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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Ministry of Defence
Made on: 14 March 2019
Made by: Gavin Williamson (Secretary of State for Defence )
Commons

Update on Defence Prosperity Programme

Ministry of Defence (MOD) direct spending with industry supports 115,000 jobs throughout the UK. Our investment in training benefits both defence and the wider UK economy. The Armed Forces are one of the largest apprenticeship providers with over 20,000 personnel on our apprenticeship programme. Each year several thousand people leave the Armed Forces and help to fill skilled professional or technical jobs in the private sector. The UK is the second largest exporter of defence equipment, with recent successes including the Department for International Trade-led Type 26 campaign. In 2016-17 we invested £1.6 billion in Research and Development, the majority of which is spent with UK businesses.

The 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, introduced a new National Security Objective to Promote UK Prosperity. We have subsequently launched the Defence Innovation Initiative and published strategies for Shipbuilding and Future Combat Air. We have refreshed our Defence Industrial Policy with a new emphasis on supporting growth and competitiveness. Last March, I invited my right hon. Friend, the Member for Ludlow (Philip Dunne) to review opportunities for “Growing the Contribution of Defence to UK Prosperity”. His report, published in July, represents a major piece of work, which has been welcomed by both Government and industry. It contained over 40 substantive recommendations. Some of these are already being incorporated into the Department’s overall Defence Prosperity Programme. We will continue to review our response to the outstanding recommendations, but I wanted to take this opportunity to update Parliament on the progress made since the publication of the Dunne Review. I am delighted that my right hon. Friend has agreed to work with the Department to review the response to his report in due course.

We have designed our approach to prosperity to ensure that, whilst growing our contribution to the economy, we do not put at risk our objective of delivering defence capability at the best value for money. We have grouped the recommendations from the Dunne Review and the Defence Industrial Policy Refresh into four major areas of work set out below:

Embedding prosperity into the Department’s policy, process and culture.

We intend to ensure that people across the Department understand our prosperity objectives and have access to the training and guidance needed to deliver these in a consistent and coherent way. Each of our main budget areas and Front Line Commands has now nominated a senior-level “Prosperity Champion” to help embed change, share lessons learned and identify best practice. We have put additional central resources into this area and we are working jointly with industry to develop common training material and case studies. We are publishing a Defence Prosperity Guide which will help staff across the Department, civilian and military, understand their role in growing defence’s contribution to UK prosperity. We are striving to make it easier to do business with Defence, something we recognise is especially important for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs). We are working with Prime suppliers to increase their engagement with smaller businesses, improving how we advertise both direct and sub-contracted opportunities, and have held a Defence Suppliers Forum SME Conference to understand barriers to working in the defence supply chain. Beyond this, we are working to simplify our tendering process, and will publish our SME Action Plan this month.

Quantifying the defence contribution to the UK economy.

Defence has a complex and diverse supply chain, spanning companies of all sizes and spread throughout the UK. The Dunne Review highlighted the difficulty of measuring the economic benefit of defence and the need for better data to inform our decision-making processes. It recommended the development of a common MOD/industry approach and format for collecting data on the defence supply chain. In response, we have been working together with the Defence Growth Partnership and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on a proposal for a new Joint Economic Data Hub within the UK Defence Solutions Centre (UKDSC) at Farnborough. The UKDSC has world-class expertise in managing data on export markets and will apply these skills to collect and aggregate economic data from across the sector. Government will provide guidance and support from defence economists together with advice from the Office of National Statistics. The output from this work will be overseen by an independent advisory board to ensure that both Government and industry have confidence in its quality and impartiality. The review also highlighted the need for greater academic research into the economic value of defence. We recognise that the academic base in this area is small in comparison to the scale and importance of the UK’s spending on defence. We are working with academic institutions to look at how we can encourage greater debate and engagement in this area of public policy, including the potential for sponsoring an international conference later this year.

Sustaining an internationally competitive and productive Defence sector for the UK.

The UK has a world-leading defence sector, but if we are to sustain capability and continue to achieve export success in increasingly competitive markets, Government and industry need to work together to drive innovation and improvements in productivity and efficiency. The Government has invested in a range of supply chain development initiatives across different sectors and helped established facilities such as the High Value Manufacturing Catapult network. I am today committing £500,000 from the Defence Innovation Fund for a pilot project to develop, test and validate how defence can make better use of this infrastructure in the design, manufacture and support of future equipment and to help create more resilient and efficient supply chains. There are benefits both to the Defence customer and to industry from taking this forward and part of the pilot will involve trialling the approach on a number of our acquisition programmes.

We understand it can be particularly challenging for smaller companies to access the expertise and resources to bring their good ideas to market. Working with industry, BEIS has already established a successful National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) for civil aerospace. Drawing on the experience from this programme we have reached agreement with BEIS and Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI) to pilot a new Defence Technology Exploitation Programme (DTEP) in Northern Ireland. It is expected that Research and Development investment, as a result of the pilot programme, will be approximately £1.2 million, which in addition to supporting innovation within Northern Ireland’s vibrant defence SMEs, will help to develop stronger links and new routes to market through primes and upper tier companies across the UK. Alongside this initiative, the MOD’s Defence and Security Accelerator is creating a post in Northern Ireland to help companies access its programmes.

We want to increase the opportunities for innovative and competitive UK companies and ensure that they have a fair opportunity to bid for supply chain work in defence contracts; we also want to strengthen our understanding of the nature and resilience of UK supply chains. To help achieve this, we are working in partnership with industry to pilot a new approach to supply chain planning.

Growing exports and inward investment.

Working closely with the Department for International Trade (DIT), we are seeking to broaden the UK’s defence export base, generate greater value from our overseas procurements, and improve access. In order to help us maximise future export opportunities, we are working with DIT, Defence and Security Organisation and UKDSC to start a phased roll-out of the UKDSC’s analysis of overseas export markets with our global network of Defence Attachés.

Post EU Exit, we will maintain our strong links with partners both in Europe and globally, to create the right conditions for the UK’s world-leading defence industry. We have much to offer international partnerships, including extensive operational experience and high-end capabilities. We also have a long history of European cooperation through capabilities such as Typhoon, A400M and Meteor.

We are working across Government to develop new ways of working with industry that help unlock value for the UK economy and for business. This includes reinvigorating our existing Defence and Security Industrial Engagement Policy (DSIEP) and building on our successful strategic prosperity partnerships with companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

The Defence Electronics and Components Agency (DECA) at Sealand in North Wales is recognised as a centre of excellence for defence electronics activity in the region. It is also at the heart of the innovative joint venture formed between the MOD, BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman called Sealand Support Services Ltd (SSSL), which last month was awarded a further £500 million of work from the US Department of Defense on the F-35 Programme. We are pleased that Welsh Government continues to identify the potential of an Advanced Manufacturing Research Institute alongside DECA to create exciting new opportunities for the region, and commit to working alongside them to deliver this ambitious project.

In Scotland, MOD is basing its fleet of P8-A maritime patrol aircraft at RAF Lossiemouth and once fully operational some 470 additional RAF personnel are expected to be based at the site. Work has commenced on a brand-new £100 million strategic facility, co-funded by MOD and Boeing, which is being constructed by a local firm sustaining up to 200 local jobs at its peak. The facility will support the UK P8 fleet and is expected to create over 400 new jobs involved in the operation and support of this advanced maritime patrol capability. It will also have the capability to support the P8 fleets of other countries, which has the potential to bring further prosperity benefits to the region in the future.

Conclusion

I have set out the progress we have made in growing the Defence contribution to the UK economy - and where we plan to do more. This substantial programme of work is being undertaken jointly with other Government Departments and industry; it supports delivery of the Government’s Industrial Strategy and ensures that whilst growing our contribution to the economy, we do not put at risk our objective of delivering defence capability at the best value for money.

WS
Department for Education
Made on: 14 March 2019
Made by: Nadhim Zahawi (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families)
Commons

Supporting Care Leavers in Higher Education

I am pleased to make this statement jointly with my right honourable friend, Chris Skidmore MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation.

Care leavers are some of the most vulnerable young people in society and often have to make the transition from care to independence without the support from parents and wider support networks that other young people rely on. Care Leavers are significantly less likely to enter HE than other disadvantaged groups and those who do enter HE often have additional challenges to manage, compared to their peers. The government is committed to improving their outcomes and has produced a set of principles for Higher Education providers to consider in their offer to care leavers to help increase the number of students in care accessing higher education and ensure that care leavers in HE are given the support they need to succeed.

This follows the launch of the Care Leaver Covenant last October, which is a key part of the Government’s drive to galvanise the support that wider civil society can provide to support care leavers. The Covenant asks organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors – including HE providers – to commit to help care leavers successfully transition from care to independence, by setting out clearly what support they can offer.

The government have appointed Spectra First to promote the Covenant and secure signatories to it that are meaningful, and which are linked to the outcomes in the cross government care leaver strategy. They will use these principles to encourage universities to reflect on and enhance their care leaver provision for both current and future students.

We know that there is already some exceptional work happening in the HE sector, to provide additional support for care leavers. But we want this to become the norm across the sector as a whole. We expect that HE providers’ commitment to care leavers is communicated from the senior leadership down. We want to see cultures that welcome care leavers and help them reach their potential from the start to the end of their HE journeys. Providers should ensure there are sufficient opportunities for care leavers to identify and access support at any point in the student lifecycle.

The principles to guide the HE sector on improving care leavers’ access and participation in Higher Education cover seven key areas:

- Outreach and local authority relationships: Engagement with looked after children should be a key feature of outreach work and should begin at as early an age as possible. This involves working with local authorities, virtual school heads and schools in order to encourage more care leavers into higher education.

- Accommodation support: Securing and sustaining suitable accommodation is a significant challenge for care leavers. HE providers should seek to provide priority access and continuous 365 days a year accommodation, preferably subsidised by the institution.

- Financial support: Care leavers do not tend to have access to financial support from parents and so rely on support provided by their local authority. This has implications throughout the student lifecycle. HE providers should provide financial support to help with the costs of accommodation, associated study costs and access to social activities to support inclusion and a quality student experience.

