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
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 19 July 2019
Made by: Lord Ashton of Hyde (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Lords

Equality and listed events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • any other factors relevant to the final decision.

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

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

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

Prime Minister's Trade Envoys

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

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

Business Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prime Minister's Trade Envoys

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

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

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

Business Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defence Fire and Rescue Project

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak: Update on UK Response

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Student Loans Company Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General Affairs Council, July 2019

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

The provisional agenda includes:

Multiannual Financial Framework 2021 - 2027

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

Presentation of the priorities of the Finnish Presidency

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

Implementation of the Strategic Agenda 2019-2024

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

Commission communication on further strengthening the Rule of Law

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

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

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

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

JUNE EU ENVIRONMENT COUNCIL

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

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

I wish to update the House on the matters discussed.

Adoption of Council Conclusions on a sustainable EU Chemicals Policy

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

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

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


Regulation on water reuse – General Approach

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

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

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

Environmental Implementation Review (EIR) – exchange of views

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

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

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

AOB items

The following items were also discussed under Any Other Business.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Council noted the information from the Presidency with limited interventions.

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

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

9. LIFE Regulation (Information from the Presidency)

Council noted the information from the Presidency with limited interventions.

10. Update on priorities from Finland on their upcoming presidency

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

Additional engagement

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

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1742
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 18 July 2019
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Building safety update

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

I wish to update the House before the Summer recess on building safety, including: my expectations of building owners on the removal of unsafe Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding; the steps this Government is taking on the remediation of existing buildings; wider updates on testing programmes; and early action on delivering the recommendations to reform the building safety regulatory system.

My priority is that residents should be safe – and feel safe – in their homes. All buildings with ACM cladding have had interim safety measures put in place as soon as they have been identified, and Fire and Rescue Services are conducting inspections to ensure those measures remain in place.

However, too many people have been living in fear for too long because of the slow progress being made by those responsible for making their buildings permanently safe. While many building owners have rightly taken action, there are still a number of residential buildings across the public and private sectors with unsafe ACM cladding where remediation has not yet started.

I am clear that this situation is unacceptable. That is why I want to set out my expectations on the timing of remediation of buildings with unsafe ACM cladding. Given the £600 million of funding this Government has made available, there is no further excuse for delay.

In the social sector, other than a small handful of exceptional cases, remediation will be completed by the end of the year.

In the private sector, progress has been slower, which is why this Government took action by announcing a £200 million fund. By the end of December 2019, any building in the private sector which I have not been assured is permanently safe should have a clear commitment to remediation, with a start and finish date agreed. Where no such safety assurance or plan has been brought forward by the end of December, building owners can expect enforcement action to be taken. My expectation is that, other than in exceptional circumstances, building owners should complete remediation within six months of agreeing a plan – by June 2020.

I acknowledge that this Government also has a role to play in ensuring that remediation is undertaken. That is why, on 9 May I announced that this Government was introducing a new £200 million fund to unblock progress in remediating private sector high-rise residential buildings. My Department has been in contact with relevant building owners or managers to enable them to start preparatory work on an application to the fund. My Department will today publish a prospectus setting out the scope and eligibility criteria for the fund, how to apply and the timetable for submitting applications.

To help facilitate remediation, I would like to clarify the planning treatment of ACM cladding replacement works. Planning permission may not be required where the external appearance of a building is not materially altered by replacement cladding. Approval for recladding is only needed if the work amounts to “development” within the meaning of section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 or is required within the terms of a previous planning permission.

Local planning authorities should take a proportionate approach and work proactively with building owners to identify whether planning approval is necessary. I strongly encourage developers to engage with the local planning authority at the earliest opportunity during development of their remediation plans.

Where a planning application is considered necessary, pre-application engagement can help to resolve any issues and assist local planning authorities in issuing timely decisions. Local planning authorities should also take a proportionate approach to the amount of information needed to support an application and consider carefully whether charging a fee for their early advice is appropriate in these cases. Decisions on applications should be made as quickly as possible and can be made as soon as the time limit for consultation has expired. Building owners would also need to ensure that the work complies with Building Regulations and that they obtain the necessary approval.

