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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Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 04 December 2018
Made by: Margot James (Minister of State for Digital and Creative Industries)
Commons

Telecommunications Council

The Telecommunications formation of the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council will take place in Brussels on 4 December 2018. The Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU, Katrina Williams, will represent the UK.

The Council will begin with the Austrian Presidency seeking to secure a partial General Approach on the Digital Europe programme. A progress report and policy debate will then take place on the European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Competence Centre and the Network of National Coordination Centres proposal. Following this, a progress report and exchange of views will take place on the ePrivacy Regulation

Afterwards, the discussion of AOB items will follow, including the adoption of the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) and Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) proposals. Information from the Austrian Presidency will be given on the progress of current legislative proposals, namely: the recast Public Sector Information Directive; the .eu Top Level Domain Regulation; and the Cybersecurity Act. The Austrian Presidency will also provide an update on the state of play of the Digital Single Market. The Council will end with a presentation from the incoming Romanian presidency on their work programme for the first half of 2019.

WS
Department for International Development
Made on: 04 December 2018
Made by: Penny Mordaunt (Secretary of State for International Development)
Commons

Disability Inclusion

For too long, disability has been a neglected issue in international development. An estimated one billion people globally have some form of disability. Disabled people are poorer than their non-disabled peers in terms of access to education, healthcare, employment, social support and civic involvement. They are at higher risk of violence and subject to widespread stigma and discrimination. The world will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and its commitment to leave no one behind without a sustained and concerted effort on disability inclusion.

That is why in July this year we hosted a Global Disability Summit with the Government of Kenya and the International Disability Alliance. The Summit focused global attention on disability inclusion, and brought together more than 1000 delegates from governments, donors, private sector organisations, charities and disabled people’s organisations. The Summit mobilised commitments from more than 170 organisations and more than 320 governments and organisations signed the Summit’s Charter for Change’. To ensure long-lasting impact of these commitments, my Department is working with partners on a robust monitoring process.

To support this ambition to make disability inclusion a reality in developing countries, I will ensure we place disability inclusion at the heart of everything DFID does. Our vision is for a world where all disabled people are engaged, empowered and able to exercise and enjoy rights on an equal basis with others, contributing to poverty reduction.

On International Day for Persons with Disabilities, I launched DFID’s first disability inclusion strategy. We will increase access to inclusive education, improve social protection, empower people to find work and step up in humanitarian contexts. We will support disabled girls and women, tackle stigma and discrimination and harness the power of technology. We will also step up on mental health. The strategy will include stretching targets for all DFID business units to deliver, including a focus on regular and meaningful engagement of disabled people in our work.

DFID’s global leadership on disability inclusion is in the national interest in demonstrating UK values of fairness and inclusion, in supporting the most disadvantaged and in sharing UK expertise and practice. I want the UK to be a trailblazer at home and abroad. To do that we need our political offices to be inclusive and better reflect our society. That is why I am delighted to launch the EnAble Fund for Elected Office – a £250,000 commitment to help cover disability-related expenses people might face when seeking elected office. Further information is available via this link: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/enablefund.

A copy of the strategy has been published on GOV.UK and will be placed in the Library of the House for the availability of Members (including an ‘Easy Read’ version designed for people with learning disabilities).

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1110
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 04 December 2018
Made by: Mr Damian Hinds (The Secretary of State for Education)
Commons

Government asset sale update

I am pleased to inform Parliament that the Government has today completed its sale of part of the older, pre-2012, English student loan book achieving a value of £1.9bn.

Government has been clear in its commitment that the position of all borrowers, including those whose loans have been sold, will not change as a result of the sale. This sale does not and cannot in any way alter the mechanisms and terms of repayment: sold loans will continue to be serviced by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Student Loans Company (SLC) on the same basis as equivalent unsold loans. Purchasers have no right to change any of the current loan arrangements or to contact borrowers directly. The sale does not change the Government’s current approach to higher education or student finance.

The Student Loans Company will be writing to borrowers whose loans have been sold within 3 months to notify them of the sale. No action will be required from borrowers. Government has no plans to change, or to consider changing, the terms of pre-2012 loans. I also want to be clear that these older loans, whose borrowers benefited from lower tuition fees as well as lower interest rates, are not in scope of the current review of post-18 education and funding.

This sale is good for the taxpayer. It releases money that is tied up and serving no policy purpose, to invest in other policy priorities now, whilst keeping within the spending limits we need to strengthen public finances. The sold loans have already been in repayment for over nine years, and therefore a portion of the original value has already been paid back to Government. The Government does not expect all of the remaining loans to be paid off in full and the sale guarantees money upfront today rather than waiting for fluctuating and uncertain payments over a long period of time. This sale also transfers risk to the private sector. Repayment income from student loans fluctuates with economic performance, as do tax receipts and managed expenditure like benefits. Selling the loans reduces the Government’s exposure to this fluctuation. The Government is committed to reducing public sector net debt in order to enhance the UK’s economic resilience, improve fiscal sustainability and lessen the debt interest burden on future generations. This sale makes a significant contribution to that objective.

Government does not sell at any price. Throughout the process, Government’s decision on whether to proceed remained subject to market conditions and a final value for money assessment. This looked at whether we were selling to an efficient market, that can price the asset efficiently, and at a price that was worth more to Government than retaining the loans. The Government’s retention value takes into account predicted repayments, the effect of inflation, the riskiness of the asset and the opportunity cost of having money tied up in the asset.

I can confirm that the price offered in aggregate across the book was above the Government’s retention value range. I will shortly be laying before Parliament a report on the sale in accordance with Section 4 of the Sale of Student Loans Act 2008. This will provide more detail on the sale arrangements, and the extent to which they give good value as well as covering the sale’s different fiscal impacts.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1108
WS
Treasury
Made on: 04 December 2018
Made by: Mr Philip Hammond (The Chancellor of the Exchequer)
Commons

ECOFIN: 4 December 2018

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will be held in Brussels on 04 December 2018. The Council will discuss the following:

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President will brief the Council on the outcomes of the 03 December meeting of the Eurogroup, and the European Commission will provide an update on the current economic situation in the EU. Following this, the Commission will present its forthcoming communication on the international role of the euro, and the Council will exchange views on the European Investment Bank as a follow up to September informal ECOFIN in Vienna.