- Designated member of staff: HE providers should identify at least one designated member of staff to support care leavers. The individual should understand the barriers and challenges that care leavers face, including mental health. We would expect the designated officer to be able to direct care leavers to appropriate support, if they can’t directly provide it and to be an advocate for them throughout their time in HE.

- Offer on website: Care leavers often say that they find it difficult to find information on the support available to them on provider websites. HE providers should therefore provide clear information on the provider website, that is easy to navigate, and sets out the provider’s offer to care leavers.

- Support networks: Loneliness and isolation are among the biggest problems reported by care leavers. Encouragement and facilitation of support networks for care leavers within the institution is therefore critical to retention.

- Careers advice: High quality careers advice and guidance, tailored to care leavers.

We particularly encourage providers to use contextual admissions in the case of applications from care leavers, so that their often-disrupted education and personal challenges can be taken in to account. This can be a way of acknowledging that despite achieving only average results many care leavers still have enormous potential; for example, simply successfully completing sixth form studies under very difficult circumstances could be seen to demonstrate the resilience and potential that justifies a contextual offer.

We would expect the support offer from HE providers to be proportionate to the size of the provider and their resources. In addition to the points listed above, we ask that the most selective providers and those who have the greatest income from higher fees to go the furthest in terms of their support. That could include provision of suitable, free accommodation for the full length of the course, including holidays, or a bursary of sufficient amount to cover associated study and student experience costs.

Care leaver principles (Word Document, 62.05 KB)
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 14 March 2019
Made by: Mr Robert Goodwill (Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food )
Commons

March Agriculture and Fisheries Council

Agriculture and Fisheries Council takes place in Brussels on 18 March.

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 Regulation concerning CAP strategic plans, the Horizontal Regulation, and the Regulation on the common market organisation (CMO) of agriculture products.

Council will also hold an exchange of views on bioeconomy.

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

  • information from the Netherlands delegation on the outcome of the congress “CAP Strategic Plans - Exploring Eco-Climate Schemes” (Leeuwarden, 6-8 February 2019)

  • information from the Netherlands delegation on the decision by the Technical Board of Appeals of the European Patent Office regarding the possibility to patent the results of classical plant breeding

  • information from the Commission on the outcome of the workshops organised by the Commission’s Task Force on Water and Agriculture (Sorø, 27 November 2018 and Bucharest, 5-6 February 2019).

[Although not confirmed, we expect an additional item to be added to the agenda under ‘any other business’:

  • information from the Slovenian delegation on small-scale coastal fisheries and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund,

  • information from the Polish delegation on the meat market situation]

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1379
WS
Department for International Trade
Made on: 13 March 2019
Made by: Baroness Fairhead (Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion)
Lords

EU Exit: Trade

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

The Government wishes to inform the House about plans to implement a temporary tariff regime in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March 2019. The Government will bring forward the necessary secondary legislation in light of the votes in Parliament this week.

The temporary tariff would apply equally to all countries where the UK does not have a trade agreement or other preferential agreement in place. In the event of a no deal, this would include the EU.

The temporary tariff will apply for up to 12 months. At the end of the temporary period, the Government will introduce a long-term tariff regime. This will be developed over the course of the coming months following a full public consultation process.

The Government faced a choice:

  • We could maintain our current external tariff regime and apply it to the EU, imposing new tariffs on EU imports and driving up prices for consumers and disrupting business supply chains.
  • We could maintain the open trade that we have with the EU, but we would then have to extend this to the rest of the world. This would minimise disruption to EU trade but would fully open the UK to competition from other countries.

The Government does not believe either of these options on its own is the right approach. Instead, the temporary tariff would take a balanced approach to support the UK economy as a whole. It would maintain open trade on the majority of UK imports, to support consumers and business supply chains, but retain necessary tariff protection for particular sectors of the UK economy.

Under the temporary tariff, 87% of total imports to the UK by value would be eligible for tariff free access.

The Government recognises the importance of retaining necessary tariff protection for some sectors of the UK economy. Therefore, tariffs would apply on 13% of total UK imports:

  • In some agricultural sectors which have been historically protected from non-EU producers through high EU tariffs. Producers in these sectors would face significant adjustment costs should these be immediately liberalised. Therefore, for beef, sheep meat, poultry, pig meat, butter and some cheeses a mixture of tariffs and quotas will be used, with the aim of being broadly neutral in their impact on production and consumption patterns.
  • in sectors where tariffs help provide support for UK producers against unfair trading practices. This includes products such as certain ceramics, fertiliser and refinery products.
  • a set of goods, including bananas, raw cane sugar, and certain kinds of fish, where preferential access to the UK market is important for developing countries.
  • a number of finished vehicles will retain their tariff in order to support this sector and in light of global market conditions.

Information on specific tariff rates that would apply under the temporary tariff have been made available through the Government website.

In developing the temporary tariff, the Government has given regard to the five principles set out in the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018:

  • the interests of consumers in the UK;
  • the interests of producers in the UK;
  • the desire to maintain and promote external trade of the UK;
  • the desire to maintain and promote productivity in the UK;
  • the extent to which goods are subject to competition.

Throughout the temporary period, the Government would also consider exceptional changes where clear evidence is provided by stakeholders against the criteria set out in the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018 and would provide a mechanism to hear business and consumer feedback.

This statement should be read in conjunction with the written Ministerial statement laid in parallel on the Northern Ireland border.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1405
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Women and Equalities
Made on: 13 March 2019
Made by: Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Government Whip (Baroness in Waiting))
Lords

Correction

In my closing speech of a debate on 7th March on International Women’s Day I stated “I believe that, if the domestic abuse Bill is passed, it will ratify the Istanbul convention.” The correct position is “The Domestic Abuse Bill will, if passed, enable England and Wales to be fully compliant with the Istanbul Convention. We are also in discussions with the Scottish Government and the Department of Justice in Northern Ireland about whether they wish to extend any of the Bill’s provisions to Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively.”

WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 13 March 2019
Made by: James Brokenshire (Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Planning update

Planning: independent report on build out rates and permitted development

At Autumn Budget 2017 the Government announced an independent review, chaired by Sir Oliver Letwin, to examine the significant gap between housing completions and the amount of land allocated or permissioned, and make recommendations for closing it. I sincerely thank Sir Oliver and his panel for their hard work over the 12 months that followed.

Sir Oliver’s draft analysis, published in June 2018, took an in-depth look at the rate of housing delivery on a number of large sites in high pressure areas around the country. He concluded that the binding constraint on housebuilding rates once implementable planning permission had been granted was the ‘absorption rate’ – meaning that homes are built at the rate at which housebuilders believe they can be sold at their target prices. Importantly, the Review found no evidence that speculative land banking is part of the business model for major house builders. I note that there has been widespread acceptance of Sir Oliver’s analysis across the sector and a consensus has emerged that it is the market absorption rate that determines the rate at which developers build out large sites.

Sir Oliver’s final report, published alongside Autumn Budget last year, concluded that greater differentiation in the types, tenures and design of housing delivered on large sites would increase the market absorption rates of new homes.

I welcome Sir Oliver’s support for greater emphasis on housing diversification within the planning system. The revised National Planning Policy Framework has already embedded a requirement for a greater mix of housing; it explicitly requires a mix of size, type and tenure of housing that reflects the diverse needs of local communities. My department is also committed to improving the design of new development. The purpose of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission is to tackle the challenge of poor quality design and build of homes and places, and I look forward to their final report later this year. My department also has a number of funding programmes specifically designed to support a more diversified housing market, such as the Home Building Fund.

As confirmed in Spring Statement, my department will shortly publish additional planning guidance on housing diversification – to further encourage large sites to support a diverse range of housing needs, and help them build out more quickly.

I note Sir Oliver’s recommendations that authorities should further capture land value uplift by insisting on specific levels of greater housing diversification – and also note that many in the housing-building industry are sceptical of this approach. I agree with the principle that the costs of increased housing diversification should be funded through reductions in residual land values. The Government is committed to improving the effectiveness of the existing mechanisms of land value capture, making them more certain and transparent for all developments. My focus is on evolving the existing system of developer contributions to make them more transparent, efficient and accountable and my department is gathering evidence to explore the case for further reform.

I will keep the need for further interventions to support housing diversification and faster build out, including amendments to primary legislation, under review. My department will also work closely with Homes England to identify suitable sites and will look for opportunities to support local authorities to further diversify their large sites. Once again, I am very grateful to Sir Oliver and his panel for their important analysis and recommendations, and for their hard work over the course of the Review.

My priority now is to ensure faster decision-making within the planning system. My department will publish an Accelerated Planning Green Paper later this year that will discuss how greater capacity and capability, performance management and procedural improvements can accelerate the end-to-end planning process. This Paper will also draw on the Rosewell Review, which made recommendations to reduce the time taken to conclude planning appeal inquiries, whilst maintaining the quality of decisions. I will also consider the case for further reforms to the compulsory purchase regime, in line with our manifesto commitment.

Permitted Development Rights

The consultation, Planning Reform: Supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes closed on 14 January 2019. As confirmed in the Spring Statement it is our intention to bring forward a range of reforms. To support the high street we intend to introduce additional flexibilities for businesses. This will be to amend the shops use class to ensure it captures current and future retail models, which will include clarification on the ability of (A) use classes to diversify and incorporate ancillary uses without undermining the amenity of the area, to introduce a new permitted development right to allow shops (A1), financial and professional services (A2), hot food takeaways (A5), betting shops, pay day loan shop and launderettes to change use to an office (B1) and to allow hot food takeaways (A5) to change to residential use (C3). Additionally, to give businesses sufficient time to test the market with innovative business ideas we will extend the existing right that allows the temporary change of use of buildings from 2 to 3 years and enable more community uses to take advantage of this temporary right, enabling such premises to more easily locate on the high street. I will also shortly publish “Better Planning for High Streets”. This will set out tools to support local planning authorities in reshaping their high streets to create prosperous communities, particularly through the use of compulsory purchase, local development orders and other innovative tools.

