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: 11 April 2019
Made by: Lord Bates (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Ministerial equivalence and exemption directions in financial services for the European Union and the European Economic Area

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

The Equivalence Determinations for Financial Services and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (S.I. 2019/541), includes a power for ministers, for up to twelve months after exit day, to make equivalence directions and exemption directions for the European Union and EEA member states.

I have today laid before Parliament ministerial directions which exercise the power in 4 specific areas, to help ensure that the UK will have a functioning regulatory regime for financial services in all scenarios.

The first direction determines that the EU-adopted International Financial Reporting Standards are equivalent to UK accounting standards and can continue to be used, for example, to prepare financial statements for requirements under the Transparency Directive, and to prepare a prospectus under the Prospectus Directive. This delivers on a commitment made by the government in November 2018.

HM Treasury, the European Union and the EEA European Free Trade Association countries have decided to provide exemptions for central banks and certain public bodies under certain prudential regulations in the area of financial services in the event that the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without an agreement. Therefore, directions have been made exempting these EU and EEA bodies from certain requirements under UK law in force after exit.

These measures are important for avoiding disruption to the financial services sector, and the businesses and individuals relying on it, in the event that the United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union without an agreement.

Copies of the directions are available in the Vote Office and Printed Paper Office and will be published alongside The Equivalence Determinations for Financial Services and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 on Legislation.gov.uk.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1512
WS
Treasury
Made on: 11 April 2019
Made by: John Glen (The Economic Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Ministerial equivalence and exemption directions in financial services for the European Union and the European Economic Area

The Equivalence Determinations for Financial Services and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (S.I. 2019/541), includes a power for ministers, for up to twelve months after exit day, to make equivalence directions and exemption directions for the European Union and EEA member states.

I have today laid before Parliament ministerial directions which exercise the power in 4 specific areas, to help ensure that the UK will have a functioning regulatory regime for financial services in all scenarios.

The first direction determines that the EU-adopted International Financial Reporting Standards are equivalent to UK accounting standards and can continue to be used, for example, to prepare financial statements for requirements under the Transparency Directive, and to prepare a prospectus under the Prospectus Directive. This delivers on a commitment made by the government in November 2018.

HM Treasury, the European Union and the EEA European Free Trade Association countries have decided to provide exemptions for central banks and certain public bodies under certain prudential regulations in the area of financial services in the event that the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without an agreement. Therefore, directions have been made exempting these EU and EEA bodies from certain requirements under UK law in force after exit.

These measures are important for avoiding disruption to the financial services sector, and the businesses and individuals relying on it, in the event that the United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union without an agreement.

Copies of the directions are available in the Vote Office and Printed Paper Office and will be published alongside the Equivalence Determinations for Financial Services and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 on Legislation.gov.uk.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1475
WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 11 April 2019
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (Ministry of Justice spokesperson)
Lords

The Times/Sunday Times

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


On 10 January 2019, News UK submitted an application to vary certain conditions put in place in 1981 by the then Secretary of State for Trade. The changes proposed by News UK would allow The Times and The Sunday Times to share journalistic resources, subject to the agreement of each newspaper’s editor. The application proposed no other changes to the 1981 conditions. As set out in the Invitation to Comment which my department published on 18 January 2019, this was treated as an application by News UK to replace the 1981 conditions with new undertakings in accordance with Schedule 18 to the Communications Act 2003.

I have considered this application in my quasi-judicial role regarding media merger cases. Having considered News UK’s application and the representations made to the Invitation to Comment, I have concluded that there has been a material change in circumstances since 1981 that warrants me considering the application. I have also concluded that the change of circumstances justifies the variation, as the effect of News UK’s proposed changes would not, in my view, materially impact on the public interest considerations contained in Section 58 Enterprise Act 2002.

I am, therefore, minded to accept News UK’s application. However, in considering the proposed new undertakings as a whole, I have noted that the existing governance arrangements - agreed in 1981 - lack clarity and certainty over roles and responsibilities. Before agreeing the application I am therefore of the view that these arrangements need to be suitably updated and enhanced to better reflect current corporate best practice.

I have asked DCMS officials to discuss these issues with News UK and to consider new proposals from News UK to update the proposed undertakings to address my concerns. I will update the House in due course on these discussions. Should News UK be able to offer revised undertakings which meet my concerns, I will, as required in legislation, consult on the final form of the undertakings before deciding whether or not to accept them.

WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 11 April 2019
Made by: Lord Young of Cookham (Lord in Waiting (Government Whip))
Lords

Public Appointments Order in Council - April 2019

My honourable friend the Minister for Implementation (Oliver Dowden) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Today I wish to inform the House that the Privy Council has made a revised Order in Council that makes provision for an independent Commissioner to monitor the procedures adopted by appointing authorities when making appointments to public bodies. This revokes the Order made in November 2017 and provides an amended Schedule of bodies and offices to be regulated by the Commissioner. Regulation by the Commissioner in accordance with the Governance Code on Public Appointments is an important part of ensuring that those appointments made by Government Ministers which are subject to regulation are made in an open, fair and transparent manner.

The revised Order in Council has been gazetted in the Edinburgh, London and Belfast Gazettes and published on the website of the Privy Council Office. Changes to the Schedule reflect where public bodies have been created, renamed, dissolved or subject to machinery of government changes since November 2017. A copy of the Order in Council has been placed in the libraries of both houses.

We have only added bodies to the Schedule where they legally exist as of the date of the Order being made. This means that two bodies previously announced by the Government have not been included in this revised order: the Holocaust Memorial Centre Ltd and the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA). The former is soon to be established as an arms length body of Government. At that point, it can be treated as a regulated body by notification to the Commissioner under section 2 (3) of the Order in Council. The TRA has already been notified to the Commissioner under this section who has confirmed that it will be treated as a regulated body as soon as it exists. In the meantime, interim appointments to the TRA have been made in line with the Governance Code and principles on Public Appointments. The TRA will be the only arms length body of the Department for International Trade and will appear as such on the schedule of the Order in Council when it is next updated.

We will conduct a comprehensive review of the Order in Council later this year to ensure consistency in the Schedule and the types of bodies included. This will provide a further opportunity to add the two bodies above and any other newly created bodies to the Schedule as appropriate, and the subsequent Order in Council will be published. Thereafter, we intend to undertake an annual refresh of the Order.

WS
Department for Education
Made on: 11 April 2019
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System)
Lords

Teacher Training Skills Test

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

I would like to set out for the House some actions my department is taking to resolve an error we have identified in the marking scheme of one of the professional skills tests for prospective teachers.

The skills tests assess the core skills that teachers need to fulfil their professional role in schools. This is to ensure all teachers are competent in numeracy and literacy, regardless of their specialism.

All current and prospective trainee teachers must pass the skills tests in numeracy and literacy before they can be recommended for the award of qualified teacher status (QTS). Trainee teachers must pass the skills tests before they start their course of initial teacher training.

Since February 2018, candidates have been able to take unlimited test attempts, with the first three attempts offered free of charge.

The design of the skills tests is the responsibility of the Standards and Testing Agency (STA). The agency recently reviewed all marking schemes in operation for the skills tests and discovered an error in one test. This test was immediately taken out of use and the STA have confirmed that there are no errors in the remaining marking schemes that are in operation.

The error applies to a marking scheme for one of the literacy skills tests and has resulted in a small number of candidates failing their literacy test when they should have passed. The incorrect marking scheme for this test has been in operation for at least ten years. We know that just over 200 candidates were affected by the error between September 2017 and November 2018, approximately 150 of whom went on to pass their literacy test.

We will offer a payment to compensate candidates affected for any expenses they may have incurred in having to retake the test. My department will make best endeavours to contact candidates affected by the marking scheme error. Any candidates who think they may have been affected can also contact the skills test helpline by emailing support@sta.psionline.com

It is regrettable that this error has prevented some candidates from progressing their applications to teacher training. My department is taking swift action to make sure that those affected are supported to progress their applications.

The Chief Executive of the STA has assured me that there are no remaining marking scheme errors and that the schemes will be quality assured on a regular basis to prevent further errors.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1511
WS
Home Office
Made on: 11 April 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Immigration

My rt hon Friend the Minister of State for Immigration (Caroline Nokes) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

The EU Settlement Scheme is an integral part of protecting the rights of EU citizens who have made their homes here in the UK, giving them an easy way of demonstrating their status in this country so that in years to come we do not find ourselves in a position where people have issues making clear the rights that they have. The scheme, which is free of charge, is performing well and over 400,000 EU citizens have already applied, with over 50,000 applications received on the opening weekend.

The Home Office receives a large number of enquiries in relation to the Scheme. When responding to generic enquiries, responses are sent in batches. The process for this is such that recipients would not normally be able to see the other email addresses. Regrettably, it has come to my attention that on Sunday 7 April three emails were sent that did not follow the appropriate procedure and 240 email addresses were made visible to other recipients. No other personal data was included in the communication.

We have written to all individuals who received this email to apologise. The Departmental Data Protection Officer has been informed and the Department has voluntarily notified the Information Commissioner’s Office of the incident. An internal review is also underway to determine the details of what happened and the lessons that need to be learned.

The Home Office takes its data protection responsibilities very seriously and is committed to the continued improvement of its performance against the UK’s high data protection standards. As a Department we have been taking steps to ensure we have the culture, processes and systems in place to treat the public’s personal data appropriately.

As a further immediate step we have put in place strict controls on the use of bulk emails when communicating with members of the public to ensure this does not happen again as lessons are learned. An independent review of the Department’s compliance with its data protection obligations has also been commissioned which will be led by Non-Executive Director Sue Langley and will report in due course.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1508
WS
Treasury
Made on: 11 April 2019
Made by: Lord Bates (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Operation of the UK’s Counter-Terrorist Asset Freezing Regime:1 October 2018 to 31 December 2018

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

Under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (TAFA 2010), the Treasury is required to prepare a quarterly report regarding its exercise of the powers conferred on it by Part 1 of TAFA 2010. This written statement satisfies that requirement for the period 1 October 2018 to 31 December 2018.

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

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

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

A new EU asset freezing regime under EU Regulation (2016/1686) was implemented on 22 September 2016. This permits the EU to make autonomous Al-Qaida and ISIL (Da’esh) listings. One new designation under the regime was made during this quarter, and is recorded in the fifth column of the annexed table entitled ‘New Designations in this Quarter’.

The Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 will help ensure that UK counterterrorist sanctions powers remain a useful tool for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to consider utilising, while also meeting the UK’s international obligations.

Under the Act, a designation could be made where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the person or group is or has been involved in a defined terrorist activity and that designation is appropriate. This approach is in line with the UK’s current approach under UN and EU sanctions and would be balanced by procedural protections such as the ability of designated persons to challenge the Government in court.

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

Frozen funds table (PDF Document, 215.31 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1509
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 11 April 2019
Made by: Nick Gibb (The Minister of State for School Standards)
Commons

Teacher Training Skills Test

I would like to set out for the House some actions my department is taking to resolve an error we have identified in the marking scheme of one of the professional skills tests for prospective teachers.

The skills tests assess the core skills that teachers need to fulfil their professional role in schools. This is to ensure all teachers are competent in numeracy and literacy, regardless of their specialism.

All current and prospective trainee teachers must pass the skills tests in numeracy and literacy before they can be recommended for the award of qualified teacher status (QTS). Trainee teachers must pass the skills tests before they start their course of initial teacher training.

Since February 2018, candidates have been able to take unlimited test attempts, with the first three attempts offered free of charge.

The design of the skills tests is the responsibility of the Standards and Testing Agency (STA). The agency recently reviewed all marking schemes in operation for the skills tests and discovered an error in one test. This test was immediately taken out of use and the STA have confirmed that there are no errors in the remaining marking schemes that are in operation.

The error applies to a marking scheme for one of the literacy skills tests and has resulted in a small number of candidates failing their literacy test when they should have passed. The incorrect marking scheme for this test has been in operation for at least ten years. We know that just over 200 candidates were affected by the error between September 2017 and November 2018, approximately 150 of whom went on to pass their literacy test.

We will offer a payment to compensate candidates affected for any expenses they may have incurred in having to retake the test. My department will make best endeavours to contact candidates affected by the marking scheme error. Any candidates who think they may have been affected can also contact the skills test helpline by emailing support@sta.psionline.com

It is regrettable that this error has prevented some candidates from progressing their applications to teacher training. My department is taking swift action to make sure that those affected are supported to progress their applications.

The Chief Executive of the STA has assured me that there are no remaining marking scheme errors and that the schemes will be quality assured on a regular basis to prevent further errors.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1472
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 11 April 2019
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence )
Lords

Service Complaints Ombudsman - Annual Report 2018

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

I am pleased to lay before Parliament today the Service Complaints Ombudsman’s annual report for 2018 on the fairness, effectiveness and efficiency of the Service complaints system.

This report is published by Nicola Williams and covers the third year of operation of the reformed Service complaints system and the work of her office in 2018.

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

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 11 April 2019
Made by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity, and Lords Minister)
Lords

April 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 15 April.

As the provisional agenda stands, the primary focus for agriculture will be on the Post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform package. Ministers will exchange views on the green architecture elements in the Regulation on CAP Strategic Plans.

Council will also exchange views on the agricultural aspects of the Commission’s strategic long-term vision for a climate neutral economy, the market situation, and the Task Force in Rural Africa, an expert group set up by the European Commission.

There are currently four items scheduled for discussion under ‘any other business’:

  • information from the Presidency on research and agriculture.

  • information from the Commission on the Declaration on Smart and Sustainable Digital Future for European Agriculture and Rural Areas.

  • information from the Slovakian delegation on the Renewable Energy Directive post-2020.

  • information from the Netherlands delegation on the EU Action against Deforestation and Forest Degradation.
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 11 April 2019
Made by: Oliver Dowden (Minister for Implementation )
Commons

Public Appointments Order in Council - April 2019

Today I wish to inform the House that the Privy Council has made a revised Order in Council that makes provision for an independent Commissioner to monitor the procedures adopted by appointing authorities when making appointments to public bodies. This revokes the Order made in November 2017 and provides an amended Schedule of bodies and offices to be regulated by the Commissioner. Regulation by the Commissioner in accordance with the Governance Code on Public Appointments is an important part of ensuring that those appointments made by Government Ministers which are subject to regulation are made in an open, fair and transparent manner.

The revised Order in Council has been gazetted in the Edinburgh, London and Belfast Gazettes and published on the website of the Privy Council Office. Changes to the Schedule reflect where public bodies have been created, renamed, dissolved or subject to machinery of government changes since November 2017. A copy of the Order in Council has been placed in the libraries of both houses.

We have only added bodies to the Schedule where they legally exist as of the date of the Order being made. This means that two bodies previously announced by the Government have not been included in this revised order: the Holocaust Memorial Centre Ltd and the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA). The former is soon to be established as an arms length body of Government. At that point, it can be treated as a regulated body by notification to the Commissioner under section 2 (3) of the Order in Council. The TRA has already been notified to the Commissioner under this section who has confirmed that it will be treated as a regulated body as soon as it exists. In the meantime, interim appointments to the TRA have been made in line with the Governance Code and principles on Public Appointments. The TRA will be the only arms length body of the Department for International Trade and will appear as such on the schedule of the Order in Council when it is next updated.

We will conduct a comprehensive review of the Order in Council later this year to ensure consistency in the Schedule and the types of bodies included. This will provide a further opportunity to add the two bodies above and any other newly created bodies to the Schedule as appropriate, and the subsequent Order in Council will be published. Thereafter, we intend to undertake an annual refresh of the Order.

WS
Treasury
Made on: 11 April 2019
Made by: John Glen (The Economic Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Operation of the UK’s Counter-Terrorist Asset Freezing Regime:1 October 2018 to 31 December 2018

Under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (TAFA 2010), the Treasury is required to prepare a quarterly report regarding its exercise of the powers conferred on it by Part 1 of TAFA 2010. This written statement satisfies that requirement for the period 1 October 2018 to 31 December 2018.

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

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

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

A new EU asset freezing regime under EU Regulation (2016/1686) was implemented on 22 September 2016. This permits the EU to make autonomous Al-Qaida and ISIL (Da’esh) listings. One new designation under the regime was made during this quarter, and is recorded in the fifth column of the annexed table entitled ‘New Designations in this Quarter’.

The Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 will help ensure that UK counterterrorist sanctions powers remain a useful tool for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to consider utilising, while also meeting the UK’s international obligations.

Under the Act, a designation could be made where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the person or group is or has been involved in a defined terrorist activity and that designation is appropriate. This approach is in line with the UK’s current approach under UN and EU sanctions and would be balanced by procedural protections such as the ability of designated persons to challenge the Government in court.

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

Frozen funds table (PDF Document, 215.31 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1470
WS
Home Office
Made on: 11 April 2019
Made by: Caroline Nokes (The Minister of State for Immigration)
Commons

Immigration

The EU Settlement Scheme is an integral part of protecting the rights of EU citizens who have made their homes here in the UK, giving them an easy way of demonstrating their status in this country so that in years to come we do not find ourselves in a position where people have issues making clear the rights that they have. The scheme, which is free of charge, is performing well and over 400,000 EU citizens have already applied, with over 50,000 applications received on the opening weekend.