Digital Services Tax

The Council will be invited to agree a General Approach on the Digital Services Tax Directive.

Strengthening of the Banking Union

The Council will be invited to endorse the results of the trilogue with regards to the banking package. The Austrian Presidency will then present a progress report on the European Deposit Insurance Scheme.

Current Financial Services Legislative Proposals

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

European Semester 2019

The Commission will present the Annual Growth Survey 2019, the Alert Mechanism Report 2019 and their Recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area, followed by an exchange of views.

Non-Performing Loans

The Commission will present the third progress report on implementation of the non-performing loans action plan, followed by an exchange of views.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1105
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 04 December 2018
Made by: Guy Opperman (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Pensions & Financial Inclusion)
Commons

Automatic Enrolment Annual Earnings Trigger and Qualifying Earnings Band Review

Automatic enrolment into a workplace pension has been a great success to date with over 9.9 million people having been automatically enrolled and all employers now having to comply with their Automatic Enrolment duties following the completion of the staged rollout of the duties in March this year. More than 1.4 million employers have met their duties and overall annual pension saving for eligible employees has increased by £11.7 billion since 2012. The second phased increase in the minimum contribution rates to 8 per cent will happen in April 2019.

The main focus of this year’s annual review of the automatic enrolment thresholds is to ensure the stability of the policy during the contribution increase next April. We also want to ensure that our approach continues to enable individuals, for whom it makes economic sense, to save towards their pensions whilst also ensuring affordability for employers and government. The review has concluded that the earnings trigger will remain at £10,000 and both the lower and upper earnings limits will continue to be aligned to the National Insurance contribution thresholds.

I intend to lay an Order before Parliament in the New Year which will include the following, for 2019/20:

  • £50,000 for the upper limit of the qualifying earnings band.
  • £6,136 for the lower limit of the qualifying earnings band.
  • The Automatic Enrolment earnings trigger will be maintained at £10,000.

I will place a copy of the analysis supporting the proposed revised thresholds in the

House library and a copy is attached. These papers will be available later today on www.gov.uk website.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1106
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 04 December 2018
Made by: Alok Sharma (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Agenda of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO), 6th December 2018, Brussels

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will take place on 6th December 2018 in Brussels. I will represent the UK.

The Council will be invited to agree a General Approach on a Regulation establishing a European Labour Agency and on a third batch of amendments to the worker protection Directive on carcinogens and mutagens (2004/37/EC).

The Council will receive reports on progress in negotiations regarding a Regulation on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) and a proposal from 2008 for a Directive on Equal Treatment.

The Council is also expected to reach Political Agreement on a Recommendation on access to social protection for workers and self-employed, and to Adopt a set of Conclusions on gender equality, youth and digitalisation.

The Council will hold a policy debate on an issue related to the European Semester. It will also receive a presentation from the Commission on its 2019 “Autumn Package” of Annual Growth Survey, Alert Mechanism Report, draft Joint Employment Report, and draft Recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area. The Council will also approve a contribution on that Recommendation made jointly by the Employment Committee (EMCO) and the Social Protection Committee (SPC); endorse their joint messages on aspects of digitalisation and robotisation; and endorse EMCO’s key messages on the latest biennial assessment of Member States’ progress tackling long-term unemployment.

Under any other business, the Commission will present information on its activities, as well as the Tripartite Social Summit which took place on 16th October 2018. The Presidency will provide information on current legislative proposals, the joint declaration on Gender Equality and Presidency events on (i) Digitalisation of work; (ii) Fight against occupational cancer; and (iii) Gender equality. The Maltese delegation will present a non-paper on future of the LGBTI list of actions and the Romanian delegation will provide information on their work programme for their upcoming Presidency.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1107
WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 04 December 2018
Made by: Caroline Dinenage (Minister of State for Care)
Commons

Publication of the Government Response to the Joint Committee on the Draft Health Service Safety Investigations Bill Pre-legislative Scrutiny Report

The Government is, today, publishing its response to the report of the Joint Committee on the Draft Health Service Safety Investigations Bill which conducted pre-legislative scrutiny on the Bill. The Committee’s report was published in August 2018.

We published the draft Bill in September 2017 which set out legislative provisions to establish a new independent body to investigate healthcare safety incidents in the NHS in England.

I would like to thank the Chair and the Members of the Committee for their report and commitment to improve this legislation. I would also like to thank all the contributors to the scrutiny process and all those who over the past three years have helped to shape and inform the development of the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch and the Bill. I believe this scrutiny process has made a significant contribution to how we should move forward in improving safety and safety investigations in the NHS and the way we learn from incidents when things go wrong.

A copy of the report will be laid before both Houses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1104
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 04 December 2018
Made by: Chris Grayling (Secretary of State for Transport)
Commons

Rail Update

I wish to inform the House that the Department for Transport has completed its analysis of the events surrounding this year’s May timetable introduction on the GTR network. In line with Professor Stephen Glaister’s interim report, it has concluded that the disruption on this network was caused by a series of mistakes and complex issues across the rail industry.

I can announce today that the Government is holding GTR to account for their role in the unacceptable performance following the introduction of the May timetable. GTR will make no profit from its franchise in this financial year and looking ahead, we have also capped the amount of profit that the operator is able to make for the remainder of its franchise, which is due to expire in September 2021.

Furthermore, GTR will be contributing £15m towards tangible improvements for passengers. This is in addition to the £15m the operator has already contributed towards compensation for passengers since the May timetable disruption. GTR has agreed to work with the rail user groups representing passengers of Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern, who will determine what improvements this package will fund.