We will take forward a permitted development right to extend upwards certain existing buildings in commercial and residential use to deliver additional homes, engaging with interested parties on design and technical details. We would want any right to deliver new homes to respect the design of the existing streetscape, while ensuring that the amenity of neighbours is considered. We will also make permanent the time-limited right to build larger single storey rear extensions to dwellinghouses and to introduce a proportionate fee. I do not intend to extend the time-limited right for change of use from storage to residential. This right will lapse on 10 June 2019. Alongside I intend to review permitted development rights for conversion of buildings to residential use in respect of the quality standard of homes delivered. We will continue to consider the design of a permitted development right to allow commercial buildings to be demolished and replaced with homes. We will also develop a 'Future Homes Standard' for all new homes through a consultation in 2019 with a view, subject to consultation, to introducing the standard by 2025.

Finally, we intend to remove the permitted development right and associated advertising deemed consent in respect of new telephone kiosks, reflecting that mobile technology has changed the way people access telephone services since the right was introduced in 1985; amend the existing right to install off-street electric vehicle charging points to allow for taller charging upstands to address advances in rapid charging technology; and will look to bring forward a draft listed building consent order which will grant a general listed building consent for works to listed waterway structures owned, controlled or managed by the Canal & River Trust.

I intend to implement an immediate package of permitted development right measures in the spring, with the more complex matters, including on upward extensions, covered in a further package of regulations in the autumn.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1374
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 13 March 2019
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Planning update

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

Planning: independent report on build out rates and permitted development

At Autumn Budget 2017 the Government announced an independent review, chaired by Sir Oliver Letwin, to examine the significant gap between housing completions and the amount of land allocated or permissioned, and make recommendations for closing it. I sincerely thank Sir Oliver and his panel for their hard work over the 12 months that followed.

Sir Oliver’s draft analysis, published in June 2018, took an in-depth look at the rate of housing delivery on a number of large sites in high pressure areas around the country. He concluded that the binding constraint on housebuilding rates once implementable planning permission had been granted was the ‘absorption rate’ – meaning that homes are built at the rate at which housebuilders believe they can be sold at their target prices. Importantly, the Review found no evidence that speculative land banking is part of the business model for major house builders. I note that there has been widespread acceptance of Sir Oliver’s analysis across the sector and a consensus has emerged that it is the market absorption rate that determines the rate at which developers build out large sites.

Sir Oliver’s final report, published alongside Autumn Budget last year, concluded that greater differentiation in the types, tenures and design of housing delivered on large sites would increase the market absorption rates of new homes.

I welcome Sir Oliver’s support for greater emphasis on housing diversification within the planning system. The revised National Planning Policy Framework has already embedded a requirement for a greater mix of housing; it explicitly requires a mix of size, type and tenure of housing that reflects the diverse needs of local communities. My department is also committed to improving the design of new development. The purpose of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission is to tackle the challenge of poor quality design and build of homes and places, and I look forward to their final report later this year. My department also has a number of funding programmes specifically designed to support a more diversified housing market, such as the Home Building Fund.

As confirmed in Spring Statement, my department will shortly publish additional planning guidance on housing diversification – to further encourage large sites to support a diverse range of housing needs, and help them build out more quickly.

I note Sir Oliver’s recommendations that authorities should further capture land value uplift by insisting on specific levels of greater housing diversification – and also note that many in the housing-building industry are sceptical of this approach. I agree with the principle that the costs of increased housing diversification should be funded through reductions in residual land values. The Government is committed to improving the effectiveness of the existing mechanisms of land value capture, making them more certain and transparent for all developments. My focus is on evolving the existing system of developer contributions to make them more transparent, efficient and accountable and my department is gathering evidence to explore the case for further reform.

I will keep the need for further interventions to support housing diversification and faster build out, including amendments to primary legislation, under review. My department will also work closely with Homes England to identify suitable sites and will look for opportunities to support local authorities to further diversify their large sites. Once again, I am very grateful to Sir Oliver and his panel for their important analysis and recommendations, and for their hard work over the course of the Review.

My priority now is to ensure faster decision-making within the planning system. My department will publish an Accelerated Planning Green Paper later this year that will discuss how greater capacity and capability, performance management and procedural improvements can accelerate the end-to-end planning process. This Paper will also draw on the Rosewell Review, which made recommendations to reduce the time taken to conclude planning appeal inquiries, whilst maintaining the quality of decisions. I will also consider the case for further reforms to the compulsory purchase regime, in line with our manifesto commitment.

Permitted Development Rights

The consultation, Planning Reform: Supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes closed on 14 January 2019. As confirmed in the Spring Statement it is our intention to bring forward a range of reforms. To support the high street we intend to introduce additional flexibilities for businesses. This will be to amend the shops use class to ensure it captures current and future retail models, which will include clarification on the ability of (A) use classes to diversify and incorporate ancillary uses without undermining the amenity of the area, to introduce a new permitted development right to allow shops (A1), financial and professional services (A2), hot food takeaways (A5), betting shops, pay day loan shop and launderettes to change use to an office (B1) and to allow hot food takeaways (A5) to change to residential use (C3). Additionally, to give businesses sufficient time to test the market with innovative business ideas we will extend the existing right that allows the temporary change of use of buildings from 2 to 3 years and enable more community uses to take advantage of this temporary right, enabling such premises to more easily locate on the high street. I will also shortly publish “Better Planning for High Streets”. This will set out tools to support local planning authorities in reshaping their high streets to create prosperous communities, particularly through the use of compulsory purchase, local development orders and other innovative tools.

We will take forward a permitted development right to extend upwards certain existing buildings in commercial and residential use to deliver additional homes, engaging with interested parties on design and technical details. We would want any right to deliver new homes to respect the design of the existing streetscape, while ensuring that the amenity of neighbours is considered. We will also make permanent the time-limited right to build larger single storey rear extensions to dwellinghouses and to introduce a proportionate fee. I do not intend to extend the time-limited right for change of use from storage to residential. This right will lapse on 10 June 2019. Alongside I intend to review permitted development rights for conversion of buildings to residential use in respect of the quality standard of homes delivered. We will continue to consider the design of a permitted development right to allow commercial buildings to be demolished and replaced with homes. We will also develop a 'Future Homes Standard' for all new homes through a consultation in 2019 with a view, subject to consultation, to introducing the standard by 2025.

Finally, we intend to remove the permitted development right and associated advertising deemed consent in respect of new telephone kiosks, reflecting that mobile technology has changed the way people access telephone services since the right was introduced in 1985; amend the existing right to install off-street electric vehicle charging points to allow for taller charging upstands to address advances in rapid charging technology; and will look to bring forward a draft listed building consent order which will grant a general listed building consent for works to listed waterway structures owned, controlled or managed by the Canal & River Trust.

I intend to implement an immediate package of permitted development right measures in the spring, with the more complex matters, including on upward extensions, covered in a further package of regulations in the autumn.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1408
WS
Treasury
Made on: 13 March 2019
Made by: Lord Bates (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Spring Statement 2019

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

Today I have delivered the Spring Statement to the House of Commons. This Written Ministerial Statement provides more detail on some of the announcements in the Spring Statement, and sets out details of other forthcoming government policies.

Public Spending

Public Value Framework – Later this year we will conduct a Spending Review that will focus on public value outcomes. Today, the government will publish a revised version of the Public Value Framework, along with accompanying guidance on how to use it most effectively. The revised Framework reflects the learning from our public value pilot programme.

National Leadership Centre – The new National Leadership Centre, which will support senior leaders from across public services in England, will welcome its first cohort in September. The government has committed £21 million to the Centre.

Infrastructure

Today I can also make the following announcements, that will help to deliver the physical and digital infrastructure the UK needs:

Borderlands Growth Deal – Up to £260 million for this innovative deal to strengthen the deep ties that bind these communities within the United Kingdom. On top of the £102 million announced recently for the Carlisle Southern Link Road from the Housing Infrastructure Fund, this means up to £362 million of UK government investment into the Borderlands area.

Transforming Cities Fund – £60 million of investment in 10 cities across England, from the fund announced at Budget 2017. This will fund 30 new schemes such as bus station upgrades, new cycle lanes and road improvements, supporting the wider programmes being delivered by city regions as part of the Industrial Strategy. The 10 cities were selected for the competitive fund in September 2018, the locations of the awards can be found in the annex.

Local Full Fibre Networks: Wave 3 allocations – £53 million of funding, for nine local areas who have successfully bid since Budget, from the third wave of the Local Full Fibre Networks challenge fund – enabling next-generation full fibre connections to key public buildings, and nearby homes and businesses. The locations of the nine local areas can be found in the annex.

Toton development vehicle – Sir John Peace will oversee the development of proposals for a new delivery vehicle at Toton, which will include considering the case for a Development Corporation.

Apprenticeship Levy – Budget 2018 announced that the co-investment rate will be halved from 10% to 5%, and the amount employers can transfer to their supply chains would increase to 25%. These changes will now take effect from April 2019.

In the coming months, the government will publish:

Planning for Future High Streets – A consultation exploring potential changes to help local areas make better use of planning tools to support their local high streets, including through Compulsory Purchase Orders, Local Development Orders, and other innovative planning measures.

Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy – A publication setting out the government’s approach to putting the UK at the forefront of mobility, and responding to the significant changes taking place in transport technology – such as the growth in electric vehicles, the development of self-driving vehicles and advances in data and internet connectivity.

Living Standards

National Living Wage (NLW) – The government can confirm the Low Pay Commission’s remit for 2019, and later this year we will set a new remit beyond 2020. We have today published the Terms of Reference for Professor Arindrajit Dube’s review of the latest international evidence on minimum wages. This review will report to HM Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. As these terms set out, Professor Dube will engage closely with the Low Pay Commission, drawing on their expertise and deep knowledge of the UK’s labour market.

Openness and Competitiveness

It is vital that the UK remains an open and competitive place to do business. To support this ambition, today I can announce:

Financial Services legislation – Following consultation later this year, the government will legislate as necessary to ensure that in the immediate period after we leave the EU, the UK can maintain world-leading financial services regulatory standards, remain open to international markets, and realise new trading opportunities.

