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:

Show
Find by:
Close

WSID

Written Statement Indentifying Number – Every written statement in the House of Commons and House of Lords has a WSID per parliamentary session.
Showing 1-50 out of 2824
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all statements
Print selected
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 19 March 2019
Made by: James Brokenshire (Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Troubled Families Evaluation

Today I am pleased to announce publication of the latest Troubled Families Programme national evaluation reports. The Programme 2015-2020 aims to improve outcomes for families and reform services. The national evaluation looks at how well the programme is achieving those aims. The reports published today provide the most significant evidence to date, bringing together findings from the latest analysis of national and local datasets, a cost benefit analysis, case study research and staff survey research.

The latest evidence is encouraging. While many families continue to face challenges, which is to be expected given the complexity of needs of families on the programme, this evidence shows that the programme is improving outcomes for families across a number of measures. When comparing families on the programme with a matched comparison group, analysis indicates that the programme has had a positive impact, reducing the proportion of:

  • Looked After Children by 32%
  • Adults going to prison by 25%
  • Juvenile convictions by 15%
  • Juveniles going to custody by 38%
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants by 10%

In addition, 20,000 families on the programme include one or more adults who have moved into work. The evaluation results also suggest local services are being reformed and the Programme has been successful in driving this change.

The Troubled Families Programme supports families with complex, interconnected problems such as anti-social behaviour, mental health problems or domestic abuse. Rather than responding to each problem, or single family member separately, assigned Troubled Families keyworkers engage with the whole family. Through this approach they coordinate support from a range of services to identify and address family issues as early as possible rather than merely reacting to crises. The full set of national evaluation reports published today together with an evaluation overview policy report can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-evaluation-of-the-troubled-families-programme-2015-to-2020-findings

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1398
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 19 March 2019
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Troubled Families Evaluation

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

Today I am pleased to announce publication of the latest Troubled Families Programme national evaluation reports. The Programme 2015-2020 aims to improve outcomes for families and reform services. The national evaluation looks at how well the programme is achieving those aims. The reports published today provide the most significant evidence to date, bringing together findings from the latest analysis of national and local datasets, a cost benefit analysis, case study research and staff survey research.

The latest evidence is encouraging. While many families continue to face challenges, which is to be expected given the complexity of needs of families on the programme, this evidence shows that the programme is improving outcomes for families across a number of measures. When comparing families on the programme with a matched comparison group, analysis indicates that the programme has had a positive impact, reducing the proportion of:

  • Looked After Children by 32%
  • Adults going to prison by 25%
  • Juvenile convictions by 15%
  • Juveniles going to custody by 38%
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants by 10%

In addition, 20,000 families on the programme include one or more adults who have moved into work. The evaluation results also suggest local services are being reformed and the Programme has been successful in driving this change.

The Troubled Families Programme supports families with complex, interconnected problems such as anti-social behaviour, mental health problems or domestic abuse. Rather than responding to each problem, or single family member separately, assigned Troubled Families keyworkers engage with the whole family. Through this approach they coordinate support from a range of services to identify and address family issues as early as possible rather than merely reacting to crises. The full set of national evaluation reports published today together with an evaluation overview policy report can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-evaluation-of-the-troubled-families-programme-2015-to-2020-findings

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1430
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 19 March 2019
Made by: Baroness Sugg (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Lords

Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy

My Honourable Friend, the Minister of State for Transport (Jesse Norman), has made the following Ministerial Statement.

The U.K. is in the early stages of a transport revolution. For much of the past half century, many of the improvements to transport have been gradual and incremental, focused on increasing the capacity of existing infrastructure to meet growing demand. Yet today important new technologies are emerging that will transform transport and travel. Zero tailpipe emission cars are replacing those powered by fossil fuels. Self-driving vehicles have the potential to allow people with mobility issues to enjoy far greater freedom to travel. And advances in data production and use are already improving the way that transport services are devised, planned and delivered.

In they are properly managed, the transport technologies of the future will not just make journeys faster. They will also make them safer, easier, more comfortable and more affordable. They will make our towns and cities quieter and less polluted. And they will give us the option to see mobility as a service, integrated and accessible to all.

But this transformation potentially offers huge industrial opportunities as well, including new high quality jobs, new investment and increased national productivity.

The Government has put the Future of Mobility at the heart of its Industrial Strategy in an effort to take full advantage of these extraordinary opportunities. With a long history of transport innovation, a world-class research base and many established technology leaders, the UK is well placed to harness its domestic expertise and to profit from a growing market for cleaner, safer and more efficient transport.

Such fundamental change in transport within a relatively short period of time, and across so many different technologies, is unprecedented. The sector is at a point of inflection. The window of opportunity is currently open; but for how much longer it will be so, no one can say.

Today the Government is publishing its Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy. This sets out its approach to working with innovators, companies, Local Authorities and other stakeholders in order to harness the developing benefits of new urban mobility technologies.

In the Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy, the Government has:

  • Outlined the benefits it wants mobility innovation to deliver, and the Principles by which to achieve them;

  • Launched an ambitious Regulatory Review;

  • Established a wide programme of work to meet the Grand Challenge.

Alongside this document it has:

  • Launched a £90 million competition for cities to deliver Future of Mobility Zones, which follows £60 million awarded to 10 cities across the UK via the Transforming Cities Fund

  • Published a response to the last mile call for evidence it conducted in summer

  • Outlined next steps on the E-Cargo Bike Grant

As a country, our approach to these technologies will need to adapt over the coming decades. The Government will need to gather and respond to evidence of the impacts of new mobility technologies and services as they emerge. It will also need to set out its thinking on the future of rural mobility in due course, to explore how the benefits of transport innovation can be enjoyed by everyone, wherever they live.

We have an extraordinary opportunity here – to put this country at the heart of the next mobility revolution, and deliver a cleaner, greener, more productive and more inclusive country for future generations.

I have laid a copy of the Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy in the libraries of both Houses.

Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy (PDF Document, 3.64 MB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1424
WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 19 March 2019
Made by: Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Lords))
Lords

Department for Health and Social Care Update

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

Today, I am updating the House on the Department for Health and Social Care’s plans for the continuity of reciprocal healthcare arrangements in the event we exit the EU without a deal.

Under current EU-based entitlements, the UK pays for the healthcare costs of 180,000 UK nationals, mostly pensioners, in health systems across the EU. There are around 50 million UK tourist visits to the EU annually; the European Healthcare Insurance Card (EHIC) is used in around 0.5% of these visits. Moreover, approximately 50,000 posted workers are protected through the current arrangements.

The current EU healthcare arrangements operate on a reciprocal basis. The UK, EU Member States and EFTA states (Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) reimburse each other for the healthcare of those who remain covered by their respective social security schemes when living in, working in or visiting each other’s country. These arrangements are a function of EU membership that also applies to the EFTA countries, and are an exception to the arrangements that apply to the rest of the world. As a result, extending these functions in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal is subject to agreement and cannot be done by the UK alone.

Separately, the UK and Irish Governments are committed to continuing to facilitate access to healthcare services within the Common Travel Area (CTA). Discussions to continue reciprocal healthcare arrangements are underway between the UK and Ireland and both Governments are taking legislative steps to enable us to implement these arrangements by exit day. Additional guidance for those living and working in the CTA has been published on the GOV.UK website.

While EU reciprocal healthcare is funded and administered on a UK-wide basis, the Devolved Administrations have responsibility for healthcare provision in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We are working closely with all parts of the UK on our approach.

My Department has published country specific guidance on GOV.UK and NHS.UK about healthcare arrangements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and has been working closely with EU Member States and EFTA states to protect existing healthcare arrangements for these and other groups.

The UK Government’s Proposal

Subject to Parliament ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement, in a deal scenario current reciprocal healthcare rights will continue during the implementation period until 31 December 2020. The Withdrawal Agreement and EFTA Agreements also give longer-term reciprocal healthcare rights to those who are living in or previously worked in the other country on exit day.

We have proposed to EU Member States and EFTA states that we should maintain the existing healthcare arrangements in a no deal scenario until 31 December 2020, with the aim of minimising disruption to UK nationals and EU and EFTA state citizens’ healthcare provision.

This would mean that we will continue to pay for healthcare costs for current or former UK residents for whom the UK has responsibility who are living or working in or visiting the EU and EFTA states, where individuals are not covered by the EFTA Citizens’ Rights Agreements. We are hopeful that we will reach such agreements.

We have brought forward legislation to enable us to implement new reciprocal healthcare arrangements. The Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 26 October 2018 and passed Report stage in the House of Lords on 12 March 2019. It will provide us with the power to fund and implement comprehensive reciprocal healthcare arrangements after we leave the EU. We have also laid three Statutory Instruments which will give us the specific legal basis to implement our proposal.

Minimising disruption in the event of no dealAs outlined above, we want to work with EU partners to protect existing healthcare arrangements beyond exit day. If that is not possible, healthcare arrangements in many EU Member States would revert to those which apply to the rest of the world. Whenever travelling abroad, individuals are always responsible for ensuring they have travel insurance. It is already the case that we advise people to obtain comprehensive travel insurance when working, studying or travelling to the EU and the rest of the world. This will remain our advice in all circumstances.

Many people rely on EHICs. In a no deal scenario, these may no longer be valid in EU Member States (and in EFTA states for those visitors not in scope of the EFTA Citizens’ Rights Agreements and travelling after exit day). UK nationals living in or travelling to EU Member States should check up to date information GOV.UK and NHS.UK and ensure they have taken the necessary steps to prepare.

Although we are hopeful that we can agree reciprocal healthcare arrangements, as a responsible Government we have developed a multi-layered approach to minimise disruption to healthcare provision to UK nationals currently in or travelling to the EU Member States and to those UK nationals not covered by the EFTA Citizens’ Rights Agreements:

  1. We welcome action from those EU Member States who have prepared their own legislation for a no deal scenario. EU Member States such as Spain have made public commitments that they will enable resident UK nationals and visitors to access healthcare in the same way they do now.
  2. As noted above, the UK and Irish Governments are committed to continuing to facilitate access to healthcare services within the Common Travel Area (CTA). Discussions to continue reciprocal healthcare arrangements are underway between the UK and Ireland and both Governments are taking legislative steps to enable us to implement these arrangements by exit day. Additional guidance for those living and working in the CTA has been published on the GOV.UK website.
  3. The UK Government has already agreed with Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland (EFTA) to protect citizens’ rights. This means that UK nationals already living in EFTA states and vice versa will be able to access healthcare as they do now. However, in line with the arrangements we are seeking with EU Member States, we would like to protect the healthcare cover of visitors not in scope of the citizens’ rights agreements travelling between the EFTA states and the UK after exit day to enable them to continue to be covered for needs-arising healthcare (currently facilitated under the EHIC system).
  4. The UK Government has committed to fund healthcare for UK nationals (and others for whom the UK is responsible) who have applied for, or are undergoing, treatments in the EU prior to and on exit day, for up to one year, to protect the most vulnerable. The Statutory Instruments introduced on 11 February would also enable some UK residents to recover costs if they are charged. For UK nationals who are visitors, we will refund costs directly. For UK nationals who are resident in another Member State, this commitment requires us to reach an arrangement with individual EU Member States. We are hopeful that they will remain willing to treat patients and accept reimbursement and are in discussions to seek such an agreement.
  5. We have published guidance profiles on GOV.UK and NHS.UK and will update the guidance with further developments.
  6. Should UK nationals face changes in how they can access healthcare, they may use NHS services if they return to live in the UK. As is currently the case, UK nationals living in the EU will have an entitlement to NHS services as soon as they take up ordinary residence in England. We will continue to work closely with the NHS in England and across the Devolved Administrations in the UK to ensure returners can appropriately access NHS services. A British citizen who moves to the UK can be considered ordinarily resident upon arrival if it is clear that they are here to reside on a properly settled basis for the time being. British citizens who return to live in the UK partway through their treatment will be able to access NHS services.
  7. Those who have their healthcare funded by the UK under current EU arrangements and are resident in EU Member States on exit day can use NHS services in England without charge when on a temporary visit to England.
  8. The Association of British insurers (ABI) has advised that travel insurance policies will cover emergency medical treatment costs as standard that could have been reclaimed through the EHIC, although some routine treatments would not be covered. People should be aware that there are a small number of policies in the market that state they will only provide cover if you have and use an EHIC. The ABI have advised that all individuals should check their current travel insurance thoroughly to ensure they have the correct amount of cover for their requirements. Additional guidance has been published on the ABI website here.