The Department has concluded that a termination of the franchise would cause further and undue disruption for passengers and is not an appropriate course of action.

Performance after the May timetable change was unacceptable. This action announced today holds GTR to account appropriately and will benefit passengers. The Department will continue to monitor closely the performance of GTR, particularly during the upcoming December timetable change. These measures do not make GTR immune from further sanctions in the event of any subsequent failure to perform.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1103
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 03 December 2018
Made by: Baroness Buscombe (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions)
Lords

Pensions Dashboards Feasibility Report and Consultation

My honourable Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Pensions & Financial Inclusion (Guy Opperman MP) has made the following Written Statement.

Pensions dashboards will give consumers information about their pensions savings from multiple sources through an online service. Consumers will be empowered by the presentation of information, helping them to engage with their pensions savings. It will support informed decisions and prepare the consumer for the transition between working age and retirement.

Conscious of the complexity of this project, my department has undertaken an extensive study of the elements required of pensions dashboards. The government believes that dashboards will deliver for savers, and today we have published the feasibility report so starting the process of consultation.

It is my firm belief that industry is best placed to finance and deliver this project and to create a technical dashboard infrastructure. This will advance a range of dashboard options.

The Government has listened to views that suggest compulsion is needed to maximise pension scheme participation in a reasonable timeframe. We propose to act to deliver this legislation, when parliamentary time allows, and following the creation of a robust delivery model with the appropriate governance. It is not our proposal to compel all schemes to provide data – we have outlined limited exemptions. We will work with the regulators and industry to help ensure responsibilities to protect consumers are upheld, whilst ensuring the safeguarding of consumer data.

We have met with the Chair and the Chief Executive of the Single Financial Guidance Body. We believe that this body is ideally suited to oversee the industry delivery group. It will bring together industry representatives, FinTech and consumer organisations to ensure successful implementation. We propose that a non-commercial dashboard, hosted by the Single Financial Guidance Body, will offer an impartial service to those for whom there is not a commercial offering.

It is a continued priority of this government, with the support of the pensions, financial services and consumer community, to restructure the UK’s pension savings culture against the backdrop of a new generation of savers. Dashboards will build upon the successful introduction of Automatic Enrolment, which has led to almost 10 million people either newly saving or saving more towards their retirement.

We are confident that the ‘Working together for the consumer’ document, published today, demonstrates the government’s and the department’s strong and sincere belief that pension dashboards have great potential to transform the pensions landscape for the consumer’s benefit. We look forward to receiving your feedback and proposals as to how government can best facilitate an industry-led delivery of this online service.

For ease of reference, I shall deposit a copy of the feasibility report and a related fact sheet in both libraries of the Houses of Parliament.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1130
WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 03 December 2018
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (Advocate General for Scotland)
Lords

Exiting the European Union: publications

My Right Honourable Friend, the Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, has made the following written statement:

Today I am laying before Parliament the following document:

● EU Exit: Legal position on the Withdrawal Agreement.

This document sets out the Government's legal position on the proposed Withdrawal Agreement and provides a legal commentary, covering each Part of the Withdrawal Agreement and the three Protocols.

I will make an oral statement to the House later today.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1131
WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 03 December 2018
Made by: Mr Geoffrey Cox (Attorney General)
Commons

Exiting the European Union: publications

Today I am laying before Parliament the following document:

● EU Exit: Legal position on the Withdrawal Agreement.

This document sets out the Government's legal position on the proposed Withdrawal Agreement and provides a legal commentary, covering each Part of the Withdrawal Agreement and the three Protocols.

I will make an oral statement to the House later today.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1101
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 03 December 2018
Made by: Baroness Sugg (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Lords

EU Transport Council

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

I will attend the last Transport Council under the Austrian Presidency (the Presidency) taking place in Brussels on Monday 3rd December.

The Council will consider proposals from the first tranche of the ‘Mobility Package’. Under the ‘social pillar’ of the package the Presidency will seek a General Approach on proposals: to establish a specific regulatory regime for the posting of workers in the road transport sector; to introduce new regulatory provisions in relation to ensuring that drivers have the option regularly to return home; and to enable drivers to take their regular weekly rest in their vehicles provided that certain welfare-related conditions are met. Under the ‘market pillar’ of the package the Presidency will seek a General Approach on proposals: to introduce new regulatory requirements for the operation of light commercial vehicles (vans); and to modify the ‘cabotage’ rules for vehicles operating in countries other than their country of establishment. The Government considers the package to be a necessary response to current issues with the functioning of the EU road transport market, in particular, uncoordinated national enforcement action in relation to posting of workers rules, and exploitation of some aspects of the regime by some non-compliant operators. The Government is broadly content with the specific proposals, particularly with the compromise gained on limiting the extension of regulatory obligations to operators of larger vans which are also undertaking international haulage work.

Next, the Council is expected to reach a General Approach on a proposal from the second tranche of the ‘Mobility Package’ to revise the current Directive on Combined Transport. The proposal contains provisions that could improve promotion of modal shift across the EU and reduce congestion. The Government considers that the proposal includes some positive changes to modernise the processes and, as currently drafted, will provide an acceptable balance between EU-wide action and national discretion.

Following this, the Council will consider a General Approach on a proposal from the third tranche of the ‘Mobility Package’ to amend the current Directive on road infrastructure safety management (RISM). The current Directive was adopted to ensure that road safety considerations are at the forefront of all phases of the planning, design and operation of road infrastructure and currently applies to roads on the trans-European transport network (TEN-T). The Government considers that the proposed increase in scope to include motorways and ‘primary roads’ is a proportionate expansion of the Directive and is content with the proposal that Member States define the ‘primary roads’ covered by it. The Government believes the proposal strikes a balance that will allow Member States to retain judgment over where the Directive is applied in their own countries, while upholding the shared principles of robust safety inspection and excellence in road design.

