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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Written Statement Indentifying Number – Every written statement in the House of Commons and House of Lords has a WSID per parliamentary session.
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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
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
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
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 25 February 2020
Made by: Mr Ben Wallace (Secretary of State for Defence)
Commons

Nuclear Update

In 2007 the Government, endorsed by a Parliamentary vote, began a programme to maintain the UK’s nuclear deterrent beyond the early 2030s. The 2015 Strategic Defence & Security Review (Cm 9161) confirmed the UK’s commitment to an independent minimum credible deterrent, reaffirmed in 2016 when the House voted overwhelmingly to maintain the Continuous At Sea Deterrence posture. Our independent nuclear deterrent is essential to defend the UK and our NATO allies against the most extreme threats to our national security and way of life. The Government’s 2019 manifesto pledged: “We will maintain our Trident nuclear deterrent, which guarantees our security”. To ensure the Government maintains an effective deterrent throughout the commission of the Dreadnought Class ballistic missile submarine we are replacing our existing nuclear warhead to respond to future threats and the security environment.

As set out in our annual updates to Parliament on the Future of the UK’s Nuclear Deterrent the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Nuclear Organisation is working with the Atomic Weapons Establishment: to build the highly skilled teams and put in place the facilities and capabilities needed to deliver the replacement warhead; whilst also sustaining the current warhead until it is withdrawn from service. We will continue to work closely with the U.S. to ensure our warhead remains compatible with the Trident Strategic Weapon System.

Delivery of the replacement warhead will be subject to the Government’s major programme approvals and oversight. My Department will continue to provide updates through the annual report to Parliament on the United Kingdom’s future nuclear deterrent.

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 25 February 2020
Made by: Baroness Goldie (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Nuclear Update

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

In 2007 the Government, endorsed by a Parliamentary vote, began a programme to maintain the UK’s nuclear deterrent beyond the early 2030s. The 2015 Strategic Defence & Security Review (Cm 9161) confirmed the UK’s commitment to an independent minimum credible deterrent, reaffirmed in 2016 when the House voted overwhelmingly to maintain the Continuous At Sea Deterrence posture. Our independent nuclear deterrent is essential to defend the UK and our NATO allies against the most extreme threats to our national security and way of life. The Government’s 2019 manifesto pledged: “We will maintain our Trident nuclear deterrent, which guarantees our security”. To ensure the Government maintains an effective deterrent throughout the commission of the Dreadnought Class ballistic missile submarine we are replacing our existing nuclear warhead to respond to future threats and the security environment.

As set out in our annual updates to Parliament on the Future of the UK’s Nuclear Deterrent the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Nuclear Organisation is working with the Atomic Weapons Establishment: to build the highly skilled teams and put in place the facilities and capabilities needed to deliver the replacement warhead; whilst also sustaining the current warhead until it is withdrawn from service. We will continue to work closely with the U.S. to ensure our warhead remains compatible with the Trident Strategic Weapon System.

Delivery of the replacement warhead will be subject to the Government’s major programme approvals and oversight. My Department will continue to provide updates through the annual report to Parliament on the United Kingdom’s future nuclear deterrent.

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