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
Treasury
Made on: 24 June 2019
Made by: Mr Philip Hammond (The Chancellor of the Exchequer)
Commons

ECOFIN: 14 June 2019

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) was held in Luxembourg on 14 June 2019.

ECOFIN was preceded by meeting of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Board of Governors:

Annual EIB Board of Governors meeting

The meeting included: statements from the Chairman, President and Chairman of the Audit Committee; a Governors discussion; a presentation on the annual report of the Audit Committee; and a vote for partial renewal of the Audit Committee. The UK was represented by Mark Bowman (Director General, International Finance, HM Treasury) during the EIB meeting.

Following this, EU Finance Ministers discussed the following at ECOFIN:

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President briefed the Council on the outcomes of the 13 June meeting of the Eurogroup, and the European Commission provided an update on the current economic situation in the EU.

Banking Union

The Council endorsed the progress report on the Banking Union.

Financial Transaction Tax

The Council received a progress update in relation to the enhanced co-operation on financial transaction tax.

G20 follow-up

The Romanian Presidency and Commission presented the main outcomes of the G20 meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, which took place on 8-9 June in Fukuoka, Japan.

European Semester

The Council discussed a horizontal note on the draft 2019 Country Specific Recommendations, and progress towards the Europe 2020 targets.

Stability and Growth Pact

The Council adopted Council decisions and recommendations on the implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact.

Clean Planet

The Council held an exchange of views on a strategic long-term vision for a climate-neutral economy.

Non-performing loans

Under any other business, the Commission provided an update on the implementation of the Action Plan to tackle non-performing loans in Europe.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1610
WS
Treasury
Made on: 24 June 2019
Made by: Lord Young of Cookham (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

ECOFIN: 14 June 2019

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

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) was held in Luxembourg on 14 June 2019.

ECOFIN was preceded by meeting of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Board of Governors:

Annual EIB Board of Governors meeting

The meeting included: statements from the Chairman, President and Chairman of the Audit Committee; a Governors discussion; a presentation on the annual report of the Audit Committee; and a vote for partial renewal of the Audit Committee. The UK was represented by Mark Bowman (Director General, International Finance, HM Treasury) during the EIB meeting.

Following this, EU Finance Ministers discussed the following at ECOFIN:

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President briefed the Council on the outcomes of the 13 June meeting of the Eurogroup, and the European Commission provided an update on the current economic situation in the EU.

Banking Union

The Council endorsed the progress report on the Banking Union.

Financial Transaction Tax

The Council received a progress update in relation to the enhanced co-operation on financial transaction tax.

G20 follow-up

The Romanian Presidency and Commission presented the main outcomes of the G20 meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, which took place on 8-9 June in Fukuoka, Japan.

European Semester

The Council discussed a horizontal note on the draft 2019 Country Specific Recommendations, and progress towards the Europe 2020 targets.

Stability and Growth Pact

The Council adopted Council decisions and recommendations on the implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact.

Clean Planet

The Council held an exchange of views on a strategic long-term vision for a climate-neutral economy.

Non-performing loans

Under any other business, the Commission provided an update on the implementation of the Action Plan to tackle non-performing loans in Europe.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1648
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 24 June 2019
Made by: Baroness Vere of Norbiton ( Parliamentary Under Secretary for Transport )
Lords

High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill, Statement of Reasons

My Honourable Friend, the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Transport (Nusrat Ghani) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

I am today publishing the Statement of Reasons Command Paper for the High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill. The Command Paper is titled the ‘Government overview of the case for HS2 Phase 2a and its environmental impacts’. This is required by Parliamentary Standing Order 224A to assist the House during the third reading of the High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill. This document summarises the work that has already been done to assess, control and mitigate the environmental impacts of HS2 Phase 2a, and explains why the government continues to take the view that the HS2 Phase 2a project is worthy of its support.

Copies of the Statement of Reasons will be made available in the libraries of both Houses.

HS2 (PDF Document, 1.84 MB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1647
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 24 June 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.

The next EU Environment Council will take place on 26 June, in Luxembourg. I will be attending to represent the UK.

On environment items, the main legislative focus will be a general approach on the Regulation on water–reuse. In addition, there will also be an exchange of views on the Environment Implementation Review (EIR), as well as the adoption of Council Conclusions on a sustainable EU Chemicals Policy.

Any other business (AOB) will include information from the Commission and the Presidency on four items:

  • Clean Planet for all: Strategic long-term vision for a climate neutral economy (information from the Presidency);
  • A discussion on current legislative proposals (information from the Presidency):
    • A discussion on Regulation on LIFE; and
    • A discussion on Shipping monitoring, reporting and verification.
  • Reports on main recent international meetings (information from the Presidency and the Commission):
    • Triple Conference of the Parties to the Basel (COP 14), Rotterdam (COP 9) and Stockholm (COP 9) Conventions (Geneva, 29 April – 10 May 2019); and
    • Fourth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-4) (Nairobi, 11 - 15 March 2019).
  • Communication on the draft integrated national energy and climate plans (presentation by the Commission).

There are currently five member state led AOBs:

  • Workshop on the “Future Environment Action Programme” (information from the Austrian delegation);
  • Possible European measures to support clean mobility and in particular, electromobility (information from the Bulgarian delegation);
  • Conference on carbon pricing and aviation taxes (information from the Netherlands delegation);
  • G7 Environment Ministers meeting (information from the French delegation); and
  • Work programme of the incoming Presidency (information from the Finnish delegation).

WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 24 June 2019
Made by: Ms Nusrat Ghani (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Commons

High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill, Statement of Reasons

I am today publishing the Statement of Reasons Command Paper for the High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill. The Command Paper is titled the ‘Government overview of the case for HS2 Phase 2a and its environmental impacts’. This is required by Parliamentary Standing Order 224A to assist the House during the third reading of the High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill. This document summarises the work that has already been done to assess, control and mitigate the environmental impacts of HS2 Phase 2a, and explains why the government continues to take the view that the HS2 Phase 2a project is worthy of its support.

Copies of the Statement of Reasons will be made available in the libraries of both Houses.

HS2 (PDF Document, 1.84 MB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1609
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 24 June 2019
Made by: Dr Thérèse Coffey (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment )
Commons

June EU Environment Council

The next EU Environment Council will take place on 26 June, in Luxembourg. I will be attending to represent the UK.

On environment items, the main legislative focus will be a general approach on the Regulation on water–reuse. In addition, there will also be an exchange of views on the Environment Implementation Review (EIR), as well as the adoption of Council Conclusions on a sustainable EU Chemicals Policy.

Any other business (AOB) will include information from the Commission and the Presidency on four items:

  • Clean Planet for all: Strategic long-term vision for a climate neutral economy (information from the Presidency);
  • A discussion on current legislative proposals (information from the Presidency):
    • A discussion on Regulation on LIFE; and
    • A discussion on Shipping monitoring, reporting and verification.
  • Reports on main recent international meetings (information from the Presidency and the Commission):
    • Triple Conference of the Parties to the Basel (COP 14), Rotterdam (COP 9) and Stockholm (COP 9) Conventions (Geneva, 29 April – 10 May 2019); and
    • Fourth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-4) (Nairobi, 11 - 15 March 2019).
  • Communication on the draft integrated national energy and climate plans (presentation by the Commission).

There are currently five member state led AOBs:

  • Workshop on the “Future Environment Action Programme” (information from the Austrian delegation);
  • Possible European measures to support clean mobility and in particular, electromobility (information from the Bulgarian delegation);
  • Conference on carbon pricing and aviation taxes (information from the Netherlands delegation);
  • G7 Environment Ministers’ meeting (information from the French delegation); and
  • Work programme of the incoming Presidency (information from the Finnish delegation).
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 20 June 2019
Made by: Kelly Tolhurst (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility)
Commons

Business Update

On 4 October 2018, we launched a Call for Evidence, asking for views on how to create a responsible payment culture for small business. I have published the full Government Response to that Call for Evidence and placed copies in both House Libraries.

Government is committed to supporting Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to start well and grow, including a network of 38 Growth Hubs across England providing advice, guidance and support. As part of our Industrial Strategy we have an action plan to unlock over £20bn of investment in innovative and high potential businesses. And where we see practices that unfairly constrain SMEs’ finance choices, we are prepared to act. For example, we recently removed a barrier that was preventing some SMEs from using invoice finance because of prohibitive contract terms imposed by their customers. This new measure is expected to provide a long-term boost to the UK economy worth almost £1bn.

While there are a number of measures already in place to tackle late payment, from the Prompt Payment Code, the ability to charge interest on late payments and increased transparency through the Payment Practices Reporting Duty, the Call for Evidence told us that there is more to do to improve the payment landscape. This is why I have announced that I will now take further and firmer action to tackle the scourge of late payments, while maintaining a holistic approach to culture change by using all of the avenues available to us in this space.

I will shortly be launching a consultation seeking views on strengthening the Small Business Commissioner’s (hereafter "the Commissioner") ability to assist and advocate for small business in the area of late payments, through the provision of powers to compel the disclosure of information and seeking views on suitable sanctions for failure to comply.

I have also announced that the responsibility of the voluntary Prompt Payment Code is to move to the Commissioner and be reformed: this will unify prompt payment measures with the Commissioner and address weaknesses within the current Code’s operation.

I will take a tough compliance approach to large companies who do not comply with the Payment Practices Reporting Duty. The legislation allows for the prosecution of those who do not comply and, I will use this enforcement power against those who do not comply where necessary.

Government will launch a Business Basics Fund competition with funding up to £1 million, which will encourage SMEs to utilise payment technology.

I also intend to establish a ministerially led group to bring together key Government Departments to act on improving prompt payment across both the public and private sectors.

We are working with UK Finance and the finance sector to review the role Supply Chain Finance plays in fair and prompt payment, including the potential for an industry led standard for good practice in Supply Chain Finance. We also want to bring greater transparency to how supply chain finance is reported in company accounts and assessed in audits, by working with the Financial Reporting Council to develop guidance and build it into their sampling of companies’ accounts.

Our modern Industrial Strategy aims to make Britain the best place to start and grow a business and removing barriers to growth is key to this. The response to the Call for Evidence and the package of measures I have announced will tackle the continuing issue of late payments to ensure this happens.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1607
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 20 June 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:

On 4 October 2018, we launched a Call for Evidence, asking for views on how to create a responsible payment culture for small business. I have published the full Government Response to that Call for Evidence and placed copies in both House Libraries.

Government is committed to supporting Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to start well and grow, including a network of 38 Growth Hubs across England providing advice, guidance and support. As part of our Industrial Strategy we have an action plan to unlock over £20bn of investment in innovative and high potential businesses. And where we see practices that unfairly constrain SMEs’ finance choices, we are prepared to act. For example, we recently removed a barrier that was preventing some SMEs from using invoice finance because of prohibitive contract terms imposed by their customers. This new measure is expected to provide a long-term boost to the UK economy worth almost £1bn.

While there are a number of measures already in place to tackle late payment, from the Prompt Payment Code, the ability to charge interest on late payments and increased transparency through the Payment Practices Reporting Duty, the Call for Evidence told us that there is more to do to improve the payment landscape. This is why I have announced that I will now take further and firmer action to tackle the scourge of late payments, while maintaining a holistic approach to culture change by using all of the avenues available to us in this space.

I will shortly be launching a consultation seeking views on strengthening the Small Business Commissioner’s (hereafter "the Commissioner") ability to assist and advocate for small business in the area of late payments, through the provision of powers to compel the disclosure of information and seeking views on suitable sanctions for failure to comply.

I have also announced that the responsibility of the voluntary Prompt Payment Code is to move to the Commissioner and be reformed: this will unify prompt payment measures with the Commissioner and address weaknesses within the current Code’s operation.

I will take a tough compliance approach to large companies who do not comply with the Payment Practices Reporting Duty. The legislation allows for the prosecution of those who do not comply and, I will use this enforcement power against those who do not comply where necessary.

Government will launch a Business Basics Fund competition with funding up to £1 million, which will encourage SMEs to utilise payment technology.

I also intend to establish a ministerially led group to bring together key Government Departments to act on improving prompt payment across both the public and private sectors.

We are working with UK Finance and the finance sector to review the role Supply Chain Finance plays in fair and prompt payment, including the potential for an industry led standard for good practice in Supply Chain Finance. We also want to bring greater transparency to how supply chain finance is reported in company accounts and assessed in audits, by working with the Financial Reporting Council to develop guidance and build it into their sampling of companies’ accounts.

Our modern Industrial Strategy aims to make Britain the best place to start and grow a business and removing barriers to growth is key to this. The response to the Call for Evidence and the package of measures I have announced will tackle the continuing issue of late payments to ensure this happens.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1645
WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 20 June 2019
Made by: Lord Ashton of Hyde (Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Lords

Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council

My Hon Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport and Civil Society, Mims Davies has made the following Statement:

The Education, Youth, Culture and Sport (EYCS) Council took place in Brussels on 22 and 23 May 2019. The UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU, Katrina Williams, represented the UK for the Youth session on 22 May. Minister of State for School Standards Nick Gibb of the Department for Education represented the UK in the Education session. The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Lord Ashton, represented the UK on 23 May for the Culture/Audio-visual session and part of the Sports Session.

Youth

The session began with the adoption of both the Council Conclusions on young people and the future of work and the Resolution on the Governance of the EU Youth Dialogue.

This was then followed by a policy debate on young people as agents of democracy in the EU.

Other

There was information from the European Commission in regards to DiscoverEU and information from the Portuguese Delegation on the World Conference of Ministers responsible for Youth 2019 and Youth Forum Lisboa (22 and 23 June 2019).

Culture/Audio-visual

The meeting began with the adoption of both the Council Conclusions on young creative generations and Conclusions on co-productions. This was followed by a policy debate on ‘from tackling disinformation to rebuilding EU citizens’ trust in the media’.

Other

Information was provided by the Hungarian Delegation on the nomination of Veszprém for the European Capital of Culture 2023. In addition, information was also provided from the Spanish and Portuguese Delegation on celebrating the fifth centenary of the first circumnavigation of the world, led by Fernão de Magalhães and Juan Sebastián Elcano.

Sport

The sport session of EYCS began with the adoption of a Resolution on EU Member States’ representation and coordination for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) meeting in Montreal. In addition,Council Conclusions on access to sport for persons with disabilities we also adopted.

The session then proceeded with a policy debate on increasing the participation of children and young people in sport in 21st century Europe.

Other

There was information from the EU Member States’ representatives in the World Anti- Doping Agency (WADA) Foundation Board on the meeting with WADA that took place in Montreal on the 14-16th May 2019. Information from the Finnish Presidency on the work programme of the incoming Presidency and information from the Danish Delegation about the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions (match fixing).

To conclude, there was information from the Bulgarian, Greek and Romanian Delegations on the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Serbia to host either the Euro 2028 championship or the 2030 World Cup.



WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 20 June 2019
Made by: Mims Davies (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport and Civil Society )
Commons

Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council

The Education, Youth, Culture and Sport (EYCS) Council took place in Brussels on 22 and 23 May 2019. The UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU, Katrina Williams, represented the UK for the Youth session on 22 May. Minister of State for School Standards Nick Gibb of the Department for Education represented the UK in the Education session. The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Lord Ashton, represented the UK on 23 May for the Culture/Audio-visual session and part of the Sports Session.

Youth

The session began with the adoption of both the Council Conclusions on young people and the future of work and the Resolution on the Governance of the EU Youth Dialogue.

This was then followed by a policy debate on young people as agents of democracy in the EU.

Other

There was information from the European Commission in regards to DiscoverEU and information from the Portuguese Delegation on the World Conference of Ministers responsible for Youth 2019 and Youth Forum Lisboa (22 and 23 June 2019).

Culture/Audio-visual

The meeting began with the adoption of both the Council Conclusions on young creative generations and Conclusions on co-productions. This was followed by a policy debate on ‘from tackling disinformation to rebuilding EU citizens’ trust in the media’.

Other

Information was provided by the Hungarian Delegation on the nomination of Veszprém for the European Capital of Culture 2023. In addition, information was also provided from the Spanish and Portuguese Delegation on celebrating the fifth centenary of the first circumnavigation of the world, led by Fernão de Magalhães and Juan Sebastián Elcano.

Sport

The sport session of EYCS began with the adoption of a Resolution on EU Member States’ representation and coordination for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) meeting in Montreal. In addition,Council Conclusions on access to sport for persons with disabilities we also adopted.

The session then proceeded with a policy debate on increasing the participation of children and young people in sport in 21st century Europe.

Other

There was information from the EU Member States’ representatives in the World Anti- Doping Agency (WADA) Foundation Board on the meeting with WADA that took place in Montreal on the 14-16th May 2019. Information from the Finnish Presidency on the work programme of the incoming Presidency and information from the Danish Delegation about the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions (match fixing).