There will be a Progress Report on the proposal to amend the Directive on discontinuing seasonal changes of time, which the Government opposes. We have no plans to change Daylight Saving Time within the UK, and feel that the Commission has not provided enough evidence to demonstrate a strong case for changing the existing arrangements.

Afterwards, there will be a Progress Report on the proposal to revise the Regulation on rail passengers’ rights and obligations, aimed at strengthening the rights of rail passengers, including by improving access for people with disabilities or reduced mobility.

Following this, the Council is expected to reach a General Approach on the proposal to amend the Directive on the minimum training of seafarers. These changes will ensure that the legislation is up to date, and will provide the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) with additional time to decide whether to recognise an outside state’s certification. The Government considers the General Approach to be satisfactory on the basis that the amendments are justified and appropriate to ensure that maritime Directives are in line with international norms, and so that EMSA can make appropriately informed decisions.

The Council is also expected to reach a General Approach on another proposal from the third tranche of the ‘Mobility Package’, to revise the current Directive establishing a European Maritime Single Window Environment. This is intended to further harmonise the electronic submission of ship pre-arrival reporting formalities. The Government supports digitisation here as it can provide benefits for business. The UK has engaged constructively in negotiations and has been able to share its existing expertise in many areas. The Government welcomes the proposed General Approach, which is satisfactory.

The Council is expected to reach a partial General Approach on a proposed Regulation on the Connecting Europe Facility. The proposal will move into the next Multiannual Financial Framework with broadly the same funding allocation for transport as the current MFF. The Government supports the value that a well-managed funding programme like the Connecting Europe Facility can bring to transport infrastructure. However, the Regulation will take effect after the UK has left the EU, and the Government is still considering its position on future involvement in the programme.

There will be a Progress Report on a proposal from the third tranche of the ‘Mobility Package’ on the proposed Regulation on streamlining measures for the realisation of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T). The proposal sets out requirements for the administrative procedures to be followed by the competent authorities in Member States in providing approval for projects of common interest on the TEN-T Core Network.

There will be a Progress Report on a proposal from the second tranche of the ‘Mobility Package’ to amend the Directive on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles. The Directive looks to drive the uptake of clean vehicles, including cars, and light and heavy duty vehicles (including vans, trucks and buses).

There will also be a Progress Report on a proposal from the third tranche of the ‘Mobility Package’ for a Regulation on electronic freight transport information. This Regulation is designed to correct a perceived lack of standardisation of acceptance by Member States of electronic freight documents.

The Council will be asked to agree conclusions, which the UK supports, on the potential of Inland Waterway Transport as an environment-friendly transport mode, offering existing capacity to alleviate congestion on roads.

Finally, under Any Other Business, the Presidency will provide information on other current legislative proposals. Additionally, it will report back on the Informal Meeting of Transport and Environment Ministers that took place in Graz on the 29-30 October 2018, followed by an update on ASEAN Negotiations. The Luxembourg delgation will present information on the Social Agenda in Aviation. The Commission will supply information on Sustainable Transport Infrastructure Charging and Internalisation of Transport externalities, and finally, the Romanian delegation will provide information on the Work programme of their forthcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1129
WS
Department for International Trade
Made on: 03 December 2018
Made by: Baroness Fairhead (Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion)
Lords

Update on UK's WTO Membership

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

I have previously informed the House that in order to fulfil our obligations at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as we leave the European Union we will prepare UK-specific schedules of concessions and commitments. On 19 July I informed the House of the start of the process for certification of the UK schedule for goods. I have today sent to the secretariat of the WTO the UK schedule for services and I will place a copy in the library.

This schedule replicates, as far as possible, our current obligations at the WTO. We see this as a technical exercise for which the WTO’s procedures for rectifications or improvements to schedules provide the appropriate legal mechanism. These procedures include a period for WTO members to raise objections to the proposed schedule, and it is usual for some of them to do so. If objections are raised, we will continue to work with WTO members to resolve any concerns and see the objections withdrawn. The UK can continue to trade on current terms on an uncertified schedule, with no impact on trade flows, as is the case for other countries trading on uncertified schedules.

Presenting our own UK Schedules at the WTO is a necessary part of our leaving the EU. It does not in any way prejudge the outcome of the eventual UK-EU trading arrangements.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1128
WS
Department for International Trade
Made on: 03 December 2018
Made by: Baroness Fairhead (Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion)
Lords

Announcement of a new Prime Minister's Trade Envoy to Argentina

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

The Prime Minister has appointed Mark Menzies MP as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Argentina. This extends Mark’s current portfolio as Trade Envoy to Chile, Colombia and Peru. This appointment increases the number of markets covered by the Programme to 64, as we look to deepen our relationships across the globe. The Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy programme is an unpaid and voluntary cross-party network, who support the UK’s ambitious trade and investment agenda in global markets.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1127
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 03 December 2018
Made by: Guy Opperman (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Pensions & Financial Inclusion)
Commons

Pensions Dashboards Feasibility Report and Consultation

Pensions dashboards will give consumers information about their pensions savings from multiple sources through an online service. Consumers will be empowered by the presentation of information, helping them to engage with their pensions savings. It will support informed decisions and prepare the consumer for the transition between working age and retirement.

Conscious of the complexity of this project, my department has undertaken an extensive study of the elements required of pensions dashboards. The government believes that dashboards will deliver for savers, and today we have published the feasibility report so starting the process of consultation.

It is my firm belief that industry is best placed to finance and deliver this project and to create a technical dashboard infrastructure. This will advance a range of dashboard options.

The Government has listened to views that suggest compulsion is needed to maximise pension scheme participation in a reasonable timeframe. We propose to act to deliver this legislation, when parliamentary time allows, and following the creation of a robust delivery model with the appropriate governance. It is not our proposal to compel all schemes to provide data – we have outlined limited exemptions. We will work with the regulators and industry to help ensure responsibilities to protect consumers are upheld, whilst ensuring the safeguarding of consumer data.