Future Financial Services regulatory framework – Ahead of the Summer, the government will set out its approach to consulting on how to ensure our Financial Services regulatory framework adapts to our new constitutional position outside the European Union. This includes the need to ensure financial stability is delivered through an effective regulatory framework, with the responsiveness necessary for a dynamic and open financial services sector and an appropriate level of democratic accountability.

Access to finance and EU exit – The government stands ready to deliver its commitment in all circumstances to provide additional funding to the British Business Bank for venture and growth capital, as we leave the European Union and our relationship with the European Investment Fund changes.

Scientists and researchers – From Autumn 2019, PhD-level occupations will be exempt from the Tier 2 (General) cap, and at the same time the government will update the immigration rules on 180-day absences so that researchers conducting fieldwork overseas are not penalised if they apply to settle in the UK.

New UK Export Finance (UKEF) General Export Facility – UKEF will introduce a new General Export Facility to provide more flexible short-term support to UK exporters. UKEF will make the new product available over the coming months and will publish further details once they become available.

Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) research on the impacts of regulation on competition The CMA are announcing today that, subject to an orderly exit from the European Union and therefore resources, they will carry out a review to assess how regulation affects competition in the UK business environment.

Today the government will publish:

Offshore oil and gas decommissioning industry – A call for evidence, as announced at Budget 2018, seeking to identify what more should be done to strengthen Scotland and the rest of the UK’s position as a global hub for safe, environmentally-friendly decommissioning that meets the Oil and Gas Authority’s ambitious cost reduction targets.

In the coming months, the government will publish:

International Education Strategy – A strategy, to be launched by the Departments for Education and for International Trade, which will help to strengthen our position at the forefront of global education.

International Research and Innovation Strategy – A strategy setting out the government’s ambition to ensure the UK retains its place as a global partner of choice for science and innovation collaboration. As a first step in implementing this, the government has launched an independent review to assess and make recommendations on our future frameworks for international collaboration.

UKEF consultation on changes to foreign content rules – A consultation on proposed changes to the rules in relation to foreign content in export transactions where UKEF support is provided.

Science and Technology

Today, I am allocating over £200 million in cutting-edge infrastructure to support our world-leading scientists, innovators and industry. These investments, which underpin the government’s ambition to raise economy-wide investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 and drive progress against the Grand Challenges, such as healthy ageing and the AI and data revolution, include:

Photonics – Allocating £81 million to a national Extreme Photonics Application Centre in Oxfordshire. This centre will help researchers and industry better understand the composition of new materials and how they behave in different conditions.

Bioinformatics – Investing £45 million in a critical upgrade to data storage cloud computing infrastructure at the European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridgeshire, to support researchers using big data to drive genetic research.

Supercomputers: Archer funding – Allocating £79 million to a new UK supercomputer (ARCHER 2) which will replace the current national high-performance computing platform (ARCHER), providing researchers with a fivefold increase in computing capacity.

Joint European Torus (JET) Funding (Fusion) – Setting aside up to £60 million to confirm funding is guaranteed for the facility over 2019/20.

Housing

At Autumn Budget 2017, the government set out a comprehensive package of new policies, including at least £44 billion of financial support over a five-year period, to raise housing supply by the end of this Parliament to its highest level since 1970 and put us on track to reach 300,000 a year on average. To move us towards that target, today the government can announce further progress on planning reform, as set out in more detail in the accompanying Written Ministerial Statement laid by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. In the coming months, the government will:

Independent Report on Build Out Rates – Introduce additional planning guidance to support housing diversification on large sites. Sir Oliver Letwin concluded that greater differentiation in the types and tenures of housing delivered on large sites would increase build out rates.

Response to consultation on Planning Reform – Introduce a package of reforms including allowing greater change of use between premises, and a new permitted development right to allow upwards extension of existing buildings to create new homes.

Accelerated Planning Green Paper – Publish a Green Paper setting out proposals on how greater capacity and capability, performance management and procedural improvements can accelerate the end-to-end planning process.

Clean Growth

The government is determined that we will be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it. The UK leads the world in tackling climate change and delivering clean growth, preserving the planet for future generations. In the coming months the government will set out further detail on the following:

Review on the Economics of Biodiversity – A new global review, led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, to assess the economic value of biodiversity and to identify actions that will simultaneously enhance biodiversity and deliver economic prosperity. The review will report in 2020, ahead of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity in Beijing in October that year.

Future Homes Standard – A Future Homes Standard, to be introduced by 2025, future-proofing new build homes with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency. The new standard will build on the Prime Minister’s Industrial Strategy Grand Challenge mission to at least halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030.

Greening the Gas Grid – Accelerating the decarbonisation of our gas supplies by increasing the proportion of green gas in the grid. To meet our climate targets, we need to reduce our dependence on burning natural gas to heat our homes. The government will consult on the appropriate mechanism to deliver this commitment later this year.

In the coming months, the government will publish:

Biodiversity and conservation in Overseas Territories – A call for evidence inviting creative ideas from stakeholders on how the government can safeguard the biodiversity found in the Overseas Territories.

Red Diesel: Response to Call for Evidence A summary of responses to the May 2018 call for evidence on red diesel and air quality.

Public Finances

Debt Management Report 2019-20 and NS&I Financing Remit 2019-20 – Today, the government publishes the financing remit for 2019-20, which sets out the planned financing that will be raised by the Debt Management Office through issuing gilts and via NS&I’s retail financing products.

Retail Prices Index

House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee report on the Retail Prices Index (RPI) – The Economic Affairs Committee made several recommendations both to the government and the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA). The government is considering the report, and the complex issues it raises. The government is discussing the relevant issues with the UKSA and will respond to the Committee's report in April.

Tax avoidance, evasion & non-compliance

Since 2010, the government has secured and protected over £200 billion of tax that would otherwise have gone unpaid, introduced over 100 measures to reduce avoidance, evasion and other forms of non-compliance, and continued to support taxpayers to get their tax right. Today the government will publish:

Tackling tax avoidance, evasion and other forms of non-compliance A policy paper setting out the government’s achievements.

Offshore tax compliance strategy: No Safe Havens 2019 – A policy paper setting out the direction for HMRC’s updated strategy for offshore tax compliance, bringing together the government’s response to all forms of offshore non-compliance. This reflects the substantial progress that the UK has made since the last strategy was published in 2014 and complements the paper on avoidance and evasion activity to date.

In the coming months the government will publish:

Preventing abuse of the R&D tax relief for small- or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – A consultation on the measure announced at Budget 2018, as part of the package on tax avoidance. This consultation will focus on how the measure will be applied, to minimise any impact on genuine businesses.

Insurance Premium Tax operational review – A call for evidence on where improvements can be made to ensure that Insurance Premium Tax operates fairly and efficiently.

VAT Administration in the Isle of Man – HM Treasury’s findings and recommendations to ensure the right VAT continues to be paid and collected in the Isle of Man. Following the Paradise Papers allegations, the Isle of Man Government invited HM Treasury to review its VAT administration processes for the importation of aircraft and yachts.

Maintaining the tax system

Making Tax Digital (MTD) – Mandatory digital record keeping for VAT for businesses over the VAT threshold (with turnover over £85,000) comes into force from 1 April. This is an important first step in this modernisation of the tax system to which the government remains committed. The government can confirm a light touch approach to penalties in the first year of implementation. Where businesses are doing their best to comply, no filing or record keeping penalties will be issued. The focus will be on supporting businesses to transition and the government will therefore not be mandating MTD for any new taxes or businesses in 2020.

Today the government will publish:

Structures and Buildings Allowance – Draft legislation, published for comment, on introducing a new, permanent allowance for investments in non-residential structures and buildings to create a more competitive tax regime for businesses – as announced at Budget 2018. The government intends to lay this legislation early this summer.

Aggregates Levy review – A discussion paper launching a review of the Aggregates Levy, including the Terms of Reference, information on timing and scope of the review as well as membership of an expert working group.

In the coming months the government will publish:

Offshore receipts in respect of intangible property – Draft regulations to ensure the provisions apply as intended, and draft guidance relating to the practical application of the measure.

Hybrid and other mismatches – Draft regulations to update the definition of regulatory capital instruments that are entitled to an exemption within the hybrid mismatch rules.

General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR) Amendments – A technical note alongside draft legislation on minor procedural and technical changes to the GAAR legislation to ensure that it works as intended.

National Insurance Contributions (NICs) Employment Allowance draft regulations – A document inviting technical comments on the draft regulations implementing the reform, as announced at Budget 2018, of the NICs Employment Allowance to restrict it to businesses with an employer NICs bill below £100,000.

Child Trust Funds (CTF): consultation on maturing CTFs – Draft regulations to ensure that CTF accounts can retain their tax-free status after maturity.

VAT Simplification and the Public Sector – A policy paper exploring a potential reform to VAT refund rules for central government, with the aim of reducing administrative burdens and improving public sector productivity.

VAT Partial Exemption and Capital Goods Scheme: Simplification – A call for evidence on potential simplification and improvement of the VAT Partial Exemption regime and the Capital Goods Scheme – ensuring they are as simple and efficient for taxpayers as possible. This follows on from the recommendations of the Office of Tax Simplification, who have looked in detail at our VAT system and possible areas for improvement.

Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) and vehicle taxes – A government response following the review into the impact of the WLTP on Vehicle Excise Duty and company car tax.

Consultation on the use of diesel by private pleasure craft – A consultation seeking evidence on the likely impact of the government’s proposal to require diesel-powered private pleasure craft to only use full duty paid heavy oil (white diesel) for propulsion, replacing the existing system where private pleasure craft use marked gas oil (red diesel) but pay the white diesel rate of fuel duty.

Review of Time Limits – A report, as required by Section 95 of Finance Act 2019, comparing the time limits for the recovery of lost tax involving an offshore matter, with other time limits, including those provided for by Schedules 11 and 12 to the Finance (No. 2) Act 2017. In the report the government will set out the rationale for the charge on disguised remuneration (DR) loans legislated in Finance (No. 2) Act 2017 and its impacts. The report will be laid by 30 March 2019.

Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) – A call for evidence on the use of the SITR scheme to date, including why it has been used less than anticipated and what impact it has had on access to finance for social enterprises.

Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) approved funds guidelines – Draft guidelines for comment alongside draft legislation. The document will contain guidelines stating HMRC’s proposed policy and practice for approving funds. The legislation will include powers for HMRC to set appropriate conditions and approve funds.

CGT private residence relief – A consultation on the changes announced at Budget 2018 to lettings relief and the final period exemption, which extend private residence relief in capital gains tax.

We will also publish summaries of responses to the following documents, launched at recent fiscal events:

Structures and buildings allowance – A technical note on the introduction of this allowance.

Protecting your taxes in insolvency – A consultation launched in February 2019, following the announcement at Budget 2018 to make HMRC a secondary preferential creditor for certain tax debts paid by employees and customers on the insolvency of a business.

Corporate Capital Loss Restriction – A consultation on a change announced at Autumn Budget 2018 to restrict, from 1 April 2020, the amount of carried-forward capital losses a company can offset to no more than 50% of the chargeable gains arising in a later accounting period.

Stamp Taxes on shares consideration rules – A consultation on aligning the consideration rules of Stamp Duty and Stamp Duty Reserve Tax and introducing a general market value rule for transfers between connected persons.

Digital Services Tax – A consultation on the detailed design and implementation of the Digital Services Tax that will take effect from 1 April 2020.

Amendments to tax returns – A call for evidence on simplifying the process of amending a tax return.

Annex to spring statement 2019 (PDF Document, 171.46 KB)
WS
Treasury
Made on: 13 March 2019
Made by: Mr Philip Hammond (The Chancellor of the Exchequer)
Commons

Spring Statement 2019

Today I have delivered the Spring Statement to the House of Commons. This Written Ministerial Statement provides more detail on some of the announcements in the Spring Statement, and sets out details of other forthcoming government policies.

Public Spending

Public Value Framework – Later this year we will conduct a Spending Review that will focus on public value outcomes. Today, the government will publish a revised version of the Public Value Framework along with accompanying guidance on how to use it most effectively. The revised Framework reflects the learning from our public value pilot programme.

National Leadership Centre – The new National Leadership Centre, which will support senior leaders from across public services in England, will welcome its first cohort in September. The government has committed £21 million to the Centre.

Infrastructure

Today I can also make the following announcements, that will help to deliver the physical and digital infrastructure the UK needs:

Borderlands Growth Deal – Up to £260 million for this innovative deal to strengthen the deep ties that bind these communities within the United Kingdom. On top of the £102 million announced recently for the Carlisle Southern Link Road from the Housing Infrastructure Fund, this means up to £362 million of UK government investment into the Borderlands area.

Transforming Cities Fund – £60 million of investment in 10 cities across England, from the fund announced at Budget 2017. This will fund 30 new schemes such as bus station upgrades, new cycle lanes and road improvements, supporting the wider programmes being delivered by city regions as part of the Industrial Strategy. The 10 cities were selected for the competitive fund in September 2018, and are as follows:


Derby and Nottingham

£7.2 million

Southampton

£5.7 million

Leicester

£7.8 million

North East CA

£10 million

Portsmouth

£4 million

Norwich

£6.1 million

Sheffield City Region

£4.2 million

Plymouth

£7.6 million

West Yorkshire CA

£2.2 million

Stoke-on-Trent

£5.6 million

Local Full Fibre Networks: Wave 3 allocations – £53 million of funding, for nine local areas who have successfully bid since Budget, from the third wave of the Local Full Fibre Networks challenge fund – enabling next-generation full fibre connections to key public buildings, and nearby homes and businesses. The locations of the nine local areas are as follows:

Colchester

£3.5 million

Rutland

£2.0 million

Isle of Wight

£0.8 million

Shetland Islands

£2.0 million

Norfolk

£8.0 million

South Essex

£4.5 million

North Wales

£8.0 million

Stoke-on-Trent

£9.2 million

Northern Ireland

£15.0 million

Toton development vehicle – Sir John Peace will oversee the development of proposals for a new delivery vehicle at Toton, which will include considering the case for a Development Corporation.

Apprenticeship Levy – Budget 2018 announced that the co-investment rate will be halved from 10% to 5%, and the amount employers can transfer to their supply chains would increase to 25%. These changes will now take effect from April 2019.

In the coming months, the government will publish:

Planning for Future High Streets – A consultation exploring potential changes to help local areas make better use of planning tools to support their local high streets, including through Compulsory Purchase Orders, Local Development Orders, and other innovative planning measures.

Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy – A publication setting out the government’s approach to putting the UK at the forefront of mobility, and responding to the significant changes taking place in transport technology – such as the growth in electric vehicles, the development of self-driving vehicles and advances in data and internet connectivity.

Living Standards

National Living Wage (NLW) – The government can confirm the Low Pay Commission’s remit for 2019, and later this year we will set a new remit beyond 2020. We have today published the Terms of Reference for Professor Arindrajit Dube’s review of the latest international evidence on minimum wages. This review will report to HM Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. As these terms set out, Professor Dube will engage closely with the Low Pay Commission, drawing on their expertise and deep knowledge of the UK’s labour market.

Openness and Competitiveness

It is vital that the UK remains an open and competitive place to do business. To support this ambition, today I can announce:

Financial Services legislation – Following consultation later this year, the government will legislate as necessary to ensure that in the immediate period after we leave the EU, the UK can maintain world-leading financial services regulatory standards, remain open to international markets, and realise new trading opportunities.

Future Financial Services regulatory framework – Ahead of the Summer, the government will set out its approach to consulting on how to ensure our Financial Services regulatory framework adapts to our new constitutional position outside the European Union. This includes the need to ensure financial stability is delivered through an effective regulatory framework, with the responsiveness necessary for a dynamic and open financial services sector and an appropriate level of democratic accountability.

Access to finance and EU exit The government stands ready to deliver its commitment in all circumstances to provide additional funding to the British Business Bank for venture and growth capital, as we leave the European Union and our relationship with the European Investment Fund changes.

Scientists and researchers – From Autumn 2019, PhD-level occupations will be exempt from the Tier 2 (General) cap, and at the same time the government will update the immigration rules on 180-day absences so that researchers conducting fieldwork overseas are not penalised if they apply to settle in the UK.

New UK Export Finance (UKEF) General Export Facility – UKEF will introduce a new General Export Facility to provide more flexible short-term support to UK exporters. UKEF will make the new product available over the coming months and will publish further details once they become available.

Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) research on the impacts of regulation on competitionThe CMA are announcing today that, subject to an orderly exit from the European Union and therefore resources, they will carry out a review to assess how regulation affects competition in the UK business environment.

Today the government will publish:

Offshore oil and gas decommissioning industry – A call for evidence, as announced at Budget 2018, seeking to identify what more should be done to strengthen Scotland and the rest of the UK’s position as a global hub for safe, environmentally-friendly decommissioning that meets the Oil and Gas Authority’s ambitious cost reduction targets.

In the coming months, the government will publish:

International Education Strategy A strategy, to be launched by the Departments for Education and for International Trade, which will help to strengthen our position at the forefront of global education.

International Research and Innovation Strategy – A strategy setting out the government’s ambition to ensure the UK retains its place as a global partner of choice for science and innovation collaboration. As a first step in implementing this, the government has launched an independent review to assess and make recommendations on our future frameworks for international collaboration.

UKEF consultation on changes to foreign content rules – A consultation on proposed changes to the rules in relation to foreign content in export transactions where UKEF support is provided.

Science and Technology

Today, I am allocating over £200 million in cutting-edge infrastructure to support our world-leading scientists, innovators and industry. These investments, which underpin the government’s ambition to raise economy-wide investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 and drive progress against the Grand Challenges, such as healthy ageing and the AI and data revolution, include:

Photonics – Allocating £81 million to a national Extreme Photonics Application Centre in Oxfordshire. This centre will help researchers and industry better understand the composition of new materials and how they behave in different conditions.

Bioinformatics – Investing £45 million in a critical upgrade to data storage cloud computing infrastructure at the European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridgeshire, to support researchers using big data to drive genetic research.

Supercomputers: Archer funding – Allocating £79 million to a new UK supercomputer (ARCHER 2) which will replace the current national high-performance computing platform (ARCHER), providing researchers with a fivefold increase in computing capacity.

Joint European Torus (JET) Funding (Fusion) – Setting aside up to £60 million to confirm funding is guaranteed for the facility over 2019/20.

Housing

At Autumn Budget 2017, the government set out a comprehensive package of new policies, including at least £44 billion of financial support over a five-year period, to raise housing supply by the end of this Parliament to its highest level since 1970 and put us on track to reach 300,000 a year on average. To move us towards that target, today the government can announce further progress on planning reform, as set out in more detail in the accompanying Written Ministerial Statement laid by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. In the coming months, the government will:

Independent Report on Build Out Rates – Introduce additional planning guidance to support housing diversification on large sites. Sir Oliver Letwin concluded that greater differentiation in the types and tenures of housing delivered on large sites would increase build out rates.

Response to consultation on Planning Reform – Introduce a package of reforms including allowing greater change of use between premises, and a new permitted development right to allow upwards extension of existing buildings to create new homes.

Accelerated Planning Green Paper – Publish a Green Paper setting out proposals on how greater capacity and capability, performance management and procedural improvements can accelerate the end-to-end planning process.

Clean Growth

The government is determined that we will be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it. The UK leads the world in tackling climate change and delivering clean growth, preserving the planet for future generations. In the coming months the government will set out further detail on the following:

Review on the Economics of Biodiversity – A new global review, led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, to assess the economic value of biodiversity and to identify actions that will simultaneously enhance biodiversity and deliver economic prosperity. The review will report in 2020, ahead of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity in Beijing in October that year.

Future Homes Standard – A Future Homes Standard, to be introduced by 2025, future-proofing new build homes with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency. The new standard will build on the Prime Minister’s Industrial Strategy Grand Challenge mission to at least halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030.

