Written statements

Government Ministers and a small number of other Members of the two Houses can make a written statement to one or both Houses.

Written statements are published below shortly after receipt in Parliament. They also reproduced in the next edition of the Daily Report and of Hansard in the relevant House.

Written statements made before 17 November 2014 were published only in Hansard:

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WS
Home Office
Made on: 30 October 2018
Made by: Victoria Atkins (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability)
Commons

Ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) – 2018 Report on Progress

I have today laid before Parliament and published the second annual report on progress toward ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (the “Istanbul Convention”). The UK signed the Istanbul Convention in 2012 to reaffirm the UK’s strong commitment to tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) and this Government remains fully committed to ratifying the Convention.
The report is structured in line with the Istanbul Convention’s key objectives and sets out the steps taken by the Government and the Devolved Administrations toward ratification of Convention, and measures taken forward since the 2017 Report on Progress.

We are continuing to step up our efforts to combat VAWG. We will refresh the cross-Government VAWG Strategy later this session to ensure that we are doing all that we can to tackle those crimes that disproportionately affect women. The refresh will reaffirm the Government’s commitment to addressing VAWG in all its forms, capture new programmes of work, including the forthcoming draft Domestic Abuse Bill, and provide an update on the delivery of existing actions.

In most respects the UK already complies with or goes further than the Convention requires. As the 2017 Report on Progress set out, since signing the Convention in 2012 we have strengthened the law, introduced new protective tools, and issued a range of guidance and support for frontline professionals. But we know there is more to do. That is why in March this year, we launched our ‘transforming the response to domestic abuse’ consultation on what more we can do to protect and support victims, recognise the life-long impact domestic abuse can have on children and make sure agencies effectively respond to domestic abuse. As part of this, we have consulted widely with partners on the legislative and non-legislative steps we can take to ensure victims are afforded the greatest possible protection.

We will be publishing a Government response and a landmark draft Domestic Abuse Bill in due course. The draft Bill will include the provisions on extra-territorial jurisdiction over the specific offences necessarily for compliance with the Convention in England and Wales.

The publication of this report fulfils the requirement of section 2 of the Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Act 2017. I will be updating Parliament on progress in due course.

Copies of the report will be available in the Vote Office and it will be published on the Government’s website at GOV.uk.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1018
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 29 October 2018
Made by: Kelly Tolhurst (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility)
Commons

Business update

I am writing to inform the House that the Government is pleased to accept all the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations for the new National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates, which will come into force in April 2019.

The Low Pay Commission is an internationally renowned independent and expert body which conducts extensive analysis and stakeholder research to make its recommendations.

The Low Pay Commission has recommended that:

  • The National Living Wage (for workers aged 25 and over) should increase from £7.83 to £8.21;

  • The rate for 21 to 24-year-olds should increase from £7.38 to £7.70;

  • The rate for 18 to 20-year-olds should increase from £5.90 to £6.15;​

  • The rate for 16 to 17-year-olds should increase from £4.20 to £4.35; and

  • The apprentice rate (for apprentices aged under 19 or in the first year of their apprenticeship) should increase from £3.70 to £3.90 .

  • The Low Pay Commission has also recommended that the accommodation offset increases from the current rate of £7.00 to £7.55 from 1 April 2019.

    We welcome the Low Pay Commission’s recommendation of an increase to the National Living Wage rate such that it remains on path to reach 60% of median earnings by 2020 subject to sustained economic growth.

    The new National Living Wage rate of £8.21 will be the highest ever UK minimum wage and benefit around 2.4 million workers.[1] From April 2019, a full-time minimum wage worker will see their earnings increase by over £2,750 over the course of the year, compared to when the NLW was introduced in in April 2016.

    The Low Pay Commission’s recommendations for the National Minimum Wage youth rates are well ahead of forecast inflation.

    These increases are due to come into effect from April 2019, subject to parliamentary approval. The Government intends to lay implementing regulations before Parliament in due course.

    A copy of the response will be available from the BEIS website at www.beis.gov.uk

[1] Details to be provided in the Low Pay Commission’s upcoming 2018 report

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1016
WS
Lord Speaker
Made on: 29 October 2018
Made by: Lord Fowler (The Lord Speaker)
Lords

Parliamentary privilege

I would like to make a short statement about parliamentary privilege in the light of representations I have received. A robust and healthy democracy such as ours rests upon a number of common and shared features. Two of the most important are the freedom for members of the legislature to speak freely, without repercussion and respect by the legislature for the independence of the courts and the rule of law. As we know, this is not the case everywhere in the world. The relationship between these two should not be one of conflict but one of mutual respect. As parliamentarians we should be keen to respect the proper business of the courts, just as we expect the courts to respect the authority of Parliament. In particular, we should be careful that in exercising our undoubted right to free speech in Parliament we do not set ourselves in conflict with the courts or seek to supplant them.

WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 29 October 2018
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

Business update

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

I am writing to inform the House that the Government is pleased to accept all the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations for the new National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates, which will come into force in April 2019.

The Low Pay Commission is an internationally renowned independent and expert body which conducts extensive analysis and stakeholder research to make its recommendations.