To conclude, there was information from the Bulgarian, Greek and Romanian Delegations on the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Serbia to host either the Euro 2028 championship or the 2030 World Cup.

WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 20 June 2019
Made by: Lord Ashton of Hyde (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Lords

Telecommunications Council



My Honourable Friend the Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, (Margot James MP) has made the following Written Statement:

The Telecommunications formation of the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council took place in Luxembourg on 7 June 2019. The Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU, Katrina Williams, represented the UK.

The Council held a policy debate and adopted Conclusions on the future of a highly digitised Europe beyond 2020: “Boosting digital and economic competitiveness across the Union and digital cohesion”. The Council then considered a progress report on the e-Privacy Regulation.

The Romanian Presidency then provided information on the Digital Europe Programme in the next Multi-annual Financial Framework from 2021-27, and the proposed Regulation establishing the European Cybersecurity Competence Centre and the Network of Coordination Centers. The Czech Presidency then provided information on the Prague 5G Security Conference. The EU’s Counter-terrorism Co-ordinator provided information on 5G and law enforcement.

The Romanian Presidency then provided an overview of Presidency events in Romania. The incoming Finnish Presidency provided information on its work plan.

Due to a lack of Ministerial quorum at the Council, the Decision on the position to be taken by EU Member States on behalf of the European Union in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) will now be adopted at Employment, Social Policy, Health, and Consumer Affairs Council as an A-point on 13-14 June. The recast Public Sector Information Directive was adopted as an A-point at Justice and Home Affairs Council on 6 June.

WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 20 June 2019
Made by: Margot James (Minister of State for Digital and Creative Industries)
Commons

Telecommunications Council

The Telecommunications formation of the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council took place in Luxembourg on 7 June 2019. The Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU, Katrina Williams, represented the UK.

The Council held a policy debate and adopted Conclusions on the future of a highly digitised Europe beyond 2020: “Boosting digital and economic competitiveness across the Union and digital cohesion”. The Council then considered a progress report on the e-Privacy Regulation.

The Romanian Presidency then provided information on the Digital Europe Programme in the next Multi-annual Financial Framework from 2021-27, and the proposed Regulation establishing the European Cybersecurity Competence Centre and the Network of Coordination Centers. The Czech Presidency then provided information on the Prague 5G Security Conference. The EU’s Counter-terrorism Co-ordinator provided information on 5G and law enforcement.

The Romanian Presidency then provided an overview of Presidency events in Romania. The incoming Finnish Presidency provided information on its work plan.

Due to a lack of Ministerial quorum at the Council, the Decision on the position to be taken by EU Member States on behalf of the European Union in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) will now be adopted at Employment, Social Policy, Health, and Consumer Affairs Council as an A-point on 13-14 June. The recast Public Sector Information Directive was adopted as an A-point at Justice and Home Affairs Council on 6 June.

WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 20 June 2019
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

The Groceries Code Adjudicator

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

I have today launched the statutory review of the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA).

The GCA was established by the Groceries Code Adjudicator Act 2013 (“the Act”). Its role is to monitor and enforce the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (“the Code”), which the UK’s designated large grocery retailers must comply with when dealing with their direct suppliers.

Section 15 of the Act requires the Government to review periodically the performance of the GCA. The first review carried out in 2016 covered the period from the creation of the GCA (in June 2013) to 31 March 2016. The second review will cover the period from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2019.

The primary purpose of the review is to look back over the period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2019 and to seek views and evidence which will allow the Government to make an assessment of the performance of the GCA against the measures set out in the Act. These measures are explained in the Terms of Reference. The statutory review is not a review of the Code or the remit of the GCA. The Code is a competition measure owned by the Competition and Markets Authority as the UK’s independent competition authority.

The Act requires us to consult the following:

  • the GCA;
  • the Competition and Markets Authority;
  • the retailers subject to the Code;
  • one or more persons representing the interests of suppliers;
  • one or more persons representing the interests of consumers; and
  • any other appropriate person.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks and can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/groceries-code-adjudicator-statutory-review-2016-to-2019. Stakeholders have until 12 September 2019 to respond. Following this, BEIS will analyse the responses. A report on the findings will then be published and laid before Parliament.

The Terms of Reference for the GCA Review have today been placed in the Libraries of the House.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1641
WS
Home Office
Made on: 20 June 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse’s Report on the Archdiocese of Birmingham Case Study

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

Today the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has published its latest case study report, which can be found at www.iicsa.org.uk.

This report relates to the Archdiocese of Birmingham in the Inquiry’s Roman Catholic Church investigation. I pay tribute to the strength and courage of the victims and survivors who have shared their experiences to ensure the Inquiry can deliver its vital work.

Government will review this report and consider how to respond to its content in due course.

I would like to thank Professor Jay and her Panel for their continued work to uncover the truth, expose what went wrong in the past and to learn the lessons for the future.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1642
WS
Home Office
Made on: 20 June 2019
Made by: Sajid Javid (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse’s Report on the Archdiocese of Birmingham Case Study

Today the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has published its latest case study report, which can be found at www.iicsa.org.uk.

This report relates to the Archdiocese of Birmingham in the Inquiry’s Roman Catholic Church investigation. I pay tribute to the strength and courage of the victims and survivors who have shared their experiences to ensure the Inquiry can deliver its vital work.

Government will review this report and consider how to respond to its content in due course.

I would like to thank Professor Jay and her Panel for their continued work to uncover the truth, expose what went wrong in the past and to learn the lessons for the future.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1603
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 20 June 2019
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

Post-Council Statement: Competitiveness Council 27 - 28 May 2019

My hon Friend the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation (Chris Skidmore) has today made the following statement:

The Competitiveness Council took place on 27-28 May. The UK was represented by Katrina Williams, Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU on Day 1 (Internal Market and Industry); and by myself on Day 2 (Research and Space).

Day 1 (Internal Market and Industry)

The final Competitiveness Council of the Romanian Presidency agreed three sets of Council Conclusions: on the Single Market; on Industrial Policy and on tourism and reviewed the legislative achievements of the last 6 months.

The Council discussed the link between competition policy and EU competitiveness. Commissioner Bienkowska presented the Commission’s analysis on market integration, market concentration in the EU and protectionist practices in third countries. Ministers discussed EU competition rules and EU trade policy with regards to third country competition. The UK cited the Furman Review which recommends updating competition policy for the digital age.

Ministers held a wide-ranging discussion on priorities for the future of EU industrial and Single Market policy. On industry there was broad agreement that the new Commission should develop an integrated industrial strategy which recognises global challenges. Discussions focussed on the need to develop strategic value chains within Europe and welcomed the focus on Important Projects of Common Europe Interest (IPCEIs). The UK highlighted the need to recognise the global nature of value chains when developing policies. The increasing servitisation of manufacturing, the importance of digitalisation and the need to support the transition to a low-carbon economy were also key themes. The Council adopted conclusions on a vision for an EU industrial policy strategy (9263/19) and the future of the Single Market (9402/19). Ministers also agreed conclusions on the importance of tourism (document 9264/19).

The Commission reported progress on current legislative items: the Directive on Cross-border Conversions, Mergers and Divisions; the Directives on the Modernisation of the EU Consumer Protection Rules; and the Collective Interests of Consumers and the General Safety of Vehicles Regulation. The Commission also outlined its work on Better Regulation and provided an update on the future of the Rapex market surveillance system following the 2018 assessment.

The Presidency reported on its Conference in Craiova, Romania on the automotive sector on 18 March. The forum discussed challenges around low emission vehicles; connected and autonomous vehicles; and the competitiveness of European industry.

The Commission reflected on work to move the EU towards a circular economy and to achieve the objective of recycling 10 million tonnes of plastic by 2025.

The incoming Finnish Presidency set out its future priorities: environmentally and socially sustainable growth with an integrated view of the Single Market and a modern industrial policy.

Day Two – Research

Day two of the Competitiveness Council (Internal Market, Industry, Research and Space) took place on the 28th May in Brussels. I represented the UK.

The Competitiveness Council started with a policy debate on strengthening Europe's role as a global actor and promoting international cooperation, space diplomacy and contributing to building the global space governance. The UK stressed the importance of open collaboration with third countries and entities with expertise, such as the European Space Agency (ESA), in order to achieve the strategic objectives of the EU in space.

Following the policy debate there was a brief “extraordinary ESA Council”, which adopted the ‘Space as an Enabler’ conclusions.

The 11th EU-ESA Council was jointly chaired by the Spanish ESA Presidency and Romanian EU Council Presidency. They facilitated an exchange of views on the topic of “Space as an enabler”. In the UK’s intervention Minister Skidmore highlighted the need to focus on better exploitation of the new technologies – Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Quantum technology - which would drive the 4th Industrial Revolution.

The Romanian Presidency then resumed the Competitiveness Council with a policy debate on research and innovation as a driving force for a more competitive European Union. The UK stressed the importance of researcher freedom, closing the innovation gap and operating in a global context - as well the importance of training the next generation: in this context, the UK announced that EU students starting courses in England in the 2020/21 academic year will have guaranteed home fee status and financial support for the duration of their courses. EEA/EFTA and Swiss nationals (and their family members) will remain eligible for support on the same basis as now.

During any other business the Slovakian delegation outlined the recently signed BIOEAST initiative whilst the Romanian Presidency recalled the launch of the joint Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda for the Black Sea (SRIA) on 8 May. The incoming Finnish Presidency concluded the Council by providing information on the work programme of their EU Council Presidency.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1640
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 20 June 2019
Made by: Kelly Tolhurst (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility)
Commons

The Groceries Code Adjudicator

I have today launched the statutory review of the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA).

The GCA was established by the Groceries Code Adjudicator Act 2013 (“the Act”). Its role is to monitor and enforce the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (“the Code”), which the UK’s designated large grocery retailers must comply with when dealing with their direct suppliers.

Section 15 of the Act requires the Government to review periodically the performance of the GCA. The first review carried out in 2016 covered the period from the creation of the GCA (in June 2013) to 31 March 2016. The second review will cover the period from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2019.

The primary purpose of the review is to look back over the period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2019 and to seek views and evidence which will allow the Government to make an assessment of the performance of the GCA against the measures set out in the Act. These measures are explained in the Terms of Reference. The statutory review is not a review of the Code or the remit of the GCA. The Code is a competition measure owned by the Competition and Markets Authority as the UK’s independent competition authority.

The Act requires us to consult the following:

  • the GCA;
  • the Competition and Markets Authority;
  • the retailers subject to the Code;
  • one or more persons representing the interests of suppliers;
  • one or more persons representing the interests of consumers; and
  • any other appropriate person.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks and can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/groceries-code-adjudicator-statutory-review-2016-to-2019. Stakeholders have until 12 September 2019 to respond. Following this, BEIS will analyse the responses. A report on the findings will then be published and laid before Parliament.

The Terms of Reference for the GCA Review have today been placed in the Libraries of the House.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1604
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 20 June 2019
Made by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity)
Lords

Bovine TB

My Rt Hon Friend the Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Robert Goodwill) has today made the following statement:

Today I am updating the House on the implementation of the Government’s strategy to eradicate bovine TB in England by 2038.

Bovine TB remains one of the greatest animal health threats to the UK, causing significant hardship and distress for hard-working farmers and rural communities. Government and industry are therefore continuing to take strong action to eradicate the disease.

Professor Sir Charles Godfray’s independent review of the strategy highlighted a number of potential further actions while noting the difficulties associated with eradicating bovine TB. The review’s conclusions include improving surveillance in cattle herds, the need to continue to address the disease in badgers and for more research and development (R&D). We continue to assess the review’s findings and plan to publish a full response in due course. I am however today providing further information on reinforcing TB testing in the High Risk Area, announcing plans to invite further applications to our badger vaccination grant scheme and confirming the licensing and authorisation by Natural England of three supplementary badger control areas for 2019. Further information is available on gov.uk.

In May 2018 we announced that from 2020 we would introduce six-monthly cattle surveillance testing, with less frequent testing for lower risk herds, in the High Risk Area (HRA) of England to enable earlier detection and eradication of disease, and to prevent it spreading to new areas. Having considered the likely demands that roll out across the whole of the HRA in one step would place on cattle herd owners and the veterinary businesses that carry out the vast majority of the testing we are now working on a phased introduction from 2020. We will provide further details to affected cattle keepers and veterinary businesses in due course.

Vaccination of badgers against TB using BCG can provide a level of protection and can play a role in limiting TB spread to healthy badger populations. Therefore, a third round of applications for the ‘Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme’ (BEVS 2) is now open, with further grant funding available to private groups wishing to carry out badger vaccination in the Edge Area of England. Groups will receive at least 50% funding towards their eligible costs. This builds on the four initial four-year projects we have funded.

Alongside this we are investing in social and economic research to understand farmer behaviours and drivers of: cattle purchase and movement; attitudes to risk-based trading; attitudes to biosecurity, wildlife control and vaccination; and analysis of pros and cons of compensation versus insurance schemes.

In May 2019 fieldwork closed on a self-completion postal survey. Over 1250 responses were received from herd owners across England. This will provide national representative estimates of cattle farmers’ attitudes and behaviours and towards biosecurity, cattle purchasing, and what influences of on-farm decision making. We expect to publish headline findings in July 2019.

In July 2019 fieldwork will commence on a telephone survey of 1500 HRA and Edge Area farms which have suffered a breakdown. The survey will estimate the monetary costs involved in a bovine TB breakdown which herd owners are not compensated for. Including increased staffing and housing costs, and loss of productivity. This will allow accurate analysis of the financial impact of the disease to industry and individual farms. The project will report early 2020.

We are determined to eradicate this devastating disease as quickly as possible.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1637
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 20 June 2019
Made by: Baroness Buscombe (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions)
Lords

Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) 13th June 2019, Luxembourg

My honourable Friend the Minister of State for Employment (Alok Sharma MP) has made the following Written Statement.

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council took place on 13th June 2019 in Luxembourg. The Deputy Permanent Representative to the European Union, Katrina Williams, represented the UK.

The Council adopted Conclusions on: Closing the gender pay gap; implications for the safety and health of workers in the changing world of work; and the EU Council Auditors’ report on the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD).

The Council noted a progress report on the Directive on equal treatment and debated employment and social policy aspects of Country Specific Recommendations.

The Presidency gave updates on two current legislative proposals: a Regulation on European social statistics and Revision of the Regulations on the coordination of social security systems. The Council closed with information on events and initiatives in the broader field of employment and social policy.

In the margins of the meeting, Bratislava, Slovakia, was elected to host the new European Labour Authority.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1638
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 20 June 2019
Made by: Baroness Buscombe (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions)
Lords

Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) Annual Report and Accounts 2018-19

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

Later today the Office for Nuclear Regulation's Annual Report and Accounts for 2018-2019 will be published. Having consulted the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy who is accountable for nuclear security and the Office for Nuclear Regulation, I can confirm, in accordance with Schedule 7, Section 25(3) of the Energy Act 2013, that there have been no exclusions to the published document on the grounds of national security.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1639
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 20 June 2019
Made by: Chris Skidmore (Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation)
Commons

Post-Council Statement: Competitiveness Council 27 - 28 May 2019

The Competitiveness Council took place on 27-28 May. The UK was represented by Katrina Williams, Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU on Day 1 (Internal Market and Industry); and by myself on Day 2 (Research and Space).

Day 1 (Internal Market and Industry)

The final Competitiveness Council of the Romanian Presidency agreed three sets of Council Conclusions: on the Single Market; on Industrial Policy and on tourism and reviewed the legislative achievements of the last 6 months.

The Council discussed the link between competition policy and EU competitiveness. Commissioner Bienkowska presented the Commission’s analysis on market integration, market concentration in the EU and protectionist practices in third countries. Ministers discussed EU competition rules and EU trade policy with regards to third country competition. The UK cited the Furman Review which recommends updating competition policy for the digital age.

Ministers held a wide-ranging discussion on priorities for the future of EU industrial and Single Market policy. On industry there was broad agreement that the new Commission should develop an integrated industrial strategy which recognises global challenges. Discussions focussed on the need to develop strategic value chains within Europe and welcomed the focus on Important Projects of Common Europe Interest (IPCEIs). The UK highlighted the need to recognise the global nature of value chains when developing policies. The increasing servitisation of manufacturing, the importance of digitalisation and the need to support the transition to a low-carbon economy were also key themes. The Council adopted conclusions on a vision for an EU industrial policy strategy (9263/19) and the future of the Single Market (9402/19). Ministers also agreed conclusions on the importance of tourism (document 9264/19).

The Commission reported progress on current legislative items: the Directive on Cross-border Conversions, Mergers and Divisions; the Directives on the Modernisation of the EU Consumer Protection Rules; and the Collective Interests of Consumers and the General Safety of Vehicles Regulation. The Commission also outlined its work on Better Regulation and provided an update on the future of the Rapex market surveillance system following the 2018 assessment.