Advice for citizens of EU Member States and EFTA states

We have confirmed that, in a no deal scenario, we will protect the healthcare rights of citizens from EU Member States and EFTA states, who are living lawfully in the UK on exit day, and this includes their entitlements to NHS cover.

Advice for UK nationals

In the event that we cannot reach an agreement with EU Member States and EFTA states for those nationals not in scope of the EFTA Citizens’ Rights Agreements, it is not possible for the UK Government to guarantee access unilaterally to healthcare abroad, beyond the situations set out above. We will be employing a small number of overseas healthcare advisers in UK Missions across Europe who will be able to provide advice where individuals have particular need for support. However, it is vital that all UK nationals who are currently or planning to reside in, travel to, work or study in EU Member States and EFTA states take the following actions now:

Residents: The UK Government has published advice setting out options to access healthcare under local laws in EU Member States and EFTA states and what people can do to prepare. We have analysed 31 countries and strongly advise that all affected UK nationals check the latest country specific guidance on GOV.UK and NHS.UK.

Substantial numbers of UK nationals will already be eligible for or enrolled in the relevant health authorities locally, either because of their residency, benefits or employment status. There is no reason to think that a no deal scenario will affect these arrangements where EU countries offer equal access to healthcare.

For some people it may be advisable to register their healthcare entitlement with their relevant health authority locally. This may mean that they will need to join a social insurance scheme and contribute as other residents do. Others will need to buy private healthcare insurance.

Visitors: The Government always advises UK nationals to take out travel insurance when going overseas, both to EU and non-EU destinations. UK nationals, including those with pre-existing conditions, planning to visit an EU Member State or EFTA states on or after exit day should continue to buy travel insurance.

As with any policy, UK nationals are advised to make sure they understand the terms and conditions of any travel insurance policy and that the policy is sufficient to cover healthcare needs. Most travel insurance policies will cover emergency treatment as standard but we advise all travelers to check their policies as some treatments may not be covered in the countries they are visiting.

Any questions regarding individual travel insurance policies should be directed to the relevant insurance companies or refer to guidance published on the ABI website here.

If we do not reach an agreement with EU Member States and EFTA states for those nationals not in scope of the EFTA Citizens’ Rights Agreements, EHIC may no longer be valid after exit day. ABI advice is that, whilst almost all insurance policies will remain valid, some insurance policies may be affected. There are a small number of insurance policies which are dependent on having an EHIC, so if you have purchased one of these policies it is recommended you speak to your provider to ensure you are fully protected before you leave the UK.

Workers: We have published country specific guidance on GOV.UK and NHS.UK to help UK workers make the necessary preparations for a no deal scenario. We strongly advise that workers ensure they have comprehensive healthcare insurance for the full period of their stay.

Students: Currently, students residing in the UK who are going on a placement abroad are entitled to a UK-issued EHIC to cover healthcare costs for the duration of their placement.

We cannot guarantee that this will continue for all EU Member States in the event of a no deal scenario where the existing arrangements are not extended. We strongly advise that students check the country specific guidance that we have published on GOV.UK and NHS.UK and make the necessary preparations for a no deal scenario.

The EFTA Citizens’ Rights Agreements protect the rights of UK nationals who are studying in an EFTA state over exit day, and who are entitled to a UK EHIC, to continue to benefit from the EHIC scheme for the duration of their course.

Returners: As is currently the case, UK nationals who return to live in the UK and meet the ordinarily resident test will be able to access NHS care on the same basis as other UK residents. If these people return to live in the UK partway through their treatment, they will be treated by the NHS in a fair and equitable way.

UK nationals who have their healthcare funded by the UK under current EU arrangements and are resident in the EU on exit day can use NHS services in England without charge when on a temporary visit to England.

UK nationals who are resident in an EU country, who do not have their healthcare funded by the UK under current EU arrangements and who do not wish to return to the UK, should seek to formalise their current residency status if they are eligible. Guidance has been made available on GOV.UK and NHS.UK.

The UK is taking steps to protect individuals whose healthcare it is responsible for under current EU arrangements, but who are not UK nationals. Where this paper refers to UK nationals, it includes non-nationals for whom the UK is responsible.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1429
WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 19 March 2019
Made by: Stephen Hammond (Minister of State for Health)
Commons

Department for Health and Social Care Update

Today, I am updating the House on the Department for Health and Social Care’s plans for the continuity of reciprocal healthcare arrangements in the event we exit the EU without a deal.

Under current EU-based entitlements, the UK pays for the healthcare costs of 180,000 UK nationals, mostly pensioners, in health systems across the EU. There are around 50 million UK tourist visits to the EU annually; the European Healthcare Insurance Card (EHIC) is used in around 0.5% of these visits. Moreover, approximately 50,000 posted workers are protected through the current arrangements.

The current EU healthcare arrangements operate on a reciprocal basis. The UK, EU Member States and EFTA states (Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) reimburse each other for the healthcare of those who remain covered by their respective social security schemes when living in, working in or visiting each other’s country. These arrangements are a function of EU membership that also applies to the EFTA countries, and are an exception to the arrangements that apply to the rest of the world. As a result, extending these functions in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal is subject to agreement and cannot be done by the UK alone.

Separately, the UK and Irish Governments are committed to continuing to facilitate access to healthcare services within the Common Travel Area (CTA). Discussions to continue reciprocal healthcare arrangements are underway between the UK and Ireland and both Governments are taking legislative steps to enable us to implement these arrangements by exit day. Additional guidance for those living and working in the CTA has been published on the GOV.UK website.

While EU reciprocal healthcare is funded and administered on a UK-wide basis, the Devolved Administrations have responsibility for healthcare provision in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We are working closely with all parts of the UK on our approach.

My Department has published country specific guidance on GOV.UK and NHS.UK about healthcare arrangements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and has been working closely with EU Member States and EFTA states to protect existing healthcare arrangements for these and other groups.

The UK Government’s Proposal

Subject to Parliament ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement, in a deal scenario current reciprocal healthcare rights will continue during the implementation period until 31 December 2020. The Withdrawal Agreement and EFTA Agreements also give longer-term reciprocal healthcare rights to those who are living in or previously worked in the other country on exit day.

We have proposed to EU Member States and EFTA states that we should maintain the existing healthcare arrangements in a no deal scenario until 31 December 2020, with the aim of minimising disruption to UK nationals and EU and EFTA state citizens’ healthcare provision.

This would mean that we will continue to pay for healthcare costs for current or former UK residents for whom the UK has responsibility who are living or working in or visiting the EU and EFTA states, where individuals are not covered by the EFTA Citizens’ Rights Agreements. We are hopeful that we will reach such agreements.

We have brought forward legislation to enable us to implement new reciprocal healthcare arrangements. The Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 26 October 2018 and passed Report stage in the House of Lords on 12 March 2019. It will provide us with the power to fund and implement comprehensive reciprocal healthcare arrangements after we leave the EU. We have also laid three Statutory Instruments which will give us the specific legal basis to implement our proposal.

Minimising disruption in the event of no dealAs outlined above, we want to work with EU partners to protect existing healthcare arrangements beyond exit day. If that is not possible, healthcare arrangements in many EU Member States would revert to those which apply to the rest of the world. Whenever travelling abroad, individuals are always responsible for ensuring they have travel insurance. It is already the case that we advise people to obtain comprehensive travel insurance when working, studying or travelling to the EU and the rest of the world. This will remain our advice in all circumstances.

Many people rely on EHICs. In a no deal scenario, these may no longer be valid in EU Member States (and in EFTA states for those visitors not in scope of the EFTA Citizens’ Rights Agreements and travelling after exit day). UK nationals living in or travelling to EU Member States should check up to date information GOV.UK and NHS.UK and ensure they have taken the necessary steps to prepare.

Although we are hopeful that we can agree reciprocal healthcare arrangements, as a responsible Government we have developed a multi-layered approach to minimise disruption to healthcare provision to UK nationals currently in or travelling to the EU Member States and to those UK nationals not covered by the EFTA Citizens’ Rights Agreements:

  1. We welcome action from those EU Member States who have prepared their own legislation for a no deal scenario. EU Member States such as Spain have made public commitments that they will enable resident UK nationals and visitors to access healthcare in the same way they do now.
  2. As noted above, the UK and Irish Governments are committed to continuing to facilitate access to healthcare services within the Common Travel Area (CTA). Discussions to continue reciprocal healthcare arrangements are underway between the UK and Ireland and both Governments are taking legislative steps to enable us to implement these arrangements by exit day. Additional guidance for those living and working in the CTA has been published on the GOV.UK website.
  3. The UK Government has already agreed with Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland (EFTA) to protect citizens’ rights. This means that UK nationals already living in EFTA states and vice versa will be able to access healthcare as they do now. However, in line with the arrangements we are seeking with EU Member States, we would like to protect the healthcare cover of visitors not in scope of the citizens’ rights agreements travelling between the EFTA states and the UK after exit day to enable them to continue to be covered for needs-arising healthcare (currently facilitated under the EHIC system).
  4. The UK Government has committed to fund healthcare for UK nationals (and others for whom the UK is responsible) who have applied for, or are undergoing, treatments in the EU prior to and on exit day, for up to one year, to protect the most vulnerable. The Statutory Instruments introduced on 11 February would also enable some UK residents to recover costs if they are charged. For UK nationals who are visitors, we will refund costs directly. For UK nationals who are resident in another Member State, this commitment requires us to reach an arrangement with individual EU Member States. We are hopeful that they will remain willing to treat patients and accept reimbursement and are in discussions to seek such an agreement.
  5. We have published guidance profiles on GOV.UK and NHS.UK and will update the guidance with further developments.
  6. Should UK nationals face changes in how they can access healthcare, they may use NHS services if they return to live in the UK. As is currently the case, UK nationals living in the EU will have an entitlement to NHS services as soon as they take up ordinary residence in England. We will continue to work closely with the NHS in England and across the Devolved Administrations in the UK to ensure returners can appropriately access NHS services. A British citizen who moves to the UK can be considered ordinarily resident upon arrival if it is clear that they are here to reside on a properly settled basis for the time being. British citizens who return to live in the UK partway through their treatment will be able to access NHS services.
  7. Those who have their healthcare funded by the UK under current EU arrangements and are resident in EU Member States on exit day can use NHS services in England without charge when on a temporary visit to England.
  8. The Association of British insurers (ABI) has advised that travel insurance policies will cover emergency medical treatment costs as standard that could have been reclaimed through the EHIC, although some routine treatments would not be covered. People should be aware that there are a small number of policies in the market that state they will only provide cover if you have and use an EHIC. The ABI have advised that all individuals should check their current travel insurance thoroughly to ensure they have the correct amount of cover for their requirements. Additional guidance has been published on the ABI website here.

Advice for citizens of EU Member States and EFTA states

We have confirmed that, in a no deal scenario, we will protect the healthcare rights of citizens from EU Member States and EFTA states, who are living lawfully in the UK on exit day, and this includes their entitlements to NHS cover.

Advice for UK nationals

In the event that we cannot reach an agreement with EU Member States and EFTA states for those nationals not in scope of the EFTA Citizens’ Rights Agreements, it is not possible for the UK Government to guarantee access unilaterally to healthcare abroad, beyond the situations set out above. We will be employing a small number of overseas healthcare advisers in UK Missions across Europe who will be able to provide advice where individuals have particular need for support. However, it is vital that all UK nationals who are currently or planning to reside in, travel to, work or study in EU Member States and EFTA states take the following actions now:

Residents: The UK Government has published advice setting out options to access healthcare under local laws in EU Member States and EFTA states and what people can do to prepare. We have analysed 31 countries and strongly advise that all affected UK nationals check the latest country specific guidance on GOV.UK and NHS.UK.