The Low Pay Commission has recommended that:

  • The National Living Wage (for workers aged 25 and over) should increase from £7.83 to £8.21;

  • The rate for 21 to 24-year-olds should increase from £7.38 to £7.70;

  • The rate for 18 to 20-year-olds should increase from £5.90 to £6.15;​

  • The rate for 16 to 17-year-olds should increase from £4.20 to £4.35; and

  • The apprentice rate (for apprentices aged under 19 or in the first year of their apprenticeship) should increase from £3.70 to £3.90 .

  • The Low Pay Commission has also recommended that the accommodation offset increases from the current rate of £7.00 to £7.55 from 1 April 2019.

    We welcome the Low Pay Commission’s recommendation of an increase to the National Living Wage rate such that it remains on path to reach 60% of median earnings by 2020 subject to sustained economic growth.

    The new National Living Wage rate of £8.21 will be the highest ever UK minimum wage and benefit around 2.4 million workers.[1] From April 2019, a full-time minimum wage worker will see their earnings increase by over £2,750 over the course of the year, compared to when the NLW was introduced in in April 2016.

    The Low Pay Commission’s recommendations for the National Minimum Wage youth rates are well ahead of forecast inflation.

    These increases are due to come into effect from April 2019, subject to parliamentary approval. The Government intends to lay implementing regulations before Parliament in due course.

    A copy of the response will be available from the BEIS website at www.beis.gov.uk

[1] Details to be provided in the Low Pay Commission’s upcoming 2018 report

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1047
WS
Department for International Trade
Made on: 26 October 2018
Made by: Baroness Fairhead (Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion)
Lords

Trade Remedies Authority

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

This Government is committed to establishing the new UK Trade Remedies Authority (TRA), which will be responsible for providing a safety net to domestic industries after the UK has left the EU.

We have made significant progress so far. The Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Act 2018, which sets out the trade remedies framework that the TRA will be responsible for delivering, received Royal Assent on 13 September 2018. In parallel, we are in the process of establishing the TRA as a non-departmental public body through the Trade Bill.

The UK is a strong supporter of free trade. But this does not mean trade without rules. Trade remedy measures support free trade by ensuring it is also based on rules, in accordance with the UK’s international obligations to the World Trade Organisation and our traditions.

We cannot risk leaving UK industry unprotected against these unfair trading practices. That is why it is in our national interest to ensure the TRA is established and appropriately staffed in case we do not negotiate a deal prior to the UK’s departure from the European Union.

I hope all opposition parties in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords will give support to the Trade Bill to ensure that no UK industries, or parts of the UK, are at risk of being left unprotected. On 29 March 2018, the Department secured a technical Ministerial Direction to authorise spending on the implementation of the TRA prior to Royal Assent for the Trade Bill, in line with the guidance issued by the Permanent Secretaries of HM Treasury and the Department for Exiting the European Union as well as the Written Ministerial Statement from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury in October 2017.

We have been focused on ensuring that the TRA has the right leadership in place from the start. That is why I am pleased to announce that Sir David Wright, the UK’s former ambassador to both the Republic of Korea and Japan, has been appointed to DIT as TRA Chair Designate. Sir David presents an outstanding profile in international and bilateral trade policy, having served as the first Chief Executive of British Trade International, which later became UK Trade and Investment. He also served as Vice-Chairman of Barclays Capital from 2003 to 2010, and then subsequently as Vice-Chairman of Barclays PLC until his final role as Senior Advisor from 2016 to 2018. Today he is Global Advisor of SMFG, Chairman of Skarbek and Chairman of TheCityUK’s Japan Market Advisory Group.. I am confident that Sir David’s unique experience in international trade, diplomacy and non-executive roles make him the ideal candidate.

Sir David will initially be appointed to DIT as TRA Chair Designate until the Trade Bill receives Royal Assent and the TRA is legally established – which is, of course, subject to the will of Parliament. Once this has taken place, it is my intention that Sir David be formally appointed as TRA Chair. The total length of Sir David’s term – across both roles – will be three years.

I can also announce that Claire Bassett has been recruited to DIT as TRA Chief Executive Designate. Claire offers extensive public body leadership experience, having most recently served as Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission. Prior to that, she has been Chief Executive of the Parole Board for England and Wales and the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Once the TRA has been legally established, the TRA Chair will be responsible for making a final decision on the appointment of a TRA Chief Executive, subject to my approval. This is consistent with the appointment powers set out in the Trade Bill.

I am also pleased to say that the future TRA’s wider senior leadership team has also now been recruited to DIT – including its Chief Economist, Chief Operating Officer, General Counsel and Joint Chief Investigators. It is our intention that they will be transferred to the TRA once it has been legally established.

Sir David, Claire and the senior leadership team will join the Department’s ‘shadow’ TRA function in its Reading office premises in Northgate House, in the near future. Located in the heart of Reading, Northgate House offers excellent transport links and will enable the TRA to serve the whole of the UK effectively. Reading has one of the highest concentrations of relevant skills in the country and this is in addition to having access to Reading’s university and leading businesses. By securing these office premises now, we have ensured that future TRA staff have a location in which to be properly trained in preparation for the UK’s exit from the EU and the TRA being legally established through Royal Assent of the Trade Bill.

WS
Department for International Trade
Made on: 26 October 2018
Made by: Dr Liam Fox (Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade)
Commons

Trade Remedies Authority

This Government is committed to establishing the new UK Trade Remedies Authority (TRA), which will be responsible for providing a safety net to domestic industries after the UK has left the EU.

