priorities for the next institutional cycle and it was adopted by the European Council on 20 June 2019. The priority areas are: protecting citizens and freedoms; developing the EU’s economic base: the European model for the future; building a climate-neutral green, fair and inclusive future; and promoting Europe’s interests and values in the world.

Commission communication on further strengthening the Rule of Law

The Commission will present its new communication on further strengthening the rule of law in the EU.

Rule of Law in Poland / Article 7 (1) TEU Reasoned Proposal

The Commission will provide a further update on the rule of law in Poland. This follows the recent judgment of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Poland’s Supreme Court law.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 18 July 2019
Made by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity)
Lords

JUNE EU ENVIRONMENT COUNCIL

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

I attended the EU Environment Council on 26 June in Luxembourg.

I wish to update the House on the matters discussed.

Adoption of Council Conclusions on a sustainable EU Chemicals Policy

The Presidency invited Member States to adopt its conclusions on the development of a ‘non-toxic environment strategy’, and to take action on other commitments made in the 7th Environmental Action Programme (EAP) and other previous texts, which have yet to be fulfilled.

Member States’ interventions focused on the need to improve the safe management of chemicals, and ensuring the chemicals sector continues to adhere to EU standards, especially with regards to human health and the environment. Therefore, all were in agreement that the ‘non-toxic environment strategy’ should be published before the end of the 7th EAP in 2020. The majority of Member States also made it clear that they supported the need to ensure the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) was provided with sustainable and appropriate funding to allow it to continue to be the centre of knowledge on the sustainable management of chemicals, for the benefit of citizens and the environment.

I intervened to support the Council Conclusions and to welcome an EU-wide chemical strategy. This was an important opportunity to reinforce our shared ambition for high environmental standards and continued improvement in the safe management of chemicals. I therefore highlighted our willingness to continue to collaborate with Member States and the Commission, as well as other international partners, once we have left the EU, fully supporting calls to act on those commitments made in the 7th EAP. I also welcomed the gathering of data to better inform future decisions and to promote a risk-based approach to regulation, highlighting the need to minimise the impact on animals to achieve this aim.


Regulation on water reuse – General Approach

The Presidency invited Member States to agree the proposed General Approach on the regulation on water reuse.

The UK, along with a number of other Member States, supported the compromise text provided by the Presidency and its intention to promote waste water reuse across the EU for agricultural irrigation, within the context of future water scarcity and the circular economy. I made clear that harmonised rules could generate increased interest in reuse and stated that as drafted, the regulation offered a good degree of health and environmental protection. I also offered the forthcoming Finnish Presidency our support in the trilogue discussions to follow between the European Parliament, European Commission and European Council.

The Presidency concluded the General Approach had been agreed, although two Member States (Germany and Slovakia) abstained. The Finnish Presidency has stated that it would like to begin trilogue negotiations with the European Parliament in October.

Environmental Implementation Review (EIR) – exchange of views

The Council exchanged views on the 2019 EIR report and the actions needed to ensure better implementation of EU environment policies and legislation.

The Member States who intervened broadly welcomed the approach to the second cycle of the EIR, but agreed that additional work was required to identify workable solutions for closing environmental implementation gaps and addressing the root cause of poor implementation.

I took the opportunity to intervene, acknowledging the findings of the 2019 EIR and highlighting some of the additional actions we have taken since the publication of the report. This included the recent announcement of the designation of a further 41 Marine Conversation Zones; the publication of our Clean Air Strategy for England, which was commended by the World Health Organisation; and the forthcoming Environment Bill, which builds on the ambitions set out in our 25 year Environment Plan for England.

AOB items

The following items were also discussed under Any Other Business.

1. Clean Planet for all (Information from the Presidency)

Council noted the information from the Presidency regarding the Council debates held on the EU’s long-term climate strategy, ‘Clean Planet for all: strategic long-term vision for a climate neutral economy’. The Commission intervened to speak about the EU’s position ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September, and its assessment that the EU will over-achieve its current 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target. Several Member States intervened with their reflections on the discussion on climate at the European Council on 20-21 June, and to comment on the timescales for securing agreement of the EU strategy by 2020. I intervened to note the Government’s legislation for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the Welsh Government’s announcement of their intention to legislate next year for a 95% reduction by 2050, and the Scottish Government’s amendment to their draft legislation to achieve a 2045 net-zero target. I confirmed that the UK supported the EU target of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, while also recognising the need for a just transition.

2. Draft Integrated National Energy and Climate Plans (Presentation from the Commission)

Council noted the presentation from the Commission concerning the draft National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs). The Commission stated that they viewed these first drafts as positive overall, though there were areas for improvement.

3. Regulation on the Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) of CO2 emissions for Shipping (Information from the Presidency)

Council noted the information from the Presidency concerning the Regulation on the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of carbon dioxide emissions for shipping. Three Member States intervened to raise the importance of aligning the EU MRV Regulation with international reporting requirements.

4. Carbon pricing and aviation taxes (Information from the Netherlands delegation)

Council noted the information from the Netherlands delegation on their conference on carbon pricing and aviation taxes, held on 20-21 June in the Hague. The Member States which intervened on this AOB stated their support for the Netherlands’ initiative.

5. Future Environment Action Programme (Information from the Austrian delegation)

Council noted the information from the Austrian delegation on the workshop held in Hainburg on 11 and 12 June. All Member States who intervened emphasised their support for an 8th EAP.


6. Clean Mobility and electromobility (Information from the Bulgarian delegation)

Council noted the information from the Bulgarian delegation about possible measures to support clean mobility and, in particular, electromobility. Those Member States who intervened, whilst supporting the need to look at options to address the rising carbon dioxide levels in Europe and the on-going problems around air quality, highlighted the challenges associated with electric vehicles and the uneven charging infrastructure across Europe.

7. Recent International Meetings – Triple COP; UNEA (Information from the Presidency)

Council noted the information from the Presidency with limited interventions.

8. G7 Environment Ministers Meeting (Information from the French delegation)

Council noted the information from the French delegation with limited interventions.

9. LIFE Regulation (Information from the Presidency)

Council noted the information from the Presidency with limited interventions.

10. Update on priorities from Finland on their upcoming presidency

Council noted the information from the Finnish delegation with limited interventions.

Additional engagement

In the margins of the Council, I met with a number of my counterparts from Member States to discuss on global environmental issues including our legislation for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and the UK’s bid to host the twenty sixth Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in partnership with Italy under a UK Presidency.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1742
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