Substantial numbers of UK nationals will already be eligible for or enrolled in the relevant health authorities locally, either because of their residency, benefits or employment status. There is no reason to think that a no deal scenario will affect these arrangements where EU countries offer equal access to healthcare.

For some people it may be advisable to register their healthcare entitlement with their relevant health authority locally. This may mean that they will need to join a social insurance scheme and contribute as other residents do. Others will need to buy private healthcare insurance.

Visitors: The Government always advises UK nationals to take out travel insurance when going overseas, both to EU and non-EU destinations. UK nationals, including those with pre-existing conditions, planning to visit an EU Member State or EFTA states on or after exit day should continue to buy travel insurance.

As with any policy, UK nationals are advised to make sure they understand the terms and conditions of any travel insurance policy and that the policy is sufficient to cover healthcare needs. Most travel insurance policies will cover emergency treatment as standard but we advise all travelers to check their policies as some treatments may not be covered in the countries they are visiting.

Any questions regarding individual travel insurance policies should be directed to the relevant insurance companies or refer to guidance published on the ABI website here.

If we do not reach an agreement with EU Member States and EFTA states for those nationals not in scope of the EFTA Citizens’ Rights Agreements, EHIC may no longer be valid after exit day. ABI advice is that, whilst almost all insurance policies will remain valid, some insurance policies may be affected. There are a small number of insurance policies which are dependent on having an EHIC, so if you have purchased one of these policies it is recommended you speak to your provider to ensure you are fully protected before you leave the UK.

Workers: We have published country specific guidance on GOV.UK and NHS.UK to help UK workers make the necessary preparations for a no deal scenario. We strongly advise that workers ensure they have comprehensive healthcare insurance for the full period of their stay.

Students: Currently, students residing in the UK who are going on a placement abroad are entitled to a UK-issued EHIC to cover healthcare costs for the duration of their placement.

We cannot guarantee that this will continue for all EU Member States in the event of a no deal scenario where the existing arrangements are not extended. We strongly advise that students check the country specific guidance that we have published on GOV.UK and NHS.UK and make the necessary preparations for a no deal scenario.

The EFTA Citizens’ Rights Agreements protect the rights of UK nationals who are studying in an EFTA state over exit day, and who are entitled to a UK EHIC, to continue to benefit from the EHIC scheme for the duration of their course.

Returners: As is currently the case, UK nationals who return to live in the UK and meet the ordinarily resident test will be able to access NHS care on the same basis as other UK residents. If these people return to live in the UK partway through their treatment, they will be treated by the NHS in a fair and equitable way.

UK nationals who have their healthcare funded by the UK under current EU arrangements and are resident in the EU on exit day can use NHS services in England without charge when on a temporary visit to England.

UK nationals who are resident in an EU country, who do not have their healthcare funded by the UK under current EU arrangements and who do not wish to return to the UK, should seek to formalise their current residency status if they are eligible. Guidance has been made available on GOV.UK and NHS.UK.

The UK is taking steps to protect individuals whose healthcare it is responsible for under current EU arrangements, but who are not UK nationals. Where this paper refers to UK nationals, it includes non-nationals for whom the UK is responsible.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1396
WS
Home Office
Made on: 19 March 2019
Made by: Sajid Javid (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Protective security at Places of Worship

The UK stands shoulder to shoulder with New Zealand against terrorism and we will not falter in our commitment to uphold the values of tolerance, religious freedom, and democracy.

I have discussed with police and religious leaders further measures we can take to protect our mosques and communities from any threats here in the UK.

The police have increased the number of reassurance patrols around mosques and are increasing engagement with communities of all faiths, including giving advice on how people and places can protect themselves.

This Government recognises that our communities remain anxious. We are committed to working with faith groups and engaging them on existing measures that fund and protect all places of worship. We will be working with groups including the Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group, Tell MAMA and those representing other faiths to review what more can and should be done to protect faith institutions. This engagement will start immediately.

The Government is committed to acting quickly in response to these concerns. We are therefore announcing today an uplift of funding for the next year of the Places of Worship Protective Security Fund to £1.6 million. This is double the amount awarded last year. The fund will provide financial support to places of worship for the purchase of physical protective security measures such as fencing, lighting and access control. We will make it easier for places of worship to apply, reducing the administrative burden whilst widening the criteria so places no longer need to show they have already experienced hate crime. Our focus will be on helping those who are vulnerable to hate fuelled attacks.

Physical security measures are only part of the solution. That is why the Government is also announcing a new £5 million fund over 3 years to provide security training for Places of Worship. We will be working closely with communities and faith leaders to develop this new scheme and will, as soon as possible, be opening up a competitive process.

We are proud of all our faith communities and we are absolutely committed to ensuring they are able to worship and live their lives in safety, and free from fear.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1395
WS
Home Office
Made on: 19 March 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Protective security at Places of Worship

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

The UK stands shoulder to shoulder with New Zealand against terrorism and we will not falter in our commitment to uphold the values of tolerance, religious freedom, and democracy.

I have discussed with police and religious leaders further measures we can take to protect our mosques and communities from any threats here in the UK.

The police have increased the number of reassurance patrols around mosques and are increasing engagement with communities of all faiths, including giving advice on how people and places can protect themselves.

This Government recognises that our communities remain anxious. We are committed to working with faith groups and engaging them on existing measures that fund and protect all places of worship. We will be working with groups including the Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group, Tell MAMA and those representing other faiths to review what more can and should be done to protect faith institutions. This engagement will start immediately.

The Government is committed to acting quickly in response to these concerns. We are therefore announcing today an uplift of funding for the next year of the Places of Worship Protective Security Fund to £1.6 million. This is double the amount awarded last year. The fund will provide financial support to places of worship for the purchase of physical protective security measures such as fencing, lighting and access control. We will make it easier for places of worship to apply, reducing the administrative burden whilst widening the criteria so places no longer need to show they have already experienced hate crime. Our focus will be on helping those who are vulnerable to hate fuelled attacks.

Physical security measures are only part of the solution. That is why the Government is also announcing a new £5 million fund over 3 years to provide security training for Places of Worship. We will be working closely with communities and faith leaders to develop this new scheme and will, as soon as possible, be opening up a competitive process.

We are proud of all our faith communities and we are absolutely committed to ensuring they are able to worship and live their lives in safety, and free from fear.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1428
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 19 March 2019
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (The Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Personal injury

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

"The Damages Act 1996 (“the Act”) requires the Lord Chancellor to start a review of the personal injury discount rate within 90 days of and including the date on which the amendments made to the Act by the Civil Liability Act 2018 came into force, which occurred on 20 December 2018.

The Act requires that the Lord Chancellor conducts the review and determines whether the rate should be changed or kept unchanged within 140 days of and including the day on which the review starts. It also requires the Lord Chancellor, in conducting the review, must consult (a) the Government Actuary and that this consultation must start within 20 days of and including the start of the review; and (b) the Treasury.

In accordance with these statutory requirements, I have decided to start the review today (19 March 2019) with the consequence that I must conduct the review and make the determination about the rate on or before 5 August 2019.

I will start my consultation with the Government Actuary no later than 7 April 2019 and will start my consultation with the Treasury at the same time.

I have placed copies of the Terms of Reference that I propose to issue to the Government Actuary and the Treasury for their respective consultations in the libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

I will make a further announcement on the completion of the review."

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1427
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 19 March 2019
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System)
Lords

Technical Education Reform

My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills (Anne Milton) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Today, I am pleased to launch the first stage consultation on the post-16 review of qualifications at level 3 and below in England.

This review, alongside the development of T Levels, is central to building a world class technical education system. Our ambition is to develop a qualifications system for all, in which every student benefits from high quality study that helps them realise their talents and achieve their career ambitions. It is vital to addressing our country’s productivity and skills gaps and achieving the international competitiveness on which our future prosperity depends.

The current qualifications system at level 3 and below is complex, with around 12,000 qualifications. Some of the qualifications are well recognised and valued, but as the Wolf and Sainsbury reviews identified, too many are poorly understood and poor quality, weakening their currency and value for individuals, employers and the economy as whole.

The review aims to simplify the landscape, ensuring that every single qualification is necessary and has a distinct purpose, is high quality and supports progression to positive outcomes. At level 3, we want A Levels and T Levels to be the qualifications of choice for students choosing classroom-based study, and for more students to study and achieve at level 3. Subject to the review and the outcomes of our consultation, we expect that where a qualification at level 3 overlaps with a T Level or A Level, it would not, in future, be approved for funding for 16 to 19 year olds.

At level 2 and below, qualifications should enable progression to a higher level of study for those that are able to do so; and for those who are not, there should be high quality qualifications that lead to a good range of employment options and opportunities to study at a later stage.

To drive up quality and ensure fairness in the system at an early stage, in August 2020 we will withdraw approval for funding for older qualifications, where there are newer, more robust versions that have been re-developed to meet performance table rules.

We recognise that qualifications in scope of this review are taken by a range of learners, including adults and those with additional needs, such as special educational needs and disabilities. A ‘one size fits all’ approach will not work. We want to be confident that the qualifications available work for all students, irrespective of their specific needs.

It is important that we take the time to get these changes right and listen carefully to the sector’s views. This is why we are consulting in two stages. We are looking first at the principles that should guide the review before moving on in the second stage consultation to detailed proposals for change, which we will bring forward later in the year. I strongly encourage everyone with an interest to contribute to the debate, so that we can work together to build the world class technical education system that our students deserve and that our country needs.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 19 March 2019
Made by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity , and Lords' Minister)
Lords

MARCH EU ENVIRONMENT COUNCIL

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

Strategic EU long-term vision for a climate neutral economy – policy debate:

The Presidency invited Member States to give their views on the Commission’s draft long-term strategy on climate, ‘A Clean Planet for all’, following an initial exchange of views at the Environment Council on 20th December 2018. The Presidency asked for views on the challenges and opportunities arising from the transition to a climate-neutral economy and the enabling framework required to stimulate investment, especially private sector investment, in technology, education, and training.

Member States’ interventions focused on four main areas. Firstly, a number of Member States gave their views on the EU’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets for 2030, and the proposed target of net-zero GHG emissions in the EU by 2050. Some welcomed the ambition of the Commission’s proposed 2050 target, while others cautioned against any revision to the EU’s 2030 targets. Secondly, many argued that the strategy must recognise and enable a socially fair and just transition recognising the different impacts across Member States, regions, and sectors of the economy. Thirdly, a number spoke of the need to frame the strategy positively, as the transition to a low-carbon economy presents opportunities including for competitiveness, employment, public health and the environment. Fourthly, the transition should be acceptable to citizens and businesses to give investors’ confidence in the direction of travel, given that both public and private investment will be crucial to the transition.

I intervened to welcome the Commission’s strategy as a positive response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on global warming of 1.5 degrees published in October 2018. I spoke of the need to ensure that all sectors of the economy take action to tackle climate change while at the same time managing the impact on those sectors disproportionately affected. I referred to the benefits of clean growth and that both technological and nature-based solutions must play their part in reducing emissions, including carbon capture usage and storage, and natural carbon sinks, such as mangrove forests. I emphasised that private sector investment and green finance will be integral to financing the transition and highlighted the UK’s funding for low-carbon innovation. In closing, I underscored that the United Nations’ Secretary General’s Climate Summit in September would be an important milestone, and that the UK intends to play a leading role on climate resilience at the Summit.

Drinking Water Directive – General Approach

The Presidency invited Member States to agree the proposed General Approach, stressing debate should focus on Article 10a and 10b, (materials and substances in contact with water) and Article 13 (access to water). The Commission urged Member States to agree the text, noting that they would reserve their position due to concerns on Article 10a.

The UK, along with a number of other Member States, fully supported Article 10a and 10b. Others expressed concern, but noted that ultimately they could accept the proposed text. These Member States also called for further work to help understand the impacts of the proposal and to clarify the text. Latvia, Estonia and Austria were unable to accept the General Approach due to Article 10a.