The Presidency reported on its Conference in Craiova, Romania on the automotive sector on 18 March. The forum discussed challenges around low emission vehicles; connected and autonomous vehicles; and the competitiveness of European industry.

The Commission reflected on work to move the EU towards a circular economy and to achieve the objective of recycling 10 million tonnes of plastic by 2025.

The incoming Finnish Presidency set out its future priorities: environmentally and socially sustainable growth with an integrated view of the Single Market and a modern industrial policy.

Day Two – Research

Day two of the Competitiveness Council (Internal Market, Industry, Research and Space) took place on the 28th May in Brussels. I represented the UK.

The Competitiveness Council started with a policy debate on strengthening Europe's role as a global actor and promoting international cooperation, space diplomacy and contributing to building the global space governance. The UK stressed the importance of open collaboration with third countries and entities with expertise, such as the European Space Agency (ESA), in order to achieve the strategic objectives of the EU in space.

Following the policy debate there was a brief “extraordinary ESA Council”, which adopted the ‘Space as an Enabler’ conclusions.

The 11th EU-ESA Council was jointly chaired by the Spanish ESA Presidency and Romanian EU Council Presidency. They facilitated an exchange of views on the topic of “Space as an enabler”. In the UK’s intervention Minister Skidmore highlighted the need to focus on better exploitation of the new technologies – Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Quantum technology - which would drive the 4th Industrial Revolution.

The Romanian Presidency then resumed the Competitiveness Council with a policy debate on research and innovation as a driving force for a more competitive European Union. The UK stressed the importance of researcher freedom, closing the innovation gap and operating in a global context - as well the importance of training the next generation: in this context, the UK announced that EU students starting courses in England in the 2020/21 academic year will have guaranteed home fee status and financial support for the duration of their courses. EEA/EFTA and Swiss nationals (and their family members) will remain eligible for support on the same basis as now.

During any other business the Slovakian delegation outlined the recently signed BIOEAST initiative whilst the Romanian Presidency recalled the launch of the joint Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda for the Black Sea (SRIA) on 8 May. The incoming Finnish Presidency concluded the Council by providing information on the work programme of their EU Council Presidency.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1602
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 20 June 2019
Made by: Justin Tomlinson (Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work)
Commons

Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) Annual Report and Accounts 2018-19

Later today the Office for Nuclear Regulation's Annual Report and Accounts for 2018-2019 will be published. Having consulted the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy who is accountable for nuclear security and the Office for Nuclear Regulation, I can confirm, in accordance with Schedule 7, Section 25(3) of the Energy Act 2013, that there have been no exclusions to the published document on the grounds of national security.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1599
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 20 June 2019
Made by: Alok Sharma (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) 13th June 2019, Luxembourg

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council took place on 13th June 2019 in Luxembourg. The Deputy Permanent Representative to the European Union, Katrina Williams, represented the UK.

The Council adopted Conclusions on: Closing the gender pay gap; implications for the safety and health of workers in the changing world of work; and the EU Council Auditors’ report on the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD).

The Council noted a progress report on the Directive on equal treatment and debated employment and social policy aspects of Country Specific Recommendations.

The Presidency gave updates on two current legislative proposals: a Regulation on European social statistics and Revision of the Regulations on the coordination of social security systems. The Council closed with information on events and initiatives in the broader field of employment and social policy.

In the margins of the meeting, Bratislava, Slovakia, was elected to host the new European Labour Authority.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1600
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 20 June 2019
Made by: Mr Robert Goodwill (Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)
Commons

Bovine TB

Today I am updating the House on the implementation of the Government’s strategy to eradicate bovine TB in England by 2038.

Bovine TB remains one of the greatest animal health threats to the UK, causing significant hardship and distress for hard-working farmers and rural communities. Government and industry are therefore continuing to take strong action to eradicate the disease.

Professor Sir Charles Godfray’s independent review of the strategy highlighted a number of potential further actions while noting the difficulties associated with eradicating bovine TB. The review’s conclusions include improving surveillance in cattle herds, the need to continue to address the disease in badgers and for more research and development (R&D). We continue to assess the review’s findings and plan to publish a full response in due course. I am however today providing further information on reinforcing TB testing in the High Risk Area, announcing plans to invite further applications to our badger vaccination grant scheme and confirming the licensing and authorisation by Natural England of three supplementary badger control areas for 2019. Further information is available on gov.uk.

In May 2018 we announced that from 2020 we would introduce six-monthly cattle surveillance testing, with less frequent testing for lower risk herds, in the High Risk Area (HRA) of England to enable earlier detection and eradication of disease, and to prevent it spreading to new areas. Having considered the likely demands that roll out across the whole of the HRA in one step would place on cattle herd owners and the veterinary businesses that carry out the vast majority of the testing we are now working on a phased introduction from 2020. We will provide further details to affected cattle keepers and veterinary businesses in due course.

Vaccination of badgers against TB using BCG can provide a level of protection and can play a role in limiting TB spread to healthy badger populations. Therefore, a third round of applications for the ‘Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme’ (BEVS 2) is now open, with further grant funding available to private groups wishing to carry out badger vaccination in the Edge Area of England. Groups will receive at least 50% funding towards their eligible costs. This builds on the four initial four-year projects we have funded.

Alongside this we are investing in social and economic research to understand farmer behaviours and drivers of: cattle purchase and movement; attitudes to risk-based trading; attitudes to biosecurity, wildlife control and vaccination; and analysis of pros and cons of compensation versus insurance schemes.

In May 2019 fieldwork closed on a self-completion postal survey. Over 1250 responses were received from herd owners across England. This will provide national representative estimates of cattle farmers’ attitudes and behaviours and towards biosecurity, cattle purchasing, and what influences of on-farm decision making. We expect to publish headline findings in July 2019.

In July 2019 fieldwork will commence on a telephone survey of 1500 HRA and Edge Area farms which have suffered a breakdown. The survey will estimate the monetary costs involved in a bovine TB breakdown which herd owners are not compensated for. Including increased staffing and housing costs, and loss of productivity. This will allow accurate analysis of the financial impact of the disease to industry and individual farms. The project will report early 2020.

We are determined to eradicate this devastating disease as quickly as possible.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1601
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 19 June 2019
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Response to Opposition Day Debate: Local authority social care funding

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

Today I would like to update the House on local authority social care funding following the Opposition day debate of 24 April 2019

Our local authorities and the people who work for them are delivering essential services and changing lives and it is right we support them to succeed. This is why this Government has given our local authorities in England access to £46.4 billion in 2019-20. This represents a real-terms increase and a cash increase of 2.8%.

The 4-year settlement, accepted by 97% of local authorities, gives our most deprived areas access to substantially more funding than the least. The average core spending power per dwelling for the 10% most deprived authorities is around 22% more than for the least deprived 10% in 2019-20.

The settlement this year includes extra funding for local services with a strong focus on supporting some of our most vulnerable groups.

The Government is committed to person-centred integrated care, with health, social care, housing and other public services working together seamlessly to provide better care. The Better Care Fund, introduced in 2015, is our national policy driving forward the integration of health and social care in England.

In every year of the Fund, local areas have voluntarily pooled more than the minimum required taking the total to £7.7bn in 2018-19. We know that this is having a positive impact locally with 90% of local health and care system leaders saying that the Better Care Fund had a positive impact on integration locally (2018-19), and levels of Delayed Transfers of Care which have reduced since February 2017, with more than 2,000 beds per day being freed up.

We announced at last year’s Autumn Budget more than £1 billion of extra funding for councils, with £650 million going towards adult and children’s social care in 2019-20. Of that, £410 million can be spent on adult or children’s social care and, where necessary, take the pressure off the NHS, meeting requests from local authorities for greater flexibility.

The remaining £240 million has been allocated to ease pressures on the NHS. This is on top of the £240 million announced in October which allowed councils to provide additional care to over 35,000 people, delivering 4 million hours of homecare in 2018-19.

Taken together with the adult social care precept and the improved Better Care Fund, Government has given councils access to around £10 billion in dedicated funding which can be used for adult social care in the 3-year period from 2017-18 to 2019-20.

A further £145 million capital funding has been given to hospitals to provide winter improvements such as upgrading wards and redeveloping A&Es and an additional £36.3 million has been invested into the ambulance services for new vehicles and ‘make-ready hubs’. This is on top of the additional £1.6bn for the NHS in 2018-19 to support A&E and elective care performance.

This Government has been able to make these significant investments in social care because of the balanced approach we have taken to our public finances – investing in public services while keeping debt falling.

In 2017-18, local government spent £17.1 billion on adult social care, up by £390 million from £16.75 billion in 2016-17.

We are also investing £84 million in protecting our children over the next five years to expand three of our most successful children’s social care innovation programme projects. The projects will keep more children at home safely in up to 20 local authorities.

Helping the most vulnerable in our society also means supporting troubled families and local government is at the heart of this agenda.

Our Troubled Families Programmes helps local authorities support families with complex needs and improve outcomes for individuals.

It has been a catalyst for local services, transforming how they work together, making them more integrated and cost-efficient – reducing dependency and demand for expensive services.

The results speak for themselves. The latest national programme evaluation shows that – when compared to a similar comparison group – targeted intervention saw:

- the number of children going into care down by a third;

- the number of adults going to prison down by a quarter and juveniles in custody down by a third; and

- 10% fewer people claiming Jobseekers Allowance.

Although I recognise there is more to do, these outcomes are a real tribute to the efforts of family workers, local authorities and their many partners in our public services and the voluntary sector.

Our work supporting vulnerable families is much more than the financial boost you get from a regular wage, it’s about the pride and dignity that comes from being able to take control of your own life.

This Government has given local authorities the tools and resources they need to do this vital work.

The end of the current multi-year deal is in sight, and it’s clear we need to take a longer view on how we fund councils, as we move to a stronger, sustainable and smarter system of local government.

Preparations for increased business rates retention, a new approach to distributing funding between local authorities and the upcoming Spending Review will be pivotal to this. Important work is underway with authorities and the wider sector to better understand service costs and pressures.

For years, councils have asked for more control over the money raised. We have listened and responded through our plans to increase business rates retention to 75% by devolving additional grants, and in the process providing local authorities with powerful incentives to grow their economies.

Local authorities estimate they will retain around £2.5 billion in business rates growth in 2019-20 under the current system. This is a significant revenue stream on top of the core settlement funding.

In addition to giving more control, councils want and need to see a clearer link between the allocation of resources and local circumstances.

Our new funding formula will ensure a more transparent link between local needs and resources and the funding councils receive. We will ensure that measures of deprivation are, rightly, central to this, when we look at services like adult social care, children’s services, fire services and public health – because we want a system that ensures no one is left behind.

The Government is determined to give all local authorities the freedoms and flexibilities they need, so that they can continue to flourish and deliver vital services to meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1636
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 19 June 2019
Made by: James Brokenshire (Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Response to Opposition Day Debate: Local authority social care funding

Today I would like to update the House on local authority social care funding following the Opposition day debate of 24 April 2019

Our local authorities and the people who work for them are delivering essential services and changing lives and it is right we support them to succeed. This is why this Government has given our local authorities in England access to £46.4 billion in 2019-20. This represents a real-terms increase and a cash increase of 2.8%.

The 4-year settlement, accepted by 97% of local authorities, gives our most deprived areas access to substantially more funding than the least. The average core spending power per dwelling for the 10% most deprived authorities is around 22% more than for the least deprived 10% in 2019-20.

The settlement this year includes extra funding for local services with a strong focus on supporting some of our most vulnerable groups.

The Government is committed to person-centred integrated care, with health, social care, housing and other public services working together seamlessly to provide better care. The Better Care Fund, introduced in 2015, is our national policy driving forward the integration of health and social care in England.

In every year of the Fund, local areas have voluntarily pooled more than the minimum required taking the total to £7.7bn in 2018-19. We know that this is having a positive impact locally with 90% of local health and care system leaders saying that the Better Care Fund had a positive impact on integration locally (2018-19), and levels of Delayed Transfers of Care which have reduced since February 2017, with more than 2,000 beds per day being freed up.

We announced at last year’s Autumn Budget more than £1 billion of extra funding for councils, with £650 million going towards adult and children’s social care in 2019-20. Of that, £410 million can be spent on adult or children’s social care and, where necessary, take the pressure off the NHS, meeting requests from local authorities for greater flexibility.

The remaining £240 million has been allocated to ease pressures on the NHS. This is on top of the £240 million announced in October which allowed councils to provide additional care to over 35,000 people, delivering 4 million hours of homecare in 2018-19.

Taken together with the adult social care precept and the improved Better Care Fund, Government has given councils access to around £10 billion in dedicated funding which can be used for adult social care in the 3-year period from 2017-18 to 2019-20.

A further £145 million capital funding has been given to hospitals to provide winter improvements such as upgrading wards and redeveloping A&Es and an additional £36.3 million has been invested into the ambulance services for new vehicles and ‘make-ready hubs’. This is on top of the additional £1.6bn for the NHS in 2018-19 to support A&E and elective care performance.

This Government has been able to make these significant investments in social care because of the balanced approach we have taken to our public finances – investing in public services while keeping debt falling.

In 2017-18, local government spent £17.1 billion on adult social care, up by £390 million from £16.75 billion in 2016-17.

We are also investing £84 million in protecting our children over the next five years to expand three of our most successful children’s social care innovation programme projects. The projects will keep more children at home safely in up to 20 local authorities.

Helping the most vulnerable in our society also means supporting troubled families and local government is at the heart of this agenda.

Our Troubled Families Programmes helps local authorities support families with complex needs and improve outcomes for individuals.

It has been a catalyst for local services, transforming how they work together, making them more integrated and cost-efficient – reducing dependency and demand for expensive services.

The results speak for themselves. The latest national programme evaluation shows that – when compared to a similar comparison group – targeted intervention saw:

- the number of children going into care down by a third;

- the number of adults going to prison down by a quarter and juveniles in custody down by a third; and

- 10% fewer people claiming Jobseekers Allowance.

Although I recognise there is more to do, these outcomes are a real tribute to the efforts of family workers, local authorities and their many partners in our public services and the voluntary sector.

Our work supporting vulnerable families is much more than the financial boost you get from a regular wage, it’s about the pride and dignity that comes from being able to take control of your own life.

This Government has given local authorities the tools and resources they need to do this vital work.

The end of the current multi-year deal is in sight, and it’s clear we need to take a longer view on how we fund councils, as we move to a stronger, sustainable and smarter system of local government.

Preparations for increased business rates retention, a new approach to distributing funding between local authorities and the upcoming Spending Review will be pivotal to this. Important work is underway with authorities and the wider sector to better understand service costs and pressures.

For years, councils have asked for more control over the money raised. We have listened and responded through our plans to increase business rates retention to 75% by devolving additional grants, and in the process providing local authorities with powerful incentives to grow their economies.

Local authorities estimate they will retain around £2.5 billion in business rates growth in 2019-20 under the current system. This is a significant revenue stream on top of the core settlement funding.

In addition to giving more control, councils want and need to see a clearer link between the allocation of resources and local circumstances.

Our new funding formula will ensure a more transparent link between local needs and resources and the funding councils receive. We will ensure that measures of deprivation are, rightly, central to this, when we look at services like adult social care, children’s services, fire services and public health – because we want a system that ensures no one is left behind.

The Government is determined to give all local authorities the freedoms and flexibilities they need, so that they can continue to flourish and deliver vital services to meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1598
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 18 June 2019
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System)
Lords

Disadvantaged children in education

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families (Nadhim Zahawi) has made the following written ministerial statement.

Education should give every child, no matter their background, the opportunity to reach their full potential. To this end, we are announcing the conclusion of the Children in Need review, delivering the Government’s Manifesto commitment to better understand how we can improve the educational outcomes of children who have needed a social worker.

Through our reforms to social care and across Government, we are already taking action to improve safety and stability for these children: strengthening families and tackling domestic abuse, poor mental health and substance misuse, which are prevalent drivers of need. Through our action to drive up the quality of services in local authorities and to develop a highly capable, skilled social work workforce, we have seen the number of local authorities judged inadequate decline by around a quarter since 2017 – providing consistently better services for thousands of children and families across the country.

We have also delivered significant work to raise the educational attainment of our most disadvantaged children. This includes the Timpson Review of School Exclusions, reforms to alternative provision, delivering on the 2014 SEND reforms, and ensuring a system of advocacy and support for Looked After Children.

Children in Need are those who need a social worker for help or protection, including children on a Child in Need Plan or a Child Protection Plan, Looked After Children, and disabled children. The Children in Need Review set out to assess the educational outcomes of this group of children and what actions and interventions are needed to improve them. As part of the review we have developed new data and analysis, conducted a broad programme of qualitative evidence-gathering, including a Call for Evidence and literature review, and engaged with practitioners working in education and social care, as well as children and young people with experience of being supported by social care.