My Department has also commenced a data collection exercise which will enable the Department to build a complete picture of external wall systems in use on high rise residential buildings. We have asked local authorities and housing associations to identify external wall materials and insulation on all high-rise residential buildings 18 metres and over.

On 11 July a fire test in accordance with British Standard 8414 was carried out at the laboratories of the Fire Protection Association. This test was commissioned by my Department on the advice of the Independent Expert Advisory Panel and involved a cladding system consisting of a Class B, fire retardant, high pressure laminate rainscreen with a non-combustible rock fibre insulation. This is part of an ongoing, systematic investigation into the fire risks from non-ACM cladding systems. I can confirm that this system met the relevant pass criteria and that the Expert Panel are satisfied that this specific system does not present a risk to public safety. Detailed advice from the Expert Panel on high pressure laminate cladding systems is also being published by my Department today.

My Department has also continued its investigations into fire doors. We have already made available the results of a sample of Glass-Reinforced Plastic composite fire doors tested by my Department. Following the advice of the Expert Panel, Government expanded the testing to include timber fire doors. Today I am making available the results from the testing of a sample of timber fire doors from 25 manufacturers. I am pleased to report that all have succeeded in meeting the required 30-minute fire performance standard. The sample included a range of glazed and un-glazed fire doors with a variety of hardware and were tested on both sides of the door. The summary results of the timber fire door tests to inform building risk assessments are now available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fire-door-investigation

As a result of our tests, the Expert Panel have concluded that they do not believe there is a performance concern with timber fire doors across industry, where they are purchased directly from the manufacturer and produced to specification.

It is important to be clear that, although the results of our testing provide assurances for residents who have concerns about their fire doors, it is for building owners to assure themselves that the fire doors they install are fit for purpose and have the required documentation and certification. Guidance for building owners who are replacing flat front entrance doors can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/advice-for-building-owners-on-assurance-and-replacing-of-flat-entrance-fire-doors

Since 2007, building regulations guidance has stated that all new blocks of flats over 30 metres should have sprinklers. In 2013, the Department wrote to all local authorities and housing associations, asking them to consider a Coroner’s Report recommendation that they should consider retro-fitting sprinklers in existing residential buildings over 30 metres.

The Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap was abolished on 29th October 2018, giving freedom to local authorities to help finance unforeseen capital repairs programmes, such as retro-fitting sprinklers, as well as build new homes. It is for building owners to seek professional advice and decide whether to fit sprinklers, on the basis of their assessment of the particular risk faced in their buildings.

At the heart of the regulatory reform is our intention to establish a regulator to oversee the safety and performance of all buildings. We are working closely with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who are sharing their considerable regulatory experience and expertise to help us shape the functions of the new regulator, alongside other members of our Joint Regulators Group. My Department is working with partners to develop proposals to allow the regulatory functions to exist prior to the new legislative regime being in place. We are similarly seeking the advice and input of the HSE on implementing the new regime following legislation.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1757
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 18 July 2019
Made by: Lord Young of Cookham (Lord in Waiting (Government Whip))
Lords

Conflict, Stability and Security Fund Allocations 2019/20

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

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

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

FY 19/20 Allocations

Allocation

Non-ODA

ODA

Total

Middle East North Africa

£20.0 m

£157.3 m

£177.3 m

South Asia

£17.7 m

£89.6 m

£107.3 m

Africa (sub-Saharan)

£33.6 m

£61.3 m

£94.9 m

Overseas Territories

£51.6 m

£5.1m

£56.7 m

Eastern Europe, Central Asia

£23.2 m

£28.8 m

£52.0 m

Western Balkans

£7.5m

£36.0 m

£43.5 m

Americas

£0.3 m

£11.8 m

£12.1 m

Good Governance Fund (Western Balkans and Eastern Europe)