On Article 13, Member States noted the delicate Council position and agreed that the Presidency text provided a good compromise. The UK highlighted concerns regarding subsidiarity, drawing attention to the UK Parliament’s reasoned opinion but confirmed that it could accept the compromise text.

The Presidency concluded the General Approach had been agreed. The Commission noted that more work was needed on Article 10a and they would issue a formal declaration outlining their concerns.

Greening the European Semester – exchange of views

The Council exchanged views on the Greening of the European Semester and post 2020 investments (6260/19) with Member States stressing the importance of the environmental dimension. A group of Member States recognised the importance of taking the Paris Agreement into account.

EU framework on endocrine disruptors – policy debate

The Commission stressed the need for a coherent approach based on scientific advice, and the need to follow the precautionary approach where the science was inconclusive. They announced a cross-cutting fitness check on endocrine disruptors (with the aim of concluding findings in early 2020) and a new comprehensive forum to engage stakeholders.

Member States welcomed the Commission communication, with significant differences between the levels of ambition expressed. A small number of Member States led a group calling for more concrete actions; including a ban on endocrine disruptors in toys and consumer goods. Others, including the UK, were more cautious, stressing the need for further research and emphasising the importance of risk-based measures.

AOB items

The following items were also discussed under Any Other Business.

  1. Global data collection system for ship fuel oil consumption:

Council noted the information from the Commission on the proposal to revise the Regulation on the Monitoring, Reporting and Verification of carbon dioxide emissions from maritime transport. The aim of the proposal is to reduce the administrative burden for ships having to report under both EU regulations and the global data collection system for fuel oil consumption, established recently by the International Maritime Organisation.

  1. Better EU enforcement of the EU phasedown of hydrocarbons:

Council noted the information from the Commission.

  1. Tackling greenhouse gas emissions through aviation pricing:

Council noted the information from the Belgian delegation concerning their proposal for a fair, European pricing system on aviation. This information was previously presented at the Economic and Financial Affairs Council on 12th February by the Dutch delegation. Some Member State delegations intervened in support of further work on this. The Commission stated that they will consider existing policy instruments and assess whether there is a need to make a legislative proposal.

  1. Strengthening the coherence between EU free trade agreements and the Paris climate change agreement:

Council noted the information from the French, Spanish, and Luxembourgish delegations, proposing that ratification of the Paris Agreement should be an essential clause of the EU’s trade agreements with third countries, and that the Council should be able to suspend trade agreements following breaches of the obligations under the Paris Agreement. Other Member States expressed a degree of caution on the proposed approach. The Commission noted that such a proposal would need to be operational.

  1. Outcome of the intermediary sessions of the Parties to the Espoo Convention and to the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) (Geneva, 5-7 February 2019)

Council noted the information from the Presidency and the Commission regarding the work of the EU and Member States. It also noted the decisions adopted at the Meeting of the Parties to the Espoo Convention and the Protocol on SEA, which the UK, other Member States, and the EU attended. Lithuania stated that they considered that further steps were needed concerning the case of the Ostrovets Nuclear Power Plant in Belarus.

  1. Environmental protection policies to combat depopulation in rural areas and to improve quality of life:

Council noted the information from the Spanish delegation and the difficulties between population and conservation efforts. Other Member States intervened to show their support and outline their own nation’s struggles with depopulation.

  1. Preparation for the 21st Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (Naples, 2-5 December 2019)

Council noted the information from the Italian delegation. There were limited interventions around this AOB.

Additional engagement

In the margins of the Council, I met with counterparts from Member States and the European Commission to reassure them of our intention to continue working closely on these global environmental issues, and to highlight the UK’s bid to host the twenty sixth Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 19 March 2019
Made by: Mr David Gauke (The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice)
Commons

Personal injury

The Damages Act 1996 (“the Act”) requires the Lord Chancellor to start a review of the personal injury discount rate within 90 days of and including the date on which the amendments made to the Act by the Civil Liability Act 2018 came into force, which occurred on 20 December 2018.

The Act requires that the Lord Chancellor conducts the review and determines whether the rate should be changed or kept unchanged within 140 days of and including the day on which the review starts. It also requires the Lord Chancellor, in conducting the review, must consult (a) the Government Actuary and that this consultation must start within 20 days of and including the start of the review; and (b) the Treasury.

In accordance with these statutory requirements, I have decided to start the review today (19 March 2019) with the consequence that I must conduct the review and make the determination about the rate on or before 5 August 2019.

I will start my consultation with the Government Actuary no later than 7 April 2019 and will start my consultation with the Treasury at the same time.

I have placed copies of the Terms of Reference that I propose to issue to the Government Actuary and the Treasury for their respective consultations in the libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

I will make a further announcement on the completion of the review.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1394
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 19 March 2019
Made by: Anne Milton (The Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills)
Commons

Technical Education Reform

Today, I am pleased to launch the first stage consultation on the post-16 review of qualifications at level 3 and below in England.

This review, alongside the development of T Levels, is central to building a world class technical education system. Our ambition is to develop a qualifications system for all, in which every student benefits from high quality study that helps them realise their talents and achieve their career ambitions. It is vital to addressing our country’s productivity and skills gaps and achieving the international competitiveness on which our future prosperity depends.

The current qualifications system at level 3 and below is complex, with around 12,000 qualifications. Some of the qualifications are well recognised and valued, but as the Wolf and Sainsbury reviews identified, too many are poorly understood and poor quality, weakening their currency and value for individuals, employers and the economy as whole.

The review aims to simplify the landscape, ensuring that every single qualification is necessary and has a distinct purpose, is high quality and supports progression to positive outcomes. At level 3, we want A Levels and T Levels to be the qualifications of choice for students choosing classroom-based study, and for more students to study and achieve at level 3. Subject to the review and the outcomes of our consultation, we expect that where a qualification at level 3 overlaps with a T Level or A Level, it would not, in future, be approved for funding for 16 to 19 year olds.

At level 2 and below, qualifications should enable progression to a higher level of study for those that are able to do so; and for those who are not, there should be high quality qualifications that lead to a good range of employment options and opportunities to study at a later stage.

To drive up quality and ensure fairness in the system at an early stage, in August 2020 we will withdraw approval for funding for older qualifications, where there are newer, more robust versions that have been re-developed to meet performance table rules.

We recognise that qualifications in scope of this review are taken by a range of learners, including adults and those with additional needs, such as special educational needs and disabilities. A ‘one size fits all’ approach will not work. We want to be confident that the qualifications available work for all students, irrespective of their specific needs.

It is important that we take the time to get these changes right and listen carefully to the sector’s views. This is why we are consulting in two stages. We are looking first at the principles that should guide the review before moving on in the second stage consultation to detailed proposals for change, which we will bring forward later in the year. I strongly encourage everyone with an interest to contribute to the debate, so that we can work together to build the world class technical education system that our students deserve and that our country needs.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 19 March 2019
Made by: Dr Thérèse Coffey (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment)
Commons

MARCH EU ENVIRONMENT COUNCIL

I attended the EU Environment Council on 5 March in Brussels.

I wish to update the House on the matters discussed.

Strategic EU long-term vision for a climate neutral economy – policy debate:

The Presidency invited Member States to give their views on the Commission’s draft long-term strategy on climate, ‘A Clean Planet for all’, following an initial exchange of views at the Environment Council on 20th December 2018. The Presidency asked for views on the challenges and opportunities arising from the transition to a climate-neutral economy and the enabling framework required to stimulate investment, especially private sector investment, in technology, education, and training.

Member States’ interventions focused on four main areas. Firstly, a number of Member States gave their views on the EU’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets for 2030, and the proposed target of net-zero GHG emissions in the EU by 2050. Some welcomed the ambition of the Commission’s proposed 2050 target, while others cautioned against any revision to the EU’s 2030 targets. Secondly, many argued that the strategy must recognise and enable a socially fair and just transition recognising the different impacts across Member States, regions, and sectors of the economy. Thirdly, a number spoke of the need to frame the strategy positively, as the transition to a low-carbon economy presents opportunities including for competitiveness, employment, public health and the environment. Fourthly, the transition should be acceptable to citizens and businesses to give investors’ confidence in the direction of travel, given that both public and private investment will be crucial to the transition.

I intervened to welcome the Commission’s strategy as a positive response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on global warming of 1.5 degrees published in October 2018. I spoke of the need to ensure that all sectors of the economy take action to tackle climate change while at the same time managing the impact on those sectors disproportionately affected. I referred to the benefits of clean growth and that both technological and nature-based solutions must play their part in reducing emissions, including carbon capture usage and storage, and natural carbon sinks, such as mangrove forests. I emphasised that private sector investment and green finance will be integral to financing the transition and highlighted the UK’s funding for low-carbon innovation. In closing, I underscored that the United Nations’ Secretary General’s Climate Summit in September would be an important milestone, and that the UK intends to play a leading role on climate resilience at the Summit.

Drinking Water Directive – General Approach

The Presidency invited Member States to agree the proposed General Approach, stressing debate should focus on Article 10a and 10b, (materials and substances in contact with water) and Article 13 (access to water). The Commission urged Member States to agree the text, noting that they would reserve their position due to concerns on Article 10a.

The UK, along with a number of other Member States, fully supported Article 10a and 10b. Others expressed concern, but noted that ultimately they could accept the proposed text. These Member States also called for further work to help understand the impacts of the proposal and to clarify the text. Latvia, Estonia and Austria were unable to accept the General Approach due to Article 10a.

On Article 13, Member States noted the delicate Council position and agreed that the Presidency text provided a good compromise. The UK highlighted concerns regarding subsidiarity, drawing attention to the UK Parliament’s reasoned opinion but confirmed that it could accept the compromise text.

The Presidency concluded the General Approach had been agreed. The Commission noted that more work was needed on Article 10a and they would issue a formal declaration outlining their concerns.

Greening the European Semester – exchange of views

The Council exchanged views on the Greening of the European Semester and post 2020 investments (6260/19) with Member States stressing the importance of the environmental dimension. A group of Member States recognised the importance of taking the Paris Agreement into account.

EU framework on endocrine disruptors – policy debate

The Commission stressed the need for a coherent approach based on scientific advice, and the need to follow the precautionary approach where the science was inconclusive. They announced a cross-cutting fitness check on endocrine disruptors (with the aim of concluding findings in early 2020) and a new comprehensive forum to engage stakeholders.

Member States welcomed the Commission communication, with significant differences between the levels of ambition expressed. A small number of Member States led a group calling for more concrete actions; including a ban on endocrine disruptors in toys and consumer goods. Others, including the UK, were more cautious, stressing the need for further research and emphasising the importance of risk-based measures.

AOB items

The following items were also discussed under Any Other Business.

  1. Global data collection system for ship fuel oil consumption:

Council noted the information from the Commission on the proposal to revise the Regulation on the Monitoring, Reporting and Verification of carbon dioxide emissions from maritime transport. The aim of the proposal is to reduce the administrative burden for ships having to report under both EU regulations and the global data collection system for fuel oil consumption, established recently by the International Maritime Organisation.

  1. Better EU enforcement of the EU phasedown of hydrocarbons:

Council noted the information from the Commission.

  1. Tackling greenhouse gas emissions through aviation pricing:

Council noted the information from the Belgian delegation concerning their proposal for a fair, European pricing system on aviation. This information was previously presented at the Economic and Financial Affairs Council on 12th February by the Dutch delegation. Some Member State delegations intervened in support of further work on this. The Commission stated that they will consider existing policy instruments and assess whether there is a need to make a legislative proposal.

  1. Strengthening the coherence between EU free trade agreements and the Paris climate change agreement:

Council noted the information from the French, Spanish, and Luxembourgish delegations, proposing that ratification of the Paris Agreement should be an essential clause of the EU’s trade agreements with third countries, and that the Council should be able to suspend trade agreements following breaches of the obligations under the Paris Agreement. Other Member States expressed a degree of caution on the proposed approach. The Commission noted that such a proposal would need to be operational.