The review has evidenced, for the first time, the prevalence of children who have needed a social worker currently or previously, and the extent of these children’s lasting poor educational outcomes. We now know that 1.6 million children have needed a social worker at some point, equivalent to 1 in 10 last year. This group do significantly worse than others at all stages of education. Of young people who needed a social worker in their GCSE year, by age 21, half had still not achieved Level 2 qualifications (which include GCSEs) compared to 12% of those not in need.

The review has developed four priority areas for action, and identified where we can start work immediately. These are: promoting visibility and recognition, not only for the purposes of safeguarding but in education; keeping children in school, making sure education is a protective factor against abuse, neglect and exploitation; raising aspiration to believe that more is possible of this group of children; and finally, supporting schools to support children themselves – recognising the consequences of childhood adversity on attendance, learning, behaviour and mental health.

The immediate action we will take includes:

  • Clarifying and strengthening our expectations around information sharing between and within schools and social care;
  • Continuing to improve our national data on this group;
  • Improving clarity, timeliness and transparency around in-year admissions;
  • Developing much-needed new research on tackling absence;
  • Consulting on strengthening the role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead in schools, and exploring whether there is a case for extending and adapting the scope of Virtual School Heads;
  • Building on reforms to mental health support, by identifying and sharing best practice around responding to the lasting impacts of childhood adversity;
  • Working with the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care to analyse which interventions, trialled by the Education Endowment Foundation, are most effective for children with a social worker.

This action aims to ensure that every child can benefit from their education, ensuring they have the knowledge and skills to fulfil their potential, and the resilience they need for future success. However, it is only a start. To support families and communities, the whole of Government will continue to work together in preventing and tackling the causes of need, from the early years through to adolescence.

The report ‘Help, Protection, Education: concluding the Children in Need review’ has been published alongside a companion data and analysis document on Gov.uk. I will place a copy of the documents published in the House Libraries.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1635
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 18 June 2019
Made by: Nadhim Zahawi (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families)
Commons

Disadvantaged children in education

Education should give every child, no matter their background, the opportunity to reach their full potential. To this end, we are announcing the conclusion of the Children in Need review, delivering the Government’s Manifesto commitment to better understand how we can improve the educational outcomes of children who have needed a social worker.

Through our reforms to social care and across Government, we are already taking action to improve safety and stability for these children: strengthening families and tackling domestic abuse, poor mental health and substance misuse, which are prevalent drivers of need. Through our action to drive up the quality of services in local authorities and to develop a highly capable, skilled social work workforce, we have seen the number of local authorities judged inadequate decline by around a quarter since 2017 – providing consistently better services for thousands of children and families across the country.

We have also delivered significant work to raise the educational attainment of our most disadvantaged children. This includes the Timpson Review of School Exclusions, reforms to alternative provision, delivering on the 2014 SEND reforms, and ensuring a system of advocacy and support for Looked After Children.

Children in Need are those who need a social worker for help or protection, including children on a Child in Need Plan or a Child Protection Plan, Looked After Children, and disabled children. The Children in Need Review set out to assess the educational outcomes of this group of children and what actions and interventions are needed to improve them. As part of the review we have developed new data and analysis, conducted a broad programme of qualitative evidence-gathering, including a Call for Evidence and literature review, and engaged with practitioners working in education and social care, as well as children and young people with experience of being supported by social care.

The review has evidenced, for the first time, the prevalence of children who have needed a social worker currently or previously, and the extent of these children’s lasting poor educational outcomes. We now know that 1.6 million children have needed a social worker at some point, equivalent to 1 in 10 last year. This group do significantly worse than others at all stages of education. Of young people who needed a social worker in their GCSE year, by age 21, half had still not achieved Level 2 qualifications (which include GCSEs) compared to 12% of those not in need.

The review has developed four priority areas for action, and identified where we can start work immediately. These are: promoting visibility and recognition, not only for the purposes of safeguarding but in education; keeping children in school, making sure education is a protective factor against abuse, neglect and exploitation; raising aspiration to believe that more is possible of this group of children; and finally, supporting schools to support children themselves – recognising the consequences of childhood adversity on attendance, learning, behaviour and mental health.

The immediate action we will take includes:

  • Clarifying and strengthening our expectations around information sharing between and within schools and social care;
  • Continuing to improve our national data on this group;
  • Improving clarity, timeliness and transparency around in-year admissions;
  • Developing much-needed new research on tackling absence;
  • Consulting on strengthening the role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead in schools, and exploring whether there is a case for extending and adapting the scope of Virtual School Heads;
  • Building on reforms to mental health support, by identifying and sharing best practice around responding to the lasting impacts of childhood adversity;
  • Working with the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care to analyse which interventions, trialled by the Education Endowment Foundation, are most effective for children with a social worker.

This action aims to ensure that every child can benefit from their education, ensuring they have the knowledge and skills to fulfil their potential, and the resilience they need for future success. However, it is only a start. To support families and communities, the whole of Government will continue to work together in preventing and tackling the causes of need, from the early years through to adolescence.

The report ‘Help, Protection, Education: concluding the Children in Need review’ has been published alongside a companion data and analysis document on Gov.uk. I will place a copy of the documents published in the House Libraries.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1597
WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 18 June 2019
Made by: Lord Callanan (Minister of State for Exiting the European Union)
Lords

General Affairs Council, June 2019

My Right Honourable friend Stephen Barclay, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, has made the following statement:

I will attend the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 18 June 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

Ministers and the Commission will discuss progress on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) negotiations. The intention is for Member States to reach an agreement on the negotiations in autumn 2019.

Preparation of the European Council on 20-21 June 2019: Conclusions and European Council follow-up

The Council will discuss preparations for the June European Council. The agenda includes: adoption of the 2019-2024 Strategic Agenda for the European Union; MFF; Climate Change; the European Semester; and the disinformation and elections report prepared by the Romanian Presidency in cooperation with the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Ministers will also discuss progress in implementing previous European Council conclusions.

Enlargement and Stabilisation and Association Process

Enlargement is the process whereby European countries are able to join the European Union. Ministers will discuss and adopt conclusions on the 2019 enlargement package which was presented by the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and other EU institutions on 29 May.

European Semester - Horizontal report on Country Specific Recommendations

The European Semester provides a framework for the coordination of economic policies across the EU. Ministers will discuss the Commission’s horizontal report on the macro-economic position of the EU, which draws on country specific recommendations. The report will be passed to European Council ahead of its meeting on 20 and 21 June.

WS
Treasury
Made on: 18 June 2019
Made by: Lord Young of Cookham (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Inheritance Tax relief on Kindertransport Compensation Payments

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

The Government is proud to continue to support victims of Nazi persecution. Earlier this year, the German Government set up a compensation scheme for Jewish individuals who were transported from Germany on the Kindertransport. Under the previous rules, these payments would be treated as part of the individual’s estate and liable to Inheritance Tax. The Government will legislate in Finance Bill 2019-20 so that compensation payments made as part of this scheme will not be subject to Inheritance Tax considerations.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1634
WS
Treasury
Made on: 18 June 2019
Made by: Jesse Norman (The Financial Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Inheritance Tax relief on Kindertransport Compensation Payments

The Government is proud to continue to support victims of Nazi persecution. Earlier this year, the German Government set up a compensation scheme for Jewish individuals who were transported from Germany on the Kindertransport. Under the previous rules, these payments would be treated as part of the individual’s estate and liable to Inheritance Tax. The Government will legislate in Finance Bill 2019-20 so that compensation payments made as part of this scheme will not be subject to Inheritance Tax considerations.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1595
WS
Home Office
Made on: 18 June 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Government response to consultation on fees for Home Office firearms licences

My rt hon Friend the Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service (Nick Hurd) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

Today, I am publishing the Government response to the consultation we launched in January 2017 on new fees for applications for firearms licences administered by the Home Office and the Scottish Government. These licences are:

• licences to possess firearms that are prohibited under Section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968. Such licences are issued to, for example, dealers or manufacturers of prohibited firearms and are distinct from police-issued certificates for civilian firearms, shotguns, and those issued to registered firearms dealers who deal in civilian firearms and shotguns;

• licences for museums that hold firearms as part of their collections; and

• licences for approved target shooting clubs.

The Government introduced measures, through the Policing and Crime Act 2017, to enable new fees for these licences to be set on a cost recovery basis, through secondary legislation. The fees will apply in England, Wales and Scotland.

I am very grateful to those who responded to the consultation. We received almost 5,000 responses.

The Home Office has reviewed the levels of fees set out in the consultation document, and we discussed our proposals with representatives of fee payers. The levels of fees now set out in the Government response are significantly lower than those originally proposed, due to both revised estimates of Home Office costs and a fresh look at the costs that it is appropriate to recover through the new fees.

An important issue raised by fee-payers’ representatives was the potential impact of the proposed fees on museums with firearms collections. Given that the museums involved are publicly funded and act in the public interest, the Government has decided to maintain the current museum firearms licence fee level of £200 for the grant and renewal of these licences. This is set out in more detail in the Impact Assessment accompanying the consultation response. The Government response and the Impact Assessment will be published on gov.uk, and I will arrange for copies to be placed in the Libraries of the House.

The new fees will be introduced by statutory instrument as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1630
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 18 June 2019
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (Lords Spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice)
Lords

The importance of strengthening female offenders’ family and other relationships to prevent reoffending and reduce intergenerational crime

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, (Edward Argar) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

"Today, I am publishing the Farmer Review, which was commissioned as part of our Female Offender Strategy in June 2018.

This work builds on Lord Farmer’s 2017 review of family ties for male prisoners, which concluded that good relationships are vital to reducing reoffending. For women, relationships are the most significant factor to impact directly on the likelihood of reoffending. More so than men, women in the justice system are in relationships that are abusive and/or criminogenic, and therefore supporting female offenders to strengthen and develop relationships is not straight forward.

We also know that women are more likely to be primary carers than men when entering the criminal justice system. Whereas children of male prisoners will often remain at home with their mother, children frequently have to leave their home when mothers go into custody. This tells us that incarceration of women disproportionately impacts families and children, and could increase the risk of intergenerational offending.

This is why I am immensely grateful to Lord Farmer for undertaking this important review. Building on his original review, this review looks at his earlier recommendations through the lens of the needs of female offenders, including the distinct complexities in their relationships.

The Farmer Review for Women investigates how supporting female offenders to engage with their families can lower recidivism, aid rehabilitation and assist in addressing the issues of intergenerational crime. It does this by looking across the whole system – not just within prison – following the vision of our strategy to support women and improve outcomes for them at all points of the justice system.

The review finds that there is a lack of information on the personal circumstances of women, including of dependent children, which poses a fundamental barrier to supporting women to maintain those relationships. It draws practical proposals to help women communicate better with their family and dependents when at court and in custody, as well as proposing how prisons can better facilitate more frequent, safe, and private family visits.

In line with our strategy, the review represents a preference for women to be managed, and to manage their own relationships safely in the community, where possible.

The review can be found online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/farmer-review-for-women

I am pleased to welcome this report and to share with you my commitment to take forward this important area of work. We will look closely at the findings and recommendations from Lord Farmer’s review for Women and how we can best give effect to these in both the short and longer term.

In doing so, my department will build on the good work we have been taking forward following Lord Farmer’s original review. My officials will also work closely with other agencies, partners and Government departments to ensure the importance of strengthening family and relational ties for female offenders and their children is reflected across the criminal justice system."

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1631
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 18 June 2019
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

Business update

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

Our competition, legal and regulatory frameworks are fundamental to our future economic success. We have a reputation for a world-leading competition framework and independent economic regulators with duties to protect the interests of consumers. However, where markets are not working for consumers, we will ensure that they are treated fairly. Today I published the Government’s response to the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) loyalty penalty report. It is my intention that the UK’s competition and markets regime is firmly focused on delivering improved outcomes for consumers. That means ensuring that significant sources of consumer detriment, such as the loyalty penalty, are tackled quickly and effectively.

Following concerns raised by Citizens Advice in a ‘super-complaint’, the CMA uncovered harmful business practices by firms, which exploit consumer loyalty. The CMA investigation looked at the five markets highlighted by the super-complaint – cash savings, mortgages, household insurance, mobile and broadband – and found that there is a total loyalty penalty of around £4 billion a year in these markets. It also found that vulnerable people, including the elderly and those on a low income, may be more at risk of paying the loyalty penalty.

Our response to the CMA’s loyalty penalty investigation sends a strong signal that poor practices by suppliers will not be tolerated and sets out the following:

  • our intention to establish an administrative model of consumer enforcement for the CMA and to consult on how to do this as part of the forthcoming Consumer White Paper
  • that the CMA and the economic regulators must do more to stop business practices that lead to the loyalty penalty, and that we are prepared to legislate to give our enforcers new tools to do so where necessary
  • that targeted price interventions, where proportionate, should be considered by regulators to tackle the loyalty penalty. Although pricing interventions should be a matter of last resort, it is vital that all potential interventions are considered to protect those who are most vulnerable
  • reiterates the commitments we set out in our Smart Data Review, including creating an ‘Open Communications’ initiative and establishing a Vulnerable Consumer Challenge.

This builds on our Consumer Green Paper, as part of our modern Industrial Strategy, published in April 2018, which tackles areas where markets are not working for consumers and businesses. We believe that all of these measures will help create the conditions for more effective competition and improve day to day outcomes for consumers.

I will place a copy of our letter to the CMA in the Libraries of both Houses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1629
WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 18 June 2019
Made by: Lord Callanan (Minister of State for Exiting the European Union)
Lords

BILATERAL VOTING RIGHTS

Today, I can confirm that the Government has reached a bilateral agreement with Luxembourg that will secure the rights of UK nationals living in Luxembourg, and Luxembourgish citizens living in the UK, to stand and vote in local elections in both a deal and no deal scenario. This agreement builds on our close ties and reinforces our commitment to the future relationship between our two nations.

Citizens have always been our priority in the negotiations for our departure from the EU, as has protecting the interests of British expats. The UK pushed hard in negotiations to protect the right to stand and vote in local elections for UK nationals living in the EU, and EU citizens in the UK, but these rights were not included in the Withdrawal Agreement. Instead, we have been pursuing bilateral arrangements with individual Member States to secure these rights. Throughout this process we have been clear that allowing EU citizens to vote in local elections in the UK should be considered alongside the rights and interests of UK nationals and it has been our priority to secure these reciprocally.

We have now reached agreements with Spain, Portugal and Luxembourg and we are continuing our discussions with other Member States.

UK nationals will be able to continue to vote, and in some cases stand, in elections in Member States where their domestic legislation allows this and they meet the requirements set out, for example on length of residency. This includes: Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden.

I will be depositing a copy of the latest agreement in the libraries of both Houses.

WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 18 June 2019
Made by: Stephen Barclay (Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union)
Commons

BILATERAL VOTING RIGHTS

Today, I can confirm that the Government has reached a bilateral agreement with Luxembourg that will secure the rights of UK nationals living in Luxembourg, and Luxembourgish citizens living in the UK, to stand and vote in local elections in both a deal and no deal scenario. This agreement builds on our close ties and reinforces our commitment to the future relationship between our two nations.

Citizens have always been our priority in the negotiations for our departure from the EU, as has protecting the interests of British expats. The UK pushed hard in negotiations to protect the right to stand and vote in local elections for UK nationals living in the EU, and EU citizens in the UK, but these rights were not included in the Withdrawal Agreement. Instead, we have been pursuing bilateral arrangements with individual Member States to secure these rights. Throughout this process we have been clear that allowing EU citizens to vote in local elections in the UK should be considered alongside the rights and interests of UK nationals and it has been our priority to secure these reciprocally.

We have now reached agreements with Spain, Portugal and Luxembourg and we are continuing our discussions with other Member States.

UK nationals will be able to continue to vote, and in some cases stand, in elections in Member States where their domestic legislation allows this and they meet the requirements set out, for example on length of residency. This includes: Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden.

I will be depositing a copy of the latest agreement in the libraries of both Houses.

WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 18 June 2019
Made by: Stephen Barclay (Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union)
Commons

General Affairs Council, June 2019

I will attend the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 18 June 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

Ministers and the Commission will discuss progress on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) negotiations. The intention is for Member States to reach an agreement on the negotiations in autumn 2019.

Preparation of the European Council on 20-21 June 2019: Conclusions and European Council follow-up

The Council will discuss preparations for the June European Council. The agenda includes: adoption of the 2019-2024 Strategic Agenda for the European Union; MFF; Climate Change; the European Semester; and the disinformation and elections report prepared by the Romanian Presidency in cooperation with the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Ministers will also discuss progress in implementing previous European Council conclusions.

Enlargement and Stabilisation and Association Process

Enlargement is the process whereby European countries are able to join the European Union. Ministers will discuss and adopt conclusions on the 2019 enlargement package which was presented by the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and other EU institutions on 29 May.