The Home Office receives a large number of enquiries in relation to the Scheme. When responding to generic enquiries, responses are sent in batches. The process for this is such that recipients would not normally be able to see the other email addresses. Regrettably, it has come to my attention that on Sunday 7 April three emails were sent that did not follow the appropriate procedure and 240 email addresses were made visible to other recipients. No other personal data was included in the communication.

We have written to all individuals who received this email to apologise. The Departmental Data Protection Officer has been informed and the Department has voluntarily notified the Information Commissioner’s Office of the incident. An internal review is also underway to determine the details of what happened and the lessons that need to be learned.

The Home Office takes its data protection responsibilities very seriously and is committed to the continued improvement of its performance against the UK’s high data protection standards. As a Department we have been taking steps to ensure we have the culture, processes and systems in place to treat the public’s personal data appropriately.

As a further immediate step we have put in place strict controls on the use of bulk emails when communicating with members of the public to ensure this does not happen again as lessons are learned. An independent review of the Department’s compliance with its data protection obligations has also been commissioned which will be led by Non-Executive Director Sue Langley and will report in due course.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1471
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 11 April 2019
Made by: Mr Tobias Ellwood (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Commons

Service Complaints Ombudsman - Annual Report 2018

I am pleased to lay before Parliament today the Service Complaints Ombudsman’s annual report for 2018 on the fairness, effectiveness and efficiency of the Service complaints system.

This report is published by Nicola Williams and covers the third year of operation of the reformed Service complaints system and the work of her office in 2018.

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

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 11 April 2019
Made by: Mr Robert Goodwill (Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)
Commons

April Agriculture and Fisheries Council

Agriculture and Fisheries Council takes place in Luxembourg on 15 April.

As the provisional agenda stands, the primary focus for agriculture will be on the Post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform package. Ministers will exchange views on the green architecture elements in the Regulation on CAP Strategic Plans.

Council will also exchange views on the agricultural aspects of the Commission’s strategic long-term vision for a climate neutral economy, the market situation, and the Task Force in Rural Africa, an expert group set up by the European Commission.

There are currently four items scheduled for discussion under ‘any other business’:

  • information from the Presidency on research and agriculture.

  • information from the Commission on the Declaration on Smart and Sustainable Digital Future for European Agriculture and Rural Areas.

  • information from the Slovakian delegation on the Renewable Energy Directive post-2020.

  • information from the Netherlands delegation on the EU Action against Deforestation and Forest Degradation.

WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 11 April 2019
Made by: Jeremy Wright (Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Commons

The Times/Sunday Times

On 10 January 2019, News UK submitted an application to vary certain conditions put in place in 1981 by the then Secretary of State for Trade. The changes proposed by News UK would allow The Times and The Sunday Times to share journalistic resources, subject to the agreement of each newspaper’s editor. The application proposed no other changes to the 1981 conditions. As set out in the Invitation to Comment which my department published on 18 January 2019, this was treated as an application by News UK to replace the 1981 conditions with new undertakings in accordance with Schedule 18 to the Communications Act 2003.

I have considered this application in my quasi-judicial role regarding media merger cases. Having considered News UK’s application and the representations made to the Invitation to Comment, I have concluded that there has been a material change in circumstances since 1981 that warrants me considering the application. I have also concluded that the change of circumstances justifies the variation, as the effect of News UK’s proposed changes would not, in my view, materially impact on the public interest considerations contained in Section 58 Enterprise Act 2002.

I am, therefore, minded to accept News UK’s application. However, in considering the proposed new undertakings as a whole, I have noted that the existing governance arrangements - agreed in 1981 - lack clarity and certainty over roles and responsibilities. Before agreeing the application I am therefore of the view that these arrangements need to be suitably updated and enhanced to better reflect current corporate best practice.

I have asked DCMS officials to discuss these issues with News UK and to consider new proposals from News UK to update the proposed undertakings to address my concerns. I will update the House in due course on these discussions. Should News UK be able to offer revised undertakings which meet my concerns, I will, as required in legislation, consult on the final form of the undertakings before deciding whether or not to accept them.

WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 10 April 2019
Made by: Baroness Sugg (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Lords

Rail Update

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

I am updating the House on the East Midlands, South Eastern and West Coast Partnership franchise competitions.

I am pleased to inform the House that, following rigorous competition, I intend to award the next East Midlands Railway franchise to Abellio East Midlands pending successful completion of a standstill period of at least 10 days.

The franchise is due to start on 18 August 2019 and will run for eight years, until 21 August 2027, with an extension of two years callable at my discretion.

Passengers, local authorities, businesses and other stakeholders across the country contributed to a highly demanding and challenging specification for this new franchise. Bidders were invited to demonstrate how they would meet this specification, and I am very pleased that we have agreed a plan with Abellio East Midlands for them to exceed these expectations.

Abellio East Midlands will oversee the introduction of brand-new trains, entirely replacing the existing intercity fleet with more reliable and comfortable trains. Passengers will benefit from an 80% increase in the number of morning peak seats into Nottingham, Lincoln and St Pancras. Passengers will also see faster journey times over long-distances, with a new express service from Corby through Luton into London.

The East Midlands Railway will be at the forefront of the Government’s commitment to deliver a cleaner, greener rail network. Abellio East Midlands will trial hydrogen fuel cell trains on the Midland Main Line and will run zero-carbon pilots at six stations along the route.

The new franchise will also deliver a fairer deal for passengers. Over £17 million will be invested in improving station facilities across the route, including to deliver accessibility improvements. Abellio East Midlands will also deliver an additional 916 extra car park spaces and 1,050 cycle spaces.

Passengers will benefit from the provision of free Wi-Fi throughout the franchise, both on-trains and at stations, and a significant uplift to the current ticketing system, with the introduction of smart, flexible ticketing options, including to provide better value for those who travel regularly but less than five days a week, as well as improved ticket-buying facilities and nine newly staffed stations.

The new East Midlands Railway franchise will also introduce enhanced delay repay compensation, with passengers able to claim compensation if their train is more than 15 minutes late.

We look forward to working closely with Abellio East Midlands to ensure they deliver the high-quality services that passengers expect and deserve from the railway and the East Midlands Railway franchise.

With regards to the South Eastern franchise competition, I am also today updating the House that my Department is negotiating a short-term extension to the current franchise agreement with Govia while we make a decision on the competition. This will ensure continuity of services for passengers until 10 November 2019, with an option to extend the agreement further to April 2020.

We are due to award the West Coast Partnership in June.

Alongside this, there is a root-and-branch review of the railway underway, independently chaired by Keith Williams. This will make ambitious recommendations before the end of the year to reform the structure of the whole rail industry to prioritise passengers’ and taxpayers’ interests.

The next East Midlands Railway franchise and the ongoing competitions include significant improvements for passengers and steps to bring track and train closer together. From 2020, we will begin to roll-out further reforms, advised by the Rail Review, across the country. We will be guided by the approaches that deliver benefits to passengers and other rail users soonest. Awarding the new East Midlands Railway franchise is part of that strategy.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1502
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 10 April 2019
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Report into Armed Forces’ Standards and Values

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

The Ministry of Defence and our Armed Forces expect the highest standards from our personnel. The vast majority not only meet, but exceed these standards on a daily basis in all manner of challenging situations, wherever they are deployed, reinforcing the values on which we pride ourselves. However, it is clear that in a number of cases the standards and values we expect are not being met.

The Ministry of Defence and our Armed Forces are absolutely clear that there is no place for sexual offending or sexual harassment across the Services. Inappropriate behaviour is unacceptable and it stands in stark contrast with everything the Armed Forces represent. Anyone found to have committed a sexual offence will be dealt with appropriately and will face the full force of the law. To ensure our Service personnel are adhering to the highest standards, I have commissioned Air Marshal Michael Wigston, Deputy Commander for Capability at HQ Air Command, to conduct an urgent Report into inappropriate behaviour, to include sexual harassment, across the Services.

The objectives of the Report are threefold: to understand the current evidence regarding inappropriate behaviour across the Services; to make recommendations on what can be done to ensure and reassure that the Armed Forces are an inclusive and modern employer; and, to identify areas for further action, including potential improvements to controls, processes or policy. The Air Marshal will provide me with a Report of his findings and recommendations by mid-May. Once the recommendations have been considered and implementation plans have been agreed, the House will be updated.

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Treasury
Made on: 10 April 2019
Made by: Lord Bates (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Public Sector Exit Payment Cap

My right honourable friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Elizabeth Truss) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Today, I have launched a consultation on the draft regulations to implement the public sector exit payment cap. The government introduced powers to cap exit payments in the public sector at £95,000 in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015.

Public servants deserve to be properly rewarded for the vital work they do. That is why the government announced the biggest public sector pay rise in ten years last summer, with most going to the lowest paid nurses, teachers and police officers.

However, the way we reward public servants must be proportionate and fair to taxpayers. The very high exit payments we have seen granted to some highly-paid public sector employees in recent years clearly breach these principles. It is right that the government acts on this to give taxpayers the confidence their money is being spent properly.

This consultation sets out the proposed method for implementing the cap, including which bodies should be in scope.

The consultation can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/restricting-exit-payments-in-the-public-sector

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1503
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Ministry of Defence
Made on: 10 April 2019
Made by: Gavin Williamson (Secretary of State for Defence)
Commons

Report into Armed Forces’ Standards and Values

The Ministry of Defence and our Armed Forces expect the highest standards from our personnel. The vast majority not only meet, but exceed these standards on a daily basis in all manner of challenging situations, wherever they are deployed, reinforcing the values on which we pride ourselves. However, it is clear that in a number of cases the standards and values we expect are not being met.

The Ministry of Defence and our Armed Forces are absolutely clear that there is no place for sexual offending or sexual harassment across the Services. Inappropriate behaviour is unacceptable and it stands in stark contrast with everything the Armed Forces represent. Anyone found to have committed a sexual offence will be dealt with appropriately and will face the full force of the law. To ensure our Service personnel are adhering to the highest standards, I have commissioned Air Marshal Michael Wigston, Deputy Commander for Capability at HQ Air Command, to conduct an urgent Report into inappropriate behaviour, to include sexual harassment, across the Services.

The objectives of the Report are threefold: to understand the current evidence regarding inappropriate behaviour across the Services; to make recommendations on what can be done to ensure and reassure that the Armed Forces are an inclusive and modern employer; and, to identify areas for further action, including potential improvements to controls, processes or policy. The Air Marshal will provide me with a Report of his findings and recommendations by mid-May. Once the recommendations have been considered and implementation plans have been agreed, the House will be updated.

WS
Treasury
Made on: 10 April 2019
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Public Sector Exit Payment Cap

Today, I have launched a consultation on the draft regulations to implement the public sector exit payment cap. The government introduced powers to cap exit payments in the public sector at £95,000 in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015.

Public servants deserve to be properly rewarded for the vital work they do. That is why the government announced the biggest public sector pay rise in ten years last summer, with most going to the lowest paid nurses, teachers and police officers.

However, the way we reward public servants must be proportionate and fair to taxpayers. The very high exit payments we have seen granted to some highly-paid public sector employees in recent years clearly breach these principles. It is right that the government acts on this to give taxpayers the confidence their money is being spent properly.

This consultation sets out the proposed method for implementing the cap, including which bodies should be in scope.

The consultation can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/restricting-exit-payments-in-the-public-sector

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1465
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Department for Transport
Made on: 10 April 2019
Made by: Chris Grayling (Secretary of State for Transport)
Commons

Rail Update

I am updating the House on the East Midlands, South Eastern and West Coast Partnership franchise competitions.

I am pleased to inform the House that, following rigorous competition, I intend to award the next East Midlands Railway franchise to Abellio East Midlands pending successful completion of a standstill period of at least 10 days.

The franchise is due to start on 18 August 2019 and will run for eight years, until 21 August 2027, with an extension of two years callable at my discretion.

Passengers, local authorities, businesses and other stakeholders across the country contributed to a highly demanding and challenging specification for this new franchise. Bidders were invited to demonstrate how they would meet this specification, and I am very pleased that we have agreed a plan with Abellio East Midlands for them to exceed these expectations.

Abellio East Midlands will oversee the introduction of brand-new trains, entirely replacing the existing intercity fleet with more reliable and comfortable trains. Passengers will benefit from an 80% increase in the number of morning peak seats into Nottingham, Lincoln and St Pancras. Passengers will also see faster journey times over long-distances, with a new express service from Corby through Luton into London.

The East Midlands Railway will be at the forefront of the Government’s commitment to deliver a cleaner, greener rail network. Abellio East Midlands will trial hydrogen fuel cell trains on the Midland Main Line and will run zero-carbon pilots at six stations along the route.

The new franchise will also deliver a fairer deal for passengers. Over £17 million will be invested in improving station facilities across the route, including to deliver accessibility improvements. Abellio East Midlands will also deliver an additional 916 extra car park spaces and 1,050 cycle spaces.

Passengers will benefit from the provision of free Wi-Fi throughout the franchise, both on-trains and at stations, and a significant uplift to the current ticketing system, with the introduction of smart, flexible ticketing options, including to provide better value for those who travel regularly but less than five days a week, as well as improved ticket-buying facilities and nine newly staffed stations.

The new East Midlands Railway franchise will also introduce enhanced delay repay compensation, with passengers able to claim compensation if their train is more than 15 minutes late.

We look forward to working closely with Abellio East Midlands to ensure they deliver the high-quality services that passengers expect and deserve from the railway and the East Midlands Railway franchise.

With regards to the South Eastern franchise competition, I am also today updating the House that my Department is negotiating a short-term extension to the current franchise agreement with Govia while we make a decision on the competition. This will ensure continuity of services for passengers until 10 November 2019, with an option to extend the agreement further to April 2020.

We are due to award the West Coast Partnership in June.

Alongside this, there is a root-and-branch review of the railway underway, independently chaired by Keith Williams. This will make ambitious recommendations before the end of the year to reform the structure of the whole rail industry to prioritise passengers’ and taxpayers’ interests.

The next East Midlands Railway franchise and the ongoing competitions include significant improvements for passengers and steps to bring track and train closer together. From 2020, we will begin to roll-out further reforms, advised by the Rail Review, across the country. We will be guided by the approaches that deliver benefits to passengers and other rail users soonest. Awarding the new East Midlands Railway franchise is part of that strategy.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1467
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Ministry of Justice
Made on: 09 April 2019
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (The Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Divorce law reform

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 lay before Parliament Reducing Family Conflict: Reform of the Legal Requirements for Divorce, the Government response to the consultation on reform of this important area of family law. The full public consultation ran from 15 September to 10 December last year and sought views on the Government’s proposals to revise the process for obtaining a divorce to minimise acrimony during the legal process and reduce the potential for ongoing conflict afterwards. I am grateful for the insight and experience shared by people in providing evidence of the real-life difficulties that can arise from the current law, particularly how it incentivises focusing on the past to make allegations that can unnecessarily pit one spouse against the other. That is why we are proposing to remove the legal requirement to make allegations about spousal conduct or to have lived separately for up to five years.

Families are the bedrock of society, and marriage has long proved its vital importance to family stability. The Government will always support marriage, and we want to ensure that the system as far as possible supports couples to remain married. In revising the legal process for divorce, we have also sought to maximise the opportunity for couples to reconcile if they can, by introducing a minimum period before the court grants the decree of divorce. Divorce should continue to be a considered decision. We heard from respondents to the consultation that couples often feel divorced when the court grants the provisional decree of divorce. Beginning the minimum period before this point is therefore key to allowing for both meaningful reflection and an opportunity to turn back.

When, sadly, a marriage or civil partnership has irretrievably broken down, continuing in it can be damaging for the couple and for any children they have, as well as undermining the institution of marriage itself which can work only if both parties are committed to it. It is vital that the law recognises this and, where divorce is inevitable, allows people to move on in as constructive a way as possible. The ability to have a positive rapport and cooperate after separation is particularly crucial for parents, as children’s outcomes are improved by cooperative parenting. Removing from the legal process for divorce those elements which can fuel long-lasting conflict between parents will therefore support better outcomes for children. Where, despite reflection, divorce cannot be avoided the law should do all it can to reduce conflict and encourage good relations as couples move on to reach agreement about practical arrangements for the future.

The Government will therefore bring forward proposals to deal with the legal aspects of divorce or civil partnership dissolution as sensitively as possible. Divorce is of great social significance but for those involved it is also an intensely personal matter. Unfortunately, it affects the lives of too many families. The current law does little to reduce conflict when divorce occurs. It urgently needs reform to encourage a more conciliatory and constructive approach to undoing a marriage, and to ensure better outcomes for all those involved, and especially for children.

The Government has today set out its proposals for reform. We intend to bring forward legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows."