  1. Outcome of the intermediary sessions of the Parties to the Espoo Convention and to the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) (Geneva, 5-7 February 2019)

Council noted the information from the Presidency and the Commission regarding the work of the EU and Member States. It also noted the decisions adopted at the Meeting of the Parties to the Espoo Convention and the Protocol on SEA, which the UK, other Member States, and the EU attended. Lithuania stated that they considered that further steps were needed concerning the case of the Ostrovets Nuclear Power Plant in Belarus.

  1. Environmental protection policies to combat depopulation in rural areas and to improve quality of life:

Council noted the information from the Spanish delegation and the difficulties between population and conservation efforts. Other Member States intervened to show their support and outline their own nation’s struggles with depopulation.

  1. Preparation for the 21st Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (Naples, 2-5 December 2019)

Council noted the information from the Italian delegation. There were limited interventions around this AOB.

Additional engagement

In the margins of the Council, I met with counterparts from Member States and the European Commission to reassure them of our intention to continue working closely on these global environmental issues, and to highlight the UK’s bid to host the twenty sixth Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 19 March 2019
Made by: Jesse Norman (Minister of State for Transport)
Commons

Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy

The U.K. is in the early stages of a transport revolution. For much of the past half century, many of the improvements to transport have been gradual and incremental, focused on increasing the capacity of existing infrastructure to meet growing demand. Yet today important new technologies are emerging that will transform transport and travel. Zero tailpipe emission cars are replacing those powered by fossil fuels. Self-driving vehicles have the potential to allow people with mobility issues to enjoy far greater freedom to travel. And advances in data production and use are already improving the way that transport services are devised, planned and delivered.

In they are properly managed, the transport technologies of the future will not just make journeys faster. They will also make them safer, easier, more comfortable and more affordable. They will make our towns and cities quieter and less polluted. And they will give us the option to see mobility as a service, integrated and accessible to all.

But this transformation potentially offers huge industrial opportunities as well, including new high quality jobs, new investment and increased national productivity.

The Government has put the Future of Mobility at the heart of its Industrial Strategy in an effort to take full advantage of these extraordinary opportunities. With a long history of transport innovation, a world-class research base and many established technology leaders, the UK is well placed to harness its domestic expertise and to profit from a growing market for cleaner, safer and more efficient transport.

Such fundamental change in transport within a relatively short period of time, and across so many different technologies, is unprecedented. The sector is at a point of inflection. The window of opportunity is currently open; but for how much longer it will be so, no one can say.

Today the Government is publishing its Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy. This sets out its approach to working with innovators, companies, Local Authorities and other stakeholders in order to harness the developing benefits of new urban mobility technologies.

In the Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy, the Government has:

  • Outlined the benefits it wants mobility innovation to deliver, and the Principles by which to achieve them;

  • Launched an ambitious Regulatory Review;

  • Established a wide programme of work to meet the Grand Challenge.

Alongside this document it has:

  • Launched a £90 million competition for cities to deliver Future of Mobility Zones, which follows £60 million awarded to 10 cities across the UK via the Transforming Cities Fund

  • Published a response to the last mile call for evidence it conducted in summer

  • Outlined next steps on the E-Cargo Bike Grant

As a country, our approach to these technologies will need to adapt over the coming decades. The Government will need to gather and respond to evidence of the impacts of new mobility technologies and services as they emerge. It will also need to set out its thinking on the future of rural mobility in due course, to explore how the benefits of transport innovation can be enjoyed by everyone, wherever they live.


We have an extraordinary opportunity here – to put this country at the heart of the next mobility revolution, and deliver a cleaner, greener, more productive and more inclusive country for future generations.

I have laid a copy of the Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy in the libraries of both Houses.

Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy (PDF Document, 3.64 MB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1397
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 18 March 2019
Made by: Baroness Buscombe (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions)
Lords

Collective Defined Contribution Pension Schemes

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

Today the Government publishes our response to the consultation on Delivering Collective Defined Contribution Schemes.

The UK has a world-class occupational pension system. But there is always opportunity for further innovation and improvement to ensure pensions work for their members, who deserve security in retirement. The Government believes that Collective Defined Contribution (CDC) pension schemes can be a key part of this.

CDC schemes are a new type of pension scheme. In a CDC scheme, like Defined Contribution (DC), contributions are paid into a fund. Unlike DC, these funds are pooled, and at retirement, individual members receive a regular pension income from the fund. This income will be based on the value of their contributions and savers will save towards a ‘target’ benefit whose value will depend on the fund’s performance.

The CDC approach increases investment leverage for savers, and helps members secure a regular income in retirement at lower cost. For employers, CDC, like DC, provides stability and predictability in their obligations to the pension scheme. Therefore, CDC helps improve retirement outcomes for members whilst also benefitting employers.

In that spirit, Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union have proposed a CDC pension scheme in the belief that this will be advantageous to both the employees and the business. This is a start and will provide a firm footing for further innovation in pensions.

We set out our proposed approach for providing for CDC schemes in our consultation document Delivering Collective Defined Contribution Pension Schemes, including requirements for CDC schemes to operate with systems and approaches that ensure sustainability, transparency and effective communication. Intergenerational fairness must be at the heart of CDC schemes. All this will be underpinned by a requirement for CDC schemes to be authorised by the Pensions Regulator. Government is grateful for the constructive comments and broad support our proposals received. Also, many responses, from trade unions, master trusts, and other pension providers, expressed a desire to see more people benefiting from the advantages that CDC can bring. They urged us, in time, to extend CDC to other parts of the pensions market.

Pension reforms in recent years have transformed pension saving in this country, whether it is auto-enrolment or the new state pension. The creation of CDC schemes is part of an ambitious reform of private pensions schemes, the pensions regulator and the way that savers interact with their savings through improved information and guidance. This means people can prepare for retirement with confidence. We will provide more options for employers to ensure that scheme members can adequately save for retirement and to better protect their income in later life.

As part of these reforms we intend to bring forward legislation to facilitate single and associated employer CDC provision as soon as Parliamentary time allows, and consider further what other provision would be appropriate for the future.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1422
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 18 March 2019
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

High Streets update

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

On Saturday I announced the national High Streets Community Clean-Up Programme. This £9.75 million programme will provide every local authority in England with grant funding to work with community groups to carry out locally-led spring cleans on their high streets and town centres.

Our ambition is to build strong, resilient and empowered communities where local citizens feel proud of the place in which they live – and this money will empower local authorities to support residents to take control over their high streets and town centres.

Events are scheduled across the country to take place in March to coincide with clean-up campaigns, including the Great British Spring Clean beginning on 22 March. This funding reflects commitments given in the Litter Strategy and will increase the reach and impact of such events.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1423
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 18 March 2019
Made by: James Brokenshire (Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

High Streets update

On Saturday I announced the national High Streets Community Clean-Up Programme. This £9.75 million programme will provide every local authority in England with grant funding to work with community groups to carry out locally-led spring cleans on their high streets and town centres.

Our ambition is to build strong, resilient and empowered communities where local citizens feel proud of the place in which they live – and this money will empower local authorities to support residents to take control over their high streets and town centres.

Events are scheduled across the country to take place in March to coincide with clean-up campaigns, including the Great British Spring Clean beginning on 22 March. This funding reflects commitments given in the Litter Strategy and will increase the reach and impact of such events.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1390
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 18 March 2019
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions)
Commons

Collective Defined Contribution Pension Schemes

Today the Government publishes our response to the consultation on Delivering Collective Defined Contribution Schemes.

The UK has a world-class occupational pension system. But there is always opportunity for further innovation and improvement to ensure pensions work for their members, who deserve security in retirement. The Government believes that Collective Defined Contribution (CDC) pension schemes can be a key part of this.

CDC schemes are a new type of pension scheme. In a CDC scheme, like Defined Contribution (DC), contributions are paid into a fund. Unlike DC, these funds are pooled, and at retirement, individual members receive a regular pension income from the fund. This income will be based on the value of their contributions and savers will save towards a ‘target’ benefit whose value will depend on the fund’s performance.

The CDC approach increases investment leverage for savers, and helps members secure a regular income in retirement at lower cost. For employers, CDC, like DC, provides stability and predictability in their obligations to the pension scheme. Therefore, CDC helps improve retirement outcomes for members whilst also benefitting employers.

In that spirit, Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union have proposed a CDC pension scheme in the belief that this will be advantageous to both the employees and the business. This is a start and will provide a firm footing for further innovation in pensions.

We set out our proposed approach for providing for CDC schemes in our consultation document Delivering Collective Defined Contribution Pension Schemes, including requirements for CDC schemes to operate with systems and approaches that ensure sustainability, transparency and effective communication. Intergenerational fairness must be at the heart of CDC schemes. All this will be underpinned by a requirement for CDC schemes to be authorised by the Pensions Regulator. Government is grateful for the constructive comments and broad support our proposals received. Also, many responses, from trade unions, master trusts, and other pension providers, expressed a desire to see more people benefiting from the advantages that CDC can bring. They urged us, in time, to extend CDC to other parts of the pensions market.

Pension reforms in recent years have transformed pension saving in this country, whether it is auto-enrolment or the new state pension. The creation of CDC schemes is part of an ambitious reform of private pensions schemes, the pensions regulator and the way that savers interact with their savings through improved information and guidance. This means people can prepare for retirement with confidence. We will provide more options for employers to ensure that scheme members can adequately save for retirement and to better protect their income in later life.

As part of these reforms we intend to bring forward legislation to facilitate single and associated employer CDC provision as soon as Parliamentary time allows, and consider further what other provision would be appropriate for the future.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1391
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 15 March 2019
Made by: Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords)
Lords

Statement under Section 13(4) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018

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

This statement is being made for the purposes of Section 13(4) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and outlines how the Government intends to proceed in the light of the House’s decision on Tuesday 12 March 2019 not to agree to a resolution for the purposes of section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

The Government regrets the House’s decision of Tuesday 12 March 2019 but still believes that the best way forward is for the UK to leave the EU in an orderly manner having agreed the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration.

We note the House’s resolutions of Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 March 2019 not to leave the European Union without a deal and to seek an extension to the Article 50 process.

In accordance with the motion the House approved on Thursday 14 March 2019 the Government will now seek to agree an extension with the EU. The European Council has to approve any extension by unanimity, meaning it would require all the leaders of the other 27 EU Member States to agree the UK’s request.

As the motion stated, if the House has passed a resolution approving the negotiated withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future relationship by Wednesday 20 March 2019, then the Government will seek to agree with the European Union a one-off extension of the period specified in Article 50(3) for a period ending on 30 June 2019 for the purpose of passing the necessary legislation to implement the Withdrawal Agreement into our domestic law and complete the ratification process. However, if the House has not reached such agreement by the 20 March 2019 then it is highly likely that the European Council at its meeting the following day would require a clear purpose for any extension, not least to determine its length, and that any extension beyond 30 June 2019 would require the United Kingdom to hold European Parliament elections in May 2019.

It is expected that the EU will use the March European Council on the 21 and 22 March 2019 to consider and reach a decision on a request from the UK to extend the Article 50 period.

As soon as possible following agreement at the EU level we will bring forward the necessary legislation to amend the definition of exit day in domestic legislation. This statutory instrument will be laid, before it is made, under section 20(4) of the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

This legislation is subject to the draft affirmative procedure and so would need to be actively approved in each House. The legislation would give effect to any agreement with the EU on an extension, so would not be laid before Parliament until that agreement had been reached.

WS
Prime Minister
Made on: 15 March 2019
Made by: Mrs Theresa May (Prime Minister)
Commons

Statement under Section 13(4) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018

This statement is being made for the purposes of Section 13(4) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and outlines how the Government intends to proceed in the light of the House’s decision on Tuesday 12 March 2019 not to agree to a resolution for the purposes of section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

The Government regrets the House’s decision of Tuesday 12 March 2019 but still believes that the best way forward is for the UK to leave the EU in an orderly manner having agreed the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration.

We note the House’s resolutions of Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 March 2019 not to leave the European Union without a deal and to seek an extension to the Article 50 process.

In accordance with the motion the House approved on Thursday 14 March 2019 the Government will now seek to agree an extension with the EU. The European Council has to approve any extension by unanimity, meaning it would require all the leaders of the other 27 EU Member States to agree the UK’s request.