European Semester - Horizontal report on Country Specific Recommendations

The European Semester provides a framework for the coordination of economic policies across the EU. Ministers will discuss the Commission’s horizontal report on the macro-economic position of the EU, which draws on country specific recommendations. The report will be passed to European Council ahead of its meeting on 20 and 21 June.

WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 18 June 2019
Made by: Edward Argar (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice)
Commons

The importance of strengthening female offenders’ family and other relationships to prevent reoffending and reduce intergenerational crime

Today, I am publishing the Farmer Review, which was commissioned as part of our Female Offender Strategy in June 2018.

This work builds on Lord Farmer’s 2017 review of family ties for male prisoners, which concluded that good relationships are vital to reducing reoffending. For women, relationships are the most significant factor to impact directly on the likelihood of reoffending. More so than men, women in the justice system are in relationships that are abusive and/or criminogenic, and therefore supporting female offenders to strengthen and develop relationships is not straight forward.

We also know that women are more likely to be primary carers than men when entering the criminal justice system. Whereas children of male prisoners will often remain at home with their mother, children frequently have to leave their home when mothers go into custody. This tells us that incarceration of women disproportionately impacts families and children, and could increase the risk of intergenerational offending.

This is why I am immensely grateful to Lord Farmer for undertaking this important review. Building on his original review, this review looks at his earlier recommendations through the lens of the needs of female offenders, including the distinct complexities in their relationships.

The Farmer Review for Women investigates how supporting female offenders to engage with their families can lower recidivism, aid rehabilitation and assist in addressing the issues of intergenerational crime. It does this by looking across the whole system – not just within prison – following the vision of our strategy to support women and improve outcomes for them at all points of the justice system.

The review finds that there is a lack of information on the personal circumstances of women, including of dependent children, which poses a fundamental barrier to supporting women to maintain those relationships. It draws practical proposals to help women communicate better with their family and dependents when at court and in custody, as well as proposing how prisons can better facilitate more frequent, safe, and private family visits.

In line with our strategy, the review represents a preference for women to be managed, and to manage their own relationships safely in the community, where possible.

The review can be found online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/farmer-review-for-women

I am pleased to welcome this report and to share with you my commitment to take forward this important area of work. We will look closely at the findings and recommendations from Lord Farmer’s review for Women and how we can best give effect to these in both the short and longer term.

In doing so, my department will build on the good work we have been taking forward following Lord Farmer’s original review. My officials will also work closely with other agencies, partners and Government departments to ensure the importance of strengthening family and relational ties for female offenders and their children is reflected across the criminal justice system.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1593
WS
Home Office
Made on: 18 June 2019
Made by: Mr Nick Hurd (The Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service)
Commons

Government response to consultation on fees for Home Office firearms licences

Today, I am publishing the Government response to the consultation we launched in January 2017 on new fees for applications for firearms licences administered by the Home Office and the Scottish Government. These licences are:

• licences to possess firearms that are prohibited under Section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968. Such licences are issued to, for example, dealers or manufacturers of prohibited firearms and are distinct from police-issued certificates for civilian firearms, shotguns, and those issued to registered firearms dealers who deal in civilian firearms and shotguns;

• licences for museums that hold firearms as part of their collections; and

• licences for approved target shooting clubs.

The Government introduced measures, through the Policing and Crime Act 2017, to enable new fees for these licences to be set on a cost recovery basis, through secondary legislation. The fees will apply in England, Wales and Scotland.

I am very grateful to those who responded to the consultation. We received almost 5,000 responses.

The Home Office has reviewed the levels of fees set out in the consultation document, and we discussed our proposals with representatives of fee payers. The levels of fees now set out in the Government response are significantly lower than those originally proposed, due to both revised estimates of Home Office costs and a fresh look at the costs that it is appropriate to recover through the new fees.

An important issue raised by fee-payers’ representatives was the potential impact of the proposed fees on museums with firearms collections. Given that the museums involved are publicly funded and act in the public interest, the Government has decided to maintain the current museum firearms licence fee level of £200 for the grant and renewal of these licences. This is set out in more detail in the Impact Assessment accompanying the consultation response. The Government response and the Impact Assessment will be published on gov.uk, and I will arrange for copies to be placed in the Libraries of the House.

The new fees will be introduced by statutory instrument as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1594
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 18 June 2019
Made by: Greg Clark (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy )
Commons

Business update

Our competition, legal and regulatory frameworks are fundamental to our future economic success. We have a reputation for a world-leading competition framework and independent economic regulators with duties to protect the interests of consumers. However, where markets are not working for consumers, we will ensure that they are treated fairly. Today I published the Government’s response to the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) loyalty penalty report. It is my intention that the UK’s competition and markets regime is firmly focused on delivering improved outcomes for consumers. That means ensuring that significant sources of consumer detriment, such as the loyalty penalty, are tackled quickly and effectively.

Following concerns raised by Citizens Advice in a ‘super-complaint’, the CMA uncovered harmful business practices by firms, which exploit consumer loyalty. The CMA investigation looked at the five markets highlighted by the super-complaint – cash savings, mortgages, household insurance, mobile and broadband – and found that there is a total loyalty penalty of around £4 billion a year in these markets. It also found that vulnerable people, including the elderly and those on a low income, may be more at risk of paying the loyalty penalty.

Our response to the CMA’s loyalty penalty investigation sends a strong signal that poor practices by suppliers will not be tolerated and sets out the following:

  • our intention to establish an administrative model of consumer enforcement for the CMA and to consult on how to do this as part of the forthcoming Consumer White Paper
  • that the CMA and the economic regulators must do more to stop business practices that lead to the loyalty penalty, and that we are prepared to legislate to give our enforcers new tools to do so where necessary
  • that targeted price interventions, where proportionate, should be considered by regulators to tackle the loyalty penalty. Although pricing interventions should be a matter of last resort, it is vital that all potential interventions are considered to protect those who are most vulnerable
  • reiterates the commitments we set out in our Smart Data Review, including creating an ‘Open Communications’ initiative and establishing a Vulnerable Consumer Challenge.

This builds on our Consumer Green Paper, as part of our modern Industrial Strategy, published in April 2018, which tackles areas where markets are not working for consumers and businesses. We believe that all of these measures will help create the conditions for more effective competition and improve day to day outcomes for consumers.

I will place a copy of our letter to the CMA in the Libraries of both Houses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1592
WS
Home Office
Made on: 17 June 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Contingent liability for indemnifying the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel

My rt hon Friend the Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service (Nick Hurd) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

My rt hon Friend the Home Secretary is today laying before the House of Commons a Departmental Minute giving notice of a contingent liability for the issuing of an indemnity with respect to the work of the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel (DMIP).

The Panel was established by the then Home Secretary in May 2013 to shine a light on the 1987 murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan, the background to the murder and the subsequent handling of the case.

The proposed indemnity will cover current and former members of the DMIP and any individual engaged at any time to provide assistance to the Panel against any civil liability for any act done or omission made in good faith in the execution of his or her duties, or in the purported execution of his or her duties. This indemnity applies only to acts done or omissions made during the course of the Panel’s work, from its establishment on 10 May 2013 until its final report is submitted to the Home Secretary.

The indemnity is subject to the proviso that any liability which is to any extent met by insurers on the beneficiary of this indemnity, or for which reimbursement is made to any extent by such insurers, shall in that event and to that extent no longer be the subject of the indemnity and (if previously met or reimbursed by the Government) shall to that extent be refunded by the beneficiary to the Government.

Her Majesty’s Treasury has approved the contingent liability in principle. The National Audit Office has been consulted on the proposal.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1628
WS
Home Office
Made on: 17 June 2019
Made by: Mr Nick Hurd (The Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service)
Commons

Contingent liability for indemnifying the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel

My rt hon Friend the Home Secretary is today laying before the House of Commons a Departmental Minute giving notice of a contingent liability for the issuing of an indemnity with respect to the work of the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel (DMIP).

The Panel was established by the then Home Secretary in May 2013 to shine a light on the 1987 murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan, the background to the murder and the subsequent handling of the case.

The proposed indemnity will cover current and former members of the DMIP and any individual engaged at any time to provide assistance to the Panel against any civil liability for any act done or omission made in good faith in the execution of his or her duties, or in the purported execution of his or her duties. This indemnity applies only to acts done or omissions made during the course of the Panel’s work, from its establishment on 10 May 2013 until its final report is submitted to the Home Secretary.

The indemnity is subject to the proviso that any liability which is to any extent met by insurers on the beneficiary of this indemnity, or for which reimbursement is made to any extent by such insurers, shall in that event and to that extent no longer be the subject of the indemnity and (if previously met or reimbursed by the Government) shall to that extent be refunded by the beneficiary to the Government.

Her Majesty’s Treasury has approved the contingent liability in principle. The National Audit Office has been consulted on the proposal.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1590
WS
Home Office
Made on: 17 June 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Immigration

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

The UK is today reaffirming its ongoing commitment to supporting refugees, and to working with partners to find a longer-term approach to refugee protection – an approach that restores dignity and offers refugees a viable future.

The UK has a long history of supporting refugees in need of protection. Our schemes have provided safe and legal routes for tens of thousands of people to start new lives in the UK. In every year since 2016 the UK resettled more refugees from outside Europe than any other EU member state. These remarkable achievements have been made possible through the tireless commitment of individuals, community and faith groups, local authorities, the devolved administrations, NGOs and our international partners - I am grateful to all of them for their on-going support.

The global humanitarian need continues to grow with over 68.5 million people around the world forced from their homes and nearly 25.4 million refugees fleeing persecution; whether due to conflict, religious belief, sexuality or any reason under the Refugee Convention. Over half of those refugees are children and for some, resettlement to places like the UK is the only durable solution.

With our commitments under the Vulnerable Persons’ Resettlement Scheme, Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme and Gateway Protection Programme coming to an end during 2020, it is right to provide certainty to our partners on the future of the UK’s refugee resettlement offer. That is why today I want to confirm the UK’s ongoing commitment to resettlement and set out our plans for after 2020.

Once we have delivered our current commitments we will consolidate our biggest resettlement schemes into a new global resettlement scheme. Our priority will be to continue to identify and resettle the most vulnerable refugees, identified and referred by UNHCR. Under the global resettlement scheme, we will broaden our geographical focus beyond the Middle East and North Africa region and be better placed to swiftly respond to international crises in coordination with global partners.

In the first year of operation of the new scheme, the UK will aim to resettle in the region of 5000 of the world’s most vulnerable refugees. We will continue to purposefully target those greatest in need of assistance, including people requiring urgent medical treatment, survivors of violence and torture, and women and children at risk. A new process for emergency resettlement will also be developed, allowing the UK to respond quickly to instances of heightened protection need, providing a faster route to protection where lives are at risk. Building on the experience of delivering the current schemes and the significant contribution of our community sponsors a key part of our resettlement offer will be that those resettled through our community sponsorship and Mandate routes will be in addition to our yearly, global commitment

We will continue to work in partnership with local authorities. Recognising that their continued support will be fundamental to achieving our ambitions, we will ensure they continue to be well-funded, supporting them to provide resettled refugees with the best possible support upon arrival. We will also continue our strong engagement with civil society as we move forward.

We will continue to support the long-term integration of refugees, empowering them to fulfil their potential and contribute positively to their new communities.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1627
WS
Home Office
Made on: 17 June 2019
Made by: Sajid Javid (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Immigration

The UK is today reaffirming its ongoing commitment to supporting refugees, and to working with partners to find a longer-term approach to refugee protection – an approach that restores dignity and offers refugees a viable future.

The UK has a long history of supporting refugees in need of protection. Our schemes have provided safe and legal routes for tens of thousands of people to start new lives in the UK. In every year since 2016 the UK resettled more refugees from outside Europe than any other EU member state. These remarkable achievements have been made possible through the tireless commitment of individuals, community and faith groups, local authorities, the devolved administrations, NGOs and our international partners - I am grateful to all of them for their on-going support.

The global humanitarian need continues to grow with over 68.5 million people around the world forced from their homes and nearly 25.4 million refugees fleeing persecution; whether due to conflict, religious belief, sexuality or any reason under the Refugee Convention. Over half of those refugees are children and for some, resettlement to places like the UK is the only durable solution.

With our commitments under the Vulnerable Persons’ Resettlement Scheme, Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme and Gateway Protection Programme coming to an end during 2020, it is right to provide certainty to our partners on the future of the UK’s refugee resettlement offer. That is why today I want to confirm the UK’s ongoing commitment to resettlement and set out our plans for after 2020.

Once we have delivered our current commitments we will consolidate our biggest resettlement schemes into a new global resettlement scheme. Our priority will be to continue to identify and resettle the most vulnerable refugees, identified and referred by UNHCR. Under the global resettlement scheme, we will broaden our geographical focus beyond the Middle East and North Africa region and be better placed to swiftly respond to international crises in coordination with global partners.

In the first year of operation of the new scheme, the UK will aim to resettle in the region of 5000 of the world’s most vulnerable refugees. We will continue to purposefully target those greatest in need of assistance, including people requiring urgent medical treatment, survivors of violence and torture, and women and children at risk. A new process for emergency resettlement will also be developed, allowing the UK to respond quickly to instances of heightened protection need, providing a faster route to protection where lives are at risk. Building on the experience of delivering the current schemes and the significant contribution of our community sponsors a key part of our resettlement offer will be that those resettled through our community sponsorship and Mandate routes will be in addition to our yearly, global commitment

We will continue to work in partnership with local authorities. Recognising that their continued support will be fundamental to achieving our ambitions, we will ensure they continue to be well-funded, supporting them to provide resettled refugees with the best possible support upon arrival. We will also continue our strong engagement with civil society as we move forward.

We will continue to support the long-term integration of refugees, empowering them to fulfil their potential and contribute positively to their new communities.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1589
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Mr David Gauke (The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice)
Commons

Justice and Home Affairs post-Council statement

The final Justice and Home Affairs Council of the Romanian EU Presidency recently took place in Luxembourg. I attended on 6th June for Justice Day, and Sir Tim Barrow, Permanent Representative of the UK to the EU, and Chris Jones, Director of the Europe Directorate at the Home Office, attended on Interior Day on 7th June.

Justice Day began with a discussion on the Regulation on the Assignment of Claims, which has far-reaching implications for financial markets, including the ability of small businesses to access credit. It was agreed that work in this area will need to continue under the Finnish Presidency. The Council then discussed digitalisation of judicial cooperation, where the Presidency considered the UK’s position that a thorough cost benefit analysis was needed before proceeding, along with plenty of time for Member States to implement this measure effectively. In general, however, Member States supported a mandatory and de-centralised approach to digitalisation in the interests of speed and efficiency of justice systems.

Ministers then discussed the future direction of substantive criminal law co-operation. Member States were clear that implementation of existing criminal law measures should be prioritised before considering new legislation and a thorough analysis of the benefits of these measures would be needed before further harmonisation. Nonetheless, momentum began to form around the harmonisation of criminal law on environmental crime, identity theft, and manipulation of elections.

After a working lunch discussing the use of judicial training to foster mutual trust, there was a policy debate on mutual recognition in criminal matters. Discussions focused on facilitating the practical application of existing legal instruments, including by means of judicial training, rather than on new legislative proposals. The Commission stressed the importance of fundamental rights, and an independent judiciary to enable mutual recognition tools, like the European Arrest Warrant (EAW), to operate. The UK underlined our commitment to continued co-operation in this field and several Members States supported the idea of common guidelines on this. Some advocated EU legislation on the transfer of criminal proceedings to close loopholes, particularly where suspected criminals cannot (for whatever reason) be surrendered under the EAW.

The Council then adopted mandates for negotiations with the United States, and in the Council of Europe (Budapest Convention), on cross-border access to e-evidence. The Commission noted its intention to insist that the United States agree to an EU wide approach which would apply to all Member States without discrimination, including at the EU-US Ministerial meeting in Bucharest later this month. Formal negotiations will not begin until finalisation of internal EU legislation on e-evidence. The UK has not opted into either the internal EU legislation on e-evidence, or the mandates for negotiations with the US, and in the Council of Europe, and will not be bound by those mandates.

Council adopted Conclusions which encourage Eurojust and the networks established in the area of judicial cooperation in criminal matters to further develop the coordination and synergies between them. The UK supported these Conclusions as we support the work of Eurojust, and agrees that better coordination between networks hosted by Eurojust would be helpful for criminal justice cooperation.

The Council also adopted Conclusions on the retention of data for the purpose of fighting crime, which proposed further exploration of options for lawful regimes in Member States. The UK believes the appropriate retention of telecommunications data for law enforcement purposes is an important element of an effective law enforcement system and supported these Conclusions. The Commission provided an update on the planned preparatory steps to make the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) operational by the end of 2020. The UK has not opted into EPPO.