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1501
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Ministry of Justice
Made on: 09 April 2019
Made by: Mr David Gauke (The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice)
Commons

Divorce law reform

I am pleased to lay before Parliament Reducing Family Conflict: Reform of the Legal Requirements for Divorce, the Government response to the consultation on reform of this important area of family law. The full public consultation ran from 15 September to 10 December last year and sought views on the Government’s proposals to revise the process for obtaining a divorce to minimise acrimony during the legal process and reduce the potential for ongoing conflict afterwards. I am grateful for the insight and experience shared by people in providing evidence of the real-life difficulties that can arise from the current law, particularly how it incentivises focusing on the past to make allegations that can unnecessarily pit one spouse against the other. That is why we are proposing to remove the legal requirement to make allegations about spousal conduct or to have lived separately for up to five years.

Families are the bedrock of society, and marriage has long proved its vital importance to family stability. The Government will always support marriage, and we want to ensure that the system as far as possible supports couples to remain married. In revising the legal process for divorce, we have also sought to maximise the opportunity for couples to reconcile if they can, by introducing a minimum period before the court grants the decree of divorce. Divorce should continue to be a considered decision. We heard from respondents to the consultation that couples often feel divorced when the court grants the provisional decree of divorce. Beginning the minimum period before this point is therefore key to allowing for both meaningful reflection and an opportunity to turn back.

When, sadly, a marriage or civil partnership has irretrievably broken down, continuing in it can be damaging for the couple and for any children they have, as well as undermining the institution of marriage itself which can work only if both parties are committed to it. It is vital that the law recognises this and, where divorce is inevitable, allows people to move on in as constructive a way as possible. The ability to have a positive rapport and cooperate after separation is particularly crucial for parents, as children’s outcomes are improved by cooperative parenting. Removing from the legal process for divorce those elements which can fuel long-lasting conflict between parents will therefore support better outcomes for children. Where, despite reflection, divorce cannot be avoided the law should do all it can to reduce conflict and encourage good relations as couples move on to reach agreement about practical arrangements for the future.

The Government will therefore bring forward proposals to deal with the legal aspects of divorce or civil partnership dissolution as sensitively as possible. Divorce is of great social significance but for those involved it is also an intensely personal matter. Unfortunately, it affects the lives of too many families. The current law does little to reduce conflict when divorce occurs. It urgently needs reform to encourage a more conciliatory and constructive approach to undoing a marriage, and to ensure better outcomes for all those involved, and especially for children.

The Government has today set out its proposals for reform. We intend to bring forward legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1464
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Home Office
Made on: 09 April 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Report of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation on the operation in 2017 of the Terrorism Acts 2000 and 2006, the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011, and the Terrorist Asset Freezing Etc Act 2010

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

In accordance with section 36 of the Terrorism Act 2006, Max Hill QC, the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, prepared a report on the operation in 2017 of the Terrorism Act 2000, the Terrorism Act 2006 the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011, and The Terrorist Asset Freezing etc Act 2010, which was laid before the House on 10 October 2018.

I am grateful to Mr Hill for his report and have carefully considered the recommendations and observations included in them. I am today laying before the House the Government’s response to the report (CP88). Copies of which will be available in the Vote Office and it will also be published on GOV.UK

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1500
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 09 April 2019
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Contingent Liability: Financial Assurance for UK ODA funding to EU Instruments

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

In the event of the UK leaving the European Union without a deal, I have agreed to extend a financial assurance to cover the work of any UK organisations delivering funding agreed by direct bid to the European Neighbourhood Instrument, Instrument for Pre-accession and the Common Foreign and Security Policy Instrument, in the regrettable event that funding is cut by the EU. My Department for International Development (DFID) colleague has made a separate announcement regarding Heading IV instruments under her remit.

This financial assurance will prevent both a loss of funding to UK recipients of grants secured through direct bidding to the Commission and disruption to programmes led by these recipients in areas such as North Africa, Western Balkans, Turkey, Ukraine and the Caucasus, where UK expertise is delivering important support to stability and reform. We want to ensure that ongoing work is not impacted on unfairly after we leave the European Union.

The exact size of the contingency liability is still unknown, as there is a lag in the awarding and publication of contracts by the EU. The size of the liability is therefore subject to change, though our current estimate is approximately £50m.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1499
WS
Home Office
Made on: 09 April 2019
Made by: Sajid Javid (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Report of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation on the operation in 2017 of the Terrorism Acts 2000 and 2006, the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011, and the Terrorist Asset Freezing Etc Act 2010

In accordance with section 36 of the Terrorism Act 2006, Max Hill QC, the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, prepared a report on the operation in 2017 of the Terrorism Act 2000, the Terrorism Act 2006 the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011, and The Terrorist Asset Freezing etc Act 2010, which was laid before the House on 10 October 2018.

I am grateful to Mr Hill for his report and have carefully considered the recommendations and observations included in them. I am today laying before the House the Government’s response to the report (CP88). Copies of which will be available in the Vote Office and it will also be published on GOV.UK

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1463
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 09 April 2019
Made by: Mr Jeremy Hunt (Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Contingent Liability: Financial Assurance for UK ODA funding to EU Instruments

In the event of the UK leaving the European Union without a deal, I have agreed to extend a financial assurance to cover the work of any UK organisations delivering funding agreed by direct bid to the European Neighbourhood Instrument, Instrument for Pre-accession and the Common Foreign and Security Policy Instrument, in the regrettable event that funding is cut by the EU. My Department for International Development (DFID) colleague has made a separate announcement regarding Heading IV instruments under her remit.

This financial assurance will prevent both a loss of funding to UK recipients of grants secured through direct bidding to the Commission and disruption to programmes led by these recipients in areas such as North Africa, Western Balkans, Turkey, Ukraine and the Caucasus, where UK expertise is delivering important support to stability and reform. We want to ensure that ongoing work is not impacted on unfairly after we leave the European Union.

The exact size of the contingency liability is still unknown, as there is a lag in the awarding and publication of contracts by the EU. The size of the liability is therefore subject to change, though our current estimate is approximately £50m.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1462
WS
Home Office
Made on: 08 April 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Immigration

My rt hon Friend the Minister of State for Immigration (Caroline Nokes) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

Last Wednesday my rt hon Friend the Home Secretary announced the launch of the Windrush Compensation Scheme. The Government deeply regrets what has happened to some members of the Windrush generation and the launch of the compensation scheme marks a key milestone in righting the wrongs they have experienced.

Detailed information about the compensation scheme, including the rules that govern the scheme, with the forms and guidance that people need to make a claim, are available online at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/windrush-compensation-scheme. Our helpline is also open now on 0800 678 1925 for those wishing to receive printed copies of the claim form or for any other queries, this is free if calling from within the UK. Those calling from outside the UK will be called back.

I would like to clarify, further to questions raised with the Home Secretary on the floor of the House, three issues in relation to eligibility to apply for compensation. The first is in relation to those who are not resident in the UK. A Commonwealth citizen outside the UK, who was settled in the UK before 1 January 1973, who has settled status, right of abode or is now a British Citizen, or whose settled status has lapsed due to being absent from the UK for a period of 2 or more years is eligible to apply for compensation.

Second, the definition of a close family member for the purpose of the compensation scheme is a spouse or civil partner living with the claimant, cohabitee for continuous period of two years or more, a parent, a child or a sibling. Close family members are entitled to claim regardless of whether a primary claimant chooses to make an application and whether said claimant is deceased.

Thirdly, the definition of serious criminality for the purposes of the compensation scheme is defined as a conviction that received a sentence of imprisonment of four years or more, and that the offending was of such a nature that makes it inappropriate to make an award in whole or part. This provision does not apply to a conviction and sentence outside of the UK for conduct which on the date of the conviction was not an offence in the UK.

The Home Office is committed to raising awareness of the scheme, and to encouraging eligible people of all nationalities to submit a claim. Eligibility for compensation goes beyond members of the Caribbean Commonwealth, and we are putting in place a programme of events with key stakeholders, faith and community organisations to promote both the scheme and the wider work of the Commonwealth Citizens Taskforce. The first of such events is scheduled for Lambeth Town Hall on Friday 5 April and full details are available via the Gov.uk page.

Regrettably, in promoting the scheme via email to interested parties, an administrative error was made which has meant data protection requirements have not been met, for which the Home Office apologises unreservedly.

This occurred in emails sent to some of the individuals and organisations who had registered an interest in being kept informed about the launch of the compensation scheme, which included other recipients’ email addresses. Five batches of emails, each with 100 recipients, were affected. No other personal data was included.

A recall was commenced as soon as the problem had been identified. The Departmental Data Protection Officer has been informed and an internal review will be conducted to ensure this cannot happen again. The Department has voluntarily notified the Information Commissioner’s Office of the incident.

I am firmly committed to doing right by the Windrush generation. The compensation scheme is an important step towards that and I will ensure that action is taken to ensure the highest standards are met not only in the processing of cases, but also in continued efforts to publicise the scheme and ensure those entitled to redress receive it.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1496
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Ministry of Defence
Made on: 08 April 2019
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Counter-Daesh Operations

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Gavin Williamson) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The House may welcome an update on the military campaign against Daesh in Iraq and Syria. Forces in Iraq and Syria now say that, with the support of the global Coalition, they have liberated all the towns and cities that were once occupied by Daesh. This is a huge achievement, and one in which UK forces should take great pride for the part they played in this success. The Global Coalition assesses there are currently not enough Daesh fighters remaining in Iraq and Syria to make any further significant territorial gains. Nonetheless, it is important to note that this is not the defeat of Daesh as an organisation. Daesh has dispersed into a cellular structure in order to maintain insurgency activity, planting improvised explosive devices, conducting extortion, kidnapping and mounting terrorist attacks. The UK, as a partner in the coalition, is committed to defeating this ongoing threat, in order to guarantee the lasting defeat of Daesh’s ambitions, to build on the stability of the region and protect our interests and our national security.

The UK has contributed sophisticated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities to find, identify and enable the Coalition to degrade Daesh’s military capabilities, which is as crucial to the air campaign now as it was at Daesh’s territory height. ISR alone does not make a successful campaign, however; since the beginning of operations over Iraq and Syria, the UK’s Tornado, Typhoon and Reaper aircraft have released over 4,300 weapons against Daesh targets to reduce their military capabilities.

In 2015, the then-Secretary of State for Defence, Sir Michael Fallon, committed to providing Parliament with UK airstrike numbers from the Coalition’s datasets to allow us to compare our contribution with other Coalition partners. This was a move away from using a UK dataset and methodology to calculate our airstrike contribution to the Counter-Daesh fight. Following the House of Commons Defence Committee’s request to provide a biannual breakdown of our air contribution to the Counter-Daesh campaign in Iraq and Syria, I have reviewed the method with which our contribution to the Coalition’s air campaign are calculated and from this decided to discontinue reporting on airstrikes, which can be interpreted differently each time they are viewed, to focus on reporting the number of actual weapon release events.

Under doctrine, an airstrike is one or more weapon releases against the same target by one or more aircraft. With this definition, two aircraft dropping weapons on the same target could be seen by one person as one airstrike, whilst being two airstrikes to another; we do not consider this a reliable method to report our contribution. Whereas, a weapon release event is the employment of a single weapon system, by a single airframe, at one time, against a single target. As such, a weapon release event will always be calculated and reported in the same way and cannot be misinterpreted.

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 08 April 2019
Made by: Gavin Williamson (Secretary of State for Defence)
Commons

Counter-Daesh Operations

The House may welcome an update on the military campaign against Daesh in Iraq and Syria. Forces in Iraq and Syria now say that, with the support of the global Coalition, they have liberated all the towns and cities that were once occupied by Daesh. This is a huge achievement, and one in which UK forces should take great pride for the part they played in this success. The Global Coalition assesses there are currently not enough Daesh fighters remaining in Iraq and Syria to make any further significant territorial gains. Nonetheless, it is important to note that this is not the defeat of Daesh as an organisation. Daesh has dispersed into a cellular structure in order to maintain insurgency activity, planting improvised explosive devices, conducting extortion, kidnapping and mounting terrorist attacks. The UK, as a partner in the coalition, is committed to defeating this ongoing threat, in order to guarantee the lasting defeat of Daesh’s ambitions, to build on the stability of the region and protect our interests and our national security.

The UK has contributed sophisticated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities to find, identify and enable the Coalition to degrade Daesh’s military capabilities, which is as crucial to the air campaign now as it was at Daesh’s territory height. ISR alone does not make a successful campaign, however; since the beginning of operations over Iraq and Syria, the UK’s Tornado, Typhoon and Reaper aircraft have released over 4,300 weapons against Daesh targets to reduce their military capabilities.

In 2015, the then-Secretary of State for Defence, Sir Michael Fallon, committed to providing Parliament with UK airstrike numbers from the Coalition’s datasets to allow us to compare our contribution with other Coalition partners. This was a move away from using a UK dataset and methodology to calculate our airstrike contribution to the Counter-Daesh fight. Following the House of Commons Defence Committee’s request to provide a biannual breakdown of our air contribution to the Counter-Daesh campaign in Iraq and Syria, I have reviewed the method with which our contribution to the Coalition’s air campaign are calculated and from this decided to discontinue reporting on airstrikes, which can be interpreted differently each time they are viewed, to focus on reporting the number of actual weapon release events.

Under doctrine, an airstrike is one or more weapon releases against the same target by one or more aircraft. With this definition, two aircraft dropping weapons on the same target could be seen by one person as one airstrike, whilst being two airstrikes to another; we do not consider this a reliable method to report our contribution. Whereas, a weapon release event is the employment of a single weapon system, by a single airframe, at one time, against a single target. As such, a weapon release event will always be calculated and reported in the same way and cannot be misinterpreted.

WS
Home Office
Made on: 08 April 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

The Prime Minister’s Serious Youth Violence Summit, 1-4 April 2019

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

The Government is deeply concerned about the recent rise in serious violence, particularly knife crime, which is robbing too many children and young people of their futures. This is a challenge that affects all of society, and agencies must come together in a co-ordinated, wide-reaching and long-term effort.

In order to ensure the strongest possible response, the Prime Minister hosted a Serious Youth Violence Summit at 10 Downing Street, with the support of the Home Secretary, from 1 to 4 April. The central aim of the Summit was to ensure a shared understanding and commitment to a multi-agency, ‘public health’ approach to tackling knife crime and serious violence more generally.

This approach involves partners across different sectors – such as education, health, social services, offender management services, housing, youth and victim services, working closely with community and faith leaders, and the voluntary and charitable sectors – taking joint action to address the underlying risk factors that increase the likelihood that an individual will become a victim or a perpetrator of violence.

The Prime Minister opened the Summit by chairing a roundtable meeting with a range of experts, representatives and practitioners from key sectors, community leaders, young people, and cross-party politicians. Alongside the Prime Minister, both I and other senior Ministers discussed with these experts what more can be done to tackle recent rises in serious violence. This was followed by a series of themed sessions chaired by Secretaries of State and Ministers during the week, aimed at harnessing expert knowledge and creating the conditions to boost joint working across sectors and organisations. I will place a full list of the attendees – of whom there were well over 100 over the course of the week – in the Libraries of the House.

The full programme of thematic sessions, which took place over the course of the Summit, included:

• Best practice in law enforcement, chaired by the Minister for Policing and the Fire Service;

• The role of education, chaired by the Secretary of State for Education;

• Investing in Communities, chaired by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government;

• Positive activities for young people, by chaired by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport;

• Creating opportunities for young people, chaired by the Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability;

• The role of the Health Sector, chaired by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care;

• Effectiveness of the Criminal Justice System, chaired by the Secretary of State for Justice.

Coinciding with this Summit:

• I announced that Impetus, in partnership with the Early Intervention Foundation and Social Investment Business, will run the new Youth Endowment Fund, which will support interventions with children and young people at risk of involvement in crime and violence, based on £200 million of new Government funding;

• The Government announced £100 million additional funding in 2019/20 to tackle serious violence, including £80m of new funding from the Treasury. This will allow police to swiftly crack-down on knife crime on the areas of the country most affected by knife crime and will also allow for investment in Violence Reduction Units;

• That I will be making it simpler for the police in the seven forces particularly affected by violent crime, to use section 60 (area-wide) stop and search powers where they reasonably believe that an incident involving serious violence may occur. This pilot will be for up to a year, with a review after six months – after which we will make decisions on next steps. The College of Policing will also work alongside forces to create new guidelines on how best the police can engage with communities on the use of stop and search;

• I launched a public consultation on a new legal duty to ensure that public bodies work together to protect young people at risk of becoming involved in knife crime. This would underpin the multi-agency approach already being driven by the Serious Violence Strategy, which stresses the importance of early intervention to tackle the root causes of violent crime. Similar approaches have been used in Scotland and Wales, and are designed to ensure that every part of the system is supporting young people with targeted interventions before they commit violence or are groomed by gangs.

These announcements build on the significant progress we have made in delivering the commitments set out in the Serious Violence Strategy published in April 2018. These include: the Early Intervention Youth Fund of £22 million, through which the Home Office is already supporting 29 projects in England and Wales; the new National County Lines Co-ordination Centre; an anti-knife crime Community Fund which provided £1.5 million in 2018/19 to support 68 local projects to tackle knife crime; and a national knife crime media campaign – #knifefree – to raise young people’s awareness of the consequences of knife crime; and the establishment of the Serious Violence Taskforce, which I chair and which is attended by Members of Parliament, Ministers, senior police officers, representatives of agencies in the public and voluntary sectors and others, to drive action across a number of fronts.