As the motion stated, if the House has passed a resolution approving the negotiated withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future relationship by Wednesday 20 March 2019, then the Government will seek to agree with the European Union a one-off extension of the period specified in Article 50(3) for a period ending on 30 June 2019 for the purpose of passing the necessary legislation to implement the Withdrawal Agreement into our domestic law and complete the ratification process. However, if the House has not reached such agreement by the 20 March 2019 then it is highly likely that the European Council at its meeting the following day would require a clear purpose for any extension, not least to determine its length, and that any extension beyond 30 June 2019 would require the United Kingdom to hold European Parliament elections in May 2019.

It is expected that the EU will use the March European Council on the 21 and 22 March 2019 to consider and reach a decision on a request from the UK to extend the Article 50 period.

As soon as possible following agreement at the EU level we will bring forward the necessary legislation to amend the definition of exit day in domestic legislation. This statutory instrument will be laid, before it is made, under section 20(4) of the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

This legislation is subject to the draft affirmative procedure and so would need to be actively approved in each House. The legislation would give effect to any agreement with the EU on an extension, so would not be laid before Parliament until that agreement had been reached.

WS
Home Office
Made on: 15 March 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Justice and Home Affairs post-Council statement

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

The final meeting of EU Interior and Justice Ministers that the UK is expected to attend as an EU Member State took place on 7 and 8 March in Brussels. I represented the UK for Interior Day. The Secretary of State for Justice, the rt hon David Gauke MP represented the UK on Justice Day.

Interior Day began with a progress report on the proposal to amend the European Border and Coast Guard Regulation. Ministers discussed the proposal for a standing corps of 10,000 border guards. The Home Secretary did not intervene as the UK does not participate in this Schengen building measure.

The Council then discussed the legislative proposals relating to the Common European Asylum System. Ministers discussed whether the package should be split between those measures that can be progressed now, and those where further consideration is required, including the redistribution mechanism. I supported splitting the pack to ensure useful improvements to systems such as Eurodac, to which the UK has opted in, are agreed swiftly. Ministers were split on this issue. The UK has not opted in to the rest of the CEAS package.

Ministers then discussed co-operation with third countries on Migration. Ministers broadly agreed that Morocco and Tunisia should be priorities, although some Member States emphasised the importance of the Western Balkans. I intervened to reiterate support for the whole of route approach to tackling illegal migration and noted the UK’s continuing commitment to co-operation with our European partners on migration.

Over lunch, Ministers discussed achievements and future activity in the JHA field. I intervened to reiterate the UK’s commitment to strong security co-operation post-Brexit. I made clear that whilst the UK recognised that the future UK-EU relationship on security would be different, that should not be at the expense of the protection of UK and EU citizens. I emphasised the importance of continuing operational co-operation against terrorists and organised criminals. I also noted that this was Commissioner Sir Julian King’s last JHA Council and thanked him for his work as Commissioner for the Security Union. My intervention was warmly received with a number of Member States and the Commission paying tribute to the UK’s contribution in the JHA field and supporting the need for continued operational co-operation in this area.

After lunch, the Council discussed the state of play on the EU’s approach to Counter-Terrorism. Ministers broadly agreed that existing legislation needed to be fully implemented before moving on to further legislation. On Terrorist Content Online legislation, the Commission and a number of Member States, including the UK, urged rapid progress.

Finally, the Commission set out the measures the EU was taking to safeguard the forthcoming EP elections from interference and disinformation.

On Justice Day, the Council reached a General Approach on the e-Evidence Directive, which lays down harmonised rules on the appointment of legal representatives for the purpose of gathering evidence in criminal proceedings. There was wide support for this measure, with most Ministers noting that the e-evidence package as a whole represented significant progress in the ability of competent law enforcement authorities to access data held by communication service providers. The UK maintained its Parliamentary Scrutiny Reserve. The Council would start trilogue negotiations on the whole e-evidence package, once the European Parliament has adopted its position.

The Council discussed the negotiating mandates for the second Additional Protocol to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime and for an agreement between the EU and US on facilitating cross-border access to e-evidence. These mandates would complement the EU e-evidence legislative package. The Council broadly supported the EU-US mandate and the Commission indicated it would open discussions with the US in April, although some Member States raised concerns around the Commission’s proposed approach in basing the mandate on draft EU legislation rather than the US’s CLOUD Act. Several Member States raised concerns about the Commission’s assessment of EU competence in relation to the Budapest Convention mandate. The Secretary of State for Justice noted the need for careful delineation between the second Additional Protocol and EU rules given the global reach of the Budapest Convention. The Presidency would seek to adopt the mandates at the June JHA Council.

The Presidency noted progress at working level on the Whistleblowers Directive. The Presidency would continue trilogues with a view to reaching a political agreement during the European Parliament’s current mandate.

The Commission provided an update on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), noting the importance of concluding the process of appointment of the European Chief Prosecutor before the end of this legislature.

The Commission also informed the Council on progress made in countering hate speech online, and presented the results of the 4th monitoring of the Code of Conduct on tackling illegal hate speech. The Commission noted the need for further work to transpose the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia and facilitate cross border access to E-Evidence.

Over lunch, Ministers discussed the use of artificial intelligence in the justice system. The Secretary of State for Justice highlighted the UK commitment to striking the right balance between ethical considerations and data protection on the one hand, and encouraging use of innovation on the other. The Secretary of State for Justice reinforced the UK’s ambition for a strong future EU-UK partnership.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1420
WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 15 March 2019
Made by: Lord Ashton of Hyde (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Lords

Contingent Liability Notification

My Hon Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, Michael Ellis, has made the following statement:

Today I am laying before Parliament a Departmental Minute describing a liability that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport intends to take on in relation to the British Tourist Authority (BTA) pension scheme.

The BTA, currently trading as VisitEngland and VisitBritain, has operated a defined benefit pension scheme for the benefit of its employees since it was created by the Development of Tourism Act 1969.

To ensure a strong covenant rating and avoid a substantial increase in the BTA’s annual contributions to service the scheme, the Government has decided to issue a Guarantee to cover the shortfall between the scheme’s assets and its liabilities should the BTA close down. The shortfall is currently estimated at £125m in today’s prices though is likely to decrease with time due to further BTA contributions to service the scheme, pension fund investment returns and scheme members passing away. Importantly, the Guarantee will also allow the BTA Board to ratify the cessation of defined benefit accrual and to agree a move to a defined contribution scheme.

The BTA was created by an Act of Parliament, and only another Act can close it down. I would like to reassure the House that the Government has no intention of bringing forward a Bill that would actually trigger this Guarantee. As our national tourist board, the BTA undertakes invaluable work promoting the whole of the UK as a tourist destination and thus the likelihood of the liability crystallising is extremely low.

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 15 March 2019
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Baseline Profit Rate 2019-20 for Single Source Defence Contracts

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

I am today announcing that I have set the baseline profit rate for single source defence contracts at 7.63%, in line with the rate recommended by the Single Source Regulations Office (SSRO). I have accepted the methodology used by the SSRO to calculate this figure.

I am also announcing new Capital Servicing Rates and an SSRO funding adjustment as recommended by the SSRO, which can be found at Table 1 below. These rates have been published in the London Gazette, as required by the Defence Reform Act 2014.

All of these new rates will come into effect from 1st April 2019.

Table 1: Recommended Rates agreed by the Secretary of State for Defence

Element

2018 rates

2019 rates

Baseline Profit Rate (BPR) (% on contract cost)

6.81%

7.63%

Fixed Capital Servicing Rate (% on Fixed Capital employed)

4.38%

3.98%

Working Capital Servicing Rate (% on positive Working Capital employed)

1.21%

1.18%

Working Capital Servicing Rate (% on negative Working Capital employed)

0.53%

0.53%

SSRO Funding Adjustment

-0.024%

-0.042%

WS
Wales Office
Made on: 15 March 2019
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales)
Lords

Welsh Regional Investment

My Right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Wales (Alun Cairns) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

On 6 December 2018 I announced to the House that the UK and Welsh Governments had commissioned a joint independent review of the Swansea Bay City Region City Deal. That review has now concluded and I am today publishing the report and a Joint Government response.

I welcome the report which provides Governments, local partners and the private sector with the confidence to invest in the region and bring about economic growth and transformational change. The report recognises the continuing commitment of all partners to the deal, as well as the positive impact a successful City Deal would have across the region. Both governments accept the review recommendations.

Over the coming weeks the UK Government will work alongside the Welsh Government and local partners to implement the recommendations and to seek to move the deal into the next phase of delivery. I am determined that the City Deal will deliver for communities in south-west Wales building on the foundation which this review provided.

WS
Home Office
Made on: 15 March 2019
Made by: Sajid Javid (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Justice and Home Affairs post-Council statement

The final meeting of EU Interior and Justice Ministers that the UK is expected to attend as an EU Member State took place on 7 and 8 March in Brussels. I represented the UK for Interior Day. The Secretary of State for Justice, the rt hon David Gauke MP represented the UK on Justice Day.

Interior Day began with a progress report on the proposal to amend the European Border and Coast Guard Regulation. Ministers discussed the proposal for a standing corps of 10,000 border guards. The Home Secretary did not intervene as the UK does not participate in this Schengen building measure.

The Council then discussed the legislative proposals relating to the Common European Asylum System. Ministers discussed whether the package should be split between those measures that can be progressed now, and those where further consideration is required, including the redistribution mechanism. I supported splitting the pack to ensure useful improvements to systems such as Eurodac, to which the UK has opted in, are agreed swiftly. Ministers were split on this issue. The UK has not opted in to the rest of the CEAS package.

Ministers then discussed co-operation with third countries on Migration. Ministers broadly agreed that Morocco and Tunisia should be priorities, although some Member States emphasised the importance of the Western Balkans. I intervened to reiterate support for the whole of route approach to tackling illegal migration and noted the UK’s continuing commitment to co-operation with our European partners on migration.

Over lunch, Ministers discussed achievements and future activity in the JHA field. I intervened to reiterate the UK’s commitment to strong security co-operation post-Brexit. I made clear that whilst the UK recognised that the future UK-EU relationship on security would be different, that should not be at the expense of the protection of UK and EU citizens. I emphasised the importance of continuing operational co-operation against terrorists and organised criminals. I also noted that this was Commissioner Sir Julian King’s last JHA Council and thanked him for his work as Commissioner for the Security Union. My intervention was warmly received with a number of Member States and the Commission paying tribute to the UK’s contribution in the JHA field and supporting the need for continued operational co-operation in this area.

After lunch, the Council discussed the state of play on the EU’s approach to Counter-Terrorism. Ministers broadly agreed that existing legislation needed to be fully implemented before moving on to further legislation. On Terrorist Content Online legislation, the Commission and a number of Member States, including the UK, urged rapid progress.

Finally, the Commission set out the measures the EU was taking to safeguard the forthcoming EP elections from interference and disinformation.

On Justice Day, the Council reached a General Approach on the e-Evidence Directive, which lays down harmonised rules on the appointment of legal representatives for the purpose of gathering evidence in criminal proceedings. There was wide support for this measure, with most Ministers noting that the e-evidence package as a whole represented significant progress in the ability of competent law enforcement authorities to access data held by communication service providers. The UK maintained its Parliamentary Scrutiny Reserve. The Council would start trilogue negotiations on the whole e-evidence package, once the European Parliament has adopted its position.

The Council discussed the negotiating mandates for the second Additional Protocol to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime and for an agreement between the EU and US on facilitating cross-border access to e-evidence. These mandates would complement the EU e-evidence legislative package. The Council broadly supported the EU-US mandate and the Commission indicated it would open discussions with the US in April, although some Member States raised concerns around the Commission’s proposed approach in basing the mandate on draft EU legislation rather than the US’s CLOUD Act. Several Member States raised concerns about the Commission’s assessment of EU competence in relation to the Budapest Convention mandate. The Secretary of State for Justice noted the need for careful delineation between the second Additional Protocol and EU rules given the global reach of the Budapest Convention. The Presidency would seek to adopt the mandates at the June JHA Council.