The Council adopted an Implementing Decision confirming that the UK could connect to the Prüm automated system for exchanging DNA data between law enforcement authorities in EU Member States.

Interior Day began with a discussion on the future of EU law enforcement. Ministers agreed that further co-operation on approaches to law enforcement would make for more effective cross-border law enforcement. The Council supported effective implementation of existing legislation, especially interoperability of databases, and recognised the need to address the impacts of technological advancements on law enforcement, supporting Europol’s role in pooling expertise and providing technological and analytical support. The UK Permanent Representative to the EU intervened to support this work and welcome the intent to work together, co-ordinate methods and approaches and support the proposal for a Europol innovation hub. In this context, the UK intervention additionally highlighted UK work to tackle online harms through the UK White Paper.

Under AOB, the Council CT Co-ordinator (Gilles de Kerchove) presented on the implications on law enforcement of the move to 5G. The CT Co-ordinator focused on the need for the EU to influence 5G standards, to ensure a dialogue with service providers on this issue, and to consider EU legislation to avoid fragmentation of Member State approaches. The Commissioner for the Security Union (Sir Julian King) noted the Commission’s intent to develop an EU risk assessment and toolbox of options to mitigate risks by the end of 2019.

The Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Group, a non-EU grouping of European States intelligence agencies, attended to update the JHA Council on the general terrorist threat and the challenges and opportunities from new tools and technologies. The CTG Chair also updated on discussions on co-operation with Europol on strategic and technical issues, noting that operational intelligence work remained the sole responsibility of Member States.

Over lunch and in the afternoon session, Ministers discussed migration, with a focus on issues of solidarity and redistribution of migrants. Member States remain split on the EU’s approach to these issues. The UK intervention focused on our extensive support upstream which ranges from tackling organised immigration crime and the use of strategic communications to building partnerships and capability with source and transit countries to jointly address the drivers of migration.

The Council agreed a partial General Approach on the draft Directive on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals (recast), with the exception of Article 22 on the Border procedure and the related recitals. The UK has not opted into this measure.

The Council also agreed partial General Approaches on draft regulations establishing the Integrated Border Management fund, establishing the Asylum and Migration Fund, and establishing the Internal Security Fund. These are subject to wider negotiations on the overall Multi-Annual Financial Framework. The UK will not participate in any of these funds.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1588
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (The Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Justice and Home Affairs post-Council statement

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

"The final Justice and Home Affairs Council of the Romanian EU Presidency recently took place in Luxembourg. I attended on 6th June for Justice Day, and Sir Tim Barrow, Permanent Representative of the UK to the EU, and Chris Jones, Director of the Europe Directorate at the Home Office, attended on Interior Day on 7th June.

Justice Day began with a discussion on the Regulation on the Assignment of Claims, which has far-reaching implications for financial markets, including the ability of small businesses to access credit. It was agreed that work in this area will need to continue under the Finnish Presidency. The Council then discussed digitalisation of judicial cooperation, where the Presidency considered the UK’s position that a thorough cost benefit analysis was needed before proceeding, along with plenty of time for Member States to implement this measure effectively. In general, however, Member States supported a mandatory and de-centralised approach to digitalisation in the interests of speed and efficiency of justice systems.

Ministers then discussed the future direction of substantive criminal law co-operation. Member States were clear that implementation of existing criminal law measures should be prioritised before considering new legislation and a thorough analysis of the benefits of these measures would be needed before further harmonisation. Nonetheless, momentum began to form around the harmonisation of criminal law on environmental crime, identity theft, and manipulation of elections.

After a working lunch discussing the use of judicial training to foster mutual trust, there was a policy debate on mutual recognition in criminal matters. Discussions focused on facilitating the practical application of existing legal instruments, including by means of judicial training, rather than on new legislative proposals. The Commission stressed the importance of fundamental rights, and an independent judiciary to enable mutual recognition tools, like the European Arrest Warrant (EAW), to operate. The UK underlined our commitment to continued co-operation in this field and several Members States supported the idea of common guidelines on this. Some advocated EU legislation on the transfer of criminal proceedings to close loopholes, particularly where suspected criminals cannot (for whatever reason) be surrendered under the EAW.

The Council then adopted mandates for negotiations with the United States, and in the Council of Europe (Budapest Convention), on cross-border access to e-evidence. The Commission noted its intention to insist that the United States agree to an EU wide approach which would apply to all Member States without discrimination, including at the EU-US Ministerial meeting in Bucharest later this month. Formal negotiations will not begin until finalisation of internal EU legislation on e-evidence. The UK has not opted into either the internal EU legislation on e-evidence, or the mandates for negotiations with the US, and in the Council of Europe, and will not be bound by those mandates.

Council adopted Conclusions which encourage Eurojust and the networks established in the area of judicial cooperation in criminal matters to further develop the coordination and synergies between them. The UK supported these Conclusions as we support the work of Eurojust, and agrees that better coordination between networks hosted by Eurojust would be helpful for criminal justice cooperation.

The Council also adopted Conclusions on the retention of data for the purpose of fighting crime, which proposed further exploration of options for lawful regimes in Member States. The UK believes the appropriate retention of telecommunications data for law enforcement purposes is an important element of an effective law enforcement system and supported these Conclusions. The Commission provided an update on the planned preparatory steps to make the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) operational by the end of 2020. The UK has not opted into EPPO.

The Council adopted an Implementing Decision confirming that the UK could connect to the Prüm automated system for exchanging DNA data between law enforcement authorities in EU Member States.

Interior Day began with a discussion on the future of EU law enforcement. Ministers agreed that further co-operation on approaches to law enforcement would make for more effective cross-border law enforcement. The Council supported effective implementation of existing legislation, especially interoperability of databases, and recognised the need to address the impacts of technological advancements on law enforcement, supporting Europol’s role in pooling expertise and providing technological and analytical support. The UK Permanent Representative to the EU intervened to support this work and welcome the intent to work together, co-ordinate methods and approaches and support the proposal for a Europol innovation hub. In this context, the UK intervention additionally highlighted UK work to tackle online harms through the UK White Paper.

Under AOB, the Council CT Co-ordinator (Gilles de Kerchove) presented on the implications on law enforcement of the move to 5G. The CT Co-ordinator focused on the need for the EU to influence 5G standards, to ensure a dialogue with service providers on this issue, and to consider EU legislation to avoid fragmentation of Member State approaches. The Commissioner for the Security Union (Sir Julian King) noted the Commission’s intent to develop an EU risk assessment and toolbox of options to mitigate risks by the end of 2019.

The Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Group, a non-EU grouping of European States intelligence agencies, attended to update the JHA Council on the general terrorist threat and the challenges and opportunities from new tools and technologies. The CTG Chair also updated on discussions on co-operation with Europol on strategic and technical issues, noting that operational intelligence work remained the sole responsibility of Member States.

Over lunch and in the afternoon session, Ministers discussed migration, with a focus on issues of solidarity and redistribution of migrants. Member States remain split on the EU’s approach to these issues. The UK intervention focused on our extensive support upstream which ranges from tackling organised immigration crime and the use of strategic communications to building partnerships and capability with source and transit countries to jointly address the drivers of migration.

The Council agreed a partial General Approach on the draft Directive on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals (recast), with the exception of Article 22 on the Border procedure and the related recitals. The UK has not opted into this measure.

The Council also agreed partial General Approaches on draft regulations establishing the Integrated Border Management fund, establishing the Asylum and Migration Fund, and establishing the Internal Security Fund. These are subject to wider negotiations on the overall Multi-Annual Financial Framework. The UK will not participate in any of these funds."

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1626
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Baroness Vere of Norbiton (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Lords

EU Transport Council

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

The Transport Council took place in Luxembourg on Thursday 6th June. This was the only Transport Council under the Romanian Presidency (the Presidency). The UK was represented by the UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU, Katrina Williams.

The Council reached General Approach on the third tranche of the ‘Mobility Package’ for a legal framework for the electronic communication of freight transport information. The UK welcomed the work that the Presidency had done to achieve compromises on this text, as did a number of other Member States.

The Presidency gave a Progress Report on the proposal from the third tranche of the ‘Mobility Package’ to streamline planning and approval processes for projects on the trans-European transport network (TEN-T). Some delegations took the opportunity to flag outstanding concerns including scope, the role of the Single Competent Authority and the duration of the permit granting process.

There was also a Progress Report on the proposal from the first tranche of the ‘Mobility PackageHired Vehicles Directive, although discussion illustrated that there are still outstanding issues to be resolved.

The Council was also given a Progress Report on the proposal from the first tranche of the ‘Mobility Package’ to revise the current directive on Eurovignette (Road Charging). The UK intervened to highlight the need for flexibility in determining national charging schemes, a view shared by a number of other Member States.

Over lunch, Ministers from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and the Ukraine along with representatives from the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development participated in a joint discussion with the Council and Commissioners Bulc and Hahn on the progress made by the Eastern Area Partnership (EaP) in developing the external dimension of the TEN-T policy. Welcoming the progress made in relation to road safety, TEN-T connectivity and planning for future investment in transport infrastructure, the Council endorsed the joint EU-EaP Declaration as a road map for future cooperation.

Later, the Council was given a further Progress Report on negotiations on the proposals to revise the Regulation on rail passengers’ rights and obligations.

Finally, there were several information points from Member States, the Presidency and Commissioner Bulc under Any Other Business. Several Member States supported Luxembourg’s call for consideration of aviation taxation as an additional means to tackle emissions reduction. The Presidency gave information on discussions in other Councils on “A clean planet for all”, the Commission’s long-term climate strategy. On addressing airspace capacity, Commissioner Bulc noted the recent publications of the Airspace Architecture Study and the Wise Person’s Report on the future of air traffic management. The Commission noted the first findings of its study on sustainable transport infrastructure charging and the internalisation of transport externalities, which was published on the day of the Council , and updated the Council on the connectivity outcomes of the EU-China summit. The Presidency provided an update on current legislative proposals and the Polish delegation provided information on the Conference on "Benefits for regions resulting from the implementation of the route Via Carpatia". Finally, Finland presented transport plans for its forthcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1617
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Lord Young of Cookham (Lord in Waiting (Government Whip))
Lords

Appointments to the Boundary Commission for England

My honourable friend the Minister for the Constitution (Mr Kevin Foster) has today made the following written Ministerial Statement:

I should like to inform the House that my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office has made the following appointments under Schedule 1 to the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 following a competition run in accordance with the Governance Code on Public Appointments:

  • Colin Byrne, appointed as a Member of the Boundary Commission for England, effective from 1 July 2019 until 30 June 2024; and
  • Sarah Hamilton, appointed as a Member of the Boundary Commission for England, effective from 1 July 2019 until 30 June 2024.
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1625
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Kevin Foster (Minister for the Constitution)
Commons

Appointments to the Boundary Commission for England

I should like to inform the House that my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office has made the following appointments under Schedule 1 to the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 following a competition run in accordance with the Governance Code on Public Appointments:

  • Colin Byrne, appointed as a Member of the Boundary Commission for England, effective from 1 July 2019 until 30 June 2024; and
  • Sarah Hamilton, appointed as a Member of the Boundary Commission for England, effective from 1 July 2019 until 30 June 2024.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1586
WS
Treasury
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Lord Young of Cookham (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

ECOFIN: 14 June 2019

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

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will be held in Luxembourg on 14 June 2019.

ECOFIN will be preceded by a morning meeting of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Board of Governors:

Annual EIB Board of Governors meeting

The meeting of the EIB Board of Governors will include: statements from the Chairman, President and Chairman of the Audit Committee; a Governors discussion; a presentation on the annual report of the Audit Committee; and a vote for partial renewal of the Audit Committee. The UK will be represented by Mark Bowman (Director General, International Finance, HM Treasury).

Following this, EU Finance Ministers will discuss the following at ECOFIN:

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President will brief the Council on the outcomes of the 13 June meeting of the Eurogroup, and the European Commission will provide an update on the current economic situation in the EU.

Banking Union

The Council will be invited to endorse a progress report on the Banking Union.

Financial Transaction Tax

Ministers will receive a progress update in relation to the enhanced co-operation in the area of financial transaction tax.

G20 follow-up

The Council Presidency and Commission will present the main outcomes of the G20 meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, which took place on 8-9 June in Fukuoka, Japan.

European Semester

Ministers will discuss the draft 2019 Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) and progress towards the Europe 2020 targets.

Stability and Growth Pact

Ministers will be invited to adopt Council decisions and recommendations on the implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact.

Clean Planet

Ministers will exchange views on a strategic long-term vision for a climate-neutral economy.

Non-performing loans

Under any other business, the Commission will provide an update on the implementation of the Action Plan to tackle non-performing loans in Europe.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1623
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (The Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill

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

"I am pleased to announce that the Government is today introducing in the House of Commons the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill. This legislation follows the Government’s response to the consultation on reform of the legal requirements for divorce in England and Wales. I previously laid this response before Parliament [Official Report, 9 April 2019 vol 658 c8WS].

Marriage and family have long been vitally important to our functioning as a society. Where a marriage or civil partnership regrettably breaks down and is beyond repair, the law must deal with that reality with the minimum of acrimony by creating the conditions for people to move forward and agree arrangements for the future in an orderly and constructive way. Above all, the legal process should not exacerbate conflict between parents, as this is especially damaging for children. The process must better support and encourage parents to cooperate in bringing up their children.

The evidence is clear that the current legal requirements can needlessly rake up the past to justify the legal ending of a relationship that is no longer a beneficial and functioning one. The requirement for one person to blame the other – if it is not practical for them to have separated for at least two years – can introduce or worsen conflict at the outset of the process, conflict that may continue long after the legal process has concluded. Allegations about a spouse’s conduct may bear no relation to the real cause of the breakdown. Such allegations do not serve the interests of society or help family relationships to heal. Instead, they can be damaging to any prospects for couples to reconcile or to agree practical arrangements for the future. In the extremely difficult circumstances of divorce, the law should allow couples, where reconciliation is not possible, to move on constructively.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill will change or remove conflict flashpoints. It will align the law with the non-confrontational approach that Parliament has enacted in other areas of family law. Among its measures, the Bill will replace the requirement to prove spousal conduct or that the couple have been separated for at least two years with the requirement to file a statement of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or civil partnership. It will introduce a new minimum period of twenty weeks between the start of proceedings and confirmation to the court that the conditional order should be made. This will make the period before the conditional order is granted longer for most people, and so allow better opportunity for reflecting on the decision to divorce and, where this is inevitable, agreeing practical arrangements for the future.

This is an important piece of legislation that will bring long overdue reform. It is not about making the decision to divorce or to dissolve a civil partnership easier. That will remain one of the hardest decisions anyone can take. It is about reforming those elements of the current legal process that can exacerbate conflict and cause unnecessary distress at an already difficult time, and better supporting agreement about arrangements for the future. I know that Honourable and Right Honourable Members will take great interest in this opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of the many families who sadly find themselves affected by breakdown. My Ministerial colleagues and I look forward to working with them through the passage of the Bill."

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1621
WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (Ministry of Justice spokesperson)
Lords

Media Matters

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Rt Hon Jeremy Wright) has made the following Written Statement:

My Department has today written to Lebedev Holdings Limited (LHL) and Independent Digital News and Media Limited (IDNM), the owners of the Evening Standard and the Independent, to inform them that I am ‘minded to’ issue an Intervention Notice. This relates to concerns I have that there may be public interest considerations - as set out in section 58 of Enterprise Act 2002 - that are relevant to the recent acquisition of a 30% stake by the International Media Company (IMC) in LHL and the linked transaction involving the acquisition of a 30% stake by Scalable LP in IDNM and that these concerns warrant further investigation.

A ‘minded to’ letter has therefore been issued to the parties on one public interest ground specified in section 58 of the Enterprise Act 2002:

(2A) The need for (a) accurate presentation of news; and (b) free expression of opinion.

It is important to note that I have not taken a final decision on intervention at this stage. In line with the statutory guidance on media mergers, the ‘minded to’ letter invites further representations in writing from the parties and gives them until 5pm on Monday 17 June to respond. I plan to make my final decision, which needs to be made on a quasi judicial basis, on whether to issue an Intervention Notice no later than week commencing 24 June.

If I decide to issue an Intervention Notice, the next stage would be for Ofcom to assess and report to me on the public interest concerns and for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to assess and report to me on whether a relevant merger situation has been created and any impact this may have on competition. Following these reports, I would need to decide whether to refer the matter for a more detailed investigation by the CMA under section 45 of the Enterprise Act 2002.

In view of the time it has taken to obtain sufficient information to reach this point I have asked the parties to agree to extend the statutory time limit to allow Ofcom and the Competitions and Markets Authority to report to me on the public interest issues raised by the transaction.

I will keep Parliament updated on progress with this media merger case.