The Summit has reinforced my view, shared across Government that there is not one single solution to rising levels of serious violence, and that coordinated action is needed across a number of fronts. Attendees agreed on the need to understand the causes and consequences of serious violence, focused on prevention and early intervention, and informed by evidence and rigorous evaluation of interventions. To do this, we must bring together information, data and intelligence and encourage organisations and individuals to work in concert rather than in isolation, focusing on those identified as being most vulnerable to involvement in serious violent crime. Attendees identified many examples of good practice taking place in local areas and communities, and there was consensus on the importance of a shared approach to preventing and tackling serious violence.

In particular, the Summit has already enabled the following outcomes:

• The creation of a new Ministerial Taskforce, chaired by the Prime Minister, to drive cross-government action. This will be supported by a new, dedicated, serious violence team in the Cabinet Office to support cross-departmental coordination.

• A commitment to better data collection and sharing of appropriate data between the healthcare sector and other key organisations in order to protect children, and to make it easier for health professionals to play an enhanced role in reducing violence. This will be accompanied by the roll-out of mental health support teams based in and around schools and education settings, to help vulnerable children within their community, some of which will be in areas most affected by knife crime. The teams will be available to support children directly or indirectly affected by knife crime as part of the school or college response.

• An expansion of the partnership with the Premier League to increase one of its flagship community programmes, Premier League Kicks, which uses football to inspire young people to develop their potential and build stronger, safer communities. Sport England, which invests more than £10 million in projects that use sport to support crime reduction, has also pledged to increase investment in sport and physical activity for children in hot spot areas.

• An extension of the support provided by the National Homicide Service to witnesses, as part of a raft of new measures, which will focus on supporting victims and witnesses of violent crime and directing youth offenders away from further violence. These include: extending emotional, practical, trauma and counselling support beyond victims to now include those who witness murder or manslaughter in London; specialist training for staff at youth offender institutions to spot signs of past abuse, exploitation or serious violence experienced by the youths in custody and help direct them to support services; and reviewing the Victims’ Code, which sets out what services victims are entitled to receive, to make it clearer what support witnesses of serious violent crime can access.

These deliverables represent the first step of an increased programme of work across Government – and beyond – to tackle serious youth violence. Once the Ministerial Taskforce has been established, it will agree a plan of action and then oversee its implementation going forward. We will continue to keep Parliament updated. The Summit demonstrates the commitment from the Prime Minister, myself and Ministers across Government, setting a clear direction and galvanising action to tackle serious violence. Working together, this new approach will ensure we meet the scourge of youth violence head on, so that more families are spared the unimaginable suffering that has already been endured by so many.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1497
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Home Office
Made on: 08 April 2019
Made by: Sajid Javid (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

The Prime Minister’s Serious Youth Violence Summit, 1-4 April 2019

The Government is deeply concerned about the recent rise in serious violence, particularly knife crime, which is robbing too many children and young people of their futures. This is a challenge that affects all of society, and agencies must come together in a co-ordinated, wide-reaching and long-term effort.

In order to ensure the strongest possible response, the Prime Minister hosted a Serious Youth Violence Summit at 10 Downing Street, with the support of the Home Secretary, from 1 to 4 April. The central aim of the Summit was to ensure a shared understanding and commitment to a multi-agency, ‘public health’ approach to tackling knife crime and serious violence more generally.

This approach involves partners across different sectors – such as education, health, social services, offender management services, housing, youth and victim services, working closely with community and faith leaders, and the voluntary and charitable sectors – taking joint action to address the underlying risk factors that increase the likelihood that an individual will become a victim or a perpetrator of violence.

The Prime Minister opened the Summit by chairing a roundtable meeting with a range of experts, representatives and practitioners from key sectors, community leaders, young people, and cross-party politicians. Alongside the Prime Minister, both I and other senior Ministers discussed with these experts what more can be done to tackle recent rises in serious violence. This was followed by a series of themed sessions chaired by Secretaries of State and Ministers during the week, aimed at harnessing expert knowledge and creating the conditions to boost joint working across sectors and organisations. I will place a full list of the attendees – of whom there were well over 100 over the course of the week – in the Libraries of the House.

The full programme of thematic sessions, which took place over the course of the Summit, included:

• Best practice in law enforcement, chaired by the Minister for Policing and the Fire Service;

• The role of education, chaired by the Secretary of State for Education;

• Investing in Communities, chaired by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government;

• Positive activities for young people, by chaired by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport;

• Creating opportunities for young people, chaired by the Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability;

• The role of the Health Sector, chaired by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care;

• Effectiveness of the Criminal Justice System, chaired by the Secretary of State for Justice.

Coinciding with this Summit:

• I announced that Impetus, in partnership with the Early Intervention Foundation and Social Investment Business, will run the new Youth Endowment Fund, which will support interventions with children and young people at risk of involvement in crime and violence, based on £200 million of new Government funding;

• The Government announced £100 million additional funding in 2019/20 to tackle serious violence, including £80m of new funding from the Treasury. This will allow police to swiftly crack-down on knife crime on the areas of the country most affected by knife crime and will also allow for investment in Violence Reduction Units;

• That I will be making it simpler for the police in the seven forces particularly affected by violent crime, to use section 60 (area-wide) stop and search powers where they reasonably believe that an incident involving serious violence may occur. This pilot will be for up to a year, with a review after six months – after which we will make decisions on next steps. The College of Policing will also work alongside forces to create new guidelines on how best the police can engage with communities on the use of stop and search;

• I launched a public consultation on a new legal duty to ensure that public bodies work together to protect young people at risk of becoming involved in knife crime. This would underpin the multi-agency approach already being driven by the Serious Violence Strategy, which stresses the importance of early intervention to tackle the root causes of violent crime. Similar approaches have been used in Scotland and Wales, and are designed to ensure that every part of the system is supporting young people with targeted interventions before they commit violence or are groomed by gangs.

These announcements build on the significant progress we have made in delivering the commitments set out in the Serious Violence Strategy published in April 2018. These include: the Early Intervention Youth Fund of £22 million, through which the Home Office is already supporting 29 projects in England and Wales; the new National County Lines Co-ordination Centre; an anti-knife crime Community Fund which provided £1.5 million in 2018/19 to support 68 local projects to tackle knife crime; and a national knife crime media campaign – #knifefree – to raise young people’s awareness of the consequences of knife crime; and the establishment of the Serious Violence Taskforce, which I chair and which is attended by Members of Parliament, Ministers, senior police officers, representatives of agencies in the public and voluntary sectors and others, to drive action across a number of fronts.

The Summit has reinforced my view, shared across Government that there is not one single solution to rising levels of serious violence, and that coordinated action is needed across a number of fronts. Attendees agreed on the need to understand the causes and consequences of serious violence, focused on prevention and early intervention, and informed by evidence and rigorous evaluation of interventions. To do this, we must bring together information, data and intelligence and encourage organisations and individuals to work in concert rather than in isolation, focusing on those identified as being most vulnerable to involvement in serious violent crime. Attendees identified many examples of good practice taking place in local areas and communities, and there was consensus on the importance of a shared approach to preventing and tackling serious violence.

In particular, the Summit has already enabled the following outcomes:

• The creation of a new Ministerial Taskforce, chaired by the Prime Minister, to drive cross-government action. This will be supported by a new, dedicated, serious violence team in the Cabinet Office to support cross-departmental coordination.

• A commitment to better data collection and sharing of appropriate data between the healthcare sector and other key organisations in order to protect children, and to make it easier for health professionals to play an enhanced role in reducing violence. This will be accompanied by the roll-out of mental health support teams based in and around schools and education settings, to help vulnerable children within their community, some of which will be in areas most affected by knife crime. The teams will be available to support children directly or indirectly affected by knife crime as part of the school or college response.

• An expansion of the partnership with the Premier League to increase one of its flagship community programmes, Premier League Kicks, which uses football to inspire young people to develop their potential and build stronger, safer communities. Sport England, which invests more than £10 million in projects that use sport to support crime reduction, has also pledged to increase investment in sport and physical activity for children in hot spot areas.

• An extension of the support provided by the National Homicide Service to witnesses, as part of a raft of new measures, which will focus on supporting victims and witnesses of violent crime and directing youth offenders away from further violence. These include: extending emotional, practical, trauma and counselling support beyond victims to now include those who witness murder or manslaughter in London; specialist training for staff at youth offender institutions to spot signs of past abuse, exploitation or serious violence experienced by the youths in custody and help direct them to support services; and reviewing the Victims’ Code, which sets out what services victims are entitled to receive, to make it clearer what support witnesses of serious violent crime can access.

These deliverables represent the first step of an increased programme of work across Government – and beyond – to tackle serious youth violence. Once the Ministerial Taskforce has been established, it will agree a plan of action and then oversee its implementation going forward. We will continue to keep Parliament updated. The Summit demonstrates the commitment from the Prime Minister, myself and Ministers across Government, setting a clear direction and galvanising action to tackle serious violence. Working together, this new approach will ensure we meet the scourge of youth violence head on, so that more families are spared the unimaginable suffering that has already been endured by so many.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1459
WS
Home Office
Made on: 08 April 2019
Made by: Caroline Nokes (The Minister of State for Immigration)
Commons

Immigration

Last Wednesday the Home Secretary announced the launch of the Windrush Compensation Scheme. The Government deeply regrets what has happened to some members of the Windrush generation and the launch of the compensation scheme marks a key milestone in righting the wrongs they have experienced.

Detailed information about the compensation scheme, including the rules that govern the scheme, with the forms and guidance that people need to make a claim, are available online at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/windrush-compensation-scheme. Our helpline is also open now on 0800 678 1925 for those wishing to receive printed copies of the claim form or for any other queries, this is free if calling from within the UK. Those calling from outside the UK will be called back.

I would like to clarify, further to questions raised with the Home Secretary on the floor of the House, three issues in relation to eligibility to apply for compensation. The first is in relation to those who are not resident in the UK. A Commonwealth citizen outside the UK, who was settled in the UK before 1 January 1973, who has settled status, right of abode or is now a British Citizen, or whose settled status has lapsed due to being absent from the UK for a period of 2 or more years is eligible to apply for compensation.

Second, the definition of a close family member for the purpose of the compensation scheme is a spouse or civil partner living with the claimant, cohabitee for continuous period of two years or more, a parent, a child or a sibling. Close family members are entitled to claim regardless of whether a primary claimant chooses to make an application and whether said claimant is deceased.

Thirdly, the definition of serious criminality for the purposes of the compensation scheme is defined as a conviction that received a sentence of imprisonment of four years or more, and that the offending was of such a nature that makes it inappropriate to make an award in whole or part. This provision does not apply to a conviction and sentence outside of the UK for conduct which on the date of the conviction was not an offence in the UK.

The Home Office is committed to raising awareness of the scheme, and to encouraging eligible people of all nationalities to submit a claim. Eligibility for compensation goes beyond members of the Caribbean Commonwealth, and we are putting in place a programme of events with key stakeholders, faith and community organisations to promote both the scheme and the wider work of the Commonwealth Citizens Taskforce. The first of such events is scheduled for Lambeth Town Hall on Friday 5 April and full details are available via the Gov.uk page.

Regrettably, in promoting the scheme via email to interested parties, an administrative error was made which has meant data protection requirements have not been met, for which the Home Office apologises unreservedly.

This occurred in emails sent to some of the individuals and organisations who had registered an interest in being kept informed about the launch of the compensation scheme, which included other recipients’ email addresses. Five batches of emails, each with 100 recipients, were affected. No other personal data was included.

A recall was commenced as soon as the problem had been identified. The Departmental Data Protection Officer has been informed and an internal review will be conducted to ensure this cannot happen again. The Department has voluntarily notified the Information Commissioner’s Office of the incident.

I am firmly committed to doing right by the Windrush generation. The compensation scheme is an important step towards that and I will ensure that action is taken to ensure the highest standards are met not only in the processing of cases, but also in continued efforts to publicise the scheme and ensure those entitled to redress receive it.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1461
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Department for Transport
Made on: 08 April 2019
Made by: Baroness Sugg (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Lords

Access for All

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

Improving access to Great Britain’s railway stations is a key priority for this Government and we want all passengers to be able to travel easily and confidently. The Department’s Access for All programme is critical to delivering this; the programme has already delivered an accessible, step free route at more than 200 stations, as well as smaller scale accessibility improvements at more than 1,500 others.

The Inclusive Transport Strategy, published on 25 July 2018, included a commitment to extend the Access for All programme, announcing an additional £300m of funding from the public purse. Our approach is to work with transport operators and partners to target investments where they are needed most and where they can deliver the greatest impact. This funding will enable us to deliver accessibility improvements at more stations across the rail network, and allow us to proceed with the station enhancements that were deferred from Control Period 5.

In total 73 stations are set to benefit from this funding. This is in addition to the 24 station projects that are ongoing. The selected stations will, subject to a feasible design being possible, receive an accessible route into the station, as well as to and between every platform.

The new stations due to be upgraded from this funding are listed below. They have been selected following nominations from the rail industry, which engaged with local authorities and other stakeholders. We then assessed them against annual footfall, weighted by the incidence of disability in the area, and also took account of local factors such as nearby hospitals and the availability of third party funding. Due consideration was also given to the preferences of the train operating companies and, finally, a number were chosen to ensure a fair geographical spread across the country.

  • Abergavenny
  • Anniesland
  • Beaconsfield Station
  • Biggleswade
  • Birkenhead Park
  • Bridlington
  • Broad green
  • Caerphilly
  • Catford
  • Chalkwell
  • Chorley
  • Cricklewood
  • Crowborough
  • Croy
  • Cwmbran
  • Daisy Hill
  • Dumfries
  • Flint
  • Hackney Downs
  • Handforth
  • Herne Bay
  • Hertford North
  • Hillside
  • Hunt's Cross
  • Irlam
  • Isleworth
  • Johnstone
  • Kings Langley
  • Leatherhead
  • Ludlow
  • Menston
  • Mill Hill Broadway
  • Port Glasgow
  • Retford
  • Selby
  • Shotton
  • Smethwick Rolfe Street
  • St Erth
  • St Michaels
  • Stoneleigh
  • Stowmarket
  • Tenby
  • Todmorden
  • Uddingston
  • Wandsworth Town
  • Wellington

The stations deferred from Control Period 5, which will now be progressed are:

  • Alfreton (Parkway)
  • Barnes
  • Barry (Town)
  • Battersea Park
  • Cathays
  • Chatham
  • Garforth
  • Grays
  • Hither Green
  • Liverpool Central
  • Llanelli
  • Luton
  • Market Harborough
  • Northallerton
  • Peckham Rye
  • Petts Wood
  • Queen’s Park
  • Seven Sisters
  • Southend East
  • St Mary Cray
  • Streatham
  • Theale
  • Trefforest
  • Walton-on-Thames
  • Warwick
  • Weston-Super-Mare
  • Worcester Shrub Hill

All work at the stations is due to be completed by the end of March 2024.

In addition to these significant upgrades, we intend to use £20 million of the funding to re-launch the Mid-Tier Access for All programme. This will be focused on stations where accessibility improvements can be delivered with between £250,000 and £1 million of government support. We will be seeking nominations for this funding in due course.

All of the work carried out by Access for All comes in addition to access improvements that the industry is required to deliver as part of other projects or renewals of station infrastructure.

Together these measures will make a real difference to people’s lives, opening up access to leisure and employment for disabled rail passengers as well as making it easier for those with heavy luggage or children in buggies to use the network.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1484
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 08 April 2019
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

Companies House Public Targets 2019/2020

I have set Companies House the following targets for the year 2019/20:

Public Targets

  • Ensure that our digital services are available 99.9% of the time

  • Ensure that 97% of companies have an up-to-date confirmation statement

  • Achieve a customer satisfaction rate of 83%

  • Provide a digital service to enable someone at risk to apply for their personal data to be protected

  • Deliver digital services that transform the end to end accounts filing journey

  • Increase job applications from underrepresented groups by 10%

  • Ensure that our people understand, and are engaged with, our purpose and vision, achieving a score in this area in the Civil Service People Survey in the upper quartile

  • Reduce the cost of our business activities by 3.5%
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1495
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 08 April 2019
Made by: Kelly Tolhurst (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility)
Commons

Companies House Public Targets 2019/2020

My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary for State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Lord Henley) has made the following statement:

I have set Companies House the following targets for the year 2019/20:

Public Targets

  • Ensure that our digital services are available 99.9% of the time

  • Ensure that 97% of companies have an up-to-date confirmation statement

  • Achieve a customer satisfaction rate of 83%

  • Provide a digital service to enable someone at risk to apply for their personal data to be protected

  • Deliver digital services that transform the end to end accounts filing journey

  • Increase job applications from underrepresented groups by 10%

  • Ensure that our people understand, and are engaged with, our purpose and vision, achieving a score in this area in the Civil Service People Survey in the upper quartile

  • Reduce the cost of our business activities by 3.5%
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1457
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Baroness Buscombe (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions)
Lords

Government Response to the Pensions Dashboards Consultation

My Right Honourable Friend The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Rt hon Amber Rudd MP) has made the following Written Statement.