We have made significant progress so far. The Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Act 2018, which sets out the trade remedies framework that the TRA will be responsible for delivering, received Royal Assent on 13 September 2018. In parallel, we are in the process of establishing the TRA as a non-departmental public body through the Trade Bill.

The UK is a strong supporter of free trade. But this does not mean trade without rules. Trade remedy measures support free trade by ensuring it is also based on rules, in accordance with the UK’s international obligations to the World Trade Organisation and our traditions.

We cannot risk leaving UK industry unprotected against these unfair trading practices. That is why it is in our national interest to ensure the TRA is established and appropriately staffed in case we do not negotiate a deal prior to the UK’s departure from the European Union.

I hope all opposition parties in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords will give support to the Trade Bill to ensure that no UK industries, or parts of the UK, are at risk of being left unprotected. On 29 March 2018, the Department secured a technical Ministerial Direction to authorise spending on the implementation of the TRA prior to Royal Assent for the Trade Bill, in line with the guidance issued by the Permanent Secretaries of HM Treasury and the Department for Exiting the European Union as well as the Written Ministerial Statement from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury in October 2017.

We have been focused on ensuring that the TRA has the right leadership in place from the start. That is why I am pleased to announce that Sir David Wright, the UK’s former ambassador to both the Republic of Korea and Japan, has been appointed to DIT as TRA Chair Designate. Sir David presents an outstanding profile in international and bilateral trade policy, having served as the first Chief Executive of British Trade International, which later became UK Trade and Investment. He also served as Vice-Chairman of Barclays Capital from 2003 to 2010, and then subsequently as Vice-Chairman of Barclays PLC until his final role as Senior Advisor from 2016 to 2018. Today he is Global Advisor of SMFG, Chairman of Skarbek and Chairman of TheCityUK’s Japan Market Advisory Group.. I am confident that Sir David’s unique experience in international trade, diplomacy and non-executive roles make him the ideal candidate.

Sir David will initially be appointed to DIT as TRA Chair Designate until the Trade Bill receives Royal Assent and the TRA is legally established – which is, of course, subject to the will of Parliament. Once this has taken place, it is my intention that Sir David be formally appointed as TRA Chair. The total length of Sir David’s term – across both roles – will be three years.

I can also announce that Claire Bassett has been recruited to DIT as TRA Chief Executive Designate. Claire offers extensive public body leadership experience, having most recently served as Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission. Prior to that, she has been Chief Executive of the Parole Board for England and Wales and the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Once the TRA has been legally established, the TRA Chair will be responsible for making a final decision on the appointment of a TRA Chief Executive, subject to my approval. This is consistent with the appointment powers set out in the Trade Bill.

I am also pleased to say that the future TRA’s wider senior leadership team has also now been recruited to DIT – including its Chief Economist, Chief Operating Officer, General Counsel and Joint Chief Investigators. It is our intention that they will be transferred to the TRA once it has been legally established.

Sir David, Claire and the senior leadership team will join the Department’s ‘shadow’ TRA function in its Reading office premises in Northgate House, in the near future. Located in the heart of Reading, Northgate House offers excellent transport links and will enable the TRA to serve the whole of the UK effectively. Reading has one of the highest concentrations of relevant skills in the country and this is in addition to having access to Reading’s university and leading businesses. By securing these office premises now, we have ensured that future TRA staff have a location in which to be properly trained in preparation for the UK’s exit from the EU and the TRA being legally established through Royal Assent of the Trade Bill.

WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 26 October 2018
Made by: Baroness Sugg (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Lords

Crossrail Update

My Honourable Friend, the Minister of State for Transport (Jo Johnson) has made the following Ministerial Statement:

On 31 August 2018, Crossrail Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL), announced a delay to the planned opening of the Elizabeth line.

Discussions between TfL and Government are underway as to how any additional funding will be provided, with London - as the primary beneficiary of Crossrail – bearing any additional costs via a financing arrangement.

TfL and the Department for Transport have commissioned an independent review of Crossrail’s governance and a separate review on Crossrail’s finance and commercial position.

Today, as an interim measure, we are announcing that £350m of short term repayable financing will be made available to the Mayor for the year 2018/19. This will ensure that full momentum is maintained behind Crossrail.

This project is already delivering benefits for the whole of the UK through its cross-country supply chain and its UK built train fleet. When open, Crossrail will be transformative and carry up to 200 million passengers a year, delivering £42 billion of investment into the UK economy.

A further update will be provided once the discussions on the financing arrangements have concluded.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1043
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 26 October 2018
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Housing 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:

I am today publishing a consultation on updates to national planning policy and guidance. This consultation proposes changes to the standard method for calculating local housing need, to ensure consistency with the objective of delivering 300,000 homes per year, on average by the mid-2020s whilst providing the clarity that communities need. The consultation also proposes clarifications of national planning policy on housing land supply, the definition of deliverable sites and appropriate assessment for habitats sites.

Our reforms are enabling local planning authorities to plan for the right homes in the right places, in a way that is open, transparent and sustainable for local communities. A key part of this is a standard method for assessing housing need. This has been introduced to ensure a consistent starting point when understanding how many homes are needed in each local area.

Recent changes to one of the statistical datasets the standard method relies on has led to confusion and uncertainty in some areas about how many homes are needed. This consultation therefore proposes changes to the standard method to ensure consistency with the objective of building more homes, whilst ensuring local authorities have the clarity they need to produce local plans.