WS
Treasury
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Lord Young of Cookham (Lords Spokesperson )
Lords

Business Plan of the United Kingdom Debt Management Office

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

The United Kingdom Debt Management Office (DMO) has today published its business plan for the financial year 2019-20. Copies have been deposited in the Libraries of both houses and are available on the DMO’s website, www.dmo.gov.uk.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1622
WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Lords))
Lords

Consultation: fortification of flour with folic acid

My Hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care (Seema Kennedy MP) has made the following written statement:

Further to the Government's announcement on 23 October 2018 of the intention to consult on the issue of mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid to help prevent neural tube defects in foetuses, I wish to inform the House that the consultation will launch today and will run for 12 weeks.

Neural tube defects are birth defects of the brain, spine, or spinal cord. They happen in the first few weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman even knows that she is pregnant. The two most common neural tube defects are spina bifida and anencephaly. These can be devastating conditions and the Government is fully aware of the effect these have on the individuals themselves and their families.

There is strong evidence that many neural tube defects can be prevented by increasing women’s intake of folic acid

Unless you are pregnant or thinking of having a baby, you should be able to get all the folate (the natural form of folic acid) you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. Existing pregnancy advice to women who are trying to conceive or who are likely to become pregnant is that they are advised to take a daily supplement of 400 micrograms of folic acid until the 12th week of pregnancy. They are also advised to increase their daily intake of folate by eating more folate-rich foods, for example spinach and broccoli, and foods voluntarily fortified with folic acid such a wide range of breakfast cereals.

However, we know that in the UK around half of pregnancies are unplanned. In those which are planned, it has been estimated that only half of all mothers took folic acid supplements or modified their diet to increase folate intake. This has led to calls for mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid, so women can get it from dietary sources other than foods that naturally contain it.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has recommended mandatory folic acid fortification of flour to improve the folate status of women most at risk of neural tube defect-affected pregnancies. Further detail on this is in the consultation document.

We are now opening a consultation to seek views on this proposed change and we hope that members of the public as well as industry and the scientific community respond so we can accurately consider this proposal.

I have agreed with the Governments of Scotland and Wales, and the Permanent Secretary of Northern Ireland that this will be a joint consultation between the Devolved Administrations and England. This is because any resulting decisions would need to be taken on a whole-UK basis to minimise impact on trade and for industry to comply. Similarly, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has been closely involved as flour falls within their remit.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1618
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister for the Commonwealth and the UN)
Lords

Foreign Affairs Council – 17 June 2019

My Right Honourable Friend, the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Sir Alan Duncan), has made the following written Ministerial statement:

The Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) will take place in Luxembourg on 17 June. It will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP), Federica Mogherini.

The FAC will discuss Current Affairs, the effectiveness of the EU Common Foreign and Security Partnership (CFSP) as well as the EU’s Global Strategy, Sudan, and over lunch with the Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, the Middle-East Peace Process.

Current Affairs

We expect HRVP Mogherini to debrief Ministers on her trip to the Horn of Africa and the developing political situation in the region. HRVP Mogherini will also provide an update on recent developments in Venezuela, including on the International Contact Group and Lima Group Ministerial meeting held in New York on 3 June. We expect Iran to be raised following Iran’s announcement to partially cease meeting commitments under the Iran nuclear deal and given the upcoming 60-day deadline. We expect HRVP Mogherini and Ministers to consider next steps as we seek to avoid further escalation.

CFSP effectiveness and the EU Global Strategy

Foreign Ministers will consider how the EU can improve its approach to foreign and security policy. Defense Ministers will join Foreign Ministers for a strategic debate on the EU’s Global Strategy and how it works internationally. They will consider the EU’s role on security, burden sharing and coherence among defense initiatives.

Sudan

Following the UK’s request, Ministers will discuss the situation in Sudan, taking stock of recent political events, including the Sudanese security forces’ use of violence on civilians, and consider how the EU should respond to support the African Union in ensuring a transition to civilian rule.

Lunch on MEPP with the Jordanian Foreign Minister

The Jordanian Foreign Minister is expected to join EU Ministers to discuss the Middle East Peace Process, prior to the EU-Jordan Association Council. Ahead of the publication of the Kushner Plan, the UK will reiterate its support for a two state solution and encourage all parties to keep an open mind once the Plan is published. The UK will note the importance of HRH King Abdullah II’s role as custodian of the Christian and Muslim holy sites, and reiterate our long-standing position on Jerusalem.

Council Conclusions

The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on Effective Multilateralism; Security and Defence; Central Asia Strategy; the EU’s Engagement in the Black Sea Region; Strengthening the ban on anti-personnel mines; and Human Rights guidelines on safe drinking water and sanitation.

WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Jeremy Wright (Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Commons

Media Matters

My Department has today written to Lebedev Holdings Limited (LHL) and Independent Digital News and Media Limited (IDNM), the owners of the Evening Standard and the Independent, to inform them that I am ‘minded to’ issue an Intervention Notice. This relates to concerns I have that there may be public interest considerations - as set out in section 58 of Enterprise Act 2002 - that are relevant to the recent acquisition of a 30% stake by the International Media Company (IMC) in LHL and the linked transaction involving the acquisition of a 30% stake by Scalable LP in IDNM and that these concerns warrant further investigation.

A ‘minded to’ letter has therefore been issued to the parties on one public interest ground specified in section 58 of the Enterprise Act 2002:

(2A) The need for (a) accurate presentation of news; and (b) free expression of opinion.

It is important to note that I have not taken a final decision on intervention at this stage. In line with the statutory guidance on media mergers, the ‘minded to’ letter invites further representations in writing from the parties and gives them until 5pm on Monday 17 June to respond. I plan to make my final decision, which needs to be made on a quasi judicial basis, on whether to issue an Intervention Notice no later than week commencing 24 June.

If I decide to issue an Intervention Notice, the next stage would be for Ofcom to assess and report to me on the public interest concerns and for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to assess and report to me on whether a relevant merger situation has been created and any impact this may have on competition. Following these reports, I would need to decide whether to refer the matter for a more detailed investigation by the CMA under section 45 of the Enterprise Act 2002.

In view of the time it has taken to obtain sufficient information to reach this point I have asked the parties to agree to extend the statutory time limit to allow Ofcom and the Competitions and Markets Authority to report to me on the public interest issues raised by the transaction.

I will keep Parliament updated on progress with this media merger case.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity)
Lords

June Agriculture and Fisheries Council

My Rt Hon Friend Robert Goodwill (Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) has today made the following statement:

Agriculture and Fisheries Council takes place in Luxembourg on 18 June.

As the provisional agenda stands, the primary focus for fisheries policy will be on the Regulation on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) for which a preliminary agreement on the proposal, a partial general approach (PGA), is sought in Council. It will constitute the Council’s mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament.

The European Commission will also present its Communication on the state of play of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and consultation on the Fishing Opportunities for 2020, after which Ministers will exchange views.

In the field of agriculture the main focus will be on the Post 2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform package for which the Romanian Presidency has provided a progress report on the negotiations during their Presidency. The progress report will be discussed at Council. The reform package covers the three legislative proposals: Regulation on CAP Strategic Plans, Regulation on financing, management and monitoring of the CAP, and Regulation on common market organisation (CMO) of agricultural products.

There are currently no items scheduled for discussion under ‘any other business’.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1619
WS
Treasury
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Mr Philip Hammond (The Chancellor of the Exchequer)
Commons

ECOFIN: 14 June 2019

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will be held in Luxembourg on 14 June 2019.

ECOFIN will be preceded by a morning meeting of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Board of Governors:

Annual EIB Board of Governors meeting

The meeting of the EIB Board of Governors will include: statements from the Chairman, President and Chairman of the Audit Committee; a Governors discussion; a presentation on the annual report of the Audit Committee; and a vote for partial renewal of the Audit Committee. The UK will be represented by Mark Bowman (Director General, International Finance, HM Treasury).

Following this, EU Finance Ministers will discuss the following at ECOFIN:

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President will brief the Council on the outcomes of the 13 June meeting of the Eurogroup, and the European Commission will provide an update on the current economic situation in the EU.

Banking Union

The Council will be invited to endorse a progress report on the Banking Union.

Financial Transaction Tax

Ministers will receive a progress update in relation to the enhanced co-operation in the area of financial transaction tax.

G20 follow-up

The Council Presidency and Commission will present the main outcomes of the G20 meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, which took place on 8-9 June in Fukuoka, Japan.

European Semester

Ministers will discuss the draft 2019 Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) and progress towards the Europe 2020 targets.

Stability and Growth Pact

Ministers will be invited to adopt Council decisions and recommendations on the implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact.

Clean Planet

Ministers will exchange views on a strategic long-term vision for a climate-neutral economy.

Non-performing loans

Under any other business, the Commission will provide an update on the implementation of the Action Plan to tackle non-performing loans in Europe.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1585
WS
Treasury
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: John Glen (The Economic Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Business Plan of the United Kingdom Debt Management Office

The United Kingdom Debt Management Office (DMO) has today published its business plan for the financial year 2019-20. Copies have been deposited in the Libraries of both houses and are available on the DMO’s website, www.dmo.gov.uk.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1582
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Ministry of Justice
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Mr David Gauke (The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice )
Commons

Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill

I am pleased to announce that the Government is today introducing in the House of Commons the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill. This legislation follows the Government’s response to the consultation on reform of the legal requirements for divorce in England and Wales. I previously laid this response before Parliament [Official Report, 9 April 2019 vol 658 c8WS].

Marriage and family have long been vitally important to our functioning as a society. Where a marriage or civil partnership regrettably breaks down and is beyond repair, the law must deal with that reality with the minimum of acrimony by creating the conditions for people to move forward and agree arrangements for the future in an orderly and constructive way. Above all, the legal process should not exacerbate conflict between parents, as this is especially damaging for children. The process must better support and encourage parents to cooperate in bringing up their children.

The evidence is clear that the current legal requirements can needlessly rake up the past to justify the legal ending of a relationship that is no longer a beneficial and functioning one. The requirement for one person to blame the other – if it is not practical for them to have separated for at least two years – can introduce or worsen conflict at the outset of the process, conflict that may continue long after the legal process has concluded. Allegations about a spouse’s conduct may bear no relation to the real cause of the breakdown. Such allegations do not serve the interests of society or help family relationships to heal. Instead, they can be damaging to any prospects for couples to reconcile or to agree practical arrangements for the future. In the extremely difficult circumstances of divorce, the law should allow couples, where reconciliation is not possible, to move on constructively.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill will change or remove conflict flashpoints. It will align the law with the non-confrontational approach that Parliament has enacted in other areas of family law. Among its measures, the Bill will replace the requirement to prove spousal conduct or that the couple have been separated for at least two years with the requirement to file a statement of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or civil partnership. It will introduce a new minimum period of twenty weeks between the start of proceedings and confirmation to the court that the conditional order should be made. This will make the period before the conditional order is granted longer for most people, and so allow better opportunity for reflecting on the decision to divorce and, where this is inevitable, agreeing practical arrangements for the future.

This is an important piece of legislation that will bring long overdue reform. It is not about making the decision to divorce or to dissolve a civil partnership easier. That will remain one of the hardest decisions anyone can take. It is about reforming those elements of the current legal process that can exacerbate conflict and cause unnecessary distress at an already difficult time, and better supporting agreement about arrangements for the future. I know that Honourable and Right Honourable Members will take great interest in this opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of the many families who sadly find themselves affected by breakdown. My Ministerial colleagues and I look forward to working with them through the passage of the Bill.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1584
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Sir Alan Duncan (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Commons

Foreign Affairs Council – 17 June 2019

The Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) will take place in Luxembourg on 17 June. It will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP), Federica Mogherini.

The FAC will discuss Current Affairs, the effectiveness of the EU Common Foreign and Security Partnership (CFSP) as well as the EU’s Global Strategy, Sudan, and over lunch with the Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, the Middle-East Peace Process.

Current Affairs

We expect HRVP Mogherini to debrief Ministers on her trip to the Horn of Africa and the developing political situation in the region. HRVP Mogherini will also provide an update on recent developments in Venezuela, including on the International Contact Group and Lima Group Ministerial meeting held in New York on 3 June. We expect Iran to be raised following Iran’s announcement to partially cease meeting commitments under the Iran nuclear deal and given the upcoming 60-day deadline. We expect HRVP Mogherini and Ministers to consider next steps as we seek to avoid further escalation.

CFSP effectiveness and the EU Global Strategy

Foreign Ministers will consider how the EU can improve its approach to foreign and security policy. Defense Ministers will join Foreign Ministers for a strategic debate on the EU’s Global Strategy and how it works internationally. They will consider the EU’s role on security, burden sharing and coherence among defense initiatives

Sudan

Following the UK’s request, Ministers will discuss the situation in Sudan, taking stock of recent political events, including the Sudanese security forces’ use of violence on civilians, and consider how the EU should respond to support the African Union in ensuring a transition to civilian rule.

Lunch on MEPP with the Jordanian Foreign Minister

The Jordanian Foreign Minister is expected to join EU Ministers to discuss the Middle East Peace Process, prior to the EU-Jordan Association Council. Ahead of the publication of the Kushner Plan, the UK will reiterate its support for a two state solution and encourage all parties to keep an open mind once the Plan is published. The UK will note the importance of HRH King Abdullah II’s role as custodian of the Christian and Muslim holy sites, and reiterate our long-standing position on Jerusalem.

Council Conclusions

The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on Effective Multilateralism; Security and Defence; Central Asia Strategy; the EU’s Engagement in the Black Sea Region; Strengthening the ban on anti-personnel mines; and Human Rights guidelines on safe drinking water and sanitation.

Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP

Minister for Europe and the Americas

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Mr Robert Goodwill (Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food )
Commons

June Agriculture and Fisheries Council

Agriculture and Fisheries Council takes place in Luxembourg on 18 June.

As the provisional agenda stands, the primary focus for fisheries policy will be on the Regulation on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) for which a preliminary agreement on the proposal, a partial general approach (PGA), is sought in Council. It will constitute the Council’s mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament.

The European Commission will also present its Communication on the state of play of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and consultation on the Fishing Opportunities for 2020, after which Ministers will exchange views.

In the field of agriculture the main focus will be on the Post 2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform package for which the Romanian Presidency has provided a progress report on the negotiations during their Presidency. The progress report will be discussed at Council. The reform package covers the three legislative proposals: Regulation on CAP Strategic Plans, Regulation on financing, management and monitoring of the CAP, and Regulation on common market organisation (CMO) of agricultural products.

There are currently no items scheduled for discussion under ‘any other business’.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1579
WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Seema Kennedy (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care)
Commons

Consultation: fortification of flour with folic acid

Further to the Government's announcement on 23 October 2018 of the intention to consult on the issue of mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid to help prevent neural tube defects in foetuses, I wish to inform the House that the consultation will launch today and will run for 12 weeks.

Neural tube defects are birth defects of the brain, spine, or spinal cord. They happen in the first few weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman even knows that she is pregnant. The two most common neural tube defects are spina bifida and anencephaly. These can be devastating conditions and the Government is fully aware of the effect these have on the individuals themselves and their families.

There is strong evidence that many neural tube defects can be prevented by increasing women’s intake of folic acid

Unless you are pregnant or thinking of having a baby, you should be able to get all the folate (the natural form of folic acid) you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. Existing pregnancy advice to women who are trying to conceive or who are likely to become pregnant is that they are advised to take a daily supplement of 400 micrograms of folic acid until the 12th week of pregnancy. They are also advised to increase their daily intake of folate by eating more folate-rich foods, for example spinach and broccoli, and foods voluntarily fortified with folic acid such a wide range of breakfast cereals.

However, we know that in the UK around half of pregnancies are unplanned. In those which are planned, it has been estimated that only half of all mothers took folic acid supplements or modified their diet to increase folate intake. This has led to calls for mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid, so women can get it from dietary sources other than foods that naturally contain it.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has recommended mandatory folic acid fortification of flour to improve the folate status of women most at risk of neural tube defect-affected pregnancies. Further detail on this is in the consultation document.

We are now opening a consultation to seek views on this proposed change and we hope that members of the public as well as industry and the scientific community respond so we can accurately consider this proposal.

I have agreed with the Governments of Scotland and Wales, and the Permanent Secretary of Northern Ireland that this will be a joint consultation between the Devolved Administrations and England. This is because any resulting decisions would need to be taken on a whole-UK basis to minimise impact on trade and for industry to comply. Similarly, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has been closely involved as flour falls within their remit.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1581
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Chris Grayling (Secretary of State for Tranport)
Commons

EU Transport Council

The Transport Council took place in Luxembourg on Thursday 6th June. This was the only Transport Council under the Romanian Presidency (the Presidency). The UK was represented by the UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU, Katrina Williams.

The Council reached General Approach on the third tranche of the ‘Mobility Package’ for a legal framework for the electronic communication of freight transport information. The UK welcomed the work that the Presidency had done to achieve compromises on this text, as did a number of other Member States.