Later today I will publish the Government’s Response to the consultation on the Pensions Dashboard CP75.

Pensions dashboards will revolutionise retirement planning. They will enable people to access their pension information in a single place online, in a clear and simple form, whether that is on a laptop or tablet, and from their own home. Putting individuals in control of their data, pensions dashboards will bring together all pensions information from multiple sources, which can then be accessed at a time of their choosing.

This Government’s pensions reforms have transformed Britain’s retirement savings culture. More than 10 million people have benefitted from our revolutionary policy of automatic enrolment into workplace pensions.

On 3 December 2018 the department published a consultation Pensions Dashboards: working together for the consumer. The Government’s response to the pensions dashboards consultation outlines how the Government will facilitate the pensions industry to deliver this project.

Both the quantity and quality of the 125 responses received were helpful in informing the approach we set out. The responses we received were largely positive in nature.

The result of this feedback is that Government will facilitate the delivery of pensions dashboards as a key priority. We expect to see to see initial industry dashboards developed and tested from this year.

Government remains committed to ensuring the individual is in control of their data and is conscious of the need for pace in order to deliver dashboards. Our priority is to ensure that information is presented securely, in a clear and simple format to support consumers with their retirement planning. The response to the consultation on dashboards includes:

  • a commitment to bring forward legislation at the earliest opportunity to compel all pension providers to make consumers’ data available to them through a dashboard;
  • an expectation that the majority of schemes will be ready to ‘go live’ with their data within a three to four year window;
  • confirmation that State Pension information will be included as soon as possible; and
  • that dashboards will help to reconnect people with ‘lost’ pension pots, benefitting savers and providers.

A crucial entity in taking this forward will be the industry delivery group; made up of stakeholders from across the industry, consumer groups, regulators and government who will be accountable to the Single Financial Guidance Body board. We anticipate the delivery group should be fully operational by the end of the summer. The priorities for the delivery group in 2019 are to create a clear strategy for delivering the digital architecture, design a robust governance and security framework and to work with industry on their readiness to provide data via dashboards.

It is my firm belief that the pensions industry is best placed to develop and deliver dashboards. However, there is a role for Government in facilitating industry’s delivery of dashboards which work for consumers and put people in control of their data.

Pensions dashboards can be an enabler for a real step-change across the sector to modernise the way it communicates with its members. They also provide an opportunity to build trust with consumers, ensuring they can access their pensions information in a convenient way.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1493
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Parks and Green Spaces update

My Hon Friend, the Minister for Local Government (Rishi Sunak) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

In September 2017, the Government agreed to provide a written update to Parliament to assess the progress made against the recommendations of the Select Committee’s Report into the future of public parks. Today I am updating the House on a suite of initiatives to secure this future. These have been formulated in conjunction with the Parks Action Group (PAG) who advise on the steps the Government could take to ensure the future of our parks and green spaces. The PAG, which is comprised of a Cross-Government group of senior officials and a sectoral group, along with its coordinator have been key in driving forward the recommendations of the Select Committee. We published details of the PAG’s membership and aims on 19 September 2017: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-pledges-500000-for-new-action-group-to-grow-future-of-public-parks.

In its first recommendation, the Committee advised that the Government should develop models to support local authorities in the assessment of the value of their parks. In 2018 the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, provided funding for the Outdoor Recreation Valuation Tool (https://www.leep.exeter.ac.uk/orval) which enables the recreational value of publicly-accessible parks, paths and beaches in England and Wales to be estimated and factored into decision-making. Additionally, in July 2018 the Office for National Statistics, working in partnership with DEFRA, published a national set of UK urban natural capital accounts as part of a work programme to develop natural capital accounts for the UK.

The Committee’s second recommendation covers the relationship between local communities, local authorities and the free use of parks. The Government ran a public consultation on the free use of parks, ‘Running Free: Preserving the Free Use of Public Parks Consultation’, between April and July 2017. We published our response in December 2018 and it can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/764830/Parkrun_Consulation_Response.pdf. Whilst we recognise the right of local authorities to quite legitimately charge for specific events in parks as a means of income, our position is that public parks should remain free for members of the public for reasonable everyday use.

The Committee, in their third and fourth recommendations, rightly asked the Government to support the development and working of friends’ groups. My Department recently provided Locality and the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces with £130,000 to develop a national infrastructure for ‘Friends of Parks’ groups and create a network of Green Champions. Working with local authorities, friends groups and other voluntary organisations, these Green Champions will be invaluable in supporting community groups who wish to take greater responsibility in the management of their local parks. This funding will also expand the existing Government-sponsored ‘My Community’ website to provide a hub for community groups interested in supporting their local parks.

In line with our response to the Committee’s fifth recommendation, my Department has addressed health and safety in parks by promoting best practice and quality standards. The Green Flag Award scheme, run under licence from my Department and operated by Keep Britain Tidy, continues to highlight community and local authority-run parks that have achieved a national quality standard for parks and green spaces. This scheme ensures that all participating parks meet high quality standards and that these parks act as ambassadors for best practice. 1577 sites achieved the award in 2018 and I hope to see further parks added this year. Green Flag Award Parks can be found here: http://www.greenflagaward.org.uk/award-winners/.

In its sixth recommendation, the Committee rightly asked the Government to investigate the action that could be taken to increase provision of parks and green spaces. The House will be aware that my Rt Honourable Friend, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, recently announced significant funding to support parks across the country. He committed £9.7 million to local authorities to support them in the maintenance of their parks. He also provided £3.75 million in funding to 200 community-led organisations as part of our successful and very popular Pocket Parks Plus Programme. Working with their local authorities, these community groups will expand access to green space for our communities.

The Committee’s seventh recommendation asked local authorities to adopt a whole-place approach, and cooperate with other local authorities, when updating their Local Plans. The Government is confident that the National Planning Policy Framework equips local authorities with the decision-making powers to secure the protection of parks – for both new and established communities. Additionally, we have recently provided £1.2 million to the Future Parks Accelerator Programme which is an initiative, developed by the National Trust and Heritage Lottery Fund, to support local authorities and, importantly, area-based partnerships to pilot and test new and innovative models of managing and funding parks estates.

In response to recommendation eight, my Department has invested £30,000 in a joint project with DEFRA and Natural England to develop a framework of green infrastructure standards. Local authorities will be supported to assess their green infrastructure provision against this new framework. This project will also examine how our commitments on green infrastructure can be incorporated into national planning guidance and policy.

In their ninth recommendation, the Committee asked further questions of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. This plan, published in January 2018, recognises the importance of parks and green infrastructure for people’s health and wellbeing. It includes the commitment to green our towns and cities and details a series of actions relating to green infrastructure and trees. One of these actions is to develop a national view of what ‘good’ green infrastructure looks like. Defra and MHCLG have helped to establish the cross-government project led by Natural England mentioned above that will review and update existing standards for green infrastructure. The project is working with a range of expert stakeholders, including the PAG, to develop an initial framework for testing and piloting in summer 2019.

The Committee’s tenth to thirteenth recommendations asked the Government to support the development of new and innovative models of parks estate management and funding. My Department has invested £20,000 in the Landscape Institute to support them in the development of apprenticeship standards for the roles of ‘Landscape Technician’ and ‘Chartered Landscape Professional.’ We will continue to work with the PAG to ensure the findings from the Association for Public Service Excellence’s forthcoming research report into the skills of existing parks managers are reflected in these standards. As outlined above, we have also supported the Future Parks Accelerator programme to provide examples of new and innovative models of parks estate management and funding. Additionally, we have provided £210,000 to help capture and share the lessons learnt from Newcastle City Council’s transformative parks management project, and to help them make available governance and legal templates to others wishing to adopt this innovative model.

We can all agree that parks and green spaces are vital to the communities we serve. They provide space for respite from our busy lives, opportunities to spend time with our friends and families, and they are oases in our busy urban areas. I am confident that the initiatives I have outlined above demonstrate that the Government is making significant progress on delivering on our shared commitment to secure the long-term sustainability of parks for our future generations.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1494
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Rishi Sunak (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Local Government)
Commons

Parks and Green Spaces update

In September 2017, the Government agreed to provide a written update to Parliament to assess the progress made against the recommendations of the Select Committee’s Report into the future of public parks. Today I am updating the House on a suite of initiatives to secure this future. These have been formulated in conjunction with the Parks Action Group (PAG) who advise on the steps the Government could take to ensure the future of our parks and green spaces. The PAG, which is comprised of a Cross-Government group of senior officials and a sectoral group, along with its coordinator have been key in driving forward the recommendations of the Select Committee. We published details of the PAG’s membership and aims on 19 September 2017: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-pledges-500000-for-new-action-group-to-grow-future-of-public-parks.

In its first recommendation, the Committee advised that the Government should develop models to support local authorities in the assessment of the value of their parks. In 2018 the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, provided funding for the Outdoor Recreation Valuation Tool (https://www.leep.exeter.ac.uk/orval) which enables the recreational value of publicly-accessible parks, paths and beaches in England and Wales to be estimated and factored into decision-making. Additionally, in July 2018 the Office for National Statistics, working in partnership with DEFRA, published a national set of UK urban natural capital accounts as part of a work programme to develop natural capital accounts for the UK.

The Committee’s second recommendation covers the relationship between local communities, local authorities and the free use of parks. The Government ran a public consultation on the free use of parks, ‘Running Free: Preserving the Free Use of Public Parks Consultation’, between April and July 2017. We published our response in December 2018 and it can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/764830/Parkrun_Consulation_Response.pdf. Whilst we recognise the right of local authorities to quite legitimately charge for specific events in parks as a means of income, our position is that public parks should remain free for members of the public for reasonable everyday use.

The Committee, in their third and fourth recommendations, rightly asked the Government to support the development and working of friends’ groups. My Department recently provided Locality and the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces with £130,000 to develop a national infrastructure for ‘Friends of Parks’ groups and create a network of Green Champions. Working with local authorities, friends groups and other voluntary organisations, these Green Champions will be invaluable in supporting community groups who wish to take greater responsibility in the management of their local parks. This funding will also expand the existing Government-sponsored ‘My Community’ website to provide a hub for community groups interested in supporting their local parks.

In line with our response to the Committee’s fifth recommendation, my Department has addressed health and safety in parks by promoting best practice and quality standards. The Green Flag Award scheme, run under licence from my Department and operated by Keep Britain Tidy, continues to highlight community and local authority-run parks that have achieved a national quality standard for parks and green spaces. This scheme ensures that all participating parks meet high quality standards and that these parks act as ambassadors for best practice. 1577 sites achieved the award in 2018 and I hope to see further parks added this year. Green Flag Award Parks can be found here: http://www.greenflagaward.org.uk/award-winners/.

In its sixth recommendation, the Committee rightly asked the Government to investigate the action that could be taken to increase provision of parks and green spaces. The House will be aware that my Rt Honourable Friend, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, recently announced significant funding to support parks across the country. He committed £9.7 million to local authorities to support them in the maintenance of their parks. He also provided £3.75 million in funding to 200 community-led organisations as part of our successful and very popular Pocket Parks Plus Programme. Working with their local authorities, these community groups will expand access to green space for our communities.

The Committee’s seventh recommendation asked local authorities to adopt a whole-place approach, and cooperate with other local authorities, when updating their Local Plans. The Government is confident that the National Planning Policy Framework equips local authorities with the decision-making powers to secure the protection of parks – for both new and established communities. Additionally, we have recently provided £1.2 million to the Future Parks Accelerator Programme which is an initiative, developed by the National Trust and Heritage Lottery Fund, to support local authorities and, importantly, area-based partnerships to pilot and test new and innovative models of managing and funding parks estates.

In response to recommendation eight, my Department has invested £30,000 in a joint project with DEFRA and Natural England to develop a framework of green infrastructure standards. Local authorities will be supported to assess their green infrastructure provision against this new framework. This project will also examine how our commitments on green infrastructure can be incorporated into national planning guidance and policy.

In their ninth recommendation, the Committee asked further questions of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. This plan, published in January 2018, recognises the importance of parks and green infrastructure for people’s health and wellbeing. It includes the commitment to green our towns and cities and details a series of actions relating to green infrastructure and trees. One of these actions is to develop a national view of what ‘good’ green infrastructure looks like. Defra and MHCLG have helped to establish the cross-government project led by Natural England mentioned above that will review and update existing standards for green infrastructure. The project is working with a range of expert stakeholders, including the PAG, to develop an initial framework for testing and piloting in summer 2019.

The Committee’s tenth to thirteenth recommendations asked the Government to support the development of new and innovative models of parks estate management and funding. My Department has invested £20,000 in the Landscape Institute to support them in the development of apprenticeship standards for the roles of ‘Landscape Technician’ and ‘Chartered Landscape Professional.’ We will continue to work with the PAG to ensure the findings from the Association for Public Service Excellence’s forthcoming research report into the skills of existing parks managers are reflected in these standards. As outlined above, we have also supported the Future Parks Accelerator programme to provide examples of new and innovative models of parks estate management and funding. Additionally, we have provided £210,000 to help capture and share the lessons learnt from Newcastle City Council’s transformative parks management project, and to help them make available governance and legal templates to others wishing to adopt this innovative model.

We can all agree that parks and green spaces are vital to the communities we serve. They provide space for respite from our busy lives, opportunities to spend time with our friends and families, and they are oases in our busy urban areas. I am confident that the initiatives I have outlined above demonstrate that the Government is making significant progress on delivering on our shared commitment to secure the long-term sustainability of parks for our future generations.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1455
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Treasury
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Lord Bates (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Informal ECOFIN: 05 – 06 April 2019

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

An informal meeting of Economic and Financial Affairs (ECOFIN) Ministers will be held in Bucharest on 05 – 06 April 2019. Ministers will discuss the following:

Working Lunch - Multiannual Financial Framework

Ministers will discuss the Multiannual Finance Framework in the context of the European Semester and financing of the EU budget.

Working Session I

The Council will then be joined by Central Bank Governors for the first working session.

a) Institutional Cycle Priorities

Following a presentation from Bruegel, Ministers and Central Bank Governors will discuss the priorities for the next EU institutional cycle.

b) Capital Markets Union

Ministers and Central Bank Governors will then discuss the way forward for the Capital Markets Union.

Working Session II

a) Labour Mobility in the EU

Following a presentation from the Centre for European Policy Studies, Ministers will discuss the macroeconomic and fiscal impact of labour mobility in the EU.

b) Taxation and Economic Growth

Ministers will discuss the role of taxation in supporting EU economic growth.

c) Preparation of the April G20 and IMF meetings

Ministers will be invited to approve the EU Terms of Reference for the G20 meeting and International Monetary and Financial Committee Statement, ahead of the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C..

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1491
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Department for International Development
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Lord Bates (Minister of State for International Development)
Lords

Ebola virus disease outbreak: update on UK response

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

The number of cases of Ebola in the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has recently passed 1000. Given this, it is both proper and timely to update the House on the steps which the UK Government is taking to continue to support the response in DRC and to ensure robust and effective preparedness in neighbouring countries.

Since I last updated the House on 14 February, there has been an increase in the number of confirmed and probable cases of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in eastern DRC. As of 31 March 2019, 1089 Ebola cases have been recorded (1023 confirmed and 66 probable) and 679 people have died. Twenty-one health zones have been affected and twelve are currently reporting active new cases.

Despite the success of the response in curbing the disease in a number of health zones, the outbreak is still not under control. The last few weeks have seen a substantial increase in the number of cases reported, and the security context remains extremely challenging. In late February, two Médecins Sans Frontières Ebola treatment centres were attacked in Butembo and Katwa. The UK condemns these attacks in the strongest of terms; health workers fighting this disease should never be the target of violence and nor should patients. However, I am pleased to note that the affected treatment centres have now re-opened, run for the moment by the Government of DRC’s Ministry of Health in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), both of whom the UK is supporting.

The attacks underline the difficulty of responding to this outbreak in an area of ongoing conflict, and the vital importance of strengthening community engagement to break the chain of transmission. Despite the challenges faced there has not been a rapid rise in cases as was seen during the West Africa outbreak in 2014-16.

With UK support and technical advice, the response is now shifting to become more locally-owned, including through the hiring and training of more local staff, which will have the additional benefit of building longer-term health capacity and resilience. The response communications strategy has been revised to ensure that messages come primarily from local, influential leaders and figureheads.

The UK remains one of the major supporters of the response and DFID has recently released new funds to the third Strategic Response Plan for this outbreak. Some of this new funding has been used to target specific areas of the response that need strengthening, particularly around infection prevention and control, and water, sanitation and hygiene. The vaccination campaign remains a key element of the response, with over 93 thousand people vaccinated in DRC so far. Once again, at the request of the Government of DRC who are leading the response I am not announcing specific funding figures to avoid putting front-line responders at further risk of attack.

As mentioned in my statement to the House on 26 March regarding Cyclone Idai, I recently spoke with both Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, and Sir Mark Lowcock, Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), to underline UK support and urge further measures on the part of the UN system in tackling the outbreak. We welcome WHO and OCHA strengthening their leadership in-country to support the DRC Government in delivering an effective response.