Greening the Gas Grid – Accelerating the decarbonisation of our gas supplies by increasing the proportion of green gas in the grid. To meet our climate targets, we need to reduce our dependence on burning natural gas to heat our homes. The government will consult on the appropriate mechanism to deliver this commitment later this year.

In the coming months, the government will publish:

Biodiversity and conservation in Overseas Territories – A call for evidence inviting creative ideas from stakeholders on how the government can safeguard the biodiversity found in the Overseas Territories.

Red Diesel: Response to Call for Evidence – A summary of responses to the May 2018 call for evidence on red diesel and air quality.

Public Finances

Debt Management Report 2019-20 and NS&I Financing Remit 2019-20 – Today, the government publishes the financing remit for 2019-20, which sets out the planned financing that will be raised by the Debt Management Office through issuing gilts and via NS&I’s retail financing products.

Retail Prices Index

House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee report on the Retail Prices Index (RPI) – The Economic Affairs Committee made several recommendations both to the government and the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA). The government is considering the report, and the complex issues it raises. The government is discussing the relevant issues with the UKSA and will respond to the Committee's report in April.

Tax avoidance, evasion & non-compliance

Since 2010, the government has secured and protected over £200 billion of tax that would otherwise have gone unpaid, introduced over 100 measures to reduce avoidance, evasion and other forms of non-compliance, and continued to support taxpayers to get their tax right. Today the government will publish:

Tackling tax avoidance, evasion and other forms of non-compliance A policy paper setting out the government’s achievements.

Offshore tax compliance strategy: No Safe Havens 2019 – A policy paper setting out the direction for HMRC’s updated strategy for offshore tax compliance, bringing together the government’s response to all forms of offshore non-compliance. This reflects the substantial progress that the UK has made since the last strategy was published in 2014 and complements the paper on avoidance and evasion activity to date.

In the coming months the government will publish:

Preventing abuse of the R&D tax relief for small- or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – A consultation on the measure announced at Budget 2018, as part of the package on tax avoidance. This consultation will focus on how the measure will be applied, to minimise any impact on genuine businesses.

Insurance Premium Tax operational review – A call for evidence on where improvements can be made to ensure that Insurance Premium Tax operates fairly and efficiently.

VAT Administration in the Isle of Man – HM Treasury’s findings and recommendations to ensure the right VAT continues to be paid and collected in the Isle of Man. Following the Paradise Papers allegations, the Isle of Man Government invited HM Treasury to review its VAT administration processes for the importation of aircraft and yachts.

Maintaining the tax system

Making Tax Digital (MTD) – Mandatory digital record keeping for VAT for businesses over the VAT threshold (with turnover over £85,000) comes into force from 1 April. This is an important first step in this modernisation of the tax system to which the government remains committed. The government can confirm a light touch approach to penalties in the first year of implementation. Where businesses are doing their best to comply, no filing or record keeping penalties will be issued. The focus will be on supporting businesses to transition and the government will therefore not be mandating MTD for any new taxes or businesses in 2020.

Today the government will publish:

Structures and Buildings Allowance – Draft legislation, published for comment, on introducing a new, permanent allowance for investments in non-residential structures and buildings to create a more competitive tax regime for businesses – as announced at Budget 2018. The government intends to lay this legislation early this summer.

Aggregates Levy review – A discussion paper launching a review of the Aggregates Levy, including the Terms of Reference, information on timing and scope of the review as well as membership of an expert working group.

In the coming months the government will publish:

Offshore receipts in respect of intangible property – Draft regulations to ensure the provisions apply as intended, and draft guidance relating to the practical application of the measure.

Hybrid and other mismatches – Draft regulations to update the definition of regulatory capital instruments that are entitled to an exemption within the hybrid mismatch rules.

General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR) Amendments – A technical note alongside draft legislation on minor procedural and technical changes to the GAAR legislation to ensure that it works as intended.

National Insurance Contributions (NICs) Employment Allowance draft regulations – A document inviting technical comments on the draft regulations implementing the reform, as announced at Budget 2018, of the NICs Employment Allowance to restrict it to businesses with an employer NICs bill below £100,000.

Child Trust Funds (CTF): consultation on maturing CTFs – Draft regulations to ensure that CTF accounts can retain their tax-free status after maturity.

VAT Simplification and the Public Sector – A policy paper exploring a potential reform to VAT refund rules for central government, with the aim of reducing administrative burdens and improving public sector productivity.

VAT Partial Exemption and Capital Goods Scheme: Simplification – A call for evidence on potential simplification and improvement of the VAT Partial Exemption regime and the Capital Goods Scheme – ensuring they are as simple and efficient for taxpayers as possible. This follows on from the recommendations of the Office of Tax Simplification, who have looked in detail at our VAT system and possible areas for improvement.

Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) and vehicle taxes – A government response following the review into the impact of the WLTP on Vehicle Excise Duty and company car tax.

Consultation on the use of diesel by private pleasure craft – A consultation seeking evidence on the likely impact of the government’s proposal to require diesel-powered private pleasure craft to only use full duty paid heavy oil (white diesel) for propulsion, replacing the existing system where private pleasure craft use marked gas oil (red diesel) but pay the white diesel rate of fuel duty.

Review of Time Limits – A report, as required by Section 95 of Finance Act 2019, comparing the time limits for the recovery of lost tax involving an offshore matter, with other time limits, including those provided for by Schedules 11 and 12 to the Finance (No. 2) Act 2017. In the report the government will set out the rationale for the charge on disguised remuneration (DR) loans legislated in Finance (No. 2) Act 2017 and its impacts. The report will be laid by 30 March 2019.

Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) – A call for evidence on the use of the SITR scheme to date, including why it has been used less than anticipated and what impact it has had on access to finance for social enterprises.

Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) approved funds guidelines – Draft guidelines for comment alongside draft legislation. The document will contain guidelines stating HMRC’s proposed policy and practice for approving funds. The legislation will include powers for HMRC to set appropriate conditions and approve funds.

CGT private residence relief – A consultation on the changes announced at Budget 2018 to lettings relief and the final period exemption, which extend private residence relief in capital gains tax.

We will also publish summaries of responses to the following documents, launched at recent fiscal events:

Structures and buildings allowance – A technical note on the introduction of this allowance.

Protecting your taxes in insolvency – A consultation launched in February 2019, following the announcement at Budget 2018 to make HMRC a secondary preferential creditor for certain tax debts paid by employees and customers on the insolvency of a business.

Corporate Capital Loss Restriction – A consultation on a change announced at Autumn Budget 2018 to restrict, from 1 April 2020, the amount of carried-forward capital losses a company can offset to no more than 50% of the chargeable gains arising in a later accounting period.

Stamp Taxes on shares consideration rules – A consultation on aligning the consideration rules of Stamp Duty and Stamp Duty Reserve Tax and introducing a general market value rule for transfers between connected persons.

Digital Services Tax – A consultation on the detailed design and implementation of the Digital Services Tax that will take effect from 1 April 2020.

Amendments to tax returns – A call for evidence on simplifying the process of amending a tax return.

WS
Northern Ireland Office
Made on: 13 March 2019
Made by: Lord Duncan of Springbank (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland)
Lords

EU Exit: NI border

My Right Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Karen Bradley) has today made the following statement:

The unique social, political and economic circumstances of Northern Ireland must be reflected in any arrangements that apply in a no deal scenario.

This Government is committed to the Belfast Agreement and to do everything in our power to ensure no return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Today we are confirming a strictly unilateral, temporary approach to checks, processes and tariffs in Northern Ireland. This would apply if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29th March.

The UK Government would not introduce any new checks or controls on goods at the land border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, including no customs requirements for nearly all goods.

The UK temporary import tariff announced today would therefore not apply to goods crossing from Ireland into Northern Ireland.

We would only apply a small number of measures strictly necessary to comply with international legal obligations, protect the biosecurity of the island of Ireland, or to avoid the highest risks to Northern Ireland businesses - but these measures would not require checks at the border.

Because these are unilateral measures, they only mitigate the impacts from exit that are within the UK Government’s control. These measures do not set out the position in respect of tariffs or processes to be applied to goods moving from Northern Ireland to Ireland.

We recognise that Northern Ireland’s businesses will have concerns about the impact that this approach would have on their competitiveness. That is why we remain determined to secure a deal and an orderly exit from the EU.

A negotiated settlement is the only means of sustainably guaranteeing no hard border and protecting businesses in Northern Ireland. This is why we are, first and foremost, still committed to leaving the EU with a deal. In a no deal scenario, the UK Government is committed to entering into discussions urgently with the European Commission and the Irish Government to jointly agree long-term measures to avoid a hard border.

We also recognise that there are challenges and risks for maintaining control of our borders, monitoring the flow of goods into the UK, and the challenge posed by organised criminals seeking to exploit any new system. That is why we are clear that this approach will only be strictly temporary.

The specific changes proposed are set out below:

Compliance with international legal obligations

To fulfil essential international obligations, there would be new requirements for importers and exporters to declare trade with the EU on a very limited set of goods.

These are the only new processes which would be introduced in order to meet the UK’s international legal obligations. There are no other products that would require new checks or processes.


Specifically:

  • Electronic notifications would be required for trade in dangerous chemicals, ozone depleting substances and F-gases;
  • Belfast International Airport would be the designated point of entry for endangered species and rough diamonds entering Northern Ireland;
  • Dual-use or torture goods would require a license for exports to the EU

Protecting the biosecurity of the island of Ireland

  • To protect human, animal, and plant health, animals and animal products from countries outside the EU would need to enter Northern Ireland through a Border Inspection Post and regulated plant material from outside the EU would require certification and risk based checks at trader premises.

  • High risk plant material entering Northern Ireland from the EU would require electronic pre-notification, replacing the current EU plant passport scheme.

Avoiding the highest risks to Northern Ireland businesses

  • To prevent unfair treatment of Northern Ireland businesses, goods arriving from Ireland would still be subject to the appropriate VAT and Excise duty as today and the UK Government would continue to collect these taxes on Irish goods in future. VAT registered businesses would continue to account for VAT on their normal VAT returns.
  • Small businesses trading across the border, not currently VAT registered, would be able to report VAT online periodically, without any new processes at the border.
  • Irish businesses sending parcels to Northern Ireland would need to register with HMRC in order to ensure VAT was paid on these goods - but anyone in Northern Ireland receiving a gift sent from Ireland would not pay VAT.
  • As in Great Britain, businesses currently registered on the EU Excise system would register on a UK equivalent.