We have met with the Chair and the Chief Executive of the Single Financial Guidance Body. We believe that this body is ideally suited to oversee the industry delivery group. It will bring together industry representatives, FinTech and consumer organisations to ensure successful implementation. We propose that a non-commercial dashboard, hosted by the Single Financial Guidance Body, will offer an impartial service to those for whom there is not a commercial offering.

It is a continued priority of this government, with the support of the pensions, financial services and consumer community, to restructure the UK’s pension savings culture against the backdrop of a new generation of savers. Dashboards will build upon the successful introduction of Automatic Enrolment, which has led to almost 10 million people either newly saving or saving more towards their retirement.

We are confident that the ‘Working together for the consumer’ document, published today, demonstrates the government’s and the department’s strong and sincere belief that pension dashboards have great potential to transform the pensions landscape for the consumer’s benefit. We look forward to receiving your feedback and proposals as to how government can best facilitate an industry-led delivery of this online service.

For ease of reference, I shall deposit a copy of the feasibility report and a related fact sheet in both libraries of the Houses of Parliament.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1102
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 03 December 2018
Made by: Chris Grayling (Secretary of State for Transport)
Commons

EU Transport Council

I will attend the last Transport Council under the Austrian Presidency (the Presidency) taking place in Brussels on Monday 3rd December.

The Council will consider proposals from the first tranche of the ‘Mobility Package’. Under the ‘social pillar’ of the package the Presidency will seek a General Approach on proposals: to establish a specific regulatory regime for the posting of workers in the road transport sector; to introduce new regulatory provisions in relation to ensuring that drivers have the option regularly to return home; and to enable drivers to take their regular weekly rest in their vehicles provided that certain welfare-related conditions are met. Under the ‘market pillar’ of the package the Presidency will seek a General Approach on proposals: to introduce new regulatory requirements for the operation of light commercial vehicles (vans); and to modify the ‘cabotage’ rules for vehicles operating in countries other than their country of establishment. The Government considers the package to be a necessary response to current issues with the functioning of the EU road transport market, in particular, uncoordinated national enforcement action in relation to posting of workers rules, and exploitation of some aspects of the regime by some non-compliant operators. The Government is broadly content with the specific proposals, particularly with the compromise gained on limiting the extension of regulatory obligations to operators of larger vans which are also undertaking international haulage work.

Next, the Council is expected to reach a General Approach on a proposal from the second tranche of the ‘Mobility Package’ to revise the current Directive on Combined Transport. The proposal contains provisions that could improve promotion of modal shift across the EU and reduce congestion. The Government considers that the proposal includes some positive changes to modernise the processes and, as currently drafted, will provide an acceptable balance between EU-wide action and national discretion.

Following this, the Council will consider a General Approach on a proposal from the third tranche of the ‘Mobility Package’ to amend the current Directive on road infrastructure safety management (RISM). The current Directive was adopted to ensure that road safety considerations are at the forefront of all phases of the planning, design and operation of road infrastructure and currently applies to roads on the trans-European transport network (TEN-T). The Government considers that the proposed increase in scope to include motorways and ‘primary roads’ is a proportionate expansion of the Directive and is content with the proposal that Member States define the ‘primary roads’ covered by it. The Government believes the proposal strikes a balance that will allow Member States to retain judgment over where the Directive is applied in their own countries, while upholding the shared principles of robust safety inspection and excellence in road design.

There will be a Progress Report on the proposal to amend the Directive on discontinuing seasonal changes of time, which the Government opposes. We have no plans to change Daylight Saving Time within the UK, and feel that the Commission has not provided enough evidence to demonstrate a strong case for changing the existing arrangements.

Afterwards, there will be a Progress Report on the proposal to revise the Regulation on rail passengers’ rights and obligations, aimed at strengthening the rights of rail passengers, including by improving access for people with disabilities or reduced mobility.

Following this, the Council is expected to reach a General Approach on the proposal to amend the Directive on the minimum training of seafarers. These changes will ensure that the legislation is up to date, and will provide the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) with additional time to decide whether to recognise an outside state’s certification. The Government considers the General Approach to be satisfactory on the basis that the amendments are justified and appropriate to ensure that maritime Directives are in line with international norms, and so that EMSA can make appropriately informed decisions.

The Council is also expected to reach a General Approach on another proposal from the third tranche of the ‘Mobility Package’, to revise the current Directive establishing a European Maritime Single Window Environment. This is intended to further harmonise the electronic submission of ship pre-arrival reporting formalities. The Government supports digitisation here as it can provide benefits for business. The UK has engaged constructively in negotiations and has been able to share its existing expertise in many areas. The Government welcomes the proposed General Approach, which is satisfactory.

The Council is expected to reach a partial General Approach on a proposed Regulation on the Connecting Europe Facility. The proposal will move into the next Multiannual Financial Framework with broadly the same funding allocation for transport as the current MFF. The Government supports the value that a well-managed funding programme like the Connecting Europe Facility can bring to transport infrastructure. However, the Regulation will take effect after the UK has left the EU, and the Government is still considering its position on future involvement in the programme.

There will be a Progress Report on a proposal from the third tranche of the ‘Mobility Package’ on the proposed Regulation on streamlining measures for the realisation of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T). The proposal sets out requirements for the administrative procedures to be followed by the competent authorities in Member States in providing approval for projects of common interest on the TEN-T Core Network.

There will be a Progress Report on a proposal from the second tranche of the ‘Mobility Package’ to amend the Directive on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles. The Directive looks to drive the uptake of clean vehicles, including cars, and light and heavy duty vehicles (including vans, trucks and buses).

There will also be a Progress Report on a proposal from the third tranche of the ‘Mobility Package’ for a Regulation on electronic freight transport information. This Regulation is designed to correct a perceived lack of standardisation of acceptance by Member States of electronic freight documents.

The Council will be asked to agree conclusions, which the UK supports, on the potential of Inland Waterway Transport as an environment-friendly transport mode, offering existing capacity to alleviate congestion on roads.