There remains a significant risk of transmission to neighbouring countries and measures are being taken to prepare accordingly. The UK is leading donor efforts to support regional preparedness. In Uganda we have supported the vaccination of 4,420 front-line health workers, with a further 1,000 planned over the next month. We have also helped establish a screening facility at the border with DRC. In Rwanda we have strengthened surveillance activities at borders, carried out infection prevention and control training, and supported the roll out of vaccinations for at-risk health workers. We have also supported similar activities including in South Sudan, and have recently deployed staff to strengthen efforts in Burundi.

The risk of Ebola to the UK population remains very low. Public Health England continues to monitor the situation daily and review the risk assessment on a two-weekly basis.

The UK is committed to supporting our partners to end this outbreak of Ebola as quickly as possible. We have continued our ‘no regrets’ approach, providing both funding and expertise – recognising that this is an international crisis that both requires and deserves a sustained international response. Tackling the spread of deadly diseases in Africa is firmly in our national interest – saving lives, reducing suffering, and helping prevent transmission across borders.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1492
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Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions)
Commons

Government Response to the Pensions Dashboards Consultation

Later today I will publish the Government’s Response to the consultation on the Pensions Dashboard CP75.

Pensions dashboards will revolutionise retirement planning. They will enable people to access their pension information in a single place online, in a clear and simple form, whether that is on a laptop or tablet, and from their own home. Putting individuals in control of their data, pensions dashboards will bring together all pensions information from multiple sources, which can then be accessed at a time of their choosing.

This Government’s pensions reforms have transformed Britain’s retirement savings culture. More than 10 million people have benefitted from our revolutionary policy of automatic enrolment into workplace pensions.

On 3 December 2018 the department published a consultation Pensions Dashboards: working together for the consumer. The Government’s response to the pensions dashboards consultation outlines how the Government will facilitate the pensions industry to deliver this project.

Both the quantity and quality of the 125 responses received were helpful in informing the approach we set out. The responses we received were largely positive in nature.

The result of this feedback is that Government will facilitate the delivery of pensions dashboards as a key priority. We expect to see to see initial industry dashboards developed and tested from this year.

Government remains committed to ensuring the individual is in control of their data and is conscious of the need for pace in order to deliver dashboards. Our priority is to ensure that information is presented securely, in a clear and simple format to support consumers with their retirement planning. The response to the consultation on dashboards includes:

  • a commitment to bring forward legislation at the earliest opportunity to compel all pension providers to make consumers’ data available to them through a dashboard;
  • an expectation that the majority of schemes will be ready to ‘go live’ with their data within a three to four year window;
  • confirmation that State Pension information will be included as soon as possible; and
  • that dashboards will help to reconnect people with ‘lost’ pension pots, benefitting savers and providers.

A crucial entity in taking this forward will be the industry delivery group; made up of stakeholders from across the industry, consumer groups, regulators and government who will be accountable to the Single Financial Guidance Body board. We anticipate the delivery group should be fully operational by the end of the summer. The priorities for the delivery group in 2019 are to create a clear strategy for delivering the digital architecture, design a robust governance and security framework and to work with industry on their readiness to provide data via dashboards.

It is my firm belief that the pensions industry is best placed to develop and deliver dashboards. However, there is a role for Government in facilitating industry’s delivery of dashboards which work for consumers and put people in control of their data.

Pensions dashboards can be an enabler for a real step-change across the sector to modernise the way it communicates with its members. They also provide an opportunity to build trust with consumers, ensuring they can access their pensions information in a convenient way.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1456
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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

Consumer Update

My hon Friend, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Kelly Tolhurst) has made the following statement:

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) will imminently publish its review of Whirlpool’s tumble dryer modification programme.

In 2015 Whirlpool identified a design issue in several tumble dryer models which could lead to increased risks of fire incidents due to excessive lint accumulation at the rear which then ignites. The company then undertook a modification programme to address the issue. However, concerns were raised about the modification programme and in May 2018 my predecessor, the hon member for Burton, commissioned OPSS to review the actions taken by Whirlpool.

Following a review of the modification programme, as well as consideration of technical documents supplied by Whirlpool, the OPSS has concluded that the risk is low and further reduced by the modification. However, shortcomings were found in the testing and quality assurance procedures, and the business must improve its monitoring and management of risk. They must also continue their consumer outreach programme and use more creative methods to contact affected consumers.

Given the full circumstances of the current position, in particular that the overall level of risk is low and that efforts have been made by Whirlpool to address the identified problem and to comply with its legal obligations, formal enforcement action is not justified at this stage. However, OPSS has produced a list of requirement actions for Whirlpool to take in light of the findings of the review, and OPSS will continue to monitor the programme. Should Whirlpool fail to take the expected action within appropriate timescales, enforcement action would need to be considered.

The main findings of the review are:

  • The ongoing risk from tumble dryers modified by Whirlpool is low and consumers can continue to use them
  • Whirlpool has made efforts to address the identified problem but must do more.
  • OPSS is requiring Whirlpool to take further action and will continue to monitor the steps taken to ensure the efficacy of the modification in consumers’ homes over the long term.
  • The modification and outreach programme should continue, with new and different methods used to reach consumers.

The safety of consumers is the number one priority for Government. We acknowledge the steps Whirlpool has taken to reach consumers and modify their tumble dryers, and we will continue to monitor the situation.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1490
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Publication of the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission Tailored Review

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

I am announcing today the publication of the recent Tailored Review of the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission (MACC), an Arm’s Length Body of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

The MACC was established in 1953 to express gratitude to the American people for the post-war support and assistance conceived by US Secretary of State George C Marshall, subsequently known as the Marshall Plan. It provides postgraduate scholarships in the UK for US students with the potential to excel in their chosen fields of study and future careers. Marshall alumni become advocates for greater mutual understanding and cooperation between our two countries, bolstering our bilateral relationship and our soft power.

As a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) sponsored by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), the MACC is required to undergo a Tailored Review at least once in every Parliament. The principal aims of Tailored Reviews are to ensure public bodies remain fit for purpose, are well governed and properly accountable for what they do.

The full report can be read on gov.uk:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tailored-review-of-the-marshall-aid-commemoration-commission

This Review involved consultation with a broad range of stakeholders across the UK and the US, including MACC commissioners and staff, former and current Marshall scholars, FCO officials, staff working on similar scholarship programmes and academic institutions in both the UK and US. It provided an opportunity to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the commission and its programme, and to understand how it delivers on the FCO’s strategic priorities.

The Review concluded that the MACC runs a high-quality and well-managed programme that is still needed and contributes to strengthening the UK’s relations with the US. As such, it is a valuable soft power asset, providing a good return on a relatively small financial investment. It also concluded that NDPB status remains the right classification for the commission. However, it identified areas for improvement, making a total of 24 recommendations, including:

  • The Association of Commonwealth Universities, which currently administers the MACC, should draw on in-house expertise to support the commission and ensure the sustainability of the programme’s administration.

  • The FCO should establish more consistent active outreach activity throughout the US network.

  • The commission should develop a shared communications strategy, while the FCO should ensure communications about the programme are incorporated into FCO communications work.

  • The commission and FCO should develop and implement a stronger monitoring and evaluation system.

A joint implementation plan is being developed by the FCO and the MACC, with agreed recommendations expected to be implemented by the first quarter of 2020.

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

Tailored review (PDF Document, 2.13 MB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1489
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Foreign Affairs Council – 8 April 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 8 April. 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, Afghanistan, Eastern Partnership and Venezuela.

Current Affairs

We expect HRVP Mogherini to update Ministers following her visits to the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Dinard and the League of Arab States Summit in Tunis. She will also provide an update on the first round of Ukrainian Presidential elections.

Afghanistan

Ministers will discuss developments in Afghanistan, including recent efforts to make progress on peace, and will look ahead to the Presidential elections scheduled for later in 2019. They will also discuss the EU’s future role in Afghanistan.

Eastern Partnership

Ministers will discuss preparations for the Eastern Partnership Ministerial meeting on 13 May and will reaffirm the EU’s commitment to supporting greater resilience, security and prosperity across the region. They will assess progress against the priorities identified as the ‘20 deliverables for 2020’: to achieve a stronger economy, governance, connectivity and society. Ministers will also take stock of ongoing work to mark the Partnership’s 10th anniversary.

Venezuela

Ministers will receive an update from HRVP Mogherini following the latest meeting of the International Contact Group on Venezuela and on plans for next steps. Ministers will discuss how to maintain pressure on the Maduro regime including the possibility of further targeted sanctions.

Council Conclusions

The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on Afghanistan, which call for an Afghan-led process and confirm EU support and its future role, as well as the Court of Auditors’ Special Report on Mali and Niger.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1488
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Cabinet Office
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Lord Young of Cookham (Lord in Waiting (Government Whip))
Lords

Common Frameworks Analysis

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

I am today placing in the libraries of both Houses a copy of the revised UK common frameworks analysis, which is also available on Gov.uk. When the UK leaves the European Union, powers previously exercised at EU level that intersect with devolved competence will flow back directly to Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. In some areas, we will need to maintain UK wide approaches, or common frameworks, after we leave the EU. Frameworks will create a common approach across the UK in a range of policy areas. They will provide a number of benefits, including ensuring it remains simple for businesses from different parts of the UK to trade with each other, helping the UK to fulfil its international obligations, safeguarding our common resources and ensure the effective functioning of the UK internal market.

The revised analysis sets out the progress we have made to develop common frameworks in collaboration with the devolved administrations since the first analysis was published in March 2018. There is a reduction in the number of policy areas where primary legislation is being considered, from 24 to 21, in these areas only some of the elements of the framework are expected to be in legislation. In the majority of areas (reduced from 82 to 78), non-legislative arrangements, such as a concordat, are being considered. The number of areas where no further action is required to create a framework has increased from 49 to 63. In these areas, to ensure certainty for businesses is maintained, the UK Government and devolved administrations will continue to cooperate when appropriate. Finally, there are now only four areas where competence is disputed, and conversations between the UK Government and devolved administrations continue (reduced from twelve in the first publication), demonstrating the significant progress made in this area. These changes demonstrate the careful and considered joint work underway to establish common frameworks, which in some areas has led to reclassification.

The cooperative approach to frameworks so far demonstrates the progress that can be achieved through proceeding collaboratively. We welcome the commitment demonstrated by the Scottish and Welsh Governments to agree on the direction of travel set out in the analysis and to continued close working to develop frameworks. We also welcome the commitment to cooperative working, including in policy areas where no formal common frameworks are required.

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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

Performance Targets for the Intellectual Property Office (an operating name of the Patent Office) for 2019-2020

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

Our Industrial Strategy sets out the Government’s vision for making the UK the most innovative country in the world. The UK starts from a position of strength and is already ranked in the top four of the Global Innovation Index and top 10 by the World Bank as the best place to start and grow a business. But the global landscape is changing and we must continue to invest in research and development. The Industrial Strategy has set an ambition to raise total research and development to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027, helping businesses access the right funds and equip them to face the challenges and opportunities presented by new technologies and new ways of doing business.

Intellectual Property (IP) plays a crucial role in innovation and touches everything that makes modern life more enjoyable, easier, safer and prosperous. It provides inventors, creators and entrepreneurs with the confidence to invest knowing that they will reap the benefits of their investments. UK investment in IP rights reached almost £64 billion in 2016 and studies have shown that industries that rely on IP have accounted for over a quarter of UK employment and almost half of GDP. Our IP system matters. It creates jobs and economic growth and is helping to propel Britain to the forefront of innovation.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) Corporate Plan 2019-20 explains how through its stewardship of the IP system, it will help the UK to be the most innovative and creative country in the world. It will do this through delivering excellent IP services, creating a world leading IP environment and attracting and retaining the best people by making the IPO a brilliant place to work. This plan outlines the start of the IPO’s transformational journey, which will provide truly modern IP services to its customers.

The UK already has one of the best IP regimes in the world, consistently ranked as one of the top regimes in indices such as those from the Taylor-Wessing Global IP Index and US Chamber of Commerce International IP Index, and during 2019-20, the IPO will continue to contribute to building a business environment that makes the UK the best place in the world to start and run a business.

As an Executive Agency and Trading Fund of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the IPO have set targets which are agreed by Ministers and laid before Parliament. I am glad that today I can inform the House that for 2019-2020 the IPO’s targets are:

  • At least 85% of our customers to rate us 8/10 for overall satisfaction.
  • By the end of March 2020 we want 90% of renewals to be conducted via the new enterprise-wide digital renewals service.
  • 75% of the businesses we reach confirm that they are able to make informed decisions about their IP.
  • Deliver our services efficiently through continuously improving our systems, processes and ways of working to make things better for our customers and our people, reduce costs and improve the value for money we provide. Our target is to achieve efficiencies worth at least 3.5% of our core operating costs.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1485
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Department for Education
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System)
Lords

School Condition Funding

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

Today, I am announcing the allocation of over £1.4 billion of capital funding in the financial year 2019–20 to maintain and improve the condition of the school estate.

This funding is provided to ensure schools have well maintained facilities to provide students with safe environments that support a high-quality education. It is part of £23 billion committed over 2016–21 to deliver new school places, rebuild or refurbish buildings in the worst condition and deliver thousands of condition projects across the school estate.

For the financial year 2019–20, the £1.4 billion of capital funding includes:

  • Almost £800 million for local authorities, voluntary aided partnerships, larger multi-academy trusts and academy sponsors, to invest in maintaining and improving the condition of their schools.
  • Over £400 million available through the Condition Improvement Fund for essential maintenance projects at small and stand-alone academy trusts and sixth-form colleges.
  • Over £200 million of Devolved Formula Capital allocated directly for schools to spend on small capital projects to meet their own priorities.

Details of successful applications to the Condition Improvement Fund have also been published today, covering 1413 projects at 1210 schools and sixth form colleges.

Details of today’s announcement will be published on the Department for Education section on the GOV.UK website. Announcement notifications are also being sent electronically to responsible bodies’ chief executive officers.

WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Lord Callanan (Minister of State for Exiting the European Union)
Lords

General Affairs Council, April 2019

The UK and the EU have agreed an extension to Article 50, until 12 April 2019, which is legally binding in EU and international law. 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.

I will attend the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 9 April 2019 to represent the UK.

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 to reach an agreement on the negotiations in autumn 2019.

Conclusions on the Reflection Paper “Towards a sustainable Europe by 2030”

The Council will adopt conclusions on the reflection paper titled “Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030, on the follow-up to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including on the Paris Agreement on Climate Change”. The paper was released in January 2019 by the Commission as part of its 2019 Work Programme. Ministers will discuss this paper ahead of the Sibiu Summit in May, where issues relating to Europe’s future will be discussed.

Values of the Union - Hungary / Article 7(1) TEU Reasoned Proposal

Ministers will discuss the Article 7(1) procedure in relation to Hungary.

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

The Commission will provide an update on ‘Rule of Law’ developments in Poland and Ministers will discuss next steps.

WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Lord Callanan (Minister of State for Exiting the European Union)
Lords

Citizens’ Rights - UK Nationals in the EU

Citizens have always been our priority in the negotiations for our departure from the EU. Today I am setting out further details on the steps that the Government is taking to protect UK nationals.

Reciprocal arrangements for social security coordination, including reciprocal healthcare, in a no deal scenario

UK nationals who have chosen to build their lives in the EU and wish to remain there are concerned about their social security entitlements, including healthcare cover in the event of a no deal.

In the Government’s December announcement on citizens’ rights, we highlighted that aspects of the social security coordination section of the Withdrawal Agreement, including reciprocal healthcare, require reciprocity from the EU or Member States and cannot be protected unilaterally. We set out that we were exploring further options to protect these rights in a no deal scenario and the Department for Health and Social Care proposed maintaining existing healthcare arrangements with EU Member States and EFTA states until 31 December 2020 on 19 March; with the aim of minimising disruption to citizens’ healthcare provision.

However, to fully protect UK nationals in the EU, the UK is seeking to protect the social security coordination rights of UK nationals in the EU, including reciprocal healthcare, by reaching reciprocal arrangements with the EU or Member States to maintain existing rights for a transitional period until 31 December 2020, consistent with our guarantee of the healthcare rights of EU citizens living in the UK.

Family reunification

UK nationals are also concerned about their right to return from the EU with non-UK national family members after exit. Having listened to these concerns, I can confirm that UK nationals will be able to return to the UK with their existing close family members under current rules, until 29 March 2022. This means that where the relationship exists before exit or where a child was born overseas after this date, they will be able to apply to and qualify for the EU Settlement Scheme until 29 March 2022. After this date, such family members will be able to return to the UK by applying under the relevant UK Immigration Rules.

UK nationals living in the EU who return to the UK after exit will be able to be joined by future spouses and partners, where the relationship was established after exit, and other dependent relatives until 31 December 2020 if they previously lived in the EU with that family member. From 2021, the UK Immigration Rules will apply to such family reunion. These arrangements will apply in both a deal and no deal scenario, providing UK nationals in the EU with sufficient continuity after exit to allow families to plan with confidence, while also bringing family reunion rights for all UK nationals in the UK and abroad into alignment from 29 March 2022.