These measures would not require checks at the land border.

Dependent on the outcome of the votes this week, we may then bring forward a package of secondary legislation to implement these arrangements which Parliament must approve for these temporary arrangements to come into force.

WS
Northern Ireland Office
Made on: 13 March 2019
Made by: Karen Bradley (Secretary of State for Northern Ireland)
Commons

EU Exit: NI border

The unique social, political and economic circumstances of Northern Ireland must be reflected in any arrangements that apply in a no deal scenario.

This Government is committed to the Belfast Agreement and to do everything in our power to ensure no return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Today we are confirming a strictly unilateral, temporary approach to checks, processes and tariffs in Northern Ireland. This would apply if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29th March.

The UK Government would not introduce any new checks or controls on goods at the land border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, including no customs requirements for nearly all goods.

The UK temporary import tariff announced today would therefore not apply to goods crossing from Ireland into Northern Ireland.

We would only apply a small number of measures strictly necessary to comply with international legal obligations, protect the biosecurity of the island of Ireland, or to avoid the highest risks to Northern Ireland businesses - but these measures would not require checks at the border.

Because these are unilateral measures, they only mitigate the impacts from exit that are within the UK Government’s control. These measures do not set out the position in respect of tariffs or processes to be applied to goods moving from Northern Ireland to Ireland.

We recognise that Northern Ireland’s businesses will have concerns about the impact that this approach would have on their competitiveness. That is why we remain determined to secure a deal and an orderly exit from the EU.

A negotiated settlement is the only means of sustainably guaranteeing no hard border and protecting businesses in Northern Ireland. This is why we are, first and foremost, still committed to leaving the EU with a deal. In a no deal scenario, the UK Government is committed to entering into discussions urgently with the European Commission and the Irish Government to jointly agree long-term measures to avoid a hard border.

We also recognise that there are challenges and risks for maintaining control of our borders, monitoring the flow of goods into the UK, and the challenge posed by organised criminals seeking to exploit any new system. That is why we are clear that this approach will only be strictly temporary.

The specific changes proposed are set out below:

Compliance with international legal obligations

To fulfil essential international obligations, there would be new requirements for importers and exporters to declare trade with the EU on a very limited set of goods.

These are the only new processes which would be introduced in order to meet the UK’s international legal obligations. There are no other products that would require new checks or processes.


Specifically:

  • Electronic notifications would be required for trade in dangerous chemicals, ozone depleting substances and F-gases;
  • Belfast International Airport would be the designated point of entry for endangered species and rough diamonds entering Northern Ireland;
  • Dual-use or torture goods would require a license for exports to the EU

Protecting the biosecurity of the island of Ireland

  • To protect human, animal, and plant health, animals and animal products from countries outside the EU would need to enter Northern Ireland through a Border Inspection Post and regulated plant material from outside the EU would require certification and risk based checks at trader premises.

  • High risk plant material entering Northern Ireland from the EU would require electronic pre-notification, replacing the current EU plant passport scheme.

Avoiding the highest risks to Northern Ireland businesses

  • To prevent unfair treatment of Northern Ireland businesses, goods arriving from Ireland would still be subject to the appropriate VAT and Excise duty as today and the UK Government would continue to collect these taxes on Irish goods in future. VAT registered businesses would continue to account for VAT on their normal VAT returns.
  • Small businesses trading across the border, not currently VAT registered, would be able to report VAT online periodically, without any new processes at the border.
  • Irish businesses sending parcels to Northern Ireland would need to register with HMRC in order to ensure VAT was paid on these goods - but anyone in Northern Ireland receiving a gift sent from Ireland would not pay VAT.
  • As in Great Britain, businesses currently registered on the EU Excise system would register on a UK equivalent.

These measures would not require checks at the land border.

Dependent on the outcome of the votes this week, we may then bring forward a package of secondary legislation to implement these arrangements which Parliament must approve for these temporary arrangements to come into force.

WS
Department for International Trade
Made on: 13 March 2019
Made by: Dr Liam Fox (Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade)
Commons

EU Exit: Trade

The Government wishes to inform the House about plans to implement a temporary tariff regime in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March 2019. The Government will bring forward the necessary secondary legislation in light of the votes in Parliament this week.

The temporary tariff would apply equally to all countries where the UK does not have a trade agreement or other preferential agreement in place. In the event of a no deal, this would include the EU.

The temporary tariff will apply for up to 12 months. At the end of the temporary period, the Government will introduce a long-term tariff regime. This will be developed over the course of the coming months following a full public consultation process.

The Government faced a choice:

  • We could maintain our current external tariff regime and apply it to the EU, imposing new tariffs on EU imports and driving up prices for consumers and disrupting business supply chains.
  • We could maintain the open trade that we have with the EU, but we would then have to extend this to the rest of the world. This would minimise disruption to EU trade but would fully open the UK to competition from other countries.

The Government does not believe either of these options on its own is the right approach. Instead, the temporary tariff would take a balanced approach to support the UK economy as a whole. It would maintain open trade on the majority of UK imports, to support consumers and business supply chains, but retain necessary tariff protection for particular sectors of the UK economy.

Under the temporary tariff, 87% of total imports to the UK by value would be eligible for tariff free access.

The Government recognises the importance of retaining necessary tariff protection for some sectors of the UK economy. Therefore, tariffs would apply on 13% of total UK imports:

  • In some agricultural sectors which have been historically protected from non-EU producers through high EU tariffs. Producers in these sectors would face significant adjustment costs should these be immediately liberalised. Therefore, for beef, sheep meat, poultry, pig meat, butter and some cheeses a mixture of tariffs and quotas will be used, with the aim of being broadly neutral in their impact on production and consumption patterns.
  • in sectors where tariffs help provide support for UK producers against unfair trading practices. This includes products such as certain ceramics, fertiliser and refinery products.
  • a set of goods, including bananas, raw cane sugar, and certain kinds of fish, where preferential access to the UK market is important for developing countries.
  • a number of finished vehicles will retain their tariff in order to support this sector and in light of global market conditions.

Information on specific tariff rates that would apply under the temporary tariff have been made available through the Government website.

In developing the temporary tariff, the Government has given regard to the five principles set out in the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018:

  • the interests of consumers in the UK;
  • the interests of producers in the UK;
  • the desire to maintain and promote external trade of the UK;
  • the desire to maintain and promote productivity in the UK;
  • the extent to which goods are subject to competition.

Throughout the temporary period, the Government would also consider exceptional changes where clear evidence is provided by stakeholders against the criteria set out in the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018 and would provide a mechanism to hear business and consumer feedback.

This statement should be read in conjunction with the written Ministerial statement laid in parallel on the Northern Ireland border.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1376
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 12 March 2019
Made by: Baroness Buscombe (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions)
Lords

Agenda of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) 15th March 2019, Brussels

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

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will take place on 15th March 2019 in Brussels. I plan to represent the UK.

The Council will be invited to agree a partial General Approach on a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council that continues the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF).

Under the European Semester agenda item, the Council will adopt the Joint Employment Report for 2019, along with conclusions on the 2019 Annual Growth Survey, and the Commission will present its Country Reports for 2019. The Romanian Presidency has chosen the social dimension of Europe post 2020 as the theme for debate.

Under other business, the Presidency will give updates on six current legislative proposals: a Regulation establishing a European Labour Authority; Revision of the Regulations on the coordination of social security systems; Revision of the Directive on carcinogens and mutagens (third batch); and Directives on work-life balance, on accessibility requirements for products and services and on transparent and predictable working conditions.

The Presidency will also provide information on its recent conference on an EU Framework on National Strategies for Roma Inclusion. The Commission will present information on the Tripartite Social Summit which will take place on 20th March, and the Chairs of the Employment Committee and the Social Protection Committee will present the committees’ Work Programmes for 2019.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1400
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 12 March 2019
Made by: Baroness Buscombe (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions)
Lords

Universal Credit

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

Universal Credit is a vital reform. It overhauls a legacy system which trapped people out of work. The next stage, managed migration will move claimants of legacy benefits on to Universal Credit without a change of circumstances. As we have previously committed, the Department will pilot this approach, following the passing of an affirmative Statutory Instrument, from July 2019; starting with small numbers with no more than 10,000 claimants. This is expected to take around 12 months. We will report on our findings to Parliament and bring forward legislation for the wider roll out of managed migration. We will, as planned, complete full roll out of Universal Credit by the end of 2023.

I am updating Parliament to announce that we have selected Harrogate in North Yorkshire to be our initial site for the managed migration pilot.

Harrogate has a mix of benefit claimants with a varying range of needs, in both rural and urban areas. Harrogate has also had Universal Credit since 2016 which is earlier than many other places. In that respect it does very much reflect the situation we will face across the country as we begin the broader process of moving people from the old system to the new Universal Credit system. This means the lessons we learn here will be directly applicable to places that start moving claimants from the old system to the new system in 2020 and beyond who will have started with UC in 2017 and 2018.

We will take a careful approach to delivering managed migration. Claimants will be informed of their move in advance, receive full information and support from the department to move, including through home visits where appropriate.

We do not intend to stop anyone’s benefit during the pilot. In the pilot phase, our intention is to learn how to effectively assist people onto Universal Credit and to develop processes to deliver that help. This is particularly important for vulnerable and hard-to-reach claimants, who the department will help to move across to the new system.

Managed migration will open up the world of work for thousands and deliver financial support for those whose circumstances have not changed. The process will eventually provide over £3 billion total transitional protection for 1.1 million families. Transitional protection will be available and we will help people who need it access discretionary payments which could be used, for example, to pay the equivalent of the two-week run on. Eligible claimants who received the Severe Disability Premium under the legacy system will receive transitional payments as a result of the regulations bringing them into effect.