The Presidency noted progress at working level on the Whistleblowers Directive. The Presidency would continue trilogues with a view to reaching a political agreement during the European Parliament’s current mandate.

The Commission provided an update on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), noting the importance of concluding the process of appointment of the European Chief Prosecutor before the end of this legislature.

The Commission also informed the Council on progress made in countering hate speech online, and presented the results of the 4th monitoring of the Code of Conduct on tackling illegal hate speech. The Commission noted the need for further work to transpose the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia and facilitate cross border access to E-Evidence.

Over lunch, Ministers discussed the use of artificial intelligence in the justice system. The Secretary of State for Justice highlighted the UK commitment to striking the right balance between ethical considerations and data protection on the one hand, and encouraging use of innovation on the other. The Secretary of State for Justice reinforced the UK’s ambition for a strong future EU-UK partnership.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1388
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 15 March 2019
Made by: Chloe Smith (Minister for the Constitution)
Commons

Advance from the Contingencies Fund

The Minister for the Constitution wishes to report that a repayable cash advance from the Contingencies Fund of £1,297,000 has been sought for the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (referred to as the “Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration” in the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 and the “Health Service Commissioner” in the Health Services Commissioners Act 1993).

The advance has been sought to meet a cash requirement resulting from planned expenditure set out in supplementary estimates. As authority for the cash will not be granted until March with the passage of the Supply and Appropriation Act, a Contingencies Fund advance has been requested.

Parliamentary approval for additional resources of £1,297,000 will be sought in a Supplementary Estimate for the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration and the Health Service Commissioner for England. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £1,297,000 will be met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund.

WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 15 March 2019
Made by: Michael Ellis (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Arts, Heritage and Tourism )
Commons

Contingent Liability Notification

Today I am laying before Parliament a Departmental Minute describing a liability that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport intends to take on in relation to the British Tourist Authority (BTA) pension scheme.

The BTA, currently trading as VisitEngland and VisitBritain, has operated a defined benefit pension scheme for the benefit of its employees since it was created by the Development of Tourism Act 1969.

To ensure a strong covenant rating and avoid a substantial increase in the BTA’s annual contributions to service the scheme, the Government has decided to issue a Guarantee to cover the shortfall between the scheme’s assets and its liabilities should the BTA close down. The shortfall is currently estimated at £125m in today’s prices though is likely to decrease with time due to further BTA contributions to service the scheme, pension fund investment returns and scheme members passing away. Importantly, the Guarantee will also allow the BTA Board to ratify the cessation of defined benefit accrual and to agree a move to a defined contribution scheme.

The BTA was created by an Act of Parliament, and only another Act can close it down. I would like to reassure the House that the Government has no intention of bringing forward a Bill that would actually trigger this Guarantee. As our national tourist board, the BTA undertakes invaluable work promoting the whole of the UK as a tourist destination and thus the likelihood of the liability crystallising is extremely low.

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 15 March 2019
Made by: Gavin Williamson (Secretary of State for Defence)
Commons

Baseline Profit Rate 2019-20 for Single Source Defence Contracts

I am today announcing that I have set the baseline profit rate for single source defence contracts at 7.63%, in line with the rate recommended by the Single Source Regulations Office (SSRO). I have accepted the methodology used by the SSRO to calculate this figure.

I am also announcing new Capital Servicing Rates and an SSRO funding adjustment as recommended by the SSRO, which can be found at Table 1 below. These rates have been published in the London Gazette, as required by the Defence Reform Act 2014.

All of these new rates will come into effect from 1st April 2019.

Table 1: Recommended Rates agreed by the Secretary of State for Defence

Element

2018 rates

2019 rates

Baseline Profit Rate (BPR) (% on contract cost)

6.81%

7.63%

Fixed Capital Servicing Rate (% on Fixed Capital employed)

4.38%

3.98%

Working Capital Servicing Rate (% on positive Working Capital employed)

1.21%

1.18%

Working Capital Servicing Rate (% on negative Working Capital employed)

0.53%

0.53%

SSRO Funding Adjustment

-0.024%

-0.042%

WS
Wales Office
Made on: 15 March 2019
Made by: Alun Cairns (Secretary of State for Wales )
Commons

Welsh Regional Investment

On 6 December 2018 I announced to the House that the UK and Welsh Governments had commissioned a joint independent review of the Swansea Bay City Region City Deal. That review has now concluded and I am today publishing the report and a Joint Government response.

I welcome the report which provides Governments, local partners and the private sector with the confidence to invest in the region and bring about economic growth and transformational change. The report recognises the continuing commitment of all partners to the deal, as well as the positive impact a successful City Deal would have across the region. Both governments accept the review recommendations.

Over the coming weeks the UK Government will work alongside the Welsh Government and local partners to implement the recommendations and to seek to move the deal into the next phase of delivery. I am determined that the City Deal will deliver for communities in south-west Wales building on the foundation which this review provided.

WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 14 March 2019
Made by: Claire Perry (Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth)
Commons

Energy Update

The Energy Council took place on 4 March 2019.

Tyre Labelling Regulation

The Presidency sought a General Approach on the updated Regulation on Tyre Labelling. The Commission, represented by Carlos Moedas (Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation), stressed the importance of this file, citing that road transport was responsible for 27% of final energy consumption and 22% of emissions in the EU.

Some Member States raised concern about the proposed label not including consumer information on tyre abrasion. In its intervention, the UK supported the text, highlighting that the proposed tyre label will be more effective and overall provide better information for consumers. The UK also noted the seriousness of the environmental and health impacts from tyre particulates caused by abrasion which the UK Government are actively reviewing and considering options to reduce. However, as suitable testing methodologies were not yet in place that could accurately and fairly measure abrasion rates, the UK agreed that the information on tyre abrasion should not yet be included on the label. The Presidency concluded it had reached a General Approach.

Clean Planet for All: Strategic Long-Term Vision for a Climate Neutral Economy

The Ministers discussed the Commission’s Long-Term Strategy for a climate neutral economy, for which the Presidency had asked Member States to provide views on three questions, relating to the structural changes needed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the impact of new technologies and how to facilitate a “fair transition”.

The Commission highlighted that the strategy was necessary to ensure compliance with the Paris Agreement while also focussing on the social dimension and job creation.

In its intervention, the UK welcomed the publication of the strategy, highlighting the UK Clean Growth Strategy and its role in increasing the use of renewables. It also noted the importance of international partnerships in achieving the stated goals, in addition to the importance of North Seas Energy Cooperation. Some other Member States echoed this point.

Whilst all Member States spoke to welcome the proposals, there was a wide variety of responses, both in terms of EU priorities and the level of ambition needed. Whilst some Member States called for the Commission to work on an additional scenario of 100% renewable energy by 2050, other Member States raised concern over any 100% net-zero target by 2050. Member States also highlighted the importance of involving the public in the ‘just transition’, and ensuring that growth and well-being of citizens was addressed alongside environmental transition. All Member States raised the need for improved research and development, in particular with regard to hydrogen and energy storage.

Any Other Business items

The Council discussed the recently agreed revision to the Gas Directive. The UK, alongside a number of Member States welcomed the agreement.

The Presidency updated Member States on ongoing negotiations on the Connecting Europe Facility, for which it hoped to reach a deal with the European Parliament on 7 March.

Additional Activities

The Minister also met with multiple other counterparts in the margins of the Council to give reassurances regarding EU Exit, discuss our ambitions on energy cooperation and highlight the UK’s bid to host the COP26 climate summit in 2020.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1384
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 14 March 2019
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

Energy Update

My Rt hon friend the Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth (Claire Perry) has today made the following statement:

The Energy Council took place on 4 March 2019.

Tyre Labelling Regulation

The Presidency sought a General Approach on the updated Regulation on Tyre Labelling. The Commission, represented by Carlos Moedas (Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation), stressed the importance of this file, citing that road transport was responsible for 27% of final energy consumption and 22% of emissions in the EU.

Some Member States raised concern about the proposed label not including consumer information on tyre abrasion. In its intervention, the UK supported the text, highlighting that the proposed tyre label will be more effective and overall provide better information for consumers. The UK also noted the seriousness of the environmental and health impacts from tyre particulates caused by abrasion which the UK Government are actively reviewing and considering options to reduce. However, as suitable testing methodologies were not yet in place that could accurately and fairly measure abrasion rates, the UK agreed that the information on tyre abrasion should not yet be included on the label. The Presidency concluded it had reached a General Approach.

Clean Planet for All: Strategic Long-Term Vision for a Climate Neutral Economy

The Ministers discussed the Commission’s Long-Term Strategy for a climate neutral economy, for which the Presidency had asked Member States to provide views on three questions, relating to the structural changes needed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the impact of new technologies and how to facilitate a “fair transition”.

The Commission highlighted that the strategy was necessary to ensure compliance with the Paris Agreement while also focussing on the social dimension and job creation.

In its intervention, the UK welcomed the publication of the strategy, highlighting the UK Clean Growth Strategy and its role in increasing the use of renewables. It also noted the importance of international partnerships in achieving the stated goals, in addition to the importance of North Seas Energy Cooperation. Some other Member States echoed this point.

Whilst all Member States spoke to welcome the proposals, there was a wide variety of responses, both in terms of EU priorities and the level of ambition needed. Whilst some Member States called for the Commission to work on an additional scenario of 100% renewable energy by 2050, other Member States raised concern over any 100% net-zero target by 2050. Member States also highlighted the importance of involving the public in the ‘just transition’, and ensuring that growth and well-being of citizens was addressed alongside environmental transition. All Member States raised the need for improved research and development, in particular with regard to hydrogen and energy storage.

Any Other Business items

The Council discussed the recently agreed revision to the Gas Directive. The UK, alongside a number of Member States welcomed the agreement.

The Presidency updated Member States on ongoing negotiations on the Connecting Europe Facility, for which it hoped to reach a deal with the European Parliament on 7 March.

Additional Activities

The Minister also met with multiple other counterparts in the margins of the Council to give reassurances regarding EU Exit, discuss our ambitions on energy cooperation and highlight the UK’s bid to host the COP26 climate summit in 2020.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1415
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 14 March 2019
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Update on Defence Prosperity Programme

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence

(The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

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

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

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

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

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

Quantifying the defence contribution to the UK economy.

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

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

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

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

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

Growing exports and inward investment.

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 14 March 2019
Made by: Lord Callanan (Minister of State for Exiting the European Union)
Lords

General Affairs Council, March 2019

I will attend the General Affairs Council in Brussels on 19 March 2019 to represent the UK. Until we leave the European Union, we remain committed to fulfilling our rights and obligations as a full member.

The provisional agenda includes:

Multiannual Financial Framework 2021 - 2027

Ministers and the Commission will discuss progress on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) negotiations. The intention is to reach an agreement on the negotiations in autumn 2019.

Preparation of the European Council 21-22 March 2019: Conclusions and European Council follow-up

The Council will discuss the draft conclusions for the March European Council. The conclusions are expected to cover: Jobs, Growth and Competitiveness; Climate Change; External Relations; tackling disinformation and protecting the democratic integrity of the European and national elections across the EU. The Presidency will provide Ministers with an update on progress in implementing previous European Council conclusions.

European Semester

Ministers will discuss a report on Council contributions to the 2019 European semester, which forms part of the EU’s economic governance framework and comprises a cycle of economic and fiscal policy coordination within the EU. The Presidency will present an updated timetable for the 2019 European semester. Ministers will discuss the draft recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area.

WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 14 March 2019
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Foreign Affairs Council – 18 March 2019

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 will attend the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) on 18 March. It will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP), Federica Mogherini and will take place in Brussels.

China

Ministers will discuss their approach to the upcoming EU-China summit in April and the strategic direction of EU-China relations. The UK will highlight the importance of European coordination in engagement with China. The UK is committed to continue working closely with European partners on China after we leave the EU.