Access to benefits and services

The Government has already announced that UK nationals living in the EU will continue to receive benefits, including child benefit and disability benefit, where the recipient is exporting a UK benefit to their EU country of residence. UK nationals in the EU who are already in receipt of a UK benefit, including the State Pension, will also continue to receive these benefits should they choose to return to the UK.

UK nationals returning to live in the UK who meet the ordinary residence test will be able to use NHS services. This means that UK nationals who have returned to the UK permanently in a no deal scenario would have access to NHS-funded healthcare on the same basis as UK nationals already living here.

UK nationals considering returning to the UK and planning to make new applications for benefits and services should check eligibility requirements for the relevant benefits and services on gov.uk. The usual entitlement conditions, which exist for both resident and returning UK nationals, will apply and we expect most returning UK nationals will be able to satisfy the necessary eligibility requirements. Certain benefits and services, such as non-contributory benefits, include satisfying certain residence criteria and individual Decision Makers will carefully consider each application to ensure that UK nationals receive the benefits and services that they are entitled to.

Access to Higher Education, Further Education 19+ and Apprenticeship Funding in the UK

UK nationals living in the EEA or Switzerland on exit day, who wish to study in England, will continue to be eligible for home fee status and student support from Student Finance England, along with access to Further Education 19+ funding for courses and apprenticeships in England starting up to seven years from exit day in a no deal scenario. In a deal scenario, the seven year transition period will commence at the end of the Implementation Period.

The seven year transition period will ensure that eligible UK nationals living in the EEA or Switzerland wishing to study in Further Education 19+, Higher Education, or undertake an apprenticeship in England, will be able to do so immediately on their return to the UK during this transition period.

Further information

The measures outlined above are without prejudice to the rights and privileges accorded, by virtue of the Common Travel Area, to Irish and UK nationals when in each other’s state.

The Government continues to pursue a ring-fenced agreement with the EU and has exchanged letters with the European Commission on the subject. The UK has also reached separate agreements with the EEA EFTA states and Switzerland, which will mean that in a no deal scenario UK and EFTA nationals living in each other’s countries before exit day will be able to continue living their lives broadly as they do today.

We will continue to provide updates to UK nationals in the EU on gov.uk and through our network of Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions.

Let me reiterate that securing the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement is in the mutual interest of all our citizens. It is the most effective way for the Government to guarantee the rights of UK nationals in the EU and to provide certainty.

I will be depositing the policy paper Citizens’ Rights - UK nationals in the EU in the Libraries of both Houses.

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Department for International Development
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Penny Mordaunt (Secretary of State for International Development)
Commons

Ebola virus disease outbreak: update on UK response

The number of cases of Ebola in the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has recently passed 1000. Given this, it is both proper and timely to update the House on the steps which the UK Government is taking to continue to support the response in DRC and to ensure robust and effective preparedness in neighbouring countries.

Since I last updated the House on 14 February, there has been an increase in the number of confirmed and probable cases of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in eastern DRC. As of 31 March 2019, 1089 Ebola cases have been recorded (1023 confirmed and 66 probable) and 679 people have died. Twenty-one health zones have been affected and twelve are currently reporting active new cases.

Despite the success of the response in curbing the disease in a number of health zones, the outbreak is still not under control. The last few weeks have seen a substantial increase in the number of cases reported, and the security context remains extremely challenging. In late February, two Médecins Sans Frontières Ebola treatment centres were attacked in Butembo and Katwa. The UK condemns these attacks in the strongest of terms; health workers fighting this disease should never be the target of violence and nor should patients. However, I am pleased to note that the affected treatment centres have now re-opened, run for the moment by the Government of DRC’s Ministry of Health in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), both of whom the UK is supporting.

The attacks underline the difficulty of responding to this outbreak in an area of ongoing conflict, and the vital importance of strengthening community engagement to break the chain of transmission. Despite the challenges faced there has not been a rapid rise in cases as was seen during the West Africa outbreak in 2014-16.

With UK support and technical advice, the response is now shifting to become more locally-owned, including through the hiring and training of more local staff, which will have the additional benefit of building longer-term health capacity and resilience. The response communications strategy has been revised to ensure that messages come primarily from local, influential leaders and figureheads.

The UK remains one of the major supporters of the response and DFID has recently released new funds to the third Strategic Response Plan for this outbreak. Some of this new funding has been used to target specific areas of the response that need strengthening, particularly around infection prevention and control, and water, sanitation and hygiene. The vaccination campaign remains a key element of the response, with over 93 thousand people vaccinated in DRC so far. Once again, at the request of the Government of DRC who are leading the response I am not announcing specific funding figures to avoid putting front-line responders at further risk of attack.

As mentioned in my statement to the House on 26 March regarding Cyclone Idai, I recently spoke with both Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, and Sir Mark Lowcock, Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), to underline UK support and urge further measures on the part of the UN system in tackling the outbreak. We welcome WHO and OCHA strengthening their leadership in-country to support the DRC Government in delivering an effective response.

There remains a significant risk of transmission to neighbouring countries and measures are being taken to prepare accordingly. The UK is leading donor efforts to support regional preparedness. In Uganda we have supported the vaccination of 4,420 front-line health workers, with a further 1,000 planned over the next month. We have also helped establish a screening facility at the border with DRC. In Rwanda we have strengthened surveillance activities at borders, carried out infection prevention and control training, and supported the roll out of vaccinations for at-risk health workers. We have also supported similar activities including in South Sudan, and have recently deployed staff to strengthen efforts in Burundi.

The risk of Ebola to the UK population remains very low. Public Health England continues to monitor the situation daily and review the risk assessment on a two-weekly basis.

The UK is committed to supporting our partners to end this outbreak of Ebola as quickly as possible. We have continued our ‘no regrets’ approach, providing both funding and expertise – recognising that this is an international crisis that both requires and deserves a sustained international response. Tackling the spread of deadly diseases in Africa is firmly in our national interest – saving lives, reducing suffering, and helping prevent transmission across borders.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1453
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Treasury
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Mr Philip Hammond (The Chancellor of the Exchequer)
Commons

Informal ECOFIN: 05 – 06 April 2019

An informal meeting of Economic and Financial Affairs (ECOFIN) Ministers will be held in Bucharest on 05 – 06 April 2019. Ministers will discuss the following:

Working Lunch - Multiannual Financial Framework

Ministers will discuss the Multiannual Finance Framework in the context of the European Semester and financing of the EU budget.

Working Session I

The Council will then be joined by Central Bank Governors for the first working session.

a) Institutional Cycle Priorities

Following a presentation from Bruegel, Ministers and Central Bank Governors will discuss the priorities for the next EU institutional cycle.

b) Capital Markets Union

Ministers and Central Bank Governors will then discuss the way forward for the Capital Markets Union.

Working Session II

a) Labour Mobility in the EU

Following a presentation from the Centre for European Policy Studies, Ministers will discuss the macroeconomic and fiscal impact of labour mobility in the EU.

b) Taxation and Economic Growth

Ministers will discuss the role of taxation in supporting EU economic growth.

c) Preparation of the April G20 and IMF meetings

Ministers will be invited to approve the EU Terms of Reference for the G20 meeting and International Monetary and Financial Committee Statement, ahead of the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C..

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1454
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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Kelly Tolhurst (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility)
Commons

Consumer Update

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) will imminently publish its review of Whirlpool’s tumble dryer modification programme.

In 2015 Whirlpool identified a design issue in several tumble dryer models which could lead to increased risks of fire incidents due to excessive lint accumulation at the rear which then ignites. The company then undertook a modification programme to address the issue. However, concerns were raised about the modification programme and in May 2018 my predecessor, the hon member for Burton, commissioned OPSS to review the actions taken by Whirlpool.

Following a review of the modification programme, as well as consideration of technical documents supplied by Whirlpool, the OPSS has concluded that the risk is low and further reduced by the modification. However, shortcomings were found in the testing and quality assurance procedures, and the business must improve its monitoring and management of risk. They must also continue their consumer outreach programme and use more creative methods to contact affected consumers.

Given the full circumstances of the current position, in particular that the overall level of risk is low and that efforts have been made by Whirlpool to address the identified problem and to comply with its legal obligations, formal enforcement action is not justified at this stage. However, OPSS has produced a list of requirement actions for Whirlpool to take in light of the findings of the review, and OPSS will continue to monitor the programme. Should Whirlpool fail to take the expected action within appropriate timescales, enforcement action would need to be considered.

The main findings of the review are:

  • The ongoing risk from tumble dryers modified by Whirlpool is low and consumers can continue to use them.
  • Whirlpool has made efforts to address the identified problem but must do more.
  • OPSS is requiring Whirlpool to take further action and will continue to monitor the steps taken to ensure the efficacy of the modification in consumers’ homes over the long term.
  • The modification and outreach programme should continue, with new and different methods used to reach consumers.

The safety of consumers is the number one priority for Government. We acknowledge the steps Whirlpool has taken to reach consumers and modify their tumble dryers, and we will continue to monitor the situation.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1452
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Mark Field (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Publication of the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission Tailored Review

I am announcing today the publication of the recent Tailored Review of the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission (MACC), an Arm’s Length Body of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

The MACC was established in 1953 to express gratitude to the American people for the post-war support and assistance conceived by US Secretary of State George C Marshall, subsequently known as the Marshall Plan. It provides postgraduate scholarships in the UK for US students with the potential to excel in their chosen fields of study and future careers. Marshall alumni become advocates for greater mutual understanding and cooperation between our two countries, bolstering our bilateral relationship and our soft power.

As a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) sponsored by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), the MACC is required to undergo a Tailored Review at least once in every Parliament. The principal aims of Tailored Reviews are to ensure public bodies remain fit for purpose, are well governed and properly accountable for what they do.

The full report can be read on gov.uk:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tailored-review-of-the-marshall-aid-commemoration-commission

This Review involved consultation with a broad range of stakeholders across the UK and the US, including MACC commissioners and staff, former and current Marshall scholars, FCO officials, staff working on similar scholarship programmes and academic institutions in both the UK and US. It provided an opportunity to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the commission and its programme, and to understand how it delivers on the FCO’s strategic priorities.

The Review concluded that the MACC runs a high-quality and well-managed programme that is still needed and contributes to strengthening the UK’s relations with the US. As such, it is a valuable soft power asset, providing a good return on a relatively small financial investment. It also concluded that NDPB status remains the right classification for the commission. However, it identified areas for improvement, making a total of 24 recommendations, including:

  • The Association of Commonwealth Universities, which currently administers the MACC, should draw on in-house expertise to support the commission and ensure the sustainability of the programme’s administration.

  • The FCO should establish more consistent active outreach activity throughout the US network.

  • The commission should develop a shared communications strategy, while the FCO should ensure communications about the programme are incorporated into FCO communications work.

  • The commission and FCO should develop and implement a stronger monitoring and evaluation system.

A joint implementation plan is being developed by the FCO and the MACC, with agreed recommendations expected to be implemented by the first quarter of 2020.

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

Tailored review (PDF Document, 2.13 MB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1451
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Sir Alan Duncan (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Foreign Affairs Council – 8 April 2019

The Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) will take place in Luxembourg on 8 April. 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, Afghanistan, Eastern Partnership and Venezuela.

Current Affairs

We expect HRVP Mogherini to update Ministers following her visits to the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Dinard and the League of Arab States Summit in Tunis. She will also provide an update on the first round of Ukrainian Presidential elections.

Afghanistan

Ministers will discuss developments in Afghanistan, including recent efforts to make progress on peace, and will look ahead to the Presidential elections scheduled for later in 2019. They will also discuss the EU’s future role in Afghanistan.

Eastern Partnership

Ministers will discuss preparations for the Eastern Partnership Ministerial meeting on 13 May and will reaffirm the EU’s commitment to supporting greater resilience, security and prosperity across the region. They will assess progress against the priorities identified as the ‘20 deliverables for 2020’: to achieve a stronger economy, governance, connectivity and society. Ministers will also take stock of ongoing work to mark the Partnership’s 10th anniversary.

Venezuela

Ministers will receive an update from HRVP Mogherini following the latest meeting of the International Contact Group on Venezuela and on plans for next steps. Ministers will discuss how to maintain pressure on the Maduro regime including the possibility of further targeted sanctions.

Council Conclusions

The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on Afghanistan, which call for an Afghan-led process and confirm EU support and its future role, as well as the Court of Auditors’ Special Report on Mali and Niger.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1450
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Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Mr Robin Walker (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union)
Commons

General Affairs Council, April 2019

Lord Callanan, Minister of State for Exiting the European Union, has made the following statement:

The UK and the EU have agreed an extension to Article 50, until 12 April 2019, which is legally binding in EU and international law. 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.

I will attend the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 9 April 2019 to represent the UK.

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 to reach an agreement on the negotiations in autumn 2019.

Conclusions on the Reflection Paper “Towards a sustainable Europe by 2030”

The Council will adopt conclusions on the reflection paper titled “Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030, on the follow-up to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including on the Paris Agreement on Climate Change”. The paper was released in January 2019 by the Commission as part of its 2019 Work Programme. Ministers will discuss this paper ahead of the Sibiu Summit in May, where issues relating to Europe’s future will be discussed.

Values of the Union - Hungary / Article 7(1) TEU Reasoned Proposal

Ministers will discuss the Article 7(1) procedure in relation to Hungary.

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

The Commission will provide an update on ‘Rule of Law’ developments in Poland and Ministers will discuss next steps.

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Cabinet Office
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Mr David Lidington (The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office)
Commons

Common Frameworks Analysis

I am today placing in the libraries of both Houses a copy of the revised UK common frameworks analysis, which is also available on Gov.uk. When the UK leaves the European Union, powers previously exercised at EU level that intersect with devolved competence will flow back directly to Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. In some areas, we will need to maintain UK wide approaches, or common frameworks, after we leave the EU. Frameworks will create a common approach across the UK in a range of policy areas. They will provide a number of benefits, including ensuring it remains simple for businesses from different parts of the UK to trade with each other, helping the UK to fulfil its international obligations, safeguarding our common resources and ensure the effective functioning of the UK internal market.

The revised analysis sets out the progress we have made to develop common frameworks in collaboration with the devolved administrations since the first analysis was published in March 2018. There is a reduction in the number of policy areas where primary legislation is being considered, from 24 to 21, in these areas only some of the elements of the framework are expected to be in legislation. In the majority of areas (reduced from 82 to 78), non-legislative arrangements, such as a concordat, are being considered. The number of areas where no further action is required to create a framework has increased from 49 to 63. In these areas, to ensure certainty for businesses is maintained, the UK Government and devolved administrations will continue to cooperate when appropriate. Finally, there are now only four areas where competence is disputed, and conversations between the UK Government and devolved administrations continue (reduced from twelve in the first publication), demonstrating the significant progress made in this area. These changes demonstrate the careful and considered joint work underway to establish common frameworks, which in some areas has led to reclassification.

The cooperative approach to frameworks so far demonstrates the progress that can be achieved through proceeding collaboratively. We welcome the commitment demonstrated by the Scottish and Welsh Governments to agree on the direction of travel set out in the analysis and to continued close working to develop frameworks. We also welcome the commitment to cooperative working, including in policy areas where no formal common frameworks are required.

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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Chris Skidmore (Minister of State for Universities and Science (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy))
Commons

Performance Targets for the Intellectual Property Office (an operating name of the Patent Office) for 2019-2020

Our Industrial Strategy sets out the Government’s vision for making the UK the most innovative country in the world. The UK starts from a position of strength and is already ranked in the top four of the Global Innovation Index and top 10 by the World Bank as the best place to start and grow a business. But the global landscape is changing and we must continue to invest in research and development. The Industrial Strategy has set an ambition to raise total research and development to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027, helping businesses access the right funds and equip them to face the challenges and opportunities presented by new technologies and new ways of doing business.

Intellectual Property (IP) plays a crucial role in innovation and touches everything that makes modern life more enjoyable, easier, safer and prosperous. It provides inventors, creators and entrepreneurs with the confidence to invest knowing that they will reap the benefits of their investments. UK investment in IP rights reached almost £64 billion in 2016 and studies have shown that industries that rely on IP have accounted for over a quarter of UK employment and almost half of GDP. Our IP system matters. It creates jobs and economic growth and is helping to propel Britain to the forefront of innovation.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) Corporate Plan 2019-20 explains how through its stewardship of the IP system, it will help the UK to be the most innovative and creative country in the world. It will do this through delivering excellent IP services, creating a world leading IP environment and attracting and retaining the best people by making the IPO a brilliant place to work. This plan outlines the start of the IPO’s transformational journey, which will provide truly modern IP services to its customers.

The UK already has one of the best IP regimes in the world, consistently ranked as one of the top regimes in indices such as those from the Taylor-Wessing Global IP Index and US Chamber of Commerce International IP Index, and during 2019-20, the IPO will continue to contribute to building a business environment that makes the UK the best place in the world to start and run a business.

As an Executive Agency and Trading Fund of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the IPO have set targets which are agreed by Ministers and laid before Parliament. I am glad that today I can inform the House that for 2019-2020 the IPO’s targets are:

  • At least 85% of our customers to rate us 8/10 for overall satisfaction.