-

£35.9 m

£35.9 m

Asia Pacific

£0.3

£5.2 m

£5.5 m

REGIONAL TOTAL

£154.2 m

£431.0 m

£585.2 m

Migration

£10.0 m

£17.5 m

£27.5 m

Counter Terrorism Programme Fund

£13.3 m

£12.6 m

£25.9 m

Multilateral Strategy

£4.0 m

£18.6 m

£22.6 m

National Security Communications

£2.5 m

-

£2.5 m

Serious and Organised Crime

£3.0 m

£12.0 m

£15.0 m

Commonwealth 18-20 Fund

-

£36.3 m

£36.3 m

THEMATIC TOTAL

£32.8 m

£97.0 m

£129.8 m

Peacekeeping

£291.0 m

£86.1 m

£377.1 m

MOD Deployed Military Activity Pool

£50.0 m

-

£50.0 m

MOD Afghan Security – Operation TORAL

£110.0 m

-

£110.0 m

MOD Operation TOSCA – UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus

£18.1 m

-

£18.1 m

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

£19.4 m

-

£19.4 m

Non-Discretionary TOTAL

£488.5 m

£86.1 m

£574.6 m

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

-

£16.0 m

£16.0 m

TOTAL CSSF

£675.5 m

£630.1 m

£1301.2 m

CSSF: Annual Report 2018/2019 (PDF Document, 4.32 MB)
WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 18 July 2019
Made by: Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Lords))
Lords

The regulation of physician associates (PAs) and anaesthesia associates (AAs)

My Hon. Friend the Minister of State for Health (Stephen Hammond) has made the following written statement:

Today I am pleased to announce that we have asked the General Medical Council (GMC) to regulate physician associates (PAs) and anaesthesia associates (AAs) across the UK.

On 7 February 2019 the Government published its response to the consultation on the Regulation of Medical Associate Professions in the UK.

The response confirmed the decision announced on 12 October 2018 by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to introduce statutory regulation for physician associates (PAs) and anaesthesia associates (AAs) (formerly known as physicians’ assistants (anaesthesia)). However, we set out that further work was required to decide which regulator would take forward regulation of these roles.

Following the completion of this work, we believe that the GMC are best placed to regulate PAs and AAs. Regulation will enable these groups to work to their full potential and provide the very best care to patients as part of a multidisciplinary clinical team, contributing to the development of a safe and flexible workforce. This is an important step towards meeting workforce commitments in each of the four countries including the Interim NHS People Plan in England.

The UK and Devolved Governments will now work together alongside stakeholders to develop and then consult on draft legislation.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1741
WS
Home Office
Made on: 18 July 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Disclosure and Barring Service Annual Report and Accounts 2018 – 2019

My hon Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability (Victoria Atkins) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I am today publishing the annual report of the Disclosure and Barring Service (HC 2539). Copies of the report have been laid before the House and will be available in the Vote Office.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1755
WS
Home Office
Made on: 18 July 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Security Industry Authority (SIA) Annual Report and Accounts 2018 – 2019

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

The 2018-19 Annual Report and Accounts for the Security Industry Authority (HC 2540) is being laid before the House today and published on www.gov.uk. Copies will be available in the Vote Office.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1754
WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 18 July 2019
Made by: Lord Ashton of Hyde (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Lords

Equality and listed events

This statement has been corrected by a new statement: HLWS1723 made on 19 July 2019

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Jeremy Wright) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

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

The Broadcasting Act 1996 gives the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport discretion to designate sporting and other events of national interest as listed events. Once listed, broadcasting rights to such events must be offered to the main free-to-air terrestrial broadcasters (“qualifying broadcasters”) on fair and reasonable terms. Qualifying broadcasters are those which reach 95% coverage of UK viewers and at no additional cost to the viewer than the television licence fee. Broadcasters currently meeting these criteria are BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • any other factors relevant to the final decision.