Finally, under Any Other Business, the Presidency will provide information on other current legislative proposals. Additionally, it will report back on the Informal Meeting of Transport and Environment Ministers that took place in Graz on the 29-30 October 2018, followed by an update on ASEAN Negotiations. The Luxembourg delgation will present information on the Social Agenda in Aviation. The Commission will supply information on Sustainable Transport Infrastructure Charging and Internalisation of Transport externalities, and finally, the Romanian delegation will provide information on the Work programme of their forthcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1100
WS
Department for International Trade
Made on: 03 December 2018
Made by: Dr Liam Fox (Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade)
Commons

Update on UK's WTO Membership

I have previously informed the House that in order to fulfil our obligations at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as we leave the European Union we will prepare UK-specific schedules of concessions and commitments. On 19 July I informed the House of the start of the process for certification of the UK schedule for goods. I have today sent to the secretariat of the WTO the UK schedule for services and I will place a copy in the library.

This schedule replicates, as far as possible, our current obligations at the WTO. We see this as a technical exercise for which the WTO’s procedures for rectifications or improvements to schedules provide the appropriate legal mechanism. These procedures include a period for WTO members to raise objections to the proposed schedule, and it is usual for some of them to do so. If objections are raised, we will continue to work with WTO members to resolve any concerns and see the objections withdrawn. The UK can continue to trade on current terms on an uncertified schedule, with no impact on trade flows, as is the case for other countries trading on uncertified schedules.

Presenting our own UK Schedules at the WTO is a necessary part of our leaving the EU. It does not in any way prejudge the outcome of the eventual UK-EU trading arrangements.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1099
WS
Department for International Trade
Made on: 03 December 2018
Made by: Dr Liam Fox (Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade)
Commons

Announcement of a new Prime Minister's Trade Envoy to Argentina

The Prime Minister has appointed Mark Menzies MP as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Argentina. This extends Mark’s current portfolio as Trade Envoy to Chile, Colombia and Peru. This appointment increases the number of markets covered by the Programme to 64, as we look to deepen our relationships across the globe. The Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy programme is an unpaid and voluntary cross-party network, who support the UK’s ambitious trade and investment agenda in global markets.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1098
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 29 November 2018
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Grenfell update

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

Honourable Members will be aware of the on-going Grenfell Tower Inquiry and the harrowing accounts from all those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire. I want to provide the House with an update on the Government’s on-going work in response to the tragedy.

Recovery

Government has committed over £80 million to support the bereaved, survivors and the community following the Grenfell Tower fire. This includes rehousing costs, new mental health services, investment in the Lancaster West Estate, and a community space.

NHS England has also announced that it will provide up to £50 million to fund long term mental and physical health checks and treatment for those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

Grenfell Tower Site

I would like to update the House on progress towards the long term future of the site. The Government has always been committed to working with the community to create a fitting memorial, with the Prime Minister giving her personal commitment that the bereaved, survivors and community will decide what happens to the long term future of the Grenfell Tower site.

As part of this, I made a commitment in August 2018 that the Government would take responsibility for the Grenfell Tower. I would like to update the House on the steps I have taken to put this announcement into effect.

I am pleased to inform the House that the Government will meet the on-going costs of keeping the Tower site safe and secure. This will deliver on my earlier promise to the bereaved, survivors and community that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) will take no role in making decisions regarding the Grenfell Tower site. Once ownership transfers, Government will make operational decisions, such as those on safety, security and access, until the long term future has been determined by the community.

As we work towards responsibility transferring to Government, I want to reassure the House and the community that the independent Site Management team continue to closely monitor and inspect the Tower and are responsible for ensuring that it is safe and secure.

I recognise that sensitive management of the Tower site, working towards a fitting memorial, is of paramount importance to the bereaved, survivors and the local community. The arrangements that I am putting in place will ensure that Grenfell Tower will continue to be managed effectively and sensitively.

In taking responsibility for Grenfell Tower, I will become responsible for decisions about the Tower site. I would, therefore, like to reassure the House and the community about how I intend to approach decision-making: The principles I commit to include that:

  • most importantly, the community will continue to be engaged at each step along the way to a lasting memorial;
  • the health and safety of those living, working and at the school in the local area, as well those working on the site, will continue to take priority;
  • decisions that I take about the Tower site will be evidence based, informed by the advice of public authorities and technical experts; and that,
  • I will consult the Police and the Grenfell Tower Inquiry to ensure that decision-making does not interfere with the path to justice.

The community-led Grenfell Tower Memorial Commission will develop a proposal for what happens to the Grenfell Tower site in the future, and will decide how the memorial site will be owned and managed in the long term. The Minister for Grenfell Victims, the Rt Hon Nick Hurd MP, continues to meet with members of the bereaved, survivors and wider community to discuss the process and the role of community representatives.

Environmental Monitoring

On 26 October 2018 I announced additional environmental checks will be carried out in and around the Grenfell Tower site to reassure the bereaved, survivors and wider community that any environmental risks to public health will be fully assessed and appropriate action taken.

This is an issue that I take very seriously, and my officials have been working closely with RBKC, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Environment Agency, NHS England and Public Health England to plan further environmental sampling of the site, including comprehensive soil analysis to check for any signs of contamination.

The new soil testing programme will take place alongside existing air quality monitoring which has been in place since the fire. So far, the monitoring has consistently shown the risk to people’s health from air pollution around the Grenfell Tower site to be low. Public Health England will continue to monitor this and publish the results on a weekly basis - alongside an explanation of the data in terms of potential impacts on health, at the following weblink: www.gov.uk/government/publications/environmental-monitoring-following-the-grenfell-tower-fire.

An expert multi-agency group which includes the Environment Agency, Public Health England, RBKC and NHS England has been set up to make sure soil surveying around Grenfell Tower is comprehensive and that analysis will be provided to the public. The Minister for Grenfell Victims, the Rt Hon Nick Hurd MP recently chaired the first meeting of this group. As a result we have started procuring the relevant expertise and will appoint independent environmental specialists from a network of leading experts. Their work will be overseen by the multi-agency group.