Republic of Moldova

Ministers will discuss the political situation in Moldova following the 24 February Parliamentary elections, in which no political party won an overall majority. In this context, the focus of the FAC will be to take stock of the elections and discuss the EU’s expectations for the next government, once it is established. The UK supports continued EU engagement with Moldova based on the conditions set out in the 2014 Association Agreement, which remains the best means to deliver tangible benefits to the Moldovan people.

Yemen

Ministers will discuss the current state of the conflict in Yemen. Following the Stockholm Peace Talks in December 2018, the EU adopted new FAC Conclusions, which set out EU support for the political process. Ministers will focus on the next steps, urging implementation of the Stockholm Agreements and support of the wider peace process. The session will include a briefing from the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths and the UK will reaffirm its support to him and the UN.

Council Conclusions

The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on the EU’s Human Rights guidelines on non-discrimination, two Court of Auditors’ Special Reports on EU funding to NGOs and on internal security capacity building in Niger and Mali.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1413
WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 14 March 2019
Made by: Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Lords))
Lords

The Government’s response to the recommendations from the Independent Breast Screening Review

My Hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care (Steve Brine) has made the following written statement:

Following publication of the report from the Independent Breast Screening Review on 13 December, and the initial statement that I made at the time, I am pleased to now be able to provide the Government’s substantive response to each of the 15 recommendations made by the review.

As I said at the time, it is essential that we take all necessary actions to learn from any problems identified in the breast screening programme. I can now confirm that the Government has accepted all the recommendations made by the independent review team.

In responding to these recommendations, we have also taken account of the findings from the recent investigation into adult screening programmes conducted by the National Audit Office, which was published on 1 February 2019. In some cases, similar issues were highlighted about where improvements can be made in terms of how our national screening programmes are delivered.

A few recommendations are contingent on forthcoming advice from the UK National Screening Committee on how the upper age limit for breast screening should be defined. In the interim, I can confirm that we will maintain the upper age definition of 70 years and 364 days as set out in the current service specification.

In addition, and in line with the statement made at the time, I can confirm that the AgeX trial will continue as planned. The trial will provide significant new evidence on screening women under 50 and over 70 that is not currently available, providing the evidence needed to make decisions about the age range for breast screening in the future.

Some of the areas highlighted for improvement are being considered by Professor Sir Mike Richards as part of his review into cancer screening that was commissioned by NHS England and which was announced on 15 November 2018. Where possible, improvements to the programme are already being taken forward. Where a more considered response is required, it is appropriate to wait for Professor Richards to report and this is reflected in our response. We look forward to receiving Professor Richards’ recommendations in the summer of 2019.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1412
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 14 March 2019
Made by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity )
Lords

March Agriculture and Fisheries Council

My Rt Hon Friend Robert Goodwill (Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) has today made the following statement:

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

As the provisional agenda stands, the primary focus for agriculture will be on the Post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform package. Ministers will exchange views on the Regulation concerning CAP strategic plans, the Horizontal Regulation, and the Regulation on the common market organisation (CMO) of agriculture products.

Council will also hold an exchange of views on bioeconomy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1409
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 14 March 2019
Made by: Viscount Younger of Leckie (The Lords Spokesperson (Department for Education) (Higher Education))
Lords

Supporting Care Leavers in Higher Education

My honourable friend Nadhim Zahawi, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, has made the following joint statement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Care Leaver Principles (Word Document, 63.35 KB)
WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 14 March 2019
Made by: Mr Robin Walker (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union)
Commons

General Affairs Council, March 2019

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

I will attend the General Affairs Council in Brussels on 19 March 2019 to represent the UK. Until we leave the European Union, we remain committed to fulfilling our rights and obligations as a full member.

The provisional agenda includes:

Multiannual Financial Framework 2021 - 2027

Ministers and the Commission will discuss progress on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) negotiations. The intention is to reach an agreement on the negotiations in autumn 2019.

Preparation of the European Council 21-22 March 2019: Conclusions and European Council follow-up

The Council will discuss the draft conclusions for the March European Council. The conclusions are expected to cover: Jobs, Growth and Competitiveness; Climate Change; External Relations; tackling disinformation and protecting the democratic integrity of the European and national elections across the EU. The Presidency will provide Ministers with an update on progress in implementing previous European Council conclusions.

European Semester

Ministers will discuss a report on Council contributions to the 2019 European semester, which forms part of the EU’s economic governance framework and comprises a cycle of economic and fiscal policy coordination within the EU. The Presidency will present an updated timetable for the 2019 European semester. Ministers will discuss the draft recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area.



WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 14 March 2019
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

2019 Tailored Review of the British Council

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

I am announcing today the publication of the recent Tailored Review of the British Council, an Arm’s Length Body of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

The British Council was established in 1934 and awarded a Royal Charter in 1940. It builds relationships and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries, and makes a significant contribution to promoting the English language, education and British culture overseas. It is a key soft power lever.

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

The full report can be read on gov.uk:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/tailored-review-of-the-british-council

This Review involved consultation with a broad range of stakeholders across the UK and beyond, including British Council staff, the Board of Trustees, over 700 stakeholders and Heads of Mission. It provided an opportunity to better understand the British Council’s contribution to the core business of the FCO, HMG, and the interests of a wide range of stakeholders across the UK and overseas, as well as assessing the British Council’s performance, and readiness to respond and adapt to future challenges.

The Review concluded that the British Council fulfils an important and unique role, remaining a world leader in its field. The British Council’s operating model is effective, however work is needed in order to strengthen evidence of this effectiveness, and how it provides value for money for the taxpayer. It also notes that more needs to be done to remain fit for purpose, including improving organisational effectiveness and increasing financial resilience. Overall, it made 29 recommendations including:

  • The FCO’s single departmental plan should include a high level British Council objective;
  • The British Council should have clear criteria for deciding when it will develop its own products, and publicise this to the English language and education sectors;
  • The British Council should continue its current model of growing its commercial surplus to support cultural relations activities; and
  • The British Council’s activities should focus on its core strengths of promoting English language, education, and British culture.

The review has also recommended that the FCO and the British Council strengthen their strategic dialogue and co-ordination. The British Council should also strengthen its reporting of impact, whilst ensuring that it operates with the appropriate level of independence. A joint implementation plan is being developed by the FCO and British Council, with most of the recommendations expected to be implemented by mid-2020.

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

British Council Tailored Review (PDF Document, 3.56 MB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1401
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 14 March 2019
Made by: Sir Alan Duncan (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Commons

Foreign Affairs Council – 18 March 2019

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs will attend the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) on 18 March. It will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP), Federica Mogherini and will take place in Brussels.

China

Ministers will discuss their approach to the upcoming EU-China summit in April and the strategic direction of EU-China relations. The UK will highlight the importance of European coordination in engagement with China. The UK is committed to continue working closely with European partners on China after we leave the EU.

Republic of Moldova

Ministers will discuss the political situation in Moldova following the 24 February Parliamentary elections, in which no political party won an overall majority. In this context, the focus of the FAC will be to take stock of the elections and discuss the EU’s expectations for the next government, once it is established. The UK supports continued EU engagement with Moldova based on the conditions set out in the 2014 Association Agreement, which remains the best means to deliver tangible benefits to the Moldovan people.

Yemen

Ministers will discuss the current state of the conflict in Yemen. Following the Stockholm Peace Talks in December 2018, the EU adopted new FAC Conclusions, which set out EU support for the political process. Ministers will focus on the next steps, urging implementation of the Stockholm Agreements and support of the wider peace process. The session will include a briefing from the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths and the UK will reaffirm its support to him and the UN.

Council Conclusions

The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on the EU’s Human Rights guidelines on non-discrimination, two Court of Auditors’ Special Reports on EU funding to NGOs and on internal security capacity building in Niger and Mali.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1381
WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 14 March 2019
Made by: Steve Brine (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care)
Commons

The Government’s response to the recommendations from the Independent Breast Screening Review

Following publication of the report from the Independent Breast Screening Review on 13 December, and the initial statement that I made at the time, I am pleased to now be able to provide the Government’s substantive response to each of the 15 recommendations made by the review.

As I said at the time, it is essential that we take all necessary actions to learn from any problems identified in the breast screening programme. I can now confirm that the Government has accepted all the recommendations made by the independent review team.

In responding to these recommendations, we have also taken account of the findings from the recent investigation into adult screening programmes conducted by the National Audit Office, which was published on 1 February 2019. In some cases, similar issues were highlighted about where improvements can be made in terms of how our national screening programmes are delivered.

A few recommendations are contingent on forthcoming advice from the UK National Screening Committee on how the upper age limit for breast screening should be defined. In the interim, I can confirm that we will maintain the upper age definition of 70 years and 364 days as set out in the current service specification.

In addition, and in line with the statement made at the time, I can confirm that the AgeX trial will continue as planned. The trial will provide significant new evidence on screening women under 50 and over 70 that is not currently available, providing the evidence needed to make decisions about the age range for breast screening in the future.

Some of the areas highlighted for improvement are being considered by Professor Sir Mike Richards as part of his review into cancer screening that was commissioned by NHS England and which was announced on 15 November 2018. Where possible, improvements to the programme are already being taken forward. Where a more considered response is required, it is appropriate to wait for Professor Richards to report and this is reflected in our response. We look forward to receiving Professor Richards’ recommendations in the summer of 2019.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1380
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 14 March 2019
Made by: Gavin Williamson (Secretary of State for Defence )
Commons

Update on Defence Prosperity Programme

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

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

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

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

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

Quantifying the defence contribution to the UK economy.

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

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

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

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

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

Growing exports and inward investment.

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

Supporting Care Leavers in Higher Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March Agriculture and Fisheries Council

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

As the provisional agenda stands, the primary focus for agriculture will be on the Post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform package. Ministers will exchange views on the Regulation concerning CAP strategic plans, the Horizontal Regulation, and the Regulation on the common market organisation (CMO) of agriculture products.

Council will also hold an exchange of views on bioeconomy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EU Exit: Trade

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

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

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

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

The Government faced a choice:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Correction

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

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

Planning update

Planning: independent report on build out rates and permitted development

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Permitted Development Rights

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

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

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

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

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

Planning update

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

Planning: independent report on build out rates and permitted development

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Permitted Development Rights

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

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

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

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

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

Spring Statement 2019

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

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

Public Spending

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

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

Infrastructure

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the coming months, the government will publish:

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

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

Living Standards

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

Openness and Competitiveness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today the government will publish:

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

In the coming months, the government will publish:

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

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

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

Science and Technology

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

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

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

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

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

Housing

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

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

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

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

Clean Growth

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

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

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

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

In the coming months, the government will publish:

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

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

Public Finances

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

Retail Prices Index

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

Tax avoidance, evasion & non-compliance

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

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

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

In the coming months the government will publish:

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

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

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

Maintaining the tax system

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

Today the government will publish:

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

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

In the coming months the government will publish:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spring Statement 2019

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

Public Spending

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

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

Infrastructure

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

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

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


Derby and Nottingham

£7.2 million

Southampton

£5.7 million

Leicester

£7.8 million

North East CA

£10 million

Portsmouth

£4 million

Norwich

£6.1 million

Sheffield City Region

£4.2 million

Plymouth

£7.6 million

West Yorkshire CA

£2.2 million

Stoke-on-Trent

£5.6 million

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

Colchester

£3.5 million

Rutland

£2.0 million

Isle of Wight

£0.8 million

Shetland Islands

£2.0 million

Norfolk

£8.0 million

South Essex

£4.5 million

North Wales

£8.0 million

Stoke-on-Trent

£9.2 million

Northern Ireland

£15.0 million

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

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

In the coming months, the government will publish:

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

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

Living Standards

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

Openness and Competitiveness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today the government will publish:

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

In the coming months, the government will publish:

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

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

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

Science and Technology

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

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

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

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

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

Housing

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

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

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

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

Clean Growth

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

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

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

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

In the coming months, the government will publish:

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

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

Public Finances

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

Retail Prices Index

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

Tax avoidance, evasion & non-compliance

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

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

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

In the coming months the government will publish:

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

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

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

Maintaining the tax system

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

Today the government will publish:

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

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

In the coming months the government will publish:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expand all statements
Print selected
Showing 1-50 out of 2824
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100