The Presidency gave a Progress Report on the proposal from the third tranche of the ‘Mobility Package’ to streamline planning and approval processes for projects on the trans-European transport network (TEN-T). Some delegations took the opportunity to flag outstanding concerns including scope, the role of the Single Competent Authority and the duration of the permit granting process.

There was also a Progress Report on the proposal from the first tranche of the ‘Mobility PackageHired Vehicles Directive, although discussion illustrated that there are still outstanding issues to be resolved.

The Council was also given a Progress Report on the proposal from the first tranche of the ‘Mobility Package’ to revise the current directive on Eurovignette (Road Charging). The UK intervened to highlight the need for flexibility in determining national charging schemes, a view shared by a number of other Member States.

Over lunch, Ministers from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and the Ukraine along with representatives from the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development participated in a joint discussion with the Council and Commissioners Bulc and Hahn on the progress made by the Eastern Area Partnership (EaP) in developing the external dimension of the TEN-T policy. Welcoming the progress made in relation to road safety, TEN-T connectivity and planning for future investment in transport infrastructure, the Council endorsed the joint EU-EaP Declaration as a road map for future cooperation.

Later, the Council was given a further Progress Report on negotiations on the proposals to revise the Regulation on rail passengers’ rights and obligations.

Finally, there were several information points from Member States, the Presidency and Commissioner Bulc under Any Other Business. Several Member States supported Luxembourg’s call for consideration of aviation taxation as an additional means to tackle emissions reduction. The Presidency gave information on discussions in other Councils on “A clean planet for all”, the Commission’s long-term climate strategy. On addressing airspace capacity, Commissioner Bulc noted the recent publications of the Airspace Architecture Study and the Wise Person’s Report on the future of air traffic management. The Commission noted the first findings of its study on sustainable transport infrastructure charging and the internalisation of transport externalities, which was published on the day of the Council , and updated the Council on the connectivity outcomes of the EU-China summit. The Presidency provided an update on current legislative proposals and the Polish delegation provided information on the Conference on "Benefits for regions resulting from the implementation of the route Via Carpatia". Finally, Finland presented transport plans for its forthcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1587
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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

Industrial Strategy Update

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

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

Since 2010, local leaders, working in partnership with government, have delivered historic City Deals with Greater Manchester. There have been multiple devolution agreements resulting in devolved new powers including bus reform, the adult education budget and Growth deal funding of £633 million.

Building on these strong foundations, we set out in the modern Industrial Strategy to work in partnership with places to develop Local Industrial Strategies. Local Industrial Strategies are central to our aim of creating prosperous communities across the country. They are being developed locally and agreed with government. 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. Today we are launching the Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy. This has been developed locally by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, led by Mayor Andy Burnham, Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, supported by the Local Enterprise Partnership and Greater Manchester partners; and agreed with government.

This ambitious strategy sets out how Greater Manchester will work in partnership with government to:

  • Set Greater Manchester up to be a global leader on health and care innovation – creating new industries and jobs, improving population health and extending healthy life expectancy; working to identify a home for a prospective International Centre for Healthy Ageing;
  • Position Greater Manchester as a world leading region for innovative firms to experiment with, develop and adopt advanced materials in manufacturing; including University of Manchester work to establish ‘Graphene City’ in the centre;
  • Build on Greater Manchester’s position as a leading European digital city-region, to maximise growing assets in cyber security;
  • Enable the digitalisation of all sectors; and capitalise on the links between digital and creative industries that feed internationally significant clusters in broadcasting, content creation and media;
  • Launch the UK’s first city-region Clean Growth Mission to achieve carbon neutral living in Greater Manchester by 2038; and
  • Ensure that the education, skills and employment system allow everyone to reach their potential and employers have access to the skills required to deliver the Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy.

Greater Manchester is a growing economy with a growing population of 2.8m. Our shared national and local ambition is for the Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy to boost productivity and people’s earning power through our collaborative national, regional and local leadership, recognising the economic strengths and potential of Greater Manchester.

A copy of the Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1616
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity)
Lords

Update: General Licences for Controlling Wild Birds

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

On 4th May, Defra took on decision-making for the purposes covered by the general licences that had been revoked by Natural England on 25th April. An evidence-gathering exercise was then initiated in order to determine next steps which closed on 13th May.

4378 responses were received, some of which were general opinions. 3952 responses were more specific and have provided a useful set of evidence and views. The majority of responses came from individuals or smaller businesses and organisations. 36 local and national organisations also responded, including conservation, animal welfare, pest control, farming, game keeping and land management organisations.

The responses demonstrated a range of impacts that individuals and groups experienced as a result of Natural England’s revocation of licences GL04, 05 and 06. These include crow attacks on lambs and ewes during lambing, the risk of predation for eggs and fledglings of birds of conservation concern, and public health issues caused by pigeons in urban areas.

We recognise the unintended consequences of Natural England’s decision on 23rd April and completely acknowledge the need to address this situation quickly. This is why we issued an urgent call for evidence so that we could assess the situation carefully.

Next steps will be confirmed imminently following engagement with users and other interested stakeholders. A summary of the evidence and the government response will also be published shortly.

We remain determined to ensure that we have a robust and effective licensing system in place.

WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 13 June 2019
Made by: Greg Clark (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy )
Commons

Industrial Strategy Update

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

Since 2010, local leaders, working in partnership with government, have delivered historic City Deals with Greater Manchester. There have been multiple devolution agreements resulting in devolved new powers including bus reform, the adult education budget and Growth deal funding of £633 million.

Building on these strong foundations, we set out in the modern Industrial Strategy to work in partnership with places to develop Local Industrial Strategies. Local Industrial Strategies are central to our aim of creating prosperous communities across the country. They are being developed locally and agreed with government. 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. Today we are launching the Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy. This has been developed locally by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, led by Mayor Andy Burnham, Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, supported by the Local Enterprise Partnership and Greater Manchester partners; and agreed with government.

This ambitious strategy sets out how Greater Manchester will work in partnership with government to:

  • Set Greater Manchester up to be a global leader on health and care innovation – creating new industries and jobs, improving population health and extending healthy life expectancy; working to identify a home for a prospective International Centre for Healthy Ageing;
  • Position Greater Manchester as a world leading region for innovative firms to experiment with, develop and adopt advanced materials in manufacturing; including University of Manchester work to establish ‘Graphene City’ in the centre;
  • Build on Greater Manchester’s position as a leading European digital city-region, to maximise growing assets in cyber security;
  • Enable the digitalisation of all sectors; and capitalise on the links between digital and creative industries that feed internationally significant clusters in broadcasting, content creation and media;
  • Launch the UK’s first city-region Clean Growth Mission to achieve carbon neutral living in Greater Manchester by 2038; and
  • Ensure that the education, skills and employment system allow everyone to reach their potential and employers have access to the skills required to deliver the Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy.

Greater Manchester is a growing economy with a growing population of 2.8m. Our shared national and local ambition is for the Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy to boost productivity and people’s earning power through our collaborative national, regional and local leadership, recognising the economic strengths and potential of Greater Manchester.

A copy of the Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1578
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 12 June 2019
Made by: Dr Thérèse Coffey (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment )
Commons

Update: General Licences for Controlling Wild Birds

On 4th May, Defra took on decision-making for the purposes covered by the general licences that had been revoked by Natural England on 25th April. An evidence-gathering exercise was then initiated in order to determine next steps which closed on 13th May.

4378 responses were received, some of which were general opinions. 3952 responses were more specific and have provided a useful set of evidence and views. The majority of responses came from individuals or smaller businesses and organisations. 36 local and national organisations also responded, including conservation, animal welfare, pest control, farming, game keeping and land management organisations.

The responses demonstrated a range of impacts that individuals and groups experienced as a result of Natural England’s revocation of licences GL04, 05 and 06. These include crow attacks on lambs and ewes during lambing, the risk of predation for eggs and fledglings of birds of conservation concern, and public health issues caused by pigeons in urban areas.

We recognise the unintended consequences of Natural England’s decision on 23rd April and completely acknowledge the need to address this situation quickly. This is why we issued an urgent call for evidence so that we could assess the situation carefully.

Next steps will be confirmed imminently following engagement with users and other interested stakeholders. A summary of the evidence and the government response will also be published shortly.

We remain determined to ensure that we have a robust and effective licensing system in place.

WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 12 June 2019
Made by: Lord Callanan (Minister of State for Exiting the European Union)
Lords

BILATERAL VOTING RIGHTS

Today, I can confirm that the Government has reached a reciprocal agreement with Portugal that will secure the rights of UK nationals living in Portugal, and Portuguese citizens living in the UK, to stand and vote in local elections in both a deal and no deal. This agreement builds on our centuries of close ties with Portugal, dating back to the Anglo-Portuguese agreement in 1373, and is a welcome step towards our continuing close future relationship.

Citizens, including protecting the interests of British expats, have always been our priority in the negotiations for our departure from the EU. The UK pushed hard in negotiations to protect the right to stand and vote in local elections for UK nationals living in the EU, and EU citizens in the UK, but these rights were not included in the Withdrawal Agreement. Instead, we have been pursuing bilateral arrangements with individual Member States to secure these rights on a bilateral basis. We have been clear that allowing EU citizens to vote in local elections in the UK should be considered alongside the rights and interests of UK nationals and it has been our priority to secure these reciprocally.

We have now reached agreements with Spain and Portugal and we are continuing our discussions with other Member States.

I will be depositing the latest agreement in the libraries of both Houses.

WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 12 June 2019
Made by: Mr Robin Walker (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union)
Commons

BILATERAL VOTING RIGHTS

Today, I can confirm that the Government has reached a reciprocal agreement with Portugal that will secure the rights of UK nationals living in Portugal, and Portuguese citizens living in the UK, to stand and vote in local elections in both a deal and no deal. This agreement builds on our centuries of close ties with Portugal, dating back to the Anglo-Portuguese agreement in 1373, and is a welcome step towards our continuing close future relationship.

Citizens, including protecting the interests of British expats, have always been our priority in the negotiations for our departure from the EU. The UK pushed hard in negotiations to protect the right to stand and vote in local elections for UK nationals living in the EU, and EU citizens in the UK, but these rights were not included in the Withdrawal Agreement. Instead, we have been pursuing bilateral arrangements with individual Member States to secure these rights on a bilateral basis. We have been clear that allowing EU citizens to vote in local elections in the UK should be considered alongside the rights and interests of UK nationals and it has been our priority to secure these reciprocally.

We have now reached agreements with Spain and Portugal and we are continuing our discussions with other Member States.

I will be depositing the latest agreement in the libraries of both Houses.

WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 11 June 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 be placing a copy of a Consultation Document entitled: ‘Smart Data: Putting consumers in control of their data and enabling innovation’ in the Libraries of the House. This outlines the conclusions of the Smart Data Review that was announced in the Modernising Consumer Markets Green Paper and consults on future action by the Government.

The consultation sets out our vision for an economy where consumers’ data works for them and not against them. Data needs to be smart: easily and instantly accessible to consumers and be able to be safely and securely transferred to third party services who can use this data to provide innovative services for consumers. This is what we mean by Smart Data.

The consultation focuses on introducing new Smart Data initiatives to improve consumer outcomes and promote innovation in regulated markets. The key proposals we are consulting on include:

  • Accelerating the development of innovative data-driven services through the establishment of a new cross-sectoral Smart Data Function to support, manage and govern the delivery of smart data initiatives

  • Introducing an Open Communications initiative in the telecoms market to require communications businesses to provide consumers’ data to third party providers at the consumer’s request to increase switching and stimulate innovation

  • Establishing a Vulnerable Consumer Challenge to encourage data-driven innovation to improve outcomes for vulnerable consumers

  • Introducing strong data protection requirements and a cross-sectoral approach to regulation of third-party providers using smart data to build trust and minimise burdens on business.

These initiatives build on the approach in Open Banking, which is enabling consumers to ask their bank to share their current account transaction data securely with third parties. We have seen an explosion of new services that seek to make life easier for consumers, for example, through bringing together their current accounts into one platform or finding new ways to help consumers build an accurate credit score.

As announced by the Prime Minister yesterday, we are also signalling our agreement with the recommendation of the Digital Competition Expert Panel’s recommendation to establish a new Digital Markets Unit to promote, among other things, data mobility and data openness across all sectors. As we take forward proposals on Smart Data, we will work closely to coordinate and integrate the recommendations as appropriate.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1612
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 11 June 2019
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

Regulation Update

My hon Friend the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation (Chris Skidmore) has today made the following statement:

I am pleased to announce to the House today the approach that the Government will take to develop a regulatory system fit for the industries of the future.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterised by rapid technological change that has the potential to transform our economy for the good. It can drive the creation of new sectors, powered by breakthroughs in areas such as artificial intelligence and robotics. It can help us find new ways of diagnosing and treating diseases or novel approaches to cutting carbon emissions and tackling climate change. It can give consumers greater choice and lower prices through greater competition.

To seize the opportunities that this wave of new technology brings, we must ensure that our regulatory system is open to innovation while maintaining protections for citizens and the environment. The need for reform is urgent: 92% of businesses from a range of sectors think they will feel a negative impact if regulators don't evolve to keep pace with innovation in the next two to three years.

We start from strong foundations. We are ranked among the top 10 global economies by the World Bank for the ease of doing business in the UK, with the quality of our regulatory practices given the highest overall country score by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Our regulators have pioneered cutting-edge approaches such as regulatory sandboxes, which have been emulated across the world. But we must not stand idle as change approaches.

Our modern Industrial Strategy committed to developing a new agile approach to regulation that supports innovation and protects citizens and the environment. The White Paper on Regulation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution sets in motion the reforms our regulatory system needs to meet that commitment, building on recommendations made by the Council for Science and Technology.

We will establish a Regulatory Horizons Council to advise the government on regulatory reform needed to support the rapid and safe introduction of technological innovation. The Council will complement and draw upon existing horizon-scanning activity across government to put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future. The Council will also advise on where greater public dialogue is needed to build trust in how innovation is regulated.

We will consult on a digital Regulation Navigator for businesses to help them find their way through the complex regulatory landscape and engage with the right regulators at the right time on their proposals. We will also consult on measures to enhance co-ordination between regulators to ensure that innovations are guided smoothly through the system.

We will support regulators to play a greater role in the innovation economy, including reviewing the case to extend the Regulators’ Pioneer Fund. We will also pilot an innovation test so that the impact of legislation on innovation is considered as it is introduced, implemented and reviewed.

Building on our global leadership in regulatory practices, we will enhance our influence by establishing a partnership with the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution to develop regulatory approaches for new technologies.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1613
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 11 June 2019
Made by: Chris Skidmore (Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation)
Commons

Regulation Update

I am pleased to announce to the House today the approach that the Government will take to develop a regulatory system fit for the industries of the future.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterised by rapid technological change that has the potential to transform our economy for the good. It can drive the creation of new sectors, powered by breakthroughs in areas such as artificial intelligence and robotics. It can help us find new ways of diagnosing and treating diseases or novel approaches to cutting carbon emissions and tackling climate change. It can give consumers greater choice and lower prices through greater competition.

To seize the opportunities that this wave of new technology brings, we must ensure that our regulatory system is open to innovation while maintaining protections for citizens and the environment. The need for reform is urgent: 92% of businesses from a range of sectors think they will feel a negative impact if regulators don't evolve to keep pace with innovation in the next two to three years.

We start from strong foundations. We are ranked among the top 10 global economies by the World Bank for the ease of doing business in the UK, with the quality of our regulatory practices given the highest overall country score by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Our regulators have pioneered cutting-edge approaches such as regulatory sandboxes, which have been emulated across the world. But we must not stand idle as change approaches.

Our modern Industrial Strategy committed to developing a new agile approach to regulation that supports innovation and protects citizens and the environment. The White Paper on Regulation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution sets in motion the reforms our regulatory system needs to meet that commitment, building on recommendations made by the Council for Science and Technology.

We will establish a Regulatory Horizons Council to advise the government on regulatory reform needed to support the rapid and safe introduction of technological innovation. The Council will complement and draw upon existing horizon-scanning activity across government to put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future. The Council will also advise on where greater public dialogue is needed to build trust in how innovation is regulated.

We will consult on a digital Regulation Navigator for businesses to help them find their way through the complex regulatory landscape and engage with the right regulators at the right time on their proposals. We will also consult on measures to enhance co-ordination between regulators to ensure that innovations are guided smoothly through the system.

We will support regulators to play a greater role in the innovation economy, including reviewing the case to extend the Regulators’ Pioneer Fund. We will also pilot an innovation test so that the impact of legislation on innovation is considered as it is introduced, implemented and reviewed.

Building on our global leadership in regulatory practices, we will enhance our influence by establishing a partnership with the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution to develop regulatory approaches for new technologies.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1574
WS