The department is working with stakeholders to develop our approach to managed migration, with support for the most vulnerable in at the forefront of our minds. We will continue to do this as we deliver.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1399
WS
Treasury
Made on: 12 March 2019
Made by: Lord Bates (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

ECOFIN : 12 March 2019

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

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will be held in Brussels on 12 March 2019. The UK will be represented by Mark Bowman (Director General, International Finance, HM Treasury). The Council will discuss the following:

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President will brief the Council on the outcomes of the 11 March meeting of the Eurogroup, and the European Commission will provide an update on the current economic situation in the EU. Ministers will then discuss the location of the InvestEU Investment Committee Secretariat.

Excise Duties

The Council will be invited to agree a General Approach on the Directive on general arrangements for excise duty (recast), the Regulation on administrative cooperation of the content of electronic registers, and the Directive on the structures of excise duty on alcohol and alcoholic beverages.

Digital Services Tax

The Council will be invited to reach a political agreement on the EU-wide Digital Services Tax proposal.

InvestEU

The Council will hold a follow up policy debate on the location of the InvestEU Investment Committee Secretariat.

Current Financial Services Legislative Proposals

The Romanian Presidency will provide an update on current legislative proposals in the field of financial services.

European Semester

Following a presentation by the Commission on its 2019 Country Reports, the Council will hold an exchange of views on the implementation of country-specific recommendations focussing on investment in Member States.

EU List of Non-Cooperative Jurisdictions for Tax Purposes

The Council will be invited to adopt Council conclusions revising the December 2017 EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.

Status of the Implementation of Financial Services Legislation

The Council will discuss the status of the implementation of financial services legislation.

Coalition for Climate Action

The Finnish Finance Minister will update the Council on plans to launch the Coalition for Climate Action in the context of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in April.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1403
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 12 March 2019
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Armed Forces' Pay Review Body Reappointment

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

On 20 December 2018, I announced that the Secretary of State for Defence had appointed Vice Admiral (Retired) Sir David Steel as the next ex-military member of the Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body (AFPRB). His appointment was due to commence on 1 March 2019 and run until 28 February 2022. However, Vice Admiral (Retired) Sir David Steel has subsequently been unable to take up this position. A further recruitment campaign will be launched in due course by Department officials.

To provide the AFRPB with important continuity during this interim period, I am pleased to announce that I have invited Rear Admiral (Retired) Jonathan Westbrook to continue to serve as a Member of the Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body for a further 12 month term of office, commencing on 1 March 2019, and he has accepted. This extension has been conducted in accordance with the guidance of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

WS
Department for Education
Made on: 12 March 2019
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System)
Lords

Sub-Lease to the New Model in Technology and Engineering (‘NMiTE’) Project

It is the normal practice when a government department proposes to make a gift of a value exceeding £300,000, for the department concerned to present to the House of Commons a minute giving particulars of the gift and explaining the circumstances; and to refrain from making the gift until fourteen parliamentary sitting days after the issue of the minute, except in cases of special urgency.

The Department for Education intends to provide a 50-year lease of the former-Robert Owen Academy site (Blackfriars Street, Hereford) to the New Model in Technology and Engineering (NMiTE). The lease is valued at £900,000 and will be subject to a premium of only £1,000. The sub-lease therefore represents a gift to NMiTE worth £899,000.

The New Model in Technology and Engineering (NMiTE) aims to secure university status and is supported by national and local government, the University of Warwick, and industry, to transform engineering education in Britain. They are in receipt of grant funding from the Department for Education to support their start-up and development. NMiTE will invest substantially in the site to bring it back into use and deliver specialist higher education.

We believe this lease represents good-value, supporting the development of the new organisation aiming to secure university status and avoiding the vacant site holding costs that the Department for Education would otherwise have to bear.

The Treasury has approved the proposal in principle. If, during the period of fourteen parliamentary sitting days beginning on the date on which this minute was laid, a Member signifies an objection by giving notice of a Parliamentary Question or a Motion relating to the minute, or by otherwise raising the matter in the House, final approval of the gift will be withheld pending an examination of the objection.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1404
WS
Leader of the House of Lords
Made on: 12 March 2019
Made by: Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Lord Privy Seal)
Lords

Exiting the European Union

My Rt Hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made the following statement to the House of Commons:

This is a statement, for the purposes of section 13 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, that political agreement has been reached. I am of the opinion that an agreement in principle has been reached in negotiations under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union on the substance of:

  • the arrangements for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, and
  • the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom after withdrawal.

This agreement reflects the result of further discussions with the European Union subsequent to the debate in the House of Commons on the motion under s.13(6) and (11) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 on 29 January 2019. This statement therefore supersedes the statement of 26 November 2018 made in my name.

A copy of the draft withdrawal agreement which, in my opinion, reflects the agreement in principle so far as relating to the arrangements for withdrawal, including provisions for the implementation period, has been laid before the House of Commons on Monday 11 March 2019 with the title ‘Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community’.

Two additional documents relating to the withdrawal agreement which were not included in the documents laid before Parliament under section 13 on 26 November 2018, have also been laid as annexes to the statement that has been laid before the House of Commons on 11 March 2019. These are:

  • A legally binding joint instrument relating to the draft withdrawal agreement, with the title, ‘Instrument relating to the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community’; and
  • A unilateral declaration by the United Kingdom in relation to the operation of the Northern Ireland Protocol, with the title, ‘Declaration by Her Majesty’s Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning the Northern Ireland Protocol’.

At this stage, the withdrawal agreement represents a version of the text which has been agreed, but has not yet been formally signed. As set out in my statement of 26 November 2018, the withdrawal agreement laid before Parliament following political agreement being reached in November represented “a version of the text which has been agreed, but has not yet been formally signed. Before this formal signature takes place, the agreement must complete the European Union’s jurist-linguist translation process. During that time, minor technical corrections will be made to the text, though these changes will not affect the substance of the agreement”.

In line with that, the text has since been subject to minor technical corrections for example to correct stylistic or grammatical errors. In addition, it has been put onto the EU’s standard template for international treaties as part of its publication in the EU’s Official Journal which has led to further formatting changes. The Government’s intention is to sign the agreement after it is approved by the House of Commons under section 13(1)(b). The laying of the Withdrawal Agreement before Parliament at this stage does not trigger any procedures under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.

A copy of the framework for the future relationship which, in my opinion, reflects the agreement in principle so far as relating to the framework for the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom has been laid before the House of Commons on Monday 11 March 2019 with the title ‘Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom’.

In addition, a further document which was not included in the documents laid before Parliament under section 13 on 26 November 2018, a supplement to the framework for the future relationship, with the title, ‘Joint statement supplementing the Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’ has also been laid as an annex to the statement that has been laid before the House of Commons on 11 March 2019.

This statement, and the associated documents, will also be laid before the House of Lords on 12 March 2019.

The documents associated with this statement are also available online at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/11-march-withdrawal-agreement-and-political-declaration-laid-before-parliament-following-political-agreement

WS
Department for Education
Made on: 12 March 2019
Made by: Nick Gibb (The Minister of State for School Standards)
Commons

Sub-Lease to the New Model in Technology and Engineering (‘NMiTE’) Project

My noble friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System (Lord Agnew), has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

It is the normal practice when a government department proposes to make a gift of a value exceeding £300,000, for the department concerned to present to the House of Commons a minute giving particulars of the gift and explaining the circumstances; and to refrain from making the gift until fourteen parliamentary sitting days after the issue of the minute, except in cases of special urgency.

The Department for Education intends to provide a 50-year lease of the former-Robert Owen Academy site (Blackfriars Street, Hereford) to the New Model in Technology and Engineering (NMiTE). The lease is valued at £900,000 and will be subject to a premium of only £1,000. The sub-lease therefore represents a gift to NMiTE worth £899,000.

The New Model in Technology and Engineering (NMiTE) aims to secure university status and is supported by national and local government, the University of Warwick, and industry, to transform engineering education in Britain. They are in receipt of grant funding from the Department for Education to support their start-up and development. NMiTE will invest substantially in the site to bring it back into use and deliver specialist higher education.

We believe this lease represents good-value, supporting the development of the new organisation aiming to secure university status and avoiding the vacant site holding costs that the Department for Education would otherwise have to bear.

The Treasury has approved the proposal in principle. If, during the period of fourteen parliamentary sitting days beginning on the date on which this minute was laid, a Member signifies an objection by giving notice of a Parliamentary Question or a Motion relating to the minute, or by otherwise raising the matter in the House, final approval of the gift will be withheld pending an examination of the objection.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1367
WS
Treasury
Made on: 12 March 2019
Made by: Mr Philip Hammond (The Chancellor of the Exchequer)
Commons

ECOFIN : 12 March 2019

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will be held in Brussels on 12 March 2019. The UK will be represented by Mark Bowman (Director General, International Finance, HM Treasury). The Council will discuss the following:

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President will brief the Council on the outcomes of the 11 March meeting of the Eurogroup, and the European Commission will provide an update on the current economic situation in the EU. Ministers will then discuss the location of the InvestEU Investment Committee Secretariat.

Excise Duties

The Council will be invited to agree a General Approach on the Directive on general arrangements for excise duty (recast), the Regulation on administrative cooperation of the content of electronic registers, and the Directive on the structures of excise duty on alcohol and alcoholic beverages.

Digital Services Tax

The Council will be invited to reach a political agreement on the EU-wide Digital Services Tax proposal.

InvestEU

The Council will hold a follow up policy debate on the location of the InvestEU Investment Committee Secretariat.

Current Financial Services Legislative Proposals

The Romanian Presidency will provide an update on current legislative proposals in the field of financial services.

European Semester

Following a presentation by the Commission on its 2019 Country Reports, the Council will hold an exchange of views on the implementation of country-specific recommendations focussing on investment in Member States.

EU List of Non-Cooperative Jurisdictions for Tax Purposes

The Council will be invited to adopt Council conclusions revising the December 2017 EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.

Status of the Implementation of Financial Services Legislation

The Council will discuss the status of the implementation of financial services legislation.

Coalition for Climate Action

The Finnish Finance Minister will update the Council on plans to launch the Coalition for Climate Action in the context of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in April.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1369
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