  • By the end of March 2020 we want 90% of renewals to be conducted via the new enterprise-wide digital renewals service.

  • 75% of the businesses we reach confirm that they are able to make informed decisions about their IP.

  • Deliver our services efficiently through continuously improving our systems, processes and ways of working to make things better for our customers and our people, reduce costs and improve the value for money we provide. Our target is to achieve efficiencies worth at least 3.5% of our core operating costs.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1448
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Department for Transport
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Ms Nusrat Ghani (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Commons

Access for All

Improving access to Great Britain’s railway stations is a key priority for this Government and we want all passengers to be able to travel easily and confidently. The Department’s Access for All programme is critical to delivering this; the programme has already delivered an accessible, step free route at more than 200 stations, as well as smaller scale accessibility improvements at more than 1,500 others.

The Inclusive Transport Strategy, published on 25 July 2018, included a commitment to extend the Access for All programme, announcing an additional £300m of funding from the public purse. Our approach is to work with transport operators and partners to target investments where they are needed most and where they can deliver the greatest impact. This funding will enable us to deliver accessibility improvements at more stations across the rail network, and allow us to proceed with the station enhancements that were deferred from Control Period 5.

In total 73 stations are set to benefit from this funding. This is in addition to the 24 station projects that are ongoing. The selected stations will, subject to a feasible design being possible, receive an accessible route into the station, as well as to and between every platform.

The new stations due to be upgraded from this funding are listed below. They have been selected following nominations from the rail industry, which engaged with local authorities and other stakeholders. We then assessed them against annual footfall, weighted by the incidence of disability in the area, and also took account of local factors such as nearby hospitals and the availability of third party funding. Due consideration was also given to the preferences of the train operating companies and, finally, a number were chosen to ensure a fair geographical spread across the country.

  • Abergavenny
  • Anniesland
  • Beaconsfield Station
  • Biggleswade
  • Birkenhead Park
  • Bridlington
  • Broad green
  • Caerphilly
  • Catford
  • Chalkwell
  • Chorley
  • Cricklewood
  • Crowborough
  • Croy
  • Cwmbran
  • Daisy Hill
  • Dumfries
  • Flint
  • Hackney Downs
  • Handforth
  • Herne Bay
  • Hertford North
  • Hillside
  • Hunt's Cross
  • Irlam
  • Isleworth
  • Johnstone
  • Kings Langley
  • Leatherhead
  • Ludlow
  • Menston
  • Mill Hill Broadway
  • Port Glasgow
  • Retford
  • Selby
  • Shotton
  • Smethwick Rolfe Street
  • St Erth
  • St Michaels
  • Stoneleigh
  • Stowmarket
  • Tenby
  • Todmorden
  • Uddingston
  • Wandsworth Town
  • Wellington

The stations deferred from Control Period 5, which will now be progressed are:

  • Alfreton (Parkway)
  • Barnes
  • Barry (Town)
  • Battersea Park
  • Cathays
  • Chatham
  • Garforth
  • Grays
  • Hither Green
  • Liverpool Central
  • Llanelli
  • Luton
  • Market Harborough
  • Northallerton
  • Peckham Rye
  • Petts Wood
  • Queen’s Park
  • Seven Sisters
  • Southend East
  • St Mary Cray
  • Streatham
  • Theale
  • Trefforest
  • Walton-on-Thames
  • Warwick
  • Weston-Super-Mare
  • Worcester Shrub Hill

All work at the stations is due to be completed by the end of March 2024.

In addition to these significant upgrades, we intend to use £20 million of the funding to re-launch the Mid-Tier Access for All programme. This will be focused on stations where accessibility improvements can be delivered with between £250,000 and £1 million of government support. We will be seeking nominations for this funding in due course.

All of the work carried out by Access for All comes in addition to access improvements that the industry is required to deliver as part of other projects or renewals of station infrastructure.

Together these measures will make a real difference to people’s lives, opening up access to leisure and employment for disabled rail passengers as well as making it easier for those with heavy luggage or children in buggies to use the network.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1458
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Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Mr Robin Walker (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union)
Commons

Citizens’ Rights - UK Nationals in the EU

Citizens have always been our priority in the negotiations for our departure from the EU. Today I am setting out further details on the steps that the Government is taking to protect UK nationals.

Reciprocal arrangements for social security coordination, including reciprocal healthcare, in a no deal scenario

UK nationals who have chosen to build their lives in the EU and wish to remain there are concerned about their social security entitlements, including healthcare cover in the event of a no deal.

In the Government’s December announcement on citizens’ rights, we highlighted that aspects of the social security coordination section of the Withdrawal Agreement, including reciprocal healthcare, require reciprocity from the EU or Member States and cannot be protected unilaterally. We set out that we were exploring further options to protect these rights in a no deal scenario and the Department for Health and Social Care proposed maintaining existing healthcare arrangements with EU Member States and EFTA states until 31 December 2020 on 19 March; with the aim of minimising disruption to citizens’ healthcare provision.

However, to fully protect UK nationals in the EU, the UK is seeking to protect the social security coordination rights of UK nationals in the EU, including reciprocal healthcare, by reaching reciprocal arrangements with the EU or Member States to maintain existing rights for a transitional period until 31 December 2020, consistent with our guarantee of the healthcare rights of EU citizens living in the UK.

Family reunification

UK nationals are also concerned about their right to return from the EU with non-UK national family members after exit. Having listened to these concerns, I can confirm that UK nationals will be able to return to the UK with their existing close family members under current rules, until 29 March 2022. This means that where the relationship exists before exit or where a child was born overseas after this date, they will be able to apply to and qualify for the EU Settlement Scheme until 29 March 2022. After this date, such family members will be able to return to the UK by applying under the relevant UK Immigration Rules.

UK nationals living in the EU who return to the UK after exit will be able to be joined by future spouses and partners, where the relationship was established after exit, and other dependent relatives until 31 December 2020 if they previously lived in the EU with that family member. From 2021, the UK Immigration Rules will apply to such family reunion. These arrangements will apply in both a deal and no deal scenario, providing UK nationals in the EU with sufficient continuity after exit to allow families to plan with confidence, while also bringing family reunion rights for all UK nationals in the UK and abroad into alignment from 29 March 2022.

Access to benefits and services

The Government has already announced that UK nationals living in the EU will continue to receive benefits, including child benefit and disability benefit, where the recipient is exporting a UK benefit to their EU country of residence. UK nationals in the EU who are already in receipt of a UK benefit, including the State Pension, will also continue to receive these benefits should they choose to return to the UK.

UK nationals returning to live in the UK who meet the ordinary residence test will be able to use NHS services. This means that UK nationals who have returned to the UK permanently in a no deal scenario would have access to NHS-funded healthcare on the same basis as UK nationals already living here.

UK nationals considering returning to the UK and planning to make new applications for benefits and services should check eligibility requirements for the relevant benefits and services on gov.uk. The usual entitlement conditions, which exist for both resident and returning UK nationals, will apply and we expect most returning UK nationals will be able to satisfy the necessary eligibility requirements. Certain benefits and services, such as non-contributory benefits, include satisfying certain residence criteria and individual Decision Makers will carefully consider each application to ensure that UK nationals receive the benefits and services that they are entitled to.

Access to Higher Education, Further Education 19+ and Apprenticeship Funding in the UK

UK nationals living in the EEA or Switzerland on exit day, who wish to study in England, will continue to be eligible for home fee status and student support from Student Finance England, along with access to Further Education 19+ funding for courses and apprenticeships in England starting up to seven years from exit day in a no deal scenario. In a deal scenario, the seven year transition period will commence at the end of the Implementation Period.

The seven year transition period will ensure that eligible UK nationals living in the EEA or Switzerland wishing to study in Further Education 19+, Higher Education, or undertake an apprenticeship in England, will be able to do so immediately on their return to the UK during this transition period.

Further information

The measures outlined above are without prejudice to the rights and privileges accorded, by virtue of the Common Travel Area, to Irish and UK nationals when in each other’s state.

The Government continues to pursue a ring-fenced agreement with the EU and has exchanged letters with the European Commission on the subject. The UK has also reached separate agreements with the EEA EFTA states and Switzerland, which will mean that in a no deal scenario UK and EFTA nationals living in each other’s countries before exit day will be able to continue living their lives broadly as they do today.

We will continue to provide updates to UK nationals in the EU on gov.uk and through our network of Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions.

Let me reiterate that securing the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement is in the mutual interest of all our citizens. It is the most effective way for the Government to guarantee the rights of UK nationals in the EU and to provide certainty.

I will be depositing the policy paper Citizens’ Rights - UK nationals in the EU in the Libraries of both Houses.

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Department for Education
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Nick Gibb (The Minister of State for School Standards)
Commons

School Condition Funding

Today, I am announcing the allocation of over £1.4 billion of capital funding in the financial year 2019–20 to maintain and improve the condition of the school estate.

This funding is provided to ensure schools have well maintained facilities to provide students with safe environments that support a high-quality education. It is part of £23 billion committed over 2016–21 to deliver new school places, rebuild or refurbish buildings in the worst condition and deliver thousands of condition projects across the school estate.

For the financial year 2019–20, the £1.4 billion of capital funding includes:

  • Almost £800 million for local authorities, voluntary aided partnerships, larger multi-academy trusts and academy sponsors, to invest in maintaining and improving the condition of their schools.
  • Over £400 million available through the Condition Improvement Fund for essential maintenance projects at small and stand-alone academy trusts and sixth-form colleges.
  • Over £200 million of Devolved Formula Capital allocated directly for schools to spend on small capital projects to meet their own priorities.

Details of successful applications to the Condition Improvement Fund have also been published today, covering 1413 projects at 1210 schools and sixth form colleges.

Details of today’s announcement will be published on the Department for Education section on the GOV.UK website. Announcement notifications are also being sent electronically to responsible bodies’ chief executive officers.

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Home Office
Made on: 03 April 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:

I have today announced the details of the Windrush compensation scheme. The Government deeply regrets what has happened to some members of the Windrush generation and when I became Home Secretary I made clear that responding to this was a priority. The compensation scheme being launched today is a key part of righting the wrongs experienced by some members of the Windrush generation, under successive governments.

A public consultation opened on 19 July 2018 seeking views on proposals for a Windrush compensation scheme. Since the consultation closed on 16 November, careful consideration has been given to the 1,435 responses that were received from people and organisations, as well as the feedback from the focus groups. These views have been considered in addition to the 650 responses to the Call for Evidence which preceded the consultation. Martin Forde QC, who was appointed to give independent advice on the compensation scheme, has attended events across the country to hear the stories of those affected, and his findings have contributed to the final design. I would like to extend particular thanks to Martin: I have met him to discuss his views on the scheme and his advice has been invaluable.

The Government has listened carefully and I believe the proposals are in line with what the majority of respondents wanted to see in the scheme. I am pleased that Martin has concluded the scheme is accessible and fairly compensates those who have suffered. The scheme will ensure that those who have been affected are able to claim for the losses they faced and receive appropriate compensation. It is important that the scheme works well for those who have suffered a loss, so we are making it accessible and fair, with guidance available to help people understand what compensation they might be entitled to and how they submit a claim.

Detailed information about the compensation scheme, with the forms and guidance that people need to make a claim, are available from today online at www.gov.uk/windrush-compensation. Our free phone helpline is also open now 0800 678 1925 for those wishing to receive printed copies of the claim form or for any other queries. Copies of the response to the consultation (CP 81) are available from the Vote Office and will also be online at Gov.uk

The Home Office is committed to raising awareness of the scheme, and to encouraging eligible people of all nationalities to submit a claim. Eligibility for compensation goes beyond members of the Caribbean Commonwealth, and we are putting in place a programme of events with key stakeholders, faith and community organisations to communicate the detail of the scheme and give everyone who is potentially eligible, the opportunity to hear about the scheme and to apply.

I would again like to thank all those who responded to the consultation and who took part in the wider engagement during the development of the scheme. The views and experiences that have been shared have proved crucial in shaping the Government’s policy, ensuring it addresses the matters raised by those affected.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1481
WS
Home Office
Made on: 03 April 2019
Made by: Sajid Javid (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Immigration

I have today announced the details of the Windrush compensation scheme. The Government deeply regrets what has happened to some members of the Windrush generation and when I became Home Secretary I made clear that responding to this was a priority. The compensation scheme being launched today is a key part of righting the wrongs experienced by some members of the Windrush generation, under successive governments.

A public consultation opened on 19 July 2018 seeking views on proposals for a Windrush compensation scheme. Since the consultation closed on 16 November, careful consideration has been given to the 1,435 responses that were received from people and organisations, as well as the feedback from the focus groups. These views have been considered in addition to the 650 responses to the Call for Evidence which preceded the consultation. Martin Forde QC, who was appointed to give independent advice on the compensation scheme, has attended events across the country to hear the stories of those affected, and his findings have contributed to the final design. I would like to extend particular thanks to Martin: I have met him to discuss his views on the scheme and his advice has been invaluable.

The Government has listened carefully and I believe the proposals are in line with what the majority of respondents wanted to see in the scheme. I am pleased that Martin has concluded the scheme is accessible and fairly compensates those who have suffered. The scheme will ensure that those who have been affected are able to claim for the losses they faced and receive appropriate compensation. It is important that the scheme works well for those who have suffered a loss, so we are making it accessible and fair, with guidance available to help people understand what compensation they might be entitled to and how they submit a claim.

Detailed information about the compensation scheme, with the forms and guidance that people need to make a claim, are available from today online at www.gov.uk/windrush-compensation. Our free phone helpline is also open now 0800 678 1925 for those wishing to receive printed copies of the claim form or for any other queries. Copies of the response to the consultation (CP 81) are available from the Vote Office and will also be online at Gov.uk

The Home Office is committed to raising awareness of the scheme, and to encouraging eligible people of all nationalities to submit a claim. Eligibility for compensation goes beyond members of the Caribbean Commonwealth, and we are putting in place a programme of events with key stakeholders, faith and community organisations to communicate the detail of the scheme and give everyone who is potentially eligible, the opportunity to hear about the scheme and to apply.

I would again like to thank all those who responded to the consultation and who took part in the wider engagement during the development of the scheme. The views and experiences that have been shared have proved crucial in shaping the Government’s policy, ensuring it addresses the matters raised by those affected.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1444
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Department for International Trade
Made on: 03 April 2019
Made by: Baroness Fairhead (Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion)
Lords

Trade Advisory Groups

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

The Department for International Trade’s (DIT) has ensured that creating an open and transparent trade policy is at the heart of its mission for an inclusive trade agenda that maximizes benefit for the whole of the UK. We recognise that transparency is fundamental to better outcomes.

As part of this approach the Government has created the Strategic Trade Advisory Group (STAG) to seek informed views on relevant trade policy matters. The group will be composed of 16 core members from business to trade unions, consumer groups to non-governmental organisations (NGOs). It will be chaired by the Minister for Trade Policy, alongside a co-chair from the STAG. Membership of the group has been designed to represent a diverse range of interest and expertise from across the UK, allowing the Government to harness advice, insight and evidence from a wide range of experienced voices already actively involved in trade issues.

The full list of seats includes:

Category

Name

Organisation/area

Academia

Prof Holger Breinlich

University of Surrey

Business Representative Organisation

Carolyn Fairbairn

Confederation of British Industry

Consumers (Standards)

Dr Scott Steedman CBE

British Standards Institution

Consumers

Caroline Normand

Which?

Developmental Organisation

Dr Dirk Willem te Velde

Overseas Development Institute

New Entrant Business

Mark Abrams

Trade Finance Global

Non-Governmental Organisations

Michael Gidney

Fair Trade Foundation

Northern Ireland Business

Nick Coburn CBE

Ulster Carpets Group

Regional Business

Denise Valin Alvarez

Burberry

Scottish Business

Liz Cameron OBE

Scottish Chambers of Commerce

Services

Gary Campkin

City UK

Small and Medium Enterprise

Sean Ramsden

Ramsden International

Small and Medium Enterprise (Business Representative Organisations)

Mike Cherry OBE

Federation of Small Business

Think Tank

Sam Lowe

Centre for European Reform

Trade Unions

Paul Nowak

Trade Union Congress

Welsh business

Prys Morgan

Kepak Group Limited

Members of the group were recruited through an open call for expressions of interest which ran from 18 July to 17 August 2018 followed by a two stage sift process against the published membership criteria. The selection process followed best practice principles to ensure a fair and transparent approach.

As part of DITs ongoing commitment to transparency on trade issues, we will make dates of meetings, agendas and a summary of discussions publicly available.

The groups will have an advisory function only and will be one part of the wider engagement structure the Government is putting in place to gather insight and intelligence from stakeholders.

Another key component of our engagement infrastructure is cross-government Expert Trade Advisory Groups (ETAGs), which are being set up to facilitate expert technical policy exchanges on specific sector and thematic policy areas. Membership of the groups will vary according to the sector or policy area but will comprise relevant experts from the fields of academia, regulation, business and civil society.

We are committed to seeking views from the widest range of stakeholder groups. In addition to the above formal structures we will continue to use a variety of mechanisms and engagement structures to ensure that our trade policy works for the whole of the UK.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1480