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

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

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 18 July 2019
Made by: Mr Tobias Ellwood (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Commons

Defence Fire and Rescue Project

My right hon Friend the Minister of State in the House of Lords (Earl Howe) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1720
WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 18 July 2019
Made by: Lord Ashton of Hyde (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Lords

Update on Ofcom provision of information regulations

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

I would like to update the House on Ofcom’s statutory duty to share information with Government at least 24 hours before publication, introduced under section 24A of the Communications Act 2003, inserted by the Digital Economy Act 2017. This early access to information from Ofcom is important in supporting the Government’s wider policy responsibilities in safeguarding and improving the delivery of essential communications services on which consumers rely.

To commence the duty I must specify by regulations what categories of information will be exempt from this duty, following consultation with Ofcom. Our consultation with Ofcom has now concluded and I can inform the House of our intention to proceed with the implementation of the duty via a negative Statutory Instrument later in the Autumn.

The categories of information to be listed as exempt in these regulations include broadcasting content standards and broadcasting licensing enforcement. This is to ensure that there can be no accusations or perceptions that the Government has had inappropriate prior knowledge or been involved in these functions. Corporate functions will also be excluded. Other types of information Ofcom proposes to publish, which fall outside of the above exemption regulations, will need to be shared with the Government at least 24 hours before publication by Ofcom once the duty comes into force, unless there are exceptional circumstances or prior agreement is reached.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be agreed between Ofcom, DCMS and BEIS, setting out processes to be followed for the provision of information by Ofcom. This MoU will provide the necessary assurances around who will have access to this information and when, as well as reinforcing the strong procedures government departments already have in place to handle sensitive information. Furthermore, additional arrangements for highly market sensitive information will see that such information only has to be shared once UK markets have closed (which may be less than 24 hours before publication), to provide necessary assurances to the companies Ofcom regulates.

The Government remains fully committed to Ofcom’s independence. This duty to provide information will not influence Ofcom’s investigations or decision making. Safeguards in the legislation legally prohibit representations being made to Ofcom before publication and also restricts with whom Ministers, and officials acting on their behalf, can share information before publication. For transparency, the consultation correspondence between DCMS and Ofcom will be published on GOV.UK.

WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 18 July 2019
Made by: Lord Ashton of Hyde (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Lords

Statement of Strategic Priorities for telecommunications, the management of radio spectrum, and postal services

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

I am today laying before Parliament the Government’s draft Statement of Strategic Priorities for telecommunications, the management of radio spectrum, and postal services.

The statement sets out the Government’s strategic priorities and desired outcomes in a number of areas, including gigabit capable broadband deployment, 5G, spectrum management, the security and resilience of telecoms infrastructure, and furthering the interests of telecoms consumers.

The statement follows a statutory consultation that ran between 15 February and 27 March 2019. This elicited a number of responses from a large and diverse range of respondents, including industry, consumer bodies, local councils, and bodies representing rural interests. This has given the Government a wide variety of views to reflect upon. I would like to thank all respondents for taking the time and effort to respond.

I intend to designate the statement for the purposes of section 2A of the Communications Act 2003 after the end of the statutory “40-day period” (as defined in section 2C of the Act), unless either House of Parliament resolves not to approve it within that period.


WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 18 July 2019
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Cabinet Office Review of Consolidated Guidance

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence (The Right Hon Penny Mordaunt MP) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On 20 May 2019, in response to an urgent question, I made a statement to Parliament on Ministry of Defence internal policy with regard to the receipt and sharing of intelligence related to detainees overseas. My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Rt Hon David Lidington) is updating the House today. Sir Adrian Fulford, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, has now has finalised his review of the Consolidated Guidance and has recommended its replacement with a new document: ‘The Principles Relating to the Detention and Interviewing of Detainees Overseas and the Passing and Receipt of Intelligence Relating to Detainees', a draft of which was provided to Government on 12 June 2019. The Ministry of Defence, along with other Government Departments, has considered these Principles, accepts them in full, and has begun work to update its internal guidance accordingly. The Principles and revised supporting internal guidance will be fully implemented by the end of the year.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1746
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