This consultation is open until 7 December, and I will inform the House of the outcome of the consultation as appropriate.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1044
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 26 October 2018
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (The Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Justice update

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

"The Supplement to the Fortieth Annual Report on Senior Salaries 2018 is published today. The supplement follows the Senior Salaries Review Body’s (SSRB) Annual and Major Reviews of judicial pay. Copies are available from the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office. I am grateful to the chairman and members of the Review Body for their work in undertaking these reviews.

The Government values the vital role played by the judiciary. Our judges are the envy of the world. They deservedly have the very highest reputation for integrity and independence. They deliver justice every day in courts and tribunals across the land without fear or favour, and in doing so uphold the rule of law on which our society is founded. Beyond that fundamental role, the quality and dependability of our judiciary is a critical part of making the UK an attractive place to settle disputes, and English law a pre-eminent choice for contracts.

I am pleased therefore to confirm today that members of the judiciary will receive a pay increase of 2% in 2018/19, which is the biggest pay rise for judges in nearly 10 years. This award will be backdated to April 2018.

In reaching our final position for the 2018/19 pay award, the Government has had to balance the need for affordability for the tax payer and future sustainability of public services whilst ensuring that pay awards are fair and consistent across the public sector. Therefore, the Government has not accepted in full the SSRB’s recommended increase of 2.5%.

The SSRB has also, at the Government’s request, conducted a Major Review of the judicial salary structure. This is a comprehensive assessment of the appropriate structure and levels of judicial pay for the future, taking into account the need to recruit and retain judicial office holders of the highest calibre.

In its Major Review report, which I am also publishing today, the SSRB highlight evidence of a growing recruitment problem at certain key levels within the judiciary – notably at High Court and Circuit Bench level. The SSRB conclude that these problems are principally occurring because the reward package has become much less attractive to potential applicants, and highlight in particular the impact of recent pensions changes on judicial reward.

The SSRB have made a series of recommendations, including that varying levels of pay increase are made across different salary groups, with the biggest increases recommended for those judges in salary groups where there is evidence of a recruitment problem and who are in the new Judicial Pension Scheme 2015.

The Government takes very seriously the threat that being unable to fill key judicial posts represents to the proper functioning of justice and the UK’s wider prosperity. We are now carefully considering what changes might be made to the judicial remuneration package to address the particular issues highlighted by the SSRB’s Major Review.

The Government will also be considering the SSRB’s recommendations on changes to the current judicial salary structure and their proposals for new pay supplements for those judges who undertake extra leadership responsibilities. I can also confirm that the Government will honour its commitment to maintain the recruitment and retention allowance currently paid to eligible High Court Judges until it has responded to the Major Review.

This Government remains committed to ensuring our courts and tribunals system is as efficient as possible. Through our Reform Programme we have already taken important steps towards enabling judges to make the best possible use of their time, and I will continue to work towards this objective in partnership with the Lord Chief Justice and Senior President of Tribunals.

I will make a further statement to the House when I am in a position to set out in full the Government’s response to the Major Review."

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1045
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 26 October 2018
Made by: Mr David Gauke (The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice)
Commons

Justice update

The Supplement to the Fortieth Annual Report on Senior Salaries 2018 is published today. The supplement follows the Senior Salaries Review Body’s (SSRB) Annual and Major Reviews of judicial pay. Copies are available from the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office. I am grateful to the chairman and members of the Review Body for their work in undertaking these reviews.

The Government values the vital role played by the judiciary. Our judges are the envy of the world. They deservedly have the very highest reputation for integrity and independence. They deliver justice every day in courts and tribunals across the land without fear or favour, and in doing so uphold the rule of law on which our society is founded. Beyond that fundamental role, the quality and dependability of our judiciary is a critical part of making the UK an attractive place to settle disputes, and English law a pre-eminent choice for contracts.

I am pleased therefore to confirm today that members of the judiciary will receive a pay increase of 2% in 2018/19, which is the biggest pay rise for judges in nearly 10 years. This award will be backdated to April 2018.

In reaching our final position for the 2018/19 pay award, the Government has had to balance the need for affordability for the tax payer and future sustainability of public services whilst ensuring that pay awards are fair and consistent across the public sector. Therefore, the Government has not accepted in full the SSRB’s recommended increase of 2.5%.

The SSRB has also, at the Government’s request, conducted a Major Review of the judicial salary structure. This is a comprehensive assessment of the appropriate structure and levels of judicial pay for the future, taking into account the need to recruit and retain judicial office holders of the highest calibre.

In its Major Review report, which I am also publishing today, the SSRB highlight evidence of a growing recruitment problem at certain key levels within the judiciary – notably at High Court and Circuit Bench level. The SSRB conclude that these problems are principally occurring because the reward package has become much less attractive to potential applicants, and highlight in particular the impact of recent pensions changes on judicial reward.

The SSRB have made a series of recommendations, including that varying levels of pay increase are made across different salary groups, with the biggest increases recommended for those judges in salary groups where there is evidence of a recruitment problem and who are in the new Judicial Pension Scheme 2015.

The Government takes very seriously the threat that being unable to fill key judicial posts represents to the proper functioning of justice and the UK’s wider prosperity. We are now carefully considering what changes might be made to the judicial remuneration package to address the particular issues highlighted by the SSRB’s Major Review.