Once selected, the specialists will proactively engage the community on the design and implementation of the testing process. This will take place in the new year.

Both the Government and the NHS share a resolute commitment to support all those affected by the fire. The NHS has run health drop-in events within the local area for those who are concerned about their health.

The Minister for Grenfell Victims, the Rt Hon Nick Hurd MP, and I are also committed to engaging local residents with the investigation process from start to finish and consultation workshops will begin in January, to inform the scope and locations of the main site investigation and sampling.

Rehousing

The Government remains committed to ensuring all survivors are permanently rehoused as quickly as possible.

Since my last update to the House in July, based on data provided by RBKC as of 26 November, 44 more households have moved into permanent accommodation bringing the total to 149; and the number of households living in hotels has reduced by 23 to 15. Out of 203 households, there are currently 26 households living in good quality temporary accommodation, 12 in serviced apartments and 1 staying with family and friends. Every household has had an offer of permanent or temporary accommodation, and 201 households (99%) have accepted an offer. 194 of these households have accepted permanent homes, of which 149 have now moved in.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council continues its efforts to rehouse those who lost their homes in the fire, and improved progress has been made. Whilst I recognise the complexities involved, the overall pace of rehousing has been too slow, and there remains a small number of households in hotels as we approach 18 months after the fire. I expect the Council to do everything possible to speed up the rehousing process and ensure that the remaining survivors are permanently rehoused as quickly as possible.

It is important that the bereaved, survivors and wider community continue to be supported. My department will continue to work closely with RBKC to this end. I would like to express my thanks to all those involved in supporting the survivors throughout this difficult process.

Building Safety

As well as the work set out above that the Government has done with its partners in respect of the recovery, we are determined to learn the lessons from the Grenfell Tower fire and bring about a fundamental change to ensure that residents of high-rise buildings are safe and feel safe. That is why we have set in train a programme of work to deliver that change by addressing the issues raised by Dame Judith Hackitt in her Independent review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety.

Ban on the use of combustible materials

We recognised the strength of feeling on combustible cladding and having consulted, announced a clear ban on the use of combustible materials on the external walls of new buildings over 18m containing flats, as well as new hospitals, residential care premises, dormitories in boarding schools and student accommodation over 18m. Today regulations have been laid to give legal effect to the ban. As part of wider work on fire safety across government, I will work with the Education Secretary to join up our reviews of fire safety guidance. I also welcome the Department for Education’s commitment to ensuring schools over 18m built as part of their centrally delivered build programmes will not use combustible materials, in line with the terms of the ban, in the external wall.

Remediation

As of 31 October 2018, 289 private sector high-rise residential buildings have been identified as having unsafe Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding. We have made good progress in getting remediation completed (in 19 cases); started (in 21 cases); and with plans in place for 98 buildings. These numbers continue to increase, but we are taking decisive action to deal with the remaining buildings where owners are not fulfilling their responsibility to remediate unsafe ACM cladding. That is why, as part of our strong commitment to ensuring that residents of high rise residential buildings are safe and that they feel safe, I am announcing measures to support local authorities to take action where remediation plans are not clear.

I am laying an addendum to the Housing Health and Safety Rating System operating guidance. This addendum provides specific guidance on the assessment of high-rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding. This will help local authorities to make robust hazard assessments and boost their ability to take decisive enforcement action.

Alongside this the Joint Inspection Team, hosted by the Local Government Association, will provide support to local authorities in their assessments and give them confidence to take enforcement action.

I am also writing to local authorities with buildings where the owner refuses to remediate unsafe ACM cladding, to offer them our full support to take enforcement action. This will include financial support where this is necessary for the local authority to carry out emergency remedial work. Where financial support is provided, local authorities will recover the costs from the building owner.

I am determined that building owners will not evade their responsibilities and that local authorities will have all the support they need to ensure that all high-rise buildings with unsafe ACM cladding are made permanently safe for the people who live in them.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1126
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 29 November 2018
Made by: James Brokenshire (Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Grenfell update

Honourable Members will be aware of the on-going Grenfell Tower Inquiry and the harrowing accounts from all those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire. I want to provide the House with an update on the Government’s on-going work in response to the tragedy.

Recovery

Government has committed over £80 million to support the bereaved, survivors and the community following the Grenfell Tower fire. This includes rehousing costs, new mental health services, investment in the Lancaster West Estate, and a community space.

NHS England has also announced that it will provide up to £50 million to fund long term mental and physical health checks and treatment for those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

Grenfell Tower Site

I would like to update the House on progress towards the long term future of the site. The Government has always been committed to working with the community to create a fitting memorial, with the Prime Minister giving her personal commitment that the bereaved, survivors and community will decide what happens to the long term future of the Grenfell Tower site.

As part of this, I made a commitment in August 2018 that the Government would take responsibility for the Grenfell Tower. I would like to update the House on the steps I have taken to put this announcement into effect.

I am pleased to inform the House that the Government will meet the on-going costs of keeping the Tower site safe and secure. This will deliver on my earlier promise to the bereaved, survivors and community that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) will take no role in making decisions regarding the Grenfell Tower site. Once ownership transfers, Government will make operational decisions, such as those on safety, security and access, until the long term future has been determined by the community.

As we work towards responsibility transferring to Government, I want to reassure the House and the community that the independent Site Management team continue to closely monitor and inspect the Tower and are responsible for ensuring that it is safe and secure.

I recognise that sensitive management of the Tower site, working towards a fitting memorial, is of paramount importance to the bereaved, survivors and the local community. The arrangements that I am putting in place will ensure that Grenfell Tower will continue to be managed effectively and sensitively.