The Government will also be considering the SSRB’s recommendations on changes to the current judicial salary structure and their proposals for new pay supplements for those judges who undertake extra leadership responsibilities. I can also confirm that the Government will honour its commitment to maintain the recruitment and retention allowance currently paid to eligible High Court Judges until it has responded to the Major Review.

This Government remains committed to ensuring our courts and tribunals system is as efficient as possible. Through our Reform Programme we have already taken important steps towards enabling judges to make the best possible use of their time, and I will continue to work towards this objective in partnership with the Lord Chief Justice and Senior President of Tribunals.

I will make a further statement to the House when I am in a position to set out in full the Government’s response to the Major Review.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1012
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 26 October 2018
Made by: James Brokenshire (Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Housing update

I am today publishing a consultation on updates to national planning policy and guidance. This consultation proposes changes to the standard method for calculating local housing need, to ensure consistency with the objective of delivering 300,000 homes per year, on average by the mid-2020s whilst providing the clarity that communities need. The consultation also proposes clarifications of national planning policy on housing land supply, the definition of deliverable sites and appropriate assessment for habitats sites.

Our reforms are enabling local planning authorities to plan for the right homes in the right places, in a way that is open, transparent and sustainable for local communities. A key part of this is a standard method for assessing housing need. This has been introduced to ensure a consistent starting point when understanding how many homes are needed in each local area.

Recent changes to one of the statistical datasets the standard method relies on has led to confusion and uncertainty in some areas about how many homes are needed. This consultation therefore proposes changes to the standard method to ensure consistency with the objective of building more homes, whilst ensuring local authorities have the clarity they need to produce local plans.

This consultation is open until 7 December, and I will inform the House of the outcome of the consultation as appropriate.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1013
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 26 October 2018
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Lords

Foreign Affairs Council – 15 October 2018

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

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) on 15 October. It was chaired by the High Representative and Vice President of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP), Federica Mogherini. The meeting was held in Luxembourg.

Current Affairs

Ministers discussed current affairs issues including the Jamal Khashoggi case on which they agreed the need for a full and transparent investigation by the Saudi authorities in complete cooperation with the Turkish authorities. My Right Honourable Friend welcomed the new chemical weapons sanctions regime and EU solidarity since the Salisbury attack. He noted the attack on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and called for new sanctions regimes to address cyber and human rights abuses. He also spoke about Burma and the UN fact-finding mission.


Libya

The discussion on Libya focused on the political process, the stability of the country, and the economic situation. Ministers reiterated the EU's support for the political process led by the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General's Special Representative, Ghassan Salamé. The Council confirmed the EU's determination to support a Libyan-led solution for the Libyan people under UN auspices.

The discussions also considered the forthcoming high-level meeting on Libya that will take place in Palermo, Italy on 12-13 November 2018. The Council underlined the importance of holding both presidential and parliamentary elections as soon as possible, and the need to put in place a proper constitutional and legal framework before the elections take place.

External aspects of migration

The Director-General of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), António Vitorino and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi briefed Ministers during this session. Ministers took stock of progress and recent developments, and underlined the importance of the strategic partnership between the EU, the IOM and the UNHCR in Libya. The Council emphasised the significant results delivered through the joint efforts of the EU, its Member States and UN agencies. Irregular migration flows to Europe have significantly decreased, and efforts to tackle irregular migration and to fight smuggling networks have been considerably strengthened, in particular through Operation Sophia.

Central African Republic

The Council discussed and adopted conclusions on the Central African Republic (CAR). The conclusions underlined that the situation in the CAR remained fragile and the EU continued to engage in supporting the country. The conclusions also stated that the EU would continue working, through its various instruments, to support the CAR to achieve stability, peace and development and to meet the aspirations of its entire population for lasting peace and reconciliation.

Venezuela

Ministers discussed the situation in Venezuela, its impact on the region, including on migration. Ministers reaffirmed the EU's strong position on the political crisis in Venezuela. They agreed that the crisis could only be solved through a political process and to explore the possibility of establishing a contact group that could, if conditions were met, help to facilitate such a process.

The Council agreed a number of measures without discussion:
The Council adopted a new regime of restrictive measures to address the use and proliferation of chemical weapons;
The Council adopted conclusions on “Connecting Europe and Asia – Building blocks for an EU strategy”;
The Council adopted conclusions on Bosnia and Herzegovina/Operation EUFOR Althea;
The Council decided to extend the EU stabilisation action in Mopti and Ségou (EUSTAMS) for a period of three months;
The Council extended the EU restrictive measures against ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaeda and persons, groups, undertakings and entities associated with them until 31 October 2019;
The Council adopted new rules of procedures for the Joint Committee established by the EU-Vietnam Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation;
The Council agreed the signing, on behalf of the EU, of a protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the EU and Tunisia or order to take account of the accession of Croatia to the EU;
The Council adopted the EU programme of exercises and exercise-related activities under the Common Foreign and Security Policy for the period 2018-22;
The Council extended the mandate of the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) Iraq until 17 April 2020;
The Council adopted a recommendation providing detailed guidance on the objectives and progress indicators for the fulfilment by each participating Member State of the more binding commitments that have been undertaken when the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) was launched at the end of 2017;
The Council approved the High Representative’s report on the operation commander’s 28th six monthly report on Operation EUFOR Althea;
The Council adopted a regulation on the research and training programme of the European Atomic Energy Community for the years 2019 and 2020;
The Council approved a joint statement for the occasion of the second Arctic Science Ministerial meeting that will take place in Berlin on 25 and 26 October 2018.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1042
WS
Women and Equalities
Made on: 26 October 2018
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (Minister for Equalities)
Lords

Civil Partnerships

My Rt Hon Friend, the Minister for Women and Equalities, has today made the following statement:

This Government is committed to fairness and equal treatment in all areas of life. Families, in all their forms, are a fundamental element of society, and we want to ensure that they are as secure and stable as possible, in order for people to flourish.

Civil partnerships were originally created to enable same-sex couples to formalise their relationships at a time when marriage was not available to them. Since then, we are pleased to have introduced marriage for same-sex couples through the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013. However, this created a situation whereby same-sex couples have the option to either marry or form a civil partnership, but opposite-sex couples only have the option to marry

The Government has been considering how to equalise access to civil partnerships between same-sex and opposite-sex couples and on 2 October, the Prime Minister announced that the Government will extend civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples.

There are around 3.3million cohabiting couples in the UK, almost half of them with children, and all of them without the protections and security that a formalised relationship can bring. The announcement ensures that, in future, opposite-sex couples will be able to benefit from the protections and security that a civil partnership provides.

I would like to pay tribute to those who have campaigned for this change over a number of years, including my hon friend for East Worthing and Shoreham, whose commitment to this cause has laid the foundation for the Government to take forward this important change through his support for the cause of equal civil partnerships, and his ‘Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc.)’ Bill, currently before the House.

The changes needed to effect the greater equality we wish to see are not all straightforward and there are a number of questions that arise specifically about opening civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples for the first time, on which we will need to consult. For example, whether couples can choose to convert their civil partnership into a marriage (or vice-versa) and what should be the grounds for dissolution of an opposite-sex civil partnership.

We are clear that Government legislation is essential to ensure that these and other consequentials of opposite-sex civil partnerships are properly legislated for and adequately debated by this house and in the other place. This would not be possible through my Hon. Friend’s bill as currently amended.

We intend to consult to enable us to introduce legislation in the next Parliamentary Session to bring about the necessary changes.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1039
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 26 October 2018
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Lords

Tailored Review of Wilton Park

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

I am announcing today the publication of the recent Tailored Review of Wilton Park, an Executive Agency of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Wilton Park convenes discreet dialogue on the UK’s strategic foreign policy priorities. It has shaped and delivered events since 1946, which link a global network of experts from sectors including academia, the military, civil society, business, politicians and diplomats.
The principal aim of Tailored Reviews, which are carried out according to Cabinet Office guidance, is to ensure public bodies remain fit for purpose, well governed and properly accountable for what they do. The full report can be read on gov.uk.

This Review involved consultation with a broad range of stakeholders across the UK and beyond, including Wilton Park staff, the Wilton Park Board, commercial and academic sponsors, and a full range of partner organisations.

The Review reported in September 2018. It found that Wilton Park is functioning well as an organisation. It recommended that it should remain an executive agency of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and remain at Wiston House at least until the end of the current lease in 2027.

The Review nonetheless contains a number of recommendations to refresh and strengthen Wilton Park’s corporate governance. A plan to implement all the recommendations by their stated deadlines has been developed and agreed between the FCO and Wilton Park, and will be taken forward by officials.

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

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1041
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 26 October 2018
Made by: Joseph Johnson (Minister of State for Transport)
Commons

Crossrail Update

On 31 August 2018, Crossrail Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL), announced a delay to the planned opening of the Elizabeth line.

Discussions between TfL and Government are underway as to how any additional funding will be provided, with London - as the primary beneficiary of Crossrail – bearing any additional costs via a financing arrangement.

TfL and the Department for Transport have commissioned an independent review of Crossrail’s governance and a separate review on Crossrail’s finance and commercial position.

Today, as an interim measure, we are announcing that £350m of short term repayable financing will be made available to the Mayor for the year 2018/19. This will ensure that full momentum is maintained behind Crossrail.

This project is already delivering benefits for the whole of the UK through its cross-country supply chain and its UK built train fleet. When open, Crossrail will be transformative and carry up to 200 million passengers a year, delivering £42 billion of investment into the UK economy.

A further update will be provided once the discussions on the financing arrangements have concluded.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1014
WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 26 October 2018
Made by: Lord O'Shaughnessy (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health (Lords))
Lords

Future reciprocal healthcare arrangements

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

Today, the Government is introducing the Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill. This will provide the Government with the powers that are needed to fund and effectively implement arrangements for UK nationals to obtain healthcare abroad after the UK exits the European Union (EU).

Current EU reciprocal healthcare arrangements enable UK nationals to access healthcare when they live, study, work, or travel abroad and visa-versa for EU citizens when in the UK. They give people more life options, support tourism and businesses, and healthcare cooperation. The UK also has a number of reciprocal healthcare agreements with non-EU and EEA countries, such as Australia and New Zealand.

These arrangements ensure that UK nationals living and working in the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland can access healthcare in exchange for paying taxes and social security contributions. The UK also funds healthcare abroad for a number of current or former UK residents. This includes healthcare for UK state pensioners who spend their retirement in the EU and needs arising healthcare when UK residents visit the EU for holiday or study through the European Healthcare Insurance Card (EHIC) Scheme.