In taking responsibility for Grenfell Tower, I will become responsible for decisions about the Tower site. I would, therefore, like to reassure the House and the community about how I intend to approach decision-making: The principles I commit to include that:

  • most importantly, the community will continue to be engaged at each step along the way to a lasting memorial;
  • the health and safety of those living, working and at the school in the local area, as well those working on the site, will continue to take priority;
  • decisions that I take about the Tower site will be evidence based, informed by the advice of public authorities and technical experts; and that,
  • I will consult the Police and the Grenfell Tower Inquiry to ensure that decision-making does not interfere with the path to justice.

The community-led Grenfell Tower Memorial Commission will develop a proposal for what happens to the Grenfell Tower site in the future, and will decide how the memorial site will be owned and managed in the long term. The Minister for Grenfell Victims, the Rt Hon Nick Hurd MP, continues to meet with members of the bereaved, survivors and wider community to discuss the process and the role of community representatives.

Environmental Monitoring

On 26 October 2018 I announced additional environmental checks will be carried out in and around the Grenfell Tower site to reassure the bereaved, survivors and wider community that any environmental risks to public health will be fully assessed and appropriate action taken.

This is an issue that I take very seriously, and my officials have been working closely with RBKC, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Environment Agency, NHS England and Public Health England to plan further environmental sampling of the site, including comprehensive soil analysis to check for any signs of contamination.

The new soil testing programme will take place alongside existing air quality monitoring which has been in place since the fire. So far, the monitoring has consistently shown the risk to people’s health from air pollution around the Grenfell Tower site to be low. Public Health England will continue to monitor this and publish the results on a weekly basis - alongside an explanation of the data in terms of potential impacts on health, at the following weblink: www.gov.uk/government/publications/environmental-monitoring-following-the-grenfell-tower-fire.

An expert multi-agency group which includes the Environment Agency, Public Health England, RBKC and NHS England has been set up to make sure soil surveying around Grenfell Tower is comprehensive and that analysis will be provided to the public. The Minister for Grenfell Victims, the Rt Hon Nick Hurd MP recently chaired the first meeting of this group. As a result we have started procuring the relevant expertise and will appoint independent environmental specialists from a network of leading experts. Their work will be overseen by the multi-agency group.

Once selected, the specialists will proactively engage the community on the design and implementation of the testing process. This will take place in the new year.

Both the Government and the NHS share a resolute commitment to support all those affected by the fire. The NHS has run health drop-in events within the local area for those who are concerned about their health.

The Minister for Grenfell Victims, the Rt Hon Nick Hurd MP, and I are also committed to engaging local residents with the investigation process from start to finish and consultation workshops will begin in January, to inform the scope and locations of the main site investigation and sampling.

Rehousing

The Government remains committed to ensuring all survivors are permanently rehoused as quickly as possible.

Since my last update to the House in July, based on data provided by RBKC as of 26 November, 44 more households have moved into permanent accommodation bringing the total to 149; and the number of households living in hotels has reduced by 23 to 15. Out of 203 households, there are currently 26 households living in good quality temporary accommodation, 12 in serviced apartments and 1 staying with family and friends. Every household has had an offer of permanent or temporary accommodation, and 201 households (99%) have accepted an offer. 194 of these households have accepted permanent homes, of which 149 have now moved in.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council continues its efforts to rehouse those who lost their homes in the fire, and improved progress has been made. Whilst I recognise the complexities involved, the overall pace of rehousing has been too slow, and there remains a small number of households in hotels as we approach 18 months after the fire. I expect the Council to do everything possible to speed up the rehousing process and ensure that the remaining survivors are permanently rehoused as quickly as possible.

It is important that the bereaved, survivors and wider community continue to be supported. My department will continue to work closely with RBKC to this end. I would like to express my thanks to all those involved in supporting the survivors throughout this difficult process.

Building Safety

As well as the work set out above that the Government has done with its partners in respect of the recovery, we are determined to learn the lessons from the Grenfell Tower fire and bring about a fundamental change to ensure that residents of high-rise buildings are safe and feel safe. That is why we have set in train a programme of work to deliver that change by addressing the issues raised by Dame Judith Hackitt in her Independent review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety.

Ban on the use of combustible materials

We recognised the strength of feeling on combustible cladding and having consulted, announced a clear ban on the use of combustible materials on the external walls of new buildings over 18m containing flats, as well as new hospitals, residential care premises, dormitories in boarding schools and student accommodation over 18m. Today regulations have been laid to give legal effect to the ban. As part of wider work on fire safety across government, I will work with the Education Secretary to join up our reviews of fire safety guidance. I also welcome the Department for Education’s commitment to ensuring schools over 18m built as part of their centrally delivered build programmes will not use combustible materials, in line with the terms of the ban, in the external wall.

Remediation

As of 31 October 2018, 289 private sector high-rise residential buildings have been identified as having unsafe Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding. We have made good progress in getting remediation completed (in 19 cases); started (in 21 cases); and with plans in place for 98 buildings. These numbers continue to increase, but we are taking decisive action to deal with the remaining buildings where owners are not fulfilling their responsibility to remediate unsafe ACM cladding. That is why, as part of our strong commitment to ensuring that residents of high rise residential buildings are safe and that they feel safe, I am announcing measures to support local authorities to take action where remediation plans are not clear.

I am laying an addendum to the Housing Health and Safety Rating System operating guidance. This addendum provides specific guidance on the assessment of high-rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding. This will help local authorities to make robust hazard assessments and boost their ability to take decisive enforcement action.

Alongside this the Joint Inspection Team, hosted by the Local Government Association, will provide support to local authorities in their assessments and give them confidence to take enforcement action.

I am also writing to local authorities with buildings where the owner refuses to remediate unsafe ACM cladding, to offer them our full support to take enforcement action. This will include financial support where this is necessary for the local authority to carry out emergency remedial work. Where financial support is provided, local authorities will recover the costs from the building owner.

I am determined that building owners will not evade their responsibilities and that local authorities will have all the support they need to ensure that all high-rise buildings with unsafe ACM cladding are made permanently safe for the people who live in them.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1097
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