The Bill is part of the Government’s preparations for EU Exit and will ensure that whatever the outcome of EU Exit, the Government can take the necessary steps to continue reciprocal healthcare arrangements or otherwise support UK residents to obtain healthcare when they move to or visit the EU.

Presently, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has limited domestic powers to fund and arrange healthcare outside of the UK. When the UK leaves the EU the current EU regulations will no longer be part of UK law and new legislation will be needed.

This Bill confers powers on the Secretary of State to make, and arrange for payments to be made, in respect of the cost of healthcare provided outside the UK. This would allow for the funding of reciprocal healthcare arrangements for UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland.

The Bill also confers powers on the Secretary of State to make regulations for and in connection with the provision of healthcare abroad and to give effect to healthcare agreements with other countries or territories (both EU and non-EU) or supranational bodies such as the EU.

Finally, the Bill provides for the lawful processing of data where necessary for purposes of implementing, operating or facilitating the operation of reciprocal healthcare arrangements or payments.

Current healthcare agreements benefit people in all parts of the UK, assisting people to obtain healthcare when they are abroad. The UK Government is therefore engaging with the devolved administrations to deliver an approach that works for the whole UK in a way that fully respects the devolution settlements.

The Bill underscores the Government’s commitment to reaching a reciprocal healthcare agreement with the EU, or where necessary making agreements with Member States, and to exploring potential agreements with third countries in the future.

The Government welcomes the forthcoming scrutiny of the Bill, to ensure that it achieves its aims for the continuation of healthcare support for UK nationals in the EU, EEA and Switzerland after the UK exits the EU, but also enabling the UK to look to the future.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1040
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 26 October 2018
Made by: Earl Howe (Ministry of State for, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

HMS Victory 1744

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

I wish to apologise for an error made in a written response to a Parliamentary Question asked by the Rt Hon Kevan Jones MP, the Member for North Durham. The question and answer were as follows:

Asked on 28 October 2014, Reference 212332

Kevan Jones MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether completion bonds or other financial arrangements will be put in place before granting the Maritime Heritage Foundation permission to recover at risk surface items from the wreck site of HMS Victory 1744; and what specific communications there have been between government departments on that matter.

Answer on 5 November 2014

Minister of State for Defence, Welfare and Veterans, the Rt. Hon. Anna Soubry MP: Funding for the approved next stage of the project (recovery of at-risk surface items, subject to a licence by the Marine Management Organisation) is underwritten by a financial bond provided by Odyssey Marine Exploration and held by the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Funding of the project has been discussed by officials from MOD and the Department for Culture Media and Sport as part of the assessment of the Project Design.

Additionally, this response was repeated in a second Parliamentary Question raised by the Rt Hon Kevan Jones MP on 28 November 2014 answered by the then Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Edward Vaizey MP, on 4 December 2014 (Reference 216395).

Subsequent investigations have proved that this information was incorrect. No funding was held by either the Ministry of Defence or the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

As the current Minister for Defence People and Veterans, I wish to correct this error. I have also written to the Rt Hon Kevan Jones MP, and the responding Ministers at the time, the Rt Hon Anna Soubry and Edward Vaizey, to apologise for this error.

WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 26 October 2018
Made by: Sir Alan Duncan (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Commons

Foreign Affairs Council – 15 October 2018

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) on 15 October. It was chaired by the High Representative and Vice President of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP), Federica Mogherini. The meeting was held in Luxembourg.

Current Affairs

Ministers discussed current affairs issues including the Jamal Khashoggi case on which they agreed the need for a full and transparent investigation by the Saudi authorities in complete cooperation with the Turkish authorities. My Right Honourable Friend welcomed the new chemical weapons sanctions regime and EU solidarity since the Salisbury attack. He noted the attack on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and called for new sanctions regimes to address cyber and human rights abuses. He also spoke about Burma and the UN fact-finding mission.

Libya

The discussion on Libya focused on the political process, the stability of the country, and the economic situation. Ministers reiterated the EU's support for the political process led by the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General's Special Representative, Ghassan Salamé. The Council confirmed the EU's determination to support a Libyan-led solution for the Libyan people under UN auspices.

The discussions also considered the forthcoming high-level meeting on Libya that will take place in Palermo, Italy on 12-13 November 2018. The Council underlined the importance of holding both presidential and parliamentary elections as soon as possible, and the need to put in place a proper constitutional and legal framework before the elections take place.

External aspects of migration

The Director-General of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), António Vitorino and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi briefed Ministers during this session. Ministers took stock of progress and recent developments, and underlined the importance of the strategic partnership between the EU, the IOM and the UNHCR in Libya. The Council emphasised the significant results delivered through the joint efforts of the EU, its Member States and UN agencies. Irregular migration flows to Europe have significantly decreased, and efforts to tackle irregular migration and to fight smuggling networks have been considerably strengthened, in particular through Operation Sophia.

Central African Republic

The Council discussed and adopted conclusions on the Central African Republic (CAR). The conclusions underlined that the situation in the CAR remained fragile and the EU continued to engage in supporting the country. The conclusions also stated that the EU would continue working, through its various instruments, to support the CAR to achieve stability, peace and development and to meet the aspirations of its entire population for lasting peace and reconciliation.

Venezuela

Ministers discussed the situation in Venezuela, its impact on the region, including on migration. Ministers reaffirmed the EU's strong position on the political crisis in Venezuela. They agreed that the crisis could only be solved through a political process and to explore the possibility of establishing a contact group that could, if conditions were met, help to facilitate such a process.

The Council agreed a number of measures without discussion:
The Council adopted a new regime of restrictive measures to address the use and proliferation of chemical weapons;
The Council adopted conclusions on “Connecting Europe and Asia – Building blocks for an EU strategy”;
The Council adopted conclusions on Bosnia and Herzegovina/Operation EUFOR Althea;
The Council decided to extend the EU stabilisation action in Mopti and Ségou (EUSTAMS) for a period of three months;
The Council extended the EU restrictive measures against ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaeda and persons, groups, undertakings and entities associated with them until 31 October 2019;
The Council adopted new rules of procedures for the Joint Committee established by the EU-Vietnam Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation;
The Council agreed the signing, on behalf of the EU, of a protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the EU and Tunisia or order to take account of the accession of Croatia to the EU;
The Council adopted the EU programme of exercises and exercise-related activities under the Common Foreign and Security Policy for the period 2018-22;
The Council extended the mandate of the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) Iraq until 17 April 2020;
The Council adopted a recommendation providing detailed guidance on the objectives and progress indicators for the fulfilment by each participating Member State of the more binding commitments that have been undertaken when the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) was launched at the end of 2017;
The Council approved the High Representative’s report on the operation commander’s 28th six monthly report on Operation EUFOR Althea;
The Council adopted a regulation on the research and training programme of the European Atomic Energy Community for the years 2019 and 2020;
The Council approved a joint statement for the occasion of the second Arctic Science Ministerial meeting that will take place in Berlin on 25 and 26 October 2018.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1011
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 26 October 2018
Made by: Mark Field (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Commons

Tailored Review of Wilton Park

I am announcing today the publication of the recent Tailored Review of Wilton Park, an Executive Agency of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Wilton Park convenes discreet dialogue on the UK’s strategic foreign policy priorities. It has shaped and delivered events since 1946, which link a global network of experts from sectors including academia, the military, civil society, business, politicians and diplomats.

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

This Review involved consultation with a broad range of stakeholders across the UK and beyond, including Wilton Park staff, the Wilton Park Board, commercial and academic sponsors, and a full range of partner organisations.

The Review reported in September 2018. It found that Wilton Park is functioning well as an organisation. It recommended that it should remain an executive agency of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and remain at Wiston House at least until the end of the current lease in 2027.

The Review nonetheless contains a number of recommendations to refresh and strengthen Wilton Park’s corporate governance. A plan to implement all the recommendations by their stated deadlines has been developed and agreed between the FCO and Wilton Park, and will be taken forward by officials.

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

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1009
WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 26 October 2018
Made by: Stephen Barclay (Minister of State for Health)
Commons

Future reciprocal healthcare arrangements

Today, the Government is introducing the Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill. This will provide the Government with the powers that are needed to fund and effectively implement arrangements for UK nationals to obtain healthcare abroad after the UK exits the European Union (EU).

Current EU reciprocal healthcare arrangements enable UK nationals to access healthcare when they live, study, work, or travel abroad and visa-versa for EU citizens when in the UK. They give people more life options, support tourism and businesses, and healthcare cooperation. The UK also has a number of reciprocal healthcare agreements with non-EU and EEA countries, such as Australia and New Zealand.

These arrangements ensure that UK nationals living and working in the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland can access healthcare in exchange for paying taxes and social security contributions. The UK also funds healthcare abroad for a number of current or former UK residents. This includes healthcare for UK state pensioners who spend their retirement in the EU and needs arising healthcare when UK residents visit the EU for holiday or study through the European Healthcare Insurance Card (EHIC) Scheme.

The Bill is part of the Government’s preparations for EU Exit and will ensure that whatever the outcome of EU Exit, the Government can take the necessary steps to continue reciprocal healthcare arrangements or otherwise support UK residents to obtain healthcare when they move to or visit the EU.

Presently, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has limited domestic powers to fund and arrange healthcare outside of the UK. When the UK leaves the EU the current EU regulations will no longer be part of UK law and new legislation will be needed.

This Bill confers powers on the Secretary of State to make, and arrange for payments to be made, in respect of the cost of healthcare provided outside the UK. This would allow for the funding of reciprocal healthcare arrangements for UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland.

The Bill also confers powers on the Secretary of State to make regulations for and in connection with the provision of healthcare abroad and to give effect to healthcare agreements with other countries or territories (both EU and non-EU) or supranational bodies such as the EU.

Finally, the Bill provides for the lawful processing of data where necessary for purposes of implementing, operating or facilitating the operation of reciprocal healthcare arrangements or payments.

Current healthcare agreements benefit people in all parts of the UK, assisting people to obtain healthcare when they are abroad. The UK Government is therefore engaging with the devolved administrations to deliver an approach that works for the whole UK in a way that fully respects the devolution settlements.

The Bill underscores the Government’s commitment to reaching a reciprocal healthcare agreement with the EU, or where necessary making agreements with Member States, and to exploring potential agreements with third countries in the future.

The Government welcomes the forthcoming scrutiny of the Bill, to ensure that it achieves its aims for the continuation of healthcare support for UK nationals in the EU, EEA and Switzerland after the UK exits the EU, but also enabling the UK to look to the